Reaction to celebrities being accused of snubbing Tsekeleke's Memorial Service

The politics of the South African entertainment industry know no bounds and celebrity funerals have now become a pulpit for drama. 

On Wednesday South African Arts and Culture Youth Forum president Romeo Ramuada used Dumi Masilela’s memorial service as a platform from which to lash out at what he deemed 'opportunistic celebrities and politicians'

This after only a few of them, if any, turned out to attend the late Anthony “Tsekeleke” Motaung’s memorial service held on the same day.

According to a report on Daily Sun, Ramuada accused local celebrities of giving their support to only famous and happening people in the industry.

Romeo told the packed Hope Restoration Ministries Church that none of the celebrities were at Anthony’s memorial held at Rabasotho Community Hall.

He said: “Tsekeleke’s memorial was in the morning, and Dumi’s started in the afternoon to give time for people to be able to attend both. Everyone instead flocked here.”

Romeo accused the celebrities and politicians of living a TV life.

“They just want to appear on newspapers and televisions. They don’t want to contribute to society,” said Romeo.

“They just want to appear on newspapers and televisions. They don’t want to contribute to society,” said Romeo.

“They live a life of lies. They just want many followers on their twitter accounts and many likes on their Facebook posts. They don’t want to engage and speak anything constructive, and help struggling artists up their game.”

My Thoughts

While there are some legitimate merits to Ramuada's statements, I am reluctant to support his assertions. Granted many of our entertainers and politicians are definitely opportunists and would use any platform to punt their own interest, it is unfair to expect people who likely had not had any connection with Tsekeleke to have flocked to his memorial service. 

Memorial services and funerals are special spaces for families and friends of the deceased. Though the presence of celebrities can be appreciated, it can also take away from the agenda and attention on the program of the day. Such places should not be a celebrity red carpet. 

Celebrities staying away from funerals and memorial services of people they have not directly worked with or had any relationship with may not be motivated by malice as Mr Ramuada would have you think. It may just be a case of not wanting to look opportunistic... funny enough the very same thing he is accusing them of doing by showing up could very well be the reason they stay away. 

Just as with any other industry and work environment, those you work with intimately and have relationships with will always be the ones who will show up at your funeral. Take Mama Mary Makgatho's memorial service and funeral for instance, it was attended by the likes of Motshabi Tyelele, Boikie Pholo and Neo Matsunyane — who happen to be people who've worked with Mary going back to the 80s and 90s. They are in her age group and may very have been friends or acquaintances of hers. Nobody would expect to see Cassper Nyovest there and it would definitely draw attention to him and not Mary. 

For young or "happening" celebrities to flock to Dumi Masilela's memorial service over Tsekeleke's may just be a case of relationships. Dumi's passing was a shock and as a young artist he had connections with a lot of young entertainers in the game. 

Let's be frank; Tsekeleke had not been in the mainstream entertainment circle for over a decade. Of course many of the current big names in the business will have not had any personal connection to him. Their presence or absence at his memorial service should really not issue of contention. 

There is a lot to criticise our current celebrity culture for. One of which being the fact that they are not involved in movements that seek to better the industry. They never show up at any artists forums or meetings but they are always the first to complain about exploitation and unfair industry practices — yet call for them to support a movement to change the game on a legislative level, dololo! 

On this one though, I think it is a bit of a reach. What we should be doing is stop using funerals and memorial services as platforms to vent. Such places are not an appropriate platform for politics. Let families mourn in peace. 

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