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Mamphela the messiah?

Jan 30 2013 07:25
Adriaan Bester
THIS week the cycle lanes of my conversations took a massive shift away from preparations for The Argus tour, to the big race that awaits our country next year when we signal our hopes on a ballot paper.

My fellow enthusiasts heaved a sigh of relief when Mamphela Ramphele (albeit allegedly) made her first tentative strides to slip on her helmet for what will be a bumpy ride.

Her words last year during a series of interviews echoed strongly: “South Africans should stop waiting for a messiah to come and lead them through the country’s troubled times.”

Self-styled messiahs and heroes have had a tough time lately.

We pedal in a disciplined formation, as if no one in my commute cycle troupe ever marvelled at the success of a certain unmentionable American rider - the one who tricked the world into believing his unbeatable records in French (and other) races.

We knew all along, some say in disbelief.

I hope Ms Ramphele will agree to the difference I spot between the spirit of self-anointed hero-type figures, and the voice that rises to lead us through the hysteria.

The one masks his moves on schoolyard-type fantasies of a bully that rallies the masses, the other offers wisdom.

We have been hungry for the latter of late.

Sharing our lunch is different to looking away while our lunchbox is being pilfered by those who command the loudest voice on the playground.

Many of us were raised to share what we have, knowing this can lead to some sense of harmony. Yet we stare at the broken lunchbox in the dust, wondering how we could have been fooled into believing the tricks of the treacherous.

Others have learnt the value of cycling together versus cycling apart.

I remember sliding into the slipstream of my experienced racing mate just outside Simons Town last year, facing the winds that welcomed me to my first ever cycle tour.

I could feel my energy battle for courage as we faced the rising wind. The protection offered by my mate shielded me from the forces unknown to me.

In the race Ms Ramphele is gearing up for, a mishmash of options exist that can tag, tailwind, drag, distract or pull her towards the final stretch.

While daunting, her task in preparing for the maiden voyage is not unfamiliar to the seasoned racer.

Choosing teams, engaging experts and encouraging cheering supporters are the chapters of her racing diaries that are waiting to unfold and be told by history.

Hopefully with charm – and within the short time that remains -  she can even encourage another prominent cyclist to swop her premier jersey for a wing position, to help pull a rising voice into a yellow jersey spot.

Happy cycling, ma’am. We are not looking for a hero as much as we need a clean race with worthy winners.

 - Fin24

Adriaan takes to Twitter as @aiBester as he  documents his #LoneCyclist journeys on the street of life. Opinions expressed are his own. 

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