I get the sense that she is the kind of parent who allows her children to wrap her around their little fingers. On one occasion, I ran into her at St George’s Hotel in Cape Town during a sitting of the ANC’s national executive committee. As had become common practice when she saw me, she leaned over and greeted me: “Sawubona, ndodakazi.”
I asked how Skhu was doing with her studies at Stellenbosch University.
She sighed and said: “She is fine, but she must stay there, uyangihlupha, when she is not at school. She must rather study forever.”
Dlamini may joke that Skhu should remain a healthy distance away at school, but it’s clear that she doesn’t mean it. Her daughter has been Dlamini’s plus-one at the past two state of the nation addresses.
On a different occasion, again at St George’s, I found her looking over some ANC clothing. “Sawubona, ma,” I greeted.
She gave me her trademark look of suspicion, which suggests that what she really wants to say is: “What does this peddler of white monopoly capital want from me now?”
But then she grabbed my hand and led me away from the clothing to a book stall.
“No. Young women need to read. You must get a book,” she said.