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.

Application for the post of Head of Security: Parliament

Dear Sir or Madam,

I imagine you are a sir and not a madam because things would not have descended to this level if a woman were left in charge, although it must be said that the Speaker is a woman (aren’t they all?). Perhaps she doesn’t have what it takes to save this roiling beast of a country. I can assure you, sir, that I do.

A weekend newspaper interviewed someone called Molotho Mothapo. Apparently he is the spokesman for parliament. When asked how many security officers were on duty the night of the fire, he replied: “I can’t give the exact number.” Can’t or won’t? The only way to get the truth from these people is to extract it. I would use sodium pentothal and a pair of long-nosed pliers.

Asked why parliament had been without a head of security since 2015, Mothapo said: “We have not been able to find a suitable person.” Well, obviously. It’s common knowledge that South Africa has only unsuitable people left. It’s why the cabinet looks the way it does. By no stretch of the imagination could anyone in Ramaphosa’s government be called “suitable”, and yet there they are.

When asked why there have been so many security breaches, he replied: “What security breaches?” Good man, that Mothapo. He understands the art of implausible deniability. I may take him as my deputy. Talent like that shouldn’t be wasted on politics.

As parliament’s new head of security, my first act will be to secure the perimeter. With the help of indigent layabouts, of which Cape Town has an abundance, I will dig a moat around the National Assembly and fill it with crocodiles. At first I thought hippos, but there is enough grunting and yawning inside the chamber.

Another security measure parliament lacks is a minefield. I’m thinking M14 “Toe-poppers”, cute little things first deployed by the United States in 1955. I don’t know where. Probably around the black suburbs in Alabama.

I will use wineboarding on members prone to pathological lying. Wineboarding is similar to waterboarding but more humane because, unlike the Americans, we are not savages and we have a culture of drinking rather than scaring ourselves to death.

Also, it would be good exposure for the Western Cape’s wine industry. I imagine the DA would demand to be tortured with something sweet and fruity from Stellenbosch. A nice Jordan Riesling, perhaps. The EFF, on the other hand, might prefer something cheap and red. Like a Tassenberg 2022. I will have to keep an eye on Julius Malema, that he doesn’t bribe one of my men to decant Chateau Lafite into a Tassenberg bottle.

These so-called “white shirts” you were sending in to deal with unruly members will have to go. They couldn’t even take down Floyd Shivambu, and that guy is one Jack Daniels away from a heart attack. I will bring in my own team of “brown shirts”, loosely modelled on the Sturmabteilung. They will all be of Israeli extraction. These guys know how to quell dissent. Some will be assigned to sniper duty and positioned in the public gallery, which is the best place for a clear shot at any disruptive honourables.

They won’t be on shoot-to-kill orders. I’m not a murderer. Yet. The Speaker will give a member three chances to take his or her seat. We have seen in the past that some representatives simply refuse to listen. A minor flesh wound inflicted by a 7.62mm round fired from an IWI Dan will encourage them to comply with the rules and regulations of the House.

Those members who consistently exceed their alloted time with repetitive, whining speeches will be darted with tranquilliser guns. Nothing too heavy. They’ll be back on their feet in an hour or so. My men will have specific instructions to keep a close eye on John Steenhuisen.

My master plan, and I would urge you to keep this to yourself for now, is to seal off the building once all 400 members are in the chamber. I know this is a rare occurrence, but when it does happen, we need to be ready. The drawbridge will be raised and the mines activated. Metal shutters will drop down from the windows and the hounds will be unleashed. Nobody will be permitted to leave until the executive is properly held to account. And I do mean properly. There can be no more fannying about. South Africa is out of time.

I will only be able to assume the position once parliament has been rebuilt after that poor homeless lunatic accidentally set the place light while trying to cook his pigeon dinner. I’d sugget you use sturdier material this time. Asbestos works well. Ask Ace Magashule.





The jellysloths and flying snakes of the ANC

How peculiar to live in a country where the only person still capable of being shocked is the president. Not that I am currently in the country. If you’ve been paying attention, you will know that I am on a tropical island in an archipelago off the Caribbean coast of Panama, where any sane person would be right now. Sure, I might lose a couple of toes to a hungry cayman on my way to the bar, but I won’t get knifed or hit by a taxi. Don’t be envious. It’s quite easy to do. Buy an air ticket. On the day you’re due to leave, tell your family you’re nipping out to the bottle store and drive to the airport. Sell your car to someone in the parking lot. Get on the plane and never come back. You can thank me later.

Anyway. Never having managed to completely free myself from the treacherous tentacles of journalism, I still follow the news. But as the days slip-slide away, I find myself caring less about what happens in truly dreadful countries like Canada, America and Britain. I do, however, keep track of what’s happening in South Africa. Not with any sense of schadenfreude. I still have family there, after all. Listen to me, talking like I’ve emigrated. I’m on holiday. Aren’t I? I don’t get annual leave or even have a proper job, so it’s hard to say what I’m on. Recreational drugs, mostly ha ha.

So. What headline coming out of SA would shock me? Or you, for that matter. I suspect it’s impossible to even invent one that would raise much more than an eyebrow, a sigh or, at most, a shake of the head. A more jaded, cynical nation than ours is hard to imagine. I need not recount the many egregious examples of incompetence, corruption and sheer dumb brutishness that have come to define the country. You already know this. I can tell by the steady uptick in sarcastic tweets, our last defence against the barbarians at the gate.

It should be estate agents rather than travel agents who come up with advertising copy describing our beloved homeland.

“Sprawling second-hand country with 1.2 million km² floor space. Massive potential but neglected under current owners. A real fixer-upper. Foundations crumbling. Needs rewiring and proper plumbing. Sixty million tenants already in place (mostly unreliable). Nearest cash offer.”

Excuse me. A falling coconut just missed me by a metre. Let me move out of the impact zone. There’s nothing like a near-death experience to focus the mind.

I find it increasingly difficult to define our political leadership in human terms. All the words for them have become worn out and meaningless. Look up “incompetent” and “corrupt” in a thesaurus and you’ll find that almost every synonym has at one time or another been used to describe our government.

Perhaps if I dipped into the animal kingdom for comparisons.

Cyril Ramaphosa: Cross between a sloth and a jellyfish. A jellysloth. Capable of moving fairly quickly yet awkardly when called upon to dance with the wives of West African leaders. Better known for moving at a glacial pace when it comes to doing something, anything, to save his country from sliding into the abyss. Lacking a backbone, he subdues his prey by boring them to death.

David Mabuza: Javan rhino. Shorter and smaller than others of his ilk, he is hardly ever seen in his natural habitat (Union Buildings), preferring to spend time in Russia. Possessed of armour-like skin, he was at one time thought to be extinct but surprised the world after making a rare appearance at a press conference. Adept at dodging poachers and the law.

Bheki Cele: Leopard tortoise. Slow of thought and foot, he remains resolutely unable to change course even though he instinctively senses disaster ahead. Happy to stick his neck out when the coast is clear, he is even faster to withdraw into his shell when asked to explain his actions, or rather, lack thereof.

Gwede Mantashe: Cross between a crow and a black mamba. Beware of flying snakes. A scavenger by nature. Struts about with a misplaced sense of self-importance, looking for easy pickings and shiny things. Speaks with forked tongue. Can be venomous if provoked. Prey consists primarily of small mammals and enemies of the fossil fuel industry.

Fikile Mbalula: Peacock. Born a peahen, he transitioned when friends kidnapped him and forced him to get circumcised. Displays iridescent plumage, especially at events offering free food and television coverage. Unusual vocalisation that attracts derision rather than members of the opposite sex.

Shamila Batohi: Remora fish. Once mistaken for a shark but later turned out to be harmless. Has the ability to suck firmly onto her paymasters, draining a handsome salary while doing nothing. The relationship between the remora and the host is mutually beneficial – she doesn’t prosecute ANC leaders and they keep paying her.

ANC deploys weapons of mass distraction

A few days ago I watched a 40-second video posted on Twitter by the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport. It was titled, “Arrival of hot asphalt.” It came with the hashtag, #SmartMobility and featured workers watching a truck back up to a gigantic pothole. It then dumped a load of tar into the pothole. Now and again one of the crew would raise a hand as if sending some sort of signal to the driver. Probably to hurry up because third tea break had already started. The thud of a jackhammer, or maybe automatic gunfire, can be heard in the background.

The last time this country saw anything near Smart Mobility was five years ago when the Guptas slithered aboard their private jet under cover of darkness and took off for Dubai, narrowly avoiding arrest by several months.

The Hot Asphalt clip had been viewed 31 600 times by today. That’s roughly the same number of people who tuned in to Mzwanele Manyi’s ANN7 to watch the 8pm news. Judging by the comments section, the government’s wool-pulling days are over. It gladdened my heart to see the avalanche of scorn, derision and sarcasm that was dumped on their shameless heads.

The department’s Twitter bio reads, “A modern integrated, efficient, sustainable transport and road infrastructure system in Gauteng.” It’s hard to say if this is a wish-list or a nostalgic look back at pre-ANC times.

Later they posted another dramatic clip, this time of a man with a watering can dribbling black liquid into another pothole. This only got 331 views, presumably because there was no truck involved. The caption read, “Road maintenance can come in a number of forms, but ultimately the end goal is to keep the road as similar to its original state as possible.” Oh, right. That explains everything. Our roads were originally dirt tracks rutted by ox wagons driven hard and fast by Trekboers off their faces on high-octane mampoer.

There’s a chance all this work is being done to celebrate Transport Month and isn’t connected to elections in 12 days’ time, but you’d have to be an ANC supporter or an idiot to believe this. Some might say there’s little difference.

The national transport department, headed by a minister so utterly out of his depth that he should carry a snorkel, is also on a mission. They recently posted a graphic so chaotic and jarring that it could trigger epilepsy among more sensitive designers. We are informed that “Transport Minister Mbalula and Deputy Minister Chikunga (who?) to visit the King Cetshwayo District Municipality (where?). Members of the media are invited.” The visit was scheduled for 9.30am. To get local hacks out at that godless hour, you’d have to offer a lot more than free snacks and a photo op.

The department also announced that “SANRAL currently has a total of 23 packages along the N3 which are a priority along Durban to Pietermaritzburg for fixation.” Packages of Durban Poison? That might get the reporters out. Fixation, as Fikile knows, is a concept originated by Sigmund Freud to denote the persistence of anachronistic sexual traits. I’m not sure how this relates to transport, but I’m definitely interested. Bypass curious, as it were.

But it’s not only Transport doing everything they can, one tweet at a time, to help repair the damage done to the country by the ANC.

Gauteng Health last week tweeted “a few healthy snack ideas” which included a medium-sized banana and frozen baby peas for older children. Do they think we’re all millionaires that we can just dish out frozen peas whenever the mood takes us? Besides, older children want crystal meth and untraceable handguns.

The SA National Defence Force expressed its “pleasure” to host one of the “biggest event in the Southern Gauteng”. I was expecting to see weapons of mass destruction on display. But no, they were launching the Beauty Hub Academy at the Lenasia army base, where unemployed youth would be taught hairdressing and beauty therapy skills. At that age, I was given a gun and sent to the border to kill strangers. I would have preferred hairdressing.

Meanwhile, the SA Police Service announced that Minister Bheki Cele would officially open the Daggakraal police station. I feel so much safer now. Also, the landline at Cradock police station is out of order. Don’t bother calling when it’s not out of order, either.

Anyway, right now state Twitter is an echo chamber of departments retweeting their ministers and vice versa in the belief that this makes them look busier than they are. Only a moron would fall for that. And if there’s one thing this country has in abundance, it’s morons. The election results will prove me right. This suits the government. If it didn’t, the education ministry would also be pretending to care.

Smocks cocked with Kurt Darren and Cardinal Pillar

Did you know the word “manifesto” comes from the Greek ‘mani’ meaning ‘shameless’ and ‘festo’ meaning ‘lies’? Of course you did. The word has featured a lot over the last few days and we haven’t heard the last of it.

I tried watching the news but it wasn’t easy. The SABC reminded me it was Day 549 of the lockdown, which caused me to start drinking earlier than necessary. eNCA’s Election 2021 logo had the strap-line, “The moment of truth.” Ha ha, good one.

The ANC went knocking on doors like disgraced Jehovah’s Witnesses begging for absolution in exchange for a cheap T-shirt, only to be confronted by the great unwashed demanding luxuries like electricity and water. How dare they. Damn their selfish eyes. The party’s manifesto launch on Monday night, under the disapproving gaze of Paul Kruger, was like a Shakespearian tragedy without the clever plot devices or any kind of redemptive arc whatsoever.

As for the DA’s launch, I laughed at the poppies in tight jeans gyrating to Kurt Darren belting out Kaptein Span Die Seile but then I started crying and had to neck a Xanax.

On Sunday it was over to the EFF at Gandhi Square. They were having a three-for-one. Manifesto launch, superspreader event and the unveiling of their new building, which has been named in honour of the ex-wife of an icon from a rival political party. Unusual, especially when it’s the party that booted your leader out. Then again, nothing is particularly odd when it comes to local politics. It’s all a filthy mess of opportunism, treachery and greed. The only way to get a vague idea of what might possibly be true is by reversing everything that comes out of our politicians’ mouths. It’s a depressing exercise and I wouldn’t recommend it.

“The EFF is not a paper tiger, but a roaring lion!” shouted Julius Malema. He had obviously been shouting for some time, because his voice chose that very moment to crack and the roaring lion bit came out as more of a squeak.

He was wearing a smock with a vibrant red stripe down the front. Not something Che Guevara would have chosen, but quite fetching, nevertheless. Smocks were worn by workers in parts of rural England in the 18th century, so there was a distant connection to the proletariat.

After more shouting and calls for long leave, the MC said it was time for the “cutting of the cake”. I assumed this was a euphemism and expected to see a goat representing colonialism led onto the stage to have its throat slit. Disappointingly, a real cake was cut. A cake that Juju pointed out would be donated to a charity in Soweto. He didn’t say which one. Nor did we get to see the cake. It was hidden behind a miniature cardboard cutout of the facade of the new building. I suppose it could’ve been hiding a very small goat. More likely a sponge cake from Checkers, though.

I had intended to listen to the commander-in-chief read his party’s manifesto but, on closer reflection, it turned out that I was lying to myself and had different intentions altogether. Later, I tried to check it out on the EFF website and got this message, “Forbidden. You don’t have permission to access this resource.” I’ve been sent to Facebook jail before, but getting blacklisted by a website was something new.

Much like Floyd Shivambu’s appreciation for the finer things in life, the party’s “seven cardinal pillars” haven’t changed in years. Pillar 3 is, “Building state and government capacity, which will lead to abolishment of tenders.” This is brilliant. With universal insourcing, nobody need rely on government tenders because everyone will already be on the payroll. Lunch breaks, sick days and offline systems notwithstanding, 30 million civil servants should fix this country in no time at all.

I love all the free stuff in the fourth pillar. Education, healthcare, houses, sanitation. There’s no mention of who will pay for this massive bonsella. Perhaps they plan on doing away with the concept of currency and will use stones instead. The Karoo could be the new Treasury. People could simply drive out there, fill their boot and be rich right away. Pebbles could buy takeaways and beer while rocks could be exchanged for shinier things like tumble dryers and plasma televisions. A Mercedes would cost a small boulder, of which we have plenty.

Juju once warned that the EFF’s policies might cause an “imperial backlash”. I wouldn’t worry about that, comrade. When the Mau Mau did their thing in Kenya, the backlash entailed the madams of Happy Valley firing the servants and pouring their own gin and tonics. I expect our imperialists would do the same – right after they’ve shut down their companies and repatriated the profits.

And I imagine the rampant expropriation of land and the nationalisation of mines and banks without compensation would ensure that white monopoly capital was on the last flight out.

Finally, Nirvana.

Mad skills and dodgy ministers

I was going to write about the cabinet reshuffle but, upon closer reflection, realised that the entire unprincipled affair was uninspiring and unworthy of satirical scrutiny. Not even beer could motivate me. Truth is, I’ve lost a bit of my passion for alcohol since getting double-jabbed. This is an appalling side effect and I hope it’s temporary. If Pfizer saves me from ruining what little remains of my life, I’ll be very upset. I have worked hard to reach the point of no return and I shan’t allow medical science to deprive me of my final glorious descent into madness and penury.

There was, however, one name in the reshuffle that caught my eye, largely because it reminded me of a supercontinent that broke up during the Mesozoic Era. It also brought to mind a sexually transmitted disease, but I’d rather think about something spectacular that happened 180 million years ago than something nasty that might happen next Saturday night.

Enoch Godongwana, for those who stopped caring when Trevor Manuel left, is our new finance minister. With roots in the labour movement, he was co-opted to serve in Jacob Zuma’s legendary administration. Nothing too fancy. Deputy minister of this and that. Then, in 2012, it emerged there’d been a spot of the old monkey business involving a company he co-owned and a union pension fund. Before Zuma could reward Godongwana with a ministerial position, he resigned.

In an interview last week, he said: “When that matter emerged … not because I was accepting I was guilty. I was the first in this country, post-democracy, to step down and resign from the government.” He said he had resigned so as not to taint his department. Shades of Zweli Mkhize, who said the other day that he had resigned “in order to bring certainty and stability” to the health ministry. Only the very cynical considered this to be anything less than a brave and noble act.

Anyway. We all make mistakes. Nothing on the scale of Mkhize or Godongwana, obviously. But still. We are nothing if not a forgiving nation. The only thing our government has an unlimited supply of is second chances. Also, as our municipalities have shown, the number of ANC cadres who are financially literate can be counted on one hand. And even then they need to be able to see the fingers.

Godongwana clearly understands numbers. After all, he has an MSc in financial economics from the University of London. And if he was a bit of a skabenga back then, he wasn’t a very good one and he won’t try anything funny again. Probably.

Our man also heads the ANC economic transformation committee. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing. Between the ANC and the pandemic, our economy is nearing basket-case status. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for now. It’s not for me to criticise someone before they’ve even done anything. I’m not like my ex-wives, you know.

In an interview with one of the Sunday papers, Godongwana said he’s not wild about the idea of a basic income grant. He’d rather use the money to teach skills to young jobless people than deliver another handout.

Let’s forget, for a moment, that those who already have skills (and degrees) can’t find work because there simply isn’t any. It would be unfair to burst Enoch’s bubble when he hasn’t even been in the job for a week. He’s still brimming with enthusiasm. It will wear off soon enough. By next weekend, I imagine, when he realises that Tito Mboweni has left him with little more than a drawer full of hastily scrawled recipes for various pilchard-based dishes.

Since there aren’t any jobs, there’s no point in coming up with schemes to gives these kids skills. They’ll see right through that in a flash. Godongwana says they will obviously have to be paid “a stipend or per diem”. Pocket-money, in other words. I don’t think that’s going to be enough. You might have to throw in a sweetener or two, comrade. One gig of data and three grams of decent weed twice a week might swing it.

Jobless kids already have mad skills. They just can’t always monetise them because this country’s laws are too harsh. For instance, a lot of the unemployed can hot-wire a car in thirty seconds. Make vehicle theft legal. This gives them free transport to drive around looking for proper jobs and they get to sell the car for scrap once it’s been driven into the ground. Everyone wins. Well, almost everyone.

Our hologram of a sports minister, Nathi Mthethwa, essentially said there were too many white people in our Olympics team. He needs to get together with Enoch. And maybe Bheki Cele. Send out teams with nets and cattle prods. Round up these young layabouts and force them into sport. Many of them already have skills in disciplines like running from the police, throwing the petrol bomb, loitering at the intersection and hitting the bong.

Enoch should hire me. I have plenty more ideas.

Dear Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla…

Wow! You guys sure can put on some good television! The burning cars! The scurrying looters! I haven’t watched anything this exciting since Eugene Terre’Blanche fell off his horse. It’s a drama of epic proportions and you certainly deserve some credit as one of the directors. 

I was a bit disappointed when things got off to such a slow start on Wednesday night but the evening perked up considerably when your half-brother Edward – playing Eric to your Ivanka – threatened to untick clocks and said he’d kill a million men with his stick. Do all the kids get a magic stick or is it just him? Speaking of which, and it’s a question many of us have been asking, do you know if Edward was dropped on his head as a baby? Poor thing. I do hope someone has told him that he can come inside now.

Journalists are saying you have blood on your hands. That’s just another mainstream media lie. If anything, you have La Prairie skin caviar on your hands.

White monopoly capitalists are criticising your father’s supporters for what they describe as “looting”. We both know, Dudivanka, that this is not looting. They are simply giving practical expression to radical economic transformation. They are freedom fighters, liberating sound systems and other shiny stuff from the iron grip of capitalism. These brave men and women are paying homage to their hero, your father, a man who once helped a poor family from India to pillage an entire country. Obviously I mean pillage in the positive sense, here.

Your series of tweets publicly lauding the liberationistas revealed a remarkable understanding of psychology for someone so young. Saying, “We see you! Amandla!” and posting a photo of our latter-day Vandals and Visigoths plying their larcenous trade served as a vital validation for the downtrodden. We all want our works to be seen and appreciated. I should mention that one of the photos you used was of a Cosatu protest a few years back. Maybe don’t use anything from World War 2. You wouldn’t want to upset the historians.

I liked the photo from Pietermaritzburg, where the main road was jammed with cars. “PMB we see you! Amandla!” you tweet-shouted. An evergreen image if ever there was one, since that wretched town’s main road is rarely not gridlocked. And to an image of sugar cane on fire outside Durban, “Flames of freedom! Amandla!” You are aware that Tongaat Hulett regularly burn their fields, right? Probably for the insurance, knowing them.

One of the co-directors of your drama, Mzwanele Manyi – Pinocchio to Jacob’s Geppetto – has also been doing his patriotic duty to help raze KwaZulu-Natal. Being a spokespuppet, though, many of his tweets are couched in metaphors, aphorisms and other tricks of the trade. On Monday, for instance, he tweeted Newton’s third law: “For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.”

While making a refreshing change from his usual expressio falsi, this particular quote has the unfortunate effect of also relating directly to the sequence of events that landed daddy behind bars.

Like the original Pinocchio, Manyi must earn the right to become a real man by proving to be truthful, brave and selfless. I think we all agree that he still has some way to go.

By the way, why did Oom Carl allow himself to be led away like a lamb to the slaughter? How come his North Korean military training didn’t kick in? It was almost as if he’d forgotten how to disable an opponent with a single clumsily phrased sentence.

Listen, it might be time to consider whether your family’s pet lawyer, Dali Mpofu, isn’t, in fact, a fifth columnist. A judicial Judas goat, if you will. Of course, it might merely be coincidence that he is a prominent member of a party led by a man who swore to see your father imprisoned, and, well, here we are. No, wait. I see the EFF are now calling for Jacob to be released. It’s all very confusing.

I understand the counter-revolutionary, anti-majoritarian, proto-fascists from Stellenbosch are saying the country is in the trouble it’s in because your father squandered his presidency. Another despicable lie. Msholozi only had nine years to smash white monopoly capital and uplift the poor. That’s nowhere near long enough. In Zulu culture, as you know, it takes a year or two just to introduce yourself, exchange pleasantries, remark on the weather, enquire about the crops and so on. I have no doubt that if he had been given another, say, 30 years in power, he would have accomplished great things.

It’s not easy to radically transform an economy, and you and your twin brother have certainly gone out of your way to help this dream become a reality. After all, you guys didn’t promise to transform it for the better, did you?

Now that everyone knows how utterly useless our police and intelligence services are, I’d be surprised if Lesotho didn’t invade us this weekend. We’ll all be speaking Sesotho by Christmas.

Anyway, keep stoking, babe. Someone has to fast-track the redistribution of wealth and it might as well be you. 

Viva, one man, one flat-screen TV. Amandla!

A darkies’ guide to whiteys

White South Africans, much like white sharks, are one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet. They have a reputation for unpredictable behaviour and non-Caucasians are often afraid to venture into their territory for fear of being attacked.

Some, however, are merely inquisitive and will circle warily before racing off in their Range Rover. Others, perhaps sensing their way of life is under threat, might go on the offensive. A lot of the time, though, this will be nothing more serious than a mock charge. Stand your ground and they will more often than not back off.

White people, particularly alpha males, are easily enraged. They have been bumped from their slot at the top of the food chain and are struggling to adapt to their new position.

In many instances, they can be calmed down with offers of raw meat and brandy. There is nothing a white South African likes more than a chunk of charred cow and a bottle of cheap liquor. If he has just eaten and is already drunk, he might show no interest in your offer. This is when he is at his most dangerous.

The best way to ward off an attack, verbal or physical, is to threaten him with charges of racism. He will retreat faster than Khulubuse Zuma confronted with a salad.

When the EFF says whites need to come to the party or their land will be confiscated, they are forgetting one thing. White people don’t just rock up at a party. They need an invitation. They also need directions. And even then, they are going to want to know who else will be there. I think if the EFF had to put white people on the guest list and tell them there would be snacks, spare girls, a free shooter at the door and a DJ playing hits from the 80s, they would almost certainly come to the party. Unless it was raining, in which case they wouldn’t.

We already have a fairly good idea of what white people don’t like. In the interests of fostering better race relations, let’s take a look at some of the things they do like.


White people like nothing more than an orderly queue. There are two rules governing the queue: no eye contact and no talking. Do not be alarmed if you are standing somewhere with your hands in your pockets idly wondering what to do with your day and white people spontaneously begin forming a line behind you. They will be too polite to ask if you are in the queue and will happily stand there for hours waiting for some of whatever it is they think you are waiting for.


Even though every white person owns at least three cars, a boat and a private plane, they rarely use them for transport, preferring instead to get something they call exercise. If you see a white person running, do not assume he has been hijacked. Your offer of a lift to the police station will be misconstrued and things could end badly.


Now that sjambokking the staff is frowned upon, white people have to get their jollies elsewhere. Riding roughshod over the environment has become the new urban aphrodisiac. White people also enjoy taking their 4×4 to the carwash, even though the trophy wife has only ever used it to drop her Aryan offspring at the private school on the corner. Don’t bother asking for a lift. There is never room because the back seat is for the Borzois. You would be missing the point if you mentioned that the dogs aren’t even in the car.

Sea views

White people have such a yearning for sea views you could be forgiven for thinking that if some of them were a bit brighter, they could be related to dolphins. But with burglaries and rates and taxes on the increase, second homes at the coast are becoming, much like the South African passport, a crushing liability.

Classical music

Apart from sausages, Vienna – the home of classical music – has little in common with Africa. White people are drawn to classical music for two reasons. It places them above the middle class – who spend their evenings listening not so much to the sound of Mozart as they do to the sound of gunshots and screaming – and it places them under no pressure to get up and dance.

Horse riding

Although horses are useful only for transporting marijuana out of Lesotho, many white families keep racehorses as a means of getting to the nearest airport in a hurry when the EFF take over the country and nationalise all private vehicles. In white culture, a pony for the youngest daughter is often a traditional gift. If you encounter a lady of the manor astride her mount down a leafy lane in, say, Noordhoek, doff your cap and fall to one knee. As they pass, you may want to whisper: “Neigh, my bru.” Unlike dogs, horses owned by white people have a fine sense of humour.


Wine was invented by white people for white people. They have much in common – both can be petulant, bitter and easily spoiled. And the cheap, nasty ones always worsen with age. If you find yourself at a wine-tasting on a farm in Franschhoek and a foreigner mistakes you for the sommelier, you might say: “I would recommend the Augusto Pinochet, madam.” Alternatively, you might want to say: “Go fuck yourself, madam.” Your call.


We live in a country run by a government that makes it exceptionally difficult for those who don’t wish to complain. Over the past 20-odd years, complaining has developed into a lifestyle. White people love complaining almost as much as they love rugby and Woolworths. If you find yourself pinned down by a complainer, don’t be reckless and say something like, “So what are you doing to change the situation?” Rather smile, nod and back away slowly.


You might think they would be used to it by now, but white people spend much of their time talking about it. Being born in Africa with European genes plays havoc with their internal barometers. Deeply conflicted, they complain endlessly about the heat, the cold, the wet and the dry.


Because their families are frequently dysfunctional, white people collect cats and dogs and treat them as if they were the fruit of their own loins. Many white people even train their dogs not to attack strangers, but to rather sit at the table and eat with a spoon. Cats don’t care much for table manners, let alone white people, and they may well be the downfall of this great nation. If a white person’s dog goes for you in the street, tell him the animal has character and he might pay your medical bills.


The only reason World War II was a success was because Germany invaded Poland on schedule. One of the reasons an African country has never tried to colonise the world is because most people don’t have watches and it would be impossible to coordinate anything. White people grow restless when things don’t happen on time, such as government programmes to house, educate and employ millions of people who might otherwise start blaming white people.


When Robert Browning wrote the immortal lines, “Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged” in his poem Andrea del Sarto, he wasn’t to know that 150 years later, pseudo-Italian architects with Arabian catamites and coke-encrusted nostrils would use it as a haute monde design philosophy. If you visit a white person’s home and they have very little in it, compliment them on their interesting use of space. If they say they have nothing because they’re poor, you should leave.


White people like old things more than they like old people. They spend a fortune putting their parents in old age homes and then spend a bigger fortune putting old stuff in their houses. They think that having a 17th Century Parisian douche bag on a pedestal would be more rewarding than a father who can’t remember his name. If white people visit your home and take an interest in your furniture, tell them the chairs were carved by Taharka, King of Kush. They will probably think this is a drug reference and try to buy weed from you. Add on 25% and give them whatever they want.

Eating out

White people go to restaurants even when they have food in the house. This is because an entire generation of white mothers failed to teach their daughters to cook. The daughters don’t see this as a failure. They see it as a step towards the total emancipation of women. Really, darling? You won’t cook and you want to be free? Fine. See ya. Have a nice life. Hello, Mr Delivery?














Bored in the RSA

I am starting to get the feeling this government might not think we’re all that bright. I can understand where it comes from, I suppose, this notion that South Africans are morons. I can almost hear the conversations at the Coronavirus Command Council.

“The people will never fall for that.”

“Of course they will. They keep voting for us, right? They’re complete idiots.”

This is why our president can look us in the eye and tell us that we’re still on Level 3 when it’s quite clear that we are, in fact, somewhere between Mordor and Saudi Arabia.

There are still people out there who think Cyril Ramaphosa is some kind of divine saviour. Sure, Jacob Zuma set the bar as low as it could go, so it’s perhaps understandable that Cyril wormed his way into our hearts. Next to Zuma, even Trump would have been an improvement. But only just.

Somehow, though, there are those who have forgotten that politicians are professional blame-shifters with only a tangential entanglement with the truth.

If it were up to me, Ramaphosa would be strapped into a polygraph machine for the duration of Fellow South Africans. The sophistry starts right off the bat. By calling us his fellow South Africans, he is telling us that we are the same, that we are part of one glorious united brotherhood. That his struggles are our struggles. Bollocks. He’s worth R6-billion. We are only his fellow South Africans in that we share a common citizenship.

And when he says things like, “After careful consideration of expert advice…” what he really means is, “After days spent in Zoom meetings screaming, crying and threatening each other…”

A tried-and-tested method of torture is to give someone something they need, and then take it away. Then give it back. And take it away again. Repeat until they confess or go mad. Yes, obviously I’m talking about alcohol. I wasn’t the only fellow South African with “bottle store” at the top of Monday’s to-do list. Banning booze with immediate effect seemed unnecessarily cruel and vindictive. He couldn’t give us a day or two to stock up?

We are told that the public health system is coming apart at the seams because some people couldn’t handle their liquor and wound up hogging all the hospital beds. Yes, that’s the reason. Definitely not because the government failed to adequately prepare for the surge.

Anyway, why should people with Covid-19 be more entitled to a hospital bed than someone who does themselves a mischief while drunk? It’s elitist and could lead to Covid patients demanding Woolworths food and Netflix. There are people in hospital with Covid because they didn’t wear a mask, keep their distance from others or bother to wash their hands. That’s no less irresponsible than the guy in the next bed who got stabbed in the face by his mother for not sharing the last of the brandy.

I have been drinking for decades (pausing only to draw breath or shout for more beer) and have never hurt anyone other than myself. Nothing that required hospitalisation, I might add. Injuries to one’s person are among the less agreeable side effects of alcohol, but it’s an occupational hazard and those who drink know the risks.

We also know that some people handle alcohol better than others. It’s been that way since Nero got wasted and knocked over a candle, causing Rome to burn to the ground. When he woke up, he blamed the Christians and fed them to the lions.

By banning alcohol, the government is punishing the majority for the actions of a tiny minority. It’s absurd. Collective responsibility is an ANC thing. It’s how they shield each other from consequences. The same principle can’t be applied to the entire population. It’s like when King Herod ordered the execution of all boy children under the age of two because someone’s toddler got on his nerves. Stopping us from drinking responsibly is our own massacre of the innocents.

We are, right now, the only non-Muslim country in the world where alcohol is outlawed. Throw in the face coverings, a ban on smoking and patrols by Mustafa Bheki bin Cele’s morality police and we’re well on our way to becoming a caliphate. If we are going the Sharia law route, we might as well start chopping off the hands of those who steal. The number of amputees in municipalities alone would keep the prosthetics industry going for years.

I don’t mind the curfew so much. Sure, it’s a brutal violation of our right to freedom of movement, but if you are on the streets after 9pm in winter, you’re either a rapist or homeless and deserve to be locked up.

The good news is that we can now go to auctions, which are full of hustlers and gangsters, and we can also go to parks, which are full of muggers and perverts. Whoopee.

I’m still confused about tourism. Not as confused as tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, admittedly, but there are some things I don’t get. A couple of weeks ago, we could travel for leisure inside our provinces and stay in hotels and guesthouses. Now we aren’t allowed to stay anywhere. Presumably we can still travel, but we have to sleep in our cars or under a tree on the side of the road and if we get eaten by lions or Christians, it’s our own damn fault.

The taxi industry, which could give the official opposition a few pointers on how to behave like a government in waiting, has succeeded in scaring the ANC into submission. Taxis get you where you want to be – but then so does alcohol. In both cases, the wheels sometimes come off. Anyway.

Taxi drivers are now free to fill every seat on trips shorter than 200kms. What could possibly go wrong? As long as everyone wears a mask ha ha. Also, the windows must stay open. Cape Town’s hospitals will soon be overflowing with hypothermia victims.

Returning to the booze ban. I think we all agree that alcohol and guns are equally dangerous in the wrong hands. So let’s do this. If you want to buy liquor, you must be registered on a government database. You will be asked to complete a psychological profile and your records will be checked for any alcohol-related incidents.

If your registration is approved, you will have to undergo a competency test. After booking at a designated centre, an official from the newly formed Ministry of Alcohol will put you through your paces. Different drinks will be matched with different scenarios. For instance, you are given nine double brandies and locked in a room with a woman who pokes you in the chest and shouts at you for being drunk. Or you are given a dozen beers and a child to look after. Or you are placed in a simulated bar environment and plied with tequila shooters while being jostled by bearded men who taunt you about your religious and political beliefs.

Your response is carefully monitored. Any loss of control or violent outbursts and your registration is cancelled, your name goes on a national blacklist, and you will never be served alcohol again.

The sheer bureaucracy will encourage many people to give up drinking altogether. Or make them want to drink more.

Finally, before the cleaners came in to get rid of the smoke and clear away the mirrors, Ramaphosa ended Sunday’s requiem for a nightmare by saying, “We will restore our country to health and prosperity.”

The last line went unspoken: “But if we don’t, it will be your fault.”


  • This column first appeared in The Citizen on 15 July. More every Wednesday. Subscribe here:


Now seems like a good a time as any to republish my February 2020 letter to FW de Klerk….


Dear FW,

Congratulations on officially achieving the rank of Most Hated Man in South Africa. This is no easy feat in a country like ours. Coming in second is Jacob Zuma. In fact, it’s almost too close to call. In the interests of fairness, I think you and Jacob should share the honour, like you did the Scandinavian prize with that other black guy.

What tipped the scales in your favour is that you are now hated by people across the political and racial spectrum, whereas Jacob is hated by all white people and only some black people.

It wasn’t always this way. Until quite recently, you were only properly hated by white conservatives for selling out and giving the country to the communists. White liberals thought you were quite a good oke for releasing Mandela. Black people, on the other hand, didn’t think you should get any credit at all because they reckoned Mandela should never have been locked up by your people in the first place. Unreasonable, I know. But that’s darkies for you.

Then you went and said that apartheid wasn’t a crime against humanity. That was a bridge too far, even for the liberals. Suddenly you were no longer such a good oke. And if there were any black people who still thought you weren’t too bad, compared to, say, Hitler or Kim Jong-il, they turned against you, too.

I don’t really care what you think about apartheid. You became my personal hero when you had an affair with some or other Greek tart married to a shipping tycoon who helped fund the National Party. A friend of yours, I understand. He was basically paying you to shag his wife behind his back. Classy. The cherry on top, pardon my French, was when you waited until Valentine’s Day to announce your intention to trade your wife in for a younger model. That magnificent act of unparalleled evil completely overshadowed apartheid and boosted your ranking in the patriarchy.

Anyway. The bigger point is that in 1966 the UN General Assembly declared apartheid to be a crime against humanity. I was still too young to dispute this. For me, not being allowed to wee in my bed was a crime against humanity. You must have been in your late twenties then. Probably studying Dr Guido Landra’s Manifesto of Race and hitting on your brother’s girlfriends.

The next thirty years were spent clawing your way up the political ladder, hanging out with chums like John Vorster and PW Botha and making sure that separate development meant that the whities got the development and the darkies were kept separate. Fair enough. A policy is mos a policy.

Then Margaret Thatcher advised you to throw in the towel and you turned the country over to the communists – who turned out not to be communists after all. In 1998 a Truth and Reconciliation Report endorsed the UN position that apartheid was a crime against humanity and said you’d been a very naughty boy. You were understandably outraged, having only just discovered at the TRC that “rogue individuals” had for years been killing, incarcerating and torturing anyone who didn’t agree with your government’s notions of white supremacy.

At the time, you also said this: “I reject the contention that apartheid was a crime against humanity, notwithstanding the serious injustices which occurred and for which I have sincerely apologised.”

Flash forward 22 years to last Thursday. When I saw you and the Hellenic home-wrecker lurking in the peanut gallery in parliament awaiting our sloth-like leader’s blindly optimistic State of the Nation address, I suspected trouble could be brewing.

You had, after all, just days earlier said in an interview with the SABC that apartheid was not a crime against humanity. You must have known you were putting a match to a block of political Blitz.

But even so, when Kiddie Amin initiated his increasingly predictable Meow Meow Uprising, all eyes were on Pravin Gordhan. So it must have come as something of a shock when the jabbering infant in the red onesie pointed in your direction and shouted, “We have a murderer in the House!”

That couldn’t have been fun. Nobody wants to be called a killer on live television. At home around the braai, sure. But not in parliament.

In the good old days, it would have taken a single phone call to make the entire EFF leadership disappear overnight. I don’t know what torture methods you would use on them today. Give them Highland Queen instead of Johnnie Walker Blue? Make them wear denim shorts from Mr Price? Crocs instead of Ferragamo loafers?

I bet your trophy wife wasn’t keen on going in the first place. Women can sense these things, you know. You marry a nice prematurely balding guy who once led a vicious regime predicated on violence and racial superiority, you think twice before going out in public with him. Especially to the very place where apartheid was spawned and suckled. Talk about returning to the scene of the crime against humanity.

Of course you were upset. Who wouldn’t be? But where most men would go home, get drunk and take it out on their wives, you went home and, through your FW de Klerk Foundation, released a statement saying that fewer than five thousand people had been killed by security forces between 1960 and 1994. Your proud Boer heritage kicked in and you doubled down.

“The idea that apartheid was ‘a crime against humanity’ was, and remains, an ‘agitprop’ project initiated by the Soviets and their ANC/SACP allies to stigmatise white South Africans by associating them with genuine crimes against humanity …”

That might have been a bit of an oopsie. Then again, your defence of apartheid did succeed in uniting South Africans of all races. It’s usually only the Springboks who can do that. Sure, it united them in their hatred for you, but still. It’s the unity that’s important.

Later, Thabo Mbeki asked you what the hell were you thinking and you told him you hadn’t been aware of the UN convention. Not quite true, as it turns out, but then again you are getting on a bit and it’s easy to forget what you said in 1998. Anyway, Mbeki still can’t understand how a virus can cause a syndrome so don’t worry about him.

At the end of it all, you apologised and said that apartheid was, in fact, a crime against humanity and not, as you mistakenly imagined, a minor inconvenience. I can imagine how much that must have grated. Here you are, with the world’s top peace prize sitting on a crocheted doily above your fireplace, below the flying ducks, and you still have to say sorry for assuming that a system which dehumanised a mere forty million people wasn’t all that bad.

Patriots like you should never have to say sorry. Your father served as interim State President in 1975, for heaven’s sake. Okay, so it was only for nine days. He was the original 2-minute noodle. You were also the Minister of Mines and Energy for a year. Eskom was one of your responsibilities. Sooner or later, you’re going to be accused of having caused loadshedding.

If I were you, I’d get in early and apologise now.