February always hosts the Oscars but February 14th – Valentine’s Day – 2013 will forever be associated with Oscar Pistorius. The whole world awoke on that memorable day of love to the most horrifying, most unbelievable, most dramatic story, that Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner, Paralympics champion, national hero and human icon, had murdered his girl-friend. When I first saw the headline my initial reaction was that it was a valentine prank, akin to the April fools foolery. But alas it was true and denial turned to indignation and the inevitable chorus of whys? Somebody on Twitter described it as the perfect girl nightmare: killed on Valentine’s Day by your boyfriend. The script reads like a B-Grade Hollywood film that would never win an Oscar.
The case has been charged to court and Mr. Pistoruis has denied all charges but a New York Times Magazine piece on Oscar from 2012 reveals that he owned a 9 mm pistol (Miss Reeva Steenkamp was shot four times with a 9mm handgun) and was an excellent shot. Oscar, arguably the most recognizable South African athlete, was born without a fibula in his legs – a congenital anomaly – and had both legs amputated at 11 months. Since then he has been wearing artificial legs, learning to walk at 17months and at 17 years lining up at the starting block of the Paralympics 100m T44 finals. He was also an avid boxer, tennis player, water polo and rugby player in his teens and made history by running against able-bodied athletes at the London games. An inspiration to disabled people, he was a poster boy of the Paralympics for many years and made a fortune from endorsements. Predictably, immediately the murder story broke Nike, the sportswear company pulled down an Oscar billboard advertisement and so did all the other corporate sponsors of his. Sounds familiar? The story seems to echo the fall of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong: of acclaim turning to ashes, commendation to condemnation, and ovation to opprobrium. The lesson we learn from these stars, celebrities and icons is that all that glitters is not gold.
Obviously, I must mention the sudden death of Goldie, the Nigerian pop artiste, who died of pulmonary embolism. A 30 year old woman, Goldie became nationally famous when she starred in the Big Brother Africa of 2012. Practically nobody outside of the Lagos scene had heard of her until she appeared on the reality TV show where she put in an eclectic performance responding so poorly to the pressure that the organisers were rumoured to have put her under suicide watch. Whoever put Goldie in the BBA did not know her and put her health and career on the line. I am not a doctor, neither a psychologist, but I watched Goldie for near 3 months and she wilted in that House. Pulmonary Embolism has been fingered and there is a link between PE and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which usually occurs in long flights. L. A. is far but the autopsy result should not be farther.
Adieu, Goldie. You were not the mother lode but surely there was a dash of gold dust in there.