Waxing lyrical

How would South Africans like it if there was a second Julius Malema, Caster Semenya and Winnie Mandela?

I imagine there would be outrage among some people, but I bet there’d excitement too; any which way you look at it, there would definitely be an interesting reaction.

Thus consider my ambitious business proposal — South Africa should totally get its own Madame Tussauds.

After reading that famous model Heidi Klum appeared at the unveiling of her wax statue at Madame Tussauds in Germany, I couldn’t help but think of the nest of talent that is our rainbow nation, and of how appealing it would be for South Africans to be able to visit a museum in their own country to view their favourite personalities — not to mention the value of that photo opp!

As is the case with all other business proposals, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is that before we even get to see the building model for the wax museum, we will have to go through the usual drawn-out arguments and feuding that are common characteristics of South African culture. These will range from politically fuelled bickering over which city deserves the honour of being home to the business, to whether there are dubious ANC connections, to how many poor children would have to go without proper schooling for years because the project was given priority over them.

Being a Jo’burg girl myself, my loyalties lie with the City of Gold. I also don’t think ranting and raving would make a difference as to whether the ANC benefits or not (no amount of ranting and raving has so far). And as far as the threat of the poor being sidelined for an undertaking that promotes celebrity culture over more important issues, well I don’t know. I never claimed to have all the answers.

I personally fancy posing for a picture next to a statue of Juju, given the chance. It wouldn’t be for me, but for my grandchildren, for that day when I’ll be sitting with them and telling them about the revolutionary who changed South Africa’s political landscape forever — and at such a young age nogal. What a day that will be!

Think about it — you could pose next to an icon you’ve always admired, or vent your frustrations over service delivery by shouting at a wax minister whose department under delivers (I already have visions of one particular minister I’d visit if we experience another dismal showing in matric results). Wikipedia tells me Adolf Hitler’s statue at the Berlin museum has seen a significant number of attacks, with museum management restoring it each time, and finally resorting to hiring guards to look out for the infamous Nazi ruler. So an over-zealous, disaffected South African taking out his/her unhappiness on a particular statue at a South African Madame Tussauds wouldn’t be a first.

For all the local sports greats who’ve shamed us and made us proud, the politicians who’ve made us want to run for the nearest border, and the unsung heroes who have bowed out of the land of the living without so much as a thank you for their hard work, there would be a home.

The whole point of the initial work of Madame Tussauds was never to simply put a spotlight on certain individuals, but to tell the story of a certain time, in wax sculptures, so that those who come into this world later on could see the world as it was before them.

With that in mind, who would you love to see as a wax statue?

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


SABC sued over ‘bad’ clip of Ramaphosa

A senior employee at the public broadcaster wants compensation for claims of ‘sabotage’

Soundtrack to a pandemic: Africa’s best coronavirus songs

Drawing on lessons from Ebola, African artists are using music to convey public health messaging. And they are doing it in style

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Western Cape Judge Mushtak Parker faces second misconduct complaint

The Cape Bar Council says his conduct is ‘unbecoming the holding of judicial office’

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories