The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
SOUTH AFRICA-based Zimbabwean actress, voiceover artiste and director, Chi Mhende, says she has had to re-evaluate her relationship with social media, after becoming a victim of cyberbullying and identity theft on various platforms.
Mhende’s career has grown in leaps and bounds south of the Limpopo, where she first caught the eye on SABC 1’s Generations: The Legacy, playing Wandile Radebe, a transgender woman.
Since then, Mhende has continued to scale new heights, appearing on high profile theatre productions while making an appearance on Queen Sono, Netflix’s debut production in Africa. Last year, she also clinched a directorial role on Generations, where it all began for her.
However, despite all the success she has enjoyed, Mhende said this had not protected her from the darker side of the worldwide web. Consequently, she said, it had made her weary of social media as a tool that most artistes had turned to due to the various lockdowns across the globe.
“In my years on this great earth, I have had the divine privilege of making and sharing art, through the use of my voice, my body and my heart. I love my work but recently it has led me to being a victim of cyberbullying and identity theft! The consequences of the various lockdowns have made the internet our nearest and dearest friend, but like all relationships, it is our responsibility to discern the role of said friend in our lives.
“Is this friendship here to teach, heal, express positive light, is it staying close to bring out the worst of yourself?” she said in a statement.
Mhende urged artistes to find solace in the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), while adding that the South African Police Services (SAPS) had come to her rescue during times of trouble. The POPI Act promotes the protection of personal information by public and private bodies. Recently, the actress was railing against a page on Facebook, purporting to be her, that she said was offering people employment on her behalf.
“To those who steal the energy of the creative fires that we work hard to build and preserve I encourage you to turn inward and ignite your own flame — your own identity is worthy of recognition. To everyone reading this, educate yourselves on the POPI Act, for the protection of your personal information; and for those stealing our information to understand the legal ramifications.
“I am thankful of the relentless efforts of the South African Police Services and the legal authorities who are working hard to protect me and ensure these perpetrators face due justice. If you or anyone has been affected by cyberbullying or cyberstalking, please engage South African Police Services,” she said.
In honour of Women’s Month, the actress encouraged female performers to take charge of their lives.
“As we celebrate Women’s Month, I encourage you to all embrace the vulnerability and divinity of this new chapter.
Use this space to reflect upon what matters most to you. Use this time to preserve the riches of your womb.
“What is the fruit your name will bear? May you live in confidence and security, understanding your journey, your purpose and the reason you were named. Here’s to the path you will claim,” she said.