He’s been called the “Obama of Soweto” and the comparison isn’t without merit. Mmusi Maimane is a well-spoken intellectual with a background in one of South Africa’s best known townships. He is seemingly just as comfortable on a well-lit stage in front of potential big-dollar donors as he is on a dusty field in Tsakane. Out of the public eye, he continues to be thoughtful and forward, albeit a little looser in his posture.
When asked about the Obama comparison, he told me (paraphrasing) that there are certainly worse people to be compared to.
Maimane is running for Gauteng Premier. If he wins, it will be a major hit to the governing ANC party, and a huge win for the opposition DA. Beyond all that, I suspect it could signal a significant change in South African politics, with more attention and crdence being given to individual’s who can engage with voters on a very personal level. Call me crazy, but it’s possible South Africa will see a swarm of Obama-esque politicians in years to come.
Who knows: that may just be a very good thing.