Reflections: “The Jade Effect”

You’ll no doubt be asking yourself: what on this ‘misery-mired’ earth is that ‘effect’? Well, it’s not some scientific theorem mystery, but I’d be in the dark myself if I hadn’t happened on this picture of a daringly bald-headed young lady.

You’ll no doubt be asking yourself: what on this ‘misery-mired’ earth is that ‘effect’? Well, it’s not some scientific theorem mystery, but I’d be in the dark myself if I hadn’t happened on this picture of a daringly bald-headed young lady.

It was all over in the news last Sunday 22nd; on radio, TV and the Internet, but if your heart is akin to a stone, maybe you took it for a triviality. My feather heart not withstanding, however, I also looked at the picture with cold amusement until reality struck me.

In case you missed the event, it was the expensively and excessively glamorous wedding in London, UK, of Jade Goody. 27-year-old Jade is a reality television star and so, you may ask, aren’t almost all TV stars in the West characterised by extravagant oddities?

And I’ll say “yes”, but Jade Goody is not your usual, run-of-the-mill, spoilt TV star. She earned herself national notoriety when she shocked the British viewer-community out of its snobbish slumber by appearing on the 2004 “Big Brother” programme in her Adam’s suit!

The usually haughty and ‘unruffle-able’ British viewers would have looked away and taken her stark naked body for a flitting incident in a bad dream, but she went on to answer questions posed by the TV programme host.

Asked where East Anglia was, Jade calmly answered with a question: “Is Angular abroad?”

For your information, East Anglia is one of the suburbs of London! In answer to the next question, she got the pronunciation of the name correct but wondered: “Rio de Janeiro, ain’t that a person?”

Jade Goody hasn’t been to school but, against all odds, she managed to become a high-profile British celebrity. Her marriage ceremony alone will fetch £ 1 million in deals struck for magazine and TV rights.

Alas, she is dying, because she has terminal cervical cancer. Her head is bald as a result of chemotherapy treatment that she has been undergoing. During the wedding ceremony, she was so weak that she had trouble standing.

Jade was using the wedding “to teach people something.” And, as British lawmaker Dr. Liam Fox says, “…Goody has done what no public health campaign has been able to do in the past…”

Such bravery! Jade’s lesson: cancer can many times be averted if everyone had medical check-ups in time, and all the time.

However, that picture will haunt us for eons to come: Jade out of the glare of cameras, alone, knowing that in less than two weeks she will be no more. May the good Lord give her strength!

In our region in recent history, one man who similarly dedicated his dying days to the world for a cause comes to mind.

His selfless act galvanised the world so powerfully that it may be the sole reason that so many people in the developing world are still alive today.

The Ugandan Philly Bongole Lutaaya, born 1951, had a thriving music career in a number of African countries in the 60s and 70s. In the 1980s, he settled in Stockholm, Sweden, where he recorded his hit album, “Born in Africa”.

When he discovered he was dying, afflicted by a disease that was shrouded in mystery not only in his home country but in Africa as a whole, he decided the disease needed to be known.

In 1989, Philly returned to Uganda to spend his last ounce of energy advancing that cause. Practically in a wheelchair, he travelled the length and breadth of Uganda preaching the gospel that anybody could catch the dreaded HIV/AIDS pandemic.

This effort led to a regional grassroots awareness campaign of unimaginable proportions. National governments, non-governmental organisations and donor countries (notably the US administration under the junior Bush) took up arms and marshalled funds and reduced-price medicines that have significantly tamed the HIV/AIDS monster.

Uganda went on to make a name for herself, but Ugandan scavengers in her government descended upon the resultant windfall in funds and are jostling over the windfall in the mucky mud of their disgraceful corruption, Ugandan reputation with it. That, however, is neither here nor there.

May Lutaaya’s soul rest in eternal piece!

Contact: ingina2@yahoo.co.uk

 

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