Mandela Day Is Too Much Like Hard Work

I began to grow increasingly anxious on Wednesday evening. Mandela Day was almost upon me and still I had no idea how I was going to spend 67 minutes doing something good and meaningful.

That’s a huge chunk out of one’s year, even though I can easily spend an hour standing at the fridge with the door open. I don’t even have to be looking for anything specific. I just stand there, staring into the abyss. That’s time well spent compared to what Facebook and Twitter can do to you. I have wasted the best years of my life trying to be clever in 140 characters and following links to disabled kittens riding talking dolphins.

Instead of bringing me closer to the world, so-called social media has turned me into a gibbering misanthropist. I was never a huge fan of my species to start with. Now, having an insight into their daily lives, I want to kill them. Or myself. I haven’t decided yet.

Somehow, sitting in a darkened room plotting the destruction of humankind seemed out of keeping with the spirit of Mandela Day. I might be a sociopath, but I’m not a Grinch.

I tried to think what Mandela enjoyed most. I know he likes children. But then so did Michael Jackson. I’m wary of doing anything with children, not because I am afraid that an innocent game could go horribly wrong and I end up sleeping in the bunk below the Modimolle Monster for the next twenty years, but because I fear they will only exacerbate the suppurating malevolence that bubbles in my troubled soul. They have no volume knob and behave as if they are permanently wired or drunk. They also practice mind control by staring at you for hours at a time. This makes me uneasy. I don’t know what they want me to do, but whatever it is, it can’t be good.

Mandela Day worries me more than any other public holiday. For a start, I didn’t even know if it was a public holiday. I don’t have a job to drive to, so there was no way of telling if everyone was staying at home. I suppose I could have walked down to the M4 and checked how much traffic was on the road. But what if someone stopped and offered me a lift? It would have been churlish to refuse their hospitality on such an auspicious day. I would have had to get in the car, even if it meant ending up in Mozambique.

The other thing is, I can’t work out if Mandela Day is meant to be a happy day or a sad day. Guy Fawkes Day, for instance, is happy because everyone wants to celebrate the day the British parliament was almost blown up. Christmas is also a happy day because it’s when Santa brings presents. And Workers’ Day is happy because there are no angry, striking workers blocking the roads and everyone can move around freely and safely. Women’s Day is happy because all the women get to spend the day in bed, which is where we only ever wanted them to be in the first place.

Heritage Day, on the other hand, is a sad day because this country’s heritage sucks and also because our national anthem is a mangled mess of chords and keys and awkward aspirations to be all things to all people.

Reconciliation Day is a confused day because it has been left up to the victims to do all the reconciling and, besides, it is quite ridiculous to mark the day the armed wing of the ANC was formed, and the day the Voortrekkers believed God helped them whip the Zulus at Blood River.

Mandela Day is a happy day because he was released. But it’s also a sad day because he was jailed in the first place. And it’s a confused day because we’re meant to be perpetuating principles that the current leaders of Madiba’s own party have crushed underfoot in their shameless scramble to stuff their filthy snouts into the public purse.

I turned to the internet for guidance. Sharon was having pork ribs for supper. She was kind enough to post a photograph. Barry told us it was raining in Durban and asked us to be careful on the roads. Thanks, Barry. Without you, I would have ended up under a bus. And Lindelwa was wondering why her peeps were hanging out on a week night. I presumed she was experiencing some sort of wardrobe malfunction.

Tearing myself aware from the riveting drama unfolding on Facebook, I found a website devoted entirely to Mandela Day and the all-important 67 minutes.

A few people have asked why 67 minutes. Why not round it off to an hour? Someone said the other seven minutes were for a smoke break. Apparently not, though. The official story is that Madiba spent 67 years of his life fighting for equality. He is now 95. Even an innumerate retard like me knows that leaves 28 years in which he presumably wasn’t struggling for anything more important than free booze and cheap women, much like the rest of us. Good for him. Jesus spent 18 years sowing his wild oats before getting down to business, and we don’t hold that against him.

The website explained that the objective of Mandela Day was to “inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in so doing, build a global movement for good.” Is that all? Piece of cake. Do it in my sleep. When I woke up, Mandela Day was almost over. I turned on the telly to see if world hunger had been solved and BMW owners were driving like normal people. No such luck. Apparently I couldn’t do it in my sleep. I would have to get out there and physically do something.

I tried to find out what everyone else was doing. You don’t want to be the guy who does his bit by giving his domestic worker a lift to the bus stop only to discover that the neighbour spent his 67 minutes teaching orphans how to perform open-heart surgery.

One snippet caught my eye. “The Beast will be doing some work at LIV village.” It sounded like Quasimodo was coming down from the bell tower to lend a hand at the fish market. Turned out to be Tendai Mtawarira. As if playing for the Sharks weren’t punishment enough.

See what happened there? I subconsciously equated work with punishment. It’s this kind of mentality that needs to be stamped out.

I’m not going to tell you what I did on Mandela Day. Bragging is unseemly. Let me just say one thing, though. Don’t be surprised if you wake up tomorrow to find Israel’s wall of shame has been torn down.

Nobel Prize? Thank you. Don’t mind if I do.

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