Schlagwort-Archive: public

Ubuntu in Germany Column

The Pistorius case has done a great deal of damage to the South African nation. A German press view

(Editor: Alex Smit-Stachowski is speaking in her column about life as a South African now living in Germany. The South African journalist lives in Krefeld, in North Rhine-Westphalia/ Germany).

Germans have given the Oscar Pistorius case top billing in newspapers, on websites and on TV – they, like South Africans take their sport idols very seriously and there’s a feeling of shocked dismay from the press here.

© Germans have given the Oscar Pistorius case top billing in media. The Pistorius case has done a great deal of damage to the South African nation. The tourism country has to restore respect, said Ubuntu columnist Alex Smit-Stachowski. (Quelle: flickr/ Global Sports Forum)

© Germans have given the Oscar Pistorius case top billing in media. The Pistorius case has done a great deal of damage to the South African nation. The tourism country has to restore respect, said Ubuntu columnist Alex Smit-Stachowski. (Quelle: flickr/ Global Sports Forum)

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Understanding the Malema Debacle

An analysis to the Malema-Zuma-relationship

(Editor: Leon Schreiber*)

The circumstances surrounding Julius Malema’s suspension has been extensively covered in the South African media. But just how did such an embarrassing situation arise? Why has an organisation with a proud history of integrity reached a point where its representatives are openly calling for regime change in democratic countries, provoking racial tensions and publicly insulting its President? And why did the top six leaders of the African National Congress (ANC), including President Zuma, decide to hold an embarrassing press conference last week where they were preaching unity, while it was obvious to all observers that there are great tensions between them? The answer is to be found at the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference.

President Jacob Zuma is no longer supported by Julius Malema. The suspended ANCYL president is using the chaotic lack of discipline & respect and embarrassing the ANC leadership. (Quelle: flickr/The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa + GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma is no longer supported by Julius Malema. The suspended ANCYL president is using the chaotic lack of discipline & respect and embarrassing the ANC leadership. (Quelle: flickr/The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa + GCIS)

It was during the Polokwane conference that Zuma’s camp let the Malema genie out of the bottle. They had identified the populist talents of the newly-elected ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader, and these talents were very useful to Zuma at the time. Zuma’s supporters sat back and watched as Malema was given free rein to use whatever tactics were necessary to get rid of Zuma’s opponent at the time, Thabo Mbeki. The important point is that there were no limits to the lengths Malema was allowed to go, as illustrated by his infamous call that the ANCYL is prepared to ‘kill for Zuma’. But there was more to it than just this rhetorical flourish. Zuma’s camp allowed Malema to completely assassinate Mbeki’s character. He was also allowed to make pronouncements on the corruption and rape investigations which were being carried out against Zuma at the time. However, in the process of using Malema to advance his own political agenda (seeking the position of President), Zuma effectively sacrificed all discipline and integrity. Indeed, if integrity and discipline were still present within the ANC, Malema would never have gotten away with claiming that the alleged victim of Zuma’s rape ‘had a nice time’ whiles the case was still sub judice. In short, political expediency was regarded by Zuma to be more important than the principles of the ANC. In 2007, the ANC spectacularly surrendered all of its principles in the most public of fashions. And from Zuma’s perspective it had worked like a charm. The corruption and rape charges were controversially dropped and he was free to be elected as President of the ANC, while his opponent Mbeki was unceremoniously tossed out to sea.

During the ensuing four years, Malema has steadily lost favour with Zuma and his supporters. It appears as if Zuma initially believed that there would be no consequences to allowing discipline and respect to collapse. He may perhaps even have felt vindicated when Malema started making racist pronouncements against whites, because it gave the ANC an easy scapegoat to blame for its lack of progress in fighting poverty and inequality. If Malema could get young black South Africans to blame whites for the lack of service delivery and their continuing poverty, then the ANC’s hold on power would not be threatened by its own incompetence. This explains why the ANC initially did not even attempt to reprimand Malema for his clearly racist behaviour – it continued to work in their favour. However, the honeymoon came to an abrupt end when Malema started openly criticising Zuma, even ironically comparing him to Mbeki in an unfavourable light. Never mind his calls for nationalisation, racial violence and perhaps even regime change in Botswana (the ostensible cause for his suspension) – it was Malema’s decision to attack the Zuma camp (which includes powerful individuals like the ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe) which finally led to the marriage collapsing.

The embarrassing events of the past few months are very easy to understand when keeping the context of the Zuma-Malema relationship in mind: now that Malema has lost his value to Zuma, the ANC is trying to put the genie back into the bottle. But they will find that it is much harder to force Malema’s considerable girth back into the proverbial lamp than it was to let his (skinnier) self out back in 2007. This is because reinstating discipline and integrity will be almost impossible after it was sacrificed on the altar of Zuma’s quest for political power in 2007 for the entire world to see. The result is that Malema will continue to use the chaotic lack of discipline and respect which now rules in the ANC to embarrass the leadership. He will defy his suspension(s). He will openly criticize Zuma. He will call for a new ANC President to be elected in December. Why? Because Zuma had opened the floodgates at the Polokwane conference. And now the torrent may very well wash him away to the ocean, where he would join Mbeki in floating around aimlessly as pieces of South African political driftwood.

*Leon Schreiber is a South African PhD student in Political Science at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. The views expressed are his own. Follow Leon on Twitter @Die_Schreiberei

Pieter-Dirk Uys – Comedian in interview

„Freedom of speech means we have the right to opinions“

(Editor/ Autor: Serge Aka)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Als Frauen verkleidete Comedians, wie Hape Kerkeling in Deutschland, sind in fast allen westlich-orientierten Staaten vorzufinden; auch in Südafrika. Pieter-Dirk Uys ist am Kap dafür bekannt, dass er sich in die Rolle von impulsiven Damen begibt und mit Zynismus, Ironie und Provokation auf sein Gegenüber einwirkt. Insbesondere um seine Rolle als Evita Bezuidenhout/ Tannie Evita lieben ihn die Südafrikaner.  So stellte er einmal die These auf, dass Frauen zurück in die Küche müssten (siehe das unten abgebildete Video). Der in Kapstadt geborene Comedian kritisierte auf einer literarisch-künstlerischen Ebene das Apartheidregime und machte sich somit zum Gegner der weißen Minderheitsregierung.  Mit Mut und Ehrgeiz engagierte er sich als Evita immer wieder gegen die Apartheid, sodass er eines Tages sogar den  persönlichen Lob von Nelson Mandela erhielt. Mit Berlin verbindet Pieter-Dirk Uys viel Zuneigung, da ein Teil seiner Familie aus der Bundeshauptstadt stammt. Das Erlernen der deutschen Sprache, so verriet uns der Comedian während seines Berlin-Aufenthaltes exklusiv, wird angestrebt, um dessen Shows eines Tages auch in Deutsch anbieten zu können. Wir freuen uns, dass auch diese Person des öffentlichen Lebens den Fragen des Portals „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ zur Verfügung stand.

© Pieter-Dirk Uys - South African comedian with German ties

© Pieter-Dirk Uys – South African comedian with German ties

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on „SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ the South African comedian Pieter-Dirk Uys. Mr. Uys, how did you get in comedy? Was it a dream of your childhood or the result of a challenge?

Answer: It was more a challenge to try and fight the fear of authorities and politics, apartheid. There were various ways to fight it and I just thought to fight it with humor might involve many people because a lot of politics was very stupid and needed to be pointed out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: You are known as a satirist, who has the gift of gab. You love to play female Characters. Your performance is inspired by desperate first ladies. How do you choose them and what message do you want to communicate?

Answer: Well there are so many interesting women in politics, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel,…I mean there is a sort of really they offer themselves as theatrical characters. I think in this case it is very interesting to look at women in politics, their strength in a world of men, how they use their body language, make-up, hair to get away I think they are very successful in politics and it is very theatrical, I think the audience finds it funny and interesting to see a man suddenly become a female character.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: With your character Evita Bezuidenhout you have criticized during Apartheid the racial segregation between white, black, colored and asiatic. How have the reactions of the government and the white public to your shows been?

Answer: You know the old days I was censored and there was a lot of police harassment to trouble which was expected. In the democracy we have freedom of speech, so within the framework of that I had a very successful career. There are some of the politicians that are uncomfortable with what I say, but that is ok I don´t mind, I don´t particularly want them to be a fan, I mean they give my material and in case they do like what I say they can resign.

Evita Bezuidenhout: „Women should be go back to the citchen“

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Don´t you fear for your life?

Answer: No no no, you know I keep on saying if you fear for anything, you can´t tell the truth. If I don´t tell the truth I am going to be fearful because a lie is serious, the truth is serious enough, you don´t have actually to lie more to make it entertain.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: In the past, you interviewed the most famous hero of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. He told to you following phrase: „You are one of my heroes“. Which feelings did you have at that time?

Answer: I mean first of all I am sitting in a character as Evita, and there is Nelson Mandela talking to Evita but saying to me you are one of my heroes, I think it was wonderful, it was such a great. The man´s humanity and its humor is extraordinary and I have been blessed with my friendship with him and it is something that changed my life.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: About this friendship, can we say that it is something you have been expecting before?

Answer: Well, for most of his life he was in jail and he was away, but he used to see my videos in prison, there used to show videos on robben island and so, I used to get messages from Winnie Mandela, from Nelson through Winnie. So I was looking forward to meeting him when he came out.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Mr. Uys, you know the public figure Desmond Tutu too. He is still condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestine as „Apartheid“. What is your opinion in this matter?

Answer: Freedom of speech means we have the right to opinions and I think he was right to talk about that aspect, he was very verbal during Apartheid about cultural boycott. I personally was not very convinced about cultural boycott during apartheid, because the culture that was not sent to South Africa was in fact the culture that would have destroyed Apartheid. I was glad that he brought it up, so that the companies of which ninety per cent were young black people had to think about that. How do they feel about going into a place where Palestinians are not allowed to go? But Desmond Tutu always leads in its criticisms and his prayers; he is a very special human being.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What do you feel when you come to Berlin knowing that your mother is originating from this place? Do you have ties to Germany and German comedians or even a German part-identity?

Answer: I do not have ties to people here other than friends, but I feel very familiar here in Berlin. Having been here many times and doing show here makes me feel well, that is why I want to come and live here for a year and really learn the language, so that I can also perform in German language.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Which dreams would you still realize in your private and professional career?

Answer: One of my dreams is to establish my German language to the extent that I can also do a performance here. You know also the year use to have 365 days whereas my year has only two days, today and tomorrow. Today is the most important day and I do not want to look across tomorrow and ignore what today has to offer.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Does it mean you do not plan the future?

Answer: Of course I do plan years in advance but in pencil so that you can rub it out and write again. It is very important to plan but also very important to listen and to see how quickly things go. Look at Egypt, in a week has completely changed from one thing to another. It is very exciting.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: So you live the present?

Answer: Of course.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Pieter-Dirk Uys, South African Comedian, thank you very much for this interview!