Reader Blog
Reader Blog


By Lukhona Mnguni

0800MALEMA is the number. Don’t get left behind, make that call. It’s free of charge. Do you want an economic freedom fighter at your doorstep? Just dial and you’ll receive one in a flash. There’s no diary, first come first serve, but you will be attended to. Qualifying criteria:

1 You’re a low-end employee in your workplace.

2. You’re aggrieved with your salary.

3. You’re willing to stay away from work (an early leave for some).

Pity you, yes you, the one reading this. You probably want to kick yourself because you don’t qualify.

Typical freebies lover, take a seat.

Malema is simply available. He has no organisation to run, no department to administer, no formal commitment to research or anything of the sort. South Africans have been glued, pensively, to their TV screens and radio as the voice and images of Malema once more occupy our mainstream media. For some he’s the villain, to others he’s the necessary courageous voice. In a country found wanting on the leadership front, anything that resembles “courage” passes as credible.

Amilcar Cabral taught us well: “Tell no lies, claim no easy victories!” I was challenged and told that Malema is telling the truth. I had to accept that indeed his analysis of our leaders is true. There’s a vacuum, leadership is invisible. Citizens are saying “where art our leaders?” Malema replies on the phone “name the place and I’ll give you the time of my arrival, make sure the masses are ready for me”. He’s put up his hand as the commander-in-chief of “economic freedom in our lifetime”.

Is Malema’s truth convenient or objective? Who’s going to benefit from his truth? If Malema’s truth is objective it must be articulated with a strategic plan that has the interests of the miners at heart. But if his truth is one of convenience then we see a Malema who’s exploiting the workers and using their plight as a proxy for the Mangaung leadership contest. The situation is delicate, Malema’s playing with fire and he’s well aware of it. If you want to be noticed and “respected” in society you must toy with danger and that elevates you to a brave warrior.

There’s nothing new about what he’s saying concerning Zuma . When Malema was ready to kill us for Zuma in 2008 it was because we were saying things he is saying today. The difference is that Malema is reaching an audience many of us have not been able to reach. An audience Simphiwe Dana aptly captured as being named “The Poor”. May memory not fail me: Zuma prior to Polokwane was also the guardian/face of “The Poor” until he got his umshini into the Union Buildings. When Zuma overshadowed Mbeki during the xenophobic attacks in 2008 it was because he too was simply available. Opportunists must never have free time on their hands, they’ll always misuse it. Those among us who self-appoint themselves as the face of the poor are not genuine advocates of their conditions.

Many middle-class blacks who are usually too shy to criticise the government in the comfort of their cushioned lounges are going around praising Malema simply because he’s gutsy. Courage alone is not enough. Courage of conviction is what our society demands. What is Malema’s belief? He is a narcissist. Those who are praising Malema’s actions of holding the gold and platinum mining sectors at ransom simply do so because of their laziness to think of a vision to take this country forward.

Some want to witness a revolution in their lifetime. This may just be their opportunity to fulfil their fantasies and they fuel Malema’s efforts. Those who encourage Malema are not among the masses, the poor, where they risk having their blood spilt, where they risk losing a day’s pay, where they risk being dismissed for embarking on an illegal strike. These middle-class fellows want to fuel a struggle of the poor when they themselves are failing to lead a transformative struggle in the boardrooms by pushing for fast-tracked employment equity. They are deferring their struggle by keeping mainstream media occupied with the struggle of the poor – lazy bums, chickens the whole lot. They fear the same capitalists the poor are “rising” against. SMH.

My foresight does not allow me to get entangled only in the present without weighing its implications for the future. When Malema’s future with the ANC was in the balance in February he urged Impala Platinum miners to go back to work and negotiate from within. No revolution will be led by Malema, it will be stillborn, and that’s if it were ever conceived.

Malema’s not a leader, he was accidentally introduced to power. Yes he may detonate Zwelinzima Vavi’s ticking time-bomb and that will leave the country with much rubble. Where is Richard Mdluli when you need him to intercept the line in order to avert chaos? Do not quote me on this!

Malema has brought us to the edge of potential chaos and our leaders in government remain silent. Nothing could be worse. Fasten your seatbelts South Africans, the ANC has structurally collapsed. We need a conversation for an alternative government.

Lukhona Mnguni, UKZN student, community and development studies.

Tags: , ,

  • A promising PhD-student’s take on the so-called ‘Zupta’- phenomenon
  • #FeesMustFall is unravelling SA’s founding pact
  • The unbelievable cost of South Africa’s bloated public sector
  • People of colour carry the burden of environmental racism in a post-racial era
    • Cedric de la Harpe

      Well said my friend.

    • Malema’s Gogo

      Malema’s rabble rousing and campaign to make the mines and the country ungovernable are a predictable result of his background in COSAS and the ANC. Simply – everything is about exploiting grievance. Grievance, and blaming others, are the core and basic political principles of COSAS and of large parts of the ANC. That is the strategy. Get the rabble and use them. The tactics are – strikes, violence, intimidation and threats. Destruction always. Never building. Never working. Just breaking down and creating chaos. Malema is just doing what he has always been programmed to do, like a robot. Like a little wind up toy doing what it has always done, as told to by its masters. And through his whole career, these tactics have brought cheers and clapping from the gallery in the ANC. Any movement that relies on these values as its core and basic principles should have forseen that others more violent, more threatening, and just as excited to rent crowds to incite grievance would arise to replace them. The problem is fundamental. All the myths, and all the lies have to be shattered before the organisation can be rebuilt.

    • Malema’s Gogo

      “Malema’s not a leader, he was accidentally introduced to power.” No, he was deliberately brought in as a demagogue, rabble rouser, shit stirrer, and a cynical opportunist to get the masses to charge the barbed wire on his behalf. He was exploited, but he was equally exploiting those weaker than him. Those who used him can not confront him as their values are equally rotten. The whole pack of cards is stacked up from top to bottom, and unfortunately it will take good, honest and untainted men who are outside of this pack of cards to lead.

    • GS

      It is a fact that, regardless of whether you “Love him or hate him, Malema is the “hottest political property” on our political landscape….He has carefully studied the political landscape. He knows exactly where the fault lines are. He knows where the scars, the open sores and the stinking wounds are hidden. He has studied the rugged terrain of tattered dreams buried in the sunken eyes of unemployed rural youth. He knows how to manipulate the shredded hopes of hungry rural women and angry urban youth. In the absence of visionary leadership, he has stepped forward and presented his own vision. It is not the best vision but it seems like the only one on the table.” – Tinyiko Sam Maluleke, “Malema, Botes and the Thula Thula society”.

      In my book, those can’t be features of a myopic opportunist and a narcissistic nincompoop, which he is being purported to be. He is simply an individual who has mastered the art of situational leadership.

    • manquat

      Is it going to happen? Is it time to panick? Is the left going to take over? What will SA become? I just read that Zuma has taken his gloves off, so let’s see what’s up his sleeve. Will he be able to cling to power for another 4 years? Can he suppress the uprising masses?
      These are all very interesting questions. We are truly living in very fascinating times in SA.

    • David

      Nice. Well put.

      Where are Sexwale and Madikizela-Mandela through all of this? After all, he is their little protégé… Especially Sexwale – he has mining interests, doesn’t he?

    • ntozakhona

      Lukhona, Malema has been done to death or is it total boredom? You have contributed nothing new nor provided no fresh perspective to our national discourse. ALL sorts of ANC leaders have condemned the utterings and actions of the fellow you are obsessed with. What should they do, detain him without trial in solitary confinement whilst torturing him?

      Where were you during the pre-Polokwane debates and discussions. Polokwane was about far more than individuals, it was a contest between those propounding a colonialism of a special type thesis and those married to a two nations theory. It was part of the democratic processes in the ANC in order to shape the content of our revolution

      I suppose where you are you have access to some of the best libraries. Do not simply rely on the media, go into journals published by the ANC over the years and various other thinkers.

      Your style is none-the-less entertaining, Trevor Noah watch out!

    • Peter Joffe

      All I can say in Zuma’s defense is that he has really not done anything other than look after the gravy train and feather his own nest. If you do not maintain your house or your car it falls apart. Zuma is not a maintenance man and the only service he provides (apparently) is to his host of female admirers. He sings and dances as “Rome” burns.
      Malema on the other hand is an opportunist and a rabble rouser who will happily destroy all that Zuma has failed to maintain or even build on.
      We have no political leaders in South Africa, we only have the ANC who are great at song and dance shows and nothing else. We have business leaders but they are stifled by stupid laws that try to legislate success to some.
      Malema is a little Mugabe and God help us if he manages to implement his type of madness on an largely ignorant society. He is hell bent on destroying what little is left where one day, in his mind (if he has one) he sees himself ruling over a pile of ashes as does his hero – Mugabe.

    • The Creator

      I call bullshit on this. Malema has not brought us to the edge of chaos at all. He is the ex-President of the ANC Youth League and has not the power to bring us anywhere. If we are on the edge of chaos, we have brought ourselves there.

      Malema is certainly not a revolutionary; his goal is simply to replace Jacob Zuma in power because he believes that someone else will possibly further the radical, but reformist, goals which Malema supported at Polokwane and which Zuma pretended to support and actually never did.

      Malema is a symptom — and a useful one, at that — of the breakdown of trust between the electorate and the elected.

    • MLH

      Nicely put and I’m pleased to see the geographical source, since I live in Durban. How about speaking at DUT sometime?

    • ntozakhona

      It is a pity that when the likes of Simphiwe Dana and Ben Okrti are leading us regaining pride in ourselves during the Steve Biko month there are some hankering for liberal praises and aprroval of rightwing elements. What a pity

      MALEMA is a non-issue and it is the media, for understandable commercial reasons, that are clinging to him. They have made all sorts of predictions about him that have come to nought. His political demise seems as guaranteed as that of Terror Lekota and the forgotten Sam Shiliwa who a few months ago were the toast of the media.

      May I as we honour Steve Biko (ANC, PAC, AZAPO) recommend to Malema”s gogo, Lukhona and others that they go into You Tube they will find several Steve Biko videos where he speaks. I also recommend his book ”I WRITE WHAT I LIKE”.

    • Lennon

      @ The Creator: There was a certain corporal in the German army who, during the 1920’s started spouting similar nonsense on behalf of the poor in Germany. He often ranted on about how Germany was unjustly punished for the Great War (which, admittedly, they didn’t start) and how certain people of certain ethnic and religious backgrounds were to blame. He spent some time in jail for organising a failed coup.

      At that point, a lot of people thought that he was finished, including those who ran the party to which he belonged.

      Oddly enough, they were wrong and even though there were some who continuously tried to warn the public that he was a danger to German society, nobody paid any heed. Several years later he become chancellor through legal means and later on started the most destructive war in history.

      Can’t remember the guy’s name, but it would be foolish to ignore his tale.

    • Lukhona

      MLH – You can email me on: [email protected] and we can talk further. Ntozakhona, I think we all have to share our views. You hae simply not interacted with my work for you to call me as a person pandering to right wing forces. Just google my articles and read.

    • Nick

      The Banana Republic

      Do yourself a favour and read the speech Julius
      Malema made in Lenasia.

      Whilst I doubt if he penned it – or even said it as it is presented in

      The reality it was the best political statement of the year !

      It also says what no politician of any party is saying… the Government is Failing to follow Court orders – consistently, and thereby affecting all…not just the miners ,scholars in Limpopo or ‘jilted’ soldiers.

      99/100 times Julius gets lots wrong – but this time. Wow – I am not a fan yet – but who wrote that piece for him?

    • GS

      @ Lennon – We don’t have to look as far a Germany for an example of a politician who was down and out – only to later make it back to the echelons of power. When Jacob Zuma (JZ) was fired from cabinet by Mbeki in 2005 (due to his “generally corrupt relationship” with Schabir Shaik) and later changed with raping a family friend. Most people didn’t think at the time that JZ will one day be the president of our country.

    • GS

      @ Ntozakhona – I would not dismiss Malema as a non-issue. If this man was really immaterial in the activities of our political landscape, why is it that there are people who are financing his activities (i.e. Friends of the Youth League)? Why is it that you have miners who are not willing to talk to their NUM leaders and yet ready to listen to Malema? How is it that a person we should consider to be a non-issue had the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula agitated when he had an audience with the disgruntled members of the SANDF?

      To pigeonhole Malema as a disgruntled narcissistic youth leader and an opportunist will not assist in muzzling him, the opposite will instead happen; this will only grow the value of his currency as a martyr for the struggle of the poor and those who have been wounded by JZ’s leadership.

      To assuage his influence; our government needs to recognise that there is an urgent need to attend to all these issues (I.e. Service delivery, School books saga, Land and Nationalisation issues) which are giving Malema the space to address the peeved sections of our society.

    • Charlotte

      @ Lukhona. Extremely well written. Clear thinking; you say it like it is. Thank you.
      Your last 2 sentences: “Fasten your seatbelts South Africans, the ANC has structurally collapsed. We need a conversation for an alternative government.”
      The following quote has relevance:
      “‘The Pessimist complains about the wind
      The Optimist expects it to change
      The Realist adjust his sails” .. (William Arthur Ward)

      It is time for us to ‘adjust our sails’ when it comes to the ANC. We cannot allow it to go on pretending to govern and letting it continue to bring the country to ruin.

    • beefy

      Are the media not just feuling a fire to nowhere with Malema. Why the feck do the media keep fueling the fire. Sensationlism and crap that sells?, Where the hell is the meida’s concience.

    • blogroid

      I am in full agreement with all those contributors who suggest that Mr Malema is not a man to be ignored or regarded with disrespect. For those who have not yet noticed we seem to have an incipient and almost endemic “arab spring”/”occupy wall street”
      phenomena taking place in our country.
      Its ends are seemingly inchoate but nonetheless aggrieved.

      Are there forces at work exploiting it ? Undeniably. Since we seem to be following the extractive elite based model that has typified about 90% of all societies over the past 10,000 years, and our own for three hundred years… and maybe even three thousand: this evolution from [so-called] white dominated structures to [so-called] Elite [cap intended] Black dominated structures, simply reinforces the lessons from the past: with different owners reaping profits.

      In my view Mr Malema represents the reality of politics.. something so aptly evaluated by my ultimate guru, ‘Bill Shakespeare… ‘Beware the aspirant spurned’.

    • Lennon

      @GS: Sorry. It’s just that having watched the mini series ‘Hitler: The Rise of Evil’, that the idea has stuck with me.

      You’re quite right. :)

    • ntozakhona

      I have googled your name as adviced and was led to an article entitled ”The poor exploited…” The sites have Lindiwe Mazibuko”s writings. I would still love to read your other works, maybe I will appreciate where you come from.

      I am sure you will agree I also have a right to contest your views and expose fallacies.

    • ConCision

      Like Lambs to the Slaughter
      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

      Empty vessels make the most noise
      Empty vessels hold no water
      But the hollow din can excite enough
      To lead the gullible to the slaughter

    • mosedane itumeleng

      The Power u are welcom juju we still need ur power to rule ur ANCYL zuma have lot of time to play we work for money not penuts now we work for R2.700 pm also dust is killing us no treatment no leve. Please people help us