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Thursday 19 April 2018
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How Soweto received Ramaphosa’s win

‘There will be no trouble’

By John Eche

 

Soweto (South West Town), one of the historic centres of political activism in South Africa played its own part in Monday’s epoch-making emergence of Cyril Ramaphosa as the new leader of the ruling African National Congress, ANC.

Located a mere 10 minutes drive from the Nasrec Convention centre venue of the 54th elective Conference of its beloved party, Soweto, the location of the infamous Soweto Student and Youth Uprising that broke out on June 16, 1976 and which was one of the epic moments of the anti-apartheid struggle and direct inspiration for Sonny Okosuns ‘Fire in Soweto’ album, almost literally stayed awake for the three days and two nights that the conference lasted.

And as the results filtered in Monday evening, spontaneous street celebrations broke out. The popular will of the people of South Africa had prevailed once again!’

See how News 24 captured the scene:

“On Vilakazi Street, where Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu once lived, bars and restaurants were full of ANC supporters.

Businesswoman Bontle Motau proudly brandished a photo of herself with Ramaphosa on her cellphone as ANC struggle-era songs played at deafening volumes.

“This is my president. He has wisdom,” said Motau, who grew up on the street that is now a night-time draw for the new black middle-class.

“The last time I celebrated like this was when Mandela was released from prison,” she said as she danced with a crowd dressed in green, yellow and black – the ANC’s signature colours.

In the Sakhumzi restaurant, a crowd of men watched the news livestreamed on a phone, propped up on a straw hat, as they drank lager.

“I think he’s been a great candidate but I’m sure they [Dlamini Zuma supporters] are very disappointed. But I don’t foresee trouble,” said waiter Mike Sibanda.”

And if anyone should tell you about trouble, it is the people of Soweto!

Meanwhile, concerned over the ‘disappearance of 68 votes from the total results tally, the ANC is probing what could have happened. While the outcome may not affect the final outcome of the presidential results, it could upturn the victory of Jacob Zuma loyalist, Ace Magashule in the equally significant office of Secretary General of the ruling party.

In this case, the beneficiary would be Senzo Mchunu, who was the candidate for secretary general on new ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate. Translated: another loss for President Jacob Zuma who did everything he could to ensure that he and the Dlamini-Zuma slate prevailed at the conference.

 

A scene from the Conference. 

Pix credit: VOA

 

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