An open letter to Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture

Dear Comrade Nathi,

Congratulations on your brilliant idea to spend R22-million on a flagpole! Some people say it’s too much money, but they don’t understand the price of everything has gone up. A year ago, that pole would’ve cost, like, R50. But that was then and this is now.

Something worries me, though. I read that our pole will be 100 metres long. That’s ridiculous. It means at least 13 countries will have longer flagpoles than us. Thirteen! I understand your portfolio has drained you of all ambition, but you must think bigger.

You need to make it at least 3,000 metres long. What’s the point of having a flagpole if you can’t see it from the International Space Station?

The Egyptians have just put up a flagpole measuring 202 metres in its socks. Please. Call that a flagpole? It’s a stick in the ground. Before Cairo got theirs, the highest pole in the world was in Saudi Arabia at a puny 171 metres. And before them, Tajikistan held the record with a pitiful pole that was six metres shorter than Jeddah’s one. Tajikistan!

We can’t let countries like this make us look foolish. They might not recognise women as fully formed human beings, but they do recognise the importance of Very Big Flagpoles. We need to move fast on this. It wouldn’t surprise me if Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen suddenly entered the race. They will have already got wind of our plans. Perhaps you should make our pole five kilometres long, just in case. Put it out of reach forever. Like the ANC’s promise of a better life for all.

Quite frankly, I don’t think your average pole will be enough to satisfy the nation’s patriotic lust. Ours should be studded with blood diamonds and rubies and garnished with gold engravings of all our national symbols, including the galjoen. Especially the galjoen. Now that would really be something to foster social cohesion.

What about fitting the pole with giant speakers that play the national anthem every hour? A dozen or so Titan Tethys should do the trick. They cost R400,000 a pair, but with a bit of creative tendering you could easily get them for two million each.

I heard the flag will glow in the dark. I once tried to use a glow-in-the-dark condom with less than spectacular results. Thing is, they have to be exposed to a bright light for 60 seconds before they can glow, and I’m a master in getting sex done in under a minute, which doesn’t leave much time for fannying about with lights.

Anyway, wouldn’t a rubber flag be too heavy? I mean, you’d want it to flap in the wind, right? Otherwise it’s just a limp thing hanging off the end of a very long pole. Have you thought about erecting a giant fan to keep it a-flutter? Of course you have. I know where you can get a fan for R8-million. Special price for you, my man. Feel free to add a bit on for yourself. Look at me, teaching my grandfather to suck eggs.

Speaking of which, I see the Jeddah flagpole was made with 500 tons of steel. The Egyptians used 1 000 tons of iron. Like Gwede Mantashe, I don’t know the difference between iron and steel, but I do know we can do better. Let’s make ours out of, say, a million tons of palladium. I know someone in the business. Different man to the fan man. Let’s talk.

You will obviously be declaring National Flag Day. We can’t risk having the common people forgetting that it’s there, or worse, not even looking at it when they’re right there in Pretoria. On National Flag Day, it should be mandatory for all South Africans over the age of 18 to visit The Flag and show the required level of respect. You’d have to put up one of those signs they have at the beach: No guns, drugs, dogs, fires, smoking, drinking, kidnapping, singing, stabbing or littering. Izinyathelo zomthetho.

Perhaps you could have a framed photograph of yourself embedded in the base so that we may present garlands and gifts to show our deep appreciation, loyalty and devotion to you and our beloved country.

I am, however, concerned that the pole will get hacked down and sold for scrap and the flag used by unemployed artists to make rudimentary coverings for their unsightly, malnourished bodies. Perhaps you should consider electrifying the entire structure. Wire it up to the national grid. No, that wouldn’t work. Landmines, maybe. Or snipers in towers. That’ll keep the pilferers at bay.

I know a man who’ll do a job lot of snipers and mines. Throw in a couple of dogs, too.

Call me.

12 thoughts on “An open letter to Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture

  1. Val Maclean says:

    From the sublime to the ridiculous

  2. Wilma Els says:

    R1.7 million was already spent on feasibility studies!
    Ridiculous, banal and completely insane ‼️

  3. Clare says:

    Nailed it! I am one of the thousands of starving artists. The first to be ignored, and now the only industry remaining under Covid protocols.

  4. Cecile says:

    Nathi is my man, who would come out with a flagpole to attract tourists, what an innovative idea, the same man who wants to remove the word “Afrikaans ” from the Taal monument. Makes you think. Poor Cyril, imagine the discussion at a cabinet meeting.

  5. Barry says:

    Scary parts are ;
    a) Ramaphosa would have approved it!
    b) The ANC actually thought that it was a good idea……
    They have NO shame.
    This is obviously part of the “we have a good story to tell”

  6. Malinda Nel says:

    .Put it out of reach forever. Like the ANC’s promise of a better life for all.’ I love that! Put it in Nkandla. Where anybody can burn down the whole structure if they feel like it. Maybe at the non-working harbors (one of them – not all, please) as a warning to all about the failed state.

  7. kathy lloyd says:

    Once again, brilliant.
    Now to make sure he reads this.
    Wonder if he CAN read?

  8. Stanislav the Plumber says:

    Social cohesion and nation-building has been achieved:

    ” This week, pisspoor Minister (apologies for the tautology) Nathi Mthethwa launched the Big Plan for a Big Flag, and the nation – all built and cohesive – turned around together as one and told him to Tsek.”

    Worth every last cent.

  9. Alan Paterson says:

    The pole itself is obviously crucial but this has to be an environmentally appropriate erection. It was noted by Louis Theroux in his weird weekend series, the one dealing with the porn industry, that “you’re supposed to get wood” to impress the directors. A large redwood would thus do. Surely Nathi as a committed cadre would rise up to the challenge.

  10. Paddy B says:

    The trouble is, the f-wits running (I don’t know where to find ‘strikethrough) trying to run this show wouldn’t get the message. They are all The In Crowd – INcompetent, INcapable, INept and more. As a man of words, please add to the list.
    thank you for always keeping us laughing even when it isn’t a laughing matter. Keep on keeping on.

  11. Wanda Stolzenberg says:

    I can arrange this large pole and flag for about 20 million. That’s a wopping 2 million saving !! Happy to have you on board, you obviously have the contacts.
    The fluttering in the wind thing is simple….we’ll make it out of wood, easy. As an artist, I’m pretty sure I can paint our flag. I am going to send President Cyril a mail/letter (need to find those details), may need to grease some palms….obv out of the 2 million saving.
    I look forward to working with you.

  12. Roland Rink says:

    All this while children in KZN eat sand to allay their hunger pangs – shameful!!

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