South Africa, A New Destiny

January 14, 2009
Amitabh Mitra

I have a problem. I can’t remove the smiling face of ANC President Jacob Zuma from my mind. Billions are being spent on a media exercise where everywhere you glance, there is Jacob Zuma. Every street corner, every rented car and every news paper have a life size portrait of the leader. He had descended in East London with thousands of followers in a show of strength and the launch of the election manifesto.

I have nothing against him, in fact I like him. But the media whose power can now be realized is that if I cannot remove his picture from my mind then how the millions of illiterate voters would do so even if they feel like voting for the breakaway faction of the Congress of People (COPE).

I have learned long back that politics here, like in India, is an expensive involvement. In fact former Member of Parliament MJ Akbar has given in his blog the actual figures that a Member of Parliament has to spend to retain a seat. It is no surprise that politics in South Africa follows the same way.

COPE has come up with a lot of hope and even lavish parties were thrown at Sandton Hotels but people whom I know in the townships have not yet reached a firm decision. It has so many leaders like Sam Shilowa and Mosiuoa ‘Terror’ Lekota that it would not be easy to push forward one person as its face.

Meanwhile I see that the former Gauteng Premier and a Presidential hopeful at one time and now a billionaire industrialist, Tokyo Sexwale has thrown his force behind Jacob Zuma. Jacob Zuma says that Those who have broken away from the ANC are like the donkey on which, according to the Bible, Jesus rode into Jerusalem. According to Zuma, the donkey later tried to return to Jerusalem on its own in order to once again experience that moment of glory, but the people chased it away. In the same way the Congress of the People (Cope) leaders will find they are nothing without the ANC, Zuma said.

While Lekota was addressing supporters in Durban's Umlazi area on Saturday. "All of us spent time in prison and this cannot be the badge to run the country. The time has come, the honeymoon is finished.“ he said.

General Bantu Holomisa who has always been my favourite from my Transkei days is bound to pick up a few more seats for his United Democratic Movement Party due to the split in ANC and the Pan African Congress.

I am thinking whether I should heed the call of Rahul Gandhi and go back or try to contact Amar Singhji and try my luck. If I have to vote here, I am still not sure like most of my patients.

An orthopaedic surgeon in a busy hospital in East London, South Africa, I actually belong to Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, its long summers and hectic politics. I edit a print poetry journal called 'A Hudson View' and a journal on African arts called 'Inyathi' and dream of going back to Gwalior.
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January 14, 2009
04:57 PM

A question for you, if I may...

Why do you like Mr. Zuma?

Interesting article.

January 14, 2009
10:55 PM

i just do

January 14, 2009
11:14 PM

I would prefer a Zima :) Too bad they stopped production..

Amitabh Mitra
January 15, 2009
12:19 PM

I like him because he listens and then decides.

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