Don’t be fooled

We’re less than 6 months away from elections in South Africa. This process will unfortunately result in one (or – worse still – more) of the local political parties trying to form a government. But in the run up to those elections, we can expect populism, bribery, misinformation, disinformation, violence, scapegoating, xenophobia, and a whole raft of untruths and empty promises.

All of which will be lapped up and amplified by a fully dysfunctional, AI-assisted social media, and those dodgy anti-SA sites like Daily Investor and TheSouthAfrican.

It’s started already, with one certain divisive political figure spouting bullshit to anyone who will listen in an effort to be controversial,

Maybe he was thinking of the very similar sport of Nqanqarhu: named for the posh school in the Eastern Cape where Wandile Qwebe-Mwelis first picked up the football and began running with it.

And while this is so clearly and demonstrably incorrect, it’s actually laughable, there are plenty within his party who will believe him. And sadly for us, and the country in general, the polarisation of politics is so great at the moment, that they will then go on to believe him on more serious matters, never mind the fact that he’s merely doing it for clout and votes.

And yes, he got his name into the headlines again. Just what he wanted.

I guess that the positive side of this is that the polarisation of politics is so great at the moment, that it’s unlikely that he will sway anyone into voting for the EFF while talking this sort of nonsense. But it is rather scary that there’s a good possibility that the EFF and this clown may become Kingmakers next year, should the ANC’s demise be as bad as everyone expects.

It’s not like anyone else is doing much better. You’d think that with such a proven disastrous government in place, it would be easy pickings to win the election. But things are more complicated than that: there’s a whole lot of history to overcome for a start, and then there’s the infighting and instability amongst the opposition parties, the ridiculous pipe-dream (is there such a thing as a “pipe-nightmare”?) of “Cape Independence” and the power-crazed individuals driving it, and even the unnecessary stances on the Israel situation.

The aftermath of the elections promises to be a complete mess, but there’s not a lot we can do about that. The run-up to the elections will also be horrific, but keep your calm, don’t believe everything you hear or read, and don’t be fooled into shouting for one side or the other. It won’t get you anywhere.


News from the far North East of the country, and the Economic Freedom Fighters final pre-election rally in Polokwane, the report on which contained this quote from an enthusiastic fan of the boys in red:

Am I… am I alone in thinking that this might prove somewhat confusing for the good people of (the province currently known as) Limpopo?

How are you going to meet a friend in that bar at that junction when every pub is called “Malema’s” and is on the corner of Malema and Malema? No, not that corner of Malema and Malema, this corner of Malema and Malema. (Although, of course, thinking about it, Malema does cross Malema as well.) (Several times.)

Every business you call would have the same name too: “Hello, Malema’s. How can I help you?”. You’d never be sure that you were speaking to Malema Taxis or the accounting firm of the same name.
Well, let’s face it, absolutely everything would have the same name, wouldn’t it?

Just how far would this policy go? Imagine the chaos at Malema Park when a dog owner calls his pet over and all the dogs in the park come running, answering to their identical name. Apart from Malema the beagle, obviously, because Malema the beagle completely ignores any human command.
For whoever he is named after, Malema is still a beagle.

Even when everything changes, nothing changes.

Look,  I’m sure that the apparently Teflon coated king of the EFF would love the idea of an entire province of stuff named after him. I’m just not sure that it’s an entirely practical idea.

Fed up

I remarked the other day that recently, SA politics has become depressingly depressing. Far too much foolishness and sabre-rattling from individuals elected to serve the population. Far too much emphasis on race and racism, sex and sexism, this-ism and that-ism. Far too much jumping to conclusions.
Far too little actually sitting down, talking to each other and sorting things out.
Three of the four news stories on the front page of the Cape Times today are based around an -ism of some sort. It’s depressing.
The other one is about plans for toll roads on the N1 and N2, which is equally depressing.

But why wouldn’t the South African population sling insults around at each other the whole time when those individuals who are elected to positions of responsibility are at it the whole time as well? Honestly, it’s like little kids in a playground, but with real and damaging implications for the country. Like I said, depressing.

And yes, I cc’d Helen Zille on a tweet about this, which I found on a Port Elizabeth DA Councillor‘s timeline:

and it now seems to have disappeared rather rapidly. Which is nice.
UPDATE: Nope – must have been a welcome temporary glitch – it’s still there.

Cue the liberals telling me that after the Malema “Shoot The Boer” verdict, “it’s a slippery slope” and that freedom of expression is being eroded. I feel that they are missing the point.

And that point is this. In my humble opinion, those individuals elected (by whoever) to positions of responsibility, should be act responsibly. Is “Shoot the Boer” really hate speech? Does the image above, captioned “How about this?” amount to incitement to violence? Or should we be asking different questions, like: What does it achieve when role models sing Dubul’ iBunu? How does it help when elected officials put images of prominent and controversial figures in a sniper’s crosshairs into the public space?
And yet these individuals make a conscious decision to do these things. Why? Where is the value in that?

It’s more than just the lack of any positive worth in these actions that depresses me. It’s the fact that these things are divisive and harmful and yet they are completely avoidable. Julius Malema, Councillor Greyling et al simply need to make better decisions.
So, rather allow Malema to sing Dubul’ iBunu and then rejoice when he chooses not to. Don’t stop Mr Greyling publishing dubious pictures on his public twitter stream, be happy when he thinks first and rather sticks the image in his trash can.

Hey! It’s ok.
I do recognise that these are just Utopian pipe dreams. I do understand that it’s not going to happen.

But rather than taking pot shots at each other across the great divide, why not just think before you act? Why not just be big enough to put aside emotions, sit down and talk?
My 5 year old son is getting good at doing these things.
Is it really too much to expect politicians to do it as well?