Betrayed by R Kelly, MJ, Arthur Mafokate and uncles

R. Kelly
R. Kelly

Omnipresent. That's what I would say if you were to ask me what music feels like.

Music feels like the friend who lets you sing out loud when you need to be goofy or sob into your pillow when your heart is breaking.

It's always there, a reminder that you're never alone and every feeling you've ever had is valid. Music is endless in its presence in our lives.

Last week, I found a USB device I hadn't seen in ages and readied to jam to the music I knew was in there although I had no recollection of the artists and songs on it.

So I'm driving on the N1, negotiating the curves and traffic when an R Kelly song comes on. I pause, then pause the song before I completely skip the folder.

And then I sat in my disappointment, in my anger and a huge sense of having been betrayed.

Because of his dark side as a man, we the fans lose out on the music. How do you continue to allow his art to lift you without thinking about the pain endured by his victims?

I can almost live with losing what R Kelly himself describes as having given us 30 years of his life. What I will mourn forever, though, is having to let go of Michael Jackson.

We have always known he had a questionable relationship with young boys. Those boys are men now and we can't argue with the pain they speak of at his hands. And they describe the ordeal in detail.

It is a devastating loss; a loss of music, of childhood, memories of first loves and heartbreaks.

There is no question on whether or not their music has any place in our society. Not when it is a reminder of their cruelty to others.

It is easier to divorce yourself from people when they are ideas in your head and images on the television. But the truth is, there are abusers everywhere.

In our local scenes , we have had to contend that while you can't call him a k*****, you can call Arthur Mafokate an abuser.

In the previous week, we have all seen the shocking video that has resulted in a week-long exhausting conversation about Mampintsha and Babes Wodumo.

Sexual predators, groomers and abusers aren't always a hideous and anonymous bogeyman. Sometimes, as we have seen, they are people you have loved and admired for years and most times they are an uncle, a father or a friend.

We need to confront this. And this confrontation will come with loss, but it is a loss that must be endured to heal our society.

It is a necessary exercise in weeding out this massive problem we are plagued with.

Abusers must be ostracised from our society because to coddle them is to encourage and endorse their terrible ways.

We must be extra dedicated to this ostracising, especially with our loved ones where we have an almost immediate power advantage.

If a cousin told you that a mutual uncle has abused them, make sure that uncle is never at any family gathering. When you are overruled, make sure their presence is uncomfortable for everyone.

You will lose uncles, you will lose lovers, you will lose your role models and your favourite music.

But that loss is nothing compared to what victims lost in the fire that is the abuse they have endured.

And while we can never take away their pain completely, we can let them know that we will not continue to feed the fire that scarred them.

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