Six 'memorable' moments from the ANCYL's un-conference
1. Was it a conference? A meeting? A soirée?
My accreditation said it was the ANC Youth League 25th National Congress. The leaders called it a consultative conference.
The master of ceremonies called it a meeting of young people. It was all so confusing. Turns out at the eleventh hour, the ANC decided that the elective bit of the conference should not go ahead, fearing the chaos which elections have historically seen in the past.
2. A new word was coined. That is how ‘redical’ the ANCYL is.
ANC paraphernalia is always something to look out for at its congresses. From ANC underwear all stars, to glittery yellow onesies. They have it all. This time the ANCYL gave out black T-shirts to its delegates which had the following words inscribed: “Rebuilding a united and redical (sic) ANC Youth League for economic freedom in our lifetime”. No one seemed to have a definition for me.
3. Obviously the Moët had to come out. But it was for a select few. The rest of us had Oros.
As journalists and delegates lingered in the hot Soweto sun, a particular leader tasked with rebuilding the organisation put up a picture of himself and other leaders enjoying cake and Moët. It’s an ANC leader’s birthday and so they ignored the un-conference for a bit and enjoyed a drink or two. So what, right?
4. ‘Amandla’, chants the MC. ‘PULE!!!’ chants the crowd. Or at least some parts of it.
Political slogans don’t change often in the ANC. But yesterday some of us at the conference were scratching our heads trying to figure out if we missed the memo. When the MC Nomvula Mokonyane, also known as “Mama Action”, chanted “Amandla!” (which means “all power”), some parts of the crowd who were clearly upset they didn’t have an opportunity to elect Pule Mabe as the league’s president chanted back “Pule!”. Usually, sober and content cadres would just chant back “Awethu” in unison. Oh well.
5. What’s a conference without a boo or two? Or five?
Poor ol’ Keppy Maphatsoe – He-Who-Called-Thuli-Madonsela-A-CIA-Spy – was the first on the booing agenda. Then former youth league president Malusi Gigaba got the boo but with an added “You are a sell out”. It was ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe who topped the booers (no, not Cyril Ramaphosa’s type of boers) list. He got it in full force. Well somebody had to get it, SG.
6. The president freestyling
Enough said. President Jacob Zuma abandoned his notes when addressing this non-conference.
Take a moment to grasp the gravity of this.
It was then when Zuma started spilling the beans. He unflinchingly agreed that the ANC is in trouble. That it was his mistake that Julius Malema became Malema. Then in a bizarre spectacle, Mantashe and his deputy Jessie Duarte effectively censured JZ, calling him to order. Drama was not in short supply! – Mail & Guardian