President Jacob Zuma
No one can argue that the current South African president and leader of the leftwing African National Congress Party (ANC) hasn’t got a sense of humour after reading the above statement (made during the run-up to the 2011 municipal elections). Personally I think that it’s important for any progressive president to have a developed comic stance on life and love (more on the love later) in order to make it through a normal working week; especially when you have such a serious day job! Take George Bush for instance – an astute man, focussed on making the world a better place. He had a host of ‘Bushisms’ which he could throw into a speech at a moment’s notice to keep his audiences entertained whilst going about the serious business of running America. Who else could inject humour into otherwise sobering and serious statements such as the one which he made at the signing of a multi-billion dollar defence spending bill?
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
America wouldn’t be the superpower it is today without his outstanding efforts whilst in office (ahem). It is pretty obvious that Zuma ‘wants in’ when it comes to filling the political comedienne and model presidential role left by America’s former leader.
The political comedienne award is definitely a two-horse race in South Africa, with Julie-ass (JuJu) Malema, leader of the ANC Party’s Youth League (heaven help us all), hot on the heels of the shower-loving Zuma. Albeit JuJu’s approach to the title race vastly differs from the comparatively reserved and witty angle of attack employed by the president, weaving blasphemy and political diplomacy together for an explosively entertaining stage show.
Take for instance the well known and publically broadcast event in which Julie-ass uses his wit and humour to ridicule a BBC reporter (I’ve include a portion of leaked script from the imminent release of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatre production ‘JuJu and the Amazing Rainbow-nation Dreamcoat’).
PRE-RELEASE COPY: JUJU AND THE AMAZING RAINBOW-NATION DREAMCOAT
Narrative: Julie-ass has recently returned from Zimbabwe where he met with the country’s president, Robert ‘How-Not-to-Run-a-Democracy’ Mugabe. Julie-ass has publicised his support for the ruler’s Zanu-PF party whilst denouncing the ‘Mickey Mouse-run’ Zimbabwean opposition party (the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)) and their use of offices in Sandton to criticise JuJu’s visit to Zimbabwe.
Scene: News conference at the ANC’s Luthuli House in Johannesburg, South Africa
Julie-ass: “They [the MDC] can insult us here from their air-conditioned offices of Sandton! We are unshaken! They must stop shouting at us! They must go and fight for their battle in Zimbabwe and win! Why are they speaking in Sandton and not Mashonaland [northern region of Zim], or Matabeleland [another region of Zim]?!”
**Jonah Fisher (BBC Jornalist) enters into a verbal sparring session with Julie-ass**
Fisher: “You live in Sandton”
Narrative: JuJu briefly stutters before turning to charge the would-be hunter head-on like a wounded Cape Buffalo.
Julie-ass: “Let me tell you, this is a building of a revolutionary party and you know nothing about the revolution!” [referencing the anti-apartheid struggle]
Fisher: “They [the MDC] are not welcome in Sandton, but you are?”
Julie-ass: “Here you behave or else you jump!” [Forced to walk the plank of a Somali pirate ship?!]
**Cue journalist party laughter**
Julie-ass: [low growl] “Don’t laugh!”
Fisher: “These proceedings are a joke!”
Narrative: Julie-ass calls security to remove Fisher who begins to pack up his belongings.
Julie-ass: “This is not a newsroom! This is a revolutionary house! You don’t come here with that tendency; don’t come here with that white tendency! Not here, you can do it somewhere else, not here! If you’ve got a tendency of undermining blacks even where you work, you are in the wrong place! Here, you’re in the wrong place!”
Fisher: “That’s rubbish! That’s absolute rubbish! I didn’t come here to be insulted”
Julie-ass: “You can go out. Rubbish is what you have covered in that trouser [good grasp of the English language]. That is rubbish! You are a small boy, you can’t do anything!” [in a ‘my pee-pee is bigger than yours’ tone of voice]. “Go out! Go out! Bastard! Go out! You bloody agent!”
**Fisher Leaves Room and backing track fades-in: Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure**
Narrative: Julie-ass turns to the remaining media persons in the room, clearly pleased by his handiwork and the political correctness and resolve of his outburst.
Julie-ass: “This is not a beer hall. This is not a drunk beer hall this! You can ask all, including political parties who try to undermine the house, what happened! When you are here, you are in a different terrain! You are in our space!”
Admittedly it’s difficult to follow such a ‘comediescent’ scene (my poor attempt at a ‘Bushism’) and think that you could still be a contender for the South African comic crown. This said, my first visit to the country in 2008 uncovered something which is surely eligible for entry into the realms of comedy genius?
I was attending a Halloween party complete with competition for best outfit and in the runnings was someone dressed in a figure-hugging suit, sporting a huge paper mache head, complete with golden showerhead? Bizarre! The humour was lost on me at the time, however everyone else was chuckling at the inevitable competition winner. It was only afterwards that I learnt the paper mache model was meant to represent Zuma’s well known court case in which he admitted to ‘quickly showering’ after knowingly having unprotected patla-patla with an HIV infected woman, to prevent himself contracting AIDS. Like I said, the work of a comic genius, as this should never been construed as a serious statement! South African born and infamous cartoonist Zapiro has ever since portrayed Zuma as having a showerhead on his head in all of his cartoons involving the president’s caricature. If you’ve never seen his work, it’s well worth a quick squizz.
In addition to the showerhead, Zuma is also well known for his love guru antics. Women seem to flock to the distinctly Master Oogway-ish lookalike man. I’ve lost count of the number of wives and fiancé’s he currently has, not to mention the countless legitimate and illegitimate love children. Over 20 was the last census, which is seriously impressive! Where does he find the hours to fit in ‘family time’ and all this lovemaking? Perhaps he has procured a secret time machine which he stashes in the presidential office? Either that or an Adam Sandler style ‘Click’ remote?
Many view JuJu as a thorn in the ANC’s side and they have a party member permanently assigned to quashing the political and social havoc wreaked by Juju, whilst at the same time downplaying the taunts of him being the ‘real’ leader of South Africa. JuJu has landed himself in hot water on many occasions with the governing ANC, recently making the news for his call to change the current ‘puppet’ regime in Botswana and his ‘secret’ family trust fund allegations.
The continued verbal diarrhoea issuing from Julie-ass’ mouth coupled with the cries of corruption, fraud and extravagant spending of taxpayer money directed towards the ANC provides the mountains of fuel necessary to fan the opposition parties’ flames. It has also launched trains of ‘special investigations’ by groups with names like the ‘Scorpions’ and ‘Hawks’…..scary! The most prominent opposition party figure is surely that of DA leader Helen Zille – pronounced ‘Zilla’. With her passion for ANC humiliation and public retribution and I dare say her age, she has been acquired (some say a befitting nickname) of ‘Godzille’. Like Zuma and JuJu, she features regularly in Zapiro’s cartoon strips in her dinosaur form, usually chasing after the showerhead besotted president.