I derive a lot of satisfaction from listening to ANC youth league leader, Julius Malema speak. Not because he is erudite or knowledgeable, but because he has the knack of coming up with the most controversial statements about all things that affect South Africa’s politics.
In many ways, he is as good for South Africa’s media as Joseph Chinotimba, the Zimbabwean war veteran leader is for us. Recently, Chinotimba – also known as ‘Chinos’ – cooked up a storm for alleging that an MDC deputy minister, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, had stolen his cell phone, valued at less than USD 50. Mahlangu was arrested on the charge with Chinos suing him for USD 19 million for ‘loss of business’.
Yep, that’s our Chinos – so amusing are his actions that Zimbabweans have come up with a string of jokes about him!
With Malema too, there is never a dull moment and the media is always on the ready to slurp up more of his wacky comments.
Remember when he called Helen Zille a racist little girl, who kept male politicians as her concubines?
A low blow much like Chinos’ own remarks made in an interview with UK- based SW Radio Africa. When asked about the 2000 invasion of white-owned farms, Chinos responded to the interviewer, Violet Gonda,
“You are very foolish…Was your father’s land invaded? Did your father have any land when the land was seized? Did your own father not live up in a mountain? So if you father takes some land, will that be an invasion of land? Are you not ashamed of yourself?!”
This month, Malema, who has openly called the handling of the Caster Semenya saga racist, gave us an insight into why he thinks the world is out to bring down the South African 800m champion.
“Hermaphrodite, what is that? Somebody tell me, what is hermaphrodite in Pedi? There’s no such thing, hermaphrodite in Pedi. So don’t impose your hermaphrodite concepts on us.
In other words, Malema believes that the leaked information that states that Semenya has both male and female sex organs cannot be correct because the concept of hermaphrodism does not exist within his own Pedi culture.
I gasped in exasperation as this only serves to further fuel the stigma that Semenya might suffer due to this saga.
Malema went on to say that one is definitively either a man or a woman, and that when a child is born, noone in the village ever goes about saying they have had a hermaphrodite.
So just because there is no word for it Pedi, hermaphrodites don’t exist?
Methinks such statements are counter-constructive as they only serve to make those who are hermaphrodites ashamed of something that they have no control over.
It’s one thing to be controversial, and therefore hilarious, but it’s another thing to peddle misinformation.
And as Chinos and Malema show, they very often tend to be misinformed and highly disrespectful.