Zodwa Wabantu has my backing
Zodwa Wabantu, 32 years old, real name Zodwa Rebecca Libram, is one of the biggest breakout star to emerge from Sub Saharan Africa in 2017. The Soweto born entertainer has earned fans and foes in equal measure and your blogger is a fan of her not because of flaunting her flesh but the courage to earn an honest living irrespective of what haters and traditionalists think.Zodwa Wabantu has embraced nudity and taken it to another level. Social media users are clamoring for nude images of her every day, she’s taken what many conservative Africans could hardly have imagined before social media era. It’s a simple yet edgy look for Wabantu bold enough to bare it all, and tolerant enough to endure the occasional double-take.Nakedness that Wabantu has exhibited is conceptually interesting. Once you think about it, it’s not even clear what counts as nakedness in modern Africa. Can showing vulva be naked? Boobs? Thighs? And in my view what counts as clothing isn’t straightforward either. To the European explorers and colonists like Italians, British, Germans, French and Portuguese, African people were naked, their cloaks, ceremonial adornments and headgear didn’t count as clothes. This, in their view, disqualified African people from full humanness. Thats why your blogger doesn’t understand why there’s fuss about Zodwa Wabantu.Though I’m not religious, I know the story of Adam and Eve’s fig leaf is double-edged, indicating both the end of an idyllic human existence and the birth of a distinctly human culture.What Zodwa Wabantu has demonstrated is that the nakedness as a sign of sin and degradation versus nakedness as a sign of innocence, authenticity and truth permeates the South African tradition. Many of her nudes images and performances can be understood through one or other of these cultural frames.Gone are the days when an instance of nudity being wielded as a weapon in determining how civilized a culture or people might be. In conservative South Africans, who have called for taming of Wabuntu, nudism is certainly an exemplary instance of the modern tendency to reduce the many possible meanings, significance and experiences of nakedness to only one possible meaning and that is, erotic.Wabantu popularity beyond her country proves that nude fashion has begun to acknowledge alternative body types and complexions, but those who dissaprove of her nudism attaching it to narrow traditions suggests it will take a long time for conservative Africans to embrace such.Wabantu nudism is nimble and responsive and on the cutting edge. There are also such long cultural echoes of what’s deemed nudism, so there’s this subconscious background of calling it nude.
Plenty of things have changed South Africa and Africa as whole including but not limited to social media, globalisation, consumerism, sexual liberalisation, the Internet, changes in gender roles among others.They have transformed South African society over the last few years and have had a substantial impact on individual and collective values and mores. Compared to European explorers and colonialist time, certainly things are different now and thats why Wabantu is worth our time.Nudity in Africa today is more a story of the intensification of earlier struggles than one of stark change. The sheer quantity, ubiquity, durability and global reach of images means that perennial cultural trouble spots, the nakedness of Khoi Khoi and San people in Southern Africa, women in Swaziland, children in Maasai in Eastern Africa and teens in cities for example, are no longer a site of struggle like was the case before Internet age. In this supercharged social media environment, divisions within and between conservatives like political and religious leaders, are more visible and more actively called into play.Social nudism has existed in Africa for centuries and Wabantu isn’t an exception. In the early days it was mainly confined to homesteads, but nowadays there are also dozens of night clubs, resorts and Sex services where anyones can discover the exhilaration of being outdoors naked and free amongst other like minded people like the places Wabantu has been performing in Durban, South Africa.Modern day nudists like Wabantu provide that sort of ambience in clubs whilst still catering for resellers creature comforts at the same time. As a friend once told me, the camaraderie and companionship at these venues must be experienced to be believed.Wabantu giving people relaxing moments in an environment where they are not judged for who they are, what their race is, what clothes they wear, those fully behind her including your blogger come from all walks of life.Actually, Wabantu has proved it is the most fun you can have with your clothes off, after all, for 21st century women wearing underwear is no longer fashionable.Wabantu is not to everyone’s taste in South Africa and around the world, and it undoubtedly offends the values, sensitivities and even aesthetic preferences of many and to some extent I would understand it, and respecting that is part of what it means to live in a modern country like South Africa in the 21st century. However, I’d rather watch Zodwa Wabantu displaying her vulva than a consumer-driven images of naked bodies. Give me joy of Zodwa Wabantu over beauty any day and will gladly take it.