Chairs to you, new re­gional chair

Mail & Guardian - - Comment & Analysis - J S Smit

Con­grat­u­la­tions to the newly elected East­ern Cape ANC con­fer­ence re­gional chair­per­son. We trust that you will lead from the front, with a chair hoisted high above your head to in­spire, mo­ti­vate and train your con­stituents in the fine art of chair throw­ing — a sport fast gain­ing trac­tion across our glo­ri­ous coun­try.

We have ab­so­lute faith that you will main­tain, at all times, im­mense up­per body strength and hone, in your own time, the abil­ity to hurl a piece of fur­ni­ture across a mu­nic­i­pal hall of rea­son­able size. We see fire in you, young Turk, fuelling the pis­tons of an­ar­chy to­wards to­tal de­struc­tion of prop­erty and ameni­ties hired for the sole pur­pose of plas­tic war­fare.

For max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency, we urge you to ful­fil your man­date, set in stone, to split the rul­ing party into squab­bling fac­tions and re­duce it to a math­e­mat­i­cal frac­tion of its former self, with fur­ni­ture moulded from cheap poly­mers and a de­vi­a­tion from metic­u­lously de­signed pieces by cel­e­brated de­sign­ers Gio Ponti and Char­lotte Per­riand, to keep costs down and main­tain the low-key char­ac­ter of our con­fer­ences.

We trust you know that, shortly af­ter com­menc­ing your work as chair, you will re­lin­quish your own chair (as a pro­jec­tile to make a so-so point) and re­main stand­ing for the du­ra­tion of your term. There will be no time to take a breather, have a KitKat or pop a chill pill.

The po­si­tion as re­gional ANC chair­per­son, full-time and of the top va­ri­ety, re­quires a killer in­stinct and a taste for blood, to­gether with grit, de­ter­mi­na­tion and a med­i­cal health scheme (not in­cluded in your pack­age) that boasts a hos­pi­tal plan and par­tial cov­er­age for psy­chi­atric care in the event of post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, no­tice­ably af­fect­ing work per­for­mance or trig­ger­ing a catas­trophic slide to­wards diplo­macy.

For fine ex­am­ples of how to trans­form a chair into a weapon of per­sua­sion, you need look no fur­ther than the foot­ball hood­lums, both lo­cally and abroad, ge­net­i­cally adept and dis­po­si­tioned to rip a plas­tic seat of fair qual­ity bolted to a sta­dium from its an­chors and hurl it at the op­po­si­tion, ac­com­pa­nied by in­sults and vul­gar­i­ties ap­pro­pri­ate to the oc­ca­sion.

As our in­trepid newly elected chair­per­son, you can learn much from these out­door dis­plays of macabre protest and, we hope, be able to du­pli­cate, or even im­prove upon, their dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects in the con­fines of a con­fer­ence hall.

Go forth and lead, young lion! You have the best seat in the house. As sum­mer ap­proaches, so does fes­ti­val sea­son and the op­por­tu­nity to take the show on the road, so to speak, and host a chair fes­ti­val of note — a mu­si­cal chair ex­trav­a­ganza — at the ANC’s 54th na­tional con­ven­tion.

There will be many chairs there to pick up and throw for fun and games; God knows, ev­ery con­fer­ence has its dull mo­ments. But, more im­por­tantly, you’ll be able to bring a del­e­gate around to your point of view with an ag­gres­sive re­ar­rang­ing of the fur­ni­ture or, in a worst-case sce­nario, with a blow to the head. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Ei­ther way, through re­source­ful spon­tane­ity, you have us all on the edge of our seats.

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