Beware the funny politician
Politics and humour are linked intrinsically. Power and the negation of that power is a good basis for humour.
Take for example the ‘Mugabe falls’ phenomena that swept the world of social media. When the health of the 91-year-old leader of Zimbabwe was ignored at the expense of a good laugh, the photo of him falling was superimposed onto a number of different memes. These included him being chased by a hippo, leaping over the South African border fence and trying to grab hold of Kim Kardashian’s posterior. Many people had a lot of fun, because the most powerful man in Zimbabwe was made to look very human. It is this kind of humour that satirists like Jon Stewart, Loyiso Gola and Chester Missing thrive on, by showing the inconsistency, hypocrisy and the abuse of power by laughing at it.
Humour in the hands of a smart politician is also an important tool. It makes them seem more human and more likable. It is difficult to be angry with someone when you are laughing with them. One of the smartest politicians in the country is the Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema. Despite his woodwork marks, he understands the use of humour and how to craft a well chiselled message, even when he is against the ropes.
Earlier this week former thug Gayton Mckenzie wrote an open letter called Thug to Thug to his comrade Julius Malema. In it he outlined a whole host of ills in the EFF, from power grabs to financial mismanagement. One of the accusations was that he was being financed by disgruntled members of the ANC. He further went on to say that Malema had met these comrades at a Maputo hotel.
When appearing on ENCA, Malema was asked direct questions by hosts Jeremy Maggs and Iman Rappetti in relation to Mckenzie’s open letter. In response, Malema went to his political tool kit and reached for humour.
He stated; “I refuse to wrestle with a pig in the mud because it will emerge victorious.”
It was funny, but it was misdirection. Despite the pair by ENCA doing their best to get him to answer, he would not budge from his humorous script of “I refuse to wrestle with a pig in the mud”.
What he did do was refuse to answer the question. So Mr Malema, did you meet with members of the ANC in Maputo and if so what did you discuss?
Answer the question and spare us the humour.