Sipho Hlongwane
Sipho Hlongwane

Need any help removing your head from your arse, Steve?

Dear Steve Hofmeyr,

We’ve never met, and what I know of you is what I’ve gleaned from newspaper and magazine articles that detail your suburban conquests there in the East Rand, or wherever your haunt is. You don’t know me, which I’m perfectly happy with.

Despite all this, I decided to write this little letter to you. I think you already know what it’s about. Ja, seriously, dude. What was that hissy fit you threw the other day all about?

I wasn’t going to write to you at first, not wanting to legitimise your childishness, but then I thought about all those poor people who take you seriously, and it is for their sake that I write this.

“You must appeal to base sentiment as Africa has yet to yield a single intellectual, a single thought school, a single intellectual thought not inspired by the very West you and Mugabe detest.”

Seriously, Steve? Is that what you think of Africa?

You think you’ve got problems with Julius, Steve, what about me? Every time this guy gets onto a podium, he proffers to speak on my behalf, just because I’m young and black and not that well endowed, materially speaking. He shoots the boer, in my name. He calls Helen Zille all sorts of nasty things, in my name. He insults Patricia de Lille, in my name. He goes to Zim, gets a big pat on the back from that dictator, in my name! He tramples on constitutional values, in my name.

Well, here’s a bomb shell for you, Steve. Julius Malema and the ANC Youth League do not speak on my behalf. And I know of many young blacks who cringe every time he opens his mouth to speak. The media aren’t so interested in what we have to say, of course. I mean, not being insulting isn’t as newsworthy as being insulting.

Do you know how difficult it is to have to answer for Malema every time I’m with white people, Steve, just because I’m young and black? Do you know how much that frustrates me? And I’m not alone in this. I know I’m not the only one.

Julius is now banned from singing “shoot the boer”. Well done to you and your AfriForum tjommies, by the way. That’s him told. But he’ll still be black and controversial tomorrow. He’ll still get up and say those things on my behalf. That’s not going away any time soon for me. So before you paint us young blacks in one massive stroke, remember me.

I also find it quite funny that you “own” Westernism, just because you’re a white man. Don’t give me that “us” vs “you” nonsense. Where were YOU when the printing press was invented, Steve? Where were YOU when the nuclear bomb was invented? Did you help Gottlieb Daimler with that first motor vehicle? Did Thomas Edison consult with you when he had that light-bulb idea? Until Julius Malema drives a car that YOU built, and wears a shirt that YOU designed, don’t come at me with that humus.

The irony of having to hear a lecture on originality from a man who sings Neil Diamond covers for a living isn’t lost on me either.

Steve, here’s a word of advice. I know you mean well. You had the moral upper hand and everything, but you squandered it by being a cracker. Leave this sort of thing to the people who know what they’re doing when they put pen to paper, alright? Go back to doing whatever it is you do when you aren’t riding bike in the veld. Go back to impressing suburban housewives with that lush goatee of yours.

Warmest regards,

Sipho Hlongwane

  • Heather

    Well said, Mr Hlongwane!

  • Lynne

    Malema drives a Range Rover and wears a Breitling watch to show that he’s in touch with the poor,and Steve Hofmeyer sings Neil Diamond covers to show off his cultural superiority…bwahahahaha!!!

    Soul brothers they are!!!

  • Prisha Bhoola

    Great blog Sipho! I feel the same when I have to “answer” for Shabir Shaik to all my friends! All these people are Mamparas of the first order!!

  • Maria Arangies

    I can’t agree with your more. I, as a white african (who happens to also be an Afrikaner) am tired of people like Steve speaking on behave of me. Who died and made him the spokesperson (and very dubious selfmade philospher) for white Afrikaners?

    If all young blacks were like Julius and all Afrikaners like Steve — there would not be much hope left. And I happen to believe the opposite is true!

  • Chris du Preez

    I am with you on this one Sipho. However Malema & co chose fight on a race defined territory. They got klapped, and so it should be for everyone that chooses to make the ill fitting concept of race a solution for anything.

  • http://http:/ Lyndall Beddy


    I heard Steve twice on SAFM (first time I knew who he was anyhow) and actually he made the same point you make (he printing press, the bomb).

    He said that Afrikaans intellectualism also, like African, derives from the West – but they are not denialist about it.

    By the way he said he plowed through 700 pages of Afrikaner freedom songs, and not one targets any other group or asks for the death of any people like “Kill The Boer” does.

  • Alan Egner

    Hofmeyer came across as a useful idiot when he tried to defend himself on SAFM last week. He clearly had not thought out his position and flip flopped continually. Malema, on the other hand, is fairly consistent in his rantings. Care must be exercised with his outbursts, lest we become complicit in shooting the messenger. Much of what he says needs saying. Zuma is like Hofmeyer, he will flip flop in the mistaken belief that he can please all of the people all of the time. JuJu is raising important issues that you will have to face head on, sooner or later. You can keep insulting him, but the issues will remain.

  • milly vanilly

    Sipho, you are my Hero!

  • Iain Dale

    Brilliant – it is a pity as you say “The media aren’t so interested in what we have to say” – they (the media) will put every utterance of the likes of Malema and Hofmeyr in the newspapers because it will sell and the general populace have become more interested in this type of tripe – witness all the reality shows on TV! – than actual news or watching something on TV that has some relevance. Well done.

  • Di

    Lovely article and my sentiments exactly. But I implore you to please write an article explaining why Malema has so much support? All the articles I have read is about how much of an idiot he is, but I have yet to understand – as one of the previous replies to this post asks – why Malema has not been toppled and why he does in fact have so much support.
    I don’t know anyone who IS a supporter, so who are all these people and WHY WHY WHY?

  • Jacobus

    Dankie man Sipho, I agree totally. As I like to say “So ‘n bek moet jam kry.” Who died and made Steve my spokesperson?

  • Gary

    10 out of 10.
    Why are the real youth never listened to? All you ever hear is what the crazies have to say.

  • John EveryMan

    “By the way he said he plowed through 700 pages of Afrikaner freedom songs, and not one targets any other group or asks for the death of any people like “Kill The Boer” does.”

    A fine sentiment. Moreover, I am sure that the heavy hand of the Afrikaans Nationalists during their glory days in power was tempered by their lack of any freedom songs that targeted any other group or asked for the death of any people like “Kill The Boer” does. Would the Afrikaans (as a community) have been been such loyal supporters of the Afrikaans Nationalist if it had been any other way? Of course not. And a good thing too considering what actually happened during those glory days: the possessions of the Group Areas Acts, the arrests the acts of torture and murder that underlined the Afrikaner Nationalist-led ‘State of Emergencies’, the deliberate targeting of civilians during the Border Wars, the widespread imprisonment of journalists, activists, trade unions etc. I mean think of the thousands and thousands of black South Africans who suffered under the cruelty of the Afrikaans Nationalist Government. And now think how much more they would have suffered if the Afrikaners had ‘freedom songs’ that did targeted any other group or asked for the death of any people. I for one am glad that the Afrikaans have no ‘freedom songs’ like that, aren’t you?

  • GaryH

    Sipho, as always, brilliantly put and quite enlightening, thank you. Please keep them coming, your writings always lift my spirit and almost always give me more insight on the subject, something in short supply in todays media. We need to elevate your voice somehow and get your footprint out there, in fact I would go so far as to say that SA needs you and your ilk!

  • marisa

    finally … someone with the eloquence to say what i’ve been feeling all along. Excellent writing sipho!

  • Tlanch Tau

    Nice one Sipho. Really enjoyed it myself.

    @Alan Egner on April 19th, 2010 at 8:18 am
    Very true what you have to say there. It’s a pity people refuse to acknowledge the need for Julius to talk about the things he talks about. I really can’t imagine South Africa without a Julius. We need him, we need to face the issues that he is raising head on or we are going to be in trouble couple of years down the line.
    @Di on April 19th, 2010 at 9:17 am
    I am surprised that people asks themselves why Malema has so much support, why don’t you ask youself that? He has enough support simple because South African has not produced enough coconuts as yet. We are still in the first generation of coconuts. Give us a little bit longer and we will have enough coconuts to outnumber the uneducated masses out there. So you might as well start helping with this transformation thing so we get away from the mass being poor and get more blacks into the “middle class” and people like Malema will eventually die out. Right now right here, he is service what is expected of him. Like I said, I really can’t imagine Julius next to a street light selling papers or those South African flags mirror thingy’s, it would be a waste of talent. We need him to get us talking.

  • Po

    @Di: I think it’s fairly obvious whyMalema has so many supporters. Julius stands for the real poor people of South Africa. He’s calling for a people’s revolution where the people will own the land and the mines, and you know, all that stuff. Of course that appeals to the poor people for whom the end of Apartheid changed nothing. That is the majority of South Afrians. Malema also stands for black empowerment and pride and upliftment. If I were poor and black, I would love him too. Sadly his hollow communistic words are decades old and not backed up with any understanding. He’s just not very bright, and you would wish and hope that people have enough self respect to choose a wiser leader.

    And communism was a happy fluffy dream, an idea made up by a well off intellectual and is not based on how human nature actually works. It appeals to desperate people because it is a desperate measure, but we know from previous disasters that it only makes the poor poorer. But they love Malema, because what do they really have to lose?

  • theNack

    Shweet Sipho, good to hear the thoughts of a black peer.

    SA should talk more like this, so we can keep on understanding each other better.

  • Theodore

    Steve is not in the least representative of me. He represents the worst of the whiteys wrapped up in nostalgia and refusing to engage positively with a reality. Shut up Steve. By the way where are our role models, now that Breyten, Van Zyl Slabbert et al have deserted us? Looks like I’ll have to cosy up to Jeremy Cronin and Kader Asmal.

  • platkuif

    goed geskryf Sipho!

  • Phumlani

    Nice 1 Sipho, love the article!

  • Di

    Thanks for that. I really am trying to understand, and you’ve certainly answered some things for me. No one could have been happier than I when apartheid was abolished, and I’m sure I am amongst the many who are disappointed that we now have a new black elite, and the poor are still poor and haven’t had much come their way ito ANC promises.
    I’ve always believed that lifting up the masses is the only way.
    I guess you are right, but I also believe he is a proxy. And who, if anyone, is trying to pull the wool from the eyes of those who will suffer the most through his actions?

  • MLH

    You rock, Sipho, Sir!
    Never followed SH.IT’s just not my bag.

    But I do think that it’s time that all good South Africans stand up a get counted. And time the media realises that this is the sort of column we want to see in print. You would give others the courage to ‘come out’. As is usual, the lack of open commuication between all parties hampers the outcomes.
    The two people I employ once a week each (poor and struggling) think JM is horrendous. They have no public voice except the vote. And that doesn’t come around often enough to portray a true reflection of what they think, due to the run-up hype and promises that will never be kept.
    They need your voice (and others like it) to give them courage.

  • Tlanch Tau

    @Po on April 19th, 2010 at 11:11 pm
    I love your closing sentense there “because what do they really have to lose?”

    This is very true indeed. What do they have to loose? Seriously that’s who people mind works. Take a saint and put his back against the wall and you will see what he will turn out to be. Hence the amount of crime out there. Because we the “Black Diamonds” are showing off what we have achieved in the townships to our neighbours and stuff and in turn guys who have no means of achieving what we have achieved goes and do crime and stuff.

  • John OConnor

    Very well said.

  • Gustav Franzsen

    @Sipho and @X Cepting – exactly! Lovely to have it reaffirmed that there are a lot of us who can see the wood for the trees.

    Just go easy on old Neil Diamond … he is an unwitting participant in the sordid story … :)

  • Daan Enslin

    Well said! I could not have done it better!

  • madlanduna

    I agree, Sangweni. However, it’s time we started making our voices heard a lot more. The M&G has given you and others a platform to express your views and I believe posts like these need to come from a lot more youngsters with Nguni, Sotho or Shangaan names and surnames so Malema and his cronies are under no illusion that we are on their side.

    BTW, no disrespect to those with English and/or Afrikaans names and surnames but you get the picture.

  • Lockstock

    What is particularly and typically noticeable about pieces written like this, is how Steve Hofmeyer is accused of all sorts of evils, both real and imagined. In this case, Steve is apparently guilty of generalising (and not of using cumbersome language to overcome said generalising), yet none of the black youth allegedly misrepresented by Malema, ever appear to vociferously take up these issues of misrepresentation with ol’ Jules himself. Strange one innit? Wonder why a smattering of black youth take exception to Jules rhetoric, yet there aren’t enough to be counted?

    Julius speaks the minds of, and politically represents the vast majority of black youth in SA. Even you – Sipho – agree with him on the hot button issues (nationalising industries, transformation etc) and would gladly vote for Malema over ANY lilly-white DA candidate (yes, you can admit it). Hofmeyer has treated your system of majority vote with the respect it apparently commands by accepting the will of the people. Just because he points fingers at that same majority mass, is no reason to condemn him for accepting democratic principles, and treating the will of the people as they desire. When you accept democracy, you speak as one. But you also get blamed as one. You’ve all been demanding white allegiance and acceptance over the years. Steve is playing by the rules.

    Someone needs to brush up on their politics, and perhaps all those black non-Julius fans could find a spine while they’re at it.

  • Lyndall Beddy

    John Everyman

    You are talking about a limited number of whites in the security cluster. Any different from the Americans in Vietnam(Mai Lai) or Iraq? They were democrats fighting communists remember.

    As opposed to the 30,000 dead in the township black-on-black violence, instigated by the ANC to rid themself of the opposition PAC and IFP.

  • Vanessa

    Thank so much, Sipho!! Well said. I became tired of defending young, black men and women each time ‘Juliarse’ opened his mouth to insult because people automatically assumed that all young, black South Africans felt the same way and shared ‘Juliarse’s’ sentiments. Thank you again!

  • siener

    Brilliant. 10/10

  • Jackson

    I applaud you sir. Just as you are tired of guys like Julius speaking on your behalf, I’m getting sick of guys like Steve, groups like AWB etc. ranting on my behalf. These obtuse muppets are at war with each other, and, via the generalization of media and word-of-mouth, WE get associated with them. We get associated with one-track minded donkeys that utters the most ridiculous slants, the one more embarrassing than the previous. So, from a young white South african male, you receive this sympathetic nod of the head.

  • Glynnis

    This is a superb, brilliantly written letter that says all it needs to and that shows up Hofmeyer for the pampoen (!) he is.

  • Bierpens

    Wow .. I almost made the biggest mistake of my life and made the wrong comment … Sipho I have bought up my kids to “Hlonipa”. Julius told them its a lie. Thanks for your entry I can show them the truth.

    Remember one thing we have Freedom of speech and you have the power. Printed media are being over run by opinionated Blogs like yours. Let us speak as one … but please see Steve’s opinion as a turning point in Malema’s onslaught on democracy.

    Much of what he said is true, but could be kept … what does one do when your fellow people are slaughtered on demand. I am sorry that this infuriated you and others. I know Steve see all as equals, but the tool was necessary to obtain an objective.

    As you feel about this We feel about being blamed for Apartheid. History teach us that it was much bigger than us. Even today people look down on me because I speak Afrikaans. Yet I speak Zulu and English as well.

    South Africa, OUR History, started in 1994. Pre ’94 was for your culture the same as 1900 was to my culture. We have reached a turning point and we are going forward. Forgive Steve’s implementation of a tool deemed necessary to draw a line. Those for and those against … a Prosperous South Africa.

  • TheFran

    Reading this i get the idea that some black people are for the first time getting an idea of what it feels like to be painted with the same brush…(the malema-brush)..even though its ridiculous and not true…its like all white people have been painted with the apartheid-brush for decades after it’s removal, throwing the ‘racist’ card whenever wherever.

    I agree 100% with you Sipho, I’ve never liked Steve, hes an idiot, doing and saying things purely for sensationalism. To you I can only say welcome to what I, a white man, have been living with for 15 years.

  • Bierpens


    I dug through the deep dark corners of my bowls to find something to trough at you, not because of your debate with Steve on a open public forum, but because of the content of your wright up. All things are fair in love and war but one should never ever bring children to a bar fight.

    I will fore ever defend the hearts and souls of those that cannot speak for them selves and to include children in this so called tongue in the cheek argument in the manner that you did will always bring ou the worst in me.

    Please Play the ball or do not play at all…

  • Harri

    Sipho, I wish I’d read this when it was current – but now, almost 2 years down the line, it is actually as pertinent as it was then. And nearly 2 years on, I must assume that you are even better at communicating your ideas. Why can we not have our misguided youth taking their direction from someone like yourself? They would be in much better hands. Thank you for a concise and meaningful article.

  • Anthony

    I am in tears!! A friend referred me to this article , i must say i’m really impressed! hell i’m amazed!!. WOW, this article or letter is really something special! (oh! elephant in the room, yes i’m white get over it). Sipho mate well written, someone really needs to put the Steve Hoffmeyer oke in line!

    PS, I for one am a huge Malema fan!