‘Dear ANC: Those people are bo

‘Dear ANC: Those people are booing on my behalf’ – An artist’s appeal

With criticism amassing against President Jacob Zuma one artist decides to take to the social audio platform Soundcloud.com to vent her frustration

‘Dear ANC: Those people are bo

PUBLIC disapproval of South African President Jacob Zuma’s leadership was rife long before the controversial Nkandla report was published last month; in fact, the endemic lack of support online in particular appeared to serve as a reliable barometer on the nation’s rather disdainful mood toward the country’s leader – despite the impending Nkandla report. Most memorably, during late President Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg in December 2013, widespread booing of Zuma had already set the tone for much criticism to follow for months to come.

It is the same notion of booing that South African spoken word artist Ntsiki Mazwai decided to choose for her own approach when publishing a controversial open letter on Soundcloud.com earlier this week, attacking the integrity of the president and calling on all South Africans to use the current anti-Zuma sentiments “for this issue to be brought to the table.”

Ntsiki Mazwai starts her open letter by elaborating on the theme of booing and by focusing in on what it means to her within the conservative, African culture, expanding into how fed up she and South Africa as a whole – according to her artistic view – are with President Zuma’s perceived shortcomings as a leader. She explains how every act of booing that echoes from ANC rallies held in stadiums across the country represents her personal views on the president and  goes on to detail the reasons of her outspoken discontent.

“I say ‘thank you’. Those people are booing on my behalf. The booings are happening and they will need to be addressed. The booing is telling us that a lot of South Africans want a new President.”

In her five-minute long vocal art creation, which is part of her upcoming album Ndingubani (Who am I?), Mazwai first attacks the ANC for numerous perceived weaknesses, including what she implies as a boastful and inflated personality with a government that “doesn’t take responsibility for its actions.”

“ANC is the organisation I entrusted with my vote and my support in 1994. Being the biggest political organisation at the time, ANC had paid its dues to be the organisation that governed our people. There were many political parties, who liberated us – a fact you like to blatantly ignore. The liberation of black people in this country happened because black people as a whole had had enough, and not because ANC was our Messiah. The way in which you have handled yourselves in the past twenty years leaves us wondering whether we gave our power to the right people.”

However, Mazwai also states that she still has some hope for the ANC, saying that she believes not all members of the ANC are corrupted and adding that “the time has come for you to come and show yourselves and step up as true leaders in this situation. South Africans are yearning for a chance to start a new page. We want a leader that will inspire us and make us the great nation we were starting to be before Zuma’s term.”

Finally, she lists a number of specific grievances that she wants the ANC to bear in mind in future leadership challenges, namely the following:

1. “Can your candidate not have any criminal charges against them? Yes, politics are a dirty game, but please, can we also consider that you’re leaders and must set an example?”

2. “Should your candidate be a polygamist, please can it be in the true African form? Not polygamy that has many girlfriends and children in and out of wedlock. This sends out the wrong message to our sons.”

3. “Can spousal allowance only cover one wife? If a man chooses to have more, may that be his own personal affair and not affect our taxes?”

4. “Can your candidate not allow rich friends to land at National Key Points? When the president does not see this as a threat to our national security as a country then I become worried.”

5. “Can your candidate be well-read on black consciousness? At this stage of Africa’s liberation from the West, we need a president, who has an agenda to unify Africa. Ignorant comments about other African nations are inappropriate.”

6. “Can your candidate have Ubuntu and compassion? R240 million on one property when people are living in shacks is disturbing. The fact that a man can have animals living in a millionrand kraal while his people live in corrugated iron is sickening. So it’s ok for your people to live emazenkeni (corrugated iron shacks) as long as your family is sorted?”

7. “Can your next candidate be inspiring? Basically, the booing is South Africa asking President Jacob Zuma to step down.”

By Sertan Sanderson, 2014