By Thabi Myeni
When the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called a press conference, we all expected scathing attacks on his fellow politicians, but EFF leader, Julius Malema took it a step further and appealed to his misogyny by reducing Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, an acclaimed academic, seasoned politician and veteran anti-apartheid activist, to President Jacob Zuma’s “madam”.
In fact, the likes of Malema have been dragging women in politics to filth for a long time. From accusing women in parliament of sexual promiscuity to reducing them to subservient beings that would never ascend to high positions of power without the help of men.
The worst part is that this violence is consistently targeted at Black women.
The implication of such criticisms is that because Dr Dlamini Zuma is acquainted with his nemesis, President Jacob Zuma, she lacks the competence necessary to be involved in politics in her own right. You will never see Malema criticize a man this way under any circumstances. This is what misogyny looks like.
Malema’s sexist remarks will always be met with amusement because we live in a colonised patriarchal society, where “putting women in their place” is welcome, especially when those women are successful and Black.
The truth is that Malema is threatened by the image of a Black woman who will execute everything he can only implement in rhetoric because he lacks her competence, qualifications and most importantly, her courage. So in typical misogynist fashion, Malema retaliates by consistently focusing on NDZ’s personal life over more substantive policy issues.
Malema is a gifted demagogue, over the years he has habitually used prejudices against Black women to appeal to anti-Blacks and white supremacists. It’s extremely reckless for Malema, a self-proclaimed revolutionary, to use his platform to strengthen the conditioning of white supremacy which sought to divide and sustain the Black block’s contradictions by instilling masculinity, as well as a Eurocentric cultural construction of gender, which treats Black masculinity and Black femininity as if the two exist in opposition to each other ergo enabling misogyny.
Lest we forget that Malema is a rape apologist. He infamously defended President Jacob Zuma against rape allegations by victim blaming, famously saying, “when a woman didn’t enjoy it she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money.” He implied that because Fezekile ‘Khwezi’ Khuzwayo had asked for money, she couldn’t have been raped, and categorically stated, “You can’t ask someone who raped you for money.”
Men like Malema are abusive and when their true nature reveals its ugly self, Black women must stir clear. However, like every other anti-black misogynist that built their brand on the struggles of Black people and at the expense of Black women, Julius Malema will be his own undoing.