Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the suspended SABC staffer who is “enjoying life” on a full salary, was 30 minutes late for his own press conference. It took another hour to get through the praise singers who explained that Motsoeneng is a hero of transformation because he imposed a 90% local music quota on SABC radio stations and that all who oppose him — including the ANC in Parliament — are the enemy.
It took another 30 minutes for Motsoeneng himself to run through the preliminaries, such as explaining that similar to some mythical monsters, every time he is struck down he returns stronger.
But after two hours those still listening to Motsoeneng’s explanations on how the courts and Parliament got it so terribly wrong were rewarded with the first clue to what would eventually be a key to all of Motsoeneng’s thinking: you just need big enough balls.
“People know when they, some they feel shame about Hlaudi, what is happening about Hlaudi, Hlaudi has this thing, that thing is there it is not gonna go away because, I was born with that one so forget about it, I’m not gonna change,” Motsoeneng said in his typical rambling, third-person way. At the time he was holding his cupped hands about 30 centimetres apart, fingers spread wide as if each hand held a standard-sized grapefruit.
Taken at his word it seems Motsoeneng has testicles roughly four times larger in diameter than those of the average full-grown human male, a condition that is not the result of either inflammation or cancer, which would be the two usual suspects for such a condition.
Motsoeneng is fully aware that this makes him unusual among his peers.
“I am still saying to you there is nothing wrong that SABC did, and in SABC we have very good managers there, but it is just that they don’t have this, you know, thing, like me,” Motsoeneng said some 30 minutes later, with the grapefruit hand gesture again.
It was not immediately clear by what mechanism Motsoeneng’s significantly over-sized gonads made him uniquely qualified to keep the public broadcaster in the black, as he explained only he could do. Nor is there a clear link between the size of his balls or his ability to become president — of the republic — whenever he should choose, as he said he could. That revelation took another 30 minutes to arrive.
The problem with people with fancy academic qualifications, Motsoeneng explained in answering a completely unrelated question, is that they are taught to lack self-esteem.
“If you quote other people, when are other people going to quote you, so that they can see there is value in you?” he asked rhetorically.
The secret of very big balls, then, is that they obscure (metaphorically speaking; even though Motsoeneng held his hands up to the level of his chin his testicles do not actually obscure his eyes) everyone else. He who has large enough balls can ignore all convention and prior knowledge, can ignore all opposition, and can ignore even his contradictions of himself — and that is how you are recognised as a leader.
That, it seems, is how Motsoeneng has managed to attract the support of 20-million people who would vote for him for President, by his own estimate.
It is also what allows him to brag about ignoring the listeners of the Indian-focused Lotus FM when they demanded it be exempt from his decree that all SABC stations must play 90% local music, shortly after castigating Parliament because it does not listen to the people.
It is what puts him in the position to explain that he could not have been involved in fraud in the building of new SABC studios because the studios have not physically disappeared.
It is what enables him to say that a sitting judge is guilty of ethical violations and an SABC board member committed perjury while also holding that he respects everyone and that it is wrong to “go slash someone you don’t get response from”.
Perhaps most importantly, it is what makes him fearless.
“Actually I’m very excited and I’m going to enjoy myself in disciplinary hearing,” Motsoeneng said of what just about everyone else believes will the end of his too-long road at the SABC. “For me it is the beginning of Hlaudi.”
That certainly takes balls.