Dear King Misuzulu kaZwelithini…

Bayede! Am I saying that right? Men dressed as leopards were shouting it on the telly on Saturday during your coronation. I apologise that my isiZulu isn’t up to scratch. We can’t all be Christopher bloody Pappas.

I grew up around Zulus, though. Or rather, thanks to the Group Areas Act, they grew up around me. On a clear day, I could see the hills of Inanda from the veranda of my parents’ home in Durban North. Many of my friends were Zulus. Well, there was Esther, who came on Tuesdays, and Temba at the back of the Scout Hall who sold weed for one rand a hand. Good people.

That was a magnificent spectacle in Nongoma. Better than the rugby. Loads of half-naked girls and warriors brandishing spears and knobkieries. And nobody got stabbed! Well, apart from the bull that had a flick-knife jammed into his skull when you got back from that business with the lion.

You’re a brave man. I wouldn’t go after a lion armed only with a high-powered rifle and no back-up apart from a handful of VIP protection officers, game rangers and professional hunters. And I would certainly never go on a canned hunt because those lions are drugged and you don’t know what a lion on drugs is capable of doing.

So you managed to shoot him in the leg? Good strategy. Make sure the brute can’t walk, then get the driver to take you right up to him, look him in the eye and say, “Who’s the king of the jungle now?” and pop him between the eyes. Unfortunately, the professional hunter ruined the moment by taking him out with a clean shot.

I read that the bull was killed because you had to cleanse yourself after killing another “king”. When I want to cleanse myself, I use Lux. But only because I don’t have easy access to a bull.

I like that you wore the skin of your dead lion. You, sir, are nothing if not a trendsetter. I’m thinking of shooting and wearing a dolphin so that I may acquire its agility and intelligence. I shall wear it to the pub on Friday.

It occurred to me that there is no white king. SA has at least eight officially recognised kings and a couple of lunatics claiming to be royalty. I’m not talking about your brothers, here. There are other grifters out there looking for a government handout. But there’s no King of the Caucasians. No wonder we’re not taken seriously.

Since there are no other contenders, I hereby announce that my enthronement will take place on 24 September. What more fitting occasion than Heritage Day to celebrate everything white people have done for South Africa? Maybe not apartheid. Other things.

You might look at us white folk and think we’re a dull bunch with no culture or traditions of our own, and you’d be right. When public displays of racial hostility were banned, we became confused and started scrapping among ourselves. Yes, the aggression is limited to sharp exchanges of words as we all reach for the last Black Forest gâteau in Woolworths, but this is just the beginning. I predict machete fights over shopping trolleys before long.

To help unify my fragmented people, I will create new traditions. For instance, when I am installed as king, I will also stage a hunt. A treasure hunt. It’ll be for the children, mostly. White children, obviously. Allowing kids of different races to take part would be like having different tribes in your regiments. There’s a Xhosa in my Amabutho might sound like the title of a Leon Schuster movie, but it’s no laughing matter.

Once a lucky child has found the treasure – permanent resident visas for Australia for the whole family – I will return to my palace (Airbnb). Instead of having a sacrificial bull brought to me, I will ask people to bring other animals. Feral cats, stray dogs, unwanted hamsters. Those that don’t find good homes can come and live with me. Yes, I know the whole point is to kill something, but it’s not really my thing. I doubt even Christopher bloody Pappas can stab a bull in the neck. Actually, he probably does it all the time.

The next day, my loyal subjects will, if they’re not too drunk, escort me to my throne made entirely out of compressed R200 notes. President Ramaphosa will recognise this as a gesture of respect and declare me King of the White People.

I will take many wives but must first consult my ancestors. This may take some time since I have no idea who they are or where they came from. The sacred fires shall burn until I hear from them. Or at least until the chops are done.

Long live King Misuzulu kaZwelithini! Long live King Ben kaZamalek!

9 thoughts on “Dear King Misuzulu kaZwelithini…

  1. Jeremy Bentley says:

    My good King (‘Duzi’ for short) of the Wit owes… You will have to excuse all the typos in this posted responce …er… it’s because I can’t see through all the tears of laughter… How can any of your Wit owe subject’s refuse to be at your crowning ceremony with so many spliffs of Durban Poisen being passed around the joint …um… obviously to elevate your crowning, to that most highest position in the high court. May I suggest the thrown be made of compressed $ rather than compressed R… as proven by Cyril to be be far more comfortable to sit on.

    1. Jacci Babich says:

      The cut, the thrust, the bullet and the disgust. Excellent piece Ben. How many lions has South Africa got left compared to an overabundance of people who have absolutely no idea about the circle of life?

  2. Margaret Kollmer says:

    You are a very funny man. And very clever.

    1. Ben Trovato says:

      Thank you, Margaret

    2. Margaret. For the love of god. This is how you’ll get your head lopped off. Get down on a knee before you kill us all…

      Please get off your high horse and learn your place. Times have changed. We have a king. Please address accordingly…

      Your Royal Highness Ben, (add your reckless abandon here)… then end with something along the lines of ‘Thank you for hearing my plea Great Leader of Satire’.

      PS Also don’t substitute ‘Highness’ for ‘Drunkeness’ or ‘Pisscat’ either. The Highness we are referring to is social status. In other words since becoming a king He’s (yes capital H) now of better standing than us when it comes to burial sites, heaven selection, Mercedes models and that kind of thing.

      Yours in peasantry.
      Anonymous (Rather safe than sorry)

      1. Themba Dube says:

        Very funny, Lawrence. Could have been penned by Trovato himself.

        1. Tando says:

          His Excellency, Prime Minister, Honorable, Doctor, Igwe, Your Royal Drunkenness 🙌 Bayede wena who speaks from his liver, long live

  3. Alan Paterson says:

    Thank you Ben, as always a serious appraisal of a serious cultural event. It takes a true hero to shoot a lion. In the leg maybe but, as they always say, practice makes perfect. Next time I humbly suggest opening the eyes, or at least one first. So what if the animal was canned? Probably too many lagers, so own fault! But you are quite right, we whiteys have lost our culture. There is hope, however. We are well into cancel culture and book burning is daily grist amongst enlightened librarians. We can look forward with hope to the return of the good old days. Burning at the stake, beheadings, dismemberments and other public crowd pleasers. Colonialists, apostates like Ricky Gervais, men who cannot identify with womxn and other such irredeemables can surely anticipate the wrath of the collective. I look forward to your impending kingship and remain yours in wokeness.

    1. Verne Maree says:

      Nice comment, Alan!

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