Lindiwe and me, sitting in a tree…

How about that Lindiwe Sisulu, eh? Phwoaar. I’d give her one. Wouldn’t you?

If our minister of tourism rocked up at your front door wearing a La Perla negligee and seductively fanning herself with a wad of tenders for the taking, would you turn her away? Liar. If it were the good old days, you’d have had your way with her and then called the cops because, as a law-abiding Christian, you would have known that darkies weren’t allowed to be in your bedroom unless they were cleaning it. But then you would have been arrested for contravening the Immorality Act. Tough call. It wasn’t easy being a whitey in those days.

Speaking of which, other delightful laws the previous mob passed in parliament included the Group Areas Act, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act and the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act. You’d think the 1950s might have been a more appropriate time to torch the building.

So, yes. I am in love with Lindiwe Sisulu. Okay, love might be too strong a word. This brave woman has spent many years suffering in a multitude of senior government positions, forced to accept a humiliatingly large salary while being muzzled from speaking out against a proto-fascist, neo-colonialist, post-imperialist document the monopoly capitalists and their running lapdogs in the judiciary call the “constitution”. This has been her personal Robben Island and if her Zumanista comrades ever RETurn to power, she should be first in line for a medal.

Cynics will say the only reason I am enamoured of the warrior princess is that, when she was the supreme overlord of housing in 2005 – doing her utmost to ensure that if every poor person couldn’t get a house, then no poor people would get a house (she is nothing if not a true egalitarian) – she mentioned my name while giving the keynote address at a graduation ceremony at the Centurion Lake Hotel. The event was for a group called Women for Housing Contractors. Presumably they’re all driving Lamborghinis today.

Yes, I know it sounds like I’ve gone mad and am making this up, but I haven’t and I’m not. Lindiwe quoted extensively from a column of mine, giving appropriate credit since this was long before she crossed over to the dark side and began dabbling in plagiarism. The column satirised a particular aspect of the relationship between men and women. Looking back, I hope it was satire. It strikes me now as having been deeply and inappropriately sexist. But whatever it was, she liked it. She ended off by saying, “My guess is that all of us here will agree with him.” The idea of a hall full of women agreeing with me on anything was simultaneously troubling and intoxicating.

As if that wasn’t wild enough, two months later, addressing the Black Management Forum at Nedbank’s head office in Sandton (before we were all brainwashed into a dot-connecting trance), she quoted extensively from a column I wrote about a Klipdrift advert featuring a black couple in a car who break down and are rescued by a white farmer. In her speech, Lindiwe referred to me as “our Ben Trovato”. She is the only person in power who has ever acknowledged that I am a national treasure. For that alone, she has my undying support. Then again, nobody from the Black Management Forum has ever called with an offer I couldn’t refuse. Is it because I’m white?

Were Lindiwe to publicly call me “our Ben Trovato” tomorrow, I would have to go into hiding. Damned with faint praise doesn’t come close. I’d be in the Scared Witless Protection Programme in no time at all. It’s blindingly obvious that lines are being drawn and positions staked – fairly informally, because there are those who prefer to watch the wind rather than start it. For now. But tornados are coming and bad moons are rising and your best bet is to batten the hatches and lie low until it all blows over. Or up. Whatever.

5 thoughts on “Lindiwe and me, sitting in a tree…

  1. Char~ says:

    “… running lapdogs…”.

    You WANT me to die laughing, don’t you??

  2. cornelius says:

    Pshoaar indeed. She wears the lips that classical Venus’s blind son, Cupid’s bow takes the shape of.

    1. Ben Trovato says:

      Indeed she does. And she fires arrows from that bow-like mouth, more deadly than Cupid’s.

  3. Themba Dube says:

    “… fanning herself with a wad of tenders for the taking …”. Oh Trovato, you really have a way of making us laugh. By the way, to echo someone’s question a while ago: when can we expect your next book?

    1. Ben Trovato says:

      Thanks Themba. Another book? Jeez. Can’t I rest now?

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