The ominous threat of cancel culture hovered over Somizi Mhlongo towards the latter part of last year.
This was after his estranged husband Mohale Motaung made startling allegations about fearing the celebrity, alleging he was physically attacked during their time together.
Of course, this revelation came at a time when the nation was “gatvol” of the surge in gender-based violence statistics.
With Somizi being a public figure, it magnified the target on his back.
Honestly, once that can of worms was opened, it created ripples of discord. Mzansi was divided. Fans took sides; so, too, did celebrities and the corporate world.
Somizi’s involvement with “Idols SA” and Metro FM ground to a halt. He was treated like a social pariah as the respective shows felt the unresolved issue made him too big a liability.
As such, the TV channel and radio station, respectively, issued a politically correct statement explaining his absence on air, which, in absolving them, threw him under the bus.
With cancel culture gaining traction in a similar manner to the #MeTooMovement, no one wants to be on the wrong side of the social media trolls baying for accountability, and this swift action proved it.
Given the outrage sparked by the scandal, Somizi issued a soliloquy of a statement.
“I have loved loudly and proudly and, as such, you all have experienced parts of our relationship by virtue of my reality show, our wedding special on TV and our social media platform.
“Now, you are also audience to what has, sadly, become a breakup between two people, laced by defamation.”
He added: “Our relationship has had its ups and downs, but I have never been physically or knowingly emotionally abusive towards my estranged husband.
“I vehemently deny the allegations of criminal acts towards him and would like to clear my name of that defamation.
“What I am going to state, however, is that we had one altercation in which I had to defend myself, and both of us were physically hurt by the other.
“I am, at this stage, not at liberty to dive deeper into the details, but can state that he is not a victim in this situation.”
And that was it. Everyone eventually moved on after that.
Mohale painted a picture of happiness as he forged ahead with his career, making strides in different spaces, and he wasted little time in flaunting it on his social media platforms.
That said, even though he was pegged as the villain, Somizi didn’t cower from the spotlight or criticism either. He continued living his best life.
He mingled with his A-list circle, partied up a storm and – for lack of a better way of putting it – exhaled his frustrations. And while he might not admit it, made peace with his poor judgement when it came to choosing a life partner.
Going forward, it’s going to be a case of once bitten, twice shy.
At the end of the day, while they tried – and they certainly did – Somizi remained impervious to cancel culture. And its because he’s just too likeable a person.
As much as he comes across as a diva with his highfalutin lifestyle and love of all things Smeg, there’s this genuineness about him that’s endearing.
He’s grounded by his individuality. He doesn’t try to mimic anyone. He speaks his mind, laughs at his blunders and stands by what he says.
He’s also one of the few celebrities who, in times of a crisis à la the riots in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Joburg last year, used his influence to help quell the tension. It was crickets from most of the other attention-seekers on social media.
Controversies are nothing new to Somizi. He’s found himself in many catch-22 situations in his illustrious career. These setbacks became mere stepping stones to something better.
Right now, there’s talk about him returning as a guest judge on the new season of Idols SA. Truth be told, the channel felt the sting of hastily rushing to judgement and letting go of their rating magnet.
Although they probably won’t come right out and say so.
Fingers crossed, I do hope the rumour is true. His larger-than-life personality adds a sparkle to the long-running reality show that is becoming a formulaic bore.
Also, he recently announced he will be dropping his kiddies clothing line, Sompire, which has been a year in the making on social media.
Love him, hate him or simply envy him – Somizi is multi-talented, whether he is on stage, cooking up a storm or holding a conversation with guests.
You can’t strip him of his talent or clout.
The bottom line is Somizi can’t be cancelled – he’s just too darn likeable. I for one can live with that!