Lives and times of Isaac Kgosi

Thabo Masokola
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Isaac Kgosi Isaac Kgosi

No any other befitting tribute to the departure of Isaac Kgosi comes close to the music outfit, Coldplay’s Viva Lá Vida song. For indeed, here lived a man who used to rule the world, whom seas rose when he gave the word.

 Here lived a man who used to rabble rouse, just to see people tremble in anticipation of the worst. Here lived a man who used to roll the dice, just feel the fear in the eyes of those he designated ‘enemies.’ But at this present moment compatriots, we are gathered here to proclaim just like those who did with the fall of Nebuchadnezzar, that, "The King is dead, the King is dead, long live the King!" Once again, fate has prevailed over castles that stood upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand. A lesson learnt. That is, the ability to grab power does not grant the wisdom to wield it. Any ungrounded grandiosity is just pretension. At one moment in history, Kgosi was holding the key, now the walls are closing on him.

Never shall we forget compatriots, that there was a time when Kgosi, was just more than a political variable, but the bottom-line. His word was enough to be a national policy. His wrath was the pillar upon which stood Khama’s ten-year reign of terror was built upon. Their long-standing friendship informed and defined government functionality and policy choices. Central to this relationship was their monopoly of force. Force or the threat thereof, was an ever-present possibility to deal thoroughly with any form of deviance, real or imagined. If they instructed us to jump, our only meaningful participation was to ask how high. Anything beyond that would be a provocation of unrelenting anger accompanied by real possibilities of mysterious disappearance never to be seen again. With his state-of-art intelligence paraphernalia, Kgosi would prey on the nation with intent and purpose of a hungry lion. His power knew no boundaries, not even the distinct line between crime and duty. Intoxicated with absolute state power, thoughts of immortality, invincibility and infallibility creeped in. Then, it may not have been the end, but surely, it was the beginning of the end. Just like him, it is difficult to believe what he has become. Another lesson learnt. Power is opium of the elite.

Although signs were showing that with Kgosi and his DISS cohorts, we were clearly in the laboratory cobbling Frankenstein monster, we nevertheless, somehow lost ourselves groove. After all, we were an ‘African Miracle.’ Nothing of that sought could ever happen to us. By the time we realised that the DISS was a totally different animal, it had already claimed its first casualty and brutally so; John Kalafatis.  The message was loud and clear; mess with us and be damned. The command atmosphere was crude, cold and Machiavellian, better to be feared than loved. We were stuck with two options; you were either with Kgosi or against him. The latter was just an option by default, but frankly, it was never an option. The consequences of standing up to him, were hard to imagine, even for the most talented horror film producer. Going against Kgosi’s word was tantamount to worst case of treason. He was an unrivalled icon of paranoia that could not be mentioned in public without one having a strong feeling that by so doing, they were signing their own death warrant. It would definitely be an error of momentous proportions to argue against the fact that Kgosi had successfully branded himself as the indispensable embodiment of the DISS.  But that is when he ruled the world.

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