Julius Malema red beret of a sinister symbolism

2013-07-23 13:06

This symbol is cocky in its colour, sinister in its representation and loaded with militant messaging in its iconography. The thing about this image is that from far off it may look fragile, soft and not harmful in any way. However, when you look closer there is a bigger possibility that it carries a weight of authority that may bite us with its “radical” representations.

Yes, I am referring to the “red beret” that has made its way back into the life of politics. The bigger problem is the “red beret” is now worn by our loud-mouthed farm owner-wanna-be and the now “ANC-reject”, Julius Malema. The deposed youth leader Malema tactlessly wears his red beret which is intentionally branded the far-reaching catchphrase “Economic Freedom Fighters” or the acronym “EFF”.

This statement made by the “Commander in Chief” and his inexperienced partners of this so-called pseudo-movement for the poor appeals little to my personal “minimalistic” fashion tastes. However the “red beret” could be an attraction for many who are allured by bright and “colourful” things like the attractive “redness” of this flat-crowned hat.

Surely, the red beret’s vintage “bling” is no after-thought but a very intentional “marketing” tool and tactful representation adopted by the group. In fact, the red beret is hierarchical symbol worn by members of the military force but also by those who form part of the police, commando forces and the paramilitary. This symbolism seems a tad-bit dangerous and offers clues to how this group may want to achieve its manifesto if it happens to run our “tainted-rainbow” country. If you want me to spell this out for you, then clearly you are oblivious to the manner in which Malema’s role model Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe “executes” a few of his economic policies.

So, don’t take the red beret lightly, it tells its own story. Those who now wear it make a few empty promises, some which brought the ANC to power, such as free basic services, land expropriation and the nationalization of mines. The danger about these promises is that we live in a country that “thrives on unmet promises”.  These promises by Malema of a healthy economic reform for the country are not convincing coming from a man who has failed to sort out his own unhealthy financial history. However the EFF pledge is attractive for many young people and the poor enough to bite the hollow bread of deceit and acquire a free beret in the process.

The red beret is also problematic on many fronts.

Malema, Kenny Kunene and the rest of the bandwagon are a group of attention seekers who have taken hold of a legitimate subject and have rubbished it in their watered-down politics.  The red beret is authoritative as it shows a new group of leaders who are “big on talk”, “big on demands” and campaign through their criticism of the “other” yet fail to provide articulate methods of how to achieve their hallucination which could be mistaken as vision. The red beret is a mask; hiding the chaos that lies ahead of us if it happens that we are becoming a country that continues to be clinging on premature and underdeveloped claims made by a privileged group comprising of ambitious elites.

The red beret is actually a myth that tests our democracy. Myths are spell-binding and swear to bring us microwave solutions that appeal to our senses but end up leaving us trapped in the labyrinth of falsehood. For now, the EFF seems to me like a group that has leaders, some we cannot dismiss that have a dodgy past, who come from a recent fallout with the current unimpressive government and claim to offer a “new way” as if they themselves haven’t inherited the sleaziness from their former counsellors. There is irony spelt all over this new type of branding and it’s all messy.

The EFF wears the concerns of many South Africans on its shoulders. However, its red beret is suspicious; it symbolizes undertones of dictatorship, an arrogant forcefulness and a militancy that has little discipline.

So I am sorry to say:  "Hey EFF, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind my own plot in beautiful Stellenbosch, but not wearing your red beret. It's just not hip."

Mara why didn't they just you go for another colour choice.

twitter feed: @jazz2ben


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