Analysis of and commentary on South African politics from a liberal perspective.

Tag: Speeches

On vision

TheThingAboutSERIES: Few things better define a good leader than a powerful vision. And any compelling vision has to it, two component parts: on the one hand, a series of concrete steps – for intent must be realised by action; on the other, those values and principles which underpin and motivate for such action – for every good undertaking has the advancement of freedom behind it, and ideals are the aspirational force behind action. Each part can be abused, however, by ignoring the other. Here is how.

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Zuma’s speech-making: Grasping in the dark

FEATURE: President Jacob Zuma’s speech-making has, for some time now, been the source of much criticism. Not only is it dull and dreary but the content – particularly when it comes to matters of state – is so generic and vague as to render it almost meaningless. In a nutshell, he says nothing and he says it in painstaking fashion. I wrote this article in response to the President’s 2010 State of the Nation address, one of many lowpoints. In it I argue this kind of blandness can only be excused as bad speech-making up to a point – if a public representative is deliberately vague, concealing the facts, that is dishonest and the attitude of a dissembler.

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The emperor has no clothes

FEATURE: Recently it has been argued by a number of commentators that Preisdent Jacob Zuma’s dull and dreary speeches are not the product of ineptitude, but just, well, the way things are done in the ANC. This article responds to that argument by focusing on one of its advocates and a particular piece from the Daily Maverick.

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