Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

Every time a Grand Slam tennis tournament is played my mind goes back to leaders and their legacies.

Those of us who have followed women’s tennis for the past 30 years will remember that during the 1980s only two women from Eastern Europe, Martina Navratilova and Hana Mandlikova, played on the international circuit.

With the start of this century, new faces from that region appeared, which turned into a flood over the last decade. If it wasn’t for the Williams sisters, the Grand Slams would have been dominated by the “ovas”.

I then discovered that the catalyst for this process was Boris Yeltsin, the late president of a bankrupt Russia, who relied on IMF and World Bank loans to keep his country going. Yeltsin was an avid tennis player and supporter, and even though he couldn’t give the Russian youth anything (except to build tennis courts), he left them with the world at their feet. Today, women from Eastern Europe dominate the tennis circuit.

This brings me to Jacob Zuma, who “gave” SA’s youth free school and tertiary education, paid for by millions of honest, hardworking taxpayers. But he left them with a country driven by a set of corrupt core values brought on almost exclusively by his regime.

It is “leaders” like him that keep this continent and its people in abject poverty more than 50 years after Uhuru started.

Derek Abrahams
Via e-mail