Dear Comrade Lindiwe,
You suggested the other day that the SABC should broadcast the national anthem twice a day – at 6am and again at midday – to foster patriotism. Well done! If there is one thing this country needs, it’s more patriots and fewer people whining about crime and corruption.
You said that when you were growing up in Bophuthatswana, the radio and TV stations played the Bop anthem twice a day. And look what a success story your ‘country’ turned out to be! Without the anthem, the world might have mistaken Bophuthatswana for a raggedy-ass Bantustan led by a delusional puppet of the apartheid regime.
At my school, we were expected to sing the anthem at assembly every morning. All that business about creaking wagons and echoing crags really got my blood pumping. By the time we reached the final verse where we called on God to guide our people (that would be white people), I was so pumped up with patriotism that I often had to be shackled to my desk to prevent me from running off and joining the army so that I might fight against the communists.
As you so rightly point out, today’s South Africans are not patriotic enough. In the old days, it was only by dint of sheer patriotism that we managed to keep millions of bellicose darkies in their place. Well, sheer patriotism and an army. And a police force. And a complicit judiciary.
The citizens of today show more pride in their cellphones and iPads than they do in their country. But that is no reason for you to give up. I suggest you have a word with Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko. Get him to create a new unit – the Patriotism Police. Their job will be to patrol the streets, shopping centres and office blocks at 6am and midday to encourage people, at gunpoint if necessary, to sing the anthem. Anyone who refuses to stop what they are doing and stand to attention, with their hands over their hearts, will be shot. And anyone who doesn’t know the words will be sent to re-education camps in the Karoo.
What you are proposing is laudable, comrade, but I don’t think you are going far enough. It’s too easy for people to sing for a few minutes, then return to the more traditional pursuits of killing, raping and stealing.
If we are to develop a generation of true patriots, we need to ensure that everyone over voting age wears the colours of the national flag when in public. It can be a shirt or a skirt, but it must contain green, black, white, gold, red and blue. Very bright, yes, but studies have shown that bright colours make bright people.
We also need to have a new national pet. Dogs are all very well, but they don’t exactly inspire one to great heights of patriotism. I suggest a new municipal by-law requiring the possession of a minimum of one (1) springbok per household.
Furthermore, gardens must consist solely of giant proteas. Yes, they are hideous, but for as long as they are our national flower, people should grow them to the exclusion of all else. Anyone caught planting untrustworthy expatriates like the shady Brazilian guava or the dangerously cosmopolitan coral creeper will be heavily fined.
The national fish, the feisty yet unflinchingly loyal galjoen, shall be eaten at 7pm on Fridays. No exceptions. The ministry of fisheries will have to amend its motto, “Let them eat hake.”
I bet you are pleased that Cosatu has taken Victor Matfield to task for wearing what they describe as “an old South African riot squad skull cap”. I don’t remember seeing members of the riot squad wearing rugby scrum caps, but then again I didn’t spend much time around them. The minister of sport must force Matfield to wear a more patriotic scrum cap – perhaps one printed with images of the galjoen in its happier moments.
I am pleased to see that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi supports your endeavours. As she so eloquently said in parliament on Tuesday, “You go across other countries and you find that their flag is their pride, all over their flag is flying all the time.”
The third leg of this triumvirate of nationalistic zealotry is Phumla Williams, acting chief executive of the government communications and information service. “You cannot have South Africans who don’t even appreciate that they are South Africans,” she said.
I couldn’t agree more. We need to flush these selfish ingrates out. Perhaps when they aren’t busy monitoring the singing of the anthem, the Patriotism Police could pay random visits to homes in areas where non-patriots are suspected of living. A few simple questions could easily identify those who are not suitably grateful to be South Africans. For example, if they think ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke is computer code, they must be taken away and dumped on an isolated piece of land far from the rest of us red-blooded patriots.
The former Bophuthatswana would be ideal.