|Host of Motswako- the mix, Penny Lebyane|
Last night was my first television debut as a blogger. It was… strange seeing as I would much rather be asking the questions than answering them. Whilst watching the show, all I could think was: “my nose looks really big!”
In future, I hope to be a little bit more prepared, it really isn’t easy answering what this blog is about. In the first few posts I had a clearer idea but if you ask me now, you might receive a long pause and blank stare. Then you get questions like “How do you define South Africa’s middle class?” At which point I refer them to an African Development Bank paper which states that Africa’s middle class is made up of those earning an average of R 30,423/ $ 3900 and above per annum- completely controversial! Then people get intense and ask: “What are you trying to achieve? What is the overall aim?” and I get all flustered like “What am I trying to achieve?” as if I know what I’m going to say.
As much as this blog is about phones that do everything but make breakfast or the dullness of not having an electric gate, I really want to use that to draw attention to the more pertinent stuff. The stuff that makes me thankful for living a privileged life and aware that it is by no means a God given right. I have to continue working hard to live above the poverty line and even harder to help those that I can.
Whilst on set I took advantage of the opportunity and turned the recorder on Penny Lebyane. She is the host of the popular talk show Motswako on SABC 2. Here is how the interview went, she seems to share the same sentiments:
Phakamani: What really irks you about South African middle class?
Penny: Anyone living in the dream that the whole of South Africa is a big city. There’s actually rural parts of this country! Quite frankly, 80% of it is rural and people don’t realise that so their concerns are based on “Oh the potholes!” –There are people who just need water… sometimes when you have a little high platform try to speak on behalf of those people because they need more voices.
Phakamani: What would you say is your contribution? Is it being thoughtful about it…
Penny: My contribution is, (as much as I live in the city) to try and look at things from a point of view of someone who is not in my situation. It makes me very appreciative of what I have but then at the same time it makes me not to be arrogant. Because you’ve got everything you just think you want more, more, more! I want to say actually I’m grateful for what I have now. It’s just about thinking about that but it’s actually getting in my car and going to those places and contributing to the betterment of those areas. Whether it’s through talking to young kids in a school to say it’s good to live out of a village but don’t forget the village that you come from.
Phakamani: What is the difference between you and the people who lack the ability to think that way?
Penny: We can get lost in the lights, in the city, in “my life”, “my this and that”. I try to remind myself that I come from that rural background. Not to just define myself as a city girl and that’s it but to embrace all elements of my background: the rural and the township parts and the fact that now I’ve got the opportunity to be exposed to what middle class lifestyle is but ultimately that’s not what I am… it’s something to remind yourself every day.