EFF spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi insisted today that not only was he not going to find any joy in the Springboks winning the Rugby World Cup in Japan, he was going to do his best to ruin it for everyone else too.
Despite claiming that he would only be watching the local derby match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates (which wasn’t taking place at the same time, by the way), his tweets seemed to suspiciously suggest he was well aware of what was going on in Yokohama.
He had started the day by predicting England was going to win the tournament and that this would be bad news for captain Siya Kolisi. He called South Africa a “colony of England” and said he hoped President Cyril Ramaphosa would “put Siya in his plane when he comes back home”, supposedly to protect Kolisi from the “unleashed frustration” of England’s “kith and keen” (he meant “kin”, by the way).
In case you’re confused, Ndlozi didn’t mean Kolisi would need to be worried about hooligan England fans. He meant white South Africans would supposedly try to hurt the man.
Ndlozi’s trolling of the nation had started the previous day already, with EFF Troll-in-Chief Sentletse tweeting that “after England moers the Springboks, SA whites will turn against Siya Kolisi the way DA whites turned against Mmusi after their electoral humiliation”.
Ndlozi retweeted this message, as did his boss, Julius Malema.
Ndlozi then declared that this was supposedly a match of “England vs England”, since if you’re a white South African, then to the EFF spokesperson you can be considered nothing more than a “settler”, and of course all white people have only ever come from England.
He further seemed to think white South Africans would feel they had won the Webb Ellis Cup even if England won, “because they are still England at heart!”
A comment like that makes me wonder if Ndlozi has ever heard of Afrikaners, or been informed that such a group exists. I would be forced to conclude he’s never met one, and maybe the Freedom Front Plus should make more of an effort to introduce themselves to him the next time they’re in parliament together.
But, no, obviously he’s just being a tool, and enjoying his supposed smartassery.
So was Ndlozi born an ass, or has he just worked to become one? The answer must surely be the latter, and it has everything to do with the divisive, populist politics of the party he represents.
There is obviously some truth to the view that there are still too many racists in our country, and the EFF feed like vampires off the few examples that crop up every month. It would also be foolish to argue that all white people have been happy about the idea of our new-and-improved integrated Springbok team and our black captain. There’s also the racism cloud that has hung over Eben Etzebeth since before the tournament, which can’t be wished away despite nothing being proven yet.
The problem with Ndlozi is not that he may have some strong points from time to time, but his bitterness was truly out of place today. I wonder if he goes to weddings to talk about divorce statistics, rocks up at children’s birthday parties to discuss the prevalence of paedophilia in society or asks the person next to him on an international flight what their theory is about where Flight MH370 really ended up.
Most people wanted to stand together today. Most people wanted to be proud South Africans, regardless of our differences. But to populists like the EFF there is nothing more terrifying than the idea that we may be able, as a people, to rise above the pettiness and the hatred, transcend our dark history, and actually build a country worth living in for as many of us as we possibly can.
The reality is that nothing scares a true EFF believer more than the idea of one country for all, because the EFF trades in division, hatred and squabbling over how to achieve our own collective self-diminishment in the face of all our potential.
It remains churlish to argue that this country isn’t making progress on the racism front, and that our rugby team doesn’t represent something that all of us should be aspiring to: the idea that we can work together despite our differences, and that everyone would be stronger, and left better off, for it.
Ndlozi could not even bring himself to recognise that there actually was more than one black person in this team. The best he could manage after our massive win (sorry, Ndlozi, not yours), and which will go down as possibly the greatest team performance in a final by any country in Rugby World Cup history, was: “Congratulations to #SiyaKolisi … the rest go get your congratulations from Prince Harry.”
It is too easy to be like the EFF and promote the myth that our economy is a zero-sum game, where we have to take from one group and give to another, instead of trying to seek out the numerous ways that will make it possible for us all to grow.
We heard this week from our finance minister that the average Chinese citizen is seven times richer today than he or she was 25 years ago. The average Indian citizen is 3.5 times richer. And both of these countries have well over a billion citizens.
The average South African is only 1.3 times richer than we were 25 years ago, but often we feel poorer, and we may yet become poorer if the populists get their chance to drive us further into the muck.
Ndlozi wanted us all to be be #MiserableTogether today, so he could trade off it. Now he is welcome to sit sadly by himself wherever he is. I, for one, am still wearing my green jersey, and I’m going out to celebrate some more with everybody else. Because #StrongerTogether.