/ 28 February 2009

Motoring with Malema’s mouth

Magdalene Moonsamy. Photograph: Qudsiya Karrim
Magdalene Moonsamy. Photograph: Qudsiya Karrim

Diplomatic, articulate and media-savvy, the ANC Youth League’s (ANCYL) new spokesperson, Magdalene Moonsamy, is all the things its controversial leader Julius Malema is not.

Her appointment this week fuelled speculation that it is a strategic move by the youth league to offset negative publicity and garner the support of female youth in the wake of Malema’s recent pejorative comments against women.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian this week she denied the claim, saying: ”It’s not strategic. It’s part of the struggle of women in this country. Let’s see it as an achievement instead of reducing it to tokenism.” She said she was appointed to assist with the league’s tasks, including publicising its policies and accomplishments.

Moonsamy has been active in youth politics since high school. She joined the ANCYL in 1998 while studying law at the then University of Durban-Westville and is serving her second term on its national executive committee. She is explicitly loyal to Malema and steadfastly defended his outbursts of the past week. ”There are no apologies. There’s no need to justify or defend any statements,” she told the M&G.

Malema caused an uproar last month by suggesting that the woman who was allegedly raped by Jacob Zuma had a ”nice time”. This week he said that DA leader Helen Zille should not comment on circumcision as ”women are not allowed to speak about it”. Malema was responding to Zille’s below-the-belt remark at the weekend that he is an inkwenkwe, which refers to an uncircumcised boy.

Moonsamy was tactfully critical of the media, saying it prejudices the youth league and Malema by focusing on scandal instead of its successes. ”We are on the brink of elections, which requires us to be ready for combat to defend our democracy. But Malema is completely misrepresented by the media … they take the things he says out of context,” she said.

  • On his comment that the woman who was allegedly raped by Zuma had a ”nice time” with him, she echoed Malema’s comments: ”As a woman I’d like to say there is no court in this country that has found Jacob Zuma guilty of any offence … That automatically disqualifies the issue of rape.”
  • On Malema’s remark on Sunday that Zille is a ”racist, colonialist and imperialist”, she said: ”Our role is to protect democracy from colonialist forces. The ANC is the only political party in the country which has engaged with all sectors of society. Everything else outside the ANC which doesn’t support a national democratic revolution must be challenged.”
  • On Malema’s comments last Saturday that he will not debate with ”Helen Zille’s garden boys”, she said: ”That statement is not derogatory… Malema was speaking in the broader context of imperialism and colonialism … There’s nothing derogatory in speaking the truth about the DA’s policies.”
  • On his statement to the media on Tuesday that women are not allowed to speak about circumcision, she said: ”It’s a very personal issue for a man and [Zille] infringed on Malema’s personal rights … Don’t tamper with culture. It’s a given that women should not be talking about [circumcision]. Malema was responding to an attack on his culture, it was not an attack on women.”

The new spokesperson waxed lyrical about Malema’s leadership, under which ”developmental, holistic and visionary policies” have evolved into law. She said the youth league is the only ”advocate” for youth policy in South Africa, having initiated progressive campaigns to address education, poverty and HIV/Aids.

”Malema is one of the most vibrant leaders of the youth league. I appreciate his accuracy on issues. He doesn’t see grey, he sees black and white,” she said. ”If there is a leader that epitomises the true spirit of youthfulness to protect the democratic interests of our people, it’s Julius Malema,” she gushed. ”No one else in other parties truly understands the heart of the people.”

Moonsamy also dismissed talk that members within the ANCYL are unhappy with Malema’s foot-in-mouth syndrome and want him out.

”There is absolutely no such thing. In our lekgotla over the weekend, members declared that this rumour should not be entertained as it is a tool to divide us. The youth league remains united and untouched by insinuations and falsehoods. We are growing stronger every day.”

Never a dull moment
The US has Bushisms and now South Africa has Malemaisms.

A site www.classicmalema.co.za was launched this week to document Julius Malema’s intellectual prowess and oratory skills. It is a collection of Malema’s legendary verbal blunders, with equally entertaining visuals to boot.

You can see ”Ju Ju” eating humble pie after apologising to Education Minister Naledi Pandor or examine his matric certificate.

If you want to do more than point and laugh, sign up and post your own Malema moments.

The creator of the site is a web strategist from Johannesburg who wants to remain anonymous. He told the Mail & Guardian he started the site because ”now that Bush is out of the picture, we South Africans need a new political moron to laugh at”.

He may be right. When it launched on Wednesday the site received almost 3 000 visitors and was ranked as the 110th best blog in the country on blog aggregator Amatomu.