Baby Jake story has familiar ring

2010-10-30 16:33

News that former boxing champion Baby Jake Matlala is down and out, and unable to afford medical care, is saddening.

However, his story evokes déjà vu in the sense that other seemingly financially stable celebrities have died as paupers even though they seemed to be making lots of money while they lived.

You would think that we would have learned from the tragic stories of gospel superstar Oleseng Shuping, SABC weatherman Jabu Sithole, soccer ace Emmanuel “Scara” Ngobese, music legend Brenda Fassie and others who failed to ­adhere to the old idiom of make hay while the sun shines. But we haven’t learned.

So when it happens again, as is the case with Matlala, who defended his world title a record 13 times, we are shocked and saddened and have to tug at the nation’s moral and financial ­heartstrings to bail these people out.

But while we extend a helping hand to Matlala and others, we should also caution against the bling culture of splashing out on luxury German cars, hilltop mansions, lavish parties and a collection of lovers and hangers-on.

Baby Jake’s story should force us to look deeper inside ourselves. We cannot continue to emotionally blackmail ourselves when such tragedies happen.

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