Wish I knew you, Mr President

My Dear Sir,

My Dear Sir,

First accept my congratulations on a job well done, not only running a complex country - what with 11 official languages - but fitting so well in Madiba's gargantuan shoes. Some feat you've pulled off there.

Unless lust for power is contagious - you've not been kissing Bob Mugabe lately, have you? - you should be out of the Union Buildings not too long from now.

The reason for this letter, Sir, is to express my utter disappointment at not having known you beyond the articulate prose that you churn out when cameras start to roll.

In fact, when Bheki Khumalo was still your spokesman, I tried without luck to clinch an appointment to do a non-political interview with you. Bheki made it clear that "the president will not have any discussion that does not revolve around issues of policy".

Now that is plain boring, Sir, don't you think? Surely all those years at the best universities in England can't have turned you into a soulless robot. I refuse to think it might be so.

Know what, when you came back from exile, I fancied you as a streetwise mjita with lots of grey stuff between the ears.

You have been lambasted as being too aloof and distant from the people you lead. I would not go that far. Maybe your critics expect to see you in the extra- strong grandstands blowing a vuvuzela for Pirates, or jostling with the rest of us at a chisa-nyama place.

Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea. If I were you, I would wear a false beard, and with the latest tricks in make-up, you could even disguise yourself as an albino, hey. Then you could come to my chisa-nyama and hear what your people get to do and say about you and your government.

Enough digressing.

Sir, I think the 45million or so people you lead are curious to know the person behind the presidential facade. They want to know what you do when you are not too busy with your quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe or parrying vitriol from the DA.

Do you like jazz? Can you cook? What label and size of shoes do you wear? Who chooses your suits? Who are your friends? Do they call you T-boss? Or charle'?

Do you speak any African language? When you are with your bras away from the public eye, do you whitty tsotsitaal, or keep it Downing Street level? Can you jive better than your Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa? Or do a better job singing than JZ's atrocious Mshini Wam? Apparently you are from a musical family - do you play any instrument?

Maybe it is too late in your presidency to start kissing babies ala Madiba. It's even later to bequeath us your brand of the Madiba shuffle -- the Thabo tango? But your mysterious persona aside, I still think you did a helluva job weathering the storms of your presidency.

Now, I hope you are intelligent and dignified enough not to try and wangle a third term out of us.

When you've descended the presidency and your impenetrable security has been reduced, maybe one could still run into you at the Soccer City extra-strongs.

Maybe I can call you Bra Thiza, and we can blow our vuvuzelas side by side.

Then you can, like all my friends, you can call me .

Charlie Bafana.

lThe author is the editor of Sunday World