I heart Jozi: Is it too much to ask that our politicians be role models?

2011-11-01 10:20

I grew up knowing the importance of role models. They were the people we looked up to and learnt to model our behaviour on.

The nurse down the road taught us young girls to carry ourselves with dignity, treat everyone with compassion (even the jealous gossips), and the beautiful femininity of pencil skirts. And we all knew to straighten up if the judge who lived around the corner drove by.

Young men would be quick to stamp out cigarettes while girls took a step back from the boys they were getting to know a little better when such people were around.

Their stature was unmistakable, their presence distinct and the respect they received was well earned.

Now this is not to say that they were perfect, but that they honestly considered their public image and what effect it had on their community and the people who now looked up to them.

On Sunday, shocked by the report about Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s sex scandal, I turned to Twitter (as usual) ... only to be even more shocked. It seems ours is a nation so used to sex scandals and dodgy politicians that many are absolutely fine with saying it’s his private life and leave it at that.

Some tweets that made my jaw drop:
» @Anelel: The only person allowed to have issues with Fikilie Mbalula sleeping with models is his wife ... the rest look after your own street.

» @G_XCON: Fikile Mbalula did what most of us men would have done. I hate ladies that open their legs an act victim after a while.

» @psixaba: Fikile Mbalula yindoda emadodeni (Fikile Mbalula is a man among men).

» @TucyCyprians: He is not Reverend Mbalula or Saint Mbalula, he is Minister Mbalula. And neither does he suffer from that disease called one-gina #learnthat

» @GeezaAllDay: Anyone got a model pregnant lately? No? Then don’t hate on Fiks Mbalula just cause his swag and his semen is drippin.

Is it too much to ask that our politicians be role models to society? What has happened to our leaders to make it so impossible for us to look up to them?

Why are we so quick to jump to the defence of a man who preaches safe sex and being faithful in relationships to a nation crippled by Aids, and then goes off and does the opposite?

I too am only human and am no saint. However, I’m not an elected official and national leader who is accountable to the nation.

And my advice to the kids I hope to one day have is rather simple: Never marry a politician, it’s clearly way too taxing and if you want to remain the kind of human being your parents would be proud of, steer clear of sexy models and South African politics.

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