In an article after the winner of idols 2012 was announced, Eusebius McKaiser expressed that he actually feels sorry for Khaya Mthethwa. (http://www.news24.com/Columnists/EusebiusMcKaiser/First-black-madness-20121004)
The article also proceeded to discuss racism in South Africa as reflected by the responses to Khaya Mthethwa’s win. The sad thing is that there’s no denying that a mere Reality TV programme has brought out the worst and the best of where our SA society is with regards to matters of race. I have my own thoughts on these issues though, and, probably because I am a white woman, many of my views differ to those of Eusebius.
“But many genuine anti-black racists - those who think that black people are inferior to their differently coloured selves - cannot resist bald assertions about rigged results. This is done despite the show's results being based on millions of votes from the public that are carefully audited by independent professionals. Why let facts disturb beliefs you cherish?”
Is Eusebius lumping me into this category? If so he obviously hasn’t read the rest of my articles where I’ve gone out of way to explain why I won’t blindly accept the “audited results”. I certainly do believe that Khaya probably got the most votes in the final. One actually would have expected his 70 000 odd Facebook fans to at least give him their minimum of 100 votes each – and that would’ve give him 7 million votes. There were only 3 million between the 2 finalists – so rather disappointing I’d say. The problem I have is in all the weeks leading up the finales – we never get those results. And because I have chosen to believe that it’s quite possible that Khaya was head-hunted for the win – does that now make me racist too? People like Eusebius will find millions of ways to justify that argument. I believe the other contestants didn’t receive the same treatment and that there were many manipulations in Khaya’s favour– this now also makes me racist??? I would rather believe that it makes me a person who believes in fairness and is prepared to speak up against anything I believe to be otherwise.
M-net have promoted the racism - it is good for business.
Allegations of Khaya’s head-hunting surfaced before his audition and were exposed back then already. Now we know it’s quite possible he wasn’t the only one, but M-net certainly went overboard with their promotion of him as soon as his “audition” was aired. Nearly every single person who was hoping to finally witness a “Black Idol” in 2012 was duped into believing that the only possible contestant who could fill that role was Khaya Mthethwa. Other competent and just as talented contestants would actually emerge during the airing of the competition but the damage had already been done – and anyone who felt like they may want to support Shekinah, Simphiwe, Tshidi or Monde to be their first “black Idol” was made to feel almost like a traitor to the “cause”. I a believe M-net did Khaya and the black community a HUGE disservice in the way they went about this. It’s actually degrading – they should have had the belief in him and his fans that it would have happened naturally, without all of their interference. Non Khaya fans would also have been far more accepting of the result.
At the beginning of the finale our TV screens even showed “A nation is divided” – Just a play on words? – Sorry it was actually very close to the truth and M-net played that card right up until the end. It was obvious to many that Melissa would be the favoured one to compete against Khaya in the final – the last thing they wanted was a split Black vote. I can go into details about how M-net manipulated this so well – but I won’t, save to say – remember these few little instances – (there were many more)
· how Shek and Simphiwe were announced to be Top 2 at results shows, but then were suddenly eliminated the following week. Simphiwe was made out to be arrogant by Randall and the musical directors.
· Tshidi’s unfortunate video clip, asking her fans not to jump on her – eliminated the following week. If they wanted her in the final – that clip would NOT have been shown. She was always a very strong contender and was 2nd only to Khaya support-wise at the shows.
· Top 3 went back to theatre week, so Khaya could sing Superbass, his most outstanding moment, yet Monde had to repeat one of his more forgettable performances in Pumped up Kicks. The musical directors helped to botch up the arrangement and the judges had a full go at him. Monde – eliminated the following week.
But possibly the worst kind of racism ever, was brought on by M-net and their
treatment of Dominic Neill. I really do not want to insult the young man at all – God knows he had enough, but it should be quite obvious that he was NOT selected for Top 10 based on his talent or singing ability. M-net needed to show a white man being put down and insulted to their black viewers – that would be good for ratings, voting etc as it would strengthen the black viewers’ belief in the fact that their “black Idol” is on the horizon. The way the judges, Proverb, and the musical directors spoke to and about Dominic left much to be desired. The insults then transferred to the public and the Idols fans went crazy in the way they hurled abuse at Dominic on both the Idols South Africa page and on twitter. Idols South Africa allowed this abuse to carry on on a daily basis on their page, while many fans were begging them to put a stop to it. For days nothing happened, until the fans became so irate that they started reporting the Idols page to Facebook due to hate speech. Finally they appointed a moderator, but even then there were problems as they didn’t have someone on duty 24/7. It really didn’t seem to be a huge issue with them – and it took weeks of fans complaining to eventually get them to truly control that page.
A post on the Idols page by a white woman expressing her dissatisfaction at Khaya’s win brought on more than 500 comments which are so revealing as to where we stand as a society. Eusebius will also label her racist – I will label her a woman after my own heart. The abuse and racial slurs hurled at this woman by mainly black Khaya fans are very sad to read – she’s told to swallow blades, hurl herself off a bridge, that she’s a devil worshipper etc etc. Some whites however, also miss her point completely and so concur with her, but merely because they believe Melissa should’ve won and not Khaya - and it’s almost too obvious that their preference for Melissa is racially based. There are, thank goodness, a small percentage of comments by both sides of the spectrum which can give us hope. People who notice that others of different racial backgrounds have different opinions on different issues – but that the differing opinion does NOT necessarily have anything to do with the colour of their skin – they just think differently – FINISH and KLAAR. Some people will say she should’ve just kept quiet, that she asked for it – is that we have to do – keep quiet so we don’t rock the boat? I look forward to the day when most of us stop thinking like that - when we can debate issues and forget that there always has to be a race issue in there somewhere. Please let’s also realise that the only way to solve a differing opinion is NOT to hurl abuse. State your case, give your side of the argument - Let’s start talking South Africa!!!!
The fact though that M-net have allowed this post to remain on their page with nearly 500 abusive comments is also rather telling.
I made a statement at the end of my first article where I said I would not allow M-net to scam me – well I didn’t – I did not waste a cent on voting during 2012. Everything was so predictable that I didn’t have to risk anything.
Idols Season 8 is over. Khaya Mthethwa won. Those are facts – I will live with them. But PLEASE M-net – if you are going to have Idols Season 9 – stop the scamming and shamming and put the GLAM back into the show. You really lost the plot this year (and even last year too) – Idols can still be a great show – please just treat ALL of the contestants and your viewers with the respect they deserve. Integrity can never be a reason for failure – I suggest you try to add some to your show – you might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
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