Meet the Leaders: Maimane, Zuma, Malema

2016-12-18 18:31

There has been many attempts to reflect on the year 2016 with the view of shedding light to the coming new year, 2017. Here is one attempt among several. Things have been telescoped, compressed and some omitted. No attempt came be all inclusive.

It is a complex country, South Africa that is. To try to get to grips with it is like muddling through. The best way however is to shorthand it.

To find our way we make a consideration of the three dominating political parties. These are ANC, DA and EFF. It is not that others are irrelevant but the fact is that these three play the most significant part in our lives.

How do we get to unpack them? We look at their leaders. Jacob Zuma, Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema.

We start with Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance

Mmusi Maimane has managed to rise, above and win the admiration and respect of his party stalwarts. But that was not the difficult task, any leader with a hold on the institutional systems and structures is bound to be listened to and respected.

The real difficult task was to demonstrate, show in real practical ways to the Black people that he is not a lackey of whites. So they watched him, they talked about him, they monitored all what he said and his body language. And they arrived at a conclusion. And here is the statement of the conclusion about Mmusi Maimane:  To the millions of Black people, no matter how vehemently they may disagree with Mmusi Maimane, still they respect him as a man wrestling with an incredibly difficult opportunity to shape South Africa. He might be soft and vacillate but definitely his demeanor is not that of a sell out. And that is all many Black people who voted for him in the recent local government elections wanted to know.

He is one of the most exciting modern African politicians.

We turn now to President Jacob Zuma, leader of the African National Congress.

Jacob Zuma may be defined by the local government election results and the state of the ANC.  His leadership strategy during the local government elections was to go in full force on Mmusi Maimane. In all the deadly attacks he unleashed, Mmusi Maimane outmaneuvered him. Mmusi Maimane successfully managed to shuffle himself out of the deadly traps ANC set for him.

Jacob Zuma charged in several fronts on Mmusi Maimane. Here is one of those attacks:

"Have we forgotten where we come from? We cannot be ruled by an offspring of apartheid." "If you are a black person, you join that [DA] really? Really? It's worse when you lead it… it is an annoyance…"

Mmusi Maimane's response to these vicious attacks was to dive into the clothes of Nelson Mandela. Mmusi Maimane has so ingratiated himself on the legacy of Nelson Mandela to such an extent that Mandla Mandela complained and wanted to go to court about what Maimane was doing.

Another thing worth noting about President Zuma is the state of the ANC. Under his watch, for the first time in its long history the ANC lost its vitality. For the first time it lost its standing in the country as the paragon of virtue. Never has the ANC been this low in the eyes of the public. I say the eyes of the public because others may say it is not the first time the ANC was this way. But in the eyes of the public this is the first time.  It also lost its teaching and educational value in society:moral standing.

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters

If the three leaders were heavyweight boxers on a world stage, Julius Malema, pound for pound, will be undisputed heavy champion of the world.

Good leaders throughout history are known for being strong willed and intelligent - educated on the spot. Mmusi Maimane entered into a political party with a notable history, and more so for President Jacob Zuma.

With Julius Malema there was nothing. No history just passion and a powerful message.

Julius Malema was very smart to realise that for EFF to take off from the ground, he has to cause a stir. It was through miners' boots and miner’s overalls and makarapa that the people who have been put to sleep by the opium of the ANC was shaken from their sleep.

Seeing the rise of the EFF it was like you are reading Prophesy Deliverance! Prophesy Deliverance is a book written by freedom fighter Cornel West, the first black person to earn a doctorate in philosophy at Princeton University. West shows how to fight the system that oppresses people.There are many ways to wake a person from deep sleep. But the best effective methods are to shout at him, pulling and shove him, slap him a little bit. EFF interrupted, contradicted and interjected the ANC every corner.

In a way seeing the visuals of EFF entering Parliament for the first time in dramatic song and dance, reminded me of the Black Revolutionary choir that Cornel West talks about in Prophecy Deliverance and later in the book, the Black Prophetic Fire! 

Many people have lamented how dangerous it is to have a political party that boost to rule until the world comes to an end.

As the year 2016 ends, the hegemony of the ANC has been broken. If you disagree that it has been broken then you have to admit that it has been severely and terribly weakened and wounded. There is no denying the fact. And there is no denying the fact who started and sustained that. It was EFF that put their necks on the chopping block to oppose the ANC. They risks being thrown in jail; given bogus charges, the kind of bogus charges that Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande revealed recently that are given to people who are prepared to confront corruption.

Perhaps you may be surprised of the constant use of the word prophet by Cornel West in most of his books.  Among black Americans, prophecy is often rooted in stories of overcoming oppression while influencing the moral vision of social and political activists. Prophecy in this context is highly valued because it represents black resistance to white supremacy, inspires insurgence against the suppression of freedom, mobilizes people to become fighters against social and political oppression, and risk their lives in the service of their people.

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