Kabelo Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement.
Kabelo Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement.

We can't turn a blind eye and expect excellence to thrive

By KABELO CHABALALA Time of article published Aug 15, 2017

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Johannesburg - We are seemingly making being black a licence to be mediocre. To many like myself, my hue is a resemblance of excellence and perfection. The colour of my skin isn't a sign of “not good enough”. It does not scream; inadequate, insufficient, incompetent or paltry.

The colour of my skin says excellence, quality, worth, mastery and prowess - just to name a few.

However, when it comes to black South African celebrities, it looks like the criteria change.

Their followers or fans become overnight advocates, they are the judges in the public court and in their eyes, the likes of Bonang, DJ Sbu and many others are to be forgiven for their disparities.

Then there is the group who come out to speak and defend the craft of writing; they do so because they understand the stress that comes with penning a book. It is a craft that needs mastering.

Black excellence will not thrive if we want to turn a blind eye to the wrongs of those we deem as role models.

Celebrities, at least most celebrities in South Africa, are people we draw inspiration and hope from, and that means they have the default responsibility to uphold good morals and work ethic, and should do their best to promote excellence in all their ventures.

Read: Bonang’s book boo-boo

Mediocrity is intolerable.

It is unacceptable, especially to people viewed as celebrities.

By the way, “if you seek the limelight, you better be ready for the light to shine on every part of your life.”

When politicians do wrong, steal money, ask for nudes, slap a woman or many of the unspeakable things they do out there, we call for them to be fired, recalled or left out in the cold.

But when a book insults a voracious reader like myself because it is authored by a black person, rules do not apply?

Whether it was written in Setswana, isiZulu, Sepedi, or Tshivenda, it has to meet publishing standards. Period!

If not, you are basically saying to us we should support blacks regardless of how wrong or immoral or not up to “standard” their work or approach is? All in the name of being black?

Bonang’s book is an example of how not to write a memoir.

Also read: Exclusive Books promises full refund for Bonang's book

The criticism is based on quality or lack of quality in the book. The criticism is about the grammatical errors, the lack of editing and proofreading. It is about how that book does not meet the standards of publishing.

Moreover, it is because we expect so much from her that we were left frustrated and disappointed.

By the way, did you know that she can still influence and inspire young people with a well-edited book? She can still do all the great work that she is doing without a below-par published book.

It was an avoidable thing.

That book should be edited again, proofread and then reprinted. Yes, we promote a lot of mediocrity all in the name of supporting fellow blacks.

The same goes with DJ Sbu’s stunt at the awards. It could have been avoided.

DJ Sbu broke the rules and “proudly” raised his hand with a tin of MoFaya at the Metro Awards.

So, basically what you are saying is this: do it, do not pay attention to the rules and laws, for as long as you are black, break all the rules to get your way to the top?

Nobody deserves to be mocked, belittled and treated inhumanely. Perhaps there is so much truth in the SeTswana idiom: "Loso logolo ditshego (even the greatest calamities can induce laughter)".

It is the responsibility of the media (news, advertising and marketing) to cover what they have to cover.

It is not the media’s fault that good news generally does not trend, it is not the media’s fault that when bad things happen people do not stop talking about it. It is the nature of people and the business.

In fact, the primary source of the media is the people.

Even at our respective homes, you buy a car or a house, they congratulate you for a day, but should you end up in jail, your relatives and neighbours talk about you for years.

You want us to stand together in promoting mediocrity when it comes to celebrities or public figures? Count me out.

* Kabelo Chabalala is the founder of the Young Men Movement. You can e-mail him at [email protected]; Twitter: @KabeloJay; Facebook: Kabelo Chabalala

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

The Star

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