How Eben Jansen’s EFF interview went spectacularly wrong

2015-04-10 12:11

SABC news anchor Eben Jansen interviewed the Economic Freedom Fighter’s spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi yesterday about the recent furor surrounding the statue of Cecil John Rhodes on the University of Cape Town’s campus.

Unfortunately, it was more of a shouting match than anything else.

The segment starts at 21 minutes: Jansen starts off by asking Ndlozi about the EFF’s involvement in the vandalism of the statues, and then goes on to ask a rather nonsensical question: “Throughout history, humanity, wherever colonisers have gone. Whether it’s South America with the Mayans, whether it’s North America with the Red Indians there, Australia with the aborigines. Those in power have always tried to diminish history. What makes your protest different from trying to wipe the history of a group off the face of the kaleidoscope of South African history?” Red Indians?

Understandably, Ndlozi was dumbfounded.

“Your question is fundamentally wrong,” He replies. “In fact it misreads the entire narrative of colonisation. The government that stands in South Africa is not a colonial government, it’s a post colonial government.” But Jansen decides it’s time to interrupt again: “The government did not vandalise the statues Mr Ndlozi. The government of the day did not vandalise the statues, it was your organisation and you’ve admitted to this. I’m asking you what is different when you try to diminish the history of others when we’ve seen this happen in the past?” “Ja look, if you give me a chance. I’m trying to demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of your question,” says Ndlozi. The interview just falls apart from there, with Jansen adopting what one tweeter hilariously describes as a “Ron Burdunday news role model.”


Jansen then loudly comes to the conclusion that “all over the world where groups try to diminish each other’s history, genocide follows.” “I don’t think you understand,” Ndlozi says. “I don’t think you understand!” Shouts Jansen. “Look I’m not your man Mr Ndlozi.” Huh?

Jansen then rightfully notes that the EFF has hi-jacked the UCT student protest. Unfortunately he does so by shouting it out:

“You’ve hi-jacked a student protest that wasn’t even your own Mr Ndlozi. It wasn’t your protest. You’ve mimicked a student protest. You’ve jumped on the bandwagon and you tried to politicise this.”

Finally Jansen just decides to cut the interview short:

“Actually I’m not going to allow you to speak anymore Mr Ndlozi because we can’t have a conversation. Let’s move on. That’s the spokesperson for the EFF, Mr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi who unfortunately does not want a conversation, he’s more in the mood for a soliloquy today.”

Thankfully, at the very end of the interview, he pulls it together by commenting on a tweet:

“Let’s read a tweet, this one by Nwanjang: ‘Only in Africa do oppressors and colonialist statues stand tall. What a shame.’ Yes that is true but it’s a collective history, and we have to find a way forward. We have to find a way to unite our country, and not divide.”


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