Juju and the profits of doom


So Julius Malema, “commander-in-chief” of the army of little red trolls known as the Economic Freedom Fighters, says he forgives former president Jacob Zuma. That’s very nice of Juju. Very generous. But we don’t quite know what he’s forgiving Zuma for.

For purloining a quarter of a billion rands of state money to tart up his homestead? For all the lies that flowed from that? For basically selling the state and thus the country to the Gupta family? For undermining democratic institutions, such as the National Prosecuting Authority, to keep him and his cronies out of jail? For failing to do anything meaningful for the people of South Africa during his nine years in office? For chucking Juju out of the ANC for saying Thabo Mbeki had been a better president than Zuma?

Yes, Zuma himself has objected to his successor Cyril Ramaphosa’s reference to the “nine lost years” of the Zuma administration — he’s offended by that idea, and wants to claim those years weren’t wasted. He takes responsibility for a whole lot of good things, from the Aids-drug rollout to the National Development Plan, which were in fact well in progress before he sang and danced his way to power.

So we can discount that little Twitter intervention of JZ’s and say, with a clear conscience, that in terms of social and political progress in South Africa, those nine years were indeed wasted.

At any rate, whatever Zuma did or didn’t do, Juju has forgiven him. Malema said he reached this moment of spiritual reconciliation after listening to a sermon at a religious gathering in Soshanguve known as the Apostolic Faith Mission River of Life.

How amazing is God’s grace! One sermon from a man of God and Juju has come over all forgiving. He’s practically a new Nelson Mandela forgiving his jailers for keeping him locked up for 27 years.

And we didn’t even know Julius was a religious man. After all, his party is going as Marxist-Leninist, and Marxist-Leninists have very little time for religion (opium of the masses and all that, you know). Lenin is probably spinning in his mausoleum as we speak.

But what next for Juju the godly? Perhaps he could get in touch with Lethebo Rabalago, famous for spraying Doom in the faces of his congregants in God’s name. Mind you, Juju pretty much sprays Doom in our faces all the time.

Or what about Tim Omotoso, who’s on trial for human trafficking and rape? Does that not appeal to Juju’s sensibilities? Maybe Shepherd Bushiri, three of whose followers died in a religious stampede. Surely Juju wants a stampede of followers into the EFF as the elections approach? Or maybe he could just join Gavin Watson’s prayer meetings over at the former Bosasa.

I’m sure all will be revealed soon enough, as the EFF gets its election campaign going — a campaign that obviously includes sucking up to the dispensers of religious opium.

God be praised.

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Author Shaun de Waal
Shaun De Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week.


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