An Acumen Media Report over 30 days
#VoteNOTA: the Ultimate #SAKlapBack
After a two-week hiatus the Acumen Media report is back. This is going to be another rant so before I even begin, I want to tell you that the sea water in Sodwana Bay is so calm that we are now calling it #LakeSodwana. I got into the middle of an eel brawl at about 22m under, but after cussing through my regulator (yes you can hear them on video), I discovered that even Amorays have a bad day. So that was cool, and it makes me feel a little better that most of these reports are rants.
Raised from the bottom of the ocean I was thrown into an electioneering hot pot and when I opened my eyes… I guess it’s time to open up that can of worms. Brace yourself. Most years we produce an election study and I am personally over the #DA, #EFF and the #ANC so I’ve raised the number of parties to ten so that we can see how prevalent they are in the media and what their messaging is, both positive or negative. The question I was asking myself was this: “If we don’t vote for the top three (ANC, DA and EFF) and voted NOTA (None of those above), thereby giving our vote to one of the smaller parties, what sort of impact would that make on the conversation – and our country? The short answer is: we won’t vote #NOTA. And that my friends, after two decades of democracy, is a tragedy… Do you want to know why we will not vote for a smaller party? Because they have no media voice, just like they probably don’t have a political one. If you line up the (arguably) largest ten political parties in SA and you mute the big three you’re left with NOTA and Nothing. No press at all. I checked the data again. It couldn’t be right, it is the #Elections2021 and surely by now the smaller parties are woke enough to know that most of us are social media users. And to be honest, some of the parties had less than 100 mentions in the past month. That’s pathetic, they’re not even trying!
Almost 60% of the conversation focused on the ANC; 25% belongs to the DA & EFF combined and the balance of 15% is what you and I are panning for gold. I don’t like our chances. A word to the politicians of the smaller parties: PR is not that hard especially in this climate. Everyone hates the big three which means that you are walking into a media market which is ripe for some leadership and change. Let me define change: I don’t mean mudslinging and futile court cases. Just change. Let me give you a small and impactful example of PR101.:
Find a cause: it’s not hard, let’s start with my neighbours. I learnt, to my horror, that children in rural KZN cannot go to school if they don’t have an approved school uniform and school shoes. In this very small town, we have 400 kids whose households can’t afford the R500 it costs for a uniform and shoes. Here in rural KZN, we don’t even wear shoes on a formal day, yet in the poorest of regions of our country the children are forced to wear clothing that is not part of their normal day at a cost that is unaffordable, and if they don’t cough up, they don’t get to attend class (what a complete joke!) I digress… Back to that small political party and the 101. Take 140k and clothe an entire set of impoverished kids so that they can learn. That’s a human right. Then call the media houses and put out a couple of tweets. With a R500 ad budget you’d do better than what we’re seeing in this statistical study. Do you want to know what the next logical events are after your do this? You’ve already worked it out even though you don’t have a marketing degree – you’ll have helped 400 people to get an education and you’ll win the hearts of every family member. That means at least 1600 votes in an area with 5000 voting adults. Big dent huh? Duh!
But what did we see instead? We saw politicians take to the streets like they were on a tourist visit to the kasi. #Ramaphosa barreled into #Soweto groveling for another chance and he got what he deserved. A #SowetoKlapBack. After no electricity for weeks, even months in certain areas, the illegal connections were spaghetting the streets, tangled and as twisted as the politicians’ brains. Where is your humanity? Oi! #Cupcake you walked into Alex four years ago and promised that the #RenewalProject would be fixed It was only 10bar and if I remember correctly, that’s a tenth of what #Mkhize took.
Talking about #Mkhize, the media have been shoveling #DigitalVibes down our throats as if it were food for a starving nation. The same nation that had read the “leaked SIU report” three months ago. Hello media, everyone knows #Mkhize and his family ripped the cash out of our ventilators. This is not news. The question is why is it news? It was a few hundred million rand … that doesn’t even count. What happened to the billions that were torched by #Ace, what about the half a trillion dollars that delivered 20 food parcels to the entire KZN province under #Zikalala. Do you think that we are buying this #DigitalVomit? Not for a second.
All we are witnessing is the #ANCAnthem, riddled with corruption like the bullets that tore into their very own councilors bodies without a thought for justice. I must admit it gets more brazen day after day. This week #PaulMashitile showed us that the ANC has “leveled up” by handing out the #Madibaz for votes (instead of t-shirts and KFC). This is the very same individual who probably has no desire to go to his office because there is no point staying in the office manned by unpaid staff is there? The irony that the very symbol of Mandela is being traded for integrity makes me nauseous.
The EFF promised to do what they do best which is tear down statues; annex #MamaWinnies name and build pretty buildings … Their message this week, outside of the manifesto – #PaulKrugerMustFall. I yawned like a petulant teenager. Tear those statues down if they bother you so much, stop making a fuss of it. We are hungry – you greedy red wolves in lions clothing.
The DA did exactly what they do so very well– slinging mud like some trailer park prefects. Did you know that this week the courts entertained the DA case concerning “irregular expenditure” on Zuma’s #Nkaaaandla. They can’t be serious, the place, Nkandla, is in dire need of renovation after decades of wear and tear, just like the rest of SA! And the DA are still paying for courts. Clothe some kids and stop chasing headlines.
The IFP are too scared to put Buthelezi’s face on any branding because … well he is 93!
The one “party” I left off this report is the #RET – did they release their manifesto yet? Guess they’re still playing ping pong in the ANC halls of so-called democratic appointments. The same place where fist fights are the order of the day and where very quietly #Zuma slipped back into that not-so-opulent #Nkandla, and where the nation’s bay for justice was crushed by the weight of the foundation of that building.
I had the pleasure of having a few good friends over for dinner. These friends are younger than me. Ok they’re a lot younger than me. Ok yes if I had my kids young they could be my kids. Ok they’re our youth market – the 20 somethings. Studying or carving their careers into a path to success, the upcoming leaders and captains of industry. So here we sat four young adults, me and my ma.
I asked if they had registered to vote, the answer was no, but they got excited when I started talking about choosing someone other than the big three. They asked for a breakdown of what their options were so that next time around, they would register and actually make a mark in a square that so many had shed blood for. I was delighted at my newfound voters so I set about summarizing their options with a large chunk of cynicism harvested from my decades of reading headlines.
Here’s what my summary was:
The #ANC, well you know about them don’t you? #KlapBack –they all agreed that they had had their time and were stealing far too much. The DA #Klapback – we all agreed they were racist and stuck in the 1800s. The #EFFKlapBack – we all agreed they were far too angry to produce anything constructive and flip flopped in their political narrative like someone wearing sandals in the sand/mud.
“Who else?” they asked. There’s Herman #Mashaba and #ActionSA. They said they’d seen a couple of green ads from #ActionSA so I was impressed. They agreed that there was a clear set of messaging and they quite liked that, but when I told them that #Mashaba had some small nyana skeletons during his time as Mayor in GP and that he had quite a big problem with our neighbours coming to work in SA, their enthusiasm dropped. I pressed on. There’s always #MmusiMaimane and the #OneSA party. #Klapback– wasn’t he with the DA they asked? Yup just like Herman the German but he left because he had a big fight with Gogo #Zille. They rolled their eyes #Klapbak – too weak.
I thought this conversation was getting depressing so I started to inject some humour. There’s the Patriotic Alliance that should be called the Patriarchal Alliance and when they asked why, I told them the “leader” was #GaytonMackenzie –self-confessed and proud gangsta! There eyes widened. Time to change direction. “There is also the Good Party.” I had to think hard, was there still a GOOD party? . My new recruits had never heard of them so I explained that they were started by #AuntyPat #Delille who also had a spat with #Zille (noticing a trend yet, I am but that’s my job). #DeLille joined #Ramaphosa after the last election but has assured us she still works for the #GoodParty. At this point I thought I had lost them because their eyes were glazing over… I dug deep, there’s the #IFP, the one we associate almost completely with #Buthelezi. Their eyes lit up, and so did mine, but it hurt me as much as it hurt them to tell them he is 93 and if his party made the race he would be 96/97 once the term would be complete. It’s at this point that they looked at my mom. We all agreed she’s a good and wonderful soul but running a political party at 74 is probably a stretch, so none of us were sure how the Honorable Chief would handle that task. (I have a very soft spot though, he’s the only leader with a bit of decorum.) The IFP however chose not to put his name on the billboards – probably for obvious reasons – but they put up a name we hadn’t heard of #VelenkosiniHlabisa and the social media stood up and called him a stooge. #KlapbackSA
I was no longer smiling. Who’s left, ah the #FreedomFrontPlus. I had to explain that they were borderline #AWB, they didn’t know what that meant but I just pointed to one of my friends and said, “let’s put it this way, you wouldn’t be welcome.” He immediately understood what I meant and we moved on. Racism is so 2010.
By this point they were beginning to lose hope and so was I. I said the #ACDP isn’t bad, they asked me what the acronym stood for and I said, “African Christian Democratic Party” and with that all four of them were out. I’m Muslim so I can’t vote for Kenneth but I like him a lot, a little voice in my head tells me he may not be a man of great courage though and in this job courage is mandatory. Perhaps we can test the #couragefactor if he can bring some interfaith-ness into his party. #KlapBack.
“Anyone else?” they asked and looked at me hopefully. I said there’s the PAC (Pan African Congress) so they asked who led the PAC and it’s a fair question isn’t it? If you’re going to vote for a party there should probably be a leader. Turns out I couldn’t answer them because neither can the PAC. #KlapbackSA
I’d almost forgotten, there’s #COPE, but to be fair they couldn’t Cope in the past two elections as they battled a mishmash of leaders with an in- out in- out and shake- it- all- about type of management style, I’m going to say that’s not what it’s all about.
I had run out of parties, I said sheepishly, and that the only one left that I know of is the #IslamicParty I think it’s called Al Jama. They said, “at least you know who to vote for.”. I shook my head and said” they’re Sharia law based.” They looked at me as if I’d spoken Arabic. I just shook my head again, being Muslim takes a great deal of explanation, and the last thing I wanted to get into is why I was Sunni.
I was determined to keep my voters at the polls so I closed with this. Just vote darn it , and not for the big three, it really doesn’t matter who you put your mark at, but it really matters that you vote, because it’s time for a #SouthAfrican #KlapBack – VOTE #NOTA. Pick one and make a cross even if you do it blindfolded… I think by that point they were reconsidering registering in the next phase of elections. I think I failed our youth. What a #SAKlapBack when voting NOTA.
Any politicians out there who are really interested in how to improve their media voice and you’re a #NOTA then watch the forthcoming video for a far more serious discussion on media strategy.
Peace out good people, summer is on its way and we still have each other. Vote #Nota or don’t, just vote. People died for that right.