Airplanes, Wedding Trains and the CAR

“If you love me, you will obey my commandments – John 14:15.”

And so it is with Trovato 07:45. Or, if I oversleep, 10:30. President Jacob Zuma is also big on this parable or homily or whatever the hell you call it.

When I saw our fearless leader come lumbering out of the Mahlamba Ndlopfu presidential residence in Pretoria, with CAR Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye two steps behind him, I felt a pang in my chest. At first I thought it was love. My president. So powerful he didn’t even bother changing out of his pyjamas for the meeting. But it wasn’t love at all. It was the after-burn from a shot of Mexican heart medication.

Zuma cleared his throat. All the birds and beasts fell silent. The sun glinted off his burnished dome, momentarily blinding a 747 pilot high up in the sky.

Tiangaye looked contrite, as well he should. Zuma squared his massive shoulders and said, “We have accepted on behalf of South Africa …” Here it comes, I thought. The apology. About time, too.

“ … their condolences.” What? The rebels gun down half our combat-ready army and all they offer are condolences? Not an oil field or even a million cows? Hell, I’d sooner we got flowers and a “Hope your army gets better soon” card than mealy-mouthed condolences.

Tiangaye said it was regrettable that there had been “a personalised relationship” between South Africa and the skunk-faced former president Francois Bozizé.

I don’t know about you, but I almost certainly wasn’t having a relationship with Bozizé. I’m not ruling it out, mind you. The Mexican heart muti has made me do a lot of things I’m not proud of. Things I don’t always remember the next day.

I think we can accept, though, that what Tiangaye meant was that Zuma and Bozizé had a personalised relationship. But because Zuma was standing right there, yawning and scratching his crotch, he had to say it was not the president’s fault.

Just over 600kms away, in a luxury home-based intensive care unit incorporating a well-stocked drinks cabinet and indoor putting green, Schabir Shaik nodded and smiled.

“Jacob, my man,” he said softly to himself. “You’ve pulled it off again. Nurse! Bring me the 18-year-old!” The nurse did as she was told. “No, you idiot. Not her. The Johnnie Walker!”

Anyway, now that the CAR is no longer Zuma’s dirty little secret, I would like to wish the happy couple all the best for the future. Maybe he should give the Seleka rebels free access to the national key point of their choice.

The Guptas have dibs on the Waterkloof Air Force Base so it will have to be something else. Use of the Simonstown naval base as a private marina, perhaps? Or how about converting Genadendal into a B&B for anyone else who might have a personalised relationship with the president? It could be run by Mac Maharaj and his wife. I expect they will have to learn Mandarin.

So how about them striking teachers, eh? Pity Maggie ain’t around no more. She would have sent in the horses by now. After the teachers had eaten their fill, more horses would be sent in to trample the indolent swine underfoot and give them a damn good lesson in civil etiquette.

Karl Marx once said: “The working class can kiss my arse”. I used to agree with him, but now I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy having my arse kissed just as much as any other insufferable middle management moron, but I am starting to feel twinges of sympathy for them.

I’m not talking about teachers or bus drivers. To be a member of the working class, you actually have to work and not spend your time dancing in the street, chanting incomprehensible gibberish and frightening the children.

Earlier this week I took my Land Rover for a drive through the sugar cane fields near Ballito. I wasn’t going anywhere in particular. Just driving. I kept passing clumps of workers – the real kind – trudging along the dirt road into the sunset. Some waved, some ignored me. All of them choked on my dust. There was a group of seven or eight up ahead. As I drew level, one turned and looked at me. It was a woman. Like the men, also in overalls and gumboots. She smiled.

“Hmm,” I thought. “She likes me.” I quickly pulled over. No, of course I didn’t think that. What kind of lunatic white man would drive alone through the cane fields of KZN at dusk hoping to catch the eye of a beautiful maiden and take her back to his palace and make her his possession? I’m not King bloody Mswati, you know. Not that he would ever take the Maybach on a dirt road.

I pulled over to give them a lift. Eight quickly became fifteen. People who were walking in the opposite direction got in. In this province of a thousand hills, nobody turns down a free ride. Where you’re headed is irrelevant.

Sure, I knew there was a chance I’d get my throat slit. It’s a risk you take when you pick up strangers. But I was prepared to die for the sins of the white man. Perhaps someone would start a religion in my name. Followers would wear tiny silver Land Rovers around their necks and baptise their children in beer.

But it was not to be. They had no interest in martyring me. All they wanted was a lift after a day of backbreaking work in the filthy Durban heat. I drove for five kilometres before a dude with menacing tribal scars tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to stop. It wasn’t a town or even a village. Just a jumble of wood and iron shacks in a clearing in the bush.

They worked for a landscaping company with clients like the Tongaat-Hulett Group, Moreland, Zimbali and the provincial government. The company’s website says the owner’s “upbringing in Northern Zululand has allowed him to speak the Zulu language and
understand their cultures which have benefited all staff and contracts”.

I’m sure the workforce deeply appreciates being told, in their own language, that because the company has a turnover of only R30-million a year, it would be unreasonable to expect transport to shackland or the Ballito taxi rank at the end of each day. After all, you’re looking at a monthly petrol bill that could easily run into the hundreds.

Speaking of bad ideas, Microsoft’s evil genius Bill Gates wants to put a video camera in every classroom in America to monitor the performance of teachers.

Given the fact that around 90 000 South African schoolgirls fall pregnant each year, I imagine the footage could be tastefully edited and sold to TopTV for screening after the kiddies have gone to bed. It could be called A Broad Banged Up. People with DStv will understand the reference. Next week, I’ll try to slip in a joke for those have access to SABC channels only. Poor bastards.

And finally. Ex-police commissioner Bheki Cele had a couple of bottles of expensive whisky stolen out of his car a few days ago. Because that’s where everyone keeps their best hooch.

Good for him, I say. I like the image of a former police chief thundering through the city streets late at night, hurling abuse at the citizenry and sucking savagely on a thousand rand bottle of whisky.

Give him his job back at once.

Here’s To Alcohol: The cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems

Instead of trying to find a cure for Aids, medical researchers should rather concentrate on finding a cure for hangovers.

Sure, most hangovers won’t kill you, but more of us suffer from them. And when the majority suffers, it’s bad for democracy. Something needs to be done before the situation spirals out of control. Anyway. There’s no point in talking about it. The government never listens until it’s too late.

It has come to my attention that the provinces are once again fannying about with the liquor laws. This is good news. If there is any law that needs a swift kick in the nuts, it’s this one.

For too long we have been denied our right to drink whenever and wherever we please. And I, for one, am looking forward to the day that I can buy a lolly and a half-jack of rum from a vendor on Camps Bay beach at 9am on a Sunday.

KwaZulu-Natal is leading in the pack with moves to allow bottle stores to open on the one day of the week that people need alcohol the most.

Chief executive of the KZN Liquor Authority, Stella “Artois” Khumalo, correctly pointed out that the fascist regime had prohibited sales because they regarded Sunday as the Sabbath. Back then, when Ozzy Osbourne heard what was going on in South Africa, he formed a band called Black Sabbath and toured the world calling for an end to unjust laws governing the sale of booze.

Gauteng is considering a total ban on alcohol sales on Sundays – eight years after it was unbanned. This is inexplicable. Sundays are depressing enough, but to have to live in Gauteng and then not be able to drink on the most deathly of days constitutes cruel and inhuman punishment.

This is a clear breach of Article 5 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. South Africa is also a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture. We are in violation, people. My advice to Gautengers is that they approach Amnesty International.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane also wants cars to be replaced by ox wagons and a moratorium on electricity to allow cooking fires to resume their rightful place in the home.

I suspect the situation in the Western Cape is even more dire.

When it comes to matters of health and safety, the people running that province make the Taliban seem like the Teletubbies. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that city councillor Oberstfuhrer JP von Schmidtundwesson was backing the introduction of sharia. There is nothing he would like more than taking the family to a public beheading in Greenmarket Square on a Saturday afternoon.

Alcohol is the great leveller.

Once we’re all in the gutter, this country will be the better for it. I want to be able to crawl to a park bench late on a Friday night, only to find that it is occupied by Patrice Motsepe. I will offer him some of my Tassies and, in return, he will allow me to wet my lips on the neck of his crystal decanter. We will end up fighting over some toothless old hag from the Oppenheimer family but will have a good laugh about it during our morning vomit.

We are a nation of drinkers and the last thing we need is the government making us feel bad about it. Our self-esteem is already lower than Julius Malema’s credit rating. We need to be picked up. Quite literally, more often than not.

Why do we have to be proudly South African only in areas like sport, commerce and industry? Why can’t we be proudly South African when it comes to being alcoholics?

We have everything it takes to make any kind of alcohol right here in this country. Why are we importing anything? Look at Amarula. It’s made from crushed elephants, sugar and cream. How easy is that? And it’s so tasty that I have never been able to stop at just one bottle.

We are blessed with an abundance of plants and animals that can be converted into alcohol. Springbok shooters, for instance, would be a lot more appealing if they were made from real springboks. It could be the sponsored drink of the national rugby team. Instead of having water at half-time, a dozen girls dressed as slutty cowgirls could gyrate into the change room and use water pistols to fire shots into the mouths of the players. Rugby fans are generally motherless by the second half, and it would make the game more interesting if the players were, too.

Another drink I have in mind is the Amabananadaquiri. It’s made from bananas, banded mongoose and unleaded petrol.

With an alcohol content of 94%, it will be legal to drink Amabananadaquiri and drive because if a motorist were involved in an accident, it could be used as an anaesthetic. This will help paramedics who have already drunk their morphine.

It could also be used in service delivery protests, helping to keep protestors hydrated while at the same time providing them with an affordable yet effective weapon.

Since KZN is showing itself to be the most enlightened province, I expect them to allow bartenders to give cocktail-suckers exactly what they want. If someone orders Sex on the Beach, a Screaming Orgasm, a Buttery Nipple, a Blow Job or an Irish Car Bomb, then that’s what they should get. Perhaps with a free drink thrown in.

But how about them Brits, eh? There are people on the other side of the pond who think there’s something wrong with shops selling booze that’s cheaper than bottled water and want the introduction of minimum pricing laws.

That’s police state stuff, that is.

Any country where it’s cheaper to get drunk than it is to eat, is my kind of country. Food is highly overrated. It certainly does nothing for me.

That chinless wonder of a prime minister, David Cameron, wants to stop cheap alcohol from being sold in supermarkets. But he also doesn’t want to commit to a minimum pricing policy. “Oh, what to do! What to do! Perhaps I shall ask Samantha for a spot of the old oral entertainment. I find it helps me think more clearly.”

The pointy-faced fun-haters say that a 45p (R6) minimum price on a can of beer could potentially save two thousand lives within ten years. Please. Two thousand people will have died in my neighbourhood by the time I finish this column. And none of them drink. I know because I have knocked on their doors on many a Sunday afternoon.

Sure, alcohol can trigger violence. But so can unemployment and corruption. Does this mean we should ban the government? Of course we should.

Shootin’ From The Hip With Dead-Eye Dickhead

If your husband or boyfriend goes shopping and comes home with, say, a slow cooker, you stand a chance of getting supper. If, on the other hand, he comes home with a gun, you stand a chance of getting shot.

Me, I’d rather take my chances with a slow cooker type of guy any time. Not that guys are my thing. No, really. They aren’t. I swear.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of guns. I like the idea of twitching my index finger and a split second later, 300m away, a paedophile’s head explodes like a pumpkin. Not that pumpkins explode. Although it’s not impossible. Perhaps exploding pumpkins are the Pentagon’s new secret weapon in the war on terror. Cheaper than drones but slower and not as manoeuverable.

Speaking for myself, because nobody else will let me speak for them, I would prefer to see a situation where we returned to throwing rocks at one another.

Our penchant for resolving disputes through the hurling of projectiles began two hundred thousand years ago when we evolved into Homo sapiens. Or, as the lunatic fringe would have it, six thousand years ago when an invisible policeman made a man from dust and a woman from the dude’s spare rib.

Sure, I’ve thought about getting a gun at different points in my life. I grew up around guns. No, wait. Those weren’t guns. I don’t know what the hell they were, but I still see their rat-like faces grinning at me when I close my eyes at night.

My father had a gun. Two guns. He was known as Tommy “Two-Guns” Trovato. No, he wasn’t. His name isn’t even Tommy. I don’t know why I said that. But he did have two guns.

One was a .22 rifle and the other a Walther PPK. He told me it was the same gun James Bond used. So when he first invited me to join him on a shoot, I almost wet myself with excitement.

Would the girls have names like Pussy Galore? I hoped so. I also hoped they would be gentle with me. Even though I was big for my age, I was still only nine.

The shoot turned out to be three Castle beer cans against a sand dune near the mouth of the Umgeni River. He hadn’t brought the rifle because he thought me too weak to lift it. I still am.

“Here,” he said, thrusting the Walther PPK into my tiny hand. “Pretend those cans are Soviet troops trying to outflank the German army at the battle of Stalingrad.” He’s a bit of a Nazi at heart. But then, deep down, aren’t we all?

I pulled the trigger and the metal beast barked and bucked, almost breaking my delicate wrist. It felt good. Not because I was shooting, but because it was such an exhilarating example of cause and effect.

Pull on this little thing and, instantaneously, something wild and inexplicable happens. It’s why boys love magic. It’s also why they love masturbating.

“Stand closer,” he said. I kept missing. It was ridiculous. I was wasting the entire month’s food budget on ammunition but my father wouldn’t let me stop.

“Squeeze the trigger, don’t pull it!” he shouted, steadying my grip. “Let’s try a bit closer.”

With the barrel eventually resting lightly against the can, I pulled the trigger. This wasn’t target practice. It was an execution. He never took me shooting again.

Years later, I redeemed myself by killing half a million FAPLA troops while parachuting from a burning helicopter and then, riding down the Kunene River on the back of a crocodile, I drove the Cubans out of Angola and brought the National Party government to the negotiating table. You can thank me later.

You know what I really like? Knives. Throw a gun at someone and you’ll just make him angrier. But throw a knife and there’s a chance he will think you’re some kind of Triad-trained knife-fighter and take cover, giving you time to run away and hide.

Also, knives are shiny. I like shiny things.

We are all capable of killing. Some, like the British royal family, do it for sport. Which is silly, really. Foxes contribute more to the economy than some of the yobbos who sponge off the welfare system.

Don’t give me that. They are not victims of circumstance. They are fat, lazy bastards. I know because I spent a fair bit of time in the UK doing jobs they didn’t want to do because the dole paid more.

We need to ban guns. Yeah, yeah. I hear you. Do that and them yellow-eyed motherfuckers are the only ones gonna be left holdin’ guns ‘coz they don’t care for no motherfuckin’ bans.

What you do, then, is ramp up the sentencing laws. Whether you’re bust for housebreaking, speeding or littering – if you’re found with a gun, you go to jail for 25 years.

We might need another 30 or 40 prisons, so build them in the Karoo. There’s nothing else going on out there. Shell can put them to work in the fracking fields.

Or don’t ban guns. Instead, the government embarks on a campaign to arm the nation.

Indigent families and the mentally handicapped qualify for state-subsidised guns. Government schools offer weapons training as part of the curriculum. Death skills, perhaps, as a counterpoint to life skills.

Bottle stores run mid-week specials. Trigger-Happy Tuesdays! Buy a .38 Special and get a bottle of Klipdrift free!

Forget about background checks. If you can tie your shoelaces, you’re eligible to own a gun. If you don’t have shoes, you will have to perform some other competency test.

You could be asked to count to ten, for instance. If you can’t get further than five, you’re fit only for a small caliber pistol. Go all the way to ten and you can have an AK-47.

Shooting someone when you’re drunk will be considered a premedicated act and no charges will be pressed.

Similarly, murder and homicide cases will not be prosecuted if the suspect uses the infallible “I-thought-you-were-a-burglar” defence.

In the interests of justice, this will apply to everyone.

For example, a bank robber shoots a security guard and is arrested. If the robber says, “I thought he was a burglar”, the police will be compelled to release him.

Let’s start by making Mshini wam our national anthem.