Friday, February 27, 2009

Romeo and Julius

This may help explain why the great unwashed will continue to support the ANC, like lemmings to their fall. The ANC has managed to portray their failings as the fault of everything prior to 1994 and everyone else since - and therein lies the twisted genius of their tactic. It also explains why they allow Julius to keep spewing excrement at will. The masses are gullible and ready to believe conspiracy theories as to why their lives are a misery 15 years into the new era. It may literally take getting to a Zimbabwe situation before they come around but by then it may be too late.

Julius Malema has pulled it off. He has achieved that most prized of all things, the status of one-man news generator. He has produced a media loop that runs like this: He talks, it gets reported, people respond with strong emotions, his party shuts him up, he talks, …

There are those who grumble about the coverage of Julius Malema, saying there are “more important things” to be reported on and that he is a buffoon.

That is most probably true, but for one thing: Malema is not on the fringes of political life.
No, he represents a growing voice within the ANC, a voice against “academics”, against people with “American accents”, against, “sophisticated politicians” and, dare it be said, against “white colonialists”.

Jacob Zuma [Romeo] has sown the seed of populism. Julius Malema is the harvest. And the ANC’s response to Malema confirms this love/hate relationship: To them he is a rough diamond. But a diamond nonetheless, one that will be cut to fit its purpose.

The secret of Malema’s success is that he feeds on two powerful apartheid-inspired psychological states: Victimhood and fear.

He allows those who really no longer have any excuse for ongoing misery after fifteen years of democratic rule to still believe they are the victims of a grand conspiracy against them. In this powerful world view, it is not the three successive governments that have failed to deliver, it is the old establishment, using puppets, operating unseen through empty shells such as Cope, the DA, even Thabo Mbeki and Naledi Pandor, that are bedevilling transformation.

And, to those who have made it in the new South Africa, Malema provides that missing ingredient that successive apartheid governments manufactured and distributed so well: Fear.

The politicians in government, the ANC’s leaders and the business world might say what they want, but Malema’s camp threats and verbosity represent to them the “truth” about what the ANC believes and wants to do.

And, because he is censured and then let off the leash each time he oversteps the mark, it is hard to dismiss this fear.

Working both sides of the street, Malema simultaneously stirs anger in the masses and fear in the elite. He may not be a great intellect, but he has enough raw political instinct to know that he is onto something.

And what could be easier than just keeping on doing what you are doing. Call a press conference, say something outrageous. Then wait for the reaction.

Will the country eventually tire of Malema and allow his words of wisdom to vanish in the breeze? Probably. Because at some point, Malema, like his predecessors Peter Mokaba, like Malusi Gigaba, like Fikile Mbalula, will hunger for the establishment. And somewhere in the youth league, there are other wanna-be demagogues awaiting their turn.

They will push, government will pull and with a loud pop, Malema will escape the bottle of populism to find himself in the ranks of the establishment. Until then, though, the South African psyche is in for a rough ride.

1 Opinion(s):

Vince R said...

Overnight the revolutionery becomes a bureaucrat. All it takes is a little bit of power.
And this fundamental rule is the only thing the money mongers are counting on. With it, they can easily subdue the likes of even a Blade Nzimande. The problem is though, there really is no such thing as a free lunch. The souls of these pawn brokered idiots and running dogs become corrupted to the core in the purchasing process. Hence Arzania's incrementally increasing problems...