Zakes Mda: 'Everything Andile Mngxitama touches turns into mud'

26 August 2019 - 11:05 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Internationally renowned writer Zakes Mda is a dimwit and overrated, according to 'failed politician' Andile Mngxitama.
Internationally renowned writer Zakes Mda is a dimwit and overrated, according to 'failed politician' Andile Mngxitama.
Image: Gallo Images / Tammy Booyzen

Author Zakes Mda has dismissed Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama as a “failed politician”, after a debate about EFF leader Julius Malema flying business class.

Mda, who defended Malema’s decision to fly business class, said one did not need be poor, or act poorly, to help the poor.

“The idea is not for you to sink to their level of penury, but for you to help uplift them to your level of prosperity,” he said.

This did not sit well with many and resulted in Mda having a war of words with Mngxitama.

On his site, Mngxitama said Mda was a “dimwit overated (sic) South African writer”.

He said the only reason Mda defended the “gluttony” of the EFF was because he was angry with the ANC because it never gave him the recognition he believed he deserved.

“Here we have globally renowned writers who are illiterate in 'political economy'. How are you writing without having a grasp of how the social and political order functions?

“How can we end poverty when our leaders are in the pockets of those who create poverty? The Professor has forgotten that there is a direct correlation between wealth and poverty in a capitalist order like ours. Zakes makes me tired,” he said.

In a series of tweets, Mda mocked Mngxitama, saying not only was he a failed politician, but he also failed to promote the discredited pyramid investment scheme, MMM.

MMM was a Russian pyramid scheme that crashed in SA and Nigeria in 2016, reported Daily Sun.

Mda added that “everything he touches turns into mud”.

After some said he had been too harsh with the BFL leader, Mda joked that he “brought an AK47 to kill a mosquito”.

Referring to Mda's comment about MMM, Mngxitama said it “betrayed Mda’s lack of awareness of how the system of money and success functions in a capitalist order”.

Mngxitama alleged that Mda had a “perennial lack of grasp of the larger questions of freedom and oppression”.

“Prof Mda’s responses actually prove my point that he is indeed in the woods when it comes to understanding the sources of some of the social ills that he often comments on in his works and in public. Now I’m convinced that Prof Mda writes faster than he reads. Maybe he should go slower and study the structure of power and its consequences on the poor a bit more. Furthermore, he needs to remember his own work.

“He always makes a gaffe and then says, ‘oh well I wrote about that 20 years ago’. Clearly because he has no ethical or lets just say ideological framework that guides his work, he writes like an innocent journalist chasing deadlines and headlines. I’m not sure if these fundamental weaknesses can be cured since the good Prof has attained success without having to worry about such petty questions as to why things are the way they are.”

Mngxitama also denied he was a politician, saying he detested them.

“In fact I detest politicians. Politicians steal from the poor to become ‘successful’. That explains why the oppressor gave politicians millions of rands to bewitch the poor with marketing, and other tricks of mass deception, to vote for their oppression. My job, an admittedly impossible one, is to try and dislodge the system that breeds poverty.

“The lords of poverty are not going to make it easy and, yes, thus far progress has been slow but there is progress nonetheless. The road is indeed tortuous.”

He added that he was not for sale to the likes of “Robin Renwick and Johann Rupert”.

“Yes I’m a failure, like Achebe’s Okonkwo, because the beautiful ones are not yet born,” he said.

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