The soul of a doting mother
Iwas first introduced to Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini through her spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant, in Bloemfontein early last year.
Oliphant was incensed that, during the launch of the ANC Young Women’s Desk, I had tweeted a picture of empty seats at the venue.
The young women smelt the arrival of lunch – to be fair, it was supper at that stage – and abandoned the keynote speech by the president of the ANC Women’s League, Dlamini.
Having waited patiently for most of the day to get face-time with Dlamini, Oliphant summoned the minister at about 9pm and said something to the effect of: “This one wants to speak to you. She is the one who tweeted that the seats were empty.”
Dlamini gave me a scathing look before pressing her lips together – as if to swallow something more brutal than what she ended up saying, in isiZulu: “We are used to the agenda of the media. It won’t bring us down.”
I stood there awkwardly and looked around the room for some support, which I found in the form of her daughter, Skhu.
“Mama, this is S’the. She is the journalist who stayed with us at night during the #FeesMustFall movement when the police and private security came,” Skhu said.
I saw my in and quickly greeted the minister: “Sawubona, Ma.”
Skhu’s intervention was successful and Dlamini appeared to forgive my “sins” when she granted me the interview.