"Cyril" or "Cereal", everyone gets a bowl!

2013-01-28 08:30

When I heard that Cyril Ramaphosa was the national second best man, I thought nothing of the ANC power-change until my recent visit to my home village, Schulzendal, Nkomazi region, Mpumalanga, over the Christmas holidays.

Leisuring home, enjoying the art of doing nothing under the vast Amarula tree with all my pressures pushed to the back, my mind was playing the naming-game. So I did contemplate on names, including our second best man.

What’s in a name really?

My childhood neighbours were one family with names that left our small village elders feeling the shame of naming their kids without meaning. The Lubisi's (meaning Milk) were one family known to have gone to bed without an empty stomach in my childhood memory.

Each name had something to the provision on their family table. Take Bazooka (a name for a recoilless rocket antitank weapon) for example; the boy mastered the catapult for which he was revered. He was the type of shooting hero who could have made the Cowboy movie stars think twice about their shooting skills. He brought birds from the sky like a sniper would aim and take a target from an impossible position.

I am not sure how Scoco (Frog) fitted into the family naming system but she was always with her younger sister Mfuleni (River) at the river and they would always bring home wild fruits and vegetables along with their brother Bhabuli (referring to the Bigmouth fish) with fish for the pot. And their father Babe Lubisi, as we addressed the old man, would be minding his cattle.

Milk, meat, fish, fruits, veggies, birds, hare and other wild animals would be brought to the table. Everyone one in the family brought something and would look forward to an evening of feasting and imbibing in milk as if it were water from the stream. After all they were the Milky-family-with-foodie-names.

Then Cyril pops up

As I got wrapped up in my childhood memories, the little boy in me does not take into account the importance of spelling and knowing the differences between “Cyril” (meaning lordly, masterful) and “Cereal” (the breakfast meal). It all sounded the same to me, might as well be. The further I lapse into these fantasies the easier I imagine a country, our country, and its citizens waking up to bowls of Cereal every morning.

Conversely, in my waking hours, it’s also not hard to imagine whether the ANC's second best man has the powers, the wits, the connections and the know-how-to win the hearts of the nation. That is of course if we seriously believe that, one, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and two, we believe that there is something in a name.

Cyril could be a good start.

And if any South African were to start on a good day with a bowl of Cereal, and look forward to the day, we wouldn't be far from “a better life for all”. If Cyril were to employ all his skills he is known for - business skills, political acumenship and his connections - his influence could be felt earlier than any pipe-dream could be dismissed. If he could engage his business skills and instill accountability, activate his connections to support the country's cause with resources for the National Development Plan, our economy could scale to the nation’s favorable direction. If his political acumenship could be directed at engaging the nation in their dialogue with the public, and practice what they preach, every citizen could feel part of our rainbow nation. After all he is a darling to a sizeable segment of the country; he might as well be everyone’s “Cereal”.

But South Africans cannot survive only on Cereal

Like one would run a business, it would be important that the visions and missions of the business are adhered to. Competent citizens would have to take up their rightful posts and punctually work hard. The spiritual ladder of competence and hard work would move downward to every corner and level of government nationwide. It is not hard to imagine dedicated government offices servicing their people fairly, equally and without favors or prejudices. Hey, if other countries can be successful in their economy, why not South Africa. Everyone would have another “Cereal” the next morning.

Pushing the irony of naming-game

The Lubisi family head, Babe Lubisi himself, believed in naming her children well so his family wouldn’t starve, and they didn’t. But Cyril, being the darling of many in our beautiful country, could become the yummy and affectionate “Cereal” Ramaphosa every morning in everyone’s bowl. If his attempts are tarnished by those who want the “Cereal” to only themselves, he would have to learn a few skills of persuasion from our first man, Gedleyihlekisa “JZ” Zuma, meaning “the one who laughs while he endangers you”.

"Non-Cerealic" behavior: like businesses investing in the ANC as the “action man” purports that their businesses will multiply or the ANC national spokeperson, Jackson Mthembu’s assertion, in an attempt to defend the “action man’s” statement, that “the African tradition promotes tit-for-tat”. This is to avoid the suggestion that “Africans” are the fortunate ones. All Cyril would have to do is to “Gedleyihlekisa” everyone who is against his vision with his “Cerealic” effects, this would also include dealing with Madame H Zille, with all her Holier Than Thee shenanigans.

But getting South Africa economically free takes more than lazying under a tree, or individuals whose influences are not for the interests and benefits of the country and its citizens. It does, however, relieve the so exhausted “together we can do more” mantra!


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