Pharaoh Julius

Susan Erasmus is very amused at statements that the ANC Youth Festival helped to foment rebellion in Egypt. It's time for such a reality check .

Firstly I would like to take this opportunity to thank Julius Malema and the ANCYL. They are a complete gift to any columnist, and they have never once let me down. Way to go, guys.

The statements of Andile Lungisa, ANCYL vice-chairperson, had me rolling in the aisles. It was reported as follows on News 24:

Lungisa said that Egyptian youth who had attended the festival in Pretoria in December, had recently been "at the forefront of the Egyptian revolt".

"I'm not saying we started the protests, but before the festival there were no protests in Egypt.

"After the festival, there were. Draw your own conclusions," Lungisa told the media.

He believes the festival "changed the world's perspective".

He also claimed the festival played a role in the recent protests in Tunisia and the fighting for the separation of South Sudan.

Let's take these statements one by one. Firstly, no one has exact numbers of how many Egyptians attended the Youth Festival in Pretoria, but even if there were quite a few, fomenting a rebellion is no mean feat. Not in a country which has a history going back 3500 years. Wow, those must have been some youth leaders. And some festival. It did cost R100m, after all.

I am impressed by the telepathic powers of the ANC Youth League , who knew what was going on in Egypt while there was a communication blackout – no internet, no Twitter. And I doubt whether those at the forefront of the uprisings had time to rush home and give Malema a quick telephonic update. Or wanted to.

OK, onto statement number two about there being no protests in Egypt before the festival, but an uprising afterwards. There were also a flood and a hurricane in Australia after the Festival. Were there any Australians at the Festival who can take the blame for those?

It also makes me wonder whether the French fugitive couple of Sutherland might have put in a guest appearance at said festival. Something has to get the blame for what happened on that desolate farm in January. I mean, everything was quiet for 12 years before then. The difference? The Youth Festival, of course.

And now onto my favourite  statement – and it was hard to choose. It is worth repeating here:

He believes the festival "changed the world's perspective".

This is simply classic, guys. You've been watching too many Batman movies. Nothing can change the world's perspective in a few days. In Pretoria nogals. The world is what it is, and changes can take centuries. When things suddenly boil over, it's not because of a sea change, it's because of stuff that's gone down for centuries and decades before that. SA history in the last 100 years would be a very good example of that. It might be time to take a closer look.

I suppose one has to spend a bit of time outside of SA to realise precisely how insignificant we are in the bigger scheme of things. The only two exceptions are Nelson Mandela, and possibly Die Antwoord (which might be a flash in the social networking pan). For the rest, we squeeze in there on the importance rankings somewhere between Burkina Faso and Mongolia. And that's on a good day, when not a single celebrity has had plastic surgery, or is planning a divorce.

How can we change the world's perspective, if the world doesn't even know, or care, who and where we are? All of this is starting to resemble the bumped-up self-importance of an SRC meeting at a small and not very well-rated university.

Shame. It's actually quite touching to see the faith of the ANCYL not only in the impact which they have, but also how we are rated in the world. Guys, stop thinking they care – they don't. The vast majority of them could not care less if they tried. They cared little enough to let apartheid carry on for 46 years. They cared about as much then as they now care about the starving millions in Zim.

The only thing that would change that is if these two countries were to discover massive oil fields lurking in their interiors. Wake up and smell the coffee. Or shall I say, wake up and smell the Frisco?

Right. Now about those 2000 Zimbabweans who were at the Youth Festival. Did you even see the "Fomenting Rebellion Stall", or were you too busy eating?

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, February 2011)

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