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