You can’t sit with us. Kathrad

You can’t sit with us. Kathrada’s funeral shows who’s rising and falling in the ANC

If it were a popularity contest Zuma would have lost.., oh wait, it is.

You can’t sit with us. Kathrad

Now isn’t that telling. Cyril Ramaphosa and Kgalema Motlanthe welcomed with open arms to the funeral of one of the most important figures in the liberation movements’ history while Jacob Zuma and his few remaining allies are left to vent their frustrations from the outside looking in.

Watch: Kgalema Motlanthe throws shade at Zuma, echoes Kathrada’s call for president to step down

So what’s the big deal? Some ANC members went to the funeral, others didn’t… they probably had better things to do, right? Well, we know of at least one senior ANC member who was made to feel unwelcome. Yup, the commander in chief of the increasingly defunct ruling party and state president.

No worries though, there was plenty of room for Zuma’s deputy, and a few other very interesting names we’re likely going to see a hell of a lot more of come December.

See, later this year Jacob Zuma will step down as president of the ANC — or what’ll be left of it after he’s gone — and either Cyril Ramaphosa or Zuma’s ex, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will take over as party leader, and come 2019, state president.

Now, while the more nefarious elements in the ruling party want Dlamini-Zuma to reign, it looks like Ramaphosa will come out victorious. Not because he’s an upstanding member of society, you understand, but rather because he’s the best option for a party stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with the late, great Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral?

Well, if you paid attention you’d know the funeral was attended by a few key ruling party members, most notably our embattled finance minister Pravin Gordhan and former ANC treasurer and staunch Zuma opponent, Mathews Phosa. Pair them up with our newly reinvigorated former president Kgalema Motlanthe and likely future president Cyril Ramaphosa and you’ve got yourself quite the political powerhouse… all in one room. All we’d need to add to that is Jackson Mthembu, Sipho Pityana, Tito Mboweni and Trevor Manuel and you’d have yourself the ANC of 2018… oops, did I say that out loud?

Watch: Pravin Gordhan praised, given standing ovation at Kathrada’s funeral

Sure, we likely won’t see many of these elder statesmen make a full reemergence once Zuma’s out, but they’ll sure as shit have a hand in pulling the party back from the brink, or so we hope.

Not invited to the party of 2018 we have Zuma and those associated with him — you’ll have noticed their open contempt for anyone who decided to attend the funeral — and, well… it’s clear they’re no longer welcome at the popular kids’ table.

Read: Zuma not attending Kathrada funeral “in compliance with the wishes of the family”

The tables are no longer turning, they’ve turned, and those ANC members still fighting progress within the movement will soon find themselves up the creek without even the option of a paddle.

Here’s hoping, and here’s to the men and women who still believe in the ANC Ahmed Kathrada and his calibre leaders helped build.