Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thabo's Poise
If there's one thing I've always enjoyed about T-Bone, it's his rhetoric. The man takes eloquence to a new level, and there's no ambiguity about who he was talking to yesterday in his comments on crime.
"This I must say: for 64 years I have never had either the ability or the courage or the need to resort to grand theatrical gestures.

"I know this, as a matter of fact, that the overwhelming majority of the masses of our people would be gravely offended if tomorrow, to respond to the demands of the Pharisees, I should take to the stage to weep tears meant for the camera, to convince them of what they know, that the African National Congress, of which I am a proud member, now, for the first time in 95 years, has at last understood their pain, and is at one with them in lamenting their individual tragedies.

"There will be no empty theatrical gestures, no prancing on the stage and no flagellation, but we will continue to act against crime, as decisively as we have sought to do throughout the years of our liberation.

"From us, from the government, will issue no words that are lightly spoken," he said.

What Thabo is basically saying is "Shut up, and we'll get on with it. You have your admission oif guilt, now we're getting down to business". Cold? Fairly. Bitter? Definitely.

Thabo believes that the ANC resides in a world unlike usual Western politiking, where the government has been given a mandate by the people, and does not need to bend and cow to societial demands. This is both his strength and his weakness. Unfortunately, on a hot-button issue like crime, it just falls short. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Thabo's legacy is at stake here.