Blade and Floyd share a com­mon love

I’m baf­fled by the whole scream­ing match about Blade’s strug­gle cre­den­tials

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Wed­nes­day. I’m freez­ing my arse off in Queen­stown, Eastern Cape, with Te­bza (pho­tog­ra­pher Tebogo Letsie), the shooter who joined us a cou­ple of weeks back.

The cold is in­sane. We’ve spent the day mov­ing around the town talk­ing to teach­ers about how pro­mo­tion posts are be­ing swung in favour of pre­de­ter­mined can­di­dates by school gov­ern­ing bod­ies, union rep­re­sen­ta­tives and dodgy ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials.

It’s a fa­mil­iar story, and one that sadly keeps re­peat­ing it­self. Qual­i­fied teach­ers are be­ing frus­trated and kept out of pro­mo­tion posts in favour of their more con­nected and less-com­pe­tent col­leagues. Kids’ fu­tures are be­ing screwed with for cash, com­rade­ship, clan loy­al­ties, cronies, a knee trem­bler in a store­room. This needs to be stopped.

It’s dark by the time we start wrap­ping up. The tem­per­a­ture drops even faster than the light dis­ap­pears.

We head back into town in search of a bot­tle to warm us up.

It takes for­ever to get sorted. Queen­stown’s in dark­ness cour­tesy of Eskom. So is the Je­sus guest­house we’re stuck in for the night.

Half an hour later, my mind’s wan­der­ing. I start think­ing about Cab­i­net min­is­ter and SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) boss Blade Nz­i­mande – not some­thing I do too of­ten.

I’m baf­fled by the scream­ing match about Blade’s strug­gle cre­den­tials.

From what I re­mem­ber, Blade was very much around in the Mass Demo­cratic Move­ment in the late 1980s in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg and Dur­ban be­fore end­ing up in the ANC’s re­gional lead­er­ship in the Mid­lands in the early 1990s.

Maybe it’s the fact that Blade’s been boss of the SACP for nearly as long as the Grumpy Chief (that’s Man­go­suthu Buthelezi to you) has been pres­i­dent of the Inkatha Free­dom Party that has con­fused Floyd Shivambu. That and Blade’s un­canny abil­ity to speak for hours with­out say­ing very much at all.

Fac­tor in Blade’s propen­sity to or­der peo­ple to start things all over again be­cause he’s ar­rived late, and there are cer­tainly rea­sons to think that he may once have played for the other team, as it were.

Maybe Floyd’s right about what went on at On­goye (then Univer­sity of Zu­l­u­land) when Blade was a stu­dent.

It could ex­plain their com­mon love for what looks like life­time party lead­er­ship. Then again, does it mat­ter, given the num­ber of for­mer ANC mem­bers in the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers and the num­ber of for­mer Nats in the ANC?

The lights come back on. We’re sur­rounded by re­li­gious para­pher­na­lia. Hal­lelu­jah.

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