WHEN poet Ntsiki Mazwai posed in the nude to promote a cause against rape, my heart sank. But when her sister Thandiswa thought otherwise, my heart swelled with pride.
The various causes to which society's attention is drawn must be advanced at no risk of titillation.
If concessions for nudity are to be made for some causes and not for others, what leg would we stand on to deny those with the temerity to invade tennis courts, soccer and cricket fields to advance their points by choosing to be stark naked to a shocked viewing public?
The women with the tendency to punctuate their protests with nudity know in their heart of hearts that theirs are no acts of self-respect to write home about. The same applies to taxi operators who engage in similar nude antics on our roads during protests.
Regrettably, these men and women bring more insult than sympathy to their causes. If there is any lesson from the Mazwai sisters' diverse positions on the value of nudity to drive a point home, it is that finding consensus in error is not a virtue. Thanks to both for differing on the matter.
The benefit to differ has the potential to release unsaid truths that cowards would rather prefer to be silenced in order to assuage their consciences. And in this great season of South Africa hosting the 2009 Confederations Cup, no truths have hit home as awkwardly as the vuvuzela and the national anthem.
While my views on vuvuzelas are tempered with diplomacy, Thandiswa's on the national anthem are unmistakably forthright. They need no further interpreting in any of the 11 official languages. Simply put, Thandiswa is saying Die Stem and Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica are warring songs that are not at peace with each other even though merged into one.
The summation is that South Africa has the choice to craft another anthem or stay with the evident oxymoron. Perhaps this is what is meant about our democracy being one of the unprecedented wonders of the world, or a miracle.
Enough of the anthem. Let the croc state its case on the vuvuzela. The instrument is no music to any pair of ears that has a keen sense for melody and rhythm. While agreeing with Fifa president Sepp Blatter that "African and South African football is about excitement, dancing, shouting and enjoyment", noise and vuvuzelas are hopelessly at odds within the hearing radius of the appreciation of football.
Go anywhere where Africans gather, be it at churches, gatherings, festivities and even funerals, rhythm and melody naturally hold sway, even through tears, to effortlessly capture what is essentially African in showing an emotion.
Ask the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist bishops what Africans have brought to their churches? Drums, bells, gaiety and the gentle swaying beat inject a moving verve that is uniquely African in church hymns. Noise and vuvuzelas have not yet been sighted.
But if Fifa rules that noise and vuvuzelas are here to stay for this cup and next year's World Cup, it would have nothing to do with colonialism to ask for the provision of vuvuzela-free zones in the same way as it is no longer strange to have smoke-free buildings. Even then, no man or woman, on either side of the vuvuzela divide, should pose or dance naked to make their point. And until a new anthem is written, Die Stem and Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica seem set to stay.