Oh God no! Not Morgan Freeman, for heaven’s sake
Morgan Freeman, famous for his gorgeous voice and credible casting as God in several movies, is the latest Hollywood celebrity to be accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour by subordinates.
This is horrifying because he has a certain standing, almost entirely based in his ability to project gravitas and respectability. You know, just like Bill Cosby.
Can we talk about Bill Cosby, now that he has been found guilty by a court of law? There is a whole generation of people whose childhoods have lost some of their rosy glow thanks to Mr Cosby. I am part of it and it hurts.
He was the universal Dad and his show wasn’t just a wholesome half hour of goofiness. It was a cultural phenomenon. So much so that Mr Cosby, who styled himself as an upright citizen, took it upon himself to berate fellow African American performers for using curse words or performing content he did not approve of.
Which made him the target of intergenerational disappointment. Although rumours of Bill Cosby’s abuse of women have been around for decades, it was partly due to the consistent efforts of an angry young comedian, Hannibal Buress, that the old man got what he was due.
It cannot have been easy, because the culture of respecting one’s elders is a powerful silencing tool.
All the young women he molested would not be listened to, they were maligned as liars, all because of the habit of protecting the rich and the male and the powerful.
And as disappointed as I am to see Mr Cosby face jail time in his old age, I am glad too.
Because he speaks towards that intergenerational disappointment I can see in my own society.
Tanzania is full of folks I think of as Cosbys and not all of them are men either.
It’s all the people upon whom we confer an excess of respectability due to flimsy reasons such as wealth or high status jobs or worst of all simple age.
I am very fond of old people by the way and I cherish my culture’s wisdom in caring for and appreciating elders... but something is definitely out of balance.
Surely in our glorious and golden past when generations did not have to be pitted against each other there was a mechanism to match a person’s moral character to their respectability, something beyond wealth and age or gender?
I raise this because the older I get the more I see that a preoccupation with justice, fairness and truth are definitely more prevalent in the youthful.
They are our moral bank, so to speak, which is quite the reverse of what I was raised to believe.
But I am glad for it, even though it does make the saying that only the good die young rather interesting.
Happily there is a small surge in Hannibal Buresses to counteract all our Cosbys. Social media has been quite the gift that way to us the young and young at heart.
We may eventually figure out how to use it to stop schoolgirl pregnancies, for example, by calling out the predators in our societies.
If it can happen to Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby and Babu Seya... well. It can happen to everyone who needs it.
Justice, fairness and truth are definitely more prevalent in the youthful. They are our moral bank The childhoods a whole generation have lost some of their rosy glow thanks to Mr Cosby.”
Elsie Eyakuze is a consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report. Email: email@example.com