Bantu Holomisa’s story of a po­lit­i­cal scape­goat

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -


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.


Bantu Holomisa.

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