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Mr. President, Love me Tender

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Mr. President, Love me Tender

7th August 2020


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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Polity.

Mr President, I have 125-million reasons why I qualify for the Covid-19 personal protective equipment instant tender


Mr President, His Excellency, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the greatest son of the soil, from the dusty streets of Soweto, the one who rose Phoenix-like to the dazzling heights of the Union Buildings. The original Nelson Mandela protégé. The conductor of the political masterclass nicknamed the “long game”. The one who triumphed in the bruising battle of Nasrec by a slim margin against uBaba’s ex — Dr Nkosazana “Prime Minister” Dlamini-Zuma. The rightful resident of Mahlamba Ndlopfu after masterminding the bloodless coup d’état that saw uBaba return to his iNkandla compound earlier than expected. The leader of a free nation only bonded by poverty, thievery and hypocrisy.

Mr President, forget our earlier imaginary differences, please love me tender. I admit that I do not come from a politically connected ANC family. I can confirm that I have never spoken to Nomvula Mokonyane, the Masukus or Ace Magashule. I have never heard or read anything about the Dikos. I have no clue who Khusela Diko is. Forgive me, Mr President, this life of poverty and obscurity chose me. My apologies.


Nonetheless, I don’t think being politically connected suits my cause anyway. You know the 1875 haunting line: “Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.” Perhaps it should read: “Whom the political gods wish to destroy, they first elevate from a life of obscurity to top of the pyramid of the ANC oligarchy.” Instant tenders, fame and unearned riches come before a fall. Perhaps. The ANC minors’ worship of easy money will shame the Shembes’ affinity with the holy mountain of Nhlangakazi. A hundred of the black, green and gold party devotees of the glorious movement greeted the Covid-19 induced state of disaster in late March by climbing onto the proverbial mountain of Nhlangakazi, to reach not for the cleansing of the soul but for the unearned riches.  

As they say, the comrades are eager to protest against just criticism, but always ready to “accept unearned applause”. In this equation, the taxpayers’ money is “sacred” to the comrades, thus worthy of being worshipped, and of “killing the devil”, I mean another comrade, if necessary. For the ANC, the holiest city is the combined Treasuries of the national government, provincial authorities, state-owned enterprises and municipalities. Mr President, I don’t need a tender per se. Still, I must start “earning an honest living” like Chief Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, the monarch of two villages that mutate into a nation of AmaBhanca at dusk. Mr President, I have 125-million reasons why I qualify for the Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) instant tender. Firstly, I am not choosy, so it doesn’t have to be awarded by the magnanimous Gauteng Health Department. Secondly, I am applying for this instant tender because I fancy myself as a royal, King Bhekisisa 111 Mncube of the Mncube clan of two houses. I know it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of two villages, but please, I beg you. I am on bended knee. Forget about me becoming an instant millionaire, my people will benefit from the trickledown effect. My people look up to me. If required, I can prove my warm relationship with you. In case you have forgotten, I own the ANC membership card issued in the early 1990s that bears your signature. So I guess we are close. Perhaps. Besides, other than that old white retired newspaper editor Peter Bruce, I am the only native South African columnist who fights in your corner. I have been writing love letters to you since February 14. On my unembellished CV, I can add black African and born of a black woman. It’s no tautology, I need this tender. I was misled at varsity about the meaning of earning an honest living. The monarch, king and chief of the AmaBhanca nation is spot on when he says the tender was for his people, not an attempt at personal wealth accumulation. “I deeply regret that these efforts to earn an honest living and improve my people’s wellbeing are now mired in controversy,” he said as a riposte to the peace-time revolutionaries who deliberately misunderstood his intentions. Why is the standard of journalism in this country so suspect? Who second-guesses a king, not just of one village, but two? Really! Till next week my man, love me tender and all will be forgiven. “Send me.”

This Letter to Mahlamba Ndlopfu is written by Bhekisisa Mncube, an aspirant Covidpreneur. In his not-so-honest-living day job, he is an author and failed journalist.  This opinion piece was first published in the Witness.


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