ANC Youth League YouTube clip not exactly a viral sensation

By Rebecca Davis 15 October 2011

“Julius Malema’s Clarion Call to Economic Freedom”, the YouTube clip uploaded by the ANC Youth league last Wednesday, had been viewed 1,416 times as of yesterday evening. “Buck Norris”, the video of a 17-year-old being knocked off a bicycle by a hartebeest, has been seen five million times since Monday. Julius, if you want to go viral, you better face facts: put a buck in it. By REBECCA DAVIS

Give credit where credit is due. Nostalgia is very in right now, and retro is so zeitgeisty it hurts. The Youth league’s video team have succeeded in a perfectly authentic recreation of the cinematic esprit of the mid-90s. That green screen with rolling images? Very 1990s SABC weather news, and as a hat-tip to the state broadcaster’s previous decades, it really works.

What’s letting the team down here, it must be said, is Juju’s performance. Oddly for a man with boundless natural energy and charisma, here he has the strained air of someone who has just been kidnapped by Somali pirates off the coast of Ethiopia and must now deliver a prepared statement to the British Foreign Office penned by his captors. We haven’t seen someone read an autocue in such a laboured way since the Idols final.  

Watch Julius Malema’s Clarion Call to Economic Freedom:

But that’s not all that’s standing between this clip and Buck Norris-scale success. Youth League, we get it: you’re straight talkers. Metaphor is the province of the imperialists. But the screaming literalism with which you have paired images and concepts begins to bore a little, somewhere around the 11th second. Julius says you want “a house”, you show a house. Julius says you want “education”, you show a schoolroom. Julius says you want “land”, you show the koppies of the Highveld. Wait – that’s not the Highveld, is it? Oh no, our bad: it’s a stock image of a Swiss village. Can we clarify the mandate here, Julius? Once we take the mines, is Geneva next? And if so, do the Youth League cadres have warm enough clothing? These questions concern us.

Julius, consider the most viewed YouTube videos of all time. As of October 2011, that list was headed by Justin Bieber’s music video for “Baby”. Here’s our advice: lose the struggle song soundtrack, get yourself a Bieber remix, and for heaven’s sake, stick a buck in there somewhere. DM



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