Out of the woodwork and into the cabinet

When I had a proper job, I’d suffer from the Sunday Fear. You might have felt it yourself. It starts in the pit of your stomach and moves steadily up your spine. By 10pm it has crawled into the base of your skull and has begun gnawing on your cerebellum. By midnight you’re sweating heavily and nausea has set in. In eight hours, you have to be behind your desk. It’s a terrible feeling. Drugs can calm the Fear long enough for you to fall into a restless sleep. Make sure you take the right ones.

I haven’t had a proper job in a long time and had forgotten what the Sunday Fear felt like. Until last Sunday, when I heard that the president would be revealing his new cabinet at 9pm. A shiver ran through my limbic system. For those who failed geography, this is the part of the brain that governs emotion and memory. My limbic system has been malfunctioning for some time, but word filtered through the debris and reached the amygdala, a small almond-shaped structure. In my case, it might even be an actual almond. Would explain why people call me nuts. When it perceives danger, it sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This is the command centre. Mine is in a similar state to Natal Command on Durban’s beachfront. Upon learning of Ramaphosa’s announcement, just three hours away, my hypothalamus elbowed my hippocampus.

“Wake up,” it shouted at its silly seahorse-shaped neighbour. “You have to remember this.” It yawned and stretched. Specialising in dealing with anxiety and avoidance behaviour, it advised the hypothalamus to tell the amygdala to tell the fingers to turn the television off, and went back to sleep.

Having grown accustomed to paying no attention to sensible advice from my brain, I kept the television on but the volume off. This seemed to agitate the pituitary gland but, being the size of a pea, it’s easily ignored. I’ve only ever engaged it once, and that was when I shot up to almost 2m in matric and had to have a stern word.

So 9pm came around and I thumbed the volume back on. I had to. I once tried lip-reading the president and you wouldn’t believe the stuff I came up with. Turned out later that I was spot on.

So now we know who won the big prizes at the mother of all tombolas. Certainly not the DA. That’s what happens when your negotiating team, led by a man without a matric and a woman with a disturbing haircut, goes up against a businessman worth R900-million who learnt the dark arts of bargaining from the likes of Dingaan and Niccolo Machiavelli.

This cabinet is so bloated that it’s going to need to pass a lot of wind before it can start functioning effectively. The maiden speeches in parliament should help.

Strange choices, though. John Steenhuisen as minister of agriculture? I’ve never known a Durban oke to grow anything other than weed. If he develops green fingers, you’ll know that’s from counting his R2.7-million salary. He probably thinks agrarian is one of the star signs.

During her 15 years at the helm of basic education, Angie Motshekga ensured that 80% of our primary school pupils would be functionally illiterate. As defence minister, she will undoubtedly take our army to places it has never been. Like Malawi.

Angie’s replacement, Siviwe Gwarube, is 34 years old. I had a guy that age in my matric class. I hope she’s brighter than he is.

The DA’s Dean Macpherson, who I wouldn’t have been able to identify in a police line-up until now, is the new public works minister. He tweeted on Monday that “it’s time to turn our country into a massive construction site that builds infrastructure…” That’s going to be a huge drawcard for tourists. People will flock to see our Big Five building sites.

In Gayton McKenzie, we finally have a true Renaissance man in charge of arts and culture. Let the Age of Enlightenment begin. He tweeted a photo of himself donning soccer kit on Monday, saying something about having to go to work. It’s a great idea to wear a different sports outfit every day of the week. Can’t wait for figure skating to come around.

Pieter Groenewald of Freedom Front Plus is now in charge of the country’s prisons. I hope he doesn’t target us souties for what the English did to his people in 1900. They have long memories, this tribe. To his credit, he doesn’t want a blue-light escort or bodyguards. With a face like that, he doesn’t need it. He looks like a man who knows the difference between a blood choke and an air choke.

Someone by the name of Leon Schreiber is minister of home affairs. Did the DA pick names out of a hat? He tweeted that “South Africans can fix even the most intractable problems when we work together”. He’s still young. He’ll learn.

I could go on but I won’t. I’m glad I wasn’t offered a post. It would have meant moving to Pretoria. I spent two years there, wearing the same clothes every day, and swore never to return.

2 thoughts on “Out of the woodwork and into the cabinet

  1. Megan Addington says:

    Thanks for the freebie, Ben. You’re a brilliant satirist.

    1. Ben Trovato says:

      You’re very kind, Megan, even though I know you’re just after more freebies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *