Mail and Guardian

No one likes to live in the shadow of a leader, which is why so many deputies are seen to be jostling to be numero uno, writes Khaya Dlanga.

No one wants to be number two. Even number three doesn’t want to be number two to get there.

The aspiration to be number one is so consuming that it causes many number twos to jostle for position before they should, or before they are ready. They believe that they deserve to be number one above the reigning number one.
Buzz Aldrin was the second man on the moon and probably wished he was the one who said, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Neil Armstrong has now immortalised those words.

When Apple began trading as a company, there was a dispute between the cofounders about who was going to be employee number one. Two Steves essentially founded the company, the very famous Steve Jobs who passed away last year and a lesser-known one, who is well known in geekdom, Steve Wozniak.

Wozniak was named employee number one, something Jobs couldn’t live with. He fought tooth and nail to be number one, but that honour had already been given to Wozniak.

Eventually, Jobs came back with the proposal that he would accept Wozniak as employee number one, if he could be employee number zero, which, in a twisted way made him number a notch above one.

Closer to home, Nelson Mandela was reluctant to be ANC president after his release from prison because he felt Oliver Tambo had done all the work while he was imprisoned. Mandela felt he had no right to claim the position despite the many who wanted him to take the post. Read more…