ANCYL in fresh bid for elusive relevance
GOSH, but the ANC Youth League has been busy lately. It’s not all fun and fried chicken with these guys. For starters, it’s Youth Month and, with that, an opportunity to rise from the abyss of inconsequentiality and strike out afresh for that elusive relevance.
To this end there was the league’s NEC meeting last weekend, after which it announced its candidate of choice to next lead the ANC, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
No surprises here and, as matters stand, the more pessimistic of the Mahogany Ridge regulars are already referring to the former Mrs Zuma as the country’s first proxident, which admittedly is a bit of a tongue twister on a creme de menthe and schnapps bender. But more of that another time. Some critics have pointed out that the dour Sarafina Dlamini Zuma is more gogo than go-go and that it has been ages since the youth league endorsed a presidential candidate who was even vaguely youthful. But it’s also been a while since the league was even led by a youth.
Collen Maine, its Guptured president, has not been having a good time of it. In an attempt to gee up the league’s attempts to commemorate the June 1976 Soweto Uprisings, Maine posted a picture of himself on Instagram, captioned “Youth Month loading”.
He looked like a happy hippo lost in a late 1970s-type record store. He was even standing in front of a Sex Pistols poster. Hipness abounds!
Among the first to weigh in with the body-shaming was the formerly fat EFF commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, who reposted the snap on Twitter with the caption, “#AmaGrootman”, a reference to a song by DJ Oskido.
The floodgates of derision opened, and there came comments on Maine’s breasts and queries about his bra size. (Is that correct? If a chap needs support for his man breasts – the term, I believe, is moobs – does he not then wear a bro?)
This ad hominem abuse has unfortunately diverted attention from the league’s important urgings about white monopoly capital, land appropriation, the promotion of youth entrepreneurship and unemployment. But then that’s the inevitable outcome of starting a personality cult when you have no personality as such.
One campaign now derailed was an attempt to blame immigrants and refugees for substance abuse among the youth. As they put it in a statement that, for obvious reasons, was quietly withdrawn a few days later: “The ANCYL is greatly worried by the high level of drugs and substance abuse which has captured young people. These drugs are mainly distributed throughout the country by foreigners in areas that are known to the public.
“The Youth Month should be used to promote the establishment of public rehabilitation centres to accommodate families that cannot afford to send young addicts to private rehabilitation centres. The youth league will use the youth month to interact with young people throughout the country in their hang-out areas and report suspected drug distributors who must be dealt with heavily, and if foreign must be deported to their countries.” [sic]
With that xenophobic outburst out the way, the league then called on branches to “positively intervene in child-headed households in their wards”.
Which is a pity. One can readily imagine the reaction to the league’s interventions had it gone ahead with its creepy plan to hunt down foreign dope dealers in “hang-out” areas: “Forget the drugs, hide the lunch! It’s that dude again, the one who looks like an eggplant.” “Saxonwold’s that way, Oros.”
Then again, they may not bother with such pleasantries and just throw stones at them. For, in truth, the “hangout” area is ideological territory that Maine and the league are now losing hand over fist, especially in metropolitan areas.
Which may explain why their showcase rally yesterday was a dusty affair in Ventersdorp.
This is the backend of nowhere. Perhaps the youth there do regard the spectacle of old men in silly clothes extolling the virtues of a sainted leadership long since laid to rest and passed unto dust as a revolutionary experience.
Given the high unemployment rates in their communities, the rural folk may go for empty slogans like “Youth to the front! Leading the charge on radical economic transformation”, but it is unlikely that this schtick will appeal to city youth.