Ramaphosa points to attempts to downplay victories of democracy

President Cyril Ramaphosa is steadfast in his depiction of “Tintswalo” as a symbol of the ANC’s achievements in government over the past 30 years.

In his State of the Nation Address in parliament on Thursday last week, Ramaphosa used an analogy that showed Tintswalo, a fictional character, as the recipient of free social support programmes, healthcare, and education.

Many criticised the analogy, labelling it a sham, while others found the president to be out of touch with reality.

In his response to the debate, he asserted that those who disparaged the story of Tintswalo were attempting to downplay the victories of South Africa’s democracy.

The debate depicted the differences among political parties regarding the nation’s past, present, and future, particularly as the country approaches elections, he said.

“Yet, amidst all the contributions made in the debate, no speaker has been able to refute a fundamental reality: that the lives of millions of South Africans have been transformed over the 30 years of freedom,” he said.

Resonance of Tintswalo’s story

In order to highlight Tintswalo’s existence, the president brought a group of people dressed in their work uniforms.

Among them were employees from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, crime prevention wardens, and various professionals, including aeronautical engineers, pilots, and civil engineers.

These individuals, Ramaphosa highlighted, had pursued successful careers with the support of government departments and entities.

He emphasised the resonance of Tintswalo’s story with millions of South Africans, noting the emergence of social media posts under the hashtag #IamTintswalo.

He also recounted numerous accounts of young people who had risen from poverty to become engineers, doctors, teachers, managers, tourism guides, and entrepreneurs, all thanks to the opportunities provided by democracy.

He said: “As a nation, we continue to write the story of Tintswalo.

“Through our collective actions and shared determination, we will ensure that all the Tintswalos of this country, together with their parents and grandparents, overcome the many challenges of the present.”

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