By Sij Ncube
Purpoted nude pictures of recently installed Miss World Zimbabwe Emily Kachote have gone viral on social media, much to the chagrin of organisers of the pageant and the nation at large.
Kachote, who sparked international controversy when she was crown the beauty queen a few weeks ago with certain sections of the community saying she is ugly, will, however, get to know her fate over the circulation of the pictures later this week.
Nonetheless, what baffles people are revelations it is not the first time for a reigning beauty queen to have her nude pictures in the public domain courtesy of social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter.
Last year Thabiso Phiri was dethroned after the surfacing of her alleged nude pictures although there were not eventually published in the local press.
In Bulawayo an executive member of the NUST Students Representative Council is reportedly battling for his position at the institution of higher learning after pictures featuring him and two women in uncompromising positions went viral on social media.
The list of so-called local celebrities having their nude pictures splashed on social media appears to be growing every year but it is the debacle of the reigning Miss Zimbabwe which is raising questions about the state of the Zimbabwean society.
Critics are adamant the slashing of nude pictures on social media point to a sick society which urgently needs moral regeneration or cleansing.
Questions abound why citizens are taking each other nude photos and then exposing each other later on social media. To what benefit? What do young people, parents, church, traditional elders and public figures current and former models think about such behaviour?
In South Africa a nude island was recently opened raising questions from critics why self-respecting people should encourage such values.
Be that as it may, some critics have been quick to blame social media for promoting publication of nude pictures which mostly border on pornography.
However social media activities are adamant social media is not to blame, arguing that we are living in a crazy world in which the mind of the person is dirty.
Since it is not the first time for a reigning Miss Zimbabwe to have her nude pictures splashed on social media, some players in the modelling industry argue that the bigger story is behind the pictures. They want journalist to undertake a comprehensive and investigative story about the modelling industry. What sort of people run it, who is involved and what are the interests.
“I tell you there is a lot of bullying, abuse, coercion in all this. Why does the army see it fit to be involved,” asked a Zimbabwe entertainment journalist working for an international broadcasting station.
“But off course nudity is a reflection of a sick society,” he added.
Khumbulani Sibindi, a frequent user of social media said: “The demands of our modern life style and the pressure of trading globally forces governments to open our traditional values to be challenged by foreign cultures by allowing certain immoral human behaviour go unpunished in the name of human rights just to get investments, literally selling our souls.”
Nesisa Mpofu, a Bulawayo resident, added her voice to the issue, pointing out that the fact that people take nude photos of themselves indicated a problem in the society.
“What happened to the good old mirrors? It is about morality and self-respect. The spread of pornography has also normalised the exposure of the human anatomy. We have to teach our children to value their bodies and to understand the impact that social media has on your life.”
Sharon Njobo, a trained Zimbabwean journalist now based in the United States of America chipped in saying people are failing to differentiate between television and real life.
“They want to live what they see on television, including copying the sex scenes from TV, morals completely eroded. I always think such people deserve each other because there can be no hidden camera that frames the foolishness so accurately. As a Christian I believe this is what the bible refers to as the last days.”
Reverend Useni Sibanda, the spokesman for the Institute of Social Transformation, concurs, adding that general the world has become perverse, pointing out that people want to go out “undressed” instead of dressed up.
“It has to do with the power of media in projecting role models who want to expose themselves all the times and thus influence young people to imitate. We have lost the moral compass and thus we have perverted past times like nudity and people in society that are encouraging that,” said Sibanda.
“We need to regain our values and be able to assist younger generations to be able to maintain their moral compass.”
Ruth Labode, a legislator with the MDC-T said it baffling why Zimbabweans flashed their nude pictures on social media.
“As parents we need to befriend our teenage children, talk openly about sex, until they feel free to talk to you. Churches are a disaster. Pastors are getting involved sexually with teenagers, it has killed the trust. Traditional leaders are no better. What can a polygamist advice his subjects? There is also the issue of poverty girls comply because of financial support that comes with certain relationships