I have, largely because I have other work to do, been listening to Julius Malema on youtube. The experience has been, I think, in some manner a cathartic one. It has forced me to face up to certain issues from which I suffer a certain cognitive dissonance. And I am now far more likely to vote for the EFF. The only question is really: is he saying the things that he is saying in good faith? What makes it so difficult to judge is that his record is still clouded in a white media noise. A noise partly created by his youthful self, the ANC’s wish to destroy him and the media’s search for controversy. Personally I do not think he is wrong when he talks on the land issue. He is even talking of a ‘mixed economy’ which I would agree with.
When he says that those white companies who have participated in BEE, because they think they will be protected, have participated in corruption, I think he is absolutely on the mark. This, I think, was true of the whole Venice Biennale corruption scandal of 2011. There were far too many white people both in the industry and at the newspapers who wanted to restrict information from coming out because they knew the people involved or wanted to use them in their business ambitions. Then there were also some academics who liked to mock me saying that I was like the DA, when in fact they were behaving like the usual corrupt white capital – defending the status quo. Of course at the same time they were trying to look ‘counterculture’. This is sadly where much of the industry has gone – I think though the word ‘industry’ should have alerted us to that fact some time ago. I am sad to say that I too was part of this mess and it is something from which a shower does not entirely clean one.
There is no doubt that I am still angry about what happened, about the fact that in the art industry so many people allowed and facilitated the corruption that took place then. I also believe that history will look poorly on the crop of post-apartheid artists who feign at activism while at the same time benefiting from the corruption in which white capital participates and facilitates. It will certainly look poorly on the industry itself in its current incarnation and I can’t imagine that where it is heading is going to end well. All I can say is this: