My name is Bonginkosi Dlamini. You might know me as Zola. I host Utatakho on Mzansi Magic. The show is based on a search to help participants who’ve wondered and worried about who their father is. We use DNA testing, not all the time, but many times to help them answer their questions about their paternity.
We launch the show tomorrow and before our first episode, I wanted to write to you, our viewers, to explain a bit more about Utatakho. There’s been so much interest that it’s been overwhelming in some ways – to realize just how much people out there want to talk about this subject, how interested people are. It’s also very exciting– not just because of the attention the show is receiving but because this is something I am very passionate about. Absent fathers is a real issue in our society, and it has caused a lot of pain and confusion. Being able to help a few people deal with this is great. And knowing we may help audience members who battle with similar issues to gain some understanding into the complex reality of this issue is also a big motivator for me.
I’m also motivated when I see how respect plays into these situations. During filming, that’s the one thing that’s been so clear – no matter how I personally feel about a situation, or where my sympathies lie, this process has confirmed for me that one of the biggest tools we have in life is respect. We must listen to each other, let each other speak, be calm when you really don’t want to be. I hope when watching the show our audiences also exercise some respect and when you comment on the show, you do so with compassion and kindness.
The other thing that I’ve really noticed during taping is how family is defined – you know we think it’s all biological and it’s not always that way. Sometimes people find their own families, they make their own families. And of course, I’ve seen families lay their pasts open – just to help one of their own find their identity. That’s also very inspiring. To have mothers willing to speak to their painful relationships, to have aunts and uncles trying to make a peace, being supportive and being willing to stand alongside someone when the cameras are rolling and they are opening their lives up to the public, for good or bad.
So to everyone who is going to watch I ask only this – please know that this isn’t a Hollywood movie – it’s real life and it’s hard. Some people have made bad decisions; some people have made the best decisions they could at the time.
I must also admit that doing this show I’ve had many frustrating moments as well. We can’t help everyone and some roads lead nowhere. On those days, the crew and I, we are just as disappointed, just as sad. But then there are the days when we see a reconciliation or at least the start of a new positive relationship. And on those days Mzansi, Utatakho shows what we all should know – that hope for the future is something we all should have. Against all odds let’s love and respect each other.
Stay tuned people and chat soon,
Catch Utatakho from Tuesday, 7 July 2015 at 19:30 on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161)