Prince Mashele's column piece in The Sowetan last week, on the leadership of Jacob Zuma, is a rant, nothing more, nothing less. It's the sort of intemperate tirade that most of us like to direct, from time to time, against people and things that we dislike intensely, or that we find annoying (see here).
Such tirades are no respecters of reason or rationality, they do not yield to evidence-based persuasion, nor are they cogent or even fathomable. They are expressions of our basest emotions, and often prejudices, revealing to anyone who listens to (or reads) them, our carefully hidden blind spots, our allegiances, and our sheer animal-like capacity for hate.
These emotive rants are never the basis for a debate, evaluation or assessment of anything, not even when they come from the pen of a supposed intellectual, such as Mashele regards himself. The article is replete with gratuitous and poorly argued attacks on Zuma's fitness to lead the ANC and the country.
It should be noted at the outset that Zuma has held countless leadership positions in the ANC (at home and in exile), in KwaZulu-Natal after 1994, and nationally. An assessment of his performance in those capacities, and therefore his ability to lead, isn't particularly difficult. And one would assume most South Africans would be interested in an assessment that showed that Zuma failed to perform as KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism.
, or perhaps won no significant propaganda victories against the apartheid government as head of intelligence for the ANC in exile.
If his peace initiatives in KZN and his post-1999 diplomatic duties in the Great Lakes can be shown to have been a disaster, it would have made for thoughtful appraisal of his ability to discharge the role of president of the republic.