Siyahleba | The weird world of pol­i­tics

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Eat your hat

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe stopped in the mid­dle of his press brief­ing about this week’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) meet­ing to chas­tise NEC mem­ber Enoch Godong­wana for wear­ing a hat in­doors – a no-no in African cul­ture.

Man­tashe’s at­ten­tion was di­verted to Godong­wana as he walked in, sport­ing a Kofifi-style hat with a feather on the side. “Take off your hat!” he or­dered. To which a con­fused Godong­wana replied: “Ndiphen­d­ule ntoni, uba uPres­i­dent uyawalker? [What for – is the pres­i­dent walk­ing around?]”

Did the con­fused one in­tend to bow down to Num­ber 1 as well?

Riebeeck’s visa

Dur­ing the pass­ing of the Im­mi­gra­tion Amend­ment Bill, which makes pro­vi­sion for ad­e­quate sanc­tions for for­eign­ers who re­main in the coun­try beyond the time limit stip­u­lated in their visa, ANC MP Di­neo Ra­phuthi couldn’t help but men­tion one for­eigner’s name who had over­stayed his wel­come: Jan van Riebeeck.

“Two thousand years ago, a per­son named Van Riebeeck over­stayed. Their in­ten­tion, when they came, was to build a re­fresh­ment sta­tion. But they stole ev­ery­thing – even our dig­nity – be­cause they took ad­van­tage of our kind­ness.”

The rest is his­tory

In re­sponse to Di­neo Ra­phuthi’s ob­ser­va­tion about Van Riebeeck, wily DA MP Cameron Macken­zie rose quickly to his feet, cit­ing a point of or­der: “The hon­ourable mem­ber is mis­lead­ing the House,” he said.

“She said that Van Riebeeck ar­rived 2 000 years ago – I think she is con­fus­ing Je­sus Christ with Van Riebeeck.”

Ra­phuthi car­ried on re­gard­less: “What­ever date they came here – 2 000 years or what­ever – they took, they stole our land. That is the rea­son the ANC brought our dig­nity back.”

Which just goes to show the im­por­tance of his­tory as she is told.

PHOTO: THAPELO MAPHAKELA

KEEP­ING HIS HAT ON Enoch Godong­wana

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