Jub Jub and the absence of outrage

2010-12-18 09:21

Maybe it was the rain or maybe people had pressing festive season matters to attend to. It could be that they’d lost interest, or maybe it just wasn’t the sexiest story of the week.

I’m talking about what we in the media have come to dub The Jub Jub Trial.

Remember how in May we were all up in arms and seething with righteous indignation at the thought of four teenagers dead and two damaged for life, all because gospel/hip-hop artist Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and his friend, Themba Tshabalala, had allegedly decided to spice up their afternoon with a little booze, some drugs and a spot of drag racing?

Remember the scenes outside the court when the two appeared for a bail hearing?

Hey, there was even that little incident of the school kids not attending class because the matter of toyi-toying outside court was more urgent.

As someone who has vested professional – some might say even emotional – interest in the case, I was fascinated to see how things had changed in just seven short months.

Back in May both Jub Jub and Tshabalala appeared shell-shocked, dishevelled and disorientated when they went to court.

People were baying for their blood and they seemed suitably scared – as you do when facing murder charges, I suppose.

When I picked up a copy of a daily newspaper on Tuesday, a day after the trial commenced, I was struck by a picture of the star accused and his girlfriend and baby mama, Kelly Khumalo. The two looked like lead actors in a local version of a gangster movie!

Oversized Christian Dior shades, faux (I hope) fur coat, big earrings.

Khumalo was like a caricature of a gangster’s moll. And Jub Jub in his red cravat with matching pocket square and overstyled corn rows?

If the celebrity couple wanted to resemble members of a mafia family accused of heinous crimes, they passed with flying colours.

On day two, Jub Jub upped the ante with a sharp shiny suit – and probably pointy shoes – accompanied by impossibly glossy lips for a non-gay guy and a smirk to boot.

Khumalo donned another (fake) fur coat and bling earrings while the sunglasses stayed put.

Tshabalala, in the meantime, looked unexceptional in a striped shirt and a jacket that looked a size too small.

He wouldn’t look anyone in the eye and kept his head bowed in an appropriately distraught posture.

It boggles my mind how the two can be co-accused. They seem to be carrying the burden of the murder case in two extremely different ways.

Jub Jub has regained his swagger, with his sex siren baby mama next to him, while Tshabalala, who has become rather a second thought in this trial, seems to try his level best to be swallowed by the floor.

While the media went out en masse to the trial and covered it faithfully, there has been a curious lack of interest from the public.

There were no victim family supporters chanting outside court and opinions in social media have not been forthcoming.

The anger people felt in the aftermath of the incident seems to have dissipated.

Like I said before, maybe people are preoccupied with the holidays or the rain drove the supporters away from court.

It could also be that South Africans are just weary of bad news and sob stories and, in light of summer, just want to have fun.

Whatever the reason, I can imagine how lonely and small it makes the victims’ families feel.

The collective outrage from all corners of the country probably gave them hope that celebrity or no celebrity, justice would prevail for their boys who would never grow up.

I’m not in any way suggesting that Jub Jub and Tshabalala are guilty; that’s for the court to decide.

I am saying, however, that it looks like celebrity is winning the day yet again, thanks to the gloss and theatrics Jub Jub & Co have brought to Courtroom 6 of the Protea Magistrate’s Court.

How telling that it’s not a surprise at all?...

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