Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
19 March 2009

Tony Leon reborn: now witty and making fun of Zille?

I had a good laugh at the piece written by ex-DA leader Tony Leon and published today in Business Day. Now that he is not the surly – “fight b(l)ack” – leader of the DA anymore, he is actually quite witty and, dare I say, a bit critical of his new leader. Hence he describes Ms Botox as follows:

Awaiting her curtain call, from an office eyrie above the stage, Zille, the DA leader-premier-candidate-mayor, sits behind a desk, impeccably blonde and coiffured, her obligatory blue T-shirt offset by a rather handsome pewter necklace and designer glasses.

Sounds like Tony thinks Helen Zille is a bit fake. All that (bottle) blond hair. Those red, botoxed, lips. The fancy designer glasses. Ouch! Tony has let out his inner bitch. And to prove the point he describes the rally (in Mitchells Plain) as follows:

The DA diva dashes down the staircase to the stage, the crowd roars and, behold, Jacob Zuma-like, she grabs the microphone and begins singing — more baritone than soprano. The ANC president’s trademark anthem, Umshini wami (Bring me my Machine Gun), inspires the ire of the politically correct. But the DA song of the day, which Zille lustily belts out and to which she dances, probably also warrants the attention of the thought — or at least the gender — police. Koekie Lookie , which the crowd loves, roughly translates from Kaapsetaal into “Hot Chick”. Helen’s musical repertoire — if not her sense of rhythm — is also on fire. She proceeds to belt out an old Nat anthem, suitably transposed, “Klim op die DA Bus” (climb on the DA bus), and then another piece of musical doggerel: “Brom, brom, brom, die DA kom”.

For those wanting to read the tea leaves there seems to be much implicit criticism of Zille in this piece. Calling your new leader a diva and pointing out that she cannot dance is a bit rude, not? In any case, read the piece. I cannot believe I am saying this, but it is really well written, funny, a bit bitchy but quite human – so different from Leon’s image when he was the grumpy, often stilted politician complaining about the ANC.

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