On song: delegates unite in harmony and sing their say at policy review

2010-09-24 00:00

SONGS have played a significant role during the ANC’s national general council, which comes to an end today in Durban.

The liberation songs, which evoke different feelings and often communicate messages and sometimes policy positions, are a big part of the Durban meeting.

When delegates were locked out of the plenary hall as organisers put finishing touches to their preparations inside, it took only minutes before they broke into a song.

The NGC was scheduled to start at 9 am and at 9.10 am impatient delegates broke into a song Makusheshwe ngoba thina sifuna ukungena, which means “Hurry up, we want to get inside the hall”.

The song was also very popular during the recent public service strike as workers urged the government to speedily resolve the deadlock in the negotiations.

Some delegates from the Eastern Cape were heard singing anti-Cope songs on Sunday; in one of the songs they sang that they gave Mluleki George, Mosiuoa “Terror” Lekota and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka senior positions in government, but “you failed and went to start Cope”.

A song that set the scene for President Jacob Zuma to deliver his political report on Monday was Zuma Dumela, a SeSotho song that means “Zuma, hello and welcome”.

A song sung by Free State delegates offers a prayer for former ANC Youth League president Fikile Mbalula, whom some delegates are backing to take over in 2012 as ANC secretary-general.

But the Eastern Cape was not to be outdone and came up with their own song which declared Gwede Mantashe “SG with content”.

But the most prominent song throughout the week of the policy review has been the one about Solomon Mahlangu, the late Mkhonto Wesizwe soldier who was hanged by the apartheid government for his activities in the liberation movement’s armed struggle.

The song was sung with expressions of deep emotion and as a show of strength by both delegates and party leaders.

PRESS briefings have offered some lighter moments as ANC senior leaders joked with journalists about the proposed media appeals tribunal.

Secretary-general Gwede Mantashe tried to greet each and every reporter and photographer in the packed hall on Tuesday before the press conference.

This prompted ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu to call Mantashe back to the stage “SG, it is not part of your job to greet journalists. Come up on stage so we can start with the real work,” he joked. Everyone broke into laughter when a reporter asked if the lights shining on the area where journalists were seated, rather than on the table, signifies that the spotlight is now on the media and no longer on the ANC.

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