The much-hyped Ras Kansengwa-Makhadzi photographs fiasco, from the Sand Music Festival at Nkopola in Mangochi last weekend, sounds like someone planting yams and expecting to harvest plums.
Somehow the South African rising music star full name Makhadzi Ndivhudzannyi expected camera lenses to slumber all the time she was in full flight and exposing her inner dark thighs on stage during her performances.
The musician dressed in very short pants—or whatever it was—which was loosely covered with a light piece of cloth that flung in all directions as she sashayed up and down the stage.
No, she invited it.
We are in an era that is swamped with social media where all and anything captured on camera can end up in the public domain or where it is least desired. And at the speed of lightening! People are always armed for anything, and to the teeth. The craving is not just for publishing, but to also be the first to do so and to consume. What they capture—and I learnt early in life that a camera does not lie—how and where they send it, no one has full control of. Loose cannons, you might say. But whether positive or negative, that is the freedom and versatility that social media avails us all.
It’s not rocket science. During an event like the Sand Fest, if there are 1 000 patrons, chances are all of them are ‘photographers’ in their own right shooting or capable of capturing anything and from any angle and sending it anywhere.
But somehow in her weird thinking Makhadzi was of the view her dressing was inconsequential to the show she headlined alongside Jamaican star Gramps Morgan. And therefore ‘photographers’ would have dutifully selected the ‘undesirable’ shots they took and kept them under wraps. May be so-called accredited paparazzi would have done that. But even with those, how do you stop them from sharing them anytime later? Point is anything goes on social media. And what more with pseudo names!
Suffice to say no mainstream media can publish the undesirable photographs that drove Makhadzi nuts. By all standards they were in bad taste. I for one accordingly red-flagged them the very first moment I saw them. Simply put, it was unethical and therefore unacceptable to publish them, not only because they offended Makhadzi or her organisers, but because they left a bad aftertaste to many readers as well.
And at all costs, I would not like, my teenage daughter, son, niece, nephew, et cetera, whose mental faculties to discern what is morally acceptable are not fully engineered to perfection, to see those pictures anywhere. Not least in a newspaper. But not just in a newspaper. I wouldn’t be comfortable to see minors attending live shows of Makhadzi when I know she will be willy-nilly exposing her nudity.
By the way, the musician was performing at a public place, why did she think it was OK for her to show her audience parts of her body she at the same time felt were not for the camera? Was it a case of saying ‘see as much as you can but don’t share?’
And so, some holier-than-thou moralists took it upon themselves to sermonize about and discredit veteran photographer Ras Peter Kansengwa for ‘dishonouring’ Makhadzi during her performance. Well, if you ask me I am streets apart from that pontification. Blame no further than the musician herself. She was fair and square part of the problem. Cognizant of how she was dressed, and mindful of her rip-roaring stage movements during performance, why did she not for a while think she would be exposing her thighs?
Kansengwa manufactured no pictures. And photoshopped no images. Those he shot simply mirrored how the musician looked in her airborne dancing antics. Apparently Makhadzi has fallen in love with Malawi. Next month she is heading to Salima for a similar show. As part of the deal she wants no local photographer to share the stage with her. She will bring one. That is not a solution. Let her go on stage properly dressed. There will be many Kansengwas zooming in on her from any position at the show. I admire Makhadzi as a rising music star. But she should not expect to harvest pumpkins when she plants wild beans.