The ANC’s 54th national conference was a surprisingly dry state of affairs. The sun was scorching, the delegates’ shirts were inoffensive, and when the rival factions sang songs of unity together, it was surprisingly out of rhythm for a party whose members can sing. Perhaps the culprit was the lack of booze. At its last conference in Mangaung, Bisquit cognac flowed freely. The party even extended the courtesy to journalists who covered the event. Until that point, many veteran ANC members had remained coy about saying who they supported. In the dead of night, they nailed their colours to the mast. ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa tweeted: "Though we are in a holiday season, South Africans are depressed, we need a leader to change the mood of the country, SA needs a ‘Cyril moment’."

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