A letter to SA's best teacher, Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma. (David Harrison, M&G)

President Jacob Zuma. (David Harrison, M&G)

Dear President Zuma

I am very glad that during the National Assembly on Wednesday you did not reveal your real identity and that you kept your cool so well.

As always, you were charming – I don't think anybody noticed you were being defensive. And good move on not letting Mac Maharaj send out a press release on Thursday morning telling everybody how they need to calm down and that you didn't know better. Well played.
Because I think if that had happened everyone would have tweeted about you and laughed at your smooth denial of knowing who Number One was.

I think that by saying, "How would I know about Number One, or Mzekezeke, a man with a balaclava?", you truly provided a foolproof way of convincing everyone that you are in fact not Number One. You're so cool, Mr President. When I grow up, I want to be good with words the way you are. How did you think of constructing a sentence like that? So on point in the heat of the moment? You must read a lot of books. I don't know why people say that you don't. I mean, don't they know how humble you are? I think most people have lost the plot when it comes to your sharp humour and sense of sarcasm. You are way too smart for the most of them, Mr President. Don't they know that you are always open to criticism and never bragging about things just for the sake of it. What a guy. 

And that thing you do about pretending to know nothing about anything. Like when you said: "No, I had no prior knowledge, involvement or communication relating to the landing of a private plane at AFB Waterkloof." What acting. What inspiration. What leadership. Affording others the chance to step up to the plate and be the bigger person. Giving them the chance to display a sense of accountability. That was showmanship of a first class human being, allowing others to test their confidence in coming clean. I don't know anyone who does that as well as you.

I mean, imagine if you actually were accountable for things all the time – and it would be all the time because those opportunities present themselves more often than not. People would probably get so tired of complimenting your sense of responsibility. And then no one else would have a lesson in accepting passed bucks and failing miserably. I applaud you for letting others take the fall. You truly are this country's greatest teacher. 

You have set the standard for teaching people how to swim by throwing them in at the deep end and letting a nation learn from its mistakes. Off the top of my head, Mr President, is national police commissioner Riah Phiyega and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (there are countless other examples). But I will follow your lead and not brag on your account. I will exercise humility too and tread lightly when it comes to showing off about your achievements. 

I know you think that I am letting you down by making this letter public. But don't worry, you have taught me well. From you I have learned that South African citizens will not take this seriously because they are ignorant, which means I can do and say anything, just like that. Just like you. And no one will ever know, right? Just like no one knows who Number One is and, better yet, they totally believe you when you say you don't know who Number One is either.

Yours in absolute faith and admiration,

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee became Africa’s first social media editor in a newsroom at the Mail & Guardian, where she went on to work as deputy digital editor and a disruptor of the peace through a weekly column. A stint as the program manager for Impact Africa – a grant-disbursing fund for African digital journalists – followed. She now pursues her own writing full time by enraging readers of EWN and Women 24 with weekly and bi-monthly columns respectively. She also contributes to the Sunday Times and a range of other publications. Mohamed Dawjee's inaugural book of essays: Sorry, not sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa, is due for release by Penguin Random House in April 2018.Follow her on Twitter: @sage_of_absurd Read more from Haji Mohamed Dawjee

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