My suitcase: Truth is indeed stranger than fiction

November 23, 2009 § 4 Comments

I don’t keep my skeletons in a closet, I keep them in a suitcase. It’s much easier to flee with a suitcase in hand when the authorities come. This way you can run away with your evidence. This is why I prefer suitcases.

When I lived in Cape Town, a friend of mine used to keep his condoms in his suitcase because he was too embarrassed to keep them anywhere near where his elderly cleaning lady would see them. From what he told me I gathered that she was too old to be the same age as his mother, but too young to be his grandmother’s age. She was that age in African culture that doesn’t permit you to tell her what to do, even though she works for you. I digress, as usual. I blame this on my short attention spa…

Mine, the suitcase that is, has a far more interesting story than condom storage. It had been stolen or lost and I found it under the most unbelievable circumstances — worthy of an episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

The suitcase in question was my mother’s pride and joy. She was proud of a lot of things she had, but this suitcase was rarely used. It was used on special occasions, for special trips, much like the special cups, plates and cutlery that only ever saw the light of day when there were super-special visitors. When I left Mdantsane (a township just outside East London, famous for producing boxing champions, the likes of Welcome Ncitha, Bungu and others) many years ago to go study advertising in the bustling metropolis of Cape Town in the Western Cape, she gave it to me. There was no need to lecture me to look after it because I knew how she loved it.

Cut to two years later when I had to leave it in my church for safe keeping until I could find new accommodation.

One day, after many months I went back to the church to collect it from storage. It was not there. The rapture perhaps? I wondered. I was assured that no rapture had taken place. No one knew where it was. It had mysteriously vanished in the Bermuda Triangle of the church. I assumed it had either been stolen or had disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle of Christian generosity – with other people’s stuff. I figured someone saw a suitcase filled with clothes and decided to give it away. My heart sank. What would I tell my mother? I was not worried about the clothes. I was worried about the suitcase.

For the next year, whenever I went home my mother would ask me where it was. I would tell her it was in Cape Town, of course I never told her I didn’t know where in Cape Town. I think she knew something had happened to it.

It was a dark, stormy Saturday night. Seriously. It was a dark and stormy night the day before I found it under the most unbelievable circumstances, Steven Spielberg couldn’t come up with a story line like this. It was dark, because that tends to happen at night. Stormy though is not something that happens that often at night. The winds howled, branches snapped off trees, dogs whimpered in the unusual weather. Little did I know that when I woke up the next day I would find my long-lost suitcase.

As I was getting ready for church that Sunday morning I got an SMS informing myself along with all the members of my church that there would be no service that morning. There had been a tornado that had ripped people’s homes apart in Manenberg and Gugulethu. It was our duty as members of the church to help people move their belongings and give clothes to those who had lost everything. And so, I went to my wardrobe and put on my Sunday worst. I could foresee a lot of physical labour ahead. Off I went for my Christian duties.

To cut a long narrative short, after moving furniture and rubble from four affected homes I was summoned to a fifth house. It was in this house where I would find the long-lost suitcase. Perhaps I should narrate this part in the present tense.

I step into the typical township four-roomed RDP house with a sense of purpose, if not a little tired from the manual labour I had just endured. The first thing I see in this humble home, which had been humbled even further by nature’s unforgiving force, are three broken bricks on a dented wet stove. Where the roof used to be is a blue innocent sky, pleading not guilty. My eye sees something familiar in the bedroom. It is a bedspread. It looks remarkably like the one I used to have. What are the chances, I think to myself. But, right next to the bed is my mother’s suitcase. It is soaking from last night’s rain. I say nothing. I help move various items out of the house to an unscathed neighbour’s house. My mind starts working.

Dilemma. What do I do? These people have just lost their house, what do I do. I summon some courage and ask to speak to the owner of the house. Her face looks like it has aged in the hours after the tornado even though I’ve never seen her. As I speak to her she almost doesn’t even see me. All I see are the many questions on her numb face. Where am I going to sleep? Where will my children sleep? How am I going to repair my house? She turns to look at me with her heart-broken eyes. As I begin to speak to her I can feel my eyes well a little. How do I tell her I want the suitcase after she has just lost everything? I tell her that the duvet is mine and so are sheets and so is the brown suitcase. She looks at me, for the first time, she sees me. “My son got that suitcase and what’s in the suitcase,” she says.

I tell her calmly that it is my mother’s suitcase, I don’t mean anything bad by it. Her eyes accuse me of accusing her son of being a thief. Her son walks in. He is wearing my clothes. I don’t know how you got it and I don’t want to know, it is not something we can discuss now. I tell her she can keep everything all I want is the suitcase. She says fine, prove it’s yours. She is a tough woman even under these circumstances. I open a secret compartment within the case and extract photos of me and my family. She looks at me sheepishly and gives her son a look only a disapproving mother can give. I unpack whatever is in the suitcase and I take it with me. Guilt-ridden but at least I had my mother’s suitcase.

My mother still doesn’t know that it took a tornado for me to find her suitcase. I keep it in the closet now. It is the skeleton in my closet. I guess not any more now that it’s a blog.

Breath

April 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

World record breath holder

World record breath holder

Agree to disagree

March 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

No means no

No means no

Not Friend zoned but Jesus zoned. There is no greater curse.

February 10, 2009 § 3 Comments

We’ve been going on about being friend zones for some time now.  Some people didn’t know that there is an even tougher zone than the Jesus zone. What is the Jesus Zone they ask? Well, I have been a victim. Consider this Confessions of the Jesus Zoned.

Being Jesus zoned is even more cruel than the Friend zone. See, it’s possible to escape the friend zone. I am yet to meet a man who has braved the Jesus zone and came out alive to tell the tails of his conquest. Fellas, you don’t want to meet this woman. She is nice, very friendly and extremely kind. So kind in fact that you think that she may have the hots for you. But alas, she just has the hots for sweet baby Jesus. Not you. No siree, no. You will also identify her by her church side hugs.

Let me tell you my tail.

There is nothing more annoying than asking a girl out and she gives you the, “I’m sorry I can’t go out with you because I’ve found Jesus,” line. As if Jesus was lost. And now that she has found him, he needs her to look after him until he is nursed back to health. Worse, they say I’m trying to get my relationship with Jesus in order first. I think that an honest, “Dude, I don’t want to go out with you,” will do. It bruises the ego but at least it’s honest. Besides, the male ego is resilient and optimistic. It’s too big. It’s too wide. It’s too strong. It won’t fit. It’s too much. Basically a really big ego.

A friend of mine who shall remain Khaya (yes, laugh) once got the Jesus line. Being the eternal optimist he said to the dear lady, “At least I lost to a better man. He’s perfect, how can I compete?” So I, (I mean Khaya.) Let’s try this again. So Khaya didn’t take this as being turned down. But he knew he knew he had the wool pulled over his eyes. One day however, Khaya went back to her and told her to say what she didn’t want to say. He said, “You know what, I want you to say it because I’m not going to say it for you.” He didn’t want someone try to protect his feelings. (Not that he actually has any. OK, just kidding).

“You can do it.” He coached her. After much encouragement she eventually said it. “It’s not going to happen.” She said it like she didn’t want to say it. My dear friend Khaya leaped to his feet and said, “You see, it’s not so hard. I’m not dead, I’m not crying and Jesus still loves you!” He almost gave her gold star.

Ladies, stay away from using Jesus as an excuse. Sure he’ll forgive you but that line is worse than the favourite guy pick up line, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” and that’s unforgivable.

Should Mbeki publicly endorse Cope but remain an ANC member?

January 28, 2009 § 6 Comments

Imagine a scenario where former president Thabo Mbeki decides to announce his endorsement and intentions to vote for Cope but decides to remain a member of the ANC. I cannot imagine a situation that could rattle the feathers of some of the over inflated egos at Luthuli House more. Some of those egos are “too big, too wide, too strong, won’t fit they’re too much and they talk like this but they can’t even back it up.” “Quoting” Beyonce while discussing politics seems a tad out of place. Perhaps I should make a better analogy. Let me point to the most widely followed election in recent memory. The US elections.

(Just an aside here. I was commenting on someone’s status on Facebook about something they had said regarding the ANC. In my comment I quoted Dr Martin Luther King; someone then commented saying, “Trust Cope to quote Martin Luther King who, at the time, was speaking about equality during the 1960s. What relevance does Dr King have to our democracy,” as if there was something wrong with quoting people from other countries. I’m afraid if that person sees this blog post I will be taken to task for making references to America.)

Two weeks before the American general elections in 2008 a very well respected Republican sat before Tom Brokaw, the host of MSNBC’s much-respected Meet the Press TV programme. This particular Republican, according to opinion polls, had been the most respected American for years. In fact, had his wife not forbidden him from running in 2000, would most certainly have been the Republican nominee for president, meaning that he would have ended up president of the United States instead of George Walker (Dubya) Bush. He would have been America’s first black president.

This Republican gentleman and former National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State, General Colin Luther Powell endorsed Barack Obama, a member of the Democratic Party, for the presidency of the United States. During his endorsement he mentioned that he was and still is a member of the Republican Party but felt that Obama would make a better president than his fellow party man, John McCain. Although he endorsed an individual, it was essentially an endorsement of the Democratic Party’s platform.

General Powell made that endorsement fully aware of the impact it might have on the fence sitters. Here was an established, highly respected man going out of his way to make known his intentions of voting for a member of a different party to that of his own. Although he allowed himself to be used to bring falsified evidence before the United Nations, which led to the invasion of Iraq, perhaps the endorsement was a way of correcting that error.

He was not hounded out of the Republican Party after his announcement. Of course they were not happy with the endorsement. It was his right to express his preferences. Some tried to spin it by saying he was only endorsing Obama because he is black. Maybe it is time our country matured enough to allow people to express their preferences without fear or favour.

Unfortunately I don’t see Luthuli House viewing Mbeki’s endorsement of Cope as his democratic right. He would most likely be called a traitor at first. Then names and a host of animals that can be found in a zoo. The endorsement would then be ridiculed. They would say that he wants to rule from the grave. They would accuse him of bitterness. They would say that people aren’t going to switch from the ANC and vote for Cope simply because Mbeki decided to do so. The funny thing is they would spend an awful lot of time telling us how insignificant the endorsement was. They would also appear on every SABC station telling us how it would not make a dent in the ANC’s support base, which would make you how wonder: is it really inconsequential? Fikile Mbalula would say that he was right all along; Mbeki was behind Cope all along. Then Julius would call for him to be disciplined or call for his expulsion.

I had the rare opportunity of seeing Julius Malema and Fikile Mbalula at a wedding I too had the privilege of attending some time last year. While all the guests were having tea before the reception, they stood together and talked, like two lonely figures. No one really walked up to them, to talk to them. Then later at the reception the master of ceremonies made the following pronouncement, “I see Mr Malema is also here.” There was much laughter. Make of the laughter what you will. But I digress, as usual. Excuse the ADD.

Should senior members of the ANC who might be sympathetic to Cope publicly announce their intentions to vote for Cope even though they remain members of the ANC? Should they come out and say that they are doing so in order to strengthen democracy and not necessarily weaken the ANC? Will a stronger opposition not in fact strengthen them? Maybe not in terms of numbers, but in strengthening the democratic processes within the party?

Members of the ANC should have the freedom to endorse and to state their intentions of voting for Cope even though they are still senior members of the ANC without the fear of being suspended.

If the rumours are true that the ANC is busy denying – President Motlanthe’s intentions of refusing the position of deputy president should Zuma become president, then it is difficult not to view his discomfort of serving as deputy to Zuma as a vote of no confidence in his presidency.

If, in the next few weeks and months, people decide to go public and announce that they will vote Cope but will remain members of the ANC, then the ruling party should understand one thing — these people do not love the ANC any less. It’s just that they love their country more.

Obama’s Inauguration Speech 2009

January 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more. Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Stay positive, a little message for this new year. Forward it to someone else.

January 5, 2009 § 1 Comment

I believe in you. A little message of positivety. This was my very first video on YouTube.

I want to marry a white woman

November 10, 2008 § 2 Comments

Government fatcat falls off chair! LMAO

October 21, 2008 § 8 Comments

Please nice and kind people, do check out the rest of my blog. khayav.com

Hate it. Love it.

Fear, hypocrisy and the abuse of Mandela in the ANC*

October 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

I read a rather hypocritical article penned by former Limpopo premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi in the Sunday Times where he decried the treatment of former president Nelson Mandela during an ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting in 2002.

Mr Ramatlhodi was present in that meeting. In the article he details how NEC members called Madiba divisive for having told the NEC that certain of its members had approached him to let him know that dissent was not allowed in the ANC. Madiba was then asked to name the people who made those claims. In his attempt to protect these individuals, he refused to name them — for this he was called a liar. Some even said he wanted to rule from the grave. He was taken to task for this, as we say in Xhosa, bakhwela bezehlela kuye.

Ramatlhodi details how speaker after speaker went after Madiba while Terror Lekota chaired the meeting. He was so insulted that that he never attended another NEC meeting, according to Ramatlhodi.

To quote Ramatlhodi: “The tragedy of the episode is that senior leaders, who today are vocal about the recall of Mbeki as president, were there when Madiba was being violated in the most brutal manner by junior leaders of the movement.

“None of them had the courage to stand up and defend an innocent old man, our former president and icon of our struggle. They must have been genuinely afraid of Mbeki, a president who has somehow turned out to be the ANC itself. He has become larger than the movement. They were scared; I was scared.

“It was, indeed, a very sad day for those of us who were unfortunate to be there as witnesses.”

Obviously, it was not sad enough six years ago for him to speak out; he only realised six years later how sad a day it was. Now that it is politically convenient to speak out, he does.

It’s easy to show courage when you are part of a majority and part of the winning team. True courage is standing for what you believe even when you know in your heart that you have a 100% chance of losing everything you’ve worked for. I have no respect for one who only speaks out when it is easy to do so. He should have spoken out when it wasn’t.

If Ramatlhodi was such a man of honour, why then was he silent? Why did he not stand up for Madiba then? We can only deduce that his silence meant that he agreed with every single word that was said to Madiba.

In his open letter to Terror Lekota, Minister Jeff Radebe savaged Lekota for having presided over that meeting and for having allowed Madiba to be treated in the manner he was. If Ramatlhodi and Jeff Radebe were so concerned at the treatment of Nelson Mandela, why did it take them six years to speak out?

Indeed, if Terror Lekota presided over a period in the ANC where dissent was not permitted, then why should we trust this new party? How different are they going to be from the ANC?

But back to Ramatlhodi: Should we suddenly applaud him for taking a moral stance now? We should all be equally appalled at the manner in which Madiba was verbally attacked by the NEC members. I don’t know who was at the meeting, but we know who the members were: Terror Lekota, Jacob Zuma, Trevor Manuel, Thabo Mbeki, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Sam Shilowa and many more. None of them said a word in defence of Madiba. Not one according to Ramatlhodi. How dare now they use his name now to get what they want!

This whole saga clearly shows us that no one is innocent. No one has clean hands.

This is clearly an attempt by the ANC to use Nelson Mandela’s name in order to shore up support for itself. What can we make of these leaders who seem to have a moral compass of convenience?

There is no courage in speaking out when it is safe to do so. There is no honour in defending a man’s honour only when it benefits you. Ramatlhodi and Jeff Radebe should have demonstrated their moral fortitude when Madiba was viciously attacked in that meeting, precisely because it was not the politically safe thing to do then. Their political careers were more important than standing up for what was right apparently.

What I have never been able to understand was how Thabo Mbeki, as one man, was able to stifle debate. The men and women who were there, who sat and allowed that to happen from day one, can only blame their lack of courage.

What is the point of speaking out when the majority is speaking out? Courage is not when you speak out when it is safe or beneficial for you to do so.

We need to have leaders who are able to do so especially when it is unsafe to speak out. Right now they are in short supply.

khayav@gmail.com

* first published 20 October 2008 on thoughtleader.co.za/khayadlanga

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