Walk A Day In Her Shoes

I was saddened by reading some comments on an article written about Amor Vittone and her ex husband former Springbok captain Joost Van Der Westhuisen. In the article Joost lashed out at his ex wife for not being supportive after he was diagnosed with a form of motor neuron disease.

In an interview with the Afrikaans magazine Joost made claims about never seeing her kids. These claims led to people calling Amor heartless for not being there for Joost in his time of need.

Some comments on the internet have been very harsh, in my opinion, with some people going as far as to call Amor the “c” word.

In a recent interview with Heat magazine, the singer said she was done fighting with her ex husband and asked those who have judged her over the past year to “walk a day in her shoes”.

She also refuted Joost claims that she does not allow him to see the kids. She claimed that Joost sees their kids atleast four or five times a week.

Amor and Joost Van Der Westhuizen
Amor also made it clear that she has never had anything to say to the media about her estranged husband’s ability as a father. Remember that Joost has done the total opposite.

Personally I think Amor haters should give it a rest already. Yeah I said haters!!

How dare they call a woman names based on allegations that they do not have proof of? Most of the claims and mudslinging have come from Joost whilst Amor has chosen to keep their separation private from the media.

I am by no means saying that the claims that Joost camp has put forward are to be ignored but it is important to always be cognoscente of the fact that there is always 2 sides to every story.

Yes Joost is going through a very heartbreaking time in his life right now. He has a potentially terminal disease and I sympathize but that is not a ticket to tarnish someone-else’s reputation.

Afterall Joost was the one who was caught on camera cheating on his wife. Just because he has this disease it does not make him an angel of the sudden.

We do not know what went on in the Van der Westhuisen household and should not become judge or jury over who should be the bad guy.

I was raised by a single parent who passed away while I was still at school and my life was turned upside down.

Through all my struggles since my mom’s passing I have always found comfort in the fact that my mother did everything to ensure that I had a better future.

My mom grew up in a farm in Brits and had my sisters when she was very young. She did not finish school and her only rescue from poverty with 2 kids was to get married.

After 20 years of being in a “horrible” marriage she left my father with nothing but the clothes on her back to start a new life with me and my siblings.

Where I come from, women do not leave their husbands without suffering the wrath of judgement and contempt from the community and relatives.

For most of my mother’s life she was ostracized and called names by her peers and some relatives. She never let that define her and strived to prove to herself that she can survive on her own which led to her demise.

After she passed on I carried her burden as my relatives instead of helping a young boy survive after his mother died were more interested in spreading gossip and saying things like “we wonder what he is going to be now” behind my back.

Unfortunately for them, their judgement and abandonment helped me become the man that I am today. After my mother’s funeral I told myself that I will never become a nobody like they hope - I will also not become a victim.

I knew without my mother’s help I would never be able to have tertiary qualification so I prepared myself for a plan B. I finished my matric I came to Joburg to pursue my dreams of working in the entertainment industry.

My sisters got married and our relationships got strained as they too did not want me to become a burden to them. I was an angry child but learned to forgive them too as I understood that they needed to survive.

With no support from anyone it has taken me over 10 years to get to this point where my dreams have started to become a reality. Through it all I have always looked up to my mother’s bravery, tenacity and drive to keep me going.

In her honour, I even changed my last name from my dad's to her maiden name, Mphela.

Some of you have been asking me why I left Zoopy and I have been reluctant to discuss it because I did not want to come across as if I am tarnishing my former employers after they had been so kind to me.

My decision to leave Zoopy came after having thought about it for quite some time. Thing is, this industry is not just a job for me but it is my life and I hope to be doing it until I die – God permits.

Zoopy is a tabloid channel and I never really felt comfortable with doing tabloid. Towards the end of my job with the channel I found myself constantly torn between doing the job and being true to my beliefs.

After an incident where I was covering SABC1’s new lineup launch in Fourways and I had one of the worst shoots of my career, I realized I did not want to continue working like that.

At the event a lot of celebrities did not want to talk to me especially when I had a Zoopy mic with me. There was the incident with Sizwe Dhlomo being very rude to me which hit me hard.

I have since understood that he was not intentionally rude to me but did not want to be interviewed by anyone from Zoopy and after my initial shock I understood why and I forgave him.

I thought long and hard about my job and what impact it had on my future. I had to make a decision. I am all on my own right now. If I do not make a living within this industry that’s it for me and I have no intention of giving anyone the pleasure of seeing me fail.

I do not have the luxury of returning home if Jozi spits me out because I basically have no home to go back to. This is my life. Joburg is my life. The entertainment industry is my life.

With that I left a paying job from Zoopy to start looking for a job I can do with a clear conscience. I took a risk and I paid for it dearly. Without Zoopy I have had no steady income for months but I told myself that I will make it.

When everybody leaves Joburg during the holidays I always stick around Jozi but without any money this past festive season was the worst I have had in the past 15 years of being on my own.

Without seeing my mother soldiering on after leaving my dad with nothing, I probably will never have had the courage to take these risks in my life.

That woman taught me that sometimes you just have to take the plunge if it means you can be free and content with your life. Money and security mean nothing in life if you are still a prisoner of circumstances.

I wake up everyday with a hope that it will be the day I get my big break. When it does not happen I am still content with the fact that I know I have done the right thing, for me.

That right thing is not some moral high ground mambo-jumbo but that feeling that whatever job I will be doing will be a job I am happy to wake up to.

I reiterate that personally I believe that had my mother not been the brave woman she was to take the risks that she did and endure ridicule and judgement I would not be the man I am today.

Before you sit in judgement of Amor or any woman for that matter take a pause to think that that woman may be imparting some immeasurable values on her kids that you (or even them) may not appreciate now but will later.

Do not judge a person until you have walked a mile in his or her shoes. You do not know the journey she or he travels on her own that you will never see on your tv screens or read about in some sensationalized article.

Some people choose to air their issues to the world and paint others as culprits to their melancholy while others choose to keep their struggles private but are nonetheless just as much victims as those who shout out “I have been wronged”.  

It's hard to be a woman and a mother in this world. Let's not make it even harder by passing judgement on them without any provocation.


Mercedess said...

Today you touched me Philip. My mother too divorced my father and i cannot tell you enough how much better her life and her children's lives are. Now at age 25 i realise that my mother left my father in order for her children to have a future.

Anonymous said...

Wow Phil, this is really a touching piece and I love your authenticity. I pray that God helps you to fulfil your dreams!

Mathato said...

Oh wow, i am really touched by this piece really. I know you will go far, your day will come. and i am glad that everything that you went through has made you a strong and very humble person i must say.
You have a fan in me. i love your work.
PS! i am inviting you to spend the 2012 dec with me and my family, we are a very cool bunch!!!lol!

Mo_T said...

Omg..now ths is deep,Im touched!!Thanx for opening my eyes..

Mamo said...

Ao Phil bathong...im so touched right now, one thing i know is that life goes on and thanks for ur positive spirit and ur determination to soldier on...

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