Media

REVOLUTIONARY TRASH

‘EFF trash was evidence’ — Associate editor Marianne Thamm on the Clement Manyathela show

‘EFF trash was evidence’ — Associate editor Marianne Thamm on the Clement Manyathela show
Illustrative image | Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), during the party manifesto launch in Durban, South Africa, 10 February 2024. (Photo: Leon Sadiki / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In 2019, Daily Maverick associate editor Marianne Thamm provoked the ire of the EFF when she went through their trash after receiving a tip-off that party leaders had spent a night partying at a luxury villa in Camps Bay, Cape Town.

She instinctively dislikes bullies, cheats and grifters and is a self-proclaimed anarchist, which is why Thamm had no problem digging through the EFF leadership’s trash in 2019 to prove the hypocrisy of their public statements about economic transformation.

“I see the EFF garbage the same as I see electronic garbage, which is the Guptaleaks. It’s evidence,” she says.

Thamm recently took part in a conversation about column writing on the Clement Manyathela Show on 702, alongside City Press editor Mondli Makhanya and News24’s Pieter du Toit.

In 2019, her article, “Revolutionary trash sometimes requires trash journalism, literally”, provoked the ire of the red berets when she went through their trash after receiving a tip-off that party leaders had spent a night partying at a luxury villa in Camps Bay, Cape Town.

Thousands of rands worth of French champagne, business class plane tickets and even clothing tags from retailer H&M, which the EFF had in the past boycotted for being racist, were among the items in the villa’s rubbish.

“They could’ve just told me to bugger off,” Thamm told Manyathela. “But instead they chose to engage me and lie to me, and I don’t like that. 

“I thought they’re hypocrites. If you want to do localised economy, book into the fabulous guest houses in Langa owned by South Africans, not some German rich person who’s charging you R40,000 a night.”

What makes a good columnist? Exactly this, the guests agreed: The best columnists are individuals who have first-hand experience of the issue they’re writing about, or have done their research on the topic.

“A columnist and an opinion piece brings in personal experience, it brings in institutional knowledge and it adds colour and the experience of the author. But it must always be based on fact, and always be based on hard news and hard reporting,” said Du Toit.

Her decades of experience as a journalist in South Africa allowed Thamm to deal with the EFF story in the very unique way that she did in order to expose the implicit hypocrisy of the party leaders’ actions.

“I had fun with it. What can you do with it? Except asking the EFF, ‘what is this’? And asking Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, ‘why is your air ticket in the same garbage as this heap of fabulous French champagne and various signs of a massive party?’”

Interestingly, Thamm says this was not the article she wrote that riled readers the most.

“I recently wrote a piece about the woundedness of men and how it played out at this torture room in Wilgenhof [at Stellenbosch University]. That kind of thing really worries me because if that’s happening in secret, it must be happening elsewhere.”

Listen to the full conversation here.

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