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like a butterfly

Red is the new purple

by Christopher Steenkamp / 25.02.2014

“So who are you voting for?” I ask.

He isn’t interested in me, but it’s nothing personal, a city bubbling with 7 million cases of potential small talk make our encounter intrinsically insignificant. If only we lived in some bumfuck outskirt, an endangered prattle district.

“Huh?” He says.
“Who are you voting for?”

It’s a tricky line to cross with a stranger, but fuck it, we were both standing in a queue after all. Modernity’s sweet revenge. Eye contact, faint smile, engage, I’m going in for the interpersonal kill.

“The EFF,” he says.
“The EFF?”

My heart skips a beat, though the hat was a give away. Finally a real conversation with the official radical left. I’d milk his rage and leave with a sturdy resolve, enthused. I inquire on.


“Because the ANC has failed us.”

Fuck it, I’m moving to Kakamas.

A troublesome reason. Hardly the words from the transcendent left. A utopian vision pulled from dystopia’s anus? Fail. Reactionary twaddle 101.

I smile and wait for my chips patiently. Bull dozing through our obviously obvious conversation. The big house, the tender fraud, the lack of service delivery. Blah-di-fucking-blah, I’ve had that conversation. Paint me a ‘new’ where, a vision.

The arc of Julius Malema’s political career is both fascinating and infuriating. There is no external authority able to trump true political will. The judiciary may be integruous, but when it misses, it misses big.

The well-read mob can be supplanted with rural desperation and the rest handled with well-timed EFTs. Money, unscrupulous ignorant support and tailor-made ego boosts for the ambitious are all stirred up to form this noxious cocktail called political success.

Don’t get me right, I’m proud of the EFF, they’ve mobilized creatively, struck nerves and shown courage.

But. But. But…

There is the question of authenticity and responsibility. Unfortunately the one is as boring as the other, probably why the EFF enjoys such popularity they don’t bother with incommodious reality. An economic freedom fighter with a R16 million tax bill, from purple suits to the trenches? I don’t know how the spin succeeded, how did one of our greatest tenderpreneurs became the face of economic liberation? Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, said Juju almost single-handedly plunged the Limpopo government into financial crises.


The Ratanang Family trust debacle.

Yet there’s no real concern amidst EFF ranks. These two have been crow-barred apart for some obscure reason. Juju’s call to centralise our country’s mineral wealth, all of it piling into one coffer and his blatant fiscal fiendery are very much part of the same bag.

If any sort of socialist progression is to occur it has be made by someone unmoved by shiny watches and grape coloured suits. How voters could even consider handing over the pin codes to the treasury to a man who’s integrity is in such blatant question is beyond me.

A bankrupt man, being investigated for serious fraud, running for president, on economic reform policies? My soul creeks with existential angst as I type this. What the fuck is going on? Another thing worth mentioning is that he allegedly stole most of his money. I know the lay term is colluded.


A man who stole professionally has still managed to run dry and now wants the top job?

I don’t understand. I’m off to have a lie down.

Illustrations © Christopher Steenkamp

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  1. Sangha-Oubangui says:


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  2. Heather says:

    Chris, what you haven’t explored adequately in this article which is critically spot-on (although a similar argument can be levelled at the ANC, and DA, and and…) is the political gap that the Communist Party’s ANC’s gravy eating has created. Come on – somebody …. anybody … Ja exactly. The left is too existentialist to do anything – its a lot easier to just bitch about it.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    The head does rather want to explode. Now we could try the tired old ‘blame apartheid’ game “hang on, we stuffed up their education and now you expect them to think???? Get real. Coffee’s on the warmer boet” The only challenge with this is that the vast majority of EFF supporters are young and were spared the damaging effects of Bantu Education. Damn. Whom do we blame now?? Unfortunately good ol’ logic cries out that we ask how their education was damaged …..

    Hey, listen. If you were 20 something and this charismatic (yes, he is) bloke promised to double your salary and at the same time rid the country of the blight of “white minority capital” could you resist the appeal? Nooooit! The bugger is really good at rhetoric even if often intellectually challenged by its meaning. Say it often enough and it becomes real.

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  4. Lehakoe says:


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  5. Lehakoe says:

    ‘A man who stole professionally…’ — And yet Verwoerd and the colonialists get a different label…Ha!!

    The construction cartels (as they are called when white people collude and corrupt) got a slap on the wrist and still get to bid for tenders so shurrup and let Juju be.

    Anyway… We’re not voting DA anytime soon baba. So best you drink your rooibos and ease your headache.

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