Bathabile beleaguers women

No cry: Women’s league leader Bathabile Dlamini wouldn’t say whether she voted for David Mabuza or Lindiwe Sisulu. (Oupa Nkosi)

No cry: Women’s league leader Bathabile Dlamini wouldn’t say whether she voted for David Mabuza or Lindiwe Sisulu. (Oupa Nkosi)

UBaba appears to be getting a taste of his own bitter medicine. When the ANC electoral team announced that Cyril Ramaphosa was the new president of the party on Monday, the “outgoing” president looked like he had just received a load of curdled cupcake icing in his mouth. Or maybe a set of artistic nude pictures of departing ANC secretary general, one Samson Gwede Mantashe.

Jacob Zuma struggled to swallow the outpouring. His lips pursed upwards as if he had just sniffed an unwashed pimp taking a shit in the communal toilet of an overcrowded awaiting-trial jail cell. Gagging on defeat’s bile must have caused his life, replete with prison bars, to flash before his eyes faster than an Emirates A-380 plane.

Having stuck sour notes in peoples’ mouths for so long, it’s no surprise that uBaba was hanging, white-knuckled, on to the table until Ace Magashule and DD Mabuza were announced, respectively, as ANC secretary general and deputy president.

Ace will probably try to marshal the new national executive committee to stop any recall of Mkhandakhanda and stymie attempts to clean up the party’s branches. Voting banks and membership manipulation made the ANC messier than the hourly rooms at a Midrand brothel.

Ace is supposed to be mopping this up, but is more likely to add to the litter mound with used condoms and unused copies of Through the Eye of the Needle.

After all, the courts have twice found that his election as Free State ANC chairperson was illegal because branches were being manipulated like an elastic band.

The NDZ lobbyists were sweating it out just before the election results were announced. I had wandered over to the KwaZulu-Natal section of the conference hall to pick up a blessing when the ghostly features of provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala and provincial secretary Super Zuma “left me cold”.

uBaba’s tokoloshe was scratching his bald pate, on the verge of tears, staring incomprehensibly at a piece of paper where he may, or may not, have been scratching off the names of former friends. Super looked like a mere mortal without any of the powers that allowed him, for a moment, to erase former ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize’s party membership and grow the ANC membership as magically as Jack’s beanstalk.

It’s been a tough time for women at this conference. From being chatted up by leery stick insects with the tenderpreneur strain of kwashiorkor — all red meat, single-malt whisky and no-exercise diets — to comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma losing out to Ramaphosa. We are not winning.

Apparently there is this thing called “patriarchy” that is holding us back.

I googled what it means in between plenary sessions today, expecting to see a photograph of Comrade President of the ANC Women’s League and Queen Regent of the Nyaope-induced News Conference Bathabile Dlamini.

Apparently it actually means that the men have been back-alley buggering us from even before uBaba’s tenure as president, for free no less.

I was expecting Ramaphosa to bow out of the race for the ANC presidency after Dlamini had reportedly intimated she would “call people who are prepared to speak about [Ramaphosa’s] history” as an alleged abuser of women to speak up. Bua, sathane! Surprisingly, there were no smallanyana skeletons popping out of the closet to scare the bejeezus out of Cupcake before he was elected.

But I have been confused by the women’s league’s approach to this election. Why did we wait for uBaba and DD to tell us to support Dlamini-Zuma before deciding that we should? Why did we support Dlamini-Zuma for the presidency, but not Lindiwe Sisulu for the deputy presidency?

Poor Sis Sisulu had looked all lonesome on the dais where the national executive committee sit. This was even before the results confirmed that she was, indeed, alone.

If the women’s league had supported her, she would be in line to become the party’s first woman president.

I didn’t get any answers from Comrade President Head Girl of the Women’s League Bathabile Dlamini and Lumka “Mr T” Oliphant when we caucused or during their news conference the morning after the night before.

In between ranting how the election result — five out of the top six are men — was a defeat for women, she refused to answer a question about whether she had voted for DD or Sisulu.

“The issue”, it would appear, was the “unfair question being asked”: “That is a nonissue,” said Dlamini. “The issue is to push us in a corner, the issue is to crush us … No, we are not going to allow that. That is an unfair question.”

It’s answers like these that leave me with questions about feminism, patriarchy and how the fuck did we end up with an idiot like Dlamini to lead our movement?

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