Godzille shows her tender side
Comparisons between Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and the long-serving former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, regularly pop up - but Zille was nothing like the Iron Lady on SABC3's People of the South at the weekend.
Zille showed a rarely seen softer, more maternal side during her hour-long interview with Dali Tambo.
She spoke openly about boyfriends, her battle with anorexia during her university years, her two miscarriages, and even her post-natal depression. She has two children.
The 61-year-old leader of the DA said she might have reached the peak of her life.
Looking back on her anorexia, she said she remembered a "triggering moment" when she was a "freshette" at Fuller Hall, at the University of Cape Town. Part of the initiation was that "you had to walk along something like a models' ramp and you had to wear a miniskirt and the boys would come across from Smuts [Hall] and bid for you".
She felt "empty" and "confused", and said those were the hardest days of her life.
"Your acceptance and worth were based on how good your legs were."
In her 30s, life got better. She married Johann Maree, now a professor emeritus at UCT. After a long struggle to have children, she bore Paul in 1984 and Thomas five years later.
"I had two very deep post-natal depressions, but once my hormones settled I was fine. Very few people understand [post-natal depression], and I didn't either.
"I was confused because I had this beautiful baby and I'd tried so hard for this baby - but the depression was really overwhelming."
She wrote about it for the women's magazine Fairlady "and I have never had that kind of reaction to an article ever".
Maree and Paul joined Zille for the second half of the programme (after the predictable sparring with Tambo over politics: the role of the DA, her contribution to the struggle, and her views on the ANC).
When they sat at the dinner table with Tambo, Zille and her husband renewed their vows . well, sort of. Tambo asked each of them to tell the other why they were in love .
It was sweet, if not a little awkward, to see that side of Zille.
"I love you because we've brought a life together on the basis of faith and mutual commitment. I love you because you've seen me through the most difficult times and you've been a totally committed parent," she told her husband.
"You've taken life with all its challenges and infused it with wisdom and gentleness, and you've allowed me to be myself without trying to change me.
"And you've been an extraordinary father to the boys - though sometimes I wish you would be stricter."
Maree reciprocated. "I love you, firstly, for who you are and the values that you hold so deeply, and that was what struck me - that made me decide I could live with you - that we shared the same values, not that we had the same outlook on life," he said.
"You've been committed to this marriage 100%, you've never wavered. You've always given enormously to our sons and to me whenever I need you.
"Whenever there's been need in the family, you've dropped everything to support each and everyone of us in turn when we need it . so I love you." See Page 15