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ANC must 'look to the stars' to settle the vexed succession question in the party

By unknown | Jun 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Themba Molefe

Themba Molefe

This is one succession story in which Jacob Zuma will never feature.

Therefore, Sowetan's proprietors risk no legal suit for damaging his image.

So, this article will take the form of a quiz, the clue of which will be found at the end. Please do not cheat by letting your eyes wander to the end of the piece. Be strong. Use your willpower.

The succession debate has so far pitted comrades in the Tripartite Alliance against each other and alienated many others.

And, invariably, the ANC deputy president and South Africa's former second citizen has been embroiled in this sordid political saga.

Today the affable JZ will not be mentioned. No, not at all.

Post-apartheid South Africa has had two democratically-elected presidents, with one serving his second and, constitutionally, final term.

The first, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, was born on July 18 1918 in Qunu, a village outside Mthatha in Transkei, Eastern Cape.

He retired after serving only one term as president.

Mandela's successor, Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, was born on June 18 1942 in Dutywa, a town in Transkei.

It thus goes without saying that yesterday was President Mbeki's 65th birthday. The nation wished him many happy returns.

Now, here comes the quiz.

Why did Mbeki become the ANC's leader and consequently Madiba's successor as head of state so effortlessly?

A. Like Madiba, he was born in Transkei and is Xhosa.

B. Madiba likes him because he is intelligent, has impeccable qualifications from the best economic and business schools in London.

C. Govan Mbeki, Thabo's father, was Madiba's comrade and fellow Rivonia trialist with whom he spent more than 20 years on Robben Island.

D. Thabo is not a communist, nor is Madiba.

E. Mbeki's birthday is on June 18 and Madiba's exactly a month later.

The answer is E. Of course, Mbeki was an obvious choice to succeed Mandela. Politics had nothing to do with it. It was a natural succession. And people still doubt astrologers. Mbeki is a Gemini and Mandela is a Cancerian - they follow each other in the star charts.


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