A letter to King Goodwill Zwelithini

Dear Comrade King,

You, sir, are a true king. You are not only the king of the Zulus, but you are also king of the land claims.

While everyone else is pussyfooting around, demanding a farm here or a game reserve there, you are putting in a claim for the entire province of Kwazulu-Natal. Now that’s what I call a land claim!

And why not? This is, after all, where the Zulus lived quite happily for years until those British bastards came along and ruined things for everyone.

The Ingonyama Trust, which is coordinating the claim on your behalf, currently owns 2.8 million hectares in the province. This is clearly not enough. What can a man do with 2.8 million hectares? Not a great deal. Not if you want to spread out a bit. Plant stuff. Grow some cows. That kind of thing takes room.

I see you’re also after bits of the Free State, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. Might as well strike while the iron is hot, eh? Good thinking. The Israelis get away with nicking Palestinian land all the time and there’s no reason to think you can’t do the same here.

After you have won the claim, I expect you will want to knock Durban down and put up something a little more traditional. The city hall, which has hosted the symphony orchestra and other colonial atrocities, must be the first to go. I, for one, would like to see it replaced by the world’s biggest thatched hut.

Will you be implementing an authentic pre-1840 look and feel across the board? I hope so. There’s nothing wrong with having our metro police dressed in leopard skins and armed with assegais and shields. They could use knobkerries to discipline errant motorists and short-handled stabbing spears to encourage whoonga addicts to move along.

Hang on. There wouldn’t be any motorists, would there? Fortunately, the council has been digging up the M4 for months. Another year or so and it’ll be perfect for travelling by horse between Thekweni and Richards Bay. Or, as it will probably be known, Ngilahlekelwe Isikhwama Semali Bay.

Since the rand is virtually worthless, you might as well reintroduce the old currency. I don’t have a problem using shells and salt and beads to buy things.

Are you aware that Swaziland has its eye on some of the land that you’re claiming? Cheeky. King Mswati isn’t even a proper king like you. For a start, you have 37 children to his 24. Then again, he has 15 wives to your six. On the other hand, he drives a Maybach and you only have a Mercedes-Benz.

You can’t let Mswati get away with this. He has always had an inferiority complex because his country is smaller than ours. If he takes some of our land, the people living there won’t want to be ruled by a dictator. Where are they going to go? They can’t stay with me.

The British were responsible for drawing the boundaries. It was they who decided to make Swaziland small enough to take a brisk walk around before lunch at the polo club. Tell Mswati that if he wants land, he should get it from Queen Elizabeth. She can give him Wales. It will be years before the Welsh realise they are Swazis.

If Mswati doesn’t behave, mobilise the impis and invade Swaziland. Take the entire damn country away from him. The people won’t mind, that’s for sure.

Anyway. Good luck. Let’s just hope the Khoisan don’t put in a claim for the whole of South Africa or we’ll all be speaking !Kung by Christmas.

 

Crush and snort the horn fiends

Happy World Rhino Day.

I don’t know what’s in worse shape – the world or the rhino. There was a time when I wanted to save the world. As a child I’d see a shooting star, or the chicken’s wishbone would snap my way, and my mother would say, “Make a wish!” Stupidly, I would wish for world peace instead of for a meteorite to destroy my school.

I kept wishing for world peace right into my thirties. I only stopped when it became apparent that my wishes were not only not working, but they seemed to be having the opposite effect. Every time I wished for peace on a shooting star (I couldn’t afford a chicken for much of my thirties) a fresh conflict would erupt somewhere in the world.

I have given up on the world and I am now bestowing my wishes upon the rhino. I only hope that every time I wish for an end to poaching, a rhino doesn’t get a bullet in the face.

Like Gurthro Steenkamp, rhinos are not easy on the eye. They are belligerent and not very bright. However, I admire their solitary nature and the fact that they come together only for mating. I can but dream of such a world.

The South African government is clearly incapable of protecting them. Newspapers are awash in pictures of dead rhinos when the nation is crying out for pictures of dead poachers. We have an army of 50 000 soldiers and yet a handful of barbaric profiteers are winning this war hands down. If Swapo had been poachers, we’d all be speaking Russian today.

By the end of the year, the kill rate will have reached almost three a day. If this were America losing their bison – no wait, the European settlers already did to the bison what the Mozambicans are doing to our rhino. The point is, if a foreign country were decimating, say, the giant Californian beaver, there would be, as Barack Obama is fond of saying, consequences.

I’m all for airstrikes on Ho Chi Minh City, but we need our air force on standby in case we are attacked by Swaziland’s King Mswati. Having just taken yet another teenage bride, he must be so stuffed with Viagra by now that he probably thinks he’s virile enough to penetrate our borders over and over again until we beg for mercy.

If we can’t bomb Vietnam, how about a trade boycott? What would we lose? What do we get from them apart from pole dancers and rice?

Meanwhile, new research has discovered an entire underclass of aspirant horn fiends in this glittering jewel of a country. Around four million already use it. Millions more will buy it once they have the means to do so.

While some use it to cure diseases like cancer – with a proven success rate of 0.00 percent – it is predominately used as a status symbol and a general panacea. In other words, if a guest at your cocktail party has a headache, you’re not going to give her a Panado. Hell, no. You’re going to put her on her knees, tilt her head back and pour half a gram of crushed horn onto her tongue while the other guests cheer loudly and raise their glasses of bear bile and panda pituitary glands.

If you went to a similar party in Camps Bay, Sandton or Umhlanga, you would be less than impressed if the host put out bowls containing the equivalent of compressed toenail clippings. You would want to know where the cocaine was. And rightly so.

The Vietnamese have access to the best opium and heroin in the world, and yet they offer their friends something with no narcotic or curative properties whatsoever. That’s not my idea of a fun party.

The World Wide Fund for Nature-SA hopes to change the Vietnamese views on rhino horn’s desirability as a status symbol by enhancing the desirability of other status symbols, such as cars and designer clothing.

In other words, we need to treat them like children. “Look what I have for you, Phong Dong! I will give you this sparkly Michael Jackson jacket with pretty pockets and shiny buttons if you give me that yucky packet of boring old powder.”

“Fuck you! No jacket! Want horn! Don’t want … ooh, is that latest Toyota Fortuna? Here, take horn. You give me keys.”

Converting the Vietnamese aristocracy from horn-snorting, dog-eating savages into decent capitalists won’t be easy, especially since it’s a communist country. Luckily, today’s commies are easily influenced by the finer things in life. Look how quickly Blade Nzimande was co-opted, although he is more of a champagne socialist than he is a genuine communist. He’s also more into white wine than white rhino.

I don’t think we can rely on media campaigns achieving much. For a start, conservationists discovered that showing the Vietnamese graphic images of bleeding or dead rhinos had little effect. Apart, perhaps, from making them feel hungry.

I was hoping some of the more serious-minded TV channels would take up the fight. This week the Discovery Channel was advertising a programme called Forbidden. “Join in as we meet the pony girl from the USA – a woman who has spent half her life living as a pony.”

I laughed and laughed. Then I curled up in the foetal position and cried myself to sleep.