Harry Gwala, where are you?

2014-05-01 14:39

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Wednesday. We’re at church. I’m not that pleased. It’s partially because I’m not a church kinda guy.

I guess that comes from having a lay preacher for a grandfather. And being born in a place where people wanted to kill each other because – among other reasons – they belonged to different congregations.

So generally, I only do church for funerals or political meetings. It is what it is. I don’t generally get invited to weddings.

The best political church gig I ever did was one aimed at getting Robert McBride off death row. It was in this church in Durban. Nobody else would supply a venue.

There’s all these church cats praying for liberation. Lotsa hymns. There’s a couple thousand comrades wanting to get stuck in. They’re at church to listen to Harry Gwala. Gwala’s not exactly a churchgoer. The Nats threw him out of jail so negotiations could happen.

Word comes that Gwala’s on his way. The temperature rises. The comrades are kicking holes in the floor. The Lion of the Midlands walks in. The church leaders walk out. There’s pandemonium.

Back to Wednesday. We’re at Regina Mundi church in Soweto. Gary (the pics man) is also not pleased. We’re meant to be following the Commander in Chief during his last week of campaigning. It’s proven more difficult than you’d think.

It should be like falling off a log. Given the massive entourage of vehicles, guns, bodyguards and cats and catesses with T-shirts with his head on them that follows him around, no matter what province he’s in. Not this election.

President Jacob Zuma failed to show up for a prayer service at Regina Mundi church in Soweto on Wednesday (April 30 2014). Picture: Muntu Vilakazi/City Press

In 2009, things were groovy. The CiC was coming off dealing with the former CiC at Polokwane. Zizi Kodwa was running the ANC spin machine. Nkandla was still a town 50km or so from the CiC’s home at Nxamalala.

This time around, the ANC road machine is all 007. The big man’s movements are a closely guarded secret. Programmes go out after dark the day before a CiC gig. Host provinces are sworn to secrecy, if they even know what’s going down. The government handlers can’t help. The Luthuli House ones won’t. Things are bad.

Tuesday. We’re hammering it from Jozi to Mooinooi. The Prez is meant to be there. Just as we’re taking the Rustenberg turn we get the aerials. The CiC’s bailing. Marikana doesn’t want anything to do with him. Strangely enough. The gig’s off. There’s way too many green T-shirts on the ground.

We burn it back to the big city.

Wednesday, we’re up early. The Prez is gonna be at the Zola-Jabulani District Hospital in Soweto. There’s a whole province of resources across the road from the Jabulani Mall. We’re locked and loaded.

I’m getting restless. We need to get to Polokwane by the evening. I text M. That’s 007’s handler. M says the CiC isn’t coming. We hit Regina Mundi.

This is Gary’s gig, not mine. Lotsa stained glass and warm light. Shooter’s paradise. For me, it’s looking swak. There’s lotsa women in Angie Motshekga outfits. They’re singing. They’re even more people with disabilities who have been bussed in. They’re singing and dancing. There’s no CiC.

I get texting. The lahnee’s a no-show. He’s in Pretoria on some IEC gig. The rest of today, an ANC Youth League house handover at Mabopane, has vanished into the ether.

Gary’s still shooting.

All the faithful are milling. I’m standing around like a muppet.

Harry Gwala, where are you?

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