Durban teens grab worldwide fame
Johannesburg - He was a modern-day knight who showed up with a white "steed" that had the power of 691 horses (a Lamborghini Aventador). She, a selfless girl who couldn't go to the ball because she had to look after her ailing mom and disabled sister. Together, their fairytale enchanted South Africans from all parts of the world, who took to social media to brag about their home country.
The story of Deon Govender and Tane'al Tucker was first published by Newsful last week Wednesday, when Govender 's mom posted a message on Facebook. The post, which was sent on behalf of Mr. Govender, asked for the names of people who did not have the chance to attend their own Grade 12 prom. Mr. Govender wanted to treat one of them to a night so spectacular it would give the person an experience that would change their life. The post went viral and before long the heartbreaking stories flooded in. All sorts of gifts were donated and a general community feel took shape. It was a gesture that Vino Govender, Deon's mom, said captured the imagination of people all around the world. "I received so many letters from people from all parts of the world to congratulate us on this act of kindness," she said today.
But why? Why did this story capture the hearts of so many? The answer needs to be detailed.
For starters, the sincerity of the gesture told of a bigger aim to rewrite the history of person who received the second chance they thought they would never have.
This was the story of an attractive young man who could have easily commanded a date for himself, but who saw a gap for the greater good and heeded the call for kindness.
The matric dance that unfolded on Saturday wasn't just for Tana'el Tucker. Yes, she was chosen out of hundreds of equally deserving candidates, but Miss Tucker was the representative of each of those girls and boys who applied. She was the eyes and soul through which all those who never had the opportunity would vicariously experience.
Mr. Govender snubbed stereotypes and set aside race, culture and gender divisions. It was a refreshing gift the country has rarely seen before. And particularly since, worldwide, lines are clearly drawn on the right to loving who you want, Mr. Govender sent a powerful statement to those who claim the moral high ground on sexual orientation, gender identification and discrimination based on race.
Saturday's fairytale ball was South Africa's very own royal event. We watched Miss Tucker transform into a beautiful princess right before our eyes. She was the all-deserving self sacrificing daughter of a humble single-parent who was glorified for her gentle and sincere ways.
Mr. Govender and Miss Tucker made history in being the first to participate in this kind of fairytale experience in South Africa. It's simply never been done before.
He and Miss Tucker provided South Africa with hope, amidst the selfish, corrupt and generally misguided politicians of our time. Out of unadulterated, pure intention to do good, these two eclipsed several news stories over the weekend. Even in comments, nobody linked this story to how the ruling party was to blame (or to thank) or how South Africa was headed into the doldrums.
There's genuine reason to publicise the positive news in our country and to stop giving attention to the arrogant, the argumentative and the very antithesis of good.
And that's why this teen couple unified South Africa with cords of love. This story proved what a can-do attitude, can actually do.
Watch highlights of the event and a two minute interview with Vino Govender, Deon's mom, in the video below.