Extract

I heard them before I saw them. The media centre at the ANC's 54th national conference at Nasrec was pulsating after the announcement of the election results of the top six positions. Journalists were hammering out stories about the dramatic events leading to the crowning of Cyril Ramaphosa. Foreign correspondents gushed on international networks about the significance of “the rise of Nelson Mandela’s favoured successor”.

Then there was a commotion at the door of the media centre and a gaggle led by the president of the ANC Women's League, Bathabile Dlamini, burst in. They were incensed, some in tears, that Ramaphosa, and not Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, had won the election.

Dlamini looked like she was raring for a fight. She swayed about, struggling to focus on the faces of the group of shrieking women around her. Among them was Lindiwe Zulu, ironically now the minister who has to mop up the mess Dlamini created in the social development portfolio.

Realising they could not speak lucidly, the group flounced into an office in the media centre and shut the door. Squawks and raised voices were occasionally audible.

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