An open letter to Julius Malema

Dear Right Honourable Excellency Julius Sello Malema the First, Commander in Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Ruler of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of Colonialism in Africa in General and South Africa in Particular.

Or, in the parlance of the common people, heita Juju! Having said that, there shall come a time when political scientists will want to add an ism to your name. You need to drop a vowel. Malemism is easier on the tongue than Malemaism, which sounds more like a tropical malaise than a bona fide ideology.

People have been coming up to me and saying, “Who is EFF?” Sometimes they say, “Who the eff are you?” but their kind is best ignored. You put it rather nicely in your manifesto: “The EFF is a radical, leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggles.”

That clears that up, then.

I predict that, before the end of the decade, Malemism will overtake Marxism as the predominant school of thought among a new generation of urban guerrillas. Compared to you, Karl Marx was a pussycat. Marxism is a theory. Malemism will be a fact. If anyone argues, have Shivambu stab them in the face. Oops. That was a Floydian slip. Have him talk some sense into them. An open dialogue is usually less messy than an open wound.

What ruined Marxism for me was the number of psychobrates Karl allowed in to the inner circle. Even though he was very bright for a white man, Karl made the mistake of encouraging other men with beards to get savagely twisted on Jägermeister and come up with all kinds of crazy things like dialectical materialism and economic determinism. The proletariat could barely spell their own names. No wonder Marxism never caught on.

Now that Dali Mpofu, the devil’s advocate, is a member of your merry band of brigands, your quota of intellectuals has been filled. Do not accept anyone else with a university degree. Too many revolutions have been ruined by some smartass at the back who puts up his hand and says, “But, commander in chief, if we are going to nationalise everything, throw farmers off their land and give everyone free health care, housing and education, where will we get the money to, you know, pay for things like roads and power stations?”

When the EFF takes power, you can do away with money altogether and use stones instead. This country has plenty of them. The Karoo could be the new Treasury, except there won’t be any security at the door. Or any doors. People could just drive out there, fill their boot with stones and be rich right away. Small stones could buy takeaways while rocks could be used to buy bigger things like tumble dryers and plasma televisions. A Mercedes would cost a small boulder, of which we have plenty.

It’s uncanny how much you and Marx have in common. Karl collaborated with Friedrich Engels. You speak Engels. Your insightful exchange of ideas with BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher in 2010, which included the phrase, “Rubbish is what you have covered in that trouser”, showed an admirable grasp of the subtle nuances of the English language.

Marx studied at the University of Bonn. You once drove past the University of Cape Town.

You sang ‘Dubula iBunu’. He sang ‘Lydia the Tattooed Lady’. No, wait. That was Groucho Marx. My researcher is drunk. I shall have him stripped naked and flogged at once.

By the way, I like your website. The colours of blood and canaries are very 2014. I also like your logo. A giant black fist dominating Africa, threatening Brazil with an assegai. Good for you. Those goddamn uppity Latinos need to learn that they aren’t the only ones who can cripple economies through poorly thought out socialist policies.

It’s also a smart move to invite people to donate R30 to the cause by sending an sms. Any idiot can send an sms. And I am nothing if not an idiot. I fired off an sms right away. Any chance of a receipt? When you finally deploy the 5th Expropriation Brigade, I want to be able to show them something that sets me apart from the neo-imperialist counter-revolutionary running dogs of capitalism that infest my suburb.

I see you are with FNB. Good choice. I like their slogan: “First National Bankie – How Can Weed Help You.”

I am also very impressed with your manifesto. Did you know that it comes from the Greek word ‘mani’ meaning ‘barefaced’ and ‘festo’ meaning ‘lies’? Of course you did.

I found it a tad long at around 20-thousand words, but that shouldn’t be a problem for your followers. By the time the economically disenfranchised have finished looking up words like heterodox and beneficiation, American helicopters will be evacuating the last of the capitalists from the roof of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the sangomas can move in. The fall of Saigon will seem like a stumble by comparison.

Nice touch kicking it off with a quote from Frantz Fanon, although one or two of your members might struggle to relate to a Martinique-born French Creole psychiatrist who dabbled in existential humanism on his days off. On the other hand, he did actively support the Algerian war of independence from France. As a result, Algeria today is in far better shape than France. And you, Julius, are in far better shape than Frantz.

The quote is, “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” Or, in the case of the ANC, and betray it. Do you like that? Have it.

The first point in your preamble reads, “Our decision is to fight for the economic emancipation of the people of South Africa, Africa and the world.” Nothing wrong with aiming high, comrade. But the world? I hope you have a passport.

One of your seven pillars for economic emancipation is to “build government capacity allowing the abolishment of tenders”. This is brilliant. Nobody need rely on the government for work because everyone will already be working for the government. Thirty million civil servants should get the job done in no time at all. Who cares if the economy shuts down over lunch every day? It’s a big, hungry thing, the economy is, and it can’t be expected to go all day without so much as a smoke break.

I love all the free stuff mentioned in your fourth pillar. Education, health care, housing, sanitation. I would go further and offer free booze. Having a roof over your head and knowing the square root of twelve would feel so much more satisfying if it came with a box of beer.

Pillar number five says there will be “massive protected industrial development to create millions of sustainable jobs”. By protected I expect you mean that once the workers are inside, the factories will be sealed off with bladewire and minefields. Don’t let the bastards out. Ever. You didn’t say they would be paying jobs. Clever, that.

Your second pillar calls for the nationalisation of banks, mines and other sectors of the economy without compensation. You might need heavy artillery for the banks. I have been trying to get an appointment with my branch manager for months. You are going to have to winkle the swine out with howitzers.

The manifesto also says, “It is a crying shame that in the 21st century we are presided over by an elite system of power where only 400 members of the national assembly govern over 50 million people. The EFF shall agitate for the transfer of power to the people.”

You need to have teams visiting every home in every town. If the person who opens the door can sing the first stanza of L’Internationale and answer three questions about, say, the Babylonian revolt against Assyrian rule, he or she gets to make a new law right there and then. Parliament can be converted into a vegetable market.

And you say house repossessions will be illegal? Yeah! Fuck the bond. What are you going to do now, Sheriff? Shoot me? Oh. Okay, wait.

You also want to see “the scrapping of criminal record statuses of ex-convicts who were convicted of certain schedules of crime”. Nothing wrong in thinking ahead. That’s the mark of any good leader who might one day go to jail for certain schedules of crimes. Like tax evasion. Or money laundering. Or racketeering.

You warn that your policies might cause an “imperial backlash”. I wouldn’t worry about that. When the Mau Mau did their thing in Kenya, the imperial backlash extended to the madams of Happy Valley firing the servants and pouring their own gin and tonics. I expect our imperialists would do the same – right after they have shut down their multi-billion rand investments and repatriated the profits.

I like how your manifesto separates the race groups. It does away with all that simunye nonsense. For instance, you talk of the “Coloured question”, saying that the EFF will come up with revolutionary programmes to guarantee them fishing rights. I don’t know when last you were in Cape Town, but you should know that not all of them are fishermen. Many have diversified into the narcotics industry. It’s an important demographic. Don’t neglect them or they will be at the throats of the fishermen in no time at all and you will be to blame.

Still under the section titled “The Coloured working class”, you say, “The wine farms in the Cape should be expropriated and redistributed to the farm workers.” This is an excellent idea. Who cares if the chief financial officer of Spier has no front teeth and a touch of the old foetal alcohol syndrome? I certainly don’t. And I am all for buying cabernet sauvignon in five-litre plastic containers.

Under the “Indian/Asian working class”, you question whether Indians should be classified as a historically disadvantaged group. Should they benefit from affirmative action? You seem unsure. I tried asking around but the thing with Indian fellows is that you ask them one thing and they tell you another. And another. And before you know it the whole day has gone by and you’re lakka goofed and dronk.

When I came to the “White working class”, my sphincter snapped shut. I was expecting terrible things. But all you said was that white people who didn’t own land and the means of production would be allowed to live. Ha ha. Not really. Instead, we would benefit from the EFF’s struggle. Yay for me. I don’t own much more than a car and two surfboards, so I’m safe. Right, comrade? I am safe, aren’t I?

One thing is certain – the poor will send you to parliament next year. That’s R70 000 a month in your pocket right there. Sure, this is peanuts compared to what you are accustomed to, but it’s a start.

Anyway. Good luck, commander. If your dreams come true, we will all be living in one hell of a state.

47 thoughts on “An open letter to Julius Malema

  1. Sam says:

    Great writing sir! Just one problem…… Our friend JuJu only has a st. 4 certificate. He will NEVER understand the contents of your letter.

  2. Heathertjie says:

    Brilliantly written but if only the idiot could read and understand it. He should not even be called by a pet name such as “Juju”.

  3. Leanne says:

    Lol How do you possibly expect him to catch any of this.?

  4. sue stolk says:

    Thank you Ben for the beautifully and brilliantly presented word, which brings me great delight, satisfaction and much laughter… however this was all washed away with tears as the truth, as is so clearly portrayed here, is a daily living reality for myself and millions more, from all walks of life, to the devastation caused by a rabid madman. Our beautiful country, Zimbabwe, devastated beyond description ….
    Our esteemed leader, who Juju has been studying and learning from with great attention, looking upon Robert Mugabe as his own father….. has not been lightly undertaken…..do not underestimate the man, he has great purpose and determination and this alone makes him beyond dangerous. There is nothing more dangerous than a wannabe President – ask us, we’ve been saddled with one for the past 33 years – we keep living in eternal hope, but it would seem, not even death wants him – or maybe he has been there an back, having decided that shoveling coal for eternity is not what he wants…and hence his refusal to die…

    Now if the average South African thinks he is a joke, (which he is, if the situation weren’t so deathly serious) then I can only say, God have mercy on South Africa and it’s people.

    If the people of SA don’t redirect their passions and emotions to saving South Africa and its people and get serious about what is truly serious, which is life as they know it can be taken from them in the blink of an eye, instead of being sidetracked to saving of the Rhinos and Lions and whales and fracking in the Karoo etc., etc., et., – whilst all of the aforementioned are terribly important, and i do not mean to detract from this, I can assure you you will not be around to do anything, or in a position to do anything, or have anything left to try and save anyway!

    In short get your government sorted out and get rule of law back before you try and do anything else as you are staring Zimbabwe’s ruins in the face and our nightmare is going to become your reality! Trust me, this reality is no joke, and one few would survive. GET YOUR HEADS OUT THE SAND !

    Every man woman and child should be clued up on politics and economics and be actively engaged in, daily, with anyone standing still for long enough, (in the bank, petrol station, butcher, supermarket- anywhere and everywhere) whether they want to or not about political issues – every single one of them – preach, teach and most importantly of all LISTEN, advise, encourage to think and help if possible – but whilst there is still breath in your bodies, educate, educate, educate – do everything in your power, whilst you have breath … for that can be taken away in the blink of an eye and if you don’t fight for what is right then you will be blamed for the legacy you leave your children, who by the way, will be scattered across the world because there is nothing left for them at home !

    1. Lynne Black says:

      You are so right, Sue. I’ve just finished ‘The State of Africa’ by Martin Meredith and one country after another in Africa has been destroyed by bad leadership and it’s amazing how easily people like Malema have managed to get into power. None of the countries have ever fully recovered from something like that happening but lurched from one poor government (or should I say, ruling elite) to the next costing millions of lives and destroying wealth. He is not a joke people and neither is Zuma and his cronies. These two have the potential of taking South Africa down the same road as the Congo, Nigeria (without oil), Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Zimbabwe is a picnic compared to what happened in those countries (and others). South Africans on the street need to start talking to each other. Everyone who has the capacity to see what it would mean for the country to have a president like Malema, has to educate people who think the government can just give them free-everything. Government and Malema are not going to do it. As Chad Evans said above, they are going to manipulate the manipulable to suit their own ends. And those ends are not the welfare of South Africa and it’s people!

  5. Leslie Grobbelaar says:

    Brilliant as always! You are one of the few people who always makes me laugh out loud with your remarkable satire! Keep on writing!

  6. Chad Evans says:

    Whatever we say satirical or not.. WE, being the educated and middle classed people of South Africa are partly responsible for preparing the fertile ground for the EFF to be planted and to grow.

    If you live in a shack without a job and education where NOTHING has changed in your life since 94, you really are not capable of rationally analysing the effect that the EFF will have on the economy.

    WE can write sarcastic articles like this that Show Malema up or…..

    Perhaps lets all somehow get together and think how we can better the lives of the poorest of the poor, USING the relatively Stable Capitalistic Structures and freedom that we have now in South Africa. And I’m not talking about the Government. I’m talking about a Major Initiative that asks for a buy in from All Industrialists , Capitalists and Foreign Investors in this Country.

    We still have a small window of opportunity to do this but the Tide of Dissent is rising very quickly.

    Mark my words… Malema is nothing more than a Pawn. Start getting worried when the masses that have been ignored for decades take up arms in the only was they know… Through the Ballot Box and Cast an X next to Malemas Name.

    And the REAL THREAT is not that EFF is able to take Power.. The threat is the propaganda and brainwashing that the EFF will use to demonise every party and Government structure in the country.

    We never bothered about the Education of the Poor, so Malema will educate them his way for his gain. Then see more violent Service Delivery Revolts and outright Anarchy so that Zimbabwe will look like a Picnic.

    But this is just food for thought.

    I hope in Ten years that I am told that I am an idiot and I was proved Wrong

    1. Craig Laurence says:

      You don’t have to wait 10 years to be told you are an idiot. The capital letters you leave in the middle of every friggin sentence tell us all enough right about now!

    2. Ishaq says:

      You’re right mate. The rhetoric in this country is taking a turn for the worst. We have to help those that have been ignored.

  7. Great use of satirical writing – regardless of which side of the political spectrum you stand, we need more of this kind of social commentary to ensure people are thinking about what is happening around them. It is cleverly written and funny, but we all should look beyond the humor (or the offense) and engage on the deeper issues of our country. You can boil a frog with small increases of temperature over time. Ben has just set off a temperature alarm … I sincerely hope it draws us out of the stupor of our ideological silos.

  8. Ludi de Klerk says:

    Excellent piece, Ben, you should submit it to The Spectator. EFF has pillars, the ANC policy document is based on circles, you can find the full details on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_%28Dante%29
    From there you will see how successfully they are implementing their policies that they are so proud of.

  9. Jaime Abrahamse says:

    One of your best Mr Whip. I bought your book (the one with the orange cover) when I was last in Ctown and giggled all the way back to Sydney…great stuff keep up the excellent work! Much appreciated

  10. Mark Becker says:

    Brilliant- almost as long as the EFF charter. How do you do it

  11. Bass Man says:

    What and the DA is going to do a better job? All they do is complain, like you, about the ANC. It’s time for change. Don’t vote!!!!

  12. Mellowwod says:

    “… law right there and there.” *then 🙂

  13. Thapelo Komane says:

    Ben’ U sound exactly like ur late swaaar terrablanche nd his ex zille’vokoffffff.

  14. Thapelo Komane says:

    U sound exactly like ur late swaaar terrablanche nd his ex zille’vokoffffff.

  15. Pom_Ally says:

    Good article but who is Floyd? Scary thought that people might actually want to back the idiot Mal-enema.

  16. Brilliant. I cracked my sphincter laughing!

  17. Colin Cooper says:

    Dear Jules,ANC connections,Dodges,(the list is endless),

  18. Adri the Great says:

    Beautiful. Now if someone can read/translate it to him in Grade 1 language, he’ll understand it. Hopefully. He’ll probably send you a thank you letter and not know that you’re yanking his chain…

  19. George Vosloo says:

    The funny thing is, all the rubbish he says about the “Boere” is said with a overindulged fat belly, filled with food provided by the Boere

  20. Sean Lee says:

    I see some comments about Malema reading this letter. From the way he speaks, I seriously doubt that the moron can read!!!!

  21. He might read it. If you chiseled it into a piece of wood. Or set it to a funky beat. Audio book? Oh hell!

  22. Reblogged this on The Blurred Line and commented:
    The thing I have always loved about South African politics is that the men (and women) in power have so little sense of their own ridiculousness. If you feel like a laugh, please read this excellent letter to Julius Malema.

    1. Lynne Black says:

      Problem is, in Africa, these ridiculous people end up in power with disastrous results.

  23. Even if you are perambulating on the outskirts of moracity at times (or mabe “because”) this is sheer brilliance. So sad that the recipient at which it was aimed will miss all the brilliant nuances…

  24. iti says:

    interesting piece,sure i agree with everyone who said you are brilliant,talented writer ,however all this is waist ed,as the letter has not suggestions on how together as a nation can change all the wrong things,together build a progressive,working state,which addresses issues of poverty,create jobs,build a good educational system and health care…..end corruption and self enrichment ,lets come together as a nation fight racism as it is still alive,apartheid has come back with a different this time around……!

  25. lb says:

    what about the rest of them? the whole lot of them a bunch of thugs

  26. Denis Crook says:

    Ben you are a star!Really enjoyed the open letter,keep up the good work!!

  27. annemarie baird. says:

    Excellent read*

  28. Reblogged this on New Book: An Immoral Proposal and commented:
    This is South Africa’s present fate, politically speaking. Nice piece of satire by Ben Travato

  29. Love it. Well written! I don’t know much about Malema except from what I read and hear, that he’s an Idi Amin clone. How’ s the saying go? A little learning is a dangerous thing.

  30. Glen says:

    Marx was a semite. Otherwise an amusing piece of commentary!

  31. Greek God says:

    Its hilarious

  32. Sharon McKenzie says:

    Ben … I agree …. you are a genius!! Excellent work! This one is a keeper for those days when one just needs to laugh and hope we do not end up living in one hell of a state tomorrow 🙂 Well done Ben!!

  33. JaneH says:

    you’re a genius! wish Juju could read this………

  34. E JU JU says:

    E thanks for the open ,letter now you have saved postage, I am glad you agree with the Eeff as to all our e pillars we see this some where but do not know y they are there as there are no roof, You understand the issue with the whites as its not the city dwellers but the boere that keep apartheid alive and boere you only find on the farms. they never come to town. don’t worry about the colors and Indians we will sort them out after the boere.

  35. Geoff & Lulu says:

    We laugh, we cry. This country is in such a fragile fucked-up state right now that Juliaas’s rantings will be believed by the poor masses, whereas many of these people may just have been convinced to start looking the DA’s way???
    Great musings, Ben.

  36. bloganoceros says:

    Fucksake man. Your talent astonishes me. Are you taking pills or just getting dronk and smoking dagga?

  37. val says:

    Classic…..would he even understand the contents………..

  38. Sinikiwe says:

    This is probably the funniest piece of writing from you Chief Commander Comrade Trovato. I thoroughly enjoy your satire and wit. I particularly love the last line “living in one HELL of a state.”

  39. granny1947 says:

    Excellent as always…pity he probably won’t read it…oh no…it is Zuma who doesn’t read.

    1. Paul says:

      HE might read it but definitely won’t understand it.

    2. Nor him, nor Zuma will read this or reply!!!

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