I wasn’t going to bother ruminating about Andile Mngxitama. I really wasn’t. From far off, he just seemed like another common-or-garden crazy person. In photographs he resembles a black Trump: shouty face, big mouth, spittle-flecked, pointy finger. Nothing new to see there, especially in a country like South Africa.
So, our country spews forth yet another rabid racist. So what?
The difference this time is that this guy is willing to say literally anything to get attention. And boy, is he getting it. For those of you who also couldn’t have cared less until now, Andile Mngxitama is the leader of a political entity calling itself “Black First Land First”, which is mysteriously abbreviated as “BLF”. And this guy is charting new territory in the dictionary under the word ‘demagogue’.
Mngxitama is all over South African media headlines today due to his latest stunt, which is just about as low as any South African public personality has sunk: just after 5 in the morning on Thursday 24 August he tweeted this:
For those claiming the legacy of the holocaust is ONLY negative think about the lampshades and Jewish soap.
I mean, come on. It’s 2017. No-one would dare to say this kind of thing for decades now. Naturally, every square inch of civil society is up in arms about it, and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies is, to say the least, ‘appalled’.
So who is this outrageous person?
Andile John Mngxitama, believe it or not, actually has a tertiary education. A casual google of him brings up a number of links detailing the fact that he is the ‘son of a farm worker and a domestic worker’, born and raised on ‘the farms of Potchefstroom’ in South Africa’s North West province. He apparently earned himself an MA in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand, although judging from his writing that really stretches the boundaries of belief.
He is further described as a ‘leading Black Consciousness thinker and organizer’. He writes newspaper columns and opinion pieces, and unbelieveably, was a Member of Parliament representing Julius Malema’s EFF, before being expelled from the party after a few months for accusing Malema of having ‘the same tendencies as the ANC’.
His retaliation was the formation of a new political party in May 2016: Black First Land First. The name says it all. That’s all he rabbits on about: the land, the land, the land. These are the preoccupations of an Fanonesque ideologue, a man bursting with half-formed ideas and poor understanding of basic principles, a passion for revenge racism and a burning desire for attention.
It may strike many as an outlandish claim that the Cape Storms are a direct product of global capitalism and its local representatives we know as white monopoly capital.
This guy wasn’t really being serious, was he? Surely not.
The ecological disaster awaiting planet earth is a direct creation of white people. The western thought is inherently violent, cumulative and destructive. See how quickly whites ate up all their animals in the west? They eat until there is nothing to eat, the western thought has no sense of tommorrow [sic]. In contrast, almost all indigenous knowledge systems and philosophies of life put a premium on the day after tommorrow [sic] and on a healthy balance between nature and humans. It’s not out of stupidity that we didn’t eat all our animals and kill all the fish in the ocean. Its out of respect for the healthy balance needed so that our progeny should have a life and beautiful co-existence with nature.
I have many, many questions. I don’t know where to begin.
This guy has been all over the news since June. It’s almost as if South Africa have given him the microphone for the sheer enjoyment of watching an idiot bury himself. It’s easy to say that Mngxitama is ‘so outrageous it’s comical’. It definitely is entertaining. We used to watch Malema for the same reason; Andile is on a whole other level.
My concern, however, is this: South Africa remains a vastly under-educated, even un-educated, country. The masses are the victims first of deliberate Apartheid policies and then of poor ANC education policies. I should know, I encounter students all the time (in my capacity as a tertiary-level educator) who are barely literate.
Uneducated people are susceptible people, as history has shown us. The majority of South Africans are poverty-stricken, unemployable, unskilled and increasingly unhappy. For decades, this same sector of the population were urged to believe in the promises of the ANC. In the last few years, their hope has shifted towards the EFF. Now there’s a former farm-boy, ‘one of us’, shouting “it’s all the fault of white people!” It’s like waving a match around in an oil refinery.
Mngxitama spurts dangerously misunderstood fragments of knowledge and incendiary slogans. He desperately wants to be acknowledged as Steve Biko’s only heir, the Official Spokesman for Black Consciousness. In his petulant Gupta-sponsored rage, he trumps Trump: he’s threatened journalists with physical violence, he’s mad appalling racist statements, he’s taken money and assignments from the Guptas, and he’s revised South African history to suit his own poor vision of ‘what really happened’.
How do we South Africans respond to this?
Can we just dismiss Andile Mngxitama as a ranting raving racist? It would be easy to do so. The Daily Maverick warned us about him as far back as 2013, and all these years later here he is spewing racist bile all over social media and engendering nothing more than hate, bigotry and intolerance.
As if we didn’t have enough of that already.
Maybe his latest outrage is the most appropriate yet: there seems to be a black fascist in the making.
Want a black South African opinion on Andile? Read this: