Dear Mr President
It is a discomforting honour to write to a man of your gargantuan stature, I must admit. It is indeed more than displeasure to swallow the bitter pill of bravery and address you and the high office you represent. Not only is it daunting, but it is also most probably unsafe for anyone to speak honestly to power.
Once upon a time Mr President, hundreds of villagers gathered outside the home of a young preacher they believed should become a leader of their community. With good news brimming from their smiling lips, the villagers informed the young man of the letter that it would be their pleasure to see him studying towards some form of qualification in the art of preaching the Word of God. Each villager held some coins in their hands, which they gladly offered to the young preacher.
"Go to a bible college of your choice and study more about God. When you return, we want you to become our pastor and leader. We have seen the great gift of God in you, and we believe that with a little education, you will be able to carry out God's purpose with all the fervency and clarity," they said to him, in their home language.
The young preacher went and studied. After completing his college stint, he was able to raise funds to study towards a theology degree at university level. Back home, the villagers waited in eager anticipation for the Man of God to manifest.
Many years later, he returned to the village where two bulls were slaughtered to celebrate his 2nd Coming, if you will. However, something weighed heavy in the heart of the young preacher, who was no longer that young. He looked upon the beaming visages of his people, and reluctantly acknowledged the glitter of hope in their eyes. Like a mountaineer who had conquered the ascension to the apex of courage, he found more disheartening the descent and the disillusionment of taming a stationary peak.
He realised that if faith could move mountains, then the mountains were within the man, not without. How would he announce to the village that he had since learnt that their faith was based on mythology? How would he dare challenge the beliefs they had held onto for so many years, and had painstakingly saved up their resources for him to immerse himself in the ways of God? How would he ever hope to burst their bubble and tell them there is no God?
Mr President, as I pondered upon the journeys of the young preacher, I reflected on your tenure as a leader of a sprouting nation that emerged from the ashes of racial discrimination. Today, as I belligerently pen this open letter to you, I realise why you have since become a less favourite of all South Africa's democratic presidents. I can now clearly see that, at a socio-subconscious level, you have come to represent a Bubble Buster:
A leader who is so ordinary he cannot afford to play the moral hero that he clearly knows he is not. I have come to realise that we do not have a problem with the things you do, but we have a problem with the fact that you do not have a problem with the things you do. For God's sake! Who didn't know that His Excellency's heart is flowered with the undying love for women?
When, as deputy president of the country, you admitted to sexing your comrade's daughter for more than 10 minutes, and rushing to shower-up after she started smelling like onion on your skin, you were clear about how it would have been uncultured of you to leave a woman in heat.
Then we acted surprised when you impregnated the daughter of a powerful leader. Then you became president and married more women - and we still acted shocked. Our problem is that we had hoped that you would somehow find repentance in your free ways and demonstrate the kind of heroic leadership the world demands. I mean, when it emerged that poor Clinton admitted had inserted a cigar into someone, he was later impeached. Why? Why not? The world simply needs heroes.
They need someone to look up to; a Lamb of God to wash away their sins and lead them to greener pastures. But if the lamb would openly graze with us and fall into the same pits as us, we become paranoid. We begin to label such a leader many things, when he is merely admitting he cannot lead. Somehow, you must be feeling, I assume, that such heroes do not exist. And you being the Bubble Buster in Chief, could not endorse a myth.
For example, why would anyone question the building of a R200+ million family home when no one is up in arms over Obama spending nearly R1 billion (for security reasons) just to visit Africa? He visit did not last a week, and your home would probably last your family generations.
Your great-grandchildren will probably be thankful to their awesome ancestor who left them all the kraals and bunkers. I think we are madder because you never invited us to your fire pool party. A house warming would have done the trick, but perhaps you were not sure if everyone would get security clearance. The department of public works should have learned from you.
How the hell did they even think of approving a spaza shop worth so much without considering the security threat the customers would pose? Silly of them! I wonder how such a business will ever recoup its costs now that the only customers are family and staff members.
Well, we'll just have to hire a business mentor to come up with a strategy for that. Once again, our bubble has been burst.
Today, we blame you for Marikana, but laud Obama for his good speeches when the people of Baghdad, Afghanistan, Libya and Egypt cannot say the same. While we moan about your TRT police squad, Obama is accused of using drones, but what a great leader he is, because he can read a speech far better than you. But you wouldn't care, would you?
You came into the world to burst a bubble. You are an anointed pastor, a self-confessed wizard who "bewitched Boers." So, why should you worry about a handful of booooo-ars?
You've been through hell and back. You have faced prosecution left, right and centre. You have been ordered to surrender spy tapes to the opposition, but why should you? Only a mythical leader would surrender so easily. Plus, you know nothing about any spy tapes. You also know nothing about fire pools. The one thing that you do not for sure is that if you were not married to your wives, you would happily marry a prostrate Venda woman who knows her place.
Why should we compare your moral radar to that of the old Mandela? Why should we compare your intellect to that of the aloof Mbeki? Why should we compare your political mannerism to that of Motlanthe, who could not even raise his hand on the road to Mangaung?
Mr President, The fact is that you did not steal anyone's vote. You were elected to power with all your flaws. Did I mention that you were re-elected in Mangaung? We voted for you. In 2009 I overlooked Rev Dandala's face on the ballot paper and endorsed your election. So, who am I to turn and blame you today? Why should I be asking for you to resign now?
Where was my foresight when I elected you President, Mr President? It would be hypocritical of me. What's more shocking is when I see my brothers and sisters running amok in the streets, burning tyres, barricading roads and stoning motorists in the name of service delivery. What did they expect you to deliver?
Haven't you done enough for your wives and children? What more do they want? Don't they know that charity starts at home? I mean, just this week, you told people in KaNyamazane that "like it or not, we will still govern them." If that's not arrogance then I need a new dictionary. But why should you not be arrogant about election victory? Who wouldn't be arrogant if the same people who say he is a bad leader turn out in their millions to vote for him? I mean, screw the critics.
You are the man. Aren't we all pompous somehow? Don't we all swell with pride whenever we feel we have achieved above our detractors? So, why shouldn't you be pompous? Why should you endorse an ancient leadership trick like humility when your arrogance works for you?
Like the preacher who stood before his community with a needle, your path to power has not been simple. You chose honesty above hypocrisy. I know many of your critics hate you for being able to get away with what they have to hide. I bet you they are dying with envy. And I swear, should they know your secret, they will follow suit. But I do know your secret. It's one simple line that I wrote in one of my poems years ago: Proceed without shame.
Therefore, Mr President, Pastor of the Broad Church and Wizard of Kanyamazane, let me wish you a great campaign as we marathon our way to the 2014 general elections. Let me wish you a 90% victory as you've requested. I was a moron when I voted for you in 2009. But it took something in you to expose the moron in me.
I will therefore refuse to be a moron this time around. Although you will not have my vote this year, I will desist from criticising you, because you are just an awesome leader who has no time for folklore. I hope other leaders learn from you, and become Bubble Busters themselves.
You are a legend, Mr President
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