The Presidential Years

There is something else about Madiba that I had forgotten. By this time we were already in Parliament. Jeremy Cronin had said or written something, I forget what it was, and Madiba was up in arms. So he summoned Slovo and expressed his real anger about it. Madiba had mentioned it to me too, so I said, call a meeting of the PB, the Politburo, with Jeremy, because most of us were anyway in Parliament who were in the PB.

We didn’t have the meeting in the Tuynhuys - I still don’t understand why - we had the meeting in the hotel around the corner from Tuynhuys. Now Madiba is going for Jeremy, you know Madiba: he worked with Moses Kotane and J.B. Marks and he said this is how Moses Kotane and JB Marks would work. He was fond of relating a story, with a chuckle, of how they disrupted Communist Party meetings, and then he tells the story about JB Marks and the two bulls and how he went on to the platform at a meeting and said, ‘You can’t have two bulls in the same kraal.’ JB Marks was so popular and everybody loved him and after he spoke the masses turned. And he tells the story. Jeremy was not happy but in the end we just took a decision in Madiba’s presence as the PB that Jeremy must apologise. Fortunately JS was of the same view. I don’t know what the issue was, what he had written which so infuriated Madiba.

The reason I am recalling this is, because when Madiba gets very angry he would express his view but not because he is the president, he will express the view because that’s what he feels.