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After the big pre-surprise, it’s party time for Manyi the mighty ...

Ideas

After the big pre-surprise, it’s party time for Manyi the mighty mogul

The waiting's over, he will reveal his political future, and the country will never be the same

Columnist


Can you hear it? The silence of a country holding its breath? Can you feel it? That electric tremor of anticipation? What a time these five days have been! But now the wait is over. Today we reach our collective climax. Because today Mzwanele Manyi will reveal which bachelorette gets the rose.
In case you’ve forgotten the details, perhaps because it’s been such a rollercoaster ride of emotion, it all started on Twitter, which immediately signalled that it was very important.
“2019 will down in history [sic] as the turning point in the politics of South Africa,” Manyi tweeted on Saturday morning. “It will be business unusual. Watch the space!”
Clearly, this was something exceptional: it takes a very special kind of person to send out a teaser consisting of just three sentences, in which you cock up the first and insert no fewer than four clichés, misquoting the last.
Fortunately we didn’t have to dangle on tenterhooks for very long. On Saturday afternoon he was back, tweeting a tantalising “pre announcement” about another announcement he would make at 9pm that night, reminding us again to “watch this space!”
Shockingly, some people were dismissive, suggesting that they have been watching the space that is Mzwanele Manyi for years and all it ever does is change shape every so often.
For me, however, it was a master class in building excitement to fever pitch. After all, what could be better than a pre-surprised surprise party, where you get led through a door by someone who switches on the lights, revealing an empty room and yelling: “Surprise! I’m organising you a surprise party next week!”
I wasn’t the only one caught up in Manyi Mania. A day after Manyi’s tweet-tease burlesque act, Eyewitness News reported that the “former media mogul” would on Wednesday be “making an announcement that will change the political landscape of South Africa”.
This was incredibly exciting news. For starters, who knew that Manyi was a mogul? And then there were the geographical possibilities. In 2011, Manyi famously said that there was an “over-supply” of coloured people in the Western Cape, and implied that some of them should be moved to other parts of the country. So just how literal was his promise to change the political landscape? Was he planning to dig up the Western Cape and move it somewhere else, like, say, the Atlantic Ocean?
Soon, however, my buzz was killed. Within a few hours of publishing the piece, EWN had apparently located a dictionary and had changed “mogul” to “owner”. I also did some checking, and discovered that Manyi hadn’t literally said that he would change the “political landscape”.
But that was then, and this is now.
Wednesday.
Ground zero.
Today, at 2pm, Manyi will reveal his political future, and the country will never be the same, at least until tomorrow.
So what will he say? There are literally hundreds of South Africans desperate to find out.
Some believe that he is about to join the EFF. Yes, they compared him to a Bantustan leader in 2017, but let’s not forget that in 2018 they invited Bantu Holomisa – an actual Bantustan leader – to their fifth birthday bash. And besides, when has the EFF ever found a principle it couldn’t flip-flop on a few minutes later?
I’m not so sure. I suspect that Manyi has greater ambitions than simply marking time in the party Julius Malema created so that he had somewhere to mark time until he goes back to the ANC.
No, I’m rooting for the full Monty, the brass ring, the whole enchilada: a new political party.
And why not?
If the guy who complained about an over-supply of coloured people in the Western Cape can go on to become the owner of a propaganda empire, why not bet on an over-supply of idiots in the electorate and shoot for the moon?

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