CHEEK The vi­tal sta­tis­tics of cor­rup­tion

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS&VIEWS - Den­nis Pather

UN­LIKE US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, I’ve never re­ally been a great fan of beauty pageants. Granted, they can play a pos­i­tive role in boost­ing a per­son’s con­fi­dence and self-es­teem. But of­ten they’re no more than glo­ri­fied cat­tle pa­rades, in which im­a­geob­sessed young women flash their Colgate smiles and phys­i­cal en­dow­ments on stage and of­fer empty plat­i­tudes about how they plan to save the Earth.

But some­thing I read last week helped change my at­ti­tude some­what. It was a news­pa­per re­port about the Miss Peru pageant in the cap­i­tal city of Lima.

It turns out the bevy of beau­ties went through the early pre­lim­i­nar­ies ac­cord­ing to the pro­gramme, but at a cer­tain point, broke com­pletely with tra­di­tion and turned the event into a pow­er­ful and hard-hit­ting protest about vi­o­lence against women.

In­stead of recit­ing their vi­tal bust, waist and hip size sta­tis­tics, the women used the plat­form to ex­pose the shock­ing facts of vi­o­lence against women in one of South Amer­ica’s most dan­ger­ous coun­tries for women.

“My name is Camila Can­i­coba,” said the first con­tes­tant, “and my mea­sure­ments are 2 202 cases of femi­cide re­ported in the last nine years in my coun­try.”

An­other en­trant sashayed for­ward, then stopped to an­nounce: “One girl dies ev­ery 10 min­utes due to sex­ual ex­ploita­tion.”

And fi­nal­ist Karen Cueto rounded off the shame­ful litany when she pointed out that 82 women had been mur­dered and

156 cases of at­tempted mur­der had been reg­is­tered against women in Peru so far this year.

Some of the women tak­ing part had them­selves been vic­tims of vi­o­lence, in­clud­ing rape.

Take a bow, young ladies of

Peru. You are an ex­am­ple to the rest of the world. You recog­nised your coun­try has a prob­lem and were pre­pared to use any plat­form to draw at­ten­tion to it.

We, too, have prob­lems in South Africa, es­pe­cially the mil­lions suf­fer­ing un­der the yoke of ram­pant and crip­pling cor­rup­tion.

We were once a proud and promis­ing coun­try. The world looked up to us as an ex­am­ple of a coura­geous na­tion that fought un­re­lent­ingly to end in­jus­tice and op­pres­sion.

But alas, many of our lead­ers have aban­doned the prin­ci­ples and val­ues they once held dear and are now sell­ing their souls to the high­est bid­der.

South Africa is now a cap­tured state and needs to take a leaf from the book of the women of Peru.

The money be­ing squan­dered and stolen in this orgy of theft and loot­ing be­longs to us, the taxpay­ers.

Like the brave women of Peru, it’s our duty to use ev­ery plat­form at our dis­posal to speak out.


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