There is no reward for starting the obvious, but I feel like if I don’t join a chorus of South Africans who have been singing about the rots that prevail in our society I will be failing in my duty as a proud South African who enjoys the freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. Much of what is wrong with our communities goes beyond the abuse of individual’s rights that leads moral decay in our society. This open secret came to the fore again recently through very disturbing events that took place in our communities. Suddenly it felt like the obvious was no longer that obvious unless you are willing to get a little closer and inspect it without being aloof to the facts.
Unlike many people the thing that got me to stop in my tracks and pay attention is not the story of a young woman let down by her community and the police. Nor was it a week that begun with one of our country’s talents using a song title to speak down on black people in general.
I woke up to a week with a terrible realization that we are running out of heroes in this country. This hit me a few months ago a status on one of my Facebook friends was made about how ugly a certain celebrity was. Shortly after the post an influx of comments followed with not a single person contributing anything positive to the argument. It was all criticism of someone not one really knows based on external appearances. It maybe true that public figures and celebrities must grow a thick skin against all the criticism. But if we have start judging people by their looks then we deserve no better. If criticism is not constructive it is destructive.
Enter a famous Y-FM DJ into the fry of calling a talented young woman ugly, I knew we had reached a new low. Overcome by a strong sense of sadness I wondered why another woman would cheer on and not even offer a single word of solidarity one of her own was being attacked on air for her looks. When I read the newspaper reports of what was allegedly said on Mo Flava’s breakfast show on the popular youth radio station, I hoped that it wasn’t so. For a famous radio and television personality, if Mo was part of this childish tirade on his show, he missed an opportunity to be a hero in my books. Young women who listen to these types of shows take the messages they carry with them as they go through life. Not everyone has a strong self-esteem to take this kind of negative notions about them as nothing but an opinion of narrow minded people with materialistic views on life.
The kind of harsh treatment meted out on actress Maggie Benedict who plays Akhona in Generations just display kind of mindset that still occupy many people who don’t know how to best use their give platforms to build rather than destroy. Benedict is a talented and bright woman who is the way she is through no choice of her own. I have taken the time after when she was first criticism and her talent spoke to me. That as well as her dedication to her trade and personality made her very beautiful to me.
They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. If something doesn’t appeal to you don’t ruin it for other people who find beauty in what you think is ugly. There is not standardized definition of what beauty or ugly means. As a youth I feel like it’s time we demand better of ourselves.