Maimane's Multiple Accents

2016-07-15 12:07

Since Mmusi Maimane took control of the DA, the racists within are now crawling in the open to vomit their bile as his many accents keep crawling.

Maimane was today confronted by ENCA broadcast journalist Nickolous Bauer to explain why he speaks in different accents depending on the race or class of his audience.

Maimane answered by saying he is the "ONLY black" South African that can speak several languages – immediately correcting himself – saying maybe there are others. Maimane continued to say when he is KwaZulu Natal or other areas he speaks like the people he is with further saying, “Nelson Mandela said when you speak to someone in their language you speak to their hearts, when you speak your way you speak to their hearts". Bauer's tweet can be seen here https://twitter.com/nickolausbauer/status/753873980617060357.

Besides him believing he is the ONLY black with such abilities which in itself is problematic and exposes his thinking and belief that he is a special black, an exceptional black and perhaps in line with what former DA staffer and Business Day columnist described as Maimane’s “belief that he was sent by God” to rescue South Africa. The better black mentality has describes Maimane’s entry into politics from his church ministry.

But what did Mandela really say and mean about speaking someone’s language? Mandela actually said; "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart". Mandela was responding to why there was a need to protect languages and not to erase Afrikaans whilst promoting our other ten languages.

Maimane clearly confuses his many accents when speaking English with languages he commands. These are two distinguishable things; an accent might refer to the pronunciation of the vowels and so forth. Mandela was not speaking or referring to twanging or changing of personality depending on who is in front of you so you could either enhance or mask yourself, your identity or your origins and supposed class.

Maimane has a knack for misinterpreting and abusing Mandela’s name and background for his personal and political gains.

Mandela was known for having a distinct accent be it in Zulu, Xhosa, English or Afrikaans. You did not get or hear Mandela ever trying to be posh even in front of the Queen of England. When speaking English, he never moved with the crowds or altered how he pronounces words depending on whether he is in Sandton or Soweto. This is what Maimane does.

Mandela was not talking about the prose but languages tied to a speech community - you can therefore have your basic dialect, which is geographic and social class in nature with specific particulars of social class or ethnicity. This is what Maimane lies about in switching his accent to swindle people. In essence no one can actually say they know Maimane except perhaps his parents. You get to know a person through accent and the associated characteristics of a persons speech.

What Maimane has done is to discover a ruse, when he is with the upper-class he speaks like them, when he is with middle class he speaks and sounds like them, when he is with the poor, he changes again like a chameleon do dumb speak them and even straight out lie. This has nothing to do with the ability to communicate but the ability to lie and lie well. Dr Martin Luther King Jnr never changed his accent whether when speaking to President Johnson or a blue collar worker at  his church; neither did Chief Albert Luthuli no matter who he spoke to. We know just one accented Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Maimane is embarrassed about who he is and at times it slips and he moves from one accent to the other in one speech. Yes he knows a few of our languages but this is not the issue. It is the accent he uses when speaking English not his elocution when he switches from one to the other.

His speech never represents the truth but an actor performing for the cameras and crowds and it truly is a shame. It could be that he has maintained the preachers style of speech but preachers too don't move from one character to the other sounding like John, Peter and Steward, and again Sipho on the same paragraph. What Maimane must help with is to tell us who he is or else he may indeed be suffering from multiple political personality disorder. Is he a fraud?

@mbindwane

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