Defiant on the outside but vulnerable on the inside: Farewell, Kuli

My first encounter with Kuli Roberts took place in 1998, not long after I had relocated back to South Africa. When I was at the grand opening of the Swatch watch store in Sandton City, a short, fiery-eyed woman came up to me and demanded to know where I was from.

She pointed at lensman Joe Sefale, who was taking photographs of the subjects for Gwen Gill’s society column in this newspaper and shouted, “Why doesn’t he want to take my picture?” Sefale was taking the photographs at the time.

Later on, it became abundantly evident that she possessed this trait by nature; if she failed to attract attention, Kuli would take it for herself.

She had a memory that was almost eidetic, which was particularly useful when it came to recalling things that other people might have said or done that they would have preferred to forget. Her wit was razor sharp, and her memory was almost eidetic.

That was her ace in the hole as a gossip writer; nevertheless, although Kuli joyfully hacked away at personalities with the touch of her keyboard, she was offended when she was served the same poison.

When I said that the dress she wore to an awards ceremony looked like it was straight out of the 1980s, she yelled at me and called me a slur. My explanation that it was a backhanded compliment due to the fact that I had designed her daughter India’s high school farewell gown was not accepted by her. She did not believe me.

Those who were able to penetrate her armor saw a more vulnerable and sensitive Kuli on the inside, despite the fact that she projected an atmosphere of feistiness, rambunctiousness, and an attitude of “devil may care.”

Even though she had worked in television, radio, and print, as well as appeared in movies and soap operas, her two children, India and Euwan, were the things she was most proud of in her life.

Her new role as a grandmother to India’s daughter Isabella became her most valued accomplishment in recent years.

Kuli, my dear, you were someone who lived their life to the blaring, defiant, and unfettered beat of their own drum.

Since you’ve left, Mzansi has become a much more tranquil and uninteresting place overall.

Kuli had a career that lasted for more than 15 years and during that time he won the hearts of Mzansi.

She acted in a number of productions, the most recent of which was in the original movie Angeliena that was released on Netflix. Additionally, she co-hosted a number of popular radio and television shows, such as What Not to Wear, The Real Goboza, TrendingSA, and Kaya FM’s breakfast show with the late radio legend Bob Mabena.

In addition, she worked as a journalist for publications such as Fair Lady, Drum, You, and Sunday World.

She disclosed to TshisaLIVE that in spite of her exceptional curriculum vitae, she had to put in twice the amount of effort to land jobs because the industry no longer valued “genuine.”

She claimed that the industry had evolved into a heartless and vicious environment where “dog eats dog,” and that this had become the de facto standard. The actress claimed that the circumstance was even more difficult than when she was forced to work in a sector that was dominated by white people.

“At the time that I was performing as me, this country and the industry were going through a very white moment, and that was fine. But now that I’m being myself in this predominantly black atmosphere, the people around me aren’t having it.

According to what Kuli shared with TshisaLIVE, “what has happened is that they provide concerts to their pals, and there is not much we can do about that.”

Kuli stated that the industry has consistently sought to spit her out rather than accept her as a part of it.

“I don’t believe that anyone gives me the credit that I deserve at all. It’s almost as if I never existed, and it’s like I never did any of the things I accomplished in this field.

When I first started working in this profession, the media in this nation tended to hire people from other parts of the world rather than South Africans. But as far as they are concerned, the work that I have done over the years has not made any kind of impact in this country at all.

When Kuli thought about what she would leave behind, she indicated that she hoped her children and grandchildren would inherit a lot of money.

“I am going to make it a point to leave a significant amount of property for my children, and I am not going to let anything stop me.”

“The main reason I’m here is so that I can support my family by working and providing for my kids. I’ve had the opportunity to experience life in a variety of countries, which helps me maintain a balanced perspective. When people see me hustling or see me riding in a taxi, for example, it doesn’t bother me in the least what they think about it. My attention is directed toward the complete picture.

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