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I’m seriously considering voting for the FFP

Starvation dictates that I do some television work now and then. TV programmes pay for FHM subscriptions and other such essentials. To this end, I have taken part in two 13-episode seasons of a television debate/talk show called Drawing the Line. The show is hosted by Lebo Mashile, the poet, and the 2nd season airs on SABC 2 every Sunday, 12h30, starting March 15.

The format of the show is simple. You have two teams debating an issue and the studio audience voting on which side made the more compelling argument. SAfm’s Michelle Constant and yours truly are the team leaders and we each get assigned guest panellists to debate with us every episode. We’re also then arbitrarily assigned a side to debate. The issues are always in the form of a question such as, “Are polygamists Homo erecti?”. Believe it or not, we actually debated that topic. And the reason I hone in on this episode is because The Sumo, who is a personal friend, was one of the panellists arguing that polygamists are misunderstood sons of the soil. Thought Leader enthusiasts will get to set eyes on The Sumo in all his glory and fatness for the first time. A coming out parade of lard.

One of the challenges of creating such a programme is finding an appropriate audience. Let’s all agree that it would be near impossible to convince a studio audience that is made up mostly of a bunch of bunny-hugging vegans that sipping on chicken noodle soup is good for you. Or debating whether citizens have the right to blow the brains of criminals when the studio audience is packed with “Gun Free South Africa” members. Or debating that voting is a retarded idea when half the studio audience is in ACDP T-shirts. Yet this is precisely what happened with those three particular episodes. Production problems, audience member no-shows and stuff like that.

Now, your average person would walk into a studio, discover that he has to convince a bunch of vegans that it’s okay to bludgeon a pig to death with the back of a tomahawk until it haemorrhages to death for bacon and ham purposes and panic. Not me. I always take such situations as a personal challenge. Can you imagine convincing a bunch of ACDP members that the Rev Kenneth Meshoe’s perm is a vile, satanic vestige? That would make one a living legend, wouldn’t it? And I personally live for such accolades.

Needless to say, but no such luck was forthcoming. For some obscure reason, all vegans voted against swine mass murder and all studio audience members in ACDP T-shirts thought the Rev Meshoe’s perm was a product of divine intervention etc or something like that. What fascinated me about this was the number of times production team members came to Michelle and me after each show and went “Well argued. You almost won that one”. [Yeah, I was really close to convincing Gun Free SA members that Susan ‘Shoot to Kill’ Shabangu has a point.]

I did, however, derive some satisfaction from watching my favourite psychological phenomenon at work. Regular readers are aware of my obsession with cognitive dissonance. And in the episodes I cited, the studio was dripping with the stuff. To the uninitiated, cognitive dissonance is that condition that renders the human brain incapable of assimilating information that is at loggerheads (dissonance) with already internalised beliefs. For instance, you could never convince a Jehovah’s Witness that Jesus didn’t actually catch a wave on the Sea of Galilee in only his flip-flops.

My Drawing the Line experiences reminded me of a piece titled “Not everybody should be allowed to vote” in which I argued that members of political parties should not be allowed to vote. Even though I didn’t mean it literally, I don’t actually see the point of allowing card-carrying ANC members to vote. Really. Helen Zille’s DA could reduce levels of crime, unemployment, homelessness, Tik use and poor people nuisances to negligible levels on the streets of Cape Town and card-carrying members of the ANC will still put their ticks next to Nomaindia. Card-carrying DA members would never vote ANC even if the ANC electrified houses, gave access to running water, built more houses and built more roads than all governments since 1652 collectively. Party members are, by definition, impregnable fortresses of party loyalty. Electioneering (and by proxy, elections) is wasted on them.

My stance on the efficacy of democracy is well-established ie I don’t believe it’s the best form of governance. Democracy relies on the “wisdom” of too many malfunctioning brains, mine included. for instance, I only have a hazy, vague idea of what the Freedom Front stands for. I think their manifesto has something to do with declaring the Great Trek to be at the same level as the biblical desert wanderings of the Israelites and canonizing Steve Hofmeyr. I have never made any attempt to understand what the hell Pieter Mulder is always going on about. Each time I see him on TV I get a glaze over my eyes and I only hear, “Woo, woo, woo, woo, woo!”. But I can tell you, with 100% accuracy is what the probability of me putting that tick next to the VF box at the ballot is. Correctomundo. Nil. That’s craziness.

I love predicting how my dear readers will react to my ramblings. I bet you someone will accuse me of canvassing for the Freedom Front. Or the PAC. Or the ANC. Perhaps. But the point I’m actually trying to make is that democracy heavily depends on elections. Elections depend on the electorate figuring out who is the best of the mediocre bunch we have to choose from. Who will benefit the country most? Which party will take us forward and rise above narrow interests?

The reason I honed in on card-carrying members of political parties is because they are easy targets. It was just for dramatic effect. Well, that and the fact that I do actually believe that signing up for party membership is the last phase of successful brainwashing. I can’t understand how any one party’s stance could possibly mirror mine on the entire range of issues close to my heart. But if you’re not a member of a political party and you’re sitting there judging them, please put da bong down. You’re not really any better because voting patterns in the six elections (yes, only six!) we’ve had in this nation’s history have showed that we’ve mostly been sticking to our chosen ones. That means our minds are generally closed entities. I think democracy requires that we listen and employ our imaginations. Is your mind open enough to imagine a future with Thami ka Plaatjie in the driving seat? To this end, I hereby declare that I will spend the next week opening my mind to the Freedom Front.

I will return with my findings.

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Author

  • Once upon a time, Ndumiso Ngcobo used to be an intelligent, relevant man with a respectable (read: boring-as-crap) job which funded his extensive beer habit. One day he woke up and discovered that he had lost his mind, quit his well-paying job, penned a collection of hallucinations. A bunch of racist white guys published the collection just to make him look more ridiculous and called it 'Some of my best friends are white'. (Two Dogs, ISBN 978-1-92013-718-2). Nowadays he spends his days wandering the earth like Kwai Chang Caine, munching locusts, mumbling to himself like John the Baptist and searching for the meaning of life at the bottom of beer mugs. The racist publishers have reared their ugly heads again and dangled money in his face to pen yet another collection of hallucinations entitled 'Is It Coz 'm Black'. He will take cash, major credit cards and will perform a strip tease for contributions to his beer fund.

21 Comments

  1. Cat Cat 6 March 2009

    ROFL @ “I think their manifesto has something to do with declaring the Great Trek to be at the same level as the biblical desert wanderings of the Israelites and canonizing Steve Hofmeyr.”

    You do have a very valid point though about the SA voting public’s minds being closed entities. Time to do our homework and get involved I’d say. Just pray they let expats vote so I have a chance to make my mark!

  2. siyabonga ntshingila siyabonga ntshingila 6 March 2009

    Aren’t you drinking Klippes these days?

    Get khaki kortbroeks and a combover and you are there.

    Or go blow-dried blonde for the “toit bru” look.

    And good luck.

  3. Siphiwo Siphiwo Siphiwo Siphiwo 6 March 2009

    here we go again, another person thinking of spoiling his ballot paper.
    pheeewwww!!! :(

    “dont..dont please dont”..Homer Simpsons would say that. Me too.

  4. Johan Johan 6 March 2009

    Lol. Not much to open your mind to when researching the Freedom Front. You had it right the first time – great trek into the desert to the ‘Volkstaat’, somehwere in the Northern Cape. They’ve even got a little map of it up on their website. It’s hilarious, you should go check it out.

  5. Andreas Andreas 6 March 2009

    Brilliant. I’m off to check out the Minority Front.

  6. Kay Kay 6 March 2009

    Looking forward to reading them!

  7. Lynne Lynne 6 March 2009

    Samuel Johnson said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, but signing up for a political party must by the ultimate sign of terminal idiocy. I know politicians have to do it (if you’re Dennis Bloem, you can do it twice – although he swears that D Bloem wasn’t him – until today, that is….see where you get??) but really, who wants to follow their example. And that’s the problem with democracy, as evidenced in our country. Lousy education, no houses, no work, the fattest and most arrogant politicians in the world, but of course, they still vote for the ANC. Me? I’m looking at the pictures.

  8. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 7 March 2009

    If you really did listen to the FF on the one topic they excell on, which is land and how to stimulate farming, you might get a shock. I sympathise with their fustration at trying to explain what will work, and what won’t, to the ANC.

    But you are never really going to hear more than “woo woo woo” are you?

    No different to the Jehovah’s witnesses, who really believe that lambs ( real ones ) lie down with lions in heaven.

  9. kim kim 7 March 2009

    Wow at first I thought you might be marketing for that program, but hey you were because I won’t miss it at all, can’t wait to hear your debate,

    You know I think the government should hire you so that you can explain to people our current political situation, you so right, well what’s important is that you made me laugh and raise some very interesting points, well done man

  10. mundundu mundundu 7 March 2009

    goverments shouldn’t be in the business of building houses in the first place, but if they wish to commit themselves to doing so, they need to permit any and every company able to build quality shelter to do so, and not just the politically connected ones.

    somehow this makes me a right-wing white supremacist coconut.

    anyway, i can’t vote here. i know my income will probably increase because of this election; exactly how much depends on the scale of the anc victory. [the rand is going to fall a bit more, see.]

    i don’t know — keeping party members from voting sounds a bit counterproductive. that said, i can’t believe that people here don’t split their ballots. to me this seems a bit dumb. that said, when you have a country where upwards of 60 percent of people are illiterate in *any* language, you have a problem. they’re much more depending on the oral lies they receive and are unable to read for themselves the truth.

    some parties take more advantage of this than others, and are more willing to preserve *that* status quo than any other, despite electioneering to the contrary.

    this is, by the way, why south africa won’t “turn into zimbabwe” — the electorate is far from being educated to zimbabwean levels, which were bob’s real problem in the first place.

    south africans in particular seem to miss that point.

  11. Kit Kit 7 March 2009

    At last people begin to realise just how easy it is to be a right-wing counterrevolutionary. And there I was thinking it was a disease only of us paler people.

    It’s interesting that one doesn’t really have to vote for the FF to be such a right-winger. You just have to (even once, relatively quietly) go ‘eh? what a lot of bollocks that particular policy is’ and lo and behold.

    But please don’t give those nutters of the FF+ (fail) any more airtime than the 0.0001% they get already. It’s just too much. Rather find an SA equivalent of the Monster Raving Loonies or something. Oh wait….you did.

  12. Bonginkosi Bonginkosi 8 March 2009

    @Kit

    It is satire!! Gedit? Satire. So all your ramblings about Silwane voting for the FF+ are wasted.

    I was told some time back that Black people don’t do satire. Is that why you are confused???

    I really want to laugh out loud at you. No offense but HEEEEEEEEEHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

  13. Kit Kit 8 March 2009

    Hey Bonginkosi – no, really? And there I was actually thinking that our blogging friend was actually going to vote for the FF, hey.

    My ‘rant’ is not aimed at Silwane’s hypothetical vote for the FF+. I mean really, even most white folks are too leftist for those nutsoids so where do you get the idea that I’m castigating him for actually hanging to the right? It’s actually more a general statement – it’s that easy to be called a rightwinger, just criticise a bit of the more irrational current theories of leftness and voila! George Bush style, ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us’.

    Put the klippies down, that much laughing at something so not funny means it’s enough time. :) Glad you enjoyed.

  14. Patriot Patriot 9 March 2009

    Pathetic, how low are our standards now?

    “When priests pray for poverty to end and for development, then it means God agrees with the ANC because the ANC stands for those things,” Zuma said.

    Zuma was speaking at Kwaggafontein Stadium in Mpumalanga yesterday where he told church leaders they must persuade believers to vote for the ANC.

    “When you preach in your churches, just explain to the congregation – in a paragraph – about the ANC.

    “People who love God must not play with their votes, they must vote for the ANC. We believers know that Jesus will come back, we say the ANC will rule until he comes back,” said Zuma.

    “We in the ANC know God. When the ANC was born, it was baptised. We have respect, we are beautiful, we conduct ourselves in a good way.”

    Zuma said the ANC will not hesitate to remove officials who were not prepared to work for the people.

    “We do not want lazy people. If you are lazy we will remove you. If you are corrupt we will remove you. When you are in government and you think you are above the ANC we will remove you.”

    Without mentioning Cop e presidential candidate Mvume Dandala by name, Zuma said: “I heard this bishop on the radio or TV this morning saying [Nelson] Mandela belongs to all of us. I am warning them, Madiba belongs to the ANC. Madiba has never even thought about leaving the ANC.”

  15. Ndumiso Ngcobo Ndumiso Ngcobo Post author | 9 March 2009

    Patriot – to quote Kit; ‘put the Klippies down’.

    This is about the Constand Viljoen legacy. Who is Zuma now?

  16. siyabonga ntshingila siyabonga ntshingila 9 March 2009

    @ Patriot

    I imagine you are writing a very extensive biography on JZ?

  17. brent brent 10 March 2009

    My views about the FF are/were similar to yours ie zero until some time ago on a long car journey i heard one of their leading lights being interviewed. I am still not a supporter but their leadership are not certified and they do have some sensible ideas, at least i am open to their ideas when presented in a democratic open way.

    As for a Volkstaat somewhere in the N. Cape is this any wilder or weirder than a Swazi, Lesotho or Botswana state deep within SA’s borders??

    Brent

  18. Mandrake Mandrake 10 March 2009

    “Is your mind open enough to imagine a future with Thami ka Plaatjie in the driving seat?”

    After listening to one of those stiff Pheko speeches on MorningLive or something i felt i had to share a bit of the mirth with my s’bali. Anyway, there i am rambling on and on about how i think the PAC is a bunch of old pensioners driving a car on bricks and grass while sipping their nip of Old Brown.

    My brother-in-law, with a straight face, shared that Pheko was one of his father’s best friends…Bastard!!! But then we laughed it off.

    Anyway, my mind is open subject to how many kegs i’m emptying. But they have to still make the poison that will accomplish this feat.

  19. Tshego Tshego 18 March 2009

    If you knew the pain, heartache and the sheer will involved in getting bums on the seats of shows entitled “the ethics of eating” or some such, you would have a heart mr ndumiso. what with one thing or the other, that team is always on the verge of nervous breakdown.
    which explains the random congratulations at the end. it’s to keep themselves going in spite of all evidential wisdom pointing in the opposite direction.
    ah, good times. can we debate about your hat next time? i’m sure i could find some bums to put on seats somewhere on such a fascinating topic…

    oh yeah…vote freedom front. for the same reason that memebers of production teams get up in the morning, they continue to exist. it defies logic, but still is. gotta love that unfounded determination.

  20. Inertia Inertia 19 March 2009

    Dude. By your definition, floor crossers would be the most astute voters. Hmmm … what’s wrong with that picture?

  21. Karooseun Karooseun 9 April 2009

    There is no doubt in my mind none what soever,that the only alternative to the ANC is the DA,Its policies are sensible and constructive,it has members that have the skills and nohow as they have been in politics for a very long period of time,compared to members of other political parties that are contesting in the general Election due on 22nd April 2009,It can claim claim to be a true Democratic Party,as it is non racial and therefore will govern for all South Africans,unlike the ANC,a political party that openly is for and stands for BLACK POWER RULE for South Africa

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