During the Cold War, a new profession emerged — "Kremlinologists", a hodge-podge of academics, journalists, other scoundrels, and commentators, who would study every minute detail of the behaviour of Soviet Union leaders when they were in public. They examined who stood next to who, whose chair was closer or further away from the leader, who looked at who and who was ignored. And then came to profound conclusions about the intentions of the old Kremlin. The Germans invented a rather better word for it — "Kreml-Astrologie" (Kremlin astrology), reminding us that quackery of this sort is generally just plain wrong. Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the new president of the ANC, is generating a similar type of interest and a new industry of Cyril-ologists. The commentariat has been in overdrive since the ANC’s elective conference in December, trying to tell South Africans (and Ramaphosa) exactly what he’s thinking, what he’s missed, what his strategy is or will be, and what he should do. They t...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now