2009 elections: where are the COPE posters?
It is hard to go anywhere in Johannesburg these days without seeing all sorts of election posters.
The ANC started way ahead of everyone else with the trendy youngsters vote ANC posters. That’s not what the posters said. (That’s just what I call the posters.) ANC election posters are almost always boring, plain, predictable. The two notable exceptions were the trendy youngsters vote ANC” ones and before that the very first 1994 posters with Madiba surrounded by the rainbow children. Visually the Mandela ones were really cool, but I am battling to find the images I mean online. It is easier to find the usual “Mandela for President” one that you see everywhere now. I have since lost my 1994 poster, otherwise I’d have posted a pic. I still have a pin with the one I mean, so maybe I’ll post that pic closer to the elections or whenever I remember.
The UDM had those cool billboards on the M1 north and south with Holomisa that we could not miss as we sat in traffic. The enviromentalist in me really liked this approach because you had visibility that was kinder on the environment. It was much later that UDM paper posters went up on street poles, but there are fewer of these than for the other parties. I am also quite chuffed by Holomisa’s new status as the rabble rouser in the lead up to the elections. I like being entertained in the lead up to elections. Most of the time political figures make me very tired, so excitement is good. I still have no idea who the other people in the UDM are. Once I saw the vice president on what must have been his most inarticulate day ever. At least I hope that was an off day and that he doesn’t always sound like that.
The DA posters are very strange. Nobody I know can figure out whether the faces are people we are supposed to know, or whether the DA’s narrow reading of race and identification has led to random faces chosen to stand in for phenotypically African, phenotypically Indian, phenotypically coloured, etc. It is more than interesting that the white person on the posters is identifyable as the DA leader, Helen Zille. What? They could not get some of the known Black faces to be on the posters? Instead we have anonymous random Black faces for the different kinds of Blacks, and an identifiable white person. The DA posters reveal the real elephant in that party’s room: the equation of race with phenotype and the slippery sloap that leads to.
But this posting was actually supposed to be about COPE’s strange relationship to election posters. I have been wondering aloud about first the absence of COPE posters, and now the boring ones we have started to see on street poles in the last week. Is this a clue of things to come from COPE? How can the new kid on the block be so overwhelmed so soon?
The late COPE election posters are dull beyond measure. COPE seems to be competing with the ANC for boring. The colours are the same as the Zuma ANC ones all over the show. Now, the ANC can afford to have boring posters because they will win the election, as the default party that most South Africans will vote for. COPE should be trying to do something else.
What happened to all that excitement over young people organising for COPE? I expected that there would be some funky electioneering from their end, but this was not to be. Where is my entertainment, COPE, where, where, where? First the delays over an election strategy, then the missing COPE posters, then the debacle over leadership and the presidential candidate. It is all confusing. And you don’t want to be confusing in the run up to the elections because that will cost you badly.
For its own sake, I do hope that COPE gets its act together and starts having more interesting visibility in the run up to the elections. There was almost tangible excitement leading up to the November convention and the launch of the party in Bloemfontein. It would be a damn shame if COPE remained just plain boring when it counts. And here I mean boring in both senses — the general English one and the ‘black’ one.
Posted on 18 March 2009, in Southern African politics, things that suck and tagged 2009 elections, African people, ANC, Black people, COPE, DA, election posters, nationalism, South Africa, South African politics, UDM. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.