Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.
Most curious, though, was the reaction of the middle-classes, Malema’s traditional enemies, as his commitment became clear, and the scope of the ANCYL’s protest ambitions became apparent. They didn’t suddenly agree that nationalising mines or expropriating farmland would be a good idea. They did, however, express admiration, even respect – something that would have seemed unlikely in the extreme the day before. .. A little bit of sympathy can be a powerful thing. Where the chattering classes were dismissive, at best, of Malema before, a kernel of doubt has been planted. Could he be worth listening to? Is there perhaps sense to be divined in the mess that is his ideology? It won’t last, probably, but getting people who normally wouldn’t is the point of any protest. Even if Malema is utterly ignored by the government, and the JSE, and the Chamber of Mines, he’s already succeeded in a small way. Mostly, though, Malema has suddenly become an inspirational political figure, somebody who achieved a tangible and difficult goal through sheer determination. There aren’t many others we can say that about, and none who can reach disenchanted young people as Malema does. That, too, is a lever of power. – Phillip de Wet at Daily MaverickBACK TO TOP