#CulturePop: Replacing MAMAs hosts and public protectors comes with mixed results

Some things can be replaced. Some things can’t. When one era, legacy, public protector or MTV Africa Music Awards 2016 host is taken over by the next, the question is always whether the new entity does come with novelty.

Is the successor better or worse? Are followers poorer or richer? Ten years since she died, have we witnessed a phenomenon quite as humble and electric, eccentric and present as Lebo Mathosa was?

Listening to a tribute of the great songbird over the radio and being carried away by a sense of the Nineties and an inflated nostalgia, I wonder if the legendary ones are gone. At the risk of sounding like one of those gatekeepers and purists you wish would just shut up and get with the times, the music just isn’t the way it used to be. Icons are becoming harder to fish out in the sea of sameness that is often the music industry.

But it’s not all mediocre. The MTV awards came around this year to show us that it’s not all gimmicks with no talent. Wizkid walked away with iconic status after winning Artist of the Year, Best Male and Best Collaboration. Nigeria continued to represent and slay in the Best Female category with Yemi Alade, while Song of the Year went to Patoranking for the sultry club anthem My Woman, My Everything.

Rapper Emtee bagged Best Hip Hop while a newly svelte and metrosexual Casper Nyovest was handed Best Live Act. Still on Nyovest’s image revamp, the Doc Shebeleza rapper chopped off his famous Tong Po ponytail after years of growing and grooming it. I never thought I’d see the day.

The best moment went out to our fave, Caster Semenya, who deservedly scooped Personality of the Year for kicking butts, taking names and drinking Great Britain sore loser Lynsey Sharp’s white privilege tears at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

The organisers of the MTV awards threw fans off with an announcement that the host, Trevor Noah, was pulling out and would be replaced by none other than “your girl, Queen B”. Several people threw their toys and demanded their money back but the majority said Bonang Matheba was a natural who could host in her sleep. She did it spectacularly. She was a substitute after our own hearts.

Filling a pair of tough heels is the new public protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane. People are curiously side-eyeing her, drawing every comparison possible — probably unfair ones — to her predecessor, Thuli Madonsela, but Mkhwebane seems unperturbed.

Following reports that one of her first instructions was that the office switch TV channels to Gupta-owned ANN7, could there be cause for concern? She also doesn’t seem much of a fan of Madonsela, who got many spellbound and crushing on her for her diplomacy and bravery. Is it too soon to panic? Is too late to ask Madonsela to come back?

Over at the White House, Potus and Flotus (aka President of the United States Barack Obama and first lady of the US Michelle Obama) hosted the final state dinner of his tenure. But that’s run of the mill.

Not run of the mill though was extending the prestigious invitation to the best singer of this generation, Frank Ocean and the equally talented Chance the Rapper. It was precious to see that both took their parents along, with Ocean’s mother Katonya Breaux tweeting her delight at hugging the first lady. Being a guest of the Obamas beats being snubbed by the Grammys and their petty red tape any day.

Bureaucracy continues to stifle and muzzle #FeesMustFall. Or rather, it goes on trying. Tshwane University of Technology student leader Benjamin Phehla died in hospital after he was hit by a car during a protest outside campus. In broad day light he was mowed down by a driver who couldn’t be bothered to stop at the scene of the supposed accident.

Are we naïve to have called for decolonised education that didn’t come without violence, bloodshed and police brutality? Whose terms are these?

Kuntha Ndimande
Guest Author
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