These two distinctive descriptions boldly showcase a sharp difference between “idiosyncratic buffoonery” and “legendary greatness”.
Throughout a larger part of my life, my daily aspirations and dreams have been modelled on this personal philosophic injunction: “Inspirational resilience is an epic trademark that defines the towering greatness of courageous minds.”
Exceptionally great leaders are usually tested and observed in times of socio-political upheavals and societal disintegration. Great leaders are not tested in times of prosperity and simplicity, but in epochal moments of adversity and hardship. In times of untold adversity, every society would expect its leaders to exude phenomenal resilience, inspirational courage and visionary calculus.
As we are all aware, South Africa is fast drowning into a cesspool of ignominy as a result of endless presidential disasters. Consequent to that, many citizens expected Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to come forth and lodge a formidable stance against this persisting presidential failure. In the last two years, Ramaphosa’s political posturing and articulations have been vague, restrained and intrinsically timid.
It was never practically feasible to discern where he stands pertaining to Jacob Zuma’s burgeoning presidential failures, scandals and indiscretions.
But of late we have been seeing a completely different and greatly inspirational Ramaphosa. It first transpired a month ago when he publicly distanced himself from Zuma’s disastrous and ultra-consequential cabinet reshuffle.
Last Sunday Ramaphosa proved that he would no longer stand by and watch Zuma trample mercilessly on our dreams, hopes and aspirations.
He delivered a fiercely resilient Chris Hani Memorial Lecture organised by the SACP in the Eastern Cape.
He grabbed the bull by the horns and laid into Zuma’s myriad presidential disasters and leadership fumbles. To massive applause, he told the audience that “we all know there is an elephant in the room, but we don’t want to talk about it ”.
The highly spirited deputy president said: “Chris Hani was a great unifier, a nation builder. He was not a kind of a leader who, through reckless statements and self-serving actions, would divide the movement and polarise the nation.”
Ramaphosa showcased Hani’s phenomenal qualities in a comparative manner that stood in direct contradiction to Zuma’s self-serving demeanour, political scandals and leadership deficiencies. The underlying gist and implication of Ramaphosa’s blistering lecture was that Zuma is an embarrassing antithesis to the supreme qualities, sacrifices and achievements of Hani.
The deputy president minced no words in articulating on the fissures and conundrums tearing the ANC apart. At the centre lies the devious utility of money, he said.
With unflinching tenacity, Ramaphosa made this resoundingly courageous admission: “The problem is money. Money has come between us, and today there is patronage, there is money being passed around, in bags, paper bags and brown envelopes. As we are leading to the elective national conference, money has become the currency of buying favours and votes. That is already happening.”
That uncompromising articulation sharply reminded me of Julius Malema’s complaint last year that Zuma is nefariously using his presidential jet to smuggle out of the country billions of rand stashed in multiple bags.
Undeniably, money happens to be the ultimate driving force behind “a generally disastrous and corrupt relationship” between President Zuma and the Guptas.
The use of money “to buy delegates and votes” has become an established ritual during and prior to the regional, provincial and national conferences of the ANC. Above that, a dominant faction will also utilise state machinery and public resources to advance and cement its ulterior political agenda and factional hegemony.
In other abnormal scenarios, a dominant faction in the ruling party will customarily use state security agencies to conduct illicit covert operations and “dirty tricks” on rival politicians and opponents.
In that epochal Chris Hani Memorial Lecture, Ramaphosa displayed his brilliantly calculated militancy, top-class political clarity and illustrious tenacity of spirit.
The deputy president’s lecture was equitably modelled on organisational turbulence, constructive political appraisal and transcendental vision and epochal inspiration.
Like an optimistic military general, the deputy president assured the masses that the ANC will eventually cleanse itself of these pervasive maladies and rotten afflictions.
The (once) glorious liberation movement of Chris Hani has historically thrived, survived and triumphed in extremely turbulent times and unimaginable circumstances.
The other aspirational part of Ramaphosa’s message was that, in implied terms: come hell or high water, the ANC will soon reclaim and restore its historic moral integrity, revolutionary morality, generic coherence and organisational resilience.
Towards the close of his lecture, Ramaphosa threw a revolutionary challenge at the ANC general membership: “I am confident - and many in the leadership share this confidence - that the branches of our organisation will use the upcoming 54th ANC national conference to chart a new path of political, organisational and moral renewal.”
The absolute totality of Zuma’s pseudo-political motives and machinations are dishonourably antithetical to the envisaged “political, organisational and moral renewal” of the ANC.
Ramaphosa’s lecture was actually a well-sharpened sword that was thrown with immense power in the direction of Zuma and his legion of sycophantic loyalists.
Kindly permit me to reiterate the deputy president’s hilarious yet truthful reminder: “We all know there is an elephant in the room, but we don’t want to talk about it.”
I strongly concur with Ramaphosa that there was no need at all to divulge the obvious name of that (Nkandla-based) elephant.
Tellingly, the deputy president tactfully used that lecture to alert the nation that he is ready to battle for and usurp the ANC presidency.
His distinguished display of insurmountable resilience and inspirational courage is priceless and worthy of emulation. When a president tramples on the noble virtues of our nationhood, society will naturally look to the deputy president for national salvation, guidance and inspiration.
Thankfully, Ramaphosa is currently gearing up for the ultimate battle to salvage our country from Zuma’s gripping imperial clutches.
Undeniably, Ramaphosa-Zuma warfare would become fiercely dirty, terrifyingly ugly and unbearably punchy. But in the end, a moral, ethical, principled candidate would emerge victorious and triumphant.
An unconventional piece of advice to Ramaphosa: hold on to your principled moral tenacity, rejoice in the revolutionary!
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.