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nity to enter, and successfully sang her way through to the Top 10.


From the Top 10, Tender went on to make it to the Top 5 and view- ers were convinced that the feisty and bubbly woman with the vibrant


In a dramatic turn of events that rocked the prime-time show Tender announced that she was HIV positive.


personality and the silky, soulful voice that has been likened to mu- sical greats such as Aretha Frank- lin and Whitney Houston would indeed take top honours. But both Tender and her fans were to be dis- appointed when after reaching the Top 4, Tender’s dream of becoming an international star came tumbling down on her when she was voted out of the show and sent back home.


Tender’s fans were grossly dis- satisfied with the outcome of that particular round. They believed that an inevitable win had been unfair- ly snatched away from this highly promising singer.


Her contenders


were equally brilliant, but for thou- sands of fans, Tender stood out as exceptionally talented.


Tender may not have taken the big prize back home at the end of that particular season of South African Idols, but she went back with the


17 INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN MAGAZINE


promise of a successful career and a legion of newly acquired fans and supporters from across South Africa and beyond who were not only enthralled by her captivating voice, but were also in awe of the young woman’s act of bravery and subsequent openness whilst on the show. In a dramatic turn of events that rocked the prime-time show Tender announced that she was HIV positive.


Many felt pity for her, others ridi- culed her, and others even accused her of engaging in a cheap publicity stunt. But her shocking announce- ment was no stunt. Neither was it Tender’s way of seeking sympathy, and ultimately votes from the mil- lions of Idols viewers. It was real. It was Tender’s reality. It was au- thentic reality television.


Tenders intentions were simple. Her talent


had afforded her the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and reach out to millions of people suffering in silence from HIV. She was not going to let this oppor- tunity surreptitiously slip through her fingers. Tender sought to have her condition out in the open. She sought to help inspire other suffer- ers and to spread the message to the ignorant that one can live posi- tively and powerfully with HIV. She sought to speak to the youth and use her own previous lifestyle as an example of how not to live.


“When the Idols publicity team advised us to be open about any ‘skeletons in our closets’ it did not take me long to make my final de- cision about announcing my sta- tus. I debated it for a while but re- alised that I had to put all my fears and inhibitions aside, for just one


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