Bantu Holomisa’s story of a political scapegoat
There are two little vignettes in Eric Naki’s book – Bantu Holomisa The Game Changer – which, read in the context of current events in South Africa, can make you sad.
But they are not sad stories, they are merely stories from the life of Bantubonke Holomisa.
The first anecdote is from his younger years, when he was staying with relatives and learning how to be a prince (he was born of royal blood).
That schooling in how to be a leader included the same chores everyone else did.
One of those was to guard his uncle’s orchard from the petty thieves (many of them his school pals) who loved to steal the ripe fruit.
The young Holomisa took his job seriously and would often unleash his uncle’s fierce guard dog, to chase the “tsotsis”.
No amount of bribery, or appeals to friendship, would get him to allow them into the orchard and the clever thieves resorted to plundering the fruit when he wasn’t on duty.
The second story is recounted, with laughter, by some of his good friends at the time he was head of the Military Council in the then Transkei, having removed the civilian leadership of the Bantustan in a military coup.
The friends came sidling over to Holomisa’s house one day, suggesting he appoint them to special, and important, positions simply because he was their friend.
Major-General Holomisa, as he then was, explained gently, but in an uncom- promising way, that he would have no truck with nepotism. But, to ease their feelings, he plied them with a bit of drink.
In the book, the friends hold no grudges and clearly respect him for his ethics.
Those two stories are sad when you consider what they say about Holomisa: that he was never motivated by money and that duty to society always came first.
He has never been tarred with the brush of corruption, despite attempts by some opponents to spread innuendo on occasion.
Looking at what is happening in the ANC at the moment, you cannot help but wistfully, and sadly, wonder how different this country might have been had Holomisa not been kicked out of the ANC in 1996.
He was shown the door for his strong stance against corruption which was just starting to raise its ugly head then in the organisation.