The soul of a dot­ing mother

CityPress - - News - S’THEMBILE CELE sthem­bile.cele@city­

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.

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