EVEN for the master political acrobat, it's an exceptional feat: just a few days after breathlessly congratulating the Springboks and naming Siya Kolisi his captain, Julius Malema declared that the Springbok name and green-and-gold are symbols of apartheid and should be abolished.
From “Congratulations to the Springboks for winning the Rugby World Cup! Historic, Monumental and Inspiring!" to “That emblem and that jersey represent white supremacists that we don't support" in less than a week.
He had to explain his flip-flopping twice, realising quickly that he had misread the national mood entirely this time. Even in his favoured comfort zone, Black Twitter, he faced a backlash, with almost no EFF fighters coming to his rescue.
First, he claimed his initial euphoria was “a slip in political consciousness", then he argued that his stance means he can't be a populist, that he is actually principled.
In my book, there's only one explanation for Malema's about-face.
Resentment, even hatred, towards white South Africans is the only commodity the EFF trades in.
The more divided the country is on racial lines, the less there is a sense of social cohesion, the better the breeding ground for the EFF.
The euphoria and surge of patriotism and solidarity that bubbled up in every corner of South Africa after the Springboks won the World Cup is the EFF's kryptonite.
“Stronger together" makes the EFF weaker.
The EFF will be 11 years old when we vote in next year's general election. From day one, and now again, the party predicts it will win the election and that Malema will become the president.
But the EFF still struggles to break through the 10-15% support range, and it's likely not to achieve its victory in 2024 either. If the spirit of togetherness and the way black South Africans embrace the Springboks as their own continues for much longer, the EFF will fare even worse.
One Lerumo Sechaba reminded Malema in response to this:
Other opposition politicians, especially the Patriotic Alliance's Gayton McKenzie and Build One SA's Mmusi Maimane, criticised Malema on social media:
We love the Springboks, we have moved on from any bad or racist connotation associated with it. This is not the time to listen to fools like Malema, let’s celebrate our boys for a hard won victory. The Springbok name is going nowhere finish and klaar💚 pic.twitter.com/VOE7rEmYyC— Gayton McKenzie (@GaytonMcK) November 6, 2023
And then we had De la Rey
But I felt a little sympathy for Julius when I saw the video of white Afrikaans rugby supporters celebrating the Boks' victory with the song “De la Rey De la Rey, sal jy die Boere kom lei" (will you come lead the Boers):
Stronger together rubbish, go on sucking up to white supremacy and don't count me in your nonsense. At least they don't pretend; they are obvious with their racism, and you are desperately seeking their approval and inclusion. pic.twitter.com/zntlIThkec— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) November 6, 2023
Let’s celebrate our achievements
There is absolutely no correlation between the implosion of the South African state and the innovation and energy of the business sector.
South African financial institutions (banks, insurance companies) and private healthcare services have long been world-renowned as some of the very best, as is the agricultural sector.
And then there's Nando's, which grew from one restaurant in Johannesburg in 1987 to more than 1,200 in 30 countries.
Here are two recent achievements that we can celebrate.
In 2005, Natasha Sideris started the first Tashas restaurant in South Africa. Today, there are 17 Tashas in the Middle East and one in Bahrain, in addition to the 16 in South Africa. By the end of next year, there will be 38 Tashas worldwide.
The newest Tashas will open its doors in a few weeks in the iconic Battersea Power Station in London, right next to the largest Zara store in the city.
In Stellenbosch's Technopark, Alphawave has just secured a contract worth R200 million to develop and manufacture super-sensitive detectors for the Square Kilometre Array telescopes.
Alphawave was started by two Stellenbosch engineers in 1994. Today, the company has 17 branches and 375 employees, 175 of them engineers and developers, and it is at the forefront of technological development.
Among its other products are systems to accurately track the flight of a golf ball and to protect animals from theft and predators using GPS collars.
♦ VWB ♦
BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Go to the bottom of this page to share your opinion. We look forward to hearing from you.