A dogged tippler to save SA

Cliff Buchler.

Cliff Buchler.

Are leaders who influence the course of history born or made? If the former, South Africans must be genetically impaired because they’ve given us less than a handful.

Can you name one who stood out, making dramatic changes for the betterment of all? I’ve been around some and the only one that pops up is Nelson Mandela. He ushered in an entirely different dispensation without blood being spilled, thanks to his strong political will and ability to sway a diverse population to keep a cool head. It worked.

But sadly, it was short-lived after he left the scene. Okay, there were the Smutses, Malans and Verwoerds, but they only influenced a meagre section of the population. They virtually ignored black, coloured and Indian people.

Let’s go abroad, and one name that keeps appearing is that of Winston Churchill. His strong influence on the Brits during World War 2 is well documented. He kept a nation together in its fight to zap Hitler’s armed forces. Despite losing thousands of soldiers, food shortages and bombings, he was able to encourage his people to keep a stiff upper lip.

I came across an article in which the writer, who has researched Churchill, denigrates a certain university professor who recently cast doubt on Churchill’s strong role. The academic maintains Churchill wasn’t the man he was purported to be. In fact, he says, his speeches set the tone for a depressive populace.

He also alludes to the Bulldog’s so-called weaknesses, one of which was his fondness for brandy, claiming his epoch-making speech on June 4, 1940 was made after consuming three large ones.

The pro-Churchill writer hits back: “Rather a Churchill after three large brandies than a sober Hitler.”

Some of our past prime ministers and presidents have imbibed fire water, but it certainly didn’t make them great leaders. In fact, it turned them into stumbling weaklings. Are we ever going to be blessed with an exceptional leader?

Even plagiarise Churchill’s speech, if they like: “We shall save our country, whatever the cost may be, we’ll fight corruption, and never surrender to the criminals…”

Oh, we’ll also accept a responsible tippler.

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