Oh God no! Not Morgan Free­man, for heaven’s sake

ELSIE EYAKUZE

The East African - - OPINION -

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.

Dis­ap­point­ment

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: elsieeyakuze@gmail.com

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