THE SILENT GLORIFICATION OF THE ABSURD
Pop culture has had a significant effect on the African continent influencing the lives of the youth in every country. Its widespread popularity has led to Africans adopting different aspects within pop culture and combining it with a unique twist making it their own. This has given rise to fashion, art, music that can be linked a particular country or region. The advantage of this is that young people can identify, and be entertained by these trends. They are modern, cool, funky, fun and they relate to them as they try to find themselves in a Western dominated world. But what happens when celebrities who perpetuate everything modern behave appallingly? Who is there to provide controls that will ensure they are in check? Who will stop our children from emulating all that they do? These questions have always been at the back of my mind especially when one observes how celebrities are excused despite their actions; be it alcoholism or publicly glorifying illicit sexual behaviour. Bad enough as that may be, it has now moved to a new and terrifying trend: female battery by men.
One of the most prominent areas where this occurs is the ‘Big Brother Africa ‘ show, the program made famous for watching people doing nothing. More than once, on different seasons of the program has there been a female contestant who was physically assaulted by a male contestant. Another recent example of this trend comes from the Ivorian musician Dj Arafat who broke a plate, screamed at and then slapped a woman while she sat on the sofa with no reaction to what was being done to her. Even worse was that there were other people in the room watching and videotaping him as he became increasingly violent. The varied reasons why these events happened is not a point of discussion despite heated debates claiming that the ladies had it coming due to what they had said or done. It is alarming that there are many who believe that there exists a justification for these men’s actions. There is no excuse in heaven or on earth that can justify female battery. More frightening is what the youth who follow celebrities religiously get from their actions. More often than not there is no penalty or charges brought upon the violent party.
The most we got from Dj Arafat was a half-hearted apology via youtube that was given with sunglasses on. The cool demeanour had to be maintained at all costs despite his barbaric behaviour. And here lies the problem in all this, how many more women have to suffer and to what extent before these acts are vilified? The actors need to understand that female battery will not be tolerated. Perhaps there should be a boycott of the show all around the continent, or maybe we should boycott the musicians who choose battery as a way of solving their problems. These may not be concrete solutions but at least they will enable people to notice the gravity of the problem and help women understand that the power lies with their actions, and not in his hands whoever he may be.
By Gloria Adero