Life has taught me that Mzansi’s Celebville is home to fakes, fraudsters, cheap shots, fongkongs, wannabes, party junkies and downright notorious bimbos.
Now you can add publicists and bloggers to the list.
Back in the day, someone was considered a celeb when he or she excelled in showbiz. Then came the rock ’n roll era, when it was also cool to be a druggie or a drunk. The ’80s made public displays of sexuality cool, with the likes of Madonna and Brenda Fassie. But these people also had genuine talent.
I am not sure whether it’s the reality TV generation, the change of an era or the emancipation of an inner animal that is rearing its ugly head in all the wrong places.
I am always excited when I get an invitation from publicists and publicity departments. I liken this to a blind date: you meet someone, you chat with them for weeks – lately it’s just a matter of hours – all it takes is a wink, and then the deed is done and people move on.
Afterwards you might meet the real person, but often this person doesn’t fit the profile you were given.
Why should there be lies and deceit? Why should you embellish your invitation in order to entice me to come?
If I want to come to your event I will come; if I don’t want to I won’t come, end of story.
Another problem that is mushrooming like shacks along a national highway is the large number of fake publicists. Do these people even go to Prisa (Public Relations Institute of South Africa for the illiterates)?
Lately anyone who can send out a press release to a certain number of people is a publicist. Have you ever in your life?
I get a sickening feeling when I am on Oxford Road and I see grown women flashing their things – in the same vein, why are so-called celebs flashing their non-existent careers again?
It is always amazing to support upcoming people, and since I have the power of pen and the paper – or should I say, keyboard – I will support all the way.
But if you think you are going to give me a poorly structured press release that seems like half of the extracts were taken from the Internet, or the person was using other releases as templates and expect me to read, internalise and actually even give that thing the time of day, think again buddy!
Everyone is now represented by someone but I have to say, however, as we are moving more and more into a digital age, these “brands” that people like to call themselves are fast being flushed down the loo.
Quite honestly, I have yet to find someone in South Africa who has a great publicist and who is thriving. It’s like the African wild – although there at least, the animals know that they need to be cautious, otherwise they are going to be eaten.
Moving over to disastrous events – and judging from what happened at the weekend at the spring festival at Derdepoort Recreational Resort near Pretoria, with advertised artists not pitching up for the show and fans running amok – well, we still have a long way to go.
I appeal to all promoters, never embellish your invitations and never advertise people who you know won’t end up pitching, because your lies will dent your image forever.
You might think you’re a mini-millionaire right now with all the funds you collected under the guise of promoting someone big, but after that, who will give you the time of day? I know I won’t!
It’s also alarming to find bottle stores are selling alcohol to children as young as 14 years old. Spring day events at Derdepoort were a ticking time bomb and unfortunately they exploded in the faces of organisers and attendees.
Let this be a lesson to all: do not deceive people and add spice to your write-ups just because you want an audience. It will backfire, the people will revolt and all you have been trying to work for will explode in your face.
Zwelakhe Shangase is an entertainment reporter on The New Age. www.thenewage.co.za