‘His Excellency’ did a passable job in French Africa, but it was far from excellent

Whatever message Ramaphosa conveyed in West Africa would have carried more weight had he been doing a more tolerable job at home

12 December 2021 - 00:00

As the president was barnstorming West Africa last week, collecting accolades and made to wear funny hats by people keen to take the measure of him, one had to wonder how much of such a diverse region he patently understands — the environment, the culture, the language.

It can be uplifting to see one’s leader mingling comfortably with foreigners, flying the flag as it were. With Jacob Zuma one was always on the verge of being embarrassed, especially when he started talking … I mean to say, giggling. Ramaphosa did OK. Passable. He seems to have a suitable cliché in the bag for every occasion...

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