Lindiwe Mazibuko: As the first black woman to lead the opposition you carry your entire demographic

07 February 2021 - 12:00
Lindiwe Mazibuko described her tenure as a leader in the DA as 'not nice' and 'vicious'. File photo.
Lindiwe Mazibuko described her tenure as a leader in the DA as 'not nice' and 'vicious'. File photo.
Image: KEVIN SUTHERLAND

“When you are the first black woman and the youngest black woman to hold the leader of the opposition post, you carry your entire demographic on your shoulders - it is incredibly unjust.”

These are the words of former DA leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, who opened up this week about her time as the leader of the party.

Speaking on 702 this week, Mazibuko described the hate she often got during her tenure as the DA's Parliamentary Leader as “not nice” and “vicious”. 

Mazibuko said as the first black and the youngest woman to lead the DA, she was not allowed to make mistakes.

“You are not allowed to make mistakes, no matter how small the mistake, people will come for you. They are just waiting for an opportunity to say, 'Uyabona (you see), this was a mistake,'” she said.

“I could sense that hunger from a lot of spaces, people wanting me to fail and really rooting for my failure.

“It is very lonely when you know that you are just trying to do your job, representing people well, and people are hoping that you are going to fail,” Mazibuko added.

She said when she joined the DA as a parliamentary researcher, between 2007 and 2008, she was not a supporter of the party but was “disillusioned enough by the ANC”.

In 2011, Mazibuko was elected the DA's leader, making her the youngest ever to be elected as leader of the opposition.

In 2014, at the end of her term, the DA announced that Mazibuko was taking a sabbatical to study in the US to “broaden her prospects”. 

In a Sunday Times article, Mazibuko denied that her decision to leave the party had anything to do with her differences with Helen Zille.

“Helen and I have breakfast every Tuesday at a Cape Town bakery and we discuss political issues. We have a relaxed relationship. Of course, sometimes we agree and sometimes we differ. It is the only way one grows. Sometimes we argue, but I know she is my leader, so she leads,” said Mazibuko at the time.

However, last year Mazibuko told eNCA  the “DA was captured by a certain faction” and that she would not go back to the party if attempts were made to recruit her.

“I think there is a challenge in opposition where there are dominant factions who challenge for power and leadership. My view is that the opposition is in crisis to challenge the status quo,” she said.


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