Fashion as a weapon: The award-winning statesman

2012-04-01 10:16

Snapped in a tuxedo at last Friday’s national newsmaker of the year award, Malema played the role of the award-winning statesman to perfection.

Gone were the radical sun-glasses, the T-shirt and the beret. They were replaced by a fitted tux, a well-placed bow tie and a clean-shaven image.

It has the mark of a smooth politician unafraid to use the same media he lambasts so frequently.

Malema – who was joint winner with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela (whose office is investigating him) – was the picture of charm, posing for a range of different photographs with her.

He basked for the night in her moral high ground and added yet another win to his fight-back campaign. The award, made by the National Press Club, was fair.

Numerous pieces of research show the firebrand leader has eclipsed President Jacob Zuma in media presence.
While he professes to abhor the media, Malema and his youth league team play the game incredibly well.

What they lack in organisational muscle is more than made up for in media skill and Malema has largely fought his comeback campaign using mass media like radio and television.

And he gives interviews only to hosts from whom he can expect sweetheart interviews that make him look and sound rational and sensible.

The message of the tuxedo is meant to show an elite audience that he is quite capable of being the statesman or the firebrand – often in the same day.

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