An Acumen Media Report over 30 days by Tonya Khoury.
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 we are now calling it #LakeSodwana. I got into the middle of an eel brawl at about 22m under but after a few swear words 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 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 10 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) voted NOTA (none of those above) by giving our vote to one of the smaller parties, what sort of impact we would that make on the conversation and our country? The short answer is, we won’t vote #NOTA. And that, my friends, is a tragedy after two decades of democracy. Do you want to know why we won’t 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 South Africa 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 surely in 2021 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 and 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, meaning you are walking into a media market that 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 KwaZulu-Natal 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 makes up for a uniform an shoes. Here in rural KwaZulu-Natal 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, 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 R500 ad budget you’d do better than what we’re seeing in this statistical study. Want to know what are the next logical events 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 1 600 votes in an area with 5 000 voting adults. Big dent huh? Duh!
Check out our Youtube channel for this visual report and the actual case study presented live later today.
But what did we see instead? We saw politicians take to the streets like they were on a tourist visit to the kasi. #Ramaphosa barrelled into #Soweto grovelling for another chance and he got what he deserved. A #SowetoKlapBack. No electricity for weeks, even months in some parts, illegal connections spaghetti-ing the streets that are 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 if I remember correctly, that’s a tenth of what #Mkhize took.
Talking about Mkhize
Talking about #Mkhize, the media have been shovelling #DigitalVibes down our throats as if it were fodder for a 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 was torched by #Ace, what about the half a trillion dollars that delivered 20 food parcels to the entire KwaZulu-Natal province under #Zikalala. Do you think 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 councillors’ bodies without a thought for justice. I must admit it gets more brazen day after day; this week #PaulMashitile showed us the ANC has “levelled 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, tear down statues, annex #MamaWinnie’s name and build pretty buildings … Their message this week outside of the manifesto – #PaulKrugerMustFall, I yawned like a petulant teenager. Tear them statues down if they bother you so much, but stop making a fuss of it. We are hungry – you are greedy red wolves in lion’s 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 saw the DA case about “irregular expenditure” pertaining to 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 South Africa! And the DA are still paying for courts. Clothe some kids and stop chasing headlines.
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 there 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 very quietly #Zuma slipped back into that not-so-opulent #Nkandla and 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. Okay, they’re a lot younger than me. Okay, yes, if I had my kids young they could be my kids. Okay 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 they would register and actually make a mark that so many shed blood for. I was delighted at my new found voters so I set about summarising their options with a large chunk of cynicism from my decades of reading headlines.
Here’s my summary
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.
“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 has some small nyana skeletons during his time as Mayor in Johannesburg and that he had quite a big problem with our neighbours coming to work in South Africa. 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 when they asked why I told them the ‘leader’ was #JimmyManyi the guy who ‘managed’ ANN7 for the Guptas. Silence from my audience. I kept going. There is also the Good Party. I had to think hard, was there still a GOOD party? (Side note and personal #KlapBack Good party? What an oxymoron). My new recruits had never heard of them so I explained, they were started by #AuntyPat; #DeLille 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, 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. 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 Honourable 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 looked at me hopefully. I said there’s the PAC (Pan African Congress). 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, 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, 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, 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 dammit, and not for the big three. It really doesn’t matter where you put your mark, 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 it’s way and we still have each other. Vote #Nota or don’t, just vote. People died for that right.
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