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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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