We can now put to bed the question of whether or not the ANC has any nightclub interests. It categorically doesn’t, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe informs us, despite what anyone in the ANCYL may say. And that “eating sushi off half-naked women” thing? Counter-revolutionary. Just another day in the ANC press release paper war. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
It’s not every day that a press release titled “The ANC distances itself from owning a nightclub” arrives in our inbox. Then again, it’s not every day that ANC Youth League president Julius Malema goes to Cape Town and announces to a full crowd of champagne-swilling patrons that the ANC owns ZAR Lounge Cape Town, and that the club would flout the Mother City’s liquor by-laws.
“The African National Congress distances itself from sentiments allegedly attributed to the ANC Youth League President, Cde Julius Malema that, ‘Helen Zille is trying to close all the clubs in Cape Town, but this one belongs to the ANC’, as contained in today's (31 January 2011), media reports,” the ANC’s statement reads. “The ANC would like to state it categorically clear[sic] that it has no interest in running a nightclub or in endorsing its owners. The ANC is not into nightclubs or partying, but it is a revolutionary movement.”
The club in question is the soon-to-be-opened ZAR Lounge Cape Town, owned by the arriviste king of bling Kenny Kunene. At a prelaunch party on Saturday after the J&B Met, Kunene invited his chum Julius Malema, who reportedly said, “Helen Zille wants the clubs to close at 2am. However, ZAR in Cape Town will [not] close at 2am. If she comes here tonight we will show her how we have fun as ZAR is part of the ANC”. That prompted the ANC to release the rebuttal.
The ANC Youth League immediately published a rebuttal of its own, claiming Malema had been quoted out of context - again. “Contrary to what is reported, the ANC Youth League President said that the freedom and right for black people to own a Club in a predominantly white territory is freedom and right that came because of the ANC,” the statement said. “He then made an emphasis that even the reactionary DA government cannot curtail that right because it's now entrenched in our Constitution.”
Despite the “out of context” defence, we’re inclined to believe that Malema did misspeak, if not in as many words, then in the sentiment he expressed. Had the Youth League president genuinely been misquoted, we would have expected ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu to draw himself up to his full height, and spew forth one of his wrathful homilies. We certainly wouldn’t put it past him not to abuse a mistake by the media.
Watch: Perhaps an anthem for Julius and Kenny's next party?
The ANC spokesman Ishmael Mnisi confirmed the party would not take any action against Malema, as it is not sure whether he had been misquoted or not.
This curious press statement joust harkens back to the earlier parts of 2010, when Malema was making seemingly unstoppable strides for dominance within the party, and using the media as a battleground. The difference is the obvious deference to seniors writ large in the ANCYL statement. It learnt its lesson last year and knows not to cross the line drawn in the sand.
Kenny Kunene’s doltishness seemingly knows no bounds. Not only did he give Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi the perfect metaphor for the elite nouveau riche’s blatant flaunting of wealth in the face of the poor, he invited Malema along when he repeated his signature trick of eating sushi off a model’s half-naked body in Cape Town. Leave alone his ill-advised attempts to talk down Vavi. If Malema ever wants to clean up his image of excess and ill-gotten gains, it is going to be doubly difficult now.
For Vavi, it is one more barb with which to attack the ANC’s faction of the nouveau riche. Given Kunene’s past troubles with the law and Malema’s tenderpreneur traits, this may even allow Vavi to stand up and use these sorts of parties against the corrupt strain of the ANC and tripartite alliance.
It probably is with that in mind that Mantashe concluded his statement with a donnish admonishment to the world that his revolutionary party would never condone the “sushi partier” tendency. “We furthermore reiterate[sic] our condemnation to[sic] the act of serving sushi on a woman's body, as this act is anti-ANC and anti-revolutionary,” he said. “This act is defamatory, insensitive and undermining of woman's integrity. We, therefore, appeal to all those involved in this act to immediately disengage from it.”
Interestingly enough, the ANC secretary-general expressed his sushi-based ignorance at The Gathering hosted by The Daily Maverick in November. Unfortunately, he had to become somewhat of an expert soon afterwards, and he's not liking it one bit.
If we were Kenny Kunene's spin doctors we’d take heed. Malema would be even wiser to stay the hell away from Kunene if the notorious “sushi partier” decides he likes degrading women more than using his head. DM
Photo: The Daily Maverick.