William Saunderson-Meyer
3 minute read
12 Jun 2021
6:45 am

‘I did not join the struggle to be poor’ – How words capture the spirit of an era

William Saunderson-Meyer

A single sentence can capture the essence of a leader’s time.

Smuts Ngonyama. Picture: Gallo Images

The public utterances of a country’s leaders both reflect and define their times. Sometimes, a leader’s words inspire at a dark historical moment. Sometimes, our leaders’ words inadvertently reveal the hole in their soul. Few statements captured the heartlessness of apartheid more tellingly than Justice Minister Jimmy Kruger’s response to Steve Biko’s death in custody: “It leaves me cold.” Four words that continue to bring a shudder of revulsion 45 years later. It’s interesting to speculate what has been said by an ANC leader that is memorable. It’s probably not by Nelson Mandela. ALSO READ: Why there's no good ANC ...