Here’s Madame Defarge inciting everyone again

South Africa’s own Madame Defarge, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla has been in a state of bliss as the country nervously marked the first anniversary of last year’s horror. One half of uBaba’s toxic twins; her brother, the Gupta-sponsored playboy Duduzane, wants to be our next president; Duduzile has been tapping up a storm on social media.

She was in raptures at the footage from Sri Lanka where the people rose up in popular revolt last week; swarming the president’s official residence, swimming in his pool and generally filming themselves or being filmed running riot through the house – much like the rednecks did to the US Capitol on January 6 last year.

Duduzile can’t wait for this to happen here. “Cdes, I still have a key for Mahlamba Ndlopfu… I am just saying,” she posted on Twitter. For the uninitiated, this is the president of South Africa’s official residence in Bryntirion to the south of the Union Buildings. It’s also home to the deputy president’s place, about 15 cabinet ministers’ homes and bizarrely, until recently, our disgraced public protector. There’s also the presidential guest house and a nine-hole golf course. It’s also doesn’t ever get loadshed, but let’s leave that there for now.

The champagne revolutionary misses the point that Cyril the Meek doesn’t ever stay there. He prefers his own digs in Joburg which are far more opulent and not run by the Department of Public Works, which probably explains why given how Nkandla’s renovations turned out. 

But it does raise the question of whether the all-seeing one isn’t guilty of the crime of incitement nonetheless. It is one of the enduring mysteries of South Africa how a racist tweet can get the writer cancelled and convicted; shunned, shamed and (metaphorically) burnt at the stake as effectively as a Salem witch hunt but a treasonous one goes wholly unnoticed. It’s not as if we don’t know how bad last July’s attempted insurrection was. It’s not as if law enforcement agencies (not to mention insurers) aren’t actually on tenterhooks at a repeat and yet here is Madame Defarge egging everyone on again.

It’s typical that she wouldn’t get that there’s more than one access point to Bryntirion – and that the locks might well have been changed, as the landlord normally does when you get rid of a pesky tenant. But equally she doesn’t get that there are whole bunch of people – who aren’t RET-istas hellbent on sucking what’s left of the marrow out of the South African skeleton – who wouldn’t mind a dip in her dad’s firepool – and won’t be put off with her half brother Edward doing a midnight polka with his spear and his kierie. After all they paid for it – through VAT and PAYE. 

She forgets too that it was those same people, not just card-carrying ANC members and certainly not tenderpreneurs that got her dad canned in the first place. 

History cuts both ways. It pays to pay attention in class, but most of all, it really pays to watch what you tweet. 

One of these days, she’s going to find that out to her cost.

Originally published in the Saturday Star on 16 July 2022.