Winter sells better than revolution
The organisation had made it clear it did not want the leadership battle – the one it still cannot quite admit is taking place – to feature and the many vendors, at least, seemed to take that to heart.
But just about anything that could carry an ANC brand – the face of Nelson Mandela or earlier leaders, or the words of the Freedom Charter – was on sale outside Gallagher Estate in a parking lot thick with luxury sedans: CDs featuring Dubul ’iBhunu, the song that got Julius Malema into so much trouble, wall clocks shaped like the African continent, coats and scarves and other winter woollens, and a vast array of revolutionary hats, from berets to more feminine numbers.
One vendor was operating from the back of a Porsche Cayenne, but most said they had financially extended themselves just to buy their stock and travel to Johannesburg and that they were desperate for sales. It made some of them all the more outraged at how they were treated.
“We are having problems selling our merchandise just because we are from Limpopo,” said David Leokana, an ANC Youth League branch leader from the province.
“This factionalism is causing us a lot of problems.
When we arrived here yesterday, the security gave us hassles. They told us to move our things. But those ones on the other side, you see, they have no problems. Do you know why? Because they are the Zuma ones.”
Many of the traders were from KwaZulu-Natal or Gauteng and they claimed the prime spots, whereas those from Limpopo were relegated to areas that had far less visibility and foot traffic.
Midway through the conference, this difference did not seem to matter; the bestsellers were items to ward off the morning chill, vendors reported. But they had high hopes.
“Check, Friday it’s going to be good,” said one.
“People are saving their money to the end and they’re getting paid now too. Friday we’ll sell everything we have.”