Posts Tagged ‘south africa’
Is Julius Malema for real, or is he part of a huge spoof to suck everyone in, providing a diversion for an inept, mostly corrupt, beleaguered, bumbling, ANC? I mean, racism, retro economic thought (nationalisation), corruption, incivility, crass grossness and a raised digit to anything that smacks of First World norm (let alone Third World) appear as the ruling party’s Youth League leader’s trademark.
I think Julius (derided for his scant education) has been reading up about the greatest evil to have lived in modern times, Adolf Hitler. After all, much of Malema et cronies’ actions smack of 20th Century hate and holocaust potential, almost as orchestrated.
Is he funny? Is he the butt of bar room jokes? Is he the cartoonists’ dream? Is he not to be taken seriously? Bad odours, fears and disturbing ideas are traditionally excised in traditional ways; whistling a happy tune is a prescribed panacea.
South Africans, especially the non-black middle class, are whistling a happy tune.
They may regret it; they will have only themselves to blame. “I told you so” does not repair shattered dreams and lives.
Laugh at the perceived joker by all means; if you dare.
In the 2007 Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, a film by writer-director Dani Levy, Hitler was portrayed as the funniest man in the world. Poor taste, you might say, right on, but there were Hitler comedies before – Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film The Great Dictator, where the comedian-director played Hitler caricature Adenoid Hynkel, and later a Nazi-bashing comedy from Mel Brooks -The Producers.
As sagacious observers will note, the USA did not suffer jackboot dictatorship; most of Europe did and might have wryly smiled, but 6 million Jews and who knows how many million “others” might not have found things that amusing.
That is why in South Africa, cartoons from the brilliant Zapiro, so admired overseas for what they see as political lampooning, to those nearer the ever-present swart gevaar may portend more sinister implications and be nearer the truth than the titters.
Perhaps, it may be argued, it is in poor taste to ridicule a nation’s leader? Certainly if unfunny, blatantly malicious and degrading, it is descending to the levels for which one’s adversary is despised. But if freedom of speech is enshrined in a constitution, so be it.
But is Malema a leader in the true sense of the word? The answer of course, is a resounding NO. He may be an elected member of a ruling party’s organisation, even possessor of a freebie MP’s ticket, but he has the mandate of only a lunatic fringe …but then there’s one in every organisation and nation’s cupboards.
Forget at your peril that revolution is not an offspring of the masses, but a concerted, organised movement from those in power. The masses provide the gun fodder.
Much media speculation and letters to editors around the world have either vilified or supported Sandton-dwelling Malema’s anti-white, anti-Coloureds and anti anti-ANC diatribe.
If, as his detractors say, he is a jumped-up Johnny-Come-Lately, what have they to fear?
Is Malema laughing behind everyone’s back, or does he really mean what he says?
And my guess? Would he really take power if it were offered? A true joker eschews responsibility. If Ian Botham, England’s doyen of the cricket world’s boozy buffoonery, was offered chairmanship of the ICC, he’d laugh in their faces and order another pint… That’s the type of man who doesn’t want to be taken too seriously.
But if JM were offered all that JZ has, would he head out and buy a new pair of cuff links (or another 4×4)? You bet he would. After all, didn’t Uganda’s Idi Amin claim he was “the last king of Scotland”?
I think he will, if ever he takes power, or controls enough of the nation, or convinces sufficient similar thinkers to run the risk of finally turning South Africa into the shambles in which the rest of the African continent’s nations find themselves, the die will be cast.
How does one stop him?
Well, a peek into history might help. In the late 1990s, after seventeen years of “freedom”, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe pottered along quite happily, its agricultural infrastructure intact and its economy stable. Mugabe, the “joker in the pack” rapidly turned into “the angel of death”… where is Harare now? Is South Africa, seventeen years after independence, teetering on a similar political precipice?
Or go even further back. The Romans, the Mongols, the Goths, the Vikings, the Spanish, the Brits, the Austrians, the French, the Germans, the Afrikaners, some Muslims and without doubt the Americans, have all had screaming figureheads in their histories.
It usually took guts, sacrifice and long, long, bloody wars to topple those that seized power or mesmerised the unemployed or the “disadvantaged” (ring a bell?) into pursuing a forlorn and hopeless cause … until another “cause” arose phoenix-like from the ashes of the so-called “good guys’” pyrrhic victory.
Hitler was the “upstart Austrian corporal”, Napoleon the “Corsican peasant” and Mussolini the “Italian imposter” … remember them?
Time to stop snickering and passing on sotto voce jokes about JM … believe me friends, this guy is for real
Last year the Ocean2Ocean was run twice. Once in April, under very hot conditions, and once in June when it was cold, misty, wet and windy. This year was perfect, blue skies, a warm sun, a slight cooling breeze and views in every direction. Nice.
The O2O was originally conceived as the Real Two Oceans, a tongue in cheek reference to its more famous and popular long distance cousin, the Two Oceans Marathon, the 56km tour of duty for any road runner worth their sweat. It was originally also run on Easter weekend (although not on the same day as the marathon) and on some occasions runners have run the 56km tar version on the Saturday and then the 50km off road version on the Monday. This year we ran a week after Easter so the tar bunnies had a week to rest up and get their mountain legs in shape.
The run, now called Ocean2Ocean, is led by my mate, Dirk. I had run the 50km twice with him before finding myself at the back of the back in 2008 and in no mood to catch up. At the first seconding table at Silvermine, fellow runner Winston and I decided we weren’t going to play catch up all day and we would do our own route, a slightly shortened one to the finish, and so we did. The next year I suggested to Dirk that we offer a 42km (approximate) route to those who don’t want to go as far and as fast, he agreed and the shortened version was born.
We ran the 42km twice last year and once this year on April 10. Make no mistake the 50km is the tougher one, its longer and faster and comes with the added bonus of being a Puffer qualifier. The Puffer, for the unaware, is the grand daddy of Cape Town trail races. It starts at Cape Point and takes in 80km of mostly mountains (barring the chunk of tar at the start and bits here and there) ending eventually at Ferrymans at the Waterfront.
Dizzys was our target for this year’s run. Dirk led 20 runners on the longer route and I had nine in mine. I had five pullouts in the week prior but a small group works well. We started at Muizenberg and ran along the dark and empty beach, the tide low and the wind still. We made our way to St James where we headed up through the sleepy suburb and onto the mountain. We ran/walked through plenty Fynbos, an indigenous forest and some single track before hitting the jeep track back to Ou Kaapse weg, crossing the road and running via the River Trail to the waiting snacks and drinks at the Silvermine car park.
With the sun warm but pleasant we headed up to Noordhoek Peak, along the roller coaster route that is the skyline
panorama before stopping for a rest at the Hout Bay lookout. We spotted Dirk and his crowd well on their way up to the Constantiaberg mast but we headed down and around passing the abandoned manganese mines and stretching our legs on the flattish slightly undulating path before going up and over Vlakkenberg to our next seconding stop at Constantia Nek.
Having refueled it was a hop, skip and a jump over Table Mountain to
Camps Bay, where we enjoyed cold beers and pizzas at Dizzys. 10 hours and some change to cover about 42.km (and some change) but its not about numbers, nor speed, its about spending a day out on the Cape Mountains enjoying nature at her finest and Cape Town at its best.
The 50km crowd arrived an hour and a bit later looking tired but happy and the following week Dirk led another 50km run which I joined from Constantia Nek to sweep the last leg. We might run another this year – watch www.ocean2ocean.co.za for details.