Ndumiso Ngcobo
Ndumiso Ngcobo

So what are YOUR narrow interests in these elections?

My wife and I were driving in Garsfontein in the general Tshwane area this past weekend when we spotted a guy in a blue Audi S3 Sport with Jacob Zuma’s grinning mugshot and the words, “Vote ANC” emblazoned on the driver’s side door panel.

The first thing that struck me about this is that it wasn’t so long ago that a dude in that earning bracket wouldn’t be caught dead associating himself with a political party so audaciously. “Viva ANC” T-shirts were the exclusive preserve of township/informal settlement/inner city dwellers. How this election has changed the political landscape. Just the other day I gate-crashed Fikile Mbalula’s birthday party on Friedman Drive in Sandton. I was quite gobsmacked at the general opulence that dripped from every pore in that crowd. Very different from the Dickies and All Star-clad comrades I used to know.

But back to our guy in the blue Audi. I found myself trying to figure out why he would wear his heart on his sleeve so brazenly. Conventional wisdom dictates that the threat posed by the emergence of Cope (real or imagined) has spurred apathetic ANC supporters on to nail their colours to the mast. Perhaps. And then I gave it a little bit more thought. You will not get a prize for guessing that Mr Blue Audi was black, despite me not having specified his race. But you would have guessed correctly. Based on the car he was driving, I won’t give you any credit if you surmised that he was some kind of professional in at least some junior-to-mid managerial position. (No Marius, “He probably stole it” is so 80s.)

Since we were driving in our nation’s capital, it is quite conceivable that he works for one of our state or parastatal institutions. Of course, he could also be working for any of the corporates that operate in the greater Tshwane area, assuming he wasn’t a visitor. And then the thought hit me; regardless of his capabilities and/or intellect, he wouldn’t be anywhere near that earning bracket just a mere 20 years ago. That inevitably leads one to the conclusion that, insofar as this particular individual is concerned, the ANC’s aggressive (at least theoretically) affirmative action policies are probably very close to the top of the pile of issues determining his vote. If you start telling me he could just be an ANC office-bearer or entrepreneur or a cabinet minister’s son, I will be forced to hit you with a rolled-up copy of Umrabulo and tell you to stop being a nit-picking lil twerp. Potato, tomato.

That finally brings to my point. Let’s suppose that all my assumptions are correct and that this arbitrary dude is voting ANC because affirmative action is close to his heart. Would this be right? I mean, surely and hopefully we all vote based on what is best for the country and not just selfish narrow interests? If you start interrupting me to tell me that affirmative action applies to 90% of our population and therefore cannot fall under the definition of “narrow” interests, just remember that my rolled-up copy of Umrabulo lurks ominously close by. Stop nitpicking. You know what I mean.

Okay; let’s move away from the issue of affirmative action because none of us are capable of debating it without our retarded superstitions and general idiocy rising to the surface. What about an individual who hangs on to the impressively bearded Rev Meshoe’s tailcoat because the issue closest to their heart is to see the annulment of Achmat Zackie’s marriage and all other same-sex unions? What about Mrs Hattingh whose primary reason for voting DA is to ensure that the demographics in Constantia remain pretty much decent, God-fearing white folk even though she doesn’t mind a sprinkling of black and coloured residents “as long as they behave decently and don’t blare loud music from minibus taxis and that sort of thing”.

What about Bab’ Nzama from the Watville hostel who has always and will always vote for the IFP because he’ll be damned if he’s going to vote for a Xhosa organisation (although he’s had that “deer-caught-in-the-headlights” look since circa December 2007)? What about Archbishop Emeritus Tutu who can’t place that cross next to the black-green-and-gold because he fears walking down 5th Avenue in New York and have to explain to some civilised people why his president had worn animal skins (you never know!) at his inauguration and why he’d started belting out a tune in a Ladysmith Black Mambazo voice at the end of his acceptance speech (I said you never know!). What about Tumi who will vote for Cope because she is deeply upset at the way that Mbeki, “Cope’s Dalai Lama” (not my words, ask Julius!) had been booted out by the ANC?

I’m pretty certain that Gwede Mantashe would wave me off derisively and tell me to stop talking nonsense; people vote for the ANC based on their conscience and the ANC’s excellent record of delivery in the last 15 years. The Rev Meshoe would probably offer to pray for me because I know not what I talk of; homophobia is not an official ACDP policy. Ryan Coetzee would sneer at my ignorance before eloquently dismissing my suggestion that anybody votes for the DA to preserve any group privileges “with the contempt it deserves” in a long, rambling sentence peppered with words like “maintenance of standards” and such like.

Chief Buthelezi would probably be initially aggravated by my insolence at casting aspersions on Bab’ Nzama’s motives emdala kangaka (“as old as he is”) before suggesting that I am spewing “a lot of hogwash and hullabaloo” with the “temerity” previously shown by the ANC as they sought to “vilify me personally” since the 70s because of his close friendship with Dr Mandela. Or something like that. I would expect nothing less from the frocked Arch or even Cope’s “JJ” Tabane. All of them would dismiss me emphatically and question the integrity of my brain’s synaptic connections.

My point here is that it is in the nature of political parties to distance themselves from any public utterance of politically incorrect utterance. But they will actively welcome the purveyors of these narrow interests within their fold. And I don’t know that this is abnormal. In a perfect world, every vote cast on April 22 would be a vote based on what is the best for the Republic of South Africa. The reality is that some of us will be voting to Stop Zuma to minimise the chances of blushes in downtown Manhattan. Others will be voting to ensure that they get to keep their blue Audis. And others will be voting to ensure that only Jacks and Jills conjoin in South Africans bedrooms — preferably missionary style as is consistent with the Old Testament teachings in the Holy book.

I lack the wisdom to know with any certainty whether voting according to the wide array of our narrow interests is a good or a bad thing. One sort of hopes that the statistical mean of all these interests yields more or less the “correct” balance that this semi-desert we call home requires. I can’t help but think that it’s a step away from voting according to personalities and general sentiment. It’s a step towards issue-based voting patterns.

In the meantime, allow me to give a shut-out to just two individuals who don’t care what you think. I know exactly what their respective narrow interests are and how they’ll vote. Pieter Mulder will be voting for the realisation of a proper Oranje. Jimmy Manyi will be voting for affirmative action. We all know exactly where they stand. I guess that, going down the home stretch, it’s those two horses in contention for me.

I’ve said this before, but it’s hard to resist that Freedom Front Plus. Plus, I already have an unfashionable East Rand domicilium citandi, a pair of near-veldskoene in my wardrobe and a penchant for Klippies-and-Coke. The transformation is almost complete.

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  • http://www.sheetstreet.co.za Lunte23

    lol! interesting as usual

  • http://www.youtube.com/elections2009 Siphiwo Siphiwo


    i suppose i will be voting to keep my toyota tazz. why change the winning formulae anyway?


  • Good Charlie

    lmao! mapholoba, don’t be surprised if someone quotes you in Parliament!

  • pasile

    Very entertaining, thanks. You should have profiled a SHIKOTA voter, it would have been interesting.

  • Soso


  • Dumisani Mkhize

    Silwane kaNjila,

    I am always so ever impressed by the way you manage to keep your cool and be so apolitical in a country where it makes no sense to be educated and still remain apolitical. It may have something to do with you immense sense of humour (or just plain ordinary sense).

    I may have answered my question, but I will ask it anyhow. You seem to have omitted from your list a very large majority of people who will be voting for the ANC because they are either naïve or just duped into believing that voting for any other party would amount to treason. Am I right in my assertion that if you had mentioned this ‘fact’, you would in fact be forfeiting your apolitical stance?

    If you ask me, if people really voted in the interest of their country, they’d be punishing the ANC right now. But that’s just my belief, nothing worth dying (or killing) for.

    By the way, I am proud that you mention East Rand as you place of abode. I was born and raised there; and we seldom get to get people to brag about.

  • Jama ka Silwane

    Ayoba Mapholoba, why dont you run in the next poll? I think the unemployed thoughtleader-fiends among us would probably love to cast our vote to further the cause for rousing, self deprecating and sardonic political discourse. I know I’d like that. So go on, start a “movement”. You could call it the NNF(Natural Nutcase Front), or maybe the SDF(Sardonic Discourse Forum). Maybe you and the Sumo could front the organisation and stage a bitter leadership battle sort of like Jigga & Nas, to generate public interest. Man i know I’m already itching to cast my vote!

    Viva SDF! Viva!

  • http://letpeoplespeakamagama.com Lyndall Beddy

    The guy in the Audi is probably voting for fear he would loose his job if competancy was a requirement.

    Fear is a great motivator for voting choice.

  • Themba Tantrum

    Easily the most enjoyable contributor on MG to read. Great piece…

  • Thabani Mdunge

    Mapholoba, nice one as usual…

    I have no idea why I voted yesterday but tell you what, I happen to work in a hospital and yesterday I had to accompany a patient to cast his vote since he was unable to on Tuesday because he did not have his ID with him at the time. Now this particualr patient demanded to be allowed to cast his vote. What’s interesting is that he actually said that he was planning on escaping if he had not been allowed to vote notwithstanding that he was sick and was going to vote in a predominately white suburb.

    My point is people were very excited about voting this time around. I have no idea as to why this was the case. But something telss me that a bit of Obama fever infected South Africans. Whether it was good or bad is another thing. It was interesting and refreshing to witness such euphoria among South Africans.

    Man keep doing what you do best and keep walking man…!!!

  • Sipho

    So, Lyndal Beddy, every black person is incompetent and the only way to hang on to their jobs is to vote ANC. Very interesting view of the black world!

  • http://www.laura-land.blogspot.com Laura

    “…I will be forced to hit you with a rolled-up copy of Umrabulo and tell you to stop being a nit-picking lil twerp. Potato, tomato”

    I do rather hope I get to keep my Mazda Midge, though I suspect my vote didn’t do much to help me there. Maybe it did. Hmmm. I wonder.

    I agonised over 3 parties for the provincial vote in the voting booth. Then chose one. And learned that two of my friends (who were also agonising) voted for one of the three I didn’t choose. And another friend voted for the final one I didn’t choose.

    It was quite comforting. It felt like we all averaged each other out in the end :)

  • Tlanch Tau

    @Sipho on April 23rd, 2009 at 2:57.
    You should know not to listen to Lyndall Beddy by now, he or she will do whatever it takes to discredit not just the ANC but also any black person. Typical of DA supporters. They can never see the reason why we should have AA and BEE, theirs is to keep their status quo and make sure that they hold on to their white privileges.

  • Seoka


    The issue of deploying incompetent from the ANC is acknowledged by JZ himself, so I do not see anything racist about it.

    Lyndel’s comment is made within the context of Ndumiso’s article.

    So take me out of the “every black” you refer to

  • Gugu

    @Lyndall, sjoe! So, according to u: Being a black upper middle class worker+ your support for the anc = being an incompetent idiot. I wonder how on earth u justify that view…

  • http://www.youtube.com/elections2009 Siphiwo Siphiwo

    sipho + gugu

    if i were you i wouldnt read much from lyndall’s far right comments.
    to her, anyone supporting anc and sacp is not right upstairs– s/he is driven by either protection of his/her job, cronyism, corruption or just being illiterate.

    and a person voting for da (her racist 16% party) is superior, witty, wise and well educated citizen.

    unfortunately, as long as we still have racist people (the likes of lyndall) who’re shallow minded and subjective about africans in this nation, south africa would remain forever polarised.

    God bless us all

  • Lebohang

    I voted for an accountable government. Accountable to the majority electorate not only to minorities and economists. The new model of ANC government inclusive of COSATU and SACP is the best model there can ever be. Mbeki condemned the workers and their families on aids denialism which will not be the case this time around.

    For those who keep comparing us to Obama’s victory, they should remember he did not start his own new party like Cope ad it took the Americans over 400 years and Bush’s dundest mistake’s for him to be elected. I admire him nonetheless.


  • Lebohang

    Lyndal Beddy, demonising blacks is not going to change anything. Are you insinuating that blacks are driving in free gifts? That is very racist and very much in line with the “Stop Zuma” campaign.

    You have called us monkeys and baboons and that has not altered the destiny of the black man and the sooner the whites realise that they are in an African country the better. The sooner you adopt a persuasive approach to the way you deal with the majority the better for all f you. Whites in Botswana and other African countries lead a much better life as they have selected to get closer to the majority of that country.

  • Herman

    I read “Some of my best friends ” and enjoyed it, but didn’t give it much thought ( is it possible to give it much thought ?!) Bought “Is it coz I’m Black” yesterday and I’m busy laughing my way through it, but this time stopped to give it some thought and decided that this must be more than a joke and Googled the author which brought me here.Now I’m convinced that we’re dealing with another huge Beezy Baily here !! Seriaasly you can’t be black and that guy in the photograph is probably your gardener, right ?

  • Tlanch Tau

    LOL @ Herman on April 27th, 2009 at 10:53 am
    This is the issue right here, when a briliant black person does good things it’s hard to believe that they are black. I wonder why?

    But truth be told the first times I came across this guys blogs on Blogmark.co.za, I thought most of the time that he was white.

  • http://mandrake.amagama.com Mandrake

    “Seriaasly you can’t be black and that guy in the photograph is probably your gardener, right ?”

    Herman, you serious?


  • http://mandrake.amagama.com Mandrake

    Anyway, we like to make ourselves believe we vote in the best interests of the country yada yada yada…but we all want something which will somehow benefit us and our families. Some people prefer the more material result, others want reduction in crime and better public transport.

    I just want cheap beer and decent entertainment.

  • Gert Van Wyk

    There is absolutely no way that more than 11,6 million people could have narrow objectives, In my view this tells me that you have more people having commonly broad needs and objectives. If it’s less than majority then it is narrow. This is my opinion

  • Herman

    Mandrake wrote :Herman, you serious?

    No Mandrake I’m just kidding – I’m convinced the author is indeed black

    Tlanch Tau wrote :This is the issue right here, when a briliant black person does good things it’s hard to believe that they are black. I wonder why?

    No I wasn’t thinking that a black person couldn’t be that bright – It was just his un PCness that surprised me – it’s like Piet Boer from Boksburg telling jokes about Dom Afrikaners !!

  • siyabonga ntshingila

    at Mandrake-legend!

  • http://letpeoplespeakamagama.com Lyndall Beddy


    For about the millionith time. This was Khoisan land – you took it off them, and the boers took it off you. You are as much colonialists as they are.

  • James Tobias

    “I was quite gobsmacked at the general opulence that dripped from every pore in that crowd. Very different from the Dickies and All Star-clad comrades I used to know.”

    What a great line.Reason enough to back AA, its the attempts at gift wrapping it that P me off.

  • Lunte23

    I find it very interesting that when a white person disagrees with mass opinion that happens to be from black people, they are immediately labeled racists…
    I was once label a racist, because I wouldn’t entertain intimate advances from a man that so happened to be of Indian decent…and I’m black!

    Lyndall you are one of a kind, I sense resentment from you…but than again the beauty of democratic South Africa is free-Dom of speech…

  • http://letpeoplespeakamagama.com Lyndall Beddy


    When a white disagrees with a black it is always racist, according to the black.

    Hlope is actually regarded as a bad judge by both black and white judges – but any criticism is always “racist”.

  • Sipho

    @ Seoka

    Lyndall Beddy writes “The guy in the Audi is probably voting for fear he would loose his job if competancy was a requirement”

    So can you Seoka tell me how in the context of Ndumiso’s blog did Lyndall arrive at the conclusion that this guy is incompetent, fearful for his job and working for the government? If he works in the private sector how could asking people to vote ANC help him keep his job as an incompetent.
    Next time when you come into someone defence please make sure you do it as best as you can, otherwise don’t do it. I’m sure Lyndall doesn’t appreciate meek defence on her behalf.

  • http://mandrake.amagama.com Mandrake

    Its these racial stereotypes we always look out for that make sure we’re constantly snared in these traps. how about being totally(ok, i Exaggerate) oblivious and treating ppl on a face-value basis. you find that when you have no expectations of a person, you actually find out what a nice, OR NASTY person they are.

    you make you judgements, move on, maybe share keg or five with them. we need to move on from this racial profiling, it makes you lose out alot. Life is too precious, and hilarious in SA if you just decide to “LIVE(not leave)”(check google for definition).

  • James Tobias

    People arent the same – so why should we treated the same?
    Celebrate the differences, embrace the future and work the past.