'Africa loves you,' Motsepe tells Trump. Cartoon: Bethuel Mangena/African News Agency(ANA)
'Africa loves you,' Motsepe tells Trump. Cartoon: Bethuel Mangena/African News Agency(ANA)

What Patrice Motsepe said to Trump was utterly unAfrican

By Editorial Time of article published Jan 25, 2020

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THE annual gathering of billionaires and world leaders at Davos each year, under the auspices of the World Economic Forum, is a very important gathering, bringing together some of the most important and powerful people in the world.

Attendance can bring great dividends, as the late Nelson Mandela proved almost three decades ago and indeed, Davos proved very useful for our current president Cyril Ramaphosa when it came to keeping international investor trust intact in the immediate aftermath of state capture.

But Davos can also prove to be duplicitous, affording attendees an inflated sense of their self-worth. This year it appears that it was Patrice Motsepe’s turn to fall into that trap.

One of South Africa’s favoured sons, Motsepe has amassed vast wealth, which he has been generous in reinvesting for greater needs through his foundation’s charity projects and even buying up local sports teams.

This week though he grossly overstepped the mark, telling US president Donald Trump that Africa loved America and by inference the president of the US and that it wished him every success.

Patrice Motsepe has social media in a spin after he was spotted attending a dinner with US President Donald Trump. File photo: Jeffrey Abrahams/African News Agency

The billionaire might be surprised to find out, or indeed to quote his brother-in-law, even shocked, to discover his opinion of the Orange Man is most certainly a minority view: Many of us tend to see him as an aberration in the US democratic experiment; a wrecking ball on international affairs; an abuser of human rights and a serial liar; charlatan and a thief - and sincerely hope he will either be impeached or lose the upcoming US presidential election.

Freedom of expression is guaranteed by our constitution and as such, Motsepe is entitled to both hold his beliefs and to utter them. It does not give him the right though to speak on our, and certainly not the continent’s, behalf.

That is just hubris and, as such, unAfrican.

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