Local Mr Mpumalanga finalist, Mr Lyrics Mazibuko, sat down with the Republic Mail to discuss his dream of becoming Mr Mpumalang.
Mr Mazibuko is one of 15 models vying for the crown and title of Mr Mpumalanga, with the glitzy finale set to take place in Mbombela, in June.
After a rigorous voting process, Mr Mazibuko was chosen as a finalist and will represent Nhlazatshe and Gert Sibande district at the pageant.
The beauty pageant is a platform and tool to inspire men to be the best they can be by moulding them into role models and ambassadors.
The Republic Mail (RM): Thank you for offering us the opportunity to explore and navigate the mind of the future Mr Mpumalanga, why did you choose to enter the competition and what motivated you to even consider partaking in it?
Mr Lyrics Mazibuko: Every single day there are new stories about yet other senseless, barbaric, and downright shameful acts of abuse against women and children. But, why does this continue to happen?
Why is there such disregard and contempt for women and the children we’re (sic) meant to protect? I can shout out slogans and chants right now about how we say no to women and children abuse or how enough is enough, but the true and sincere question is this…what are you and I planning to do about this?
RM: What do you mean by that?
LM: Besides tweeting our outrage, what exactly are we planning on fighting this scourge, and stopping this train of hate in its tracks? You know, abusers, rapists, and killers don’t live in isolation in some godforsaken corner of the country, no, they are found in every group of society and are in our face most of the time. Therefore, we cannot downplay the amount of activism that we need to endeavor into.
So, entering Mr Mpumalanga was an opportunity presented to me in the bid to bringing about the change I want to see in society by being directly involved with a structure/organisation that shares my vision for men in this country. It starts with you and me. It starts with not pointing the finger but living the change you want to see around you.
RM: What are you planning do on your part?
LM: Certainly, I don’t have the answers, nor do I claim any moral high ground. All I know is that if each of us changes our individual behaviours for the better then change will surely come. The first sign of change should start from ourselves otherwise how can we expect change from others?
RM: Thank you for that, as you may know, that Mpumalanga is regarded as the poorest province in the country with many young people despondent and destitute, if you were to win, how do you plan on assisting the least fortunate to realize their full potential?
LM: The ontological responsibility in the world irrespective of where we from in society is thus to fight slavery, to fight poverty and to change the status-quo to be specific. This is an existential generational war that cannot be fought by people who have no urgency and /or appetite for life, ironically, because you need to believe in yourself in order to fight against oppression.
To do so, you need to imagine yourself as free and live as such in order to become fundamentally free one day. So in principle, all progressive forces agree that we need to work towards building a society in which race, gender, sexuality etc. are celebrated not questioned.
RM: That is a different approach to it, I must say Mr Mazibuko. Are therefore going to reach the level where there is equality?
LM: Definitely not! More than half of all our challenges in society stem from skewed radicalized, gendered and sexualized intersectionalities. We, therefore, cannot overlook the necessary activism and groundwork that we need to do in order to conscientize people on issues of race and wealth, gender and power, sexuality and stigma, identity intersectionality, class, and many other social ills that are rooted on the environments we socialized in.
We know for a fact that just because we are born poor, raised through abusive backgrounds and families do not imply that we should therefore consciously subscribe to patriarchal ideologies, and work hard to change the status-quo. In a way, we are all victims of structural oppression and controlled subjectivities.
Nonetheless, our prolonged exposure to propaganda, censored information, conservative upbringings, and framed subjectivities do not justify our silence in the face of injustice. Which we all experience, daily, as victims or perpetrators. In fact, we must all come out of our “I didn’t know” comfort zones.
But how does this noble fight unfold? That’s where the real complexity comes in. Men cannot tell women how to fight patriarchy because men (no matter their good intentions) has no subjective experience of how it feels like to be a woman in a patriarchal society. But men can support anti-patriarchal campaigns and even be feminist but they can never lead the struggle because he is incapacitated by his “man-ness”.
RM: You are competing with many other gentlemen in that competition, what makes you stand out from the rest of them? What qualities you possessed? Capabilities? And tell us about your uniqueness?
LM: I have been and largely still am part of many organizations and initiatives geared towards youth empowerment, consultancy, business and professional bodies of decision making both at a professional and a personal level. Some of the issues that we constantly discuss and debate include but are not limited to business, music, and of course politics and contemporary issues in the South African context.
I say “of course” deliberately to emphasize that politics and contemporary issues are regular features in our discussions. This is true partly because and I take a keen interest in politics and related topics, however this could also be due to the fact that the South African political landscape is very controversial and as such there’s always something to talk about.
Thus, I have developed an informed opinion about myself and below are some of the key characteristics that he possesses: Passionate – One of the most noticeable aspects about Mr Mazibuko is his higher than average energy levels in almost everything he does. He approaches both his professional and personal life with high levels of enthusiasm and he is often very energetic. A highly motivated individual, Mr Mazibuko is forever driven and this is indeed one of his greatest gifts.
Team Player – As a man who enjoys discussions and debates, Mr Mazibuko is generally drawn to teams rather than working alone. He is a catalyst, the man who gets the ball rolling by initiating and encouraging movement towards action. He is also very likely to take a lead role when in a team.
Critical – Complementing his orientation towards leadership is the fact that Mr Mazibuko does not conform easily and he usually seeks evidence and supporting facts in order to accept a theory or point of view. His critical stance is so strong that he will not conform (even under pressure) without due justification and reason.
Objective – Although critical, Mr Mazibuko is not unreasonable or self-serving. He makes deliberate attempts to view the world and situations from others’ perspective and does not merely rely on his subjective views.
Optimistic – “the glass is half full – not half empty” This is how Mr Mazibuko generally views life. He is always expecting great things and he is able to see some positive even in difficult times. He tends to view problems as challenges to be overcome and he believes that with enough effort and sustained energy, good things can be expected in the future.
Ethical – When making decisions, Mr Mazibuko is always concerned not only with his own welfare but that of other stakeholders as well. That is, he has a propensity to ensure that his decisions and actions are good not- not only for oneself but for others as well.
Inquisitive – Mr Mazibuko always willing to learn and he goes out of his way to learn and understand things. He connects himself with people who will challenge him and enhance his intellectual capacity. He is forever learning and never seems to be content with what he knows. Of course, Mr Mazibuko is not without any weakness.
One of these has to do with the fact that he is too optimistic and as such may be perceived by others as naive. Another challenge has to do with his high energy levels in such a way that when working in a team, others may view him as a “slave driver” and he may be disappointed when others are not as passionate as he is. Therefore, ideal Mr MP should have the ability to condemn & find solutions to these social ills.
RM: Our country is faced with many issues such as unemployment rate, Gender-based violence, crime and femidice which has preoccupied our government and communities trying to find ways to deal with, if you were to win, how do you plan to use your influence and title to help tickle these issues?
LM: From time immemorial the said social ills will always feature our dialogues. However, finding the right solutions to deal with them once and for all requires a multifaceted approach that incorporates civil organisations, lobby groups, and government to decisively enforce the laws and policies in place to address these very challenges.
Problems can only be solved by individuals who are willing and subsequently engaged in critical thinking. Whilst every social body has a role to play, we should never downplay conversations as a first wave to raise awareness and consciousness. Because it is easy to change individual actions if they are consiountised and engaged psychologically.
RM: Despite the fact that Mpumalanga is one of the provinces that is not hugely affected by the global pandemic but South Africa in the African continent is, how do you think the pandemic would have been best handled by our government?
LM: Indeed, Mpumalanga is impoverished with not enough opportunities and exposure to amenities needed for our individual successes. That is the first and most important diagnosis that we must accept. From thereon we can strategize and plan how we are going to move forward and emancipate ourselves. If we plan and strategize based on a false diagnosis are only going to ‘doom’ ourselves further.
Being able to honestly and thoroughly diagnose your condition does not make you helpless and ‘negative’; it makes you REAL and purposeful. Strides are made towards inoculation. However, it poses a serious concern that the number of covid-19 vaccines that have been administered as of 12 April 2021 compared with the national target to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year: 40 million people vaccinated.
Only 288406 does give (0,7%) of the target. Essentially, if the government continues at this rate it will take 19,5 years to reach herd immunity in South Africa.
RM: The President has recently announced the election date and looking at the past five years and going forward – what do you think could have been handled better by the local councillors and what they could improve on going forward?
LM: Elections are a constant reminder that we should never take for granted our hard-won democracy. It also reminds one of how far our beautiful nation has come. Gone are the days of fighting for the greater good.
All we have today is fighting for what’s good for the self. Elections have become a vehicle for self-aggrandizement and securing a comfy term that comes with innumerable perks.
However, to change the already known facts about our current crop of politicians requires that we exercise our democratic right to vote in the bid to bringing about the change we want to see in society. The past 5 years has been a perpetuation of corruption and failure of government to deliver on its promises.
One classic example, during the covid-19 crises instead of the government fighting for the vaccine rollout and finding amicable solutions to deal with the crises. People were busy stealing covid-19 money by floundering procurement processes.
RM: What would your message to the young people of Mpumalanga towards the Local Government Elections?
LM: Young people – we are the future of the country. If there’s any imminent change in society that change can only come through us. Therefore, we should never shy away from taking part in bodies of decision making and politics. We need to vote and air our collective voices and without change is inevitable through unity
RM: What are your views on drug and alcohol abuse in this country considering that many young people have and continue to lose their lives from this abuse – how do you planned to find ways to discourage the abuse?
LM: Drug abuse and all the vices are indicative of the fact that we are a sick society. People don’t just take drugs. In fact, it exposes us that as a country we are failing young people. We are failing to create conducive spaces that will create opportunities for young people.
The vast majority of young people are jobless, unemployable, no opportunity and resort to drugs as an escape to dealing with the everyday realities.
Unfortunately, drugs only creates opium of happiness for a short while and what makes it worse is that drugs are addictive and requires money to constantly buy them. But, because they are unemployed yet they still need to feed the addictions. Then, the issue ripples to other issues of crime, rape, GBV.. Etc.
However, to change the situation requires that we decisively address unemployment and create more opportunities that will keep young people of the street. By so doing, they will substitute their time spend on drugs for something more productive.
RM: Does the future Mr Mpumalanga have a Ms Mazibuko or should we say, Miss Mpumalanga?
LM: When time is relative will surely announce.
To find out more about the competition go to Mr Mpumalanga on Facebook If you want to vote for him please SMS ABMF12 to 40439.