Malema vs Gareth Cliff
On Gareth Cliff’s website, the Chronicles of Cliff, the following article appeared as a well-worded, witty and honest opinion of Julius Malema:
Julius Malema has alienated me this week. I never found him particularly offensive or annoying before. I sought to understand him. I had met a few times and thought that perhaps I needed to make an effort to find what it was about him that made him so interesting to the rest of the country. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and tried to remain open-minded to his point of view. I would defend him to friends of mine who said he was just an uneducated moron. Julius and I got on quite well – I was even about to join forces with the Youth League for a multi-racial, inclusive and meaningful Youth Day celebration on June 16th. I was very optimistic – and I was wrong.
Everything has changed. I would now not associate myself with this man in any way, shape or form.
This week he succeeded in spreading only divisiveness, destructive, vitriolic rhetoric. He showed a complete lack of ability to temper zeal with sense and moderation. Last week he reacted defensively to questions about his seemingly extravagant lifestyle, his shares in companies that made excessive profit from government tenders, and his inability to explain, among other things a R250 000 gold wristwatch. Lately he displayed the most incredibly insensitive behaviour by visiting the reprehensible Jub Jub in jail and taking him a helping of Nando’s. Can anyone think of something more offensive for the victim’s families?
This man is brimming with an indefatigable and dangerous bravado. He is of the opinion that he owes nobody an explanation for anything. His defence is always that his accuser is racist, since he defines himself almost completely as black (and nothing else). Malema feels he can say whatever he likes – he can spout a cornucopia of hateful, racist, chauvanist and generally bigoted insults that would even feel out of place in the roughest schoolyard. So extreme is his solipsism that he cannot be reprimanded by his erstwhile masters in the party. They are meek lambs, incapable of speaking truth to power – thanks to a complex range of support promises, favours and fear. Our State President is a puppet – nay, a muppet – with his strings pulled tight and close by Julius. What a shameful, spineless bunch the elders have become.
I have looked at Julius from both sides now – with an optimistic, non-judgemental curiosity and a more empirical, rational analysis of what he says and does. The latter is to be preferred. it reveals a simpleton with a big mouth, someone of primary-school intellectual faculties with a large helping of vaulting ambition and galactic arrogance. Julius Malema is the Sarah Palin of the Black African youth. I don’t buy this white liberal nonsesne that there is something praiseworthy about being anti-intellectual either. Ignorance is something to be embarassed about, not something to parade naked and fat before a baying crowd of fools.
The lines are now drawn: Since there can be no acceptable rationalisation of his word, thought or deed; I declare myself on the side of those who speak against him. Since he views intelligence, sensitivity, empathy and most thoughtful discourse with such contempt; I declare that those of us who have any of these qualities must also be against him. Laid bare, the choice is as follows:
If you have a reasonable brain, and you care even a shred about South Africa, you must stand up to Julius Malema. To do less would make you, and our country, his slave.”
It’s not an old rivalry, but I’d venture to say Julius Malema would do well to leave Gareth Cliff alone. After all, the multi-media man has a voice that carries much further than Malema’s. A well educated Journalist vs an ill-educated megalomaniac … wonder who will come out with the last word.
Of course, this is not the first time Malema has been taken out in the media. Nando’s recently had a hysterically funny Malema advert, which they were ordered to apologise for but one that still made an unbelievable impact.