South Africa: Let’s Talk Frankly – by Phindile Xaba (All – June 28, 2016)

Letters to Influential South Africans about the State of the Nation

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane’s thought -provoking, and emotionally stirring encapsulation of South Africa’ State of the Nation, in his book – Let’s Talk Frankly – Letters to Influential South Africans about the State of the Nation – is out right bravado. He publicly expresses what many probably discuss in private exchanges.

This unrelenting opinion-maker, recorder of history and an advocate of fair economic participation, was once an ANC Youth Leaguer, who left for a short-lived political career only to be propelled to the helm as a spokesperson of the ailing political party – COPE – during its formative period. A party he described as “having died before it took off”.

Like a prodigal son, Tabane returned to the home of the ANC.

He says his letters reflect a nation “hanging in the balance”. His book is a combination of wit, humour, intellectual depth, calculated opinion, and an objective interrogation that doesn’t fear or favour any of its subjects. Sifiso Yalo’s ever-intelligent cartoons give the book an additional satirical depth.

Tabane traverses the socio -political, economic issues, so comfortably yet probes with intensity the reality of where we stand as a South African nation. This is a page turner from beginning to end as he takes on the sitting president – President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, Mining giant – Nicky Oppenheimer, South African Communist Party leading man turned Minister of Higher Education – Blade Nzimande, EFF leader Julius Malema and DA leaders Helen Zille and Mmusi Maimane. Afrikaans musician Steve Hofmeyr and current chair of African Union Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also do not escape Tabane’s sharp pen.

Tabane says EFF leader Malema is just as much on the gravy train as the other ‘honourable’ members. Apparently, when EFF arrived at the Marks Building, its troops demanded bigger office space over smaller parties. “Not a good sign,” says Tabane.

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