His view on nationals from the key Brics nations? “Chinese are like Indians. They think they are close to whiteness. When they practise racism, they are even worse than whites.”

Of course this bilious and crude ethnic stereotyping, coupled with incipient violence, has real form in Malema’s case. Less than two years ago he offered:

“We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people – at least for now.”

Only in South Africa. An impoverished elderly KZN estate agent, Penny Sparrow, offers an idiotic and racially offensive remark on Facebook, and the entire might of the ANC descends on her and chases her through the Equality Court and brands her an enemy of the people. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s twitchy Twitter finger posts equivocal remarks on colonialism and she becomes a political pariah and is subject to a (failed) vote of no confidence by the ANC in the Western Cape legislature. Note that the first offender, Sparrow, is a figure of no significance, while Zille, far more significant, is toward the end  of her political career and at the time of her “offence” held no national office, leading a  provincial  government.But in the past few days, a national political figure, albeit head of a small party with an outsized sense of its own importance and shock tactics to boost its  fortunes, offers up incendiary racism – soaked  with the threat of violence. Julius Malema, “comman...

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