The Johannesburg-based branch of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, also known as the Freedom Foundation Africa, has bestowed its new Honey Badger Freedom Award upon South African media personality and former Idols judge on M-Net, Gareth Cliff, on 29 November 2016. Below is a video of the highlights of the award ceremony, which took place on Constitution Hill – the Constitutional Court’s campus – in Johannesburg.

Cliff owns the popular alternative media outlet CliffCentral, which also hosts the popular classical liberal, politically incorrect podcast The Renegade Report.

Both Cliff and The Renegade Report have at various times been the bane of the social justice left’s existence in South Africa. Both made headlines when in January of this year Cliff got involved in a ‘Twitter war’ along with the The Renegade Report against left-wingers of various stripes. Cliff’s apparent error was to retweet a tweet by Report co-host Roman Cabanac, with his own comment “People really don’t understand free speech at all.” This landed Cliff in trouble with M-Net, which hosted the song competition show Idols on which Cliff was a judge. M-Net terminated their contract with Cliff, saying that M-Net viewers perceived Cliff as ‘racist’ for his comment. However, in the ensuing court battle, Cliff emerged victorious.

This episode, as well as the various controversies The Renegade Report sparked in the subsequent months, led to the following ‘rant’ by Cliff on his podcast, wherein he expressed various sympathies with liberties which classical liberals hold dear:

In the ‘rant’, Cliff says that socialism has never resulted in anything other than misery and oppression for ordinary people, and that South Africans’ freedom of expression are under threat from the ‘regressive left’ – a term popularized by American Dave Rubin, referring to the social justice left.

The Frierdich Naumann Foundation (Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit) is a German think tank affiliated with the classical liberal Free Democratic Party. In South Africa, the broadly-but-arguably classical liberal Democratic Alliance is their affiliate. This was their inaugural ceremony for the annual ‘African Freedom Speech’ and the ‘Honey Badger Freedom Award’. They wrote the following on their Facebook page:

“We could not have imagined a better speaker and prize recipient for the FNF Africa’s very first annual African Freedom Speech and Award Ceremony on 29th November 2016 than Gareth Cliff, a fierce and fearless advocate for freedom of speech. Gareth was presented with the Honey Badger Freedom Award, representing an African animal known for its tenacity, audacity and thick skin.”

(Featured image: Gareth Cliff with the logo of the FNF Honey Badger Award. Photo credits: MyBroadband.co.za)

Martin is the Academic Programs Director for Students For Liberty in Southern Africa (www.studentsforliberty.org/africa/). He is a co-founder and editor of the Rational Standard and the Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian (www.beinglibertarian.com). You can find him on Facebook or contact him via email at [email protected]