Zindzi Mandela’s #OurLand tweets continue to divide Twitter into those outraged by them and those supportive of them, and have now seen a response from Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, who in turn was responded to by EFF leader Julius Malema.
Mbalula responded to Zindzi’s tweet “Whilst I wine and dine here … wondering how the world of shivering land thieves is doing #OurLand” with “Ambassador hibambe qabane” along with the emoji of two hands placed together, meaning please or thank you [in this case it most likely means please].
This inspired EFF leader Julius Malema – who also RTed the “shivering land thieves” tweet – to ask Mbalula what he meant.
In response to Malema, Twitter users weighed in with their interpretation of Mbalula’s tweet.
Most seemed to view the tweet as meaning that Mbalula was asking Zindzi, who is South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, to show more restrain in her tweets, with “hibambe” literally meaning “hold on”.
This in turn inspired much debate over whether Mbalula was right or wrong to call for this if indeed this was his intended meaning.
In support of the idea that Zindzi should consider her tweets more carefully, one user said “As a [government] diplomat, you don’t have freedom to be rowdy and radical on social media”.
“Fikile is trying to speak some sense into Zindzi said another user,” with another stating that “Some positions require some kind of conduct in public.”
Those who disagreed with Mbalula characterised him as a “sellout” and someone who “will never take a position”.