In a doomed spell for youth appeal, South African politician Fikile Mbalula’s attempt to pay tribute to the late US rapper Tupac Shakur on X, formerly Twitter, was met with widespread criticism as he attempted to appease the younger voters.
On Thursday morning, Mbalula, secretary-general of the ANC, sought to appease the younger generation but got Shakur’s date of death wrong, stating he died 22 years ago on September 14 when he actually died 27 years ago, a day earlier.
Factually, the 25-year-old entertainer was gunned down on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas on September 13, 1996, following a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon at the MGM Grand.
“Today Tupac Passed away 22 years ago I dare say the greatest ever, Longlive! Pac, ‘The rose that grew from concrete,'” tweeted Mbalula.
However, his Twitter audience did not take the attempt lightly.
@UmtwanaKaZama retorted: “Twenty-two years ago the ANC promised houses, running water, jobs and a stable economy but like him it all died.”
“South Africa is falling apart o busy ka bo 2pac, maybe loadshedding stage number 100, lokisa motlakase,” commented @TapWater_ZA.
@sumplyenny said: “Leave Tupac alone. The whole country is falling apart wena u busy telling us about Tupac.”
A Twitter user named @EL123V, who appeared to be deeply connected to Shakur’s revolutionary music against oppressive governments, said it was a disgrace for an ANC leader to acknowledge the deceased artist today.
“Tupac would have wept to see what has become to South Africa as a result of the ANC. Apparently, SA is heading towards Stage 7 load shedding. How can there be no electricity supply available in SA?”
Gakwi Mashego, a political analyst, author, and hip-hop critic, said it was terrible to witness officials at the ANC’s helm fumbling their way into the melting pot of relevance.
“This is all about context and timing. The ANC loves to associate with successful brands like Castro, Gadaffi, and Sankara. They are aware that their own brand invokes vomit. Tupac is a good brand, but maybe Mbalula should have shared something already written on a site instead of originating the post,” said Mashego.
Shakur’s move to California and his involvement in the hip-hop scene, which shaped his artistic style and allowed him to reach a wider audience, reflected his upbringing under Black Panther activist Afeni Shakur.
His growing activism, evident in songs like “Brenda’s Got a Baby” and “Trapped,” which shed light on social issues affecting marginalized communities, accorded him a platform to speak out against the apartheid system in South Africa.