I was watching a show on YouTube and they were interviewing a famous singer. The singer shared interesting insights about the struggles of the music industry. She shared that though she had always been clear about what she believed God called her for in the industry, it hasn’t been an easy journey for her, particularly because she has had to deal with being negatively compared to others.

There was something that caught my attention when the presenter asked how she stays relevant and does not compete, but rather compliment her music compatriots. She said, “Everyone is talented differently. You often hear people say, ‘oh how I wish I had that person’s gift’ and they often don’t acknowledge that they also have a great gift that we need in society.”

Why did this catch my attention? I guess it triggered my thoughts around authenticity even further. I have been thinking and having dialogues about what I have experienced and come to observe. We are living in a time where people struggle to be themselves but want to be what the world celebrates as the ‘ideal self’’. Of course, there has been many points of view about this and the root cause of this stems from different things. The most common argument puts blame on social media and the general media at large.

Though I acknowledge that social media has created a facade in terms of how people do life, I still think that this occurrence has been evident in our society even before the social media buzz. I have even witnessed this phenomenon in old people and people who don’t have social media.

One of my mentors said something powerful, he echoed that the only time you are your true authentic self is the few seconds you born. After that you are handed over to guardians (i.e. family, society, etc) and shaped into being whatever it is they desire.

When 2018 began, I prayed to God and said “Father, I want to be Bongeka again, please reveal who you are to me again and I will serve you with my entire being”

Waking up each day and being real with God helps me to be real with myself and thus be more real in my social relationships.

My friend, the greatest gift you and I can give ourselves is to be ourselves.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Please feel free to share at –bongeka@penthevision.co.za