Golden Oldies

235 views | Sun, 30th of October, 2022

Today I went to a speaking event where the topic was around women leadership and gender activism. We gathered in the spirit of mama Charlotte Maxeke who was known to be the kind of woman who occupied spaces she was not welcome in. The kind of woman who was vocal and had ideas. The kind of woman who wanted women to unite in leadership. It was a powerful engagement until I ruined the moment by talking too much again.

The programme director had said the QnA with the guests could be conversational as a pose to the rigid traditional QnA. This is one of my favourite topics, so I was ready for a robust engagement. We had had an inspiring afternoon and were on the last lap before lunch. The buffet table was laid out nicely for us, and I gather we were probably on the last shreds of concentration. The first round of questions had been taken and the minister was addressing a question from the audience about older women blocking the entry of younger women into politics. The minister was responding to this saying that the narrative of old people having to retire was mostly targeted at women. From the audience I disagreed and said that the narrative is and was applicable to ALL of them. I told her it was not a gender issue but an issue of the elders in the African National Congress, the ruling party, not passing on the baton. I told her they were sleeping in parliament and nature dictated for more fresh and able bodies to get into the political arena.

Yoh! The room shook. The minister sulked and went to sit down. The audience shouted at me. The programme director, who is young enough to be my child scolded me. I took out my cellphone and as I sat crossed legged in the second row in a bright orange dress, I left the room. We found the end of the program. It was all very awkward. As they gave flowers and gratitude to the panel the room was abuzz and edgy, people moving around a lot and those brave enough coming to whisper in my ear that I had done it again.

All I know is that I hate the feeling of ‘doing it again.’ It is all so alienating and distressing but …there was nothing wrong with what I said, the ANC is dying a slow painful death because its dinosaur leaders will not step aside for a more vibrant and renewed ANC.

I, like many South Africans am hugely anxious about 2024. The black vote is so fragmented. Never again shall we see two thirds majority because we are all fighting amongst ourselves. ANC has been the ruling party post 94, for now, it is the only leadership we know. It is for many, a comfort zone, something predictable.

We are headed toward the elective conference in December, the outcome of that conference will tell us a lot about 2024.

The ANC holds a very rich history, although viewed as a sell out party which was infiltrated by white people. The ANC was originally a party that was to address the needs of African people, the infiltration of white people meant that the focus and mandate of the entire organization had to change to accommodate whites. ANC was supposed to be an African party. It leaves my mind wondering if the ANC started slowly dying when Sobukwe left it to go establish the PAC? I wonder if it will be a formidable party in 20years time. At this rate….I doubt.

The rate I speak of, is the rate of dinosaurs in leadership. The reality is that South Africa is a youth dominated country. When we tell ANC leaders to pass on the baton it is not that we are disrespecting them or trying to humiliate them. When 2024 comes and opposition parties put forward their young leaders that the majority youth can relate to, who do you think they are going to choose?

It is time the elders accept that their time has come and gone, now is a time for them to mentor the young, fearless and energetic leaders who are biologically in their peak years.

Its funny how in other industries sixty is recognised as the retirement age, however our politicians want to stay in power for ever. Honestly, I would be embarrassed to be fighting over the mic at some tavern with a little girl whose time it is…me trying to sing Sana uRongo to an audience that has long evolved into amapiano. You HAVE TO learn when to leave the dance floor. Don’t be that former beauty queen still competing with the young blood.

The elders in the ANC are killing the movement…the more they stay in power, the more they give the EFF, majority vote on a platter.