At the time of the birth of the 'Rainbow Nation' in 1994 not even the most pessimistic observer would have predicted the speed and depth of the ensuing black leadership decline. After Mandela you had Mbeki, a major decline in itself, but at least he was literate and wore a suit. He in turn was replaced by the prolific Jacob Zuma, a barely literate tribesman who prances around in animal skins and fucks any woman he gets his paws on.
And Zuma looks like being replaced by?
Well, let’s see what the man himself says. He declares that “Julius Malema is a future president of our country”.
Zuma and I are talking here about the ANC Youth League President, who was, for good measure, described by Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale as “an example for the nation.”
An example of what he didn’t specify, but we can guess.
What unique leadership characteristics does Julius bring to the table? Well, we know he eventually ‘graduated’ from secondary school at the ripe old age of 21, unable to construct a sentence in English, do simple arithmetic, or nail two pieces of wood together (his grade in Woodwork was 20%).
But hey! - such trivialities won't hold a good man back. And within a few short years (he’s now only 29) this horny-handed revolutionary son of the soil had amassed a personal property portfolio worth at least R5m and cars worth R1.2m. At a recent celebration his proletarian comrades drank gallons of Johnnie Walker Gold Label whisky, which costs around R700 a bottle, and Moet et Chandon French champagne, which costs multiples of that. He struts around wearing Gucci suits and a Breitling watch worth about R250 000 and travels in a car with no number plates with no fear of prosecution.
But what might appear as blatant hypocrisy and corruption to us is, apparently, a selfless exercise in black consciousness building. Over to Julius again "If we [he always refers to himself in the royal ‘We’] are going to refuse the youth to drive these cars it means they are only good for white youth. Ours will never drive those cars. So we must sit and appreciate the good things by whites and not by one of our own. That's what we're trying to break."
Oh, I see!
Black South African writer Jacob Dlamini says “Strip away that caricature, kill the cartoon, and what you are left with is a cunning thug who is the nexus of a patronage network based in Limpopo but that cuts across provincial borders.”
Even by African standards he’s way out in front when it comes to getting his snout in the trough. But that doesn’t seem to bother his impoverished followers. It seems an African trait to flaunt gaudy ostentation like he does, with the implicit promise that some of it will rub off on said followers. And this brings us a again to the cargo cult syndrome, whereby wealth is something that just happens - the only work required is to spread it out.
Therefore Malema’s gaudy parasitic lifestyle is what they’re invited to emulate. He’s saying to the youth (just like one of my favourites, the Cheef Ejukator) that you don't need an education, or need to work hard, or to be provident. No, just go into ‘politics’ and wait your turn for the goodies to be spread out to you.
Now there another side to him, that of an endlessly provocative buffoon, blowing away all accepted standards of civility. He enthusiastically recites the rollicking old ANC favourite “Kill the boer, kill the farmer” at every opportunity. A recent rendition of this ditty preceded the hacking to death of AWB leader Eugene Terreblanch a few days ago. He insults and threatens whites in a way that would have been inconceivable from any black politician even a few years ago, and he's attacked in the most egregious terms even ANC Government ministers. The non-black ones, that is.
More than one observer has likened him to a young Idi Amin.
Yet nobody in government has anything other than good things to say about him.
What’s going on here? In fact, what’s going on in South Africa generally?
I'm only an outside observer (albeit a regular visitor and one with many friends in that country) so my views have to be discounted to some extent. But sometimes an external observer identifies developments that may not be obvious to those on the ground, wrapped up as they are in the daily grind of surviving.
My view is that something major is going down and that it’s not going to be pretty. Why is Malema being tolerated, indeed encouraged, by powerful forces in that country? How does this fit in to other developments now underway?
Here are a few theories.
1. The ANC are using Malema as a holding operation
Under this scenario Malema is being tolerated because, whereas he’s pissing off the whites, they’re not going to react in any violent way and he is, maybe inadvertently on his part, keeping the increasingly restive native ‘youths’ pacified….. as they wait their turn at the trough when he gains power.
2. Malema plans to oust the ANC old guard
Under this scenario Malema is using his outlandish behaviour to divert attention from his real objective, viz, to bide his time until the country's ‘youths’ tire of the old guards’ failed promises and sweep Malema into power to deliver to them what he has, in splendid fashion, delivered to himself.
3. Extreme elements are setting Malema up for ‘martyrdom’
Here I see the possibility that extreme elements, e.g. SACP and the ANC youth wing, possibly a lot more, want the excuse to foment a full race war and get their hands on the loot, unencumbered by due process and such nonsense. If Malema were to be ‘assassinated’ and the killing blamed on ‘white extremists’, the pretext for all-out war of white genocide would be in place.
4. Malema’s being used to provoke a white reaction
In this scenario Malema becomes so provocative both verbally and physically (like with the murder of Terreblanch) that some whites will react by staging some form of armed resistance. This will be the excuse for black extremists to launch a genocidal attack on whites while maintaining the support of the rest of the world as they ‘put down the white reactionaries’ rebellion’.
5. He’s being used to unify white resistance
Ok, this is probably far-fetched, but I’ll give it to you anyway. My theory on this one is based on Malema’s clearly stated intention to have the country’s mines ‘returned’ to the blacks, without compensation. (“Here in Zimbabwe hear you are now going straight to the mines. That's what we are going to be doing in South Africa"). It’s a logical ‘progression’ of his ‘thinking’. Now this is the one thing calculated to put the wind up the ultimate power brokers in SA, the Oppenheimers and their like. Even without this latest development they must be worried about the way the country is going.
So, my (not very plausible) theory is, they see the need for whites to unify and defend ‘law and order’, now that the ANC seem incapable/unwilling to do this. Malema’s outrageous and threatening behaviour, singing ‘kill the boer’, and then having one of the boers’ leaders hacked to death would surely galvanise the, so far, supine whites. A unified, cohesive white force would easily overpower a numerically superior African opposition. At which point the mines would remain safely in the ownership of South Africa’s elite!
In any event, I think things are going to come to a head fairly soon. The catalyst could be the conclusion of the World Cup, the death of Mandela, or just a semi-spontaneous re-igniting of the ‘struggle’. Friends and colleagues there tell me that they’ve noticed a subtle change in attitude among their own black co-workers and other associates. There seems to be a pulling back and oblique references along the lines of ‘if something happens to whites it won't be my fault, even though you’ll have brought it on yourselves’.
They say it’s scary.