Friends & Friction: Lindiwe must do a Bidvest on the DA

2014-02-09 10:00

African wisdom tells us not to laugh at the pain of another man. I am certain the same is true for the pain of a woman.

The saying, “inxeba lendoda alihlekwa”, comes from a time when men fought for what they believed in.

That was certainly before the time Zulu King Shaka’s aunt, Mkabayi KaJama, accused her nephews of calling themselves men simply because they had “something hanging between their legs” but without the actions to back up their manhood.

So when the men went to war and came back with gaping wounds and injured pride, you had no right to laugh at them.

By the same token, we have no right to laugh at Mamphela Ramphele for she believed in something, and put her purse and reputation behind it.

Last week, this column predicted the relationship between Agang?SA and the DA would fail. Judging by how many of you retweeted this column, many readers agreed. But we should respect her for trying.

Like many people who have gone to work on rainy days and stormy nights only to be the first to be retrenched, we have no right to laugh at them.

Like so many others who took their savings and put them in a business, then told many people they were in business, only for it to fail, we have no right to laugh at them.

Indeed, you are foolish if you laugh at an unemployed youngster who had the courage to maximise his or her chances for success by going to school to study. They did their best and no one can accuse them of failure. This is the mind-set Africa needs if we are to be the champions of the future.

Ramphele did not fail, hers is a temporary setback in a string of indelible achievements in advancing the human race. This should be a lesson for her that it is almost impossible not to slip in the pigsty called politics. Gogo Ramphele should remember that Mother Teresa changed the world without money or a political party.

We see this in business all the time. Intel, which produces the processors in most computers and tablets, survived many false starts. Apple, which brought us the iPad, was in such deep financial trouble that in 1997, Bill Gates of Microsoft gave it a lifeline of $150?million plus a lot of nonfinancial assistance.

Ramphele will only be a failure if she fails to take lessons from her setback. To paraphrase Harriet Beecher Stowe in her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin: “Never run up a bill with the devil and then hope to sneak out when the time comes to pay.”

In the past week, the DA received unprecedented publicity, which it used to vilify Ramphele about her integrity and finances instead of advancing its manifesto. This comes from a party whose leader declared black people refugees in their own country.

This is the same leader who denigrated musician Simphiwe Dana and labelled her a “professional black”, whatever that means.

This raises the question: is the DA opposing the ANC or opposing black progress? Helen Zille’s venomous attacks against Ramphele have unwittingly eroded Lindiwe Mazibuko’s brand value.

People were starting to say “lo Lindiwe?…” in a tone that sounded like they were admitting to a harmless little infidelity.

Often their eyes would reveal they were eagerly waiting for her to charm them into the big indiscretion in the privacy of the voting booth. Many black South Africans love Mazibuko for the same reason they love black athletes and businesspeople who’ve “made it” in the wicked white world.

Perhaps the biggest lesson is for the bright young minds in the DA: remember how your forefathers fought loyally against the Germans only to return and be treated as fourth-class citizens at home?

White veterans received free homes in suburbs like Pinelands and blacks had to be happy with boots and bicycles in Langa township.

You certainly love your country and you love your party. Do what Bidvest did with Adcock last week. Take it over.

» Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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