MUGSHOT

Finweek English Edition - - The Finweek - JIMMY MANYI

BOOR­ISH, BROOD­ING and ob­ses­sively racist, Labour Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Jimmy Manyi is in a class of his own. He seems to carry the ap­pli­ca­tion of black con­scious­ness, not in the con­tem­po­rary “African” cou­ture of, say, Ja­cob Zuma – of the unashamedly atavis­tic “vil­lage self” – but in a ge­o­graph­i­cally in­de­ter­mi­nate iden­tity. He is, it seems, the African-Amer­i­can fu­sion of roots pride and per­sonal as­pi­ra­tion. Un-African to those who found the Mbeki-esk sub­li­ma­tion of a truly na­tional iden­tity into a dis­con­nected post-apartheid African­ism.

Surely the alacrity with which he lam­basted newly elected BUSA chief Futhi Mtoba as a lackey of white busi­ness seems more like a throw­back to the ir­res­o­lute psy­chol­ogy of black im­po­tence than pride? For if by pride we mean the re-ed­i­fi­ca­tion of a nation based on virtue (rather than race) then Manyi’s prickly black ego must tell us some­thing about his own dis­lo­cated in­se­cu­rity. It’s what Mbeki’s praise singer, Ron­ald Suresh Roberts, once called an “elec­tive affin­ity” when asked why a Har­vard-trained lawyer adopted this coun­try as his bat­tle­ground for a race war. By which he meant an iden­tity adrift.

That’s Manyi...

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