Dr Pali Lehohla is the former Statistician-General of South Africa and former head of Statistics South Africa. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi
Dr Pali Lehohla is the former Statistician-General of South Africa and former head of Statistics South Africa. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Pitso Mosimane breathes life into dream of a Cape to Cairo

By Opinion Time of article published Dec 3, 2020

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Dr Pali Lehohla the former Statistician-General of South Africa and former head of Statistics South Africa writes

The colonial mercantilist Cecil Rhodes dreamt of a united Africa out of which the British colonial power would exact value.

He coined the slogan Cape to Cairo as his grand dream.

Africa continues to reel under the yoke of neo-colonialism design to date.

It is a continent full of paradoxes – a rich continent with the world’s poor. This scourge continues to this day.

The dream of a Cape to Cairo came to life on Friday, November, the 27th, not from Rhodes, but from Pitso Mosimane, who united South Africa and Egypt through sports.

He showed how South African leaders far removed from political limelight can unite the continent. He revived the true spirit of Mahlathini and Mahotella Queens in their song titled, Isomiso, where they refer to Africa not as a continent, but a country.

Pitso Mosimane is the former coach of Sundowns and now a coach of El Ahly of Egypt captivated Egyptians and South Africans alike when El Ahly demolished Zamalek. And Pitso’s winning streak has stayed with him.

He stayed true to what Madiba asked of all of us that South Africans because of what they achieved in 1994 – a peaceful transition have brought new hope to the world.

In 1998 when launching the results of Census 96, Madiba said South Africans were feted like kings wherever they were because of the bold promise they had delivered to the world. But he sternly warned that we should not abuse this rare privilege and let down those who looked up to us for hope that a better world is deliverable.

Sadly, the proverbial happened, and the opposite of what he inspired has set in. The barbarians are not only at the gates, but they gluttonously looted the material worth of South Africa and struck at the very moral authority Madiba warned against - yet Pitso has proved that Madiba was right on holding on to this moral authority.

There is a lot to learn from Pitso.

At the heart of it Pitso is a hard-nosed technocrat, but one endowed with a broad vision which brought Egypt into South Africa and South Africa into Egypt.

I watched the game between the Pharoh giants as they put up an excellent pulsating show. Pitso is taking his Club El Ahly to the world stage and Egypt and South Africa and the rest of the continent will be behind him as he does so.

What did he do? He was a competent player and unstoppable at that.

As a coach he had his ups and downs in the national coaching space. Whatever the issues were, politics of South African Football Association got in the way and we are left the poorer as a nation. When the political space interfaces with technocracy in a parasitic fashion, the country becomes a casualty.

Pitso upon taking reins at Sundowns he raised its profile on the continent.

But like a true technocrat he was thirsty for self-improvement and enrolled for coaching lessons and successfully juggled this between games and won on both fronts and led Sundowns to retain the championship.

There is not a politician in the current stock in South Africa that has through a competence-based process, totally corruption free, who matches Pitso's ability to pool two nations together - bringing Cairo and Cape Town together and merging them into one, thereby raising our own nations hope that a better future is possible.

He is playing the developmental politics, which we sorely need. He puts the looting pack to shame and I am sure this lot are looking for a photo shoot or even photoshopped moment with him to secure undeserved credibility.

Pitso has not only raised the national flag, but he has made sure that he keeps it up there. It was that moment when Egyptians took to the South African flag that Madiba’s point resonated at a much deeper level.

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