A FAMOUS GROUSE
WHAT is it with the shouty shouters and their insane jealousy and irrational hatred of our four-legged friends?
Just last week Julius Malema was telling supporters that, should the Economic Freedom Fighters be voted into power on May 8, social grants would not only be doubled but they’d be getting the same health care and nutritious diet that dogs receive in the better homes.
This does seem an unusual election promise, even coming from a harebrained fascist, but then these people know they can get away with saying any old rubbish on the campaign trail. Grubbing for votes is by necessity a filthy business, and we should not be surprised at the threats and incantations levelled against the middle classes and their animals in this populist melee.
This is especially the case now that the South African Human Rights Commission has ruled that recent, worrying utterances against minorities by Malema and EFF secretary general Godrich “Goebbelsdegook” Gardee could not legally be considered hate speech.
The redshirts welcomed the commission’s findings with customary glee and belligerence. They accused those who had laid complaints against the party of wanting to suppress legitimate criticism of the country’s problems, and issued a statement that read, in part:
“They seek to shut-down the debate about land expropriation, white privilege and the abusive treatment many African people face at the hands of their Indian bosses. The EFF makes no apology for being robust and naming issues as they are. To end racism and white privilege, we must always speak the truth and name issues for what they are. The findings of the SAHRC are indeed consistent with superior logic.”
Noble ambitions no doubt, but yet more consistency with superior logic was on display when Malema told an election rally in Chatsworth on Sunday that South Africans of Indian origin should stop thinking like South Africans of European origin in what seemed an impassioned appeal to increase the wages of KwaZulu-Natal’s domestic gardeners.
“They are paid nothing by the fellow South Africans who happen to be of Indian descent,” he was quoted as saying. “Those people must know that for us to build unity among black people, the Indian community must rework their mentality that they are closer to whiteness. They are not closer to whiteness, they are black.
“We are all victims of apartheid, we were all exploited by apartheid. Our Indians must accept that without unity of purpose among Africans and Indians, the white minority will continue to exploit us. We are saying to them: Pay our people proper salaries. Don’t pay them with food, don’t pay them with groceries, don’t pay them with old clothes, old klere — we don’t [want] our people paid peanuts.”
No peanuts, then. But what about kibble? For, just prior to his appearance in Chatsworth, Malema was up in Limpopo, telling a rally there of the wonderful lives enjoyed by our pooches and how they’re certainly far better off than those supported by the social grants system.
“White people’s dogs eat better than black children,’ he said. “They eat biltong and have medical aid. We must never rest until African children eat better than the dogs of white people. Their dogs even have medical aid. Our children don’t have medical aid. Their dogs eat steak … they eat the meat and leave out the bones.”
I know, I know. The fussy neoliberal bow-wows of the privileged colonialists. Too buggered for bones now that they’re stuffed on steak, lazing their days away and nuzzling at the nethers until the next check-up at the clinic.
Who wouldn’t want a life like that?
What’s more, according to Malema, even Cyril Ramaphosa’s pets are living it up on the backs of the exploited. “They eat Dogmor,” he said. “That’s expensive, so we must eat cheaper than [the president’s] dogs.”
Now they may believe this sort of thing up in Limpopo, and they probably do. But it is simply not true that this is a costly brand of dog food.
Posher pet owners may sneer, but market research has revealed that this chow, cheap as it is, is much loved by dogs, and with good reason: it’s packed with Omega-6 oils and various “nutritionally complete food options” that will keep them healthy and well-nourished at any age.
The biltong will perhaps remain a luxury that few can afford. But it is becoming increasingly clear that, with a move to a more scientific diet, even the most desperate among the EFF command structure can also have rich glossy coats and wet noses. However, I fear that for all the time spent at obedience school, not to mention the long runs on the beach and chasing after balls in the park, the animus towards canines will continue.
It is deeply-rooted in our public discourse and the example of the farmer who travels with his dog upfront in the bakkie while his labourers bounce around uncomfortably in the back under a blazing hot sun or in the pelting rain is an all-too familiar trope among the perpetually aggrieved.
There are those who claim to have a solution to such problems. The Black First Land First’s Andile Mngxitama is one such person. He got into some bother in December last year when he suggested that he and his followers would simply kill the dog. Along with the farmer, that is.
But then he later claimed he was speaking in the context of “self-defence”, a context that was itself unfortunately quoted out of context. Or some such. And, besides, as is often the case whenever Mngxitama opens his mouth, he was greatly misunderstood by whatever reporter just happened to have heard him.
Speaking of which, there was that occasion in 2012 when the greatly misunderstood Jacob Zuma told supporters that people who loved dogs more than humans were lacking in humanity and that caring for dogs, owning and walking them, and even taking one to the vet, was not part of African culture.
Those who are familiar with Accused Number One’s record of employment in the early 1970s following his release from Robben Island will agree that this is perhaps a troubling position for a former pet shop assistant to have adopted.
As it is, a great many dog-loving Africans, some them ANC supporters even, were put out by his comments and took to sharing photographs of their pets on social media. As if to say: ‘Heel!’
Lastly, it’s worth recalling the actor Bill Murray’s thoughts in this regard. “I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs,” he once remarked, “but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.”
This clearly explains a lot. Dogs are aware that most politicians are grifters and liars, and understand only too clearly that these grinning cheeseheads wish to visit harm upon their owners and their owners’ property.
That is why politicians dislike dogs and why dogs, in turn, loathe them. Remember: if he wishes to bite a politician, it is certainly not because Fido is hungry.
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