Don’t despair in politicians. On Tuesday South Africa’s Minister of foreign affairs, Nkoana Mashabane, gave a talk at Rhodes University. Whilst many South Africans believe that our politicians are boring and inactive the show put on by this accomplished woman begs to differ. She begins her speech by poking fun at her balding colleague and the introductory speaker. Then going on to give some students advice on their sex-lives, promoting dedication to studies and the delay of other activities until one’s 30s. She satirizes the importance of what she has to say when some students leave the room early - but I am sure that these students did not opt to leave the lecture theatre because of a lack of entertainment. The mere fact that students are now able to hear members of government talk live is evidence of some government progress. (Earlier this year I even had the privilege of hearing a speech by President Thabo Mbeki.) In Minister Mashabane’s speech she emphasized the importance of engaging with South African citizens and this speech was clearly evidence of the department’s mission. Whilst trying to build up a good image may seem unimportant to many it boosts support for the ideals that the department are trying to achieve and increases citizen diplomacy which will help them achieve those goals. I think that every bit of positive work that politicians do (that is not in their own interest) can aid our country in becoming successful.
Her speech is at: http://www.dfa.gov.za/docs/speeches/2009/mash1022.html