As the results were finalised‚ with just one woman in the top six of the ANC – Jessie Duarte - the three whispered among each other.
“We are going backward. Just one woman. This is not good‚” one of the three said as they looked at each other. Members of the ANC came to rub Dlamini-Zuma’s back while whispering in her ear.
One of the delegates‚ seated not far from Dlamini-Zuma, stood up‚ broke into tears and came to hug her. She then returned to her seat and continued to cry for at least three minutes‚ cradling her head in her folded arms on her desk.
After the last person who came to comfort her had left‚ Dlamini-Zuma sat looking down, focusing on a document in front of her.
She remained still as a pastor prayed for the new top six leadership of the ANC.