This is at the heart of Maimane’s struggle.

The DA is an amoebic organisation, trying to adapt to current conditions in a society grappling with issues of identity and race, while it must remain true to its core liberal values. As leader, he is responsible for how the organisation adapts and the shape it takes.

The fact that Maimane is an easy-going, nice guy is possibly the reason he had a meteoric rise in the party. He was a suave, new-age man who believed in the dream of a non-racial, equal-opportunity South Africa, and most of all, posed no threat to the DA’s traditional constituency, the white middle class.

Maimane turns 38 on Wednesday, and has already served three years as leader of South Africa’s biggest opposition party.

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