“Once divided … nothing left to subtract…

Some words when spoken … can’t be taken back…

Walks on his own … with thoughts he can’t help thinking…

Future’s above … but in the past he’s slow and sinking…

Caught a bolt ‘a lightnin’ … cursed the day he let it go…

Nothingman … ”

[Nothingman, Pearl Jam]

When Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC deputy president at the party’s Mangaung conference in December 2012, it was touted as just the tonic President Jacob Zuma’s compromised administration needed. “The return of the Chosen One, Cyril Ramaphosa,” wrote Ranjeni Munusamy for the Daily Maverick, in a story typical of this kind of enthusiasm. “The return of Ramaphosa to the ANC leadership has been welcomed in many quarters and there is new hope that his presence might help to undo the corrosion and leadership weaknesses,” she wrote. One could call it Ramathusiasm, a special kind of myopic optimism to which many in SA are susceptible. Such an impact did Ramaphosa’s election make, Munusamy said, “Zuma will know that, now that the ANC has a much more worthy candidate for head of state, his chance of topping the ANC’s election ticket in 2014 is diminishing.” Ramathusiasm is a powerful affliction.Unsurprisingly, that never happened. And part of the reason is Ramaphosa himself. Whatever promis...

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