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His life reads like the script of a Hollywood movie: a chubby-cheeked boy from the townships inspires the “aww” factor in audiences, after appearing as a star-struck soccer fan in a TV commercial.
His appeal proves far-reaching and his teen years see him securing a presenter’s spot on M-Net’s popular KTV platform, swiftly followed by stints on the celebrated Jam Alley show and Channel O.
Lady Luck continues to enfold him in her privileged embrace and he scores a scholarship to the ren-owned school of Fame distinction, LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in New York. Upon his return to SA, he decides to don his actor’s hat and appears in a number of local films.
But it’s his 2006 move into music that truly turns him into a pin-up personality, and so, Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye is born.
His life is sprinkled with all the typical trappings of a charmed existence and Jub Jub quickly adopts the “fame equals invincibility” attitude that pervades every corner of the celebrity culture. And it’s that same arrogant attitude for which he is now paying the ultimate price.
Instead of the adulating cries from adoring fans, the past two years have been filled with cries of an altogether different kind: those of the parents whose children were killed and permanently injured when Jub Jub and co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, decided to drag race on a suburban Soweto street while still on a drug and alcohol high.
That it took two years for the scales of justice to swing in favour of what, to many, was a blaringly “guilty” verdict from the start is a travesty in itself. Even more farcical, however, are those who suggest we should feel sympathy for Jub Jub because “there was no intention to murder or kill anyone, this was just an accident”.
Or that he is being made accountable for his controversial mother’s (aka Mama Jacky) sins.
His mother wasn’t the one behind the wheel of the car careening down the road at over 100km/h in a 60km zone – Jub Jub was. And it was certainly no accident that he had significant amounts of cocaine and morphine in his system at the time.
Had he shown some (or any!) signs of repentance, perhaps a “tut tut” of commiseration for his predicament would have been possible. Instead, his first court appearance in 2010 was marked by laughter, nonchalant conversation and a distinct swagger in his step.
And throughout the trial, he seemed more concerned with decking himself out in flashy, sharp designer suits and ensuring his hair was always perfectly braided, than with the actual proceedings.
That he unashamedly lied in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary (such as when he stated with a straight face that his expe-rience of drug-taking only extended as far has having seen it in movies), only served to make a mockery of the lives he extinguished. Hardly a man distressed by the outcome of his fatal actions…
Those with any sense of rational thought punched a firm first of celebration into the air when the magistrate stated the magic words “guilty as charged”. But whether Jub Jub and his co-accused will actually be made to pay the full penalty for their crime behind bars remains to be seen. As one Twitter commentator wrote: “I fear this is not the end of the saga. These swines have not come clean and have wasted months and added to the pain of the parents. They will continue to fight their case and drag it back on appeal…”
LARA DE MATOS