Dr. Nkosazana Zuma was beaten by an entrepreneur for presidency 2017. Hillary Clinton was beaten by an entrepreneur for presidency in 2016.
There are three reasons why these two female candidates, who ran for the most powerful office in their respective continents, lost.
The first reason is that they are women. They lost because women did not vote for them. It wasn’t as much that women voted for the other guy but the fact that women actively did not vote for these two women. Both these women had an opportunity to become the first women to hold such power. Yes, there have been women presidents before in the world, but not in the so called “most powerful country in the world” or in South Africa, arguably the most powerful country in Africa. Both these women were the first in their respective countries to even be contenders for this position. Hillary lost twice. She lost at Nkosazana’s level to Barack in 2008, much like Nkosazana lost to Cyril in the ANC’s presidential candidacy. You could argue that even if Nkosazana had won and became the president of the ANC, she like Hillary would have lost in the country’s polls. She would have lost for the same reason that Hillary lost, the illusive sisterhood vote. Milllions of women came out to say “I’m with her” a week too late. They had not turned up to vote for Hillary at the polls. After she lost they were all over the streets in the US shouting platitudes for Hillary. When it counted they did not “lean in”. The same applies to Nkosazana, the ANC woman’s league came out after the elections saying they were dismayed by the patriachal nature of the ANC. They blamed the men, when in truth the blame laid squarely on them and the women in the party. They had the best opportunity ever to put a woman in line for to become ANC president and potentially South Africa’s first woman President. They blew it. Both Hillary and Nkosazana were more than well qualified. Educated as Lawyer and Doctor respectively, they both had many years in party politics as well running big government departments. If they had run against other women they would have won, mostly because there are no other women they could have run against! Fact. If they were men running against other men they would have probably won. With one caveat, had they still ran against entrepreneurs they would have still lost. This leads me to point no.2.
Ran against entrepreneurs
Both Hillary and Nkosazana ran a political campaign whereas Donald and Cyril ran a business campaign. Entrepreneurs don’t think linearly. They see opportunity in different areas. Trump for example saw Russians as an ally. No American politician would have EVER dreamed of aligning themselves with a mortal enemy. Entrepreneurs are pragmatic, they think the enemy of my enemy is my friend. They think co-opetition. Sun Tzu keep enemies closer. Both Donald and Cyril know how to strike a deal whether it is with unions, suppliers or partners. They know how to stroke egos but they also know how to play hard ball. Above all they can be patient. They know that most of businesses success is what the layman call luck. But entrepreneurs call this “timing”. Both Donald and Cyril could have gone into the political race earlier but they knew that all the cards had to be in place before they played their hand. Timing is everything in business. The world does not trust politicians. Politicians have made too many false promises by politicians. When you see a successful entrepreneur you see leadership and success. You think “what you got to loose?” This was one of Trump’s slogan. Entrepreneurs know how to focus on their strengths, that’s what got them to be where they are in the first place. Business, knows how to mobilize faster than civil movements. This is why the “I’m with her” sisterhood arrived a week too late to the party. The business community on the other hand is brotherhood. It’s typical a pale white male brotherhood. You see, unlike the sisterhood, the business brotherhood is; business first, male second and race last. If you are male and in business they will support you, although they would prefer you to look like them. The Brotherhood gets around the race thing by saying “but Thabo is not like the other blacks”. Luckily for the brotherhood, us “bruthas” know how to simulate very quickly. Soon as we are in, we are trout fishing and buying buffalo Sperm. Brotherhood is privilege. As I have written in a previous blog, this is a real thing. You’ve heard the term “old boys club”. This is precisely why affirmative action was instituted. It was to say if you have two candidates, one male and one female similarly qualified, you should employ the woman as the man has had 1000 years of privilege and advantage. This is the most equitable way of balancing the scale. This was to enable the sisters to get their “hood” act together. This opportunity was not about voting for Nkosazana because she is a woman but because she is not a man. If you search the media you would have thought the fact that we had the potential to have the first woman president of the ANC and possibly the country would have made headlines. Nope. I bet if you do a media search almost all media would have said Cyril was good for the economy and Nkosazana would be a continuation of the same bad policies. Social media would have reinforced the message from the trolls that Nkosazana was Jacob Zuma get out of jail card. Mainstream media would reinforce this message as fact on a broader “legitimate” platform. Analysts would say Cyril was best for the country. A few people in Nasrec (0.00014% of the voting population) decided for South Africa whom might lead SA in 2019. Their decision as well as ours was influenced by media. Don’t be fooled by the slate and clandestine voting process.
Husbands pros and cons:
Hillary and Nkosazana had one other major issue that may have resulted in their loosing. They were both married to former presidents. This is both a pro and a con. The pro is that having been married to a president lifts your profile. It gives you access to campaign strategist that have put people in that office before. You know the system better than anyone else. Many argue that the fact you are running is because you had the inside track. Whether this is true or not, my previous point above clearly demonstrates that the heart of public opinion is won via media and perception. The con is that people generally don’t like STDs. Sexually Transmitted Delegation. This ofcourse is bull because both these women are not their husbands and should be judged as individuals and through their individual accomplishments. But ja, if this was true there would be no need to have a First Lady. There are not that many presidents in the world that have run a whole term single, EVER. No one trusts a bachelor. So you can argue till you are blue in the face, that it is sexist or patriarchal that Nkosazana and Hillary got judged by the current or former spouses. I do think that there are double standards in this case, I can assure you that had the situation been reversed the men would have been still been elected. But you see the bar is always going to be unfairly high for someone new to be allowed to jump over it. The first black president of South Africa had to spend 27 years in prison and was a lawyer who fought for all human rights and not just black ones and oh had won a Nobel Peace Prize. On a side note, Nkosazana to me felt like a shrinking violet. I don’t know what she stood for. I knew her to be a technocrat but she felt to me that the leadership role of ANC presidency was thrust upon her. I personally didn’t get the sense that she wanted it or maybe she didn’t want it badly enough. Leaders rise to the occasion. To come to think of it I don’t know what Cyril stood for either, but I just inferred Monopoly Capital. Perception wins again. Literally.
I read Hillary’s book entitled “What happened” Very candid. Good read. In short it is still a long walk for women in politics and in leadership. The truth is that the scales are not balanced and are far from being balanced. It is for this reason that we should have pulled the Affirmative Action card for both Hillary and Nkosazana. In a perfect world the gender of a well qualified individual should not matter. But in this imperfect world you need to AA card for some roadside assistance. My mother puts it best, when stuck on the side of the road no one stops to help, but when stuck on the side of the road and get out of your own car and start pushing…you will be surprised to see how many people stop to help. The AA card should apply regardless of what vehicle you in or whom your spouse is.
Discuss (20 marks)