Yesterday marked the end of the long laborious and drawn out expulsion of Julius Sello Malema. He has provided us with every spectrum of the human emotion over the last few years and the sound bites that go with it. He has no doubt been a colorful footnote in South Africa’s rainbow history.
To use a rather juvenile reference to prove my point I watched the movie Men in Black IIIthis past week. In it, is a character that can see every possible future and every past event based on the triggers that do or don’t happen. For example if you were driving to work he sees the reality where you get there safely, or the reality where you get stuck in traffic for an hour, or the reality where you get hit by a bus and never make it there. Every possible reality is happening at every moment (complicated I know but maybe this is just a random pitch for you to go see MIB III)
This started me thinking, what is the reality where Julius managed to keep himself in line long enough to see the ANC conference in 2013?
We somehow never learn from the past, from other countries misfortune and misery and somehow malignant narcissists manage to make it to the head of nations all too often. In pre-modern days this actually was a good thing. Leaders like Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great were hailed, and continue, to be so as heroes of their generation and probably correctly so as they managed to conquer and rule half the world!
Then we discovered democracy and we realized it wasn’t exactly fair to kill anyone that got in your way of ruling over people, well some of us did, yet we still managed to get leaders murdering for pleasure and almost taking over the world, people like Hitler and Stalin took a decade to stop. Then the ‘west’ grew up a bit and started progressing just as Africa, as it generally lags behind first world-ers, managed to allow people like Idi Amin, Charles Taylor, Laurent Kabila and finally, the closest to home, dear Robert Mugabe to commit savage atrocities for decades in the name of freedom.
There is a very real possibility that Julius gave us merely a taste of the kind of leader unlimited power would have allowed him to become. We managed to see the proverbial tip of the iceberg of a classic malignant narcissist who managed to delude himself into believing things that only his twisted brain could have concocted. If this was the reality where JuJu had managed to shut his trap for just long enough that he snuck his way into a senior ANC position and the power that comes with it, I think most of us would fear the worst.
What would have become of South Africa?
Well we have our neighbors to the north to see the worst case scenario. An exporting powerhouse, idyllic homeland and magnificently beautiful tourist destination ripped apart and left to die in pieces by a dictatorial madman who like Malema also started as a young powerful revolutionary (well at very least Mugabe was a revolutionary – JuJu was failing woodwork when the ANC were fighting for freedom)
I truly believe that JuJu would have spent the next generation tearing the heart out of this nation for nothing but personal greed and gain and fooling himself and all of those prospering off his vile legacy that he was giving South Africa back to its people and wrestling it from the clutches of ‘the oppressors’
If this were that reality I really do think we would have looked back 20 or 30 years from now, most of us forced into leaving to other parts of the world, and found a nation broken, its people living in the worst poverty, hopeless leaking through the streets and hearts shattered after following a maniac for most of their lives who preached words like economic freedom (which I challenge him to spell) and flying the flag of a once proud ANC high.
Yesterday we dodged a bullet, make no mistake about it and like an impala whose herd-mate has just been caught and killed by a pride of lions in the middle of the night I am still ever-so-weary that JuJu may come back to haunt us yet again.
For now South Africa we can count ourselves very lucky that this is the reality where JuJu goes quietly into the night!