If you’re an Aquarian, it won’t have escaped your notice that 2024, added up, gives you the number 8. You may already be feeling the effects. Eight, like Leos, is not to be taken lightly. Dismiss it at your peril.
Spiders have eight legs and won’t hesitate to murder you in your sleep. Eight is the atomic number of oxygen. Good luck living without it. Eight planets orbit the sun, any one of which could spin out of control and smash into your house. Someone called Peter wrote that there were eight people on Noah’s Ark. I like to imagine it was seven women and one man. Timothy Leary identified eight levels of consciousness, but he was tripping balls so I don’t know about that. In astrology, Scorpio is the 8th astrological sign of the Zodiac. Anyone who is dating or married to a Scorpio will know the implications. Eight is not safe to be said by wizards on the Discworld and is the number of Bel-Shamharoth who is all suckers and mandibles and one giant eye. In some countries, an “eighth” is a common measurement of marijuana or magic mushrooms. In South Africa, we use the “bankie” as our unit of measurement.
And I’m on beer number eight, which might explain why I’m rabbiting on about numbers instead of writing about 2024 being an election year and offering advice on how to survive it. In my defence, freelancers often struggle to tell when the holidays have ended. Not having an office to return to and being denied the dubious benefits of annual leave, things tend to run into each other. It will be around March when I realise the festive season is probably over.
So, an election year. These are unlike normal years. For a start, they are held every five years. And as you know, the number five represents … okay, okay. Roller coasters and tangents are my favourite things to go on, but I don’t have the time. I mean with this column. Not on the planet, although a doctor did tell me that I have a 12.7% chance of having a stroke or heart attack within the next 10 years. That was five years ago. You see? There’s that five again. Given the heightened odds of me keeling over mid-sentence, I’d better crack on.
There are something like 500 parties that will be vying for a shot at getting their bums in the butter this year. That’s a ridiculous amount given that South Africa is essentially a one-party democracy. There should be way more. I’d like to see five or six thousand parties contesting these elections. As it stands, only 400 people can become members of parliament because the National Assembly is too small to accommodate more. Is this why that weird nutjob torched the building? If so, I’m on his side. Parliament should be the size of the FNB Stadium. That’s 94,000 MPs, 300 vendors selling vetkoek and cocaine, and 450 enforcers brought in from the Cape Flats.
But let us, for the moment, return to the slippery subject at hand.
Politicians are going to want your vote. Perhaps now more than ever. The ANC never even had to campaign in the first democratic elections. By not allowing black people to vote between 1948 and 1994, the National Party did all the heavy lifting for them.
But that was then and this is now. Darkies have voted the ANC into power in six general elections. Whiteys, and possibly more “clever blacks” than ever before, are hoping that this is the year the curse is broken.
The ANC is running scared in the way that the very arrogant run scared. They’re too macho to show that they’re worried, so their campaign will be run entirely on a high-octane blend of bravado and bullshit. Like Elon Musk’s cars, they will run out of juice before polls open and the party will limp into election day like a racehorse that’s been scratched for coughing while Cyril the jockey insists he’s fine and forces the ailing beast into the gate nevertheless.
So. When the minions come knocking on your door asking for your vote, you can do one of several things. Or several things at once. Invite them in, then lock the door and refuse to let them leave until they convince you that they aren’t lying. Activate the anti-personnel mines. Unleash the hounds.
If you are in possession of a baby, avoid taking it to places where parties are campaigning. A politician could try to kiss it. If you think you might find yourself in this situation, make sure your child has been vaccinated against everything, including rabies. The things that live in a politician’s mouth. Dirty, filthy lies. Not nice.
I should add that not all politicians kiss babies. The ACDP, for example, believes that kissing outside of marriage deserves the death penalty.
DA people will look you squarely in the eye and call you sir or madam and shake your hand firmly, like the security branch used to do before taking you off for a spot of torturing.
EFF canvassers will use the old bait-and-switch method. They’ll promise you the world and then, once in power, will tell you that the world has been nationalised and you’re expected in the state-owned factory at 4am every day until you die.
Jacob Zuma’s flimsy Trojan Horse hastily knocked together with stolen lumber and full of desperadoes facing criminal charges won’t be knocking on your door. Or maybe they will. “Hi! We’re from uMkhonto Wesizwe. We’d like to come in and explain how you can be an active partner in destroying South Africa!”
Politicians consider us their children but we’re the ones who give birth to them. We spawn these treacherous swine every five years. It should be the other way around. We tell our kids to promise they’ll never do the bad thing again. And they look at us with big eyes and promise. Then they do the bad thing again. Depending on your parenting skills, you might opt for a little spanking. It must be the same for our politicians. Break your promises and we’re going to come around to your office with a bamboo cane and tell you to bend over.
Get your canes ready, people.