Legendary actress Lillian Dube is not ashamed to explain why women should be empowered about their sexuality.
YOU can’t blame most people that when they see legendary actress, mme Lillian Dube (73), they still associate her with her role on Soul City as sister Betina. A force in the entertainment industry, mme Lillian’s lively spirit has the ability to turn any heavy issue and make it light.
ROCKING THE BOAT
Recently the star rocked the boat, to put it mildly, when she made remarks about owning no less than seven sex toys, vibrators to be specific, to much shock and surprise of the public. It looks like the industry titan is emerging as a voice of female sexuality and sexual freedom among women.
“I got a ribbing from a friend of mine who said, ‘Lillian, how can you say that in public?’” she roars in her signature laughter. “The bits about vibrators are for public consumption. I am actually helping women. It is Women’s Month as it is.”
STICKING TO HER STORY
Mme Lillian says there might be a call for her to qualify her remarks about vibrators.
“I probably have to qualify what I said about vibrators,” she says. “Remember I’m known for the role of sister Betina in Soul City. The issue of vibrators is all about safe sex. If you don’t have a boyfriend, are you going to go to another woman’s husband?,” she asks.
“There’s also HIV. People must start taking responsibility for their lives. When I say all of this in black communities, mme Lillian o sile
(Mme Lillian is crass). I’m being practical. Because everybody deserves happiness. You make your own happiness and that is about safe sex.”
Is her partner, Kenneth Mgqamqo, comfortable with her collection of vibrators? “The issue of vibrators is all about safe sex. It’s probably a place to start for women who want to take responsibility for their sexual lives.”
GIVING WOMEN POWER
Mme Lillian has a word of advice for women when it comes to their sexuality. “Their sexuality is their own responsibility because right now people are sick. Would you expose yourself to an illness? And then would you not fall in love with a person just because they are HIV positive?” she asks.
“But having said that, take responsibility for your life. You cannot expose yourself to diseases because you love someone. And you cannot stay away from a person because they are sick. So women must take responsibility.”
While she’s all for women empowerment and female sexuality, she takes issue with government for not making female condoms easily accessible.
“What annoys me is that condoms for women (femidoms) are not freely available yet condoms for men are,” she says. “And yet women are the people who must protect themselves. So if you don’t have the money, how are you going to buy condoms?”
“If your husband doesn’t want to use a condom, you’ve got to be able to protect yourself somehow by using a femidom. But they are expensive and it beats me why. It doesn’t make sense. Mothers are the ones that are left holding a baby, therefore they must be supported.”
A PASSION FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
Mme Lillian is proud of celebrities and NGOs like Section 27 for raising money for pads for girls.
“If I tell you about where we come from… we used to use newspapers and that’s why cervical cancer is prevalent among black women. We didn’t have these things,” she says.
“So I’m really proud of people who go out to raise funds so that our girl children can have sanitary pads. I’m equally proud of (media personality) Thando Thabethe with her charity work at her age. I hope other girls can take a leaf from her.” A GREAT YEAR All round it looks like mme Lillian is having a fantastic year having received the Order of the Ikhamanga which is is granted by the President of South Africa for achievements in arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sports.
“It’s been a great year,” she admits. “The Order of the Ikhamanga was a real shot in the arm.”
She also recently completed shooting for a feature film, Looking for Love, written by Nigerianborn film maker Adze Ugah.
The movie whose premiere took place in mid-August, features a whole host of hotshots, including comedienne, Celeste Ntuli.
Shooting Looking for Love was a wonderful experience, she says.
“It was great working with Adze, he has respect for actors and respects the craft. It was a breeze working on the movie. I play a mother to Buyi (played by Celeste) who has a false start in finding love. Working with Celeste, we were in stitches all the time. We got on wonderfully, we really did. For me laughter is medicine.”
And if you know mme Lillian very well, you can’t fault her when she says laughter is the best medicine.