Nursery crimes and other filth

No matter how much I drink, I am unable to find any humour in President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address. The problem is, nothing else strikes me as being particularly funny right now, either. But I ought to write something.

So. Dum de dum. Yabba dabba doo. Now is the time for all good men to … oops. Beer foaming all over the desk. Mop it up with unpaid traffic fines. Heigh-ho. Toenails could do with a clipping. Oh, look. The cat just walked into the room. There must be something funny in that. C’mon, you cold-hearted queen. Work with me here. Licking your privates is clever, but it’s just not enough. I need more. Do you understand English? Would you rather have feathers or fur? Chicken or beef? Talk to me, dammit.

Hey, there’s a dove on the balcony. Funny things, doves. Not really. They’re not funny at all. Hang on. A second one has just landed. This should be interesting. Do they know each other? Is this some kind of avian suicide pact? I hope so. I want to see them jump and then resist the impulse to fly. Maybe they’re going to have a fight to the death. Beaks at dawn, except it’s nowhere near dawn. Being the international symbol of peace and love, it’s more likely they are going to want to have sex. Yes, there they go. The small one up on the big one’s back. That doesn’t look right. I can’t watch. Reminds me of the time I was … actually, that wasn’t funny, either.

Crippled with boredom, I was unaware that I had been singing Dubul’ ibhunu while picking ticks off the dog. The Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman said she would have me arrested if I didn’t stop. I was outraged. Since when was tick-picking illegal? Not that, she said. The inciting people to go out and kill decent god-fearing men of the soil.

Oh, please. That old struggle chestnut is nothing compared to the violent, homophobic, racist, sexist songs we were made to sing as children. There are mothers out there who should be rounded up and made to answer for what they did to us.

Some darkies might not recognise these words because they grew up on nursery rhymes about driving wooden stakes through PW Botha’s heart and setting fire to collaborators but anyway, here are just a few examples of the dangerous filth us whiteys grew up with. No wonder we’re so full of hatred, confusion and cheap brandy. And that’s just the English-speakers.

“Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. One for the master, one for the dame, and one for the little boy who lives down the lane.”

This led us to believe that black sheep were not the same as normal sheep, not merely because they could talk, but because they were black. The subservient tone and alacrity with which the sheep responds to demands for its wool suggests that it has been oppressed for some time. Furthermore, no effort is made to ascertain the sheep’s name. It is unlikely that its parents called it “Baa Baa” at home. This dehumanises the animal. Must be banned immediately.

“Georgie Porgie pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry. When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.”

Once I realised that I could get girls to cry simply by kissing them, it took years of therapy, a restraining order and several beatings to get me to stop. I understand now that the girls were crying because they were lesbians. Either that, or I was a truly appalling kisser. I’m going with the lesbian theory. It also taught boys that running away is a better option than sticking around to face the consequences and today I still have difficulty in taking responsibility for my actions. This nasty piece of work incites gender violence and must be banned.

“Goosey Goosey Gander where shall I wander, upstairs, downstairs and in my lady’s chamber. There I met an old man who wouldn’t say his prayers, I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs.”

Osama bin Laden’s attitude towards religious tolerance was formed at an early age when his mother read this to him in his crib. As soon as he could walk, Osama would visit nearby homes to check that people were saying their prayers. After spending his youth throwing old men down flights of stairs, he rounded up a few friends to fly airliners into the World Trade Centre which was full of old men who weren’t saying their prayers, and even if they were, they were the wrong kind of prayers and deserved to die. This misanthropic jingle promotes religious superiority and must be banned in a secular state.

“Cry Baby Bunting, Daddy’s gone a-hunting. Gone to fetch a rabbit skin to wrap Baby Bunting in.”

This is nothing but a pack of lies. There are countless grown-up babies out there today who are still waiting for Daddy to get back from a-hunting. Truth be told, Daddy said he was popping out for a packet of smokes and never came back. No wonder Baby Bunting was crying, what with having to settle for a Huggies instead of a rabbit skin covered in gristle and blood. Ban it.

“Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.”

Popular in the 1960s among people of all ages, particularly those who were partial to a cap or two of lysergic acid diethylamide in their afternoon tea. Promotes drug use and needs to be banned.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

Couldn’t or wouldn’t? This is hate speech directed squarely at fat people. For all we know, genetics were to blame for Humpty’s size. But even if his obesity was caused by fried chicken and Heineken, this is no reason not to at least attempt to put him back together again. It undermines human dignity and deserves a place on the banned list.

“Hush a bye baby, on the tree top, when the wind blows the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will come baby, cradle and all.”

This cruel ditty proved exceptionally popular among mothers with colicky babies. Today, it is rare to come across a cradle wedged into the branches of a tree. Mothers find it easier to leave their surplus babies at drop-off points around the city. Ban it on grounds of incitement to commit infanticide.

“Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. Up got Jack and home did trot as fast as he could caper. He went to bed and bound his head with vinegar and brown paper.”

Children have no business climbing hills to fetch water. This is a clear endorsement of child labour and must be banned. A favourite of one-time health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Jack’s unique method of treating a gaping head wound gave her the idea that garlic, lemons and beetroot could cure Aids.

“Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie. He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum and said, ‘What a good boy am I!’”

This has poisoned young minds by creating an unwarranted sense of entitlement. South Africa is full of indolent youngsters expecting to be praised for nothing more than using their opposable digits to thumb a free ride to the trough. Must be banned if only to encourage genuine entrepreneurship.

“Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow; And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.”

Aside from the gynaecological impossibility of Mary having a little lamb, the entire premise of this racist diatribe is based on the lamb having white fleece. One is compelled to ask whether the lamb would have been treated any differently if it had black fleece or, indeed, if Mary herself were black. The answer is yes. The lamb would have been eaten chop-chop. Ban it on the grounds of racial discrimination.

“Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker’s man; Bake me a cake as fast as you can; Pat it and prick it and mark it with a B; And put it in the oven for baby and me.”

This clearly perpetuates systemic disadvantage, encourages the exploitation of the working class and is a violation of the democratic values of social justice. Since the instruction is directed at the baker’s man, one can only surmise that the baker himself is off spending the profits in the Seychelles instead of giving his assistant a wage increase. Even though he is alone in the bakery, the baker’s man is instructed to bake a cake as fast as he can. Why the hurry? Are there starving people waiting out in the street? Probably. But in this instance the cake is for “baby and me”. Nobody else will get any. This song has no business still being sung and Cosatu will back me when I say it needs to be banned at once.

“Peter Peter pumpkin eater, had a wife and couldn’t keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell, and there he kept her very well.”

As far as domestic violence goes, this takes some beating. In South Africa, abuse of this nature is not widespread since few men have wives small enough to fit into pumpkin shells. Some men – Austrians, mainly – find that secret soundproof rooms are more effective than pumpkin shells. Most men find divorce to be less complicated. Others find that dismemberment works if the pumpkin is unusually large. This exhortation to commit uxoricide, posing as a nursery rhyme, must be banned on the grounds that women do not belong in pumpkins. As our constitution clearly stipulates, they belong in the kitchen. Ban the song. Or whatever the hell it is.

“Half a pound of tuppenny rice, half a pound of treacle. That’s the way the money goes, Pop! goes the weasel.”

This anti-weasel propaganda falls into the category of hate speech and must be banned immediately. Weasels are people, too.

“Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fair; Said Simple Simon to the pieman ‘Let me taste your ware’. Said the pieman to Simple Simon, show me first your penny. Said Simple Simon to the etc etc.”

This so-called rhyme goes on to make Simon look like a complete retard, which he undoubtedly was. Having said that, however, there is no good reason to mock the mentally challenged. Thanks to our bill of rights, simple people are no longer discriminated against. In fact, some of them hold powerful positions in government today. However, we should avoid encouraging them and therefore this evil chant must be banned immediately.

“Three blind mice, three blind mice, see how they run, they all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife.”

This is not only blatantly anti-rodent, but it has a clear bias against disabled rodents. It also incites harm by encouraging pro-rodent militant groups to take revenge on farmers’ wives who labour under the misapprehension that it is somehow acceptable to mutilate sight-impaired mice. Rodents have rights, too. Ban it.

“The owl and the pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat. They took some honey and plenty of money, wrapped up in a five pound note. The owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar, ‘O lovely Pussy, O Pussy my love, what a lovely Pussy you are …”

This sick animal porn thinly disguised as prose poetry degenerates quickly, with the cat and the owl being married by a turkey in a land where the Bong tree grows. Many young lives have been ruined by this pro-marijuana interspecies malarkey and it must be banned at once.

“There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile, he found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile. He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse. And they all lived together in a little crooked house.”

These words send an unequivocal message to the youth that being crooked is no hindrance to success in later life. The fact that the cat and the mouse coexisted seems to suggest a solidarity among the crooked and countless children have deviated from the straight and narrow in the misguided hope of achieving happiness without having to suffer first. Must be banned right away.

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe; she had so many children she didn’t know what to do. So she gave them some broth without any bread, and she whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed.”

This vile piece of pro-life propaganda deliberately fails to inform girls that Marie Stopes provides them with a viable choice should they find themselves repeatedly falling pregnant. It also encourages child abuse which, in this case, is probably warranted. Ban forthwith.

“Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are? Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky …”

This is possibly the most subversive of them all. It suggests that stars might be something other than fiery balls of gas. Who, besides children raised by wolves, wonders what stars are? Clearly propagated by organised religion, this seemingly harmless nursery rhyme encourages children to question science and start believing that some kind of omnipotent being created the universe. Ban it before they turn to Scientology.

“Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town, upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown, tapping at the window and crying through the lock, are all the children in their beds, it’s past eight o’clock!”

Adolf Hitler was exposed to this story from an early age. He snapped on the evening of November 9, 1938, and sent the Gestapo running through the towns, upstairs and downstairs in their jackboots, smashing all the windows and shooting out the locks, all the children out their beds, it’s past Jew o’clock! Apart from evoking memories of Kristallnacht, this narrative has disturbing homoerotic undertones and as a final solution it should be banned.

“What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy dog tails. What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice.”

The only point of reference I have here is my increasingly eccentric loinfruit. When he was smaller and more malleable, I asked him what little girls were made of. He said, “Meat and bones.” I didn’t know how to react so I bought him an ice cream and then beat him soundly. The point is that this piece of feminist propaganda must be banned on the grounds that it portrays boys as being full of terrible things, which they are, but it is better that girls find this out for themselves.

“Remember remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot.”

This is quite obviously an incitement to blow up parliament and South Africans have once again failed dismally to rise to the occasion. Does not need to be banned.

 

Last chance to amend the amendment

Are you earning a bit of cash renting out a room or property on Airbnb?

If so, today – June 11 – is your last chance to have a say on the Tourism Amendment Act before it becomes law.

The amendment restricts the number of nights you may host guests and puts a limit on how much you may earn. All in the name of protecting the formal accommodation industry.

So if you are involved in the unpatriotic business of luring people away from struggling hotels and into your home, and you feel that heavy-handed state regulation of Airbnb is fair, you should email Mmaditonki Setwaba at atmsetwaba@tourism.gov.za and let the government know what you think.

It’s also the subject of my column in The Citizen tomorrow.

Dear Alabama Senate

Congratulations on passing what is being hailed as the most restrictive abortion bill in the United States! Me and my buddies are gonna slaughter a lamb right now to celebrate the sanctity and preservation of life.

I hear there are some who disagree with your new law. I must admit that when I first heard about it, I was also a bit critical. Is a 99-year prison sentence for doctors who perform abortions enough of a deterrent? I suppose you had to keep the liberals happy. I would have preferred to see 150-year sentences and then, if they survived that, give ‘em the chair. Hell, why waste electricity on these monsters. They deserve a taste of their own medicine. Do abortionists even use medicine? They have no ethics, these people. I heard stories of so-called doctors terminating pregnancies as late as the 64th week. This is not Haiti or Africa. Haiti might even be in Africa, which makes it worse.

Have you considered that abortion would not exist if it were not for women? Of course you have. Fifty percent of the population is walking around full of eggs begging to be fertilized, for heaven’s sake! We men do what the Bible says we must do and that’s why all twenty-five of your lawmakers who voted for your measure are decent good old god-fearing white boys with proper legacy names like Randy Price, Shay Shelnutt, Will Barfoot and Garlan Gudger. Hell, yeah. Shelnutt, Barfoot and Gudger. Now there’s a law firm I’d trust. Price would have to be a junior partner because his first name suggests men might somehow be responsible for pregnancies and that just wouldn’t do.

Without the brave twenty-five, the streets of Alabama would run red with the blood of the unborn. It would be like Gettysburg all over again, except back then families were more inclined to take in orphans and unwanted children after the war.

Just as we know that the Earth is six thousand years old, so do we know that men understand women better than they understand their own selves. We know what is best for them. Two drinks and a dollop of good old Alabaman sperm. Sure, there will be those (lesbians) who try to rebel but you must prevail. Smash the matriarchy.

The devil-worshipping bearers of free market vaginas might say that conception starts in a man’s testicles and therefore male masturbation is murder, but if they knew the first thing about our bodies they would know that we go mad or explode if we go three weeks without release. We might even be driven to kill.

Some people on drugs say that women who are blessed with a child through rape or incest should be allowed to abort that child. You need to round them up and have their tongues removed in public. We only need to look at our friends in Saudi Arabia. They know how to deal with these things. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying I approve of Muslims, but they do have a way of dealing with women and we too need not deviate from the path of the lord. To be clear, I am talking about Jesus and not Allah.

Five members of your senate voted against the bill, three of them men. I would urge you to subject the traitorous trio to a rigorous bout of gender testing. What kind of man would allow women to be in charge of their bodies when they can’t even be relied on to put gas in the car when it’s on empty? Oh, wait. The five are Democrats. That explains everything. How did they even get elected? Don’t let Alabama go soft, my friend. You have taken the lead in the war against abortion and you need to follow it up with something big. Have you considered bringing back slavery? Of course you have. Your hearts pump Confederate blood.

I don’t understand what the critics don’t understand. Men have orgasms, women have babies. It has been that way ever since Adam and Eve and the talking snake. America needs more children. Having said that, it would be helpful if there were some way of telling if the foetus was going to turn out Republican or Democrat. You could put in a clause. I’d support abortion for any unborn child that might vote Donkey. Wouldn’t you? Don’t answer that. It might jeopardise your chances of re-election.

But science is an inexact science. To appease the communists, you could have an amendment stipulating that if the woman doesn’t want the baby, the father is legally obliged to take responsibility for it. What? I apologise. I have been drinking and I’m not thinking clearly.

So now it’s in the hands of your governor – a woman. How did you allow that to happen? What if Kay Ivey refuses to sign the bill? I suppose you could always proclaim her a witch and have her drowned. No, wait. That’s Salem. Anyway, I’m sure you have your own traditional ways of dealing with stubborn women.

I forget to mention that you should forget about Roe versus Wade. Those are just two ways to cross a river. And condolences to any of your mothers who might be wishing today that abortions could be effective retroactively. Thoughts and prayers.

Like your giant virile willies, the South will rise again!

An open letter to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi

Dear Mr President,

Well done on successfully hosting a regional conference with the theme Towards a Common Vision in Managing Southern Africa’s Elephants. Thanks to you, the visiting heads of state have returned home with a wonderful reminder of the occasion. I can’t think of a more perfect gift than stools made from elephant feet. Was it your idea? Brilliant. As everyone knows, the best way to manage elephants is to cut off their feet.

Your predecessor, Ian Khama, was a namby-pamby bunny-hugger who believed that elephants should be conserved rather than chopped up and used for furniture. Thank god you ousted him. With people like him in power, elephants would eventually get equal rights and soon enough start demanding a say in the running of the country.

You are not alone in your quest to ‘manage’ elephants. South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are also calling for the lifting of a ban on the sale of ivory. And rightly so, too. An elephant with no feet does not need his tusks.

Your country has around 130 000 elephants. That’s, like, two people to an elephant, isn’t it? These dumb brutes contribute nothing to the economy. Each elephant could at least provide a family of four with somewhere to sit. In fact, with a bit of creativity, the entire animal could be modified for everyday use.

The trunk is a very flexible piece of equipment and a lot of fun can be had with it. I have also on occasion been lightly flagellated with an elephant tail and let me tell you, Mr President, it was quite an experience. You strike me as a man who might enjoy a bit of the old S&M. Get yourself a tail. You won’t regret it.

I can’t wait to see what gifts you come up with when Botswana hosts other gatherings in the future. A conference on human trafficking, for instance, could see delegates go home with one of your country’s unwanted children. It would ease the burden on orphanages and the kids themselves would make amusing conversation pieces in their new homes.

Drug conferences could see heads of state being given little baggies of homegrown weed and if you do host more wildlife conventions, you need not even give your guests bits of dead animal. How cool would it be if everyone got a live mongoose?

The fabulous thing about Botswana is that there is so much game. When you run out of elephants, there are many more animals to make stuff from. You could open a chain of IKEA-type stores where people can assemble their own furniture from different animals. Fitting bits of giraffe into blocks of hippo would be tremendous fun for the whole family.

The hippo, by the way, has massive untapped potential. Maybe even more than the elephant. I’ve given it some thought and will be sending you a sample of one of my stools. Feel free to use it however you wish.

Run, Caster, Run

Imagine a brain surgeon so good at what he does that people would rather die than take their brains elsewhere to be repaired. Imagine he was in such demand that all the other brain surgeons were forced to pack up their drills and hacksaws and welding torches and become estate agents and drug fiends.

It simply wouldn’t be fair on the competition, would it? The surgeon who was putting them out of business with his massively superior skills would have to be curtailed. He could, for instance, be instructed by the Health Professions Council to conduct surgery blindfolded. By handicapping him, the other surgeons would stand a chance of getting work and making a name for themselves too.

And this is why Caster Semenya needed to be hobbled. If things had been allowed to carry on, it wouldn’t be long before she was the only female athlete in the 800m and 1500m events. Why would anyone else keep pitching up if they knew for sure they were going to lose? Fortunately, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled that Semenya will have to chemically dose herself every day to reduce the testosterone in her body if she hopes to compete in these events.

Do you know who else should take medication to lower their testosterone levels? Men, that’s who. Particularly those on the IAAF committee who can’t live with themselves knowing that a black woman from South Africa could kick their arses with one hand tied behind her back.

In women, hyperandrogenism can cause you to develop acne, hirsutism and a tendency to keep winning the 800m.
In men, excessive testosterone can cause you to develop a tendency to punch people in the face, order missile strikes on Syria and attempt sex with anything that isn’t fixed to the ground.

Testosterone has a direct influence on libido. If I were married to someone who spent the day winning gold medals and still insisted on ravaging me mercilessly the moment they got home, I wouldn’t complain. Especially not if they made dinner afterwards.
I would, however, object if they lay on the couch drinking beer and watching sport all evening and then, when they sobered up at 3am, expected me to roll over and take it like a man. I should point out that in these fictional scenarios, I have no idea what gender I am.

Anyway, it’s not hyperandrogenism that provides an unfair advantage to athletes. It’s the training. If I spent all day in the gym, I could also run 1500m in under thirty minutes.

If it’s leveling the playing field the IAAF is after, then let’s ban training altogether and throw competitions open to anyone whose body mass index is higher than their IQ. It’s elitist to have only eight people in the 100m. I want to see eight thousand people turn up at the starting line. No dress code, either. Wear overalls or even nothing at all, if you like. And you can eat and drink while you run. Everyone who breaks the 10-minute barrier gets a medal.

If that’s too extreme, then at least give us non-practising athletes our own competitions. Disabled people have the Paralympics so why can’t we have the Drunkalympics? Athletes will be breathalysed at the start of each event to ensure they aren’t under the limit. For instance, if you’re participating in the 20m stagger, you’d need to have a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.2%. Coaches will be allowed to provide their athletes with tequila shooters to ensure minimum requirements are met.
Given that most novices are unconscious by 0.15%, athletes will have to train hard if they hope to avoid the embarrassment of passing out before the starter’s gun is fired.
Athletes in the headline event – the 0.5% – are required to simply turn up and make their way onto the track without assistance. The first person to stay standing for one minute, draw a diagram of a cat and not choke on his or anyone else’s vomit will be declared the winner.

If it’s unfair advantages the IAAF is worried about, then they will have to restrict the high jump to athletes who stand no taller than 1.4m in their socks. Swimmers will have to have standard-sized hands and feet, and not giant slabs of meat and flippers like Michael Phelps has.

And if we are going to be interfering, why stop at medical conditions? Indeed, why stop at athletics? What about psychiatric conditions that drive people to accumulate more wealth than they can spend in several lifetimes? Johann Rupert is worth R80-billion and you can still find him selling cartons of Rembrandt behind the Spar on a Friday night.

How maths ruined my life

I was appalled to hear that President Ramaphosa had bestowed a national order on none other than William Smith, a man with a mastery of a subject that is beyond inhumane. It was like hearing that the Marquis de Sade had been awarded a medal for services to sadism, for what is the instruction of mathematics if not an exercise in the infliction of pain on others?

Smith deserves to be made an example of, and not in the way Ramaphosa had in mind when he placed the Order of the Baobab around the old man’s neck – a neck that belongs in a pair of stocks, no less. We who were traumatised by maths as children should be able to pelt him with wrong answers to simple equations until he begs for mercy.

Maths is cruel. There is no other way of looking at it. Oh, sure, if you understand how it works, perhaps it seems quite benign. Useful, even. But if it makes about as much sense as German spoken backwards, then it is utterly barbaric to force children to learn it. For many of us, maths is not a subject that can be learnt. I know people will think that I am drunk or mad, but I am only a little bit, and I know that maths cannot be learnt in the same way that, say, Spanish or the offside rule in soccer can be learnt.

There is a numbers gland in the brain that not everyone is born with. I don’t have one. And it’s not a gland that can develop later in life, either. You either have it or you don’t.

My father did not understand this, even though he is far from stupid. He is very bright, in fact. He worked as a structural engineer for many years. Yet he is unable to comprehend that there are some people who do not have the gland that makes it possible to grasp maths.

The fact that I was one of these people was a source of tremendous frustration and, I imagine, disappointment. I clearly remember my parents discussing my maths mark in high school.

“We’re going to have to send him for extra maths,” said my mother, who was also very smart, and yet not smart enough to understand that eighteen hours of extra maths a day, seven days a week, would do little more than nudge my average into double figures and possibly turn me into a teenage heroin addict.

“How do you get nine percent for maths?” my father would shout, nostrils flaring, eyes big and wild. I thought nine was rather good considering that I had no gland.

He would sit with me and help with my homework. By help I mean he would tug at his beard and tear at his hair and stand up and sit down and shout, “Why? Why can’t you see it? It’s perfectly simple!” It didn’t seem the right time to tell him about the gland. I didn’t want him thinking I was mentally deformed which, in later years, I realised that’s exactly what he thought.

William Smith represents my father. And many other fathers around the world who have shouted at their children until they wept. Yes, I shed a few tears. I can’t remember if it was because he was yelling at me or because I felt like a failure or because I couldn’t go out and smoke paw-paw stems with my friend down the road.

It wasn’t maths that scarred me. Maths doesn’t care if I understand it. It just sits there waiting to be used, like the condom in my wallet. Unlike my condom, maths doesn’t expire.

I was brutalised by people trying to force maths down my throat. People who should have known better. People like William Smith and my father and every maths teacher I ever had.

The sight of Smith receiving his award from the president unleashed a flood of memories and my post-traumatic stress disorder kicked in. Ted found me unresponsive on the floor, curled up like a wounded pangolin. He ran up a crude Tafel lager drip using kitchen utensils and an old syringe he found in the street. It wasn’t ideal but it did the trick.

Losers, weepers

Today, 367 years ago, Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Table Bay and shouted, “Finders, keepers!” And that’s why it became known as Founders Day.

Alhough the Khoikhoi and San were taking decisions by consensus long before the Dutch navigator sashayed onto our shores in 1652, it was really the Europeans who brought the concept of modern democracy to South Africa. They also brought syphilis, guns, racism and Christianity, but we shall stick with democracy for now.

The very first ballot took place aboard the Drommedaris when the passengers and crew voted, through a show of hands and a fair amount of crying and screaming, to go back to Holland. “This looks nothing like the brochures!” they wailed. “Where are the quaint fish markets? The cycling paths? Where are the coffee shops and the dimpled harlots?”

Van Riebeeck said it was his boat and he would land wherever he damn well pleased, an attitude that gained in popularity as the Dutch settlers slowly mutated into Afrikaners.

In the years leading up to 1910, the British, the Zulus and the Boers had a whale of a time slaughtering one another. It was all fun and games until someone lost an eye and the British said they didn’t want to play any more.

“Here’s what we are going to do, chaps. We are going to let you become a self-governing dominion of the British Empire.” The Boers scratched their heads. Isn’t that where the British played dominoes? The Zulus heard about the plan last Thursday.

So it came to pass that General Louis Botha was elected South Africa’s first prime minister. Even though he fought like a tiger during the Boer War, he retained a soft spot for a girl who later insisted on being called Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, the Union of South Africa and Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

As one of only three or four Boers who had ever been to London, Botha earned a reputation as something of a Brit-boetie, which was almost as bad as being seen kissing a darkie.

In 1947, King George VI popped in at the Royal Cape for a round of golf and a stern word with the Bantu. The following year, the National Party was voted into power and it was a long, long time before anyone from Buckingham Palace came near us again.

“Who are those dreadful people?” the king asked over a cup of Earl Grey beneath the royal gazebo at Balmoral. “They are called Afrikaners, daddy,” said Liz. “Rather like the Dutch, but a little more, shall we say, déclassé?”

But let us not get ahead of ourselves. On 15 September, 1910, people of a Caucasian persuasion came out in their thousands to vote in the first general election. The darkies thought the whiteys were leaving and spontaneous, yet hopelessly premature, celebrations broke out in the native yards.

Three main parties and a smattering of independents vied for 121 seats in the country’s first parliament. Nearly 105 years later, the number of parties fighting to get their snouts into the national trough has quadrupled. Parliament is also much bigger, but then so are its members.

Back then, elections were held every two, three or five years, depending on public transport and the calving season.

In 1915, the National Party made its first appearance on the ballot, as did the Socialist Party, which scared everyone by scooping 140 votes.

The Nats took ’24, ’29 and ’33 while 1938 was a huge year for the Socialist Party. Back on the ballot after a well-earned 13-year break, they took their first seat and predicted that by the end of the year everyone would be driving Ladas and calling each other comrade.

South Africa’s place in the world was well and truly secured in 1948, when National Party leader DF Malan (who later retired and became an airport) released a visionary manifesto supporting the prohibition of mixed marriages, the banning of black trade unions and job reservation for whites.

Thick, hairy clumps of farmers, their barefoot wives, wagon-mechanic sons and child-bearing daughters voted overwhelmingly for Malan – and the National Party remained resolutely in power until 1994. Good one, guys. Mooi skoot.

1960 was a particularly memorable year. A regular carnival. The mielies were fat, the lambs were healthy, the ANC was banned, there was a massacre in Sharpeville, a state of emergency was declared, Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd was shot and wounded and 850 000 white people voted in favour of cutting ties with Britain and then spent the next 35 years playing ‘international’ rugby fixtures against neighbouring towns, travelling ‘abroad’ to Margate and reading the Bible, the only book approved by the censorship board.

Soon after the Republic of Skunks and Polecats was formed, an aberration called the Progressive Party appeared on the ballot sheet. The party was so popular that by 1974 they had wracked up an impressive six seats in parliament. The NP, with 122 seats, shook with fear. Okay, so it might have been laughter.

Beginning to suspect that not everyone in the country was deliriously happy with existing political arrangements, the government held a whites-only referendum in 1983 to gauge support for the creation of a tricameral parliament that would allow coloureds and Indians to have a say in their own affairs, on condition that they tucked their shirts in and smoked their zol in the parking lot.

Meddling foreigners pointed out that the government had forgotten to include 23 million black people in the referendum. “What?” shouted PW Botha. “You lie, you bliksems. There’s nobody here by that name.”

By 1989 you couldn’t walk down the street without a bomb going off. It all became a bit much for Botha, sensitive man that he was. He had a stroke – a stroke of good luck for most – and was strong-armed out of the presidency.

The last all-white election took place in 1989. Feeling the winds of change hot against their necks, voters threw their weight behind the Democratic Party and … oops, wrong fairy tale. Here’s what really happened. A solid 80% of just over two million ballots were cast for the National Party, the Conservative Party and the Herstigte Nasionale Party combined. That’s how thrilled white people were at the prospect of a new society based on justice and equality for all. The Democratic Party limped in with 33 seats.

The country’s last white president pocketed a Nobel Peace Prize by unbanning the ANC and releasing Nelson Mandela. Then he threatened to sue the Truth and Reconciliation Commission if it implicated him in apartheid crimes and repaid one of the NP’s main financial backers by sleeping with his wife. Good man, that de Klerk.

Needless to say, 1994 was the mother of all elections. For the first time, darkies were allowed to vote. The ANC swept into power and, oddly enough, failed to nationalise the mines, torch the churches and eat our children.

And so here we are today. The state has been hollowed out by hundreds if not thousands of human termites, leaving behind an economy that belongs in calipers. Our parliament of whores is a national embarrassment. We have a president who is surrounded by more double-crossing back-stabbers than Julius Caesar ever was. And there are white supremacists out there who still believe they are god’s chosen people.

I’m so excited that, come the 8th of May, I shall vote for everyone on the ballot.

Earth Hour is over

Thank fuck for that.

With the exception of Happy Hour, I am not overly interested in anything that lasts for only sixty minutes. The other thing is this. I have never felt particularly close to the human race and for me to join them en masse in a staged event of this magnitude would have felt like a deeply unnatural act.

The Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman, however, insisted that we put the lights off at 8.30pm. There is nothing worse than being lectured on global warming by someone who doesn’t know the facts, so I agreed if only to shut her up. Also, it meant the next generation wouldn’t be able to accuse me of not having done anything to save the planet. Not that the planet cares much for us, what with its capricious earthquakes, impulsive landslides and fickle volcanic eruptions.

“I’m keeping the television on,” I said. I was deep into the movie when the doorbell rang. It has to be said that when a doorbell rings in a darkened house in the middle of a horror film, no good can come of it. Wives will scream and husbands will curse. Cats will get tripped over and dogs will bark like creatures possessed.

The Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman found the front door and shouted hysterically into the night, “Who’s there?”

A shrill voice pierced the air. “Hi! Just wanted to let you know you have a light on upstairs and there’s still half an hour to go. It would be FABULOUS if we could all just pull together, you know?”

The Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman apologised and went upstairs to switch off the bathroom light. I was so incandescent with rage that my face went thermal and lit up the lounge in an eerie red glow.

How dare this … this fucking interloper interrupt my movie to tell me to put all my lights off! I turned on the Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman, demanding to know why she was dancing to this incomprehensibly rude intruder’s tune. “Did she say she was with the Earth Police?” I shouted.

My nerves shattered, movie ruined and evening in tatters, I went around the house switching the lights back on, ranting and raving like a Palestinian suicide bomber who made it all the way to Tel Aviv only to find that he had left the detonator on the kitchen counter at his uncle’s house back in Gaza.

Who, in their right mind, would go around in the middle of the night ringing other peoples’ doorbells to tell them they have a light on and that, in the interests of stopping the polar ice caps from melting, they should turn it off? Those are the actions of a certifiably crazy person – a person who you should be legally entitled to shoot.

It is sanctimonious, overweening, self-appointed and almost certainly hypocritical eco-cops like this who make otherwise rational people like me want to wake up in the morning and spray cans of deodorant at the ozone layer. They make me want to start up my car and let it idle in the driveway for an hour or two every day and they make me want to leave my carbon footprint all over their officious little ferret faces.

Unless you are wearing a uniform, carrying a gun and have a warrant for my arrest, don’t think you can ever ring my doorbell and tell me what to do. The next time it happens, I swear, the planet gets it. And you will be responsible.