Julius Malema: Fictional Facts

Learning from the young

Before we forget.

Expelled ANC Youth League Leader Julius Malema, is practically emulating almost every strategy and tactic which his mentor and South African President Jacob Zuma himself employed when he outsted his then arch rival former President Thabo Mbeki back in 2008.

If we could take detailed notes, we would be forgiven when we give Malema correct marks point by point by point. One 100 percent full marks. Though we don’t know as yet if Malema will ┬ámake it to the ruling party ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane (sic) Mangaung in the North West Province in November.

The charges which the Hawks (South Africa’s specialist police) have been investigating since the beginning of the year could continue well into 2014.

History Repeats itself so What’s new?

The public is taken a-back my Malemas’ arrogant, disrespectful insults against President Zuma – who is ineffect his elder, a father figure (for) to him; who is to be respected. And in African tradition and culture what Malema is doing is simply “unheard” of! Out of Order with that natural flow of things.

No matter how wrong your mother, father, uncle and great grand father might be, however angry you are with them, however justified you might be in your righteous indignation, it is not correct to shame them, insult them and call them illiterate in public. Nothing they can do warrants the slightest disrespect from a youngster – “upstart” a friend once remarked.

Let’s look back at the “spear” debacle and the the moral anger it ignited even amongst the fiercest detractors of Zuma’s presidency today. Brett Marais’s painting infused such righteous anger in the public discourse it became a racial issue ( Black Africans and White Africans don’t read for the same morality book sometimes) in the public discourse. Yes many might agree that Zuma’s behavoir is wrong, but however wrong he might be, we can’t expose his manhood for all to see in public galleries even if they are of an artistic nature.

Young people are tickled by Malema’s utterances, but older folk are angered by them. ┬áTo the point of being Livid. To them it is like a child whose filthy nappies you changed turning against you and saying telling you that you are nothing. You know nothing.

It’s a very dangerous line to cross.

The recent elimination of Tshidi – a promising and should I add much loved contestant in South Africa’ talent search – Idols’ is a case in point. As part of the top four competitors she was followed back to her home town of Thokoza where she was met by scores of people including her family and friends, waiting to congratulate her on having succeeded and come so far in the most talked about singing competition in South Africa. But before she came out of her car, she nervously said: ” Please don’t jump on me, don’t jump on me please, I don’t want to fall over etc, please don’t jump on me” for at least five minutes.

Such a light statement that was.

Needles to say no one came near her, and the country demonstrated their displeasure at her “pompous” comments when they eliminated her from the race to become South Africa’s next Pop Idol. No votes for Tshidi.

Malema – if found guilty could loose everything.
One hopes for his sake, he has an uncle or friend some where who can help him pick up the pieces.

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On A Knife’s Edge: economic freedom now!

I have been listening with keen interest at comments by Labour Unions, Employers/Management, the Media et al and their views around the issue of industrial action stemming from the Marikana and the subsequent labour strikes that are flaring up across the country.

After the Constitutional court ruled last week that the South African Government can go ahead with is controversial e-tolls, taxes drivers must pay to use long roads in Johannesburg, despite public wide oppositions to this earlier in March. That will be 30cents a kilometer, then add another 93cents a liter for petrol and you have a price hike, which means that a month I pay R800 rands just for transport, for 8 kilometers, in a mini-bus taxi. Others people are not so lucky.

Truck Drivers have gone on strike, although it’s all completely unrelated. Workers  have been largely labelled as irresponsible in their decision to refuse to go to work until their needs have been met.

Their decision to stand up for their rights has been labelled as “wild-cat” “illegal” “unprotected” basically illegitimate.  Some unions have even made assertions that Marikana has set a “dangerous precedent” for labour  for  wage negotiations in the country, not because of the  44 or is it 47 people who lost their lives lost their lives in the quest for justice but because workers dared to stand up for their rights, and fight for what is due to them.

They set a “dangerous precedent” because they can’t dare represent themselves – their own needs and interests directly to the people who employ them.  And they in truth have had to embark on “wild-cat” protests and marches because the unions who are their “legitimate” representatives, who take a portion of their pay to do so every month, have simply failed to represent and fight for workers needs. What alternatives do workers have?

Despite striking being a genuine way of saying hello?? we cannot live or survive on the money you insist on paying us. Despite this being a symptom of a deeper problem plaguing worker rights/ or working conditions in the country, employers and unions have continued to belittle them, and their desperate plight for a fighting chance at life, at every turn.

With things (economy) being tight as they are, I understand when people hold on as tightly as they can to the jobs they already have. Always being assured that at the very least they will have some money, at least for a day to afford a roof over their heads, to pay for food and transportation, basics which are becoming increasingly unaffordable with each passing day.

Life in South Africa has become so expensive even I am, as we speak, am one or two connections away from becoming a hobo. Literally. And not because no one cares but because everyone is trying desperately to keep their own heads above water, to afford their own lives, they are also just as thinly stretched, breaking-even if they’re lucky, and could feasibly join me in the trenches should some things grow even more expensive. Or better still they might, just like striking mine workers and truck drivers, find themselves on the streets defending their right to a descent living, again armed and equally underpaid police officers. It’s really tough.

So everyone is trying to put their oxygen masks on, to breathe in and to stay alive (with fading possibilities) The worst part of it is, these people are employed! they all have jobs that they wake up to everyday and yet they have nothing to show for the 8 hours or more they spend everyday at work.

Fortunately if I end up without a job or money to pay for my basic needs I only have myself to worry about. And I am grateful for this.What about those mothers and fathers, sisters, grandmothers who have to ignore their own growling angry stomachs to find something, anything that could for a moment, silence those piercing screams from the stomachs of their children.

Just a few weeks ago, a mother of five children, woke up one day and silenced all her five children – permanently. She confessed in court that she did it, sighting economic and violent abuse. In her mind, the way things were,  they would be better off dead.Yes nothing  no situation should warrant such extreme action. But Marikana happened. Those men could have just simply gone back to work. If it their needs were so greedy and ‘unreasonable’, if it is ultimately so easy to just “bite the bullet”. Not every one smells great under-pressure, and clearly we’re all so much under pressure that close 30 thousand people we’ve all been under so much pressure anymore pressure will be our last breath.

Hunger is not pretty, Neither is it friendly.  To even assert that these men and women are acting out of greed and being careless and irresponsible – is inhumane. No woman or man  would do anything to risk not getting money to buy food, but if all that money can busy is a ride to work and back – what do you say to mouths? Conspiracies aside. People are suffering.

We are living on a knife’s edge all of us. And I guess if people, everyone, can stop for a moment and re-look at their own budgets, and make re-calculations of how much you earn and how far that money goes today, regardless of your status;  perhaps you can also find  a little sympathy for the striking workers, because even you will find that money cannot afford you as much as it did before and  that perhaps R12, 500 rands a is not such an  exorbitant amount after all.