Julius Malema: Turn down for what?

The EFF has resorted to a more literal kind of song and dance, writes Haji Mohamed Dawjee. (Gallo)

The EFF has resorted to a more literal kind of song and dance, writes Haji Mohamed Dawjee. (Gallo)

While Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says democracy is being undermined by the Economic Freedom Fighters’ behaviour in Parliament and press conferences are being conducted by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, Malema and company are gathered in an undisclosed location somewhere under the Limpopo sun, holding a dance off, asking, “Turn down for what?”

“Turn down” is slang for sober up. Popular among teenagers, being turned up is a term used for prolonged drunken behaviour – therefore “turned down for what?” essentially asks the question: Why should we sober up when we can be inebriated? – It is so much more fun.

In the case of the EFF, they are not drunk, but rather turning up in Parliament. Loud and in your face; in Jacob Zuma’s face.
Because they’re not only asking questions, they’re demanding answers. It’s so much more fun.

Bored by the fact that words like unruly, undemocratic and anarchy have been used to describe their behaviour in Parliament last week, the EFF, under the leadership of Julius Malema, has resorted to a more literal kind of song and dance.

Some sources speculate that on the surface it may seem that the EFF is spitting in the faces of Jacob Zuma and several ministers by not taking their reprimands seriously.

Some are asking: “What better way to show that you just don’t give a damn about the whole #paybackthemoney scenario, than to have a big party?” But many have advised against taking the Limpopo jig-a-thon lightly.

Malema cuts to the chase
One commentator said that the press conference held by the security cluster is seen by the EFF as just a further invitation to perpetuate their “anarchy” tactics.

“Julius is known for being quick on the trigger. He’s a straight-no-chaser kind of guy. We’ve seen it before. Unlike the president, who skirts around pertinent issues, Julius is always prepared. He always seems to know what to say and when to say it. Don’t overlook this. It may be a preparation for the EFF’s next appearance in Parliament,” said the commentator.

Uneventfulness in Parliament has for far too long been the norm. Challenges refused by the over-protected president have often resulted in unparliamentary behaviour, such as members of the house resorting to catnaps, counting sheep and on the odd occasion, playing Candy Crush on their phones.

It is said that Jacob Zuma himself is on the highest level of Candy Crush – whatever that is – just from playing the game in Parliament. (The security cluster has not responded yet on whether they will intervene with regards to the aforementioned behaviour.)

Flash-mob justice
But the EFF has had enough. Instead of pushing buttons on their phones, they prefer to spend their time in the assembly by pressing other buttons.

“When Jacob Zuma did not properly answer the question put forward by Julius Malema and the EFF, ‘When will you pay back the money?’ the EFF decided to take matters into their own hands”, said an EFF insider rumoured to be the group’s choreographer and vocal trainer.

“What many in the ruling party are seeing as behaviour that is perhaps challenging democracy, is really just a dress rehearsal for enforcing change – even if it is just a change of engagement in the house.

“Julius and I had a conversation one day and with all the bad-mouthing and finger-wagging that comes our direction, we decided that instead of mob justice, what Parliament really needed was flash-mob justice,” she said.

And while the president and ruling party pull out all the security stops to prevent “unconstitutional behaviour” (by acting unconstitutionally – no less) in order to “defend the republic” perhaps what Jacob Zuma should consider doing next time is facing the music.

He might consider dancing to the beat of the EFF’s drum, and actually answering their questions. Perhaps what Jacob Zuma should consider is turning up. So that the next time the EFF ask him, “Turn down for what?” he may have an actual answer.

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee became Africa’s first social media editor in a newsroom at the Mail & Guardian, where she went on to work as deputy digital editor and a disruptor of the peace through a weekly column. A stint as the program manager for Impact Africa – a grant-disbursing fund for African digital journalists – followed. She now pursues her own writing full time by enraging readers of EWN and Women 24 with weekly and bi-monthly columns respectively. She also contributes to the Sunday Times and a range of other publications. Mohamed Dawjee's inaugural book of essays: Sorry, not sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa, is due for release by Penguin Random House in April 2018.Follow her on Twitter: @sage_of_absurd Read more from Haji Mohamed Dawjee

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