Thursday, June 5, 2008

Satire Section - Mbeki: The Native Intelligence Diaries



As Fit as Govan?


Tom Eaton has been ridiculing those in power for some years now. His prose is often convoluted and flowery, but the section of his brain responsible for irony functions well. Up until late last year Eaton ran a satirical column entitled Viva Gazania! (I'm still trying to find out what this means and some clarity from readers would be very much appreciated. I know it has something to do with Azania, but that's all).

This is a particularly funny piece released in mid-2007 in the form of a personal diary of Thabo Mbeki. It was pre-Polokwane and Mbeki was still party leader and held some degree of authority. However, by this stage the President's aura of invincibility was transforming into an opaque cloud that screened him from the shifting realities that were so evident to all.

Another individual oblivious to the changing times was Mbeki's hagiographer (a person who writes a glowing biography, uncritical of his subject, someone unwilling to distill the facts from his admiration) the inimitable Ronald Suresh Roberts. You can see here for a review of Fit to Govern: The Native Intelligence of Thabo Mbeki. Eaton's piece mocks the self-importance that the Mbeki-Roberts project entailed, as well as the inherent vanity and pseudo-intellectual posturing of some of our President's thinking.

For clarity. 'Bheki' refers to Bheki Khumalo, the President's spokesman who resigned a month after this article was published for reasons unconnected with anything. Click here for an equally amusing, albeit non-satirical, look at the back-slapping and praise singing that characterised the President's acolytes before events caught up with them.

My favourite line is where Robert Mugabe tries to upstage Mbeki by releasing his own biography with the grandiose title of 2 Fit 2 Govern: The Ultra-Native Mega-Intelligence of Robert Mugabe. Always trying to outdo his younger counterpart is Mr. Mugabe. Oh, and to sensitive readers, apologies for the scatological Zapiro cartoon, it isn't usually my style, but I think its appropriate given the subject matter.

Happy reading: Mbeki: The Native Intelligence Diaries

1 comment:

  1. well Viva means Long Live and Gazania is a type of flower native to South Africa, it looks like a daisy used as drought-tolerant ground cover.

    so i guess Tom Eaton literally means "Long Live The African Flower"

    if he's as satirical as you say then he might have a deeper meaning.

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