I remember a very strict man in my life. He was intolerant of bad articulation, incorrect pronunciation, poor grooming and meaningless conversations. He spoke clearly, exuded high confidence and was goal-driven. This is why at home, failure was not an option. I looked up to this man – he juggled being loving at home, being a pioneer in the boardroom and being a hero amongst his friends. He had such a meticulous character! He was Mr. Gwadzu Noel Madinda – my Dad, better known as “Daddy”.
After he passed on, my mother took on the ‘father’ role to all 4 of us. On a nurse’s salary after deductions, she had about R3000 left to a payslip stamped with our names all over it. The calculations alone are absurd, after deductions there was only about R3 000 left to her name and her name was stamped Oginga, Lusanda, Amanda and Natasja all over it. We were placed in the best schools because Bantu education was not for the Madinda’s. I don’t know how we all slipped through higher education. But yep, that’s my mom – my real role model.
My role model list includes Dr. Precious Moloi (the Aston Martin of fashion in SA), Oprah Winfrey (the other b%#tch besides me that says it all), Sbu Mpangose (the True Love Editor whom I have to be friends with at some point in this life), Tyler Perry, Lisa Bevere (my version of a Goddess in 6-inch heels), Nuska Zwane (my next best mom), Mike Schalit (my McDreamy of Advertising), and definitely Beyonce Knowles (my ultimate DIVA!). These people are just a few who inspire me in many ways and forms. They command presence, strength and stature. They are driven by EXCELLENCE. They are living examples that hard work pays off. I have never been afraid of hard work; I say, “Bring it on and eat my dust, Loser!”
But, the most challenging task for me was becoming a role model. Our youth are looking for individuals to look up to. This realization changed my behaviour and I began to think carefully about my actions going forward. I made a conscious decision to Step Up!
I have friends who are successful, level-headed and ambitious; however, it’s disappointing to know that they aren’t concerned about our youth. Now I need to ask you, “Who are young people supposed to look up to if you don’t clean up your act and be role models for them? These kids are making poor, misdirected and uneducated decisions based on the limited experience and information they are exposed to. They lack guidance and support from you. Remember that you’ve been down this road before. You might say that they are not YOUR responsibility but take a reality check! They are! You were also someone else’s responsibility were you when you were their age? It really does take a village to raise a child – look how far you’ve come.
This is a call to all my DIVAs that this is the year where we get our ish together and step up to the challenge – let’s find out what these kids need. We have to open those lines of communication and ask the right questions, go to the nearest school and offer help. You can donate stationery, give motivational talks, tutor the students, and encourage them to do their best. Stop passing judgement on people who are in abusive relationships but counsel them instead. Stop gossiping about the pregnant child next door rather advise her on other options besides abortion. You actually need to realize it right now that this life that you are living is actually about everything and everyone else BUT YOU! It’s not about you! It’s all about how you can help others, that’s the real and naked truth of life.
DIVAs step up to your role as the nation’s nurturer, the caregiver, the provider, the support system and the rock. We are the hand that rocks the cradle! This is what is entrenched in every heart and soul of a DIVA. You are woman. Like a lioness, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. So I challenge you from one DIVA to another, Step up!
Written by a DIVA… stepping up.