Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: COPE

A political potjie

cope_003 I know it’s too early in the morning, and I should be writing my latest industrial theatre script, but after scanning iol and having coffee, I have just turned to Big Friendly and told him that I am ready to move anywhere in the world but stay here.

Two articles in particular got me feeling like the ‘frog in the pot’ again. One was about the chaos that erupted at the University of Zululand because of battles between ANC and IFP supporters, and the other was about a COPE member who found herself in court because she had a sticker on her car saying “I am a Sadtu member and I vote for Cope”.

zum These two stories completely embody why the possibility of a true democracy is still a fantasy here in SA. We are pretending to be in a democracy. People still intimidate each other, people still believe they have a right to determine how people vote and for whom, and people still resort to violence if they don’t like what somebody else does or says.

Now Matthews Phosa has jumped on the Afrikaaner bandwagon with zoom zoom Zuma, who recently declared Afrikaaners to be the only rightful white South Africans. It’s hard enough for me to swallow the fact that zoom zoom Zuma is going to be president. I am fundamentally depressed and anxious about that. But now it’s everything else that comes with a looming election that will be ‘sort of’ free and ‘mostly ish’ fair. Sies.

An election in the dark ages

I am feeling more and more uneasy. Every day somebody else takes to the pulpit as part of the election campaign and I think this is one of the most dangerous things to happen here in South Africa. Not only do we have the simmering of tribal, ethnic and, let’s face it, racial divides, but now we have the ‘I’m more religious than you’ competition amongst the leaders of the parties. Bear in mind that this is not any religion. It is really only Christianity that seems to be the appropriate ethical entry pass to this new world of politics.

Now I need to be very clear here. I am not criticising the church, or Christianity itself. I am the first to admit that these institutions do amazing, vital, if sometimes terribly misguided work (I can’t get the image of the Pope warning Africans against using condoms out of my head!). But when the line between politics and religion is blurred, we are left in awkward, dangerous, often conservative and frightening territory.

The problem is enormous and complicated. The implications are far reaching. And unfortunately, it has everything to do with what the church and politicians have in common; power, money, influence and a moral whip. Sometimes the abuse of this is totally absurd. Allan Boesak is a religious and political absurdity. Rev Dandala of COPE seems to have tumbled from religion into politics, purely as a mechanism for COPE to climb on some moral ‘high ground’.

But, for me, it is Zuma who is the out of control religious nightmare, who manages to have dubious sex with an HIV positive woman who is not one of his (is it) five wives, who faces charges of corruption, who sings about needing somebody to bring him a machine gun, and then stands before the Rhema church congregation on a Sunday to sermonise. Is it just me? Is this beyond belief? How can anyone anywhere take this seriously?

More than the absolute absurdity of the situation I had the uneasy feeling that I have seen this before, and recently. Finally I was able to put my finger on it. These people are trying to pretend to be Obama! I have always found the conservatism of Christian American politics creepy, and now that it has been adopted by our own politicians in the most ill fitting mantle, it has gone from creepy to dangerous.

Why I can’t COPE

Allan Boesak.

Can I COPE?

It has to be said. Lekota gave an impressive multi-lingual speech, saying all the right things, on Dec 16. He has made Obamaesque promises about commitment and hard work and what will be good for the country. All good stuff.

What is niggling me though is Alan Boesak having an important position. Now, I know he has done his time, but I still find it hard to hear him go on and on about the lack of morality of the ANC, and his preaching about COPE being the new moral voice. It just doesn’t sit lekker with me. I took Alan Boesak’s fraud conviction very badly. In the eighties when I was a UCT student and the country was in the worst and most frightening turmoil, the reverend Alan Boesak was my hero. He spoke, he motivated, he mobilised us. Years later he was convicted of fraud. He was found guilty of misusing funds given to an organisation established to help children! Hau bo. No, not lekker at all. Maybe if he at least spoke about it, it would be a bit better. But he has said nothing. Not even sorry.

I do believe that COPE needs to be very clear about who hops on board. The party shouldn’t be a reservoir for every failed ANC member.

Where did he come from again?

It’s like a bad dream. Carl Niehaus is back and he is spokesman for the ANC, which means he is all over the radio and TV like a bad rash. He had disappeared for a few years, for Mbeki‘s term in fact; apparently Mbeki‘s bunch gave him the cold shoulder but now that they’ve gone he’s back in the spotlight. I caught a bit of him on 567 the other day and immediately my blood started curdling. He was spouting forth about how the critics of Mr I took a Shower still bring up the rape charge that Shower Man was acquitted on. And I was driving at the time or else I would have phoned in to tell him that critics were not calling him a rapist, but an irresponsible, risky kind of non role-model, who had unprotected sex with a young HIV positive woman who is not one of his four wives and then took a shower. That’s why he is hard to listen to when he goes on about teenage pregnancies. Actually, come to think of it, if you have four wives does that mean extra-marital sex is allowed and acceptable behaviour? Oh, it’s just too bizarre to think about and I don’t want this guy talking to me about morals.

Today Carl was on e news when I got in from rehearsals (although I’m only posting this now, this morning), moaning about how COPE would be taken to court to be stopped from using that name because the Congress of the People is part of the ANC calendar and because ANC voters might get confused with COPE being something to do with the ANC. Interestingly, John Maytham was talking about exactly that to a blah blah blah lawyer who was explaining how unlikely it is that the ANC will stop Shikota from using the name COPE when a caller phoned in to say he would be most insulted as an ANC member that Carl Niehaus thinks he is that stupid that he could possibly confuse the two. It was very funny.

Having Carl Niehaus as a spokesman for the ANC is not doing them any favours. Just like calling those who have left the ANC to join other parties names is not making them very attractive. But what is interesting and rather telling about it all is that it gives me such a clear idea of what the ANC has become.

I am excited for next year’s elections. I think a brand new circus has come to town.

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