The Imaginarium of Marius Fransman

by The Editor

FEATURE: ANC Western Cape Provincial Chairperson Marius Fransman has written an article that, well, it’s quite something. I was going to say hilarious, and I did laugh heartedly at much of it but then, on reflection, decided that ‘hilarious’ did not do adequate justice to some of the remarkable gobbledygook contained within it. Mixed metaphors, mangled grammar, poor language, bad spelling – it reads like the wildly-impassioned speech a maniacal super villain spits forth, mad with an over-the-top power lust, just before he inevitably duffs his whole grand plan and is captured, all red in the face and puffing, like someone who has been locked in a sauna for a day and a half. Anyway, you should read it first, before reading this. You can find it here. Oh, and also make a note of it. This is going to be one of those humdingers you are going to want to recall from the archives come 2014.

The Imaginarium of Marius Fransman
By: Gareth van Onselen

2 March 2012

It is not my intention to dispute any of the actual argument (some may say, rant) Fransman puts forward. It’s just not worth the bother. It’s all wrong and so obviously political grandstanding, correcting it all would be a labour of love and, well, I’m fresh out.

But, what I will do, is have a look at some of the fantastical language Fransman employs – particularly his (mis)use of the metaphor. It really is quite something, and if you let yourself get drawn into that amazing universe, somewhere deep inside Marius Fransman’s mind, where this kind of bizarre imagery comes from, well, it’s quite a treat. So let’s take a trip then, into the Imaginarium of Marius Fransman.

First up, this little beauty:

“On the surface everything appears normal and the eye of the storm appears quiet and calm, yet in reality a storm of fury is brewing close to boiling point.”

Wow. Talk about packing a metaphorical punch. A storm? That is brewing? A potentially boiling storm? What is it made out of? Coffee? He does say it is ‘brewing’. That’s one hot hurricane I’ll be staying well away from. Oh, and just an aside – the eye of the storm always appears quiet and calm, that is its nature. If it wasn’t calm, it wouldn’t be the eye. I am not sure if Fransman is suggesting there is another storm, made of coffee, brewing inside the eye of the first storm, the eye of which appears calm, but, either way, powerful stuff!

Next up, loved this one:

“Firstly, the nature of the beast and how it has morphed into playing the people as the people on behalf of the people”.


Seriously, I had to concentrate really hard to make sense of this one. Okay, we have a beast. And that beast has morphed into, well, it doesn’t really say, but into something that appears like people – because it looks like people – and it is doing all this on the people’s behalf? But it’s still a beast? I dunno. Some kind of beast-people-thing that can act, that’s as much as I can figure.

This next one is easier, also a favourite:

“This anomaly in a mixed masala party each with it’s own different cultural, political and economic ideological needs and aspirations, have created a number of inherent fault lines.”

Classic! A Masala with fault lines! That’s like spaghetti with sinkholes. Or an orange juice with tidal waves! Awesome image!


“What we have is a ticking time bomb ready to implode.”

An imploding bomb! Brilliant idea. Not very dangerous mind you, I have it on good authority exploding bombs can do far more damage – but as far as original imagery goes, it’s a winner!

This next one is more messy than mixed. I don’t know, the idea of shouting two things simultaneously from different sides of your mouth – as amazing as that would be, and with a forked tongue too – it just, well, it was a let down after the imploding bomb, that was the problem.

Here it is anyway:

“The DA has the uncanny ability of speaking with forked tongue. In one side of its mouth its shouts pretensions to be a party for all whilst the other side of the same mouth screams policies and practices that represents the most backward protection and perpetuation of white privilege…”

But things get better, hang in there.

“What they failed to communicate in their campaign was the invisible print as is evident in their service delivery record…”

That’s more like it! The DA failed to communicate its invisible ink. I am not quite sure how one would go about communicating invisible ink. Presumably, if your intention was to communicate successfully – which Fransman suggests the DA failed to do – then writing the thing you wished to communicate in normal ink would help? Just a thought.

It goes on and on. These are just a few gems. He refers to a “divided and self-feasting organisation” Self-feasting? What? And he is obsessed with the “eye of the storm”. Throughout his rant, so much happens “in the eye of the storm”. It must be the busiest place in South Africa, this eye. The ANC is going to “take the battle to the DA through the proverbial eye of the storm”, “the eye of the storm rests pensively quiet, calm and almost tranquil, but it will stay its course and follow its trajectory leaving in its wake the ravages of time, and the milestones of history” and “this storm will be precipitated by an ANC that today is revitalised and renewed” – and that’s when the storm isn’t brewing or boiling or whatever.

We get it. There’s a storm. A tranquil, brewing, ravaging, battle-launching storm. Ok.

I wonder what the South African Weather Service made of this speech. Isn’t too much storm talk illegal these days?

I feel a bit bad I am not doing justice to all the remaining rich and inexplicable imagery in Fransman’s tour-de-force (“we must draw the leaf from the wisdom of the late ANC President…”) but then that would be to ruin the experience of reading it yourself. So do yourself a favour. Give it a little read. Laugh. Be happy.

Go on.

Read it.

Okay, one more.

Yes, alright, about the storm.

“Be assured that in the eye of the storm the people shall rise, the tide shall turn and the Western Cape as the first and last remaining colony will finally be free come 2014.”

Now go, read it.