EFF women don’t need a bridge

Mandisa Mashego, Makoti Khawula and Veronica Mente
Mandisa Mashego, Makoti Khawula and Veronica Mente

One thing that the EFF’s commander in chief (CIC) and president, Julius Malema, has been consistent about is the elimination and prevention of mediocrity in the organisation.

He has persistently and regularly challenged every voter of the EFF to keep their vote if their support for our organisation is for wrong or poor reasons.

He has always challenged every self-proclaimed supporter to know the EFF, encouraging them to base their support on the policies and cardinal pillars of our beloved organisation.

One thing that our CIC detests is people who are his fans and who are fanatical about him, and those who get caught up in the euphoria and end up declaring their love for him and the EFF.

Leading up to the 2019 general elections, our president repeatedy, and in no uncertain terms, dared and challenged people not to vote for the organisation if they intended their vote for the EFF to be in support of xenophobia and Afrophobia.

“Keep your vote,” he said.

He provoked what I viewed as potential voters.

He did the same with regard to some of our people, who disagreed with our call to open borders in our quest for a united Africa.

This, he said, would aid what the EFF was trying to achieve in terms of ridding the “us and them” mentality we suffer and endure as Africans, which has evidently led to gruesome attacks among African people.

Black South Africans protested against this call, and again our president challenged them to “keep your vote”.

He made this assertion on the eve of elections.

Mandisa Mashego, our provincial chair in Gauteng, is a no-nonsense taker whom we have seen in action, serving deserving punches to anyone who dares stand in the way.
Sixolise Gcilishe

For a moment I got a little worried. It is something else to tell people to keep their vote.

Should we not perhaps have been pleading with the voter, treading softly to gain their favour and support?

I said nothing and observed.

I did not even raise this with him during our casual conversations because I had to be sure of my arguments and interrogate his approach first – that is his teaching.

Also, I do not like making a fool of myself.

I was right – or rather, he was. I realised that our president’s approach was about separating the wheat from the chaff, making sure that he would build a thinking army and a strong soldier in every voter and supporter of the EFF.

I realised that this was a continuous challenge for everyone to pause and think on the matter, and not to get excited about the EFF as a new party, or excited about us being called fighters or wearing berets, or excited that being a fighter was fashionable.

The challenge, then and now, is to know that we are true economic freedom fighters and fighters for the emancipation not of South Africans, but of African people.

During our press conference on Thursday, our president articulated something else that got me thinking.

He touched on the pathetic support of the EFF by women – black women, to be precise.

As a result, he is inclined to agree that perhaps our movement needs a women’s command to attract black women into our organisation.

I wondered if that was a worthwhile and good enough reason to want to attract and bring mediocrity into our organisation.

The EFF has managed to attract the most powerful women in our country and continues to appeal to them.

Mandisa Mashego, our provincial chair in Gauteng, is a no-nonsense taker whom we have seen in action, serving deserving punches to anyone who dares stand in the way.

Naledi Chirwa is a young fighter whom we watched and admired during the #FeesMustFall protests, leading men and women.

Naledi Chirwa
Naledi Chirwa during the State of the Nation Address 2019 debate at the National Assembly. .Picture: Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Jaco Marais)

Commissar Veronica Mente shakes up Parliament, telling men that “it’s our vaginas” and “we can do what we want with our bodies”.

She confronts the misogynistic and chauvinist pigs who think the mere fact that a child is theirs means they can abuse them.

She challenges men who believe in patriarchy by saying: “The fact that the wife is yours does not mean you can force her to have sex or beat her.”

And we have Mama Makoti Sibongile Khawula, who has fought unapologetically to be heard in Parliament, even though she has less of an education than others and is not articulate in English.

One thing that our CIC detests is people who are his fans and who are fanatical about him, and those who get caught up in the euphoria and end up declaring their love for him and the EFF.

These women have stood up without being lobbied and joined the EFF, without seeing other women in action for them to become fighters.

These women and others walked up to the table and demanded a seat, without being lured.

That is leadership, and that is the quality of women we desire in the EFF.

On social media, black women supporters of the EFF are the most feminist and open-minded women you will come across.

I would like to challenge our CIC and the EFF leadership by saying that if they did not create a special wing to lure men, it should not be done for women either.

If they want people to join the EFF because of its policies, let that be applicable to women too.

Women need to learn and unlearn; we do not want chaff but wheat in women too.

We do not want to face the same situation we see in the liberation movement, of women being nothing but cheerleaders of men, supporting women abusers and even coming out to say women are not ready to lead.

If our leadership did not create a bridging course for men to learn how to be leaders and brush up their confidence, it should not be done for women either.

Women are capable without a bridging course.

In his own words, our president emphasises that we are at the formative stage as an organisation, and that we should be patient.

I agree, and I say let those black women with ears hear the cries for the emancipation of black women in our lifetime.

The EFF is not for faint-hearted, mundane and superficial men and women.

Gcilishe is the national communications manager for the EFF


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