By the time SONA 2018 was delivered, the entire nation had been on such an emotional rollercoaster that many of us were just happy to have our feet firmly planted back on solid ground. The now former president, Jacob Zuma, seemed, at one point, hell bent on dragging the hostage that was South Africa to the very edge of a cliff. Only he knows what happened between the threats he made when he initially addressed the nation on 14 February 2018 and his resignation that same evening.
What unfolded that week was a bit like the trauma of domestic violence. We, the children, watched in absolute horror as our parents shouted at each other, said things that they could never take back, and started to push each other around. Our cries for the fighting to please stop fell on deaf ears as some of us began to fear the worst. Personally, I don’t have an opinion on President Cyril Ramaphosa, and I’m well aware that our troubles go far beyond just former President Zuma.
The Kilimanjaro of problems that the interim President will have to work through will take time, and without a clear vision and the right men and women around him, Mr. Ramaphosa will not succeed. In his first State of the Nation Address as President, there was a deep sense of relief and expectations as he joked with Julius Malema and made a very long list of promises. The tone was one of new beginnings and a deep desire to return South Africa to being the beacon of hope it once was in the eyes of many across the world.
Without any interruptions, the interim President then concluded by not quoting Madiba or some other well-known politician, but by quoting the late Bra Hugh Masekela when he said Thuma Mina (Send Me). He called on all of us to embrace a fresh start and work hard to get the country back on track. There’s no question that the speech struck all the rights cords, but as Ray Hartley (author of Ramaphosa, The Man Who Would Be King) said, the fifth President of the Republic of South Africa will either drag the ANC into the light, or the ANC will drag him into the shadows.
Tell us: What do you make of the current president of RSA?