Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
It's been a while since I was touched by an artist's mingled outpouring of pain and joy as I was with Busi Mhlongo's naked feeling when she received a cheque for R200000 at the SABC recently.
A first instalment in a series of cheques that will be coming her way, she could not contain the stream of emotion that burst and flowed out of her deepest inner being and flowed uncontrolled down her cheeks.
She cried like a baby and ended up drowning the entire gathering at the Panorama with her tears. We all cried because we thought we understood what she was crying about, but I suspect it went deeper than we could ever imagine.
When she was finally composed enough to speak, once again for the umpteenth time I hung my head in shame. Collectively as South Africans, we have let down so many people living in abject poverty. She is lucky to have South Africans rally around her. How many others are going through the same inconsolable despair and don't have anyone to turn to?
Sis Busi returned from Holland a few years ago and the usual excitement that follows those that have stayed or studied abroad, followed. She was supposedly the best thing since chocolate. Unfortunately that euphoria did not last long.
Bookings for performances became sparse until they dissipated into nothing. Like so many before her, all she could do was sit back and try to work out what had gone so dismally wrong.
Yesterday had proved what she was capable of. Her today is a nightmare while tomorrow a haze of idleness, buried alive by the same society that once hailed her as a toast of the town. But how do you rise from the ashes like the fabled phoenix when forces beyond your strength happily repress you?
It was in the midst of all the turmoil that she discovered she had breast cancer. She was suffering when her gutsy nephew Somizi Mhlongo rallied support around her towards a benefit concert.
Lack of resources prevented him from running with this noble idea, but Somizi was big enough to relinquish the idea to those with financial muscle.
The results are amazing! Six weeks later sis Busi has a cheque of R200000 and her humour is intact. After recovering from her tears at the presentation, she warned us not to dare rob her of her thousands. In the next breath she was marvelling at how a few seconds ago she was as poor as a church mouse and now had instantly become wealthy. She insisted that at the age of 60, and many years in showbiz, she had never seen or held so much money in her hands.
Hers is a story that ends happily, thanks to Dali Mpofu's intervention through SABC's Vuka Sizwe. Let the spirit of ubuntu prevail, or kanjani...