The whole affair was almost surreal. It was supposed to be full of pomp and ceremony and a celebration of one of the most important events in the history of our democracy. Few items on the national calendar are more important than elections. It was the night that our democracy would be celebrated as the results of the 2016 Municipal Elections were revealed.
It started out slow. A kind of melancholy hung over the audience. Oupa Gwede was stumbling around in his WWII era coat whispering in this ear and that ear. Shuffling up and down the aisles, purposeless. The dignitaries were seated. The big game breeder sat down with a look of utter displacement on his face. It was like he was attending some ceremony in a foreign country listening to people speak in some foreign language. No doubt he would rather have been at home counting his billions while sipping 1962 Dalmore Single Highland Malt at $20,000 a bottle.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng sat silently to the right of the big game breeder with eyes almost shut. Perhaps thinking that if he can’t see them, then they can’t see him. He faked a yawn. In fact everything was fake.
The Big Kahuna floated in with an entourage the size of Gadaffi’s minus the Amazonian warrior women. Another fake smile and the big cheese sat down next to the Last Fallen Saviour turned big game breeder and Bon Viveur.
The speeches rambled on and the bleakness swallowed the hall like the black mist over the Thames.
The chief philanderer stepped up to the stage and cleared his throat. And then it happened. Four women dressed in black stood up in front of Zuma and faced the audience with simple, hand written signs to protest against his acquittal of rape 10 years ago. It was a silent protest. A very powerful protest. Probably the most powerful protest in the history of modern politics that will be talked about for many years to come.
The big cheese continued demonstrating his masterful oratory skills unwittingly. He didn’t know what this was all about, but to be fair, he seldom knows what is happening around him as demonstrated by the klap he got in these elections.
The women stood directly in front of our beloved big game whiskey drinker and our almost asleep (faking it) Chief Justice. They looked at these women in utter disbelief. Whispers were everywhere. No one even really noticed the red overall clad cleaning crew leaving the house.
No one even really noticed the red overall clad cleaning crew leaving the house.
In minutes the speech was over and if you had to ask anyone afterwards if they could remember one word the Zuma said, you wouldn’t find one. All eyes were on these brave women with their impromptu display of courage. It will be a defining moment in the career of – no, not JZ but Cyril Ramaphosa. Our second in charge.
It was the moment when his utter lack of leadership skills was exposed. The moment when the whole world realized that this eunuch left his balls in a jar at Nkandla. It was the moment when a real leader would have stood up and taken charge of a truly disastrous situation by quietly interrupting the speech and then by approaching the women and spoken to them. A true leader would have told them that their protest had been noticed and that he would be glad to meet with them personally to discuss their grievances.
The world has witnessed a Putinesque reactionary response in the gaping void left by the absence of true leadership.
A true leader would have quietly walked them out, showing real interest in their story. A true leader would have done the right thing. Instead a bunch of thugs rounded them up like cattle and pushed and shoved them out, in full view of the entire world. A defining moment where true leadership could have made all the difference. The world has witnessed a Putinesque reactionary response in the gaping void left by the absence of true leadership.
There was not one leader in the house. Perhaps he walked out with the cleaning staff.