#ThingsMmusiDid and what it all means…
How do the wheels of the world keep turning but for Mmusi Maimane? Where would we be without Mmusi Maimane? Of the many #ThingsMmusiDid, including carrying Hector Petersen in his arms, writing the Freedom Charter and counting every ballot in every election ever, the ostensible leader of the Democratic Alliance, having been politically conscientized by the death of Chris Hani at the tender age of 12, told himself “this far and no further” and cast his vote for Nelson Mandela at the age of 14.
Ok, so I’m being cheeky, but it is what the Democratic Alliance deserve and are receiving in spades on Twitter with the hashtag #ThingsMmusiDid. Sure, maybe the core of what Mmusi actually said has been decontextualized, but the #ThingsMmusiDid hashtag resonates as an organic backlash to the DA’s campaign to appropriate all things Madiba posthumously. For it’s entire campaign the DA has mentioned Mandela as though he was running for Mayor on a DA ticket. It was only a matter of time before South Africans collectively heaped opprobrium on this program of crass revisionism and symbolic appropriation (without compensation nogal!).
Mmusi is NOT Mandela. As the old adage goes, “you can’t polish a turd”. Mmusi’s role in the DA is to be the acceptable black face of liberalism. His very presence in the party as leader creates a crisis for the pseudo-liberal project. To expand its political power in a country that is largely not liberal, it compromises the core liberal philosophy it claims to expound. It needs black faces to present its false narrative, but just like any other black or coloured person in the party, Mmusi doesn’t contribute to the strategic and policy direction of the DA. Mmusi is the perfect poster child for the DA – black, conservative, gormless and controllable. To the DA Mmusi is supposed to be the interlocutor between the DA’s core narrow agenda of being a pro-white monopoly capital party, and the mass base that it desires to attract to sustain and expand its project. He propagates views and delivers speeches that he has had very little or no meaningful input into, to push a strategy that he is locked out of, in order to maintain a status quo that is anti-black and anti-poor. He is an empty vessel, happy to be fed punchlines and soundbites by a committee of expedient marketing gurus in blue t-shirts. Where did the screencaps of what Mmusi’s speech actually was come from? Predictably a bunch of DA keyboard warriors and associated aides.
This is the man who the DA say carries the torch of liberation into a new era. The mind boggles.
The one certain consequence of the DA attempting to launch Mmusi so close to orbit of Mandela’s sun is to juxtapose Madiba’s greatness and substance with Maimane’s impotence, expedience and vacuousness. The DA has put a thoroughbred racehorse next to a mule, and then it tells us that the mule can win the Durban July. It’s bizarre.
While it’s still a thing, we should all keep on contributing to the #ThingsMmusiDid hashtag and heap further deserved scorn on the DA’s messiah project. One of the #ThingsMmusiDid is to make it easy to ridicule the Democratic Alliance. Nobody ever laughed at Mandela. Everyone laughs at Mmusi’s expense. Long may it continue…