Mohale Motaung has firmly established himself as a South African personality worth following. But as a wise woman once said: "with great fame, comes great responsibilities (or something like that)"
As Mohale's stock has risen, so has the number of attempts to tarnish his image. I took a moment to speak to the budding actor about his burgeoning career and the media challenges it comes with, particularly when stories about his love life trend in local tabloids.
It was a cold and Friday rainy morning in Johannesburg when I messaged Mohale Motaung on Whatsapp with a few questions. I had just noticed a story trending online about his fiance, Somizi, discussing how they had met and I couldn't help but cast my mind to another story I read (maybe on ZAlebs, I can't remember…) about them supposedly being on the rocks.
I couldn't help but chuckle, but I sympathised with Mohale – a young, bright, handsome and gifted individual with all the promise of a great entertainer – because people only ever focus on his love life. So much so, that they'd be willing to fabricate stories in order to see their agenda fulfilled.
To his credit, the actor barely pays these stories any mind. I began our Whatsapp conversation with a simple question. "How do you keep it moving?"
How does he shrug off the rumours and the fake news and somehow remain focused on his hustle? The answer was surprisingly simple. He said:
"I believe that people will always have something to say, and if I were to base my energy over everything that is said about me, then I would never succeed in life.
When something negative is said about me, I always keep an optimistic approach towards it, because firstly this person who is saying something negative about me does not even know me. I therefore cannot waste my energy onto something someone has said about me that’s not even true.
Secondly, busy people don’t have time be lazing around social media looking for the next person to bully or say negative things about them. It’s always people who have nothing to do who are always waiting to attack people on social media, so that also doesn’t really bother me. "
That's all well and good, but surely it's becoming obvious that there's a clear bias in the reporting of Mohale's business. It's rarely ever about the positives; such as his impactful role on educational drama MTV Shuga, or his engaging content on social media, or his profound perspective (if you take a moment to have a conversation with him you'll see what I'm talking about).
It's always about the marriage — and it's often about how quickly someone can poke holes in his relationship. I asked him if he's bothered by the blatant bias but to my surprise, the influencer was less than fazed.
"I think the media and people on social media think negative stories and fake news sell.
They don’t think that saying positive things about public figures will enhance how other people see themselves and what they can achieve. "
Fake news is the biggest threat to fair and balanced reporting in the year 2019 but it doesn't appear to be going anywhere. Before concluding our conversation, I asked Mohale which was the bigger nuisance to deal with; fake news, or social media hacking (something that's affected his partner).
He didn't mince his words: "FAKE NEWS" he wrote back in all CAPS.
At the end of the day, people will find a story even where there is none. In a generation where readers rarely follow up beyond a headline (let alone fully research a story), one wonders what the future of entertainment journalism looks like.
The future of entertainers, like Mohale, looks just as bright as it always has.