What the hell kind of white South African loses his passport at a time like this? I’m like someone who jumps off a sinking ship after selling his lifejacket for beer money.
White South Africans have only two things that stand between themselves and total annihilation. One is their passport and the other is their unshakeable belief that being white renders them immune to mob justice. Admittedly, this belief is showing signs of tremors, but nothing serious enough to start sucking up to the cousins in Perth.
I need a passport because I have to go to Namibia to be awarded the Ongulumbashe Medal for losing South Africa the war. It was their own damn fault for putting me in signals. I told them I was colour blind but they wouldn’t listen. Actually, that’s not true. I am colour blind, but I don’t think the Swapo government has anything planned for me. Not in the medal department, anyway.
Changing focus. The murder rate in Durban goes up in February in direct proportion to the humidity. The hotter it is, the more likely you are to kill someone who cuts you off in traffic. Or pushes their trolley into your heels. Or looks at you in a certain way. Or doesn’t look at you. But when it comes to queuing in Home Affairs in February, one’s homicidal tendencies reach genocidal proportions. A friend advised me to go to Tongaat but I had heard tell of a legendary mutton bunny chow at a semi-secret location not a million miles from Umgeni Road, so I went in search of the holy bunny and a new passport.
I thought I’d do the passport first and then the bunny as a reward for bravery in the face of civil service sloth and stupidity. It was a grave error. A woman with the social graces of a rotting snoek snatched my ID book, stabbed at her keyboard and handed me a sticker. I was number eleventy seven thousand in a queue that stretched north to Kosi Bay, up to Bulawayo and back down through Botswana. I left quickly, killing four people on my way to the car. Death stares are slower than gunfire, to be sure, but they do work. Sooner or later these people will die and I will laugh. Unless I am already dead, in which case I won’t.
I flew to Cape Town the next day after hearing the queues at Home Affairs in Wynberg were tolerable. I was a damn fool. People who live in Cape Town think everything is tolerable, including grinding poverty, sub-standard weed and filthy weather.
A man with the face of a Renamo rebel said the fee for a lost or stolen passport was R800 – double the fee for a regular application – but I had done my research and pointed out that on their own website it was stated that the penalty would be waived if the passport had been lost or stolen through no fault of its owner.
The bayonet scar on his cheek twitched and turned purple. He sighed heavily and enquired after the fate of my passport. I began telling him about the alien abduction and administration of rectal probes and all he wanted to know at the end of it was whether I had an affidavit. No, you idiot, I said. They were giving rectal probes, not affidavits. I walked out four hours later and R800 lighter.
Speaking of idiots, our political landscape has been positively flooded with them of late. ANC big knob Gwede Mantashe got the ball rolling by accusing America of covertly plotting regime change in South Africa. Of course they are. There’d have to be something wrong with you not to think it’s about time to give someone else a shot at running this country into the ground.
Look, I’m the first to acknowledge that America is the dirtiest trickster of them all, but it somehow seems unlikely they’d use President Barack Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to overthrow our government.
If our Bay of Pigs moment ever does come, it’s likely to be spearheaded by actual pigs – quite possibly relatives of the pigs who continue to suffocate violently in pits of carbon dioxide at a Pork Packers abattoir on the East Rand – the one that’s owned by Tiger Brands and which supplies eco-friendly retailers like Woolworths.
Then, on Tuesday, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there were not enough planes to train pilots because the old guard had stolen a bunch and put them in museums. Maybe this is part of Gwede’s coup paranoia. Just as Happy Hour kicks off on a Friday afternoon, Rooivalk van Rooyen will wheel his 1943 Spitfire out of the SAAF museum at Valhalla, get a push-start from a couple of car guards and open up with his wing-mounted Browning machine gun on the N1 e-toll gantry.
All of our submarines are up on bricks and twelve of the 26 Gripen fighter jets we bought from Sweden are in long-term storage, along with a red Ford Cortina, two ski boats and a lounge suite that needs reupholstering. Comrade Nosiviwe, showing her flare for Orwellian newspeak, explained it like this. “These aircraft are placed in a storage as a planned activity in line with their utilisation and budget expenditure patterns/flow of SAAF.” I don’t know what that means because I only have a matric. What I do know is that it costs R135 400 to keep a Gripen in the air for an hour and jet fuel costs R11 a litre. It’s obvious what should be happening here. Clip their wings and use them as taxis. I’d be quite happy to pay a bit extra if it meant travelling everywhere at Mach 2.
Then there was an altercation at a rugby match at the University of the Free State. The province is no stranger to altercations. It was once an independent Boer republic called the Orange Free State but then black people were given the vote and all the orange people went back to Orangeland and all was fine until last Monday when people with too much Neanderthal in their DNA got overexcited and started hitting each other.
And let’s not forget the budget speech. I turned the television on and heard Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan say, “Let’s be resilient.” He was setting an example by packing on an extra 19kgs around his waist. Fair play to him. This may well be the winter of our biggest discontent and we all need to prepare for it.
Meanwhile, consulting firm Mercer has declared Vienna to be the best city to live in. I’ve been to Vienna. It’s rubbish. Who names their city after a sausage? Anyway, the best city for who? Not for a manioc farmer from Burundi, I bet. He’d find it dead boring. Besides, it only has 1.7 million residents. Back in Bujumbura, he has that many people living in his outside room.
The good news is that if you have always wanted to live in the 85th best city in the world, you can now do this by moving to Durban. Mercer rates it as the best city in Africa. Sure, the bar is so low that not even a nine-year-old Haitian limbo dancer could wriggle beneath it, but still. Durban beats Cape Town. It doesn’t happen often.
Finally, we get to Arkansas lawyer Patrick James Mulligan. He is four years my junior and several billion dollars my senior. He lives in Dallas, Texas, or wherever the hell he wants, really, and has a passion for exploring Africa. More accurately, he has a passion for exploring Africa for oil and gas. His handlanger in South Africa, representing Rhino Resources, is Phillip Steyn. Word is that Steyn has “high level negotiating skills”. He also speaks fluent Kiswahili. I imagine this would be handy when it comes to pillaging the natural resources of countries where Kiswahili is the lingua franca. And in those countries where it isn’t, I’m pretty sure he’s fluent in Dollar.
Listen up, Mulligan and Steyn. I live on the north coast and I can’t have a shower because of water restrictions. Not because I’m trying to conserve water, but because no water comes out of the taps for six hours a day, at least. You start hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas and I won’t have any water at night either. I don’t mind drinking beer to stay alive but I draw the line at bathing in it.
We will fight you. Go frack yourselves.