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The spell begins to break

14 February 2018

The land of Narnia was under a spell, so that it was always winter and never Christmas.

And in a chapter headed The spell begins to break we are told that the snow was beginning to melt, and there were signs of spring.

And I was reminded of that when watching a meeting of the chief whips of the various parties were discussing the procedure for a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, and the steps that would follow that.

It seemed that a spell had broken. The country had been held in thrall by a wicked witch, where people took sides and fought each other as we saw in parliament in the past. And the spell was broken and there was quiet cooperation and agreement. The Hawks, who had hitherto seemed paralysed, turned to stone statues in the witch’s castle, suddenly began to move again, and raided the Guptas’ castle, and started making arrests.

And suddenly I became aware of how much one man had put the country under a spell. One by one people became aware of what was happening, but still he held his own party under a strong enchantment, but the drips became a trickle, and the trickle became a stream as the snow melted, and finally the witch’s sleigh has got bogged down in the mud.

Four years ago the right-wing media accused Jacob Zuma of being a witch. I thought they were just misinterpreting a metaphor, and I still think that they misunderstood  what he was saying. Then the left, in the person of Julius Malema of the EFF began making similar accusations. He was not misunderstanding a metaphor. He may have had a point.

But seeing the change in the last few hours, it seems to me that a spell certainly has been lifted. People who were scared to speak, and looked uptight and tense in TV interviews are suddenly appearing relaxed, as if a huge burden has been lifted. Suddenly the witch has lost his power, and appears quite ordinary.

Let us be careful that we are not bewitched again.


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