Opinionista Sisonke Msimang 19 July 2013

Msimang launches WTF Party

From fair London to wintry Jozi to humid Durbs, as the song goes, “it’s a man’s world”. As such, I have taken the decision, after much soul searching and many long minutes of consultation, to start a new quasi-political cum mass-based formation.

I recognise that what every election needs, and what our country in particular is crying for, is another grouping of elite, splintered factionalists, and I am ready to meet this challenge. Already, we number in the millions; all women and girls over the voting age have been automatically enrolled in our database. We represent South Africa’s women. We stand for the downtrodden and the downbeat, the downtown and the uptown.  We walk with the uphill battlers and the downhill skiers, the positive thinkers and the … well you get the point.

We have given a great deal of thought to the name of our party.  The present circumstances of South African politics are dire and our name reflects a unique political moment. We have also done extensive market research and have realised that three-letter acronyms seem to be an important factor in garnering attention and support. For example we believe that the EFF, NSI and ANC are far more mass-based than Agang SA, Cope and the DA.

We are therefore pleased to reveal that we have determined to call ourselves WTF. Our motto will be: “WTF? A better question for all, including for concerned parties and for those barely affected.”

For short, WTF supporters will not mind being called the Question Askers.  Like the suffragettes, who asked not what the country could do for them, but what they could do for their country (or was that JFK? WTF?), we will keep alive a long-standing tradition of women around the world, which is to ask questions.

We pride ourselves in asking excellent practical and rhetorical questions, which we use to propel logic and instil clarity in the nation. Because of our name, most of our questions will begin with “WTF”.  Sometimes, this in itself will be a question – as per common parlance.  At other times, WTF will be preceded by a sharp and astute question/observation which will be put forward with an unmistakeable tone of authority.

Using this approach, WTF will examine issues of national and global importance.  For example, even as I speak here, our international relations shadow minister is on a Skype call with London, questioning Nigella Lawson’s husband Charles Saatchi, who announced his intention to divorce Ms Lawson because she didn’t defend him after he throttled her in public.  Our first question will be, “WTF?”

We were scheduled to talk to Grace Mugabe, but she cancelled when she discovered that our name wasn’t WFF – she thought we were the women’s wing of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Turning to domestic politics, we also have a number of questions for the ANC.  In respect of the recent media revelations that it has taken the minister of basic education nine months to appoint a committee to examine the quality of matric examination questions, we have faxed the minister the following key question:  “WTF?”

Our party’s most urgent questions in the past week have been aimed at the dynamic duo of “Uncle” Timmy Muritha and Bra Oupa Magashule, who giggled like school boys and puffed up like peacocks, as they tried to convince a 28-year-old chartered accountant named Nosipho to leave KPMG and work for the South African Revenue Service so that she could (in the words of the ex-commissioner) “At a higher purpose level … contribut [e] to the achievement of the aspirations of the people of this country.”

The key question for our party is: “WTF is this ‘higher purpose’ you pursuing in that conversation?”

Those in the opposition will not escape our wrath. For the EFF, we have a more elaborate question. The question is: “WTF were you thinking in suggesting that the EFF will be able to fight for gender equality when your leader and your number one backer have both made multiple public statements that call into question their respect of women and for women’s rights?”

It’s a mouthful, but it fits into our political framework as a movement rooted in the fundamental rights of women people to ask questions, and to have these questions answered.

For those who are interested in taking the conversation forward, please note that we don’t do rallies as they tend to be a hunting ground for anonymous bum-pinchers. In the spirit of changing the political culture of our country, we encourage you to sign up your stokvel or your burial society and I will pop around for a visit. You can send me a WhatsApp with the location of your next meeting.   For the elite women in the crowd today, please rest assured that I am with you. We can brainstorm questions via Twitter – send questions to @sisonkemsimang.

I thank you and good bye. DM


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