For spokes-royal, Nkosi Nhlakanipho Maphumulo, the Zulu king’s land claim is simply a way of looking out for the little guy.

“The majority of the people living on that land don't have a problem,” he told EWN. “I'm talking about the majority. You cannot tell me about a small minority of people who want to impose their way on us. That cannot happen. We live in a democracy here.”

If only Louis XVI of France had managed to summon such aristocratic chutzpah. “Say what,mes amis? You want to chop off my head? But why? The majority of the people living on that land don’t have a problem! What’s that you say? How can I make such a claim without having asked them? Geez, guys, what part of ‘king’ don’t you understand?”

When I read headlines suggesting that Julius Malema is defending King Goodwill Zwelithini’s claim to almost 30% of KwaZulu-Natal, I was impressed. At last, I thought, Malema had delivered on a promise and had secured economic freedom for at least one South African other than himself. Still, it seemed very confusing. Why, I wondered, was a Marxist (who wants nobody to own land) backing an unelected feudal overlord (who wants to own a lot of land), whose claim to said land was an agreement cooked up by the 1990s ANC and the apartheid government, or, as Malema knows them, a band of sell-outs and the scumbags they sold out to?But then I read past the headlines and discovered that Malema is not defending the king’s claims. He is, instead, defending the king’s right to make those claims. The way a foxhunter defends the right of the fox to have a head start. According to Malema, Zwelithini’s threats to secede from South Africa or mobilise legions to defend his land were simply a “contribut...

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