We need role models to replace crude celebs

We South Africans are a bunch of hypocrites. We spend much time pontificating about our supposed racial integration and yet it takes very little to tear that façade down the seams. This last week it took a 20 year-old model by the name of Leandra dos Santos to show how racially polarised we still are as a nation. Miss dos Santos used the “k” word in reference to a man who had apparently harassed her inside a Spar Supermarket. Her tweet has made national headlines and sparked radio debates. It has now been established that this was not the first time she has used racially abusive language in reference to black people. Her ranting has cost her a modelling contract and several other sponsorships.

While we were digesting that another young, but this time, black female model entered the fray with equally inappropriate and divisive language. Tshidi Tamane wrote on her Twitter account: “Dear Mr Peter Mokaba. I wish All White People were killed when you sang ‘Kill the Boer’ we wouldn’t be experiencing @JessicaLeandra’s racism right now.” Peter Mokaba is the late ANC Youth League President who popularised the song, “Kill the Boer”, if I should call it a song. Who are these people and why should their foolishness divert so much of our attention? To me they are young people who probably have never experienced our painful and fractured past and do not know what it took for us to overcome it.

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They are youth who, like Malema, will do anything to gain popularity even if it comes at the expense of decency. After all, success in their modelling careers is based largely on models being indecent and nude. These young ladies are products of a generation that is being bombarded by various media formats wherein parents have very little control over its content. Many parents today simply react to what their children have already been exposed to instead of having power to sift it before their children view it. Today we have to deal with things like sexting wherein impressionable children post or view pictures of themselves and others nude or having sex. The media tells us that sex sells and for this reason the most celebrated entertainment figures are those who take advantage of their perceived sex appeal.

Youth admiring people with low moral quotient
All of this shows us of our want for real role models. Our youth are looking up to people with a very low moral quotient. These verbose and crude individuals hold sway with the minds of many young people. These people often make headlines for all the wrong reasons and their wretched standards are being emulated by a lot of naïve young people. For instance when interviewed on Sunday Times recently, SA footballer Benni McCarthy invoked our Saviour’s name when justifying his sexual escapades and lack of self-control around beautiful and loose British women. Said McCarthy, “Believe you me, it doesn’t matter what kind of guy you are – a one-woman guy, a head-in-the-clouds guy. Even Jesus would be tempted.”

We can lament this state of affairs until kingdom come and we can seek to occupy the space these individuals have taken up in the lives of our youth. We need role models with Godly values. We need to dispel the myth that crass materialism and being uncouth is cool and acceptable.

We need to have a way of gauging the impact that this media crazed world has on the youth. We also need to deal with the so called divide between the sacred and the secular. Our theology needs to be responsive to contemporary challenges and help young people get a proper biblical worldview. We need Christians to be salt and light in every sphere of life. Meantime what should happen to this racial spat and those responsible for it? A white lady on a SAFM radio debate recommended that we should follow the example of England wherein an individual was jailed for 7 weeks for hate speech. She said we are being too kind or soft on these flawed individuals when we simply require of them to apologize.

Can you imagine if we treated racism the same way we treat anti-Semitism? Anyway, my main point is about role models. There is a glaring lack of them and in their stead we have the Leandra’s and Tshidi’s of this world. We have corrupt politicians and criminal elements flashing ill-gotten gains. Good old values of work ethic and patriotism have been replaced by a “get-rich quick mentality” and individualism. Can Christian business people, entertainers, sports personalities, etc. please stand up to the platform?


  1. Wise words Mr Mhlope! Thank you for standing firm on real issues.

  2. Hugh G Wetmore

    You make a valid link between racism and sexual permissiveness, and the common denominator is “DISRESPECT” of oneself and of other people. We need a renewed culture of respect – ukuhlonipha – and Christians have the ethos and the motivation to promote this, in the Name of Jesus Christ who was THE role-model for Respect and every other missing virtue in our society. Let’s commit ourselves to being “like Christ” (Colossians 1:28). Thanks for the stimulus, Mr Mhlophe.

    • Thanks Hugh. You are touching on something there with the issue of disrespect. Indeed with need to recover the virtue of respect and honour. Respecting and honouring ourselves and others. When we see ourselves and others as being in the image of God then we will easily have this respect. Blessings