Democratic Arousal: Whoring for Helen

Don’t you just love that Democratic Alliance Student Organisation recruitment poster that’s doing the rounds? The one with the naked couple embracing lovingly just before they shag like rabid students? The payoff line is “DASO — In OUR future, you wouldn’t look twice”.

Unhappily, my initial reaction appears to have been a mistake. I originally thought that the message was: “Vote for the DA! In a country run by the DA, even dudes with really big noses will be able to pull hot chicks!” But then I looked twice and, alas, it turns out that the important bit is that the couple are a white man and a black woman. It seems the DASO are hauling out the hoary (yes, it is spelt like that) old strategy of the appeal of the exotic other. Vote DA, and you’ll be able to pomp people who are not like you.

DA Youth poster

Not that this is what the young people of the GodZille Squad, these Fishers For Lindiwe, probably intended. Their message would have appeared simple to them. Join the DASO, because we dream of a world where nobody notices racial difference any more, and hard-ons come in any colour. Only those sad losers who live in the real world, where the only book worth reading is the Collected Sayings of Frantz Fanon, will have realised that to sell the attraction of a world where race means nothing, you first have to sell the appeal of the other.

But where the DASO got it so very right, as a marketing ploy, is the central message — join an organisation that’s sexy and honest, and where you’ll get laid because you’re hot, not because your tenderpreneur uncle has connections in the department of sewerage.

What’s your alternative, they seem to be suggesting? Join the youth branch of the ANC, a political party run by fat, badly dressed men whose idea of great sex involves huge belches of overpriced whisky, a credit card, and an age differential of +/- 30 years? Because whatever accusation you can level against the ANC’s representatives of the youth, being superhot is not one of them.

Well, I could be wrong. After all, some people find power sexy. But as a student, you really should be thinking about your clitoris, not your cash flow. Those are the ones who go on to make a difference, not the anxious little wannabes with their strategies mapped out and “goal-driven career paths”. We need less of those, and more people who just want to have fun.

The reaction to the poster has been, not to put too fine a point on it, ludicrous. We have people saying that it’ll promote sex among students, which is a bit like saying we’re encouraging fish to swim. And there are some questioning what sex has to do with politics. If only politics was more sexy! As it is, the South African political landscape is like Victorian England, with a privileged elite who ape rectitude, but fuck the poor behind the garage.

The Christian Democratic Party said that “at a stage when the country needs higher levels of morality, the DA launches a poster clearly promoting sexual immorality” and that “in a country with high levels of Aids and an overdose of crime, especially the high incidence of farm murders this year, this poster sends the opposite message to the country than needed”.

Let’s put it out there — the Christian Democratic Party are morons. I suspect they have very truncated definitions of the words Christianity and Democracy, and almost no understanding at all of the word “party”.

And what’s with this knee-jerk farm murder crap? While the killing of people in rural areas is heinous, and should be dealt with, are we really justified in bringing it up randomly whenever we find an opportunity to bore the nation with our opinion? This just devalues the real issues. “The failure of Bafana Bafana to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, especially given the high incidence of farm murders this year, sends the opposite message to the country than needed,” said the Christian Democratic Partypoopers. God, I can’t stand idiots.

Now I’m not saying young people should rush out and join the DA. But I’d strongly recommend a visit to the DASO recruiting booth, I bet it’s a great place to pick up partners. And remember — your vote is secret, but make sure you use a condom.

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisRoperZA, and visit his blog at

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Chris Roper
Chris Roper

Chris Roper was editor-in-chief of the Mail & Guardian from July 2013 - July 2015.

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