Fashion as a weapon: The Pan-Africanist

2012-04-01 10:37

Malema is a Pan-Africanist who has used the Pan African Youth Union (PAYU) to attempt to build continental legitimacy.

The PAYU is bankrolled from South Africa by the National Youth Development Agency and the profligate head of the agency, Andile Lungisa, is also its president.

In this get-up, Malema wears a linen sky-blue dashiki with his now trademark beret.

Note too that he is at an NEC meeting, to which he rarely wears T-shirts or party regalia as if in an act of defiance against his party elders.

He seeks to set himself apart from them and channels the spirit of former president Thabo Mbeki, the theme of whose presidency was Pan-Africanism.

Malema is aligned to a new generation of young African leaders like Zimbabwe’s indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere.

The men influence each other in almost palpable ways. Kasukuwere is spearheading an aggressive policy of nationalisation called “indigenisation” in Zimbabwe, where he has the protection of President Robert Mugabe.

Kasukuwere gifted Malema with several head of cattle, stock with which he hoped to start a farm.

Zimbabwe’s radical youth leader also often wears dashikis, as if to set himself apart from Mugabe who wears British Savile Row suits.

While both young leaders dress in the bold Africanist style of post-colonial leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, they lack the philosophical depth of that generation and are largely spurred on by self-enrichment.

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