The idea of having President Cyril Ramaphosa eating lunch in Eyadini Lounge in Umlazi, Durban, was a well thought voter activation campaign, had it worked.
The lounge is one of the prime entertainment hubs in the country, bringing established music and entertainment personalities with both national and international profiles to the heart of the working class Umlazi township.
It is, in a way, a celebration of the strides South Africa has taken since 1994 to foster a generation of a young black middle-class that is upwardly mobile. The so-called Taboo crew, as Johan Rupert would call them.
But the ANC can point to establishments like Eyadini with pride, and rightfully claim that even when the democratic project has not been entirely successful, there are pockets of good stories to tell.
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But it just did not work out for the ANC on a scorching Wednesday afternoon in Umlazi.
The young people who often swarm the lounge on a daily basis to enjoy some buy and braai never pitched.
There was no one for Ramaphosa to take selfies with, and by that time Ramaphosa himself had also pulled out.
Instead, he sent ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile to save the party’s face.
Mashatile soon found out that there would be no welcome party for him, except for two young girls peeping through the fence and cheering at him from outside.
Leaders of the ANC in the province worked frantically behind the scenes to save the event, including coming up with back up plans to give Mashatile some work to do at a nearby complex called “Mega City”.
But it was probably not worth it anymore.
The food arrived at the private room upstairs, which was not for the masses and exclusively for those with armbands.
A local tried his luck to get an armband but it was a futile exercise.
But, he protested, “in your invitation you said we must come and everything will be taken care of”. The answer was still a no.
Those upstairs feasted, among them Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina and former ANC Youth League leader Saki Mofokeng.
One “comrade Fikile’s” small birthday celebration probably saved the day.
Mashatile joined in the singing of the happy birthday song, proposed a toast with water and even got a kiss from Fikile.
But just before he left, ANC women’s league president Bathabile Dlamini arrived, and a few selfies were finally taken.