The Presidential Years

You know Madiba was a lot more impatient than the larger public and the world saw him to be. If he had his eye on a particular outcome he would do everything to make it happen and he wasn’t always the great negotiator, reconciler that everyone would like to see him to be. His was almost impatience about getting a particular task done and seeing engagement of the larger alliance at times as an impediment, if he felt that the role they played could be slowing him down in achieving a particular outcome.

He also had the characteristic of sometimes lecturing. He would listen but when he banged his hands on the table that was the end of listening: ‘This is the way we going to take this particular thing forward.’ And I think this sometimes created a major problem. Much as people could now paint him in a different light we know that once he’s made up his mind it is very difficult to shift him on an issue. And that came through even in the Alliance and Alliance structures. I would not take it as an anti-socialist approach, or anti-worker approach. I simply saw it as his impatience, an impatience that I think may have been informed by the way they used to sort out issues, if you go back to the days of the youth league – more than just trying to persuade people through debate, you also had a particular approach.

Geraldine Fraser Moleketi