Just before a photoshoot with The Citizen, she searches for a mirror inside her handbag and comes up empty-handed.
She then holds up her cellphone, which she uses as a replacement for a mirror adding red lipstick that matches her Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) beret.
Viewing her so in touch with her feminine side makes one wonder for a second whether this is indeed Mandisa Mashego, an EFF Gauteng MPL – a tough cookie and a fighter who does not take nonsense from anyone and gives leaders from opposition parties a tough time.
Other aspects about her character are projected during the interview, such as being a loving and caring mother to her daughter. She also has a strong and sociable relationship with her mother.
Mashego explains that her father was a political activist, while her mom is only “politically aware”. The majority of her family members were members of the ANC, but she managed to win them to the EFF.
“I have recruited a lot of them into the EFF and they are active members of the EFF,” she chuckles. Her sisters are not active members of the EFF, but she says they support her party.
Mashego further laughs as she explains how her mother opted to vote for the EFF just to “save me from humiliation” of not having a single vote in her [mother’s] ward.
“She was very angry on how we engage in parliament. ‘No, you guys are rude … you can’t speak like that in parliament.’”
But Mashego says she asked her to understand the struggle for economic freedom, the fight against corruption and quality of leadership which, she says, her mom had a problem with when Thabo Mbeki was recalled.
“She said ‘no, no it is fine, but actually I don’t agree with anything you guys are doing. I am only voting for you because I want to make sure when they come to our ward and count votes they must at least see one vote and you can say ‘that’s my mother’,” laughs Mashego.
Her mother is now a great supporter of the EFF, but makes fun of the fact that she is not married.
“She is very conservative; when the president [Julius Malema] got married, she said ‘Julius is married, now we can take you [EFF] serious’. I’m not married, you see, so I’m not a woman to my mom; I am a permanent child to her.”