Is Ramaphosa waving or is he drowning?

09 May 2021 - 00:00

I was five when Stevie Smith wrote her most famous poem, Not Waving but Drowning. I've loved it ever since I first actually read it and, as a reluctant swimmer, often think of it. Nobody heard him, the dead man, / But still he lay moaning: / I was much further out than you thought. / And not waving but drowning.

It is impossible to resist drawing President Cyril Ramaphosa into a column that starts with this verse because it poses the question everyone has asked about him ever since he won the ANC leadership in 2017 and became head of state in early 2018: Is he waving or is he drowning?..

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