Can you believe the title of this post? I must say that it immediately caught my attention. In a country where roughly 80% of the population is black, how could their homegrown version of “American Idol” not have a black winner for 8 years?!?!?!
I was immediately reminded of South Africa’s unsavory past, where a minority white population of roughly 4 million ruled over the tens of millions of native Africans for hundreds of years. This type of injustice was supposed to end after apartheid was shown the door and Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, then quickly elected president. In fact, since that revolutionary moment in 1994, all Presidents from Africa’s most prosperous nation have been black. So…where’s the disconnect?…
“It may seem odd, at first, that it would take so long for a black singer to win a show broadcast in a country with such a sizable black population. But in South Africa, “Idols” is broadcast on a private satellite channel called M-Net, meaning that the program’s voting audience consists mainly of middle-class, white viewers who can afford the subscription fee. Additionally, votes have always been cast mainly via text, which costs money, meaning that poorer viewers (most of whom are black) have been less likely to participate. So in many ways, the imbalance of votes on “Idols” has historically reflected the imbalance of power and wealth in a nation still emerging from the apartheid system. Until recently, “Idols” has been harshly criticized over this phenomenon, with angry viewers accusing the show’s powers-that-be of racism and even outright vote-tampering.”
Aha! That does explain it quite clearly. It seems to me that, even though the apartheid system has been officially shut down, its remnants are still hanging over the nation in a very real way. I wonder if this is the only part of South African society still so disproportionately weighted towards the wealthier white class? My guess is an emphatic “No”.
**Click on the link below my name to view a video of this year’s South African Idol winner, Khaya Mthethwa…a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and church music director!!! What an inspiration this guy will be for his people. Congrats, Khaya!!!