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Cyril’s dad was economic with his words, but not with his loving ...


Cyril’s dad was economic with his words, but not with his loving care

In this time of isolation and fear, it is worth recalling the example of Samuel Ramaphosa when his sons were in jail


At this difficult, frightening time, SA is uncharacteristically in love with its president. It is a good moment, I think, to tell a tale about the Ramaphosas.

The story, told by the president’s brother Douglas in 1989 to an oral historian while in exile, begins in 1963 or ’64. Douglas is six or seven years old. Nelson Mandela is all over the news, probably because he has just been captured.

“Never become like Mandela,” the Ramaphosa senior, Samuel, chides his sons. Ramaphosa senior is a policeman; it is no surprise that he fears having freedom fighters in the family. “Be good children,” he says. “Go to school and forget about politics.”..

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