ALOOF, WHAT ALOOF? NOT PRESIDENT MBEKI: ALOOF, MY FOOT!
1) I have just read the third installment of the “Mbeki Letters”. He seeks to deal with the unfair accusations that he was an “aloof” President. Fascinating.
2) What is the English dictionary meaning of “aloof”? Here is the detailed definition: “not friendly or forthcoming, cool and distant. Distant, detached, unresponsive, remote, unapproachable, forbidding, stand-offish, formal, impersonal, stiff, austere, stuffy, with…drawn, reserved, unforthcoming, uncommunicative, indifferent”
3) I have known President Mbeki for many years. many of the meanings of “aloof” above do not describe him. Cool, yes, forbidding, maybe, formal, yes, stiff, perhaps, reserved, yes. The rest NO!! So one could choose one’s preference of what it means to be “aloof”. But many who accuse him of being “aloof” have chosen the other negative meanings. I don’t agree with them.
4) I know, for certain, that he has “class”. He wants things to be done properly. In his presense, I know that I need to be in my best behavior when I am near him. That is not “aloof” but to be “proper”. Arrive late for a meeting, he will give you a very stern look. You attend a meeting unprepared, that is not on. You write a sloppy memorandum, that is a no no. Nothing wrong with that. I do that too. Lol !
5) I am enjoying the “Mbeki Letters”. Lots of things to learn right there.
By Tito Mboweni