For South Africa’s beleaguered governing African National Congress the rise of a high-calibre woman leader should signal a turning of the pages, and lead to rejuvenation of the body politic. But sadly, for every accolade about the woman touted to be the next party president after Jacob Zuma ends his second term, there are questions, queries, and lots of red flags. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is an ambiguous ambitious figure, an operator and bureaucrat. She reads the currents, positions herself, and collects the benefits. Hagiographies and more neutral observation alike show that she is a leader in her own right. This is far more than just a Zuma hoping to replace a Zuma. The 68-year old comes with exile-struggle and transition credentials, extensive experience at top government level in health, foreign affairs and home affairs, and Africa-continental engagements that helped elevate her to head the African Union. She has skirted gaining ANC leadership positions, but her ascent comes throu...

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