Tilo ngwana Rashaka Mokgopo
Julius Malema once said the media is obsessed with him and the then controversial leader of the ANCYL went on to add that obsession is illness.
Today Ms Kelly Khumalo would agree with Mr Malema. Since the sudden passing of boyfriend Senzo Meyiwa, Kelly has been subjected to constant criticism from the media, social commentators and ordinary South Africans among others.
It saddens me to observe that as South Africans, we are always looking for negative things to say about Kelly Khumalo. Following the death of Senzo Meyiwa and days leading to his funeral, many people ridiculed Kelly, using every chance they could get to remind her that she was just a ‘mistress.’
Some people argued that in a Zulu culture a girlfriend is prohibited from attending a boyfriend’s funeral, thereby suggesting that the thought of attending Senzo’s funeral should not even cross Kelly’s mind.
Simply put, Kelly was called all sorts of negative names. When Mr Sam Meyiwa publicly announced that Kelly was not welcome to attend the funeral, some people rejoiced, praising the decision as ‘sensible’.
Although common sense may tell that those people who were hurling insults at Kelly would rejoice that she finally kept her distance from Senzo’s funeral to allow the ‘family’ to ‘mourn in peace, but the opposite is actually happening.
People have been criticizing Kelly’s decision to appear in public only a few days after the death of Senzo Meyiwa. What I don’t understand is that people are now positioning Kelly as Senzo’s ‘wife’ forgetting that she was just a ‘girlfriend’.
We certainly can’t start arguing today that Senzo and Kelly were in cohabitation when we failed to recognize this important fact two weeks back when we were agitating for ‘Kelly must stay away.’
Why is it wrong for Kelly to be seen on television only two weeks after the burial of Senzo Meyiwa? Maybe because Kelly is a woman and a man constructed culture dictate that a woman should stay at home to mourn for a period of between six months to a year simply because she doesn’t have to go out there and work?
Imagine if it was Kelly who passed away, may God forbid, do you think Senzo would have taken a leave for six months from Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates to mourn for Kelly? I don’t think so.
Just imagine Senzo writing to Irvin Khoza and Shakes Mashaba “as you may be aware by now, Kelly has passed away and she was my girlfriend and we have a seven month old daughter together. Therefore, I would like to apply for a leave to mourn for my girlfriend in quiet and in peace. I would like to be excused from both Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana for a period of six months.”
Yes, I know. It doesn’t make sense at all and no one would have taken Senzo serious for asking to be released from work for six months to mourn the death of a girlfriend. So why something that does not make sense in Senzo’s situation has to make sense in Kelly’s? It can’t be.
Kelly is not working at a government department where she can file for a paid leave. She is in the entertainment industry, no work, no pay. Former Generations actress Winnie Ntshaba once said ‘hugs and kisses don’t pay bills’; applying the message to Kelly’s situation: tears and sobbing do not pay bills but performing in the public does.
Kelly mourned for Senzo in her own special way. Two weeks is a lot of time. According to me, she showed respect and kept a low profile a bit while others were fascinated by the idea of being in front of big media cameras to the extent that they had to practice the awarding-winning, social media trending handing waving.
Life must continue for Kelly. Since when is it a sin for a single black woman to get up and work for her two children?