Misunderstood celebrity Zodwa is actually a smart entrepreneur

Controversial socialite and entertainer Zodwa Wabantu dresses to provoke as she makes her money doing her thing on the stages that pay for her performance or just an appearance. Image: SINO MAJANGAZA
Controversial socialite and entertainer Zodwa Wabantu dresses to provoke as she makes her money doing her thing on the stages that pay for her performance or just an appearance. Image: SINO MAJANGAZA

You can accuse black South Africans of many things, but intellectual laziness is hardly one of them.

Think of those kids who, when a pothole suddenly opens up in a township road, will suddenly pick up shovels and a wheelbarrow, fill it with sand and stones, and go to fill up the hole.

Taking shifts, these kids will wait on the side of the road collecting cash "contributions" from passing motorists, grateful to the kids for saving their tyres.

It's an ongoing job, by the way. The sand and small stones need to be replenished into the gaping hole every now and then. While municipal officials are dilly-dallying, debating who to award the pothole-filling tender to, these kids have stepped into the breach.

There is an enterprising spirit about what they do.

Which brings me to one of our most misunderstood entrepreneurs, Zodwa Wabantu. Always scantily clad in media pictures, Zodwa has erroneously been compared to Americans Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, "famous for being famous".

This is an unfortunate misunderstanding. Hilton comes from a super-rich family. By being a Hilton she obviously should be famous.

Kardashian, too, is from an illustrious family. Her father was lawyer to the disgraced athlete OJ Simpson.

When a tape of Kim having sex went online, she gained notoriety - but also gained millions of followers.

Fashion houses wanted a share of her "followership" and paid her huge amounts of money to be the face of their various clothing lines.

TV networks gave her even more money to start a reality show, a novelty at the time.

However, the point remains: like Hilton, for whom she worked briefly as a personal assistant, Kim Kardashian comes from a prominent family.

Zodwa Wabantu is not that fortunate. She comes from "nowhere" - no big-name family to prop her up, no famous friends. But what Zodwa has in abundance is an intellect. Lightning-fast it is. She must have looked around and realised: I am beautiful, gifted with a curvaceous body that turns heads, but what's the use of physical splendour if it does not put bacon on the table?

So, she started attending the parties of high-rollers, dressed to the nines. Because she was affable and easy on the eye, people began to ask: "Who's she?" The answer would be whispered back: "She's a celebrity." Celebrated for what, it never was explained. But who cares?

She made such an impression to our moneyed brothers - tenderpreneurs and the like - that they kept inviting her to parties so she could add the glamour, which they lack.

By this time, however, she'd started charging them appearance fees. How smart!

There are some Mother Grundies who complain about the likes of Zodwa for "being a bad influence on the kids". Ag, puleezee, mommy and daddy! You fear your children will be corrupted by celebrities? Shame on you.

If you've raised your child well, you have nothing to fear. She will be smart enough to see Zodwa for what she is - an entertainer.

Not a role model to be emulated. If you are not confident in your ability as a parent, channel your child to people you would rather have as her role model. Zodwa is using her brains and body to make a living.

She is giving our rich brothers what they want: sweating spells, heart palpitations and sweet dreams.

Like those kids who fill up potholes, Zodwa Wabantu is servicing a need. She does not put a gun to the heads of rich men and order them to ogle her body. Out of their own volition, they reportedly pay from R25000 and up for one appearance at a party.

If Kim Kardashian can do it, what's to stop a local girl from carving her own niche? Owabantu loZodwa!

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