A parliament of berserkers

I watched a clip of EFF leader Julius Malema at the Pan-African Parliament raising a point of order in true South African fashion. “I’ll kill you outside!” he shouted, pointing at a fellow honourable member of this shadowy organisation that seems to exist for no reason other than to prove how laughable African unity is as a concept. 

“I’ll kill you!” shouted Malema again. Then, to make sure there were no misunderstandings, he repeated the death threat a third time.

In effect, Malema was challenging his African brother to a duel. Instead of putting on his headphones and taking his seat, the Malian should have accepted the challenge. In terms of the rules governing duelling, he would have the right to choose what weapons would be used. If he knew anything of Malema’s background, he would have done well to decide that the combatants would make their weapons out of wood within a limited period of time. Being from Mali, he’d be able to carve himself a deadly knobkerrie in two shakes of a mamba’s tail. Malema, who won no prizes for woodwork at school, would be hard-pressed to come up with anything more dangerous than a backscratcher.

Since high-level prosecutions don’t seem to be happening and the police might as well not even exist, we need to start looking at other ways ordinary South Africans can get redress for their taxes being stolen and misused by the greedy, incompetent and corrupt. I suggest we revive duelling. In medieval times, duels were based on a code of honour. The ANC also has a code of honour. It’s called Omertà.

When I was sentenced to five years of high school at the tender age of 13, I soon enough discovered the existence of a primitive form of duelling. While I never did the challenging, I was on occasion challenged. There was very little chivalry involved, and I can’t recall there being any agreed-upon rules either. It generally involved a semi-literate brute with more than his share of Neanderthal DNA grabbing me with his prehensile paw and grunting, “Dongas. After school.” The dongas were an apocalyptic wasteland of eroded sandstone that lay just beyond the fence. The weapons were always the same. Fists, heads, teeth, feet, knees, elbows. Obviously I never turned up and consequently spent my time at St Bastards in a permanent state of dishonour. Rather that than a permanent state of pain.

Duelling was even popular in America at one stage. In fact, the first US Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, was killed in a duel against the sitting Vice President, Aaron Burr, in 1804. What a shame Biden couldn’t have taken Trump out with a rapier. 

I’d be keen on challenging health minister Zweli Mkhize to a duel. I wonder what weapon he’d choose. Overpriced televised debates at dawn, probably. On the other hand, there’s a good chance he would simply deny ever having received notification of my challenge. I would have to physically accost him and slap him across the face with a surgical glove, not that his protectors would ever allow me to get close enough for that. If it were up to me, I’d choose polygraph machines wired up to our testicles. We would fire questions at each other, with the liar never being able to have children again. I’m confident that my bollocks would survive intact, which is more than I can say for his.

Duelling is cheaper than elections, plus there’s no chance of the results being rigged. As far as democracy goes, it makes perfect sense to have, say, the leaders of every political party fighting it out mano a mano in duels. I, for one, would pay good money to see John Steenhuisen facing off against Cyril Ramaphosa. Cyril would obviously choose golf clubs as the weapon. He’d elect to use a driver because he must have several lying around at home. Not to mention asleep in the car. John would be at a distinctive disadvantage. Coming from Durban and only having a matric, it’s unlikely he knows his way around a golf club.

Given that the courts are backed up and the cops are soundly asleep at the wheel, there are other forms of conflict resolution we should consider. Trial by combat, which worked nicely in Game of Thrones, is more effective than legal action because it is over quickly and no lawyers are involved. In England, land disputes were once resolved in this way. Sounds better than fannying about with expropriation without compensation. “You want my land? Fine, fight me for it.”

The Vikings had something called holmgang, a legal way of solving disputes through the judicious application of a long-handled axe to the cranium. The berserkers spoilt the fun by tripping on mushrooms and using holmgang as an excuse to steal money and women from their less extreme compatriots. Floyd Shivambu would have been a berserker.

Anyway. It’s just a thought. Only trying to help.

8 thoughts on “A parliament of berserkers

  1. Marlize Meyer

    Omertà, holmgang. Here I am learning new concepts as it all begins to collapse into the donga. Is there a word for sitting back and still being amused at ones demise?

  2. Jasne

    Dueling is too freakin’ honorable where the savagery of the dongas dominates. Someone will be hiding in the bushes for redress if their guy gets it. I think getting stoned and not in the biblical sense is still the best way as long as it is a permanent wasted state for the ‘gics’.

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