This Sunday Mlungisi Xulu took it upon himself to respond to the open letter to ANC President, Jacob Zuma that was penned by self-proclaimed “Sushi King” of South Africa, Kenny Kunene.
Kenny, who I can only describe as the sort of middle-aged fellow that has absolutely no qualms referring to himself as a ‘socialite’—thus conjuring up images of him out on the town in a mini-skirt of the Paris Hilton variety—had written a scathing letter to South Africa’s commander-in-chief to outline how disappointed he is in the ANC. (Because, who didn’t expect Kenny to use his years of experience as a nightclub owner as the podium for political change they are?)
Now, I’m all for open letters; so much so that I have not taken it personally that my own open letter to Kenny has been all but ignored by his people—not personally at all (you can tell that fatty yourself! [sobbing]) But Mlungisi Xulu’s letter left me positively fuming. It was not the letter itself, but the response to it on Twitter.
The letter was met with nothing but flabbergasted laughter. It began with the following excerpt:
Well, let me pervade you of the titillation, embedded in the eventual state of being a paragon of perfection in the ardent utmost utilization of logic, as an ANC inclined political activist. In idling times, one ought to augment the incessant purportion of being abreast, beauty par excellence, with the intellectual regime, and resist desolation yielding petulance, which fuels obliterated recusance, immiserating from expertise, lack thereof.
Today, during my regular Twitter stalking I came across an interesting hashtag: “#someonetellBotswana”, I believe it was called. Upon clicking on it, I found myself to have landed on a Twitter page where a group of presumably angry Kenyans were bashing the country of Botswana for a statement released by Botswana’s ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Phandu Skelemane was quoted as saying that Kenya President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta is not welcome in the country if he refuses to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC). He went on to tell the Mmegi, a Botswana daily, “If he refuses to go (to The Hague), then we have a problem. That means that they do not know the rule of law. You can’t establish a court and refuse to go when it calls you. If he refuses, he won’t set foot here.”
Apparently it was this statement that drove the Kenyans insane. It became clear to me upon following the hashtag closely that the Kenyans were not pleased by this.
Interestingly, the #someonetellBotswana tweets were an accumulation of “why should we care what you think” tweets to the Botswana nationals on Twitter. Botswana’s small population was brought up and ridiculed. The country’s GDP was also mocked in comparison to the wealth held by certain citizens of Kenya. Essentially, everything but our foreign policy was brought up.
I’m going to go ahead and say how disappointed I am in the Kenyan Nationals for not mentioning the one thing that mattered. To be honest, I spent the first few moments of viewing the Kenyan’s tweets in complete confusion. It seemed as if the tweets were an expression of some deep-rooted anti-Botswana sentiment that had been brewing in the Kenyans for what felt like quite a while.
Last month I saw the small space that Botswana occupies in the twitter-scope blow up when rumours that the government would be disallowing the sale of alcohol in the middle of the ‘Festive Season’ began circulating unabated on the internet.
There were many different reactions from various types of Botswana Internet Users varying from complete outrage to self-righteous defence of the proposed policy. I, however, found myself most amused by the reactions I got from the realm of Twitter that I consider myself to occupy—the international armchair-intellectuals’ Twitter.
Our neighbours from all around the SADC region did not shy away from openly ridiculing the proposed alcohol ban. I found myself being the Botswana representative in this little circle of Twitter as well as the butt of all the jokes that came along with this news.