The body politic, at least the chattering members thereof and/or those who can afford to watch eNCA, is much seized at the minute, veritably agog, with ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Yasmin Duarte for having – as some of us used to say in the 1970s – “lost her shxt” with eNCA journalist Samkele Maseko on Tuesday. She gave him, and eNCA, of which he’s the political reporter, a full-on – and not entirely rational – dressing-down.
But, look, rationality is little prized these days; consider POTUS Donald Trump, leader of the free world; and anyway, at least Duarte didn’t raise her voice. Given the oratorical volume of the EFF’s Julius “Little Julie” Malema, the BLF’s Andile Mngxitama, and even the DA’s Mmusi Maimane, those of us with Tinnitus or intimations thereof, as a result of playing too much lead guitar or just growing old, we are truly thankful.
Now then, I knew Duarte a little in the days when I was writing my (brilliant? lovely? notorious?) book about Jacob G Zuma. I recall being seated at the same table as she was in a tent at some major ANC celebration. I forget precisely which victory lunch it was; Zuma must just have triumphed in some regard; eheu fugaces labuntur anni (alas! the fleeting years slip by), as Horace remarked.
Notwithstanding the lousy grub (Bosasa?), icky wine, and terrible ruckus, Duarte was, especially after a tincture or two, rather pleasant company. I trust she won’t take umbrage at my recalling that she became even more charming as she grew ever more effervescent and struggled (wo)manfully, but not entirely successfully, to keep certain of her assets from achieving liberation. Is that a sexist thing to write and a giveaway of my age? I apologise, I mean no offence; my point is that there are all kinds of Struggles, and women have more of them with which to contend than the male of the species, let’s never forget that; and moreover, having ever been a liberationist, it can’t have been easy for Duarte.
Let’s also remember that, by way of apology or explanation, young Maseko kept saying something along the lines of respecting Duarte because she was as old as his granny. Goodness me, is no guidance given to young journalists these days? Surely the way to a woman’s heart does not include banging on in front of the cameras about how she reminds you of your granny. I think someone in management should have a word with the young chap.
An additional irony, if that’s the word I want, is that I recall my friends Moe and Yunis Shaik also being seated at the same table. Yunis is now, of course, a board member of eNCA’s holding company – a point to which we must return.