Maverick Life


Bishop Themba Khumalo is the leader SA Tourism needs. Leave him alone!

Bishop Themba Khumalo is the leader SA Tourism needs. Leave him alone!
Composite image, Themba Khumalo. Image: Maverick Life

Although well known and loved by his followers, much of South Africa was not familiar with Bishop Khumalo, until he burst on to the scene last week to remind us to stop being such pesky micromanagers when it comes to public funds. We're lucky to have him.

Dear Bishop Mzilikazi Themba Khumalo,

I trust this email finds you seen, heard and affirmed in your dominance.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my email. I can only imagine how busy you are, considering the many hats you wear, as Acting Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, Chief Marketing Officer of South African Tourism, as well as “Senior Pastor, Founder and, Overseer of Glory House Church”. I just wanted to let you know how moved I was by your performance at the Tottensomething press conference last week. Your words made me feel truly heard and seen.

Let me explain.

One of the worst habits in the general South African workplace is the prevalence of micromanagement. That style of management where managers give you a task and then hover around, observing and controlling every step of the task, sending constant reminders and demanding endless updates. As demonstrated by the events of the past week, I’m sure you’ll agree that South Africans are just the worst kind of micromanagers. Naturally, I blame apartheid.

Just because you and your department have been tasked with spending billions of their hard-earned tax randelas, they think they actually have a right to question how you go about doing that. They seem to have forgotten what continent they live on.

Thank you for educating them and helping them see that they simply do not have the necessary understanding of marketing acronyms to be able to appreciate the genius of your strategy. I’m sorry that you had to basically pull out your CV and show these busybody taxpayers that you’re no stranger to capitalist pursuit, that you’d worked at Unilever, Coca-Cola, been GM of marketing at MTN, chief commercial officer at Cell C, managing executive at Telkom, and now, suddenly, you have to answer to illiterates who couldn’t tell their ROI from their P&L. No wonder God saw fit to dump them in the bottom of Africa.

Thank you for explaining to them how tourism marketing works. I can only hope that they will now understand, as you said, “You don’t just, you know, place an ad on TV and hope somebody’s going to see it and that they’ll be persuaded to come to the country.” No siree, you place that ad on a soccer player and hope somebody’s going to see it and that they’ll be persuaded to come to the country.

Thank you for explaining to these Stage 8 idiots how a government works. I especially loved those moments when you made it clear who you were talking to, in case those at home thought you were merely shouting at nosy journalists: “Let me look straight into the camera and say this to all South Africans,” you said, looking, dare I say, positively presidential, “the money that’s invested in tourism is not the same money that’s required for energy, it’s not the same amount of money that is required for potholes. There are other departments that are dedicated and are given that mandate by legislation.”

To call those other departments “dedicated” only goes to show what a generous man you are, Bish. (I hope you don’t mind me affectionately shortening your holy title.)

You continued: “Our legislative mandate is not about that, our legislative mandate is about persuading international people to travel into the country and spend money in our economy and that is what we will stick to!” Yassss Bish! Yassss CEO! Yassss CMO!

Thank you for kindly explaining this to these vexatious, underqualified, micromanaging taxpayers. Personally, as a resident of the Eastern Cape, I find our province’s potholes to be among the country’s most spectacular, if not the best. They have the potential to, one day, challenge Kimberley’s Groot Gat as a tourist attraction among locals.

If South Africans would just stop complaining and perhaps work on developing an attitude of gratitude, they might actually stop being poor and buy all-wheel drive cars with advanced terrain management systems and Toyota Landcruiser-class ground clearance and make their way to the Eastern Cape, to marvel at the sheer numbers and bewildering depths of the province’s underappreciated groot gats


Anyway, it’s a good thing that you’re focusing on spending those hundreds of millions on international markets because these locals are a little too entitled. I’m sure that at least the Europeans and Americans have more reasonable expectations of how the infrastructure of a truly African country might function. Faced with potholes and no electricity, they might just say TIA and keep it moving. Perhaps we might even start an Eastern Cape groot gat-spotting challenge on TikTok for them, #MyGatIsGrooterThanYours. Maybe let’s put that on a soccer shirt. 

Actually, I don’t know much about soccer, but I know the players are generally hot, and if a hot person wore a T-shirt telling me to visit a country, I would totally do it. As you explained during the presser, one of the three key drivers of South Africa’s “brand strength index” is “the personality of our destination. And there on personality we are lagging slightly… You have to have the kind of personality that commands attention, you’re gonna have to do something noteworthy… Look at us here in this room, two days ago, no attention on tourism. Today, we’re all in this room, we have your attention, and we deeply appreciate it.”

What a Bish! Bravo! Well played. As Oscar Wilde put it, “There’s only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” 

Don’t stress

I’m sure you and the likely soon-to-be former minister of tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, get along fabulously; you must be her favourite Bish. I hope all this attention works and you achieve that “compounded average growth of 18% year on year, cumulatively, for eight years”, in order to reach the targets the President has set for you for 2030. Don’t stress, methinks hot international soccer players should do it. Especially considering how skilled they are at improving the personality of a mismanaged country with a crumbling infrastructure and the world’s most unequal society.  

As for Matamela the Benevolent, I’m so sorry that after giving you such ambitious targets, he now seems to be throwing you under that bus where he has thrown so many. I believe his department has now publicly characterised your strategy as “unjustifiable”. Sorry, Bish. As usual, our President makes up for the lack of strength in his spinal musculature with the incredible strength of his biceps, to better throw the politically inconvenient under the bus. Let’s hope that Minister Lindiwe Sisulu uses her last few days to get a proper look at your proposal and decolonise some bits. While that part about our country looking to the English to improve our personality is a fantastic idea, the phrasing might need a bit of decolonising, just to make sure things go smoothly.

Last, I am truly sorry on behalf of my profession, that a great man such as yourself had to be dragged away from your airconditioned office, to have to speak to a bunch of journalists and occasionally “look straight into the camera” to address the concerns of the illiterate masses. I’m sure you missed the more receptive audience of your usual Sunday pulpit. 

If anyone can resurrect our tourism industry, it is you, Bish. After all, you were ordained as a bishop by the one and only Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia International Ministries, who also attracted international attention back in 2019, when, as the BBC reports, he claimed to have helped God resurrect a man from the dead.

Let me close with these words from what I found to be one of your most moving sermons, uploaded to YouTube on 19 June 2022: “Having dominion doesn’t mean pushing other people down. No, that’s not what it means. To dominate means leading without force. Are you with me? Leading without force, where just your presence is able to give people hope, to give people direction; just your mere presence.”

Your presence has certainly given me and the Tottenhamburgers a lot of hope, Bish. DM/ML


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Nic Campbell says:

    What a sanctimonious patronising clown! R1bn! Spend that on polo doing. Maybe the tourists will come!

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Oh, how absolutely awful.

  • Johan Fick says:

    Well done Malibongwe – well written satire! Perhaps one of our intrepid DM investigative journalists might peep into Bish’s church accounts? Could be another revalation.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      What about all the ‘distinguished’ organisations he has ‘worked’ for before, according to his resume? Maybe they could get him to ‘pay back the money’ he dispensed/wasted on their behalf ? Unfortunately he did not make it onto the Steinheist list! The only thing missing is Mali’s failure to nominate him for the ‘arch’ designation instead of just ordinary ‘bish’ ! However … not to be confused with the ‘arch’ himself .

  • Johan Buys says:

    Maybe the CEO can add a sweetener and have the Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club shortened to “Tsotsis” in honor of the more flashy ANC leaders? Then we will have secured a disruptive white labelling brand coup

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Great piece of satire! I loved the juxtaposition of Sisulu wanting to decolonise the deal they’re looking for with a rich club from our former colonisers!

  • Hermann Funk says:

    Malibongwe Tyilo = BRILLIANT.

  • Hugh Tyrrell says:

    Brilliant satire. One of SA’s best.

  • Anton van Niekerk says:

    Surely the sponsorship will require clarification on the AA/BEE status over in Tottenham, or does the ANC’s commitment to redress only apply to sports other than football? Conversely, if foreign businesses are to be exempted then the same should apply to OEM suppliers at Eskom, who have to fork out billions to ANC middlemen.

  • says:

    Excellent satire!

  • johanburger59 says:

    Excellent piece Malibongwe!

  • Rob Wilson says:

    Very useful providing that CV. When I heard about the Bishop I became worried that he may be the one that was urging his followers to heal tourists with a quick squirt of Doom. Glad I was misinformed. That senior appointees do not realise that all and any money passing the hands of government is actually all the same money, and that it is our collective money (commonly called taxes) is demonstrative of why we are so far up the creek without a paddle. What an idiotic thing to say in public.

  • Andrew Mitchell says:

    Hilarious – latter day Henry Root letter!

  • Eulalie Spamer says:

    Malibongwe, you must rank as the biggest disruptor in this smug self righteous political establishment that is our misfortune to suffer. And the YouTube of this clown delivering a “sermon” in his “Glory Church” is frightening. This imposter is the custodian of R1bn of taxpayers money! These fraudsters and their ilk are running this country.
    Keep at it. Your country needs you.

  • Gregory Scott says:

    Me thinks that this Bishop does not understand Satire!

  • Marianne Lancefield Lancefield says:

    This is brilliant! “More!” she cried …

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    I notice the bishop has a filter down message. Wonder how many ANC MPs go to Glory house where you are exhorted to demand wealth from the almighty to benefit others…
    Where does the ANC find these characters? The horror the horror show isn’t over. Thanks for an excellent piece

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.