By Hope Mezuwa, Facebook Wall
Ras Kansengwa has been around with us for so long a time. Because of his own effort, most of us knew him when he was just an ordinary freelance photographer in the streets. We’re all witnesses to how hard he has worked to get to where he is now, no magic at all.
Remember the early days when we laughed at him as he posted himself in the Ads of our main dailies ‘bragging’ about how better than his peers he was in photography?He bought his own media spaces to market about himself.
You should also recall how he fondly called himself “internationally celebrated” journalist at a time when arguably nobody celebrated him. We laughed really much.
That was an affirmation by him, a vision that he would want to be celebrated one day at the international level. Am sure when organizers of SandFest named him their official photographer to cover the international event, he saw himself living his dream somehow.
He got there not by shortcuts, we have all the evidence. Last year at the peak of our political turmoil in modern times, Kansengwa rose to the occasion to contribute to the writing of history. With his unique touch, he captured rare but beautiful moments of the demonstrations for free. For the public, for free.
He risked being beaten, having his cameras confiscated and probably loosing business from some citizens. Patriotism and passion for his career compelled him. He stood on the side of the people. We celebrated him.
It’s unfortunate to learn that all of a sudden, in a flash of a night, we want to reduce Kansengwa from a hero to a zero. The few times I have met him at public weddings and gatherings, I have learnt that he is a people’s person.
I have seen him interacting with all types of people, men and women alike, with dignity, respect and decorum. In his known history of photography he has never produced or shared pictures that demean or shame women’s bodies, at least to my knowledge.
Makes me feel sad then to read posts about “let’s ban Kansengwa”, ” Kansengwa must fall”.For starters, I don’t think Kansengwa had I’ll intentions in taking the controversial picture of the South African artist.If it were so, he would not have proudly added his logo there. Am not familiar with what professional photography entails in full scope but I see that picture and am convinced his focus was on the full body of the singer, her moves and jumps and indeed her style.
In fact, all the people I see attacking Kansengwa only started to attack after Makhadzi posted about it. Otherwise they initially saw nothing wrong about it. They’ve been influenced. A false appeal to pity.
We are killing a blossoming career of young Malawian well-meaning man if we call for his head in these undue accusations. Just yesterday day we successfully spread disdain against Kansengwa prospective customers including the corporate world. If Makhadzi found the picture offensive, she should have raised a complaint with the organizers since Kansengwa was duly appointed by them to cover the event.
That way, the organizers would’ve banged heads on some win-win solution. Sadly,I have seen some organizers coming to complain on Facebook too. Complaining the wrong people and further mobilizing the masses against Kansengwa.
I also wonder what was contained in the contractual agreement between Kansengwa and the organizers. Knowing how sensitive people dress and conduct themselves in such festivals, maybe the organizers would’ve asked for screening and scrutinizing of pictures by Kansengwa before he published. Otherwise am certain Kansengwa took it as just one of those normal pictures.
When this controversy came up, I was quickly prompted to “like” Makhadzi page. And reading previous posts there, I learnt that she has suffered a whole lot of humiliating body shaming before and had grown thick skin and accepted to never eve mind again. I thought she would be more experienced at handling something like this.
If its fans doing it, she should not stress herself too much, some fans don’t know what they want. Also, no matter how pretty and attractive you are as a celebrity you cannot appeal to all fans in the same manner. You will think fans are mean when they attack Lucius Banda for being fat, only to learn tomorrow that the same fans are attacking Namadingo for being slender.
If you are a celebrity and you don’t want people to capture your torn underwear on stage, just make sure you don’t wear that underwear on stage. Or better still cover it carefully. Otherwise you cannot stop all the people all the time from being foolish. Am sure people took even worst pictures than the one Kansengwa took, no one could bar them.
The attack on Kansengwa is unfortunate and misplaced, I think. I will be slow to think he meant evil, all he wants is bread and butter for his family using his camera in the most appropriate manner.
Just to add that I also have some dark areas in my thighs and below my butt. In fact I have a dimple somewhere on my left butt. I would not call it body-shaming if I wore a bum-short on stage and someone captured me full body in action. At least me. I am hesitant and reluctant to join you in bashing him altogether.