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Marching Fred not your average Zulu On Your Stoep

Vera Columnist
Sowetan caught up to Fred Khumalo on the R103
Sowetan caught up to Fred Khumalo on the R103
Image: Antonio Muchave

So Vera finds herself in an unfamiliar space this week. All because Fred Khumalo went on a long walk to the land of his ancestors, and the editors of this august newspaper thought it wise to honour his bravery by dedicating an entire page on his book!

Bravery, what bravery? Vera asks.

Couldn't he do what all sensible Zulus do when they miss home - go to Wanderers taxi rank in downtown Jozi and queue for a seat in a Toyota Quantum?

Way ahead of Shaka's descendants

Not our Fred. After all he is not your average Zulu On Your Stoep.

Which other descendent of Shaka and Dingane do you know that has authored and published 11 books? At this pace, the other celebrated Zulu scribes such as Ndumiso Ngcobo and Mondli Makhanya may have to form themselves into a group called Keeping Up with Khumalo.

Marketing gimmick or Bamloyile?

Vera has not commercially published anything in her life, so she knows little about marketing. But she has seen the likes of neo-soul crooner D'Angelo going buck-naked in a video just to sell his album, Voodoo. And now we have Fred walking all of 400km just to market The Longest March, his latest book. Vera is almost certain that there is an aunt somewhere in Fred's home township, Mpumalanga, in the KZN Midlands, who is whispering to others: Bamloyile.

Beware, Mzilikazi also took this path

One warning to the people whose neighbourhoods Fred will be passing through on his march: The last time a Khumalo took a long walk from his home, there was turmoil all over southern Africa. That Khumalo was one Mzilikazi kaMashobane, the man who wrecked havoc throughout modern-day KZN, Lesotho and Botswana, before he and his followers ended up settling in the southern part of what is today known as Zimbabwe

Maimane may soon also march

Another man who must be spending a lot of time nowadays thinking about walking is one Mmusi Maimane.

For about three years, the brother-man believed himself to be the supreme leader of the Desperate Alliance, only to have a delegation of three visiting his homestead to tell him that he was just a caretaker leader and would now have to return the keys of the party to gogo Helen Zille.

At least Bra Mmusi's walk from the DA will not be lonely, he still has a church congregation to return to as a preacher. If that fails, there is always his greatest calling, TV presenting.

Is Godzille eating its young?

As a liberal at heart, Vera has always had a soft spot for gogo Helen. On her watch, the DA played an increasingly important role as the official opposition when the Nkandla tsunami started to threaten to obliterate our constitutional democracy and its institutions. She, more than anyone in the DA, introduced young, gifted and black talent in the ranks of the party.

But then when this new talent started asserting itself within the ranks, she turned on them. Lindiwe Mazibuko, Phumzile van Damme and now Maimane.

Maybe Vera should have taken seriously Robert Mmangaliso Sobukwe's 1960 warning about abelungu abasithandayo - the white liberals.

See no race, hear no race

At the centre of all this DA drama has been the Institute of Race Relations. Judging by its conduct, the IRR wants to be to the DA what the SACP has become to the ANC - an organised faction whose only reason for existence is to lobby for leadership posts. But what Vera finds bizarre about IRR is that it says it "sees no race" and yet its name suggests that it is about "race relations".

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