Jingle Hells

I went to a mall the other day just to get a break from the marathon coverage of all things Madiba.

Under normal circumstances, I would sooner pluck my eyeballs out with a red-hot spoon than go into a mall at this time of year, but the circumstances of the last few days have been anything but normal.

When I was a kid, giant glittering baubles dangled from the roofs of shopping centres. Around every corner, fake Christmas trees soared into the vaulted heavens. There was glitter and tinsel and at least one Santa on every level. Laughing reindeer posed in gloriously frozen tableaux. It was like, well, like Christmas.

However, the bearded thugs pushing a green agenda seem to have given the management of malls an opportunity to skimp on the trimmings.

Now, decorations consist of plywood stars, bits of recycled lawn furniture and balls of sisal coated in edible silver paint. Also, no angels and no Jesuses. We wouldn’t want to offend the suicide bombers.

I did, however, manage to offend a number of shoppers by walking around with my zip down for the best part of an hour. My not bothering with underwear that day was unfortunate. It was also a mistake ducking into a toyshop to rectify my wardrobe malfunction and I apologise to the little ones who were traumatised. If you grow up to become journalists, you can blame me.

It used to be that you could tell which section was for boys and which was for girls, but with so many parents raising their children in a gender-neutral environment, it’s not so easy these days. The military section was in a state of advanced readiness in the event of Barbie Battalion launching a pre-dawn raid. “Locked, loaded and ready to go,” threatened a well-armed recoil vehicle. There was a lot of helicopter backup, too. And infantry, in case it became necessary to drive General Barbie’s troops back to their base in aisle four.

My attention was caught by an Air Bus “made according to the scale of the real thing so that it is lifelike and breathing”. I put my ear to the box but heard nothing. It was probably holding its breath. The box was full of wild promises. “This multifunctional plane makes your dream come true.” Apparently in China you are allowed one dream only.

I was tempted to buy Ant World – “See inside the amazing world of ants!” – but then remembered that there is absolutely nothing amazing about being an ant. You carry bits of sugar and leaves and shit backwards and forwards all night long and then still have to suck on the queen’s breasts so that there is fresh honey for the day shift.

What the hell? What madman would make a Fingerprint Analysis Kit and sell it to children? “Identify your suspect!” Do you really want your kids dusting the house for prints, collecting forensic evidence, bugging the phones and god knows what else? The next thing they do is call the cops, get you banged up on fabricated evidence and have the run of the house for a couple of years. Let’s not encourage the little bastards.

I stumbled across a collection of weird, dystopian doll-like creatures. They looked like crack whores with an eating disorder. I liked them right away. The range is called Monster High, which I always thought was a term for being way more stoned than is good for you.

For R199 you can get “My First Baby”. The Chinese version, I expect, would be “My Only Baby”. We are warned of a choking hazard. Perhaps. But only if you cut it up and put large chunks of it in your mouth. If that’s the kind of child you have, you may want to keep it in some kind of isolation tank.

There is also a Supermarket Play Set with a smiling white girl behind the plastic till. You will never see a white girl behind a till. Not in this country. And I don’t think it’s right that we raise their hopes.

For R699 you can get Baby Born. No promises are made on the box apart from saying that it is “interactive”. For that price, I can get a real baby off the internet.

The shop assistants were making it very clear that I had overstayed my welcome – “are you sure we can’t help you with anything?” – so I left with one of the Monster High mutants stuffed down my broeks.

I popped in to the AA to find out more about their 12-step programme but they said I had to be a motorist, which I thought dovetailed nicely with my penchant for drinking and driving. However, after heated negotiations, they made it clear that my sort wasn’t welcome as a member.

By now the mall had filled up. It took me forever to get back to the car. Partly because I had forgotten where I had parked, partly because I kept getting trapped behind families the size of hippos. Heavily sedated hippos. Men with calves thicker than rugby posts. Men thicker than rugby posts. Women with hips that could breech-birth a zebra. Children that looked as if they had eaten a sibling.

I saw a woman with five kids. She was pregnant. I saw teenagers walking and texting. They moved with the gait of zombie cows, heads lowered, shuffling, chewing. I saw men with slow-burning panic in their eyes.

I saw my car – and ran.


The First White Mandela

I have been thinking of ways of hitching my three-legged horse to the Mandela bandwagon.

This could be my last shot at getting rich. And don’t even think of calling me a vulture or a hyena. I’ve had two wives and been called a lot worse. Not two wives at the same time, of course. White men go to jail for that kind of thing.

First, let’s get something straight right away. I am a Mandela. Go back far enough and you will find that Madiba and I share a common ancestor. Probably some Homo called Estaban.

Trovato means Mandela in the ancient language, although my clan name is something else. It’s really more of a sound in the back of the throat than it is a name. And, although he claimed to be French, my great-great-great grandfather, Des Conneries, was suspiciously dark.

Now that I have established my bona fides, I expect the money to start rolling in. Unlike my relatives, however, I intend to sponge off the legacy by actually performing a useful service to society.

According to Transparency International, 47% of South Africans paid a bribe in the past year. This is terrible news. We are being beaten hands-down by many countries on our own continent.

In little Sierra Leone, for instance, an impressive 84% of the population bribed someone in the same period. We can reach these figures if we try harder. Yes we can! Try. Not work. Working harder will defeat the purpose of paying a bribe in the first place and the world will think we’re complete morons.

There is no point fannying about in the middle of the rankings. We either topple Somalia from pole position on the prestigious Most Corrupt list or we unseat Denmark from the top of the limp-wristed Least Corrupt list.

Corruption is easier. Also, the hours are better and you needn’t wear a tie every day. Besides, if we wanted to look like Denmark, we’d have to import millions of white people to create the impression that we’re a first world country. And they aren’t cheap, you know. Well, some are. I suppose we could raid the backwaters. Fill the quota with rednecks from Honey Boo Boo country. Maybe not. Let’s rather retain a smidgeon of self-esteem and go after Somalia.

The best way of boosting our numbers is to target more cops. At the moment, only 36% of bribes are paid to the police. Come on, people. Dig deep. They need the money and we need the ranking. An honest cop is just a cop who hasn’t been offered a bribe. Don’t always wait for him to make the first move. He might be shy.

As the newest member of the ever-expanding Mandela family, I am prepared to do my bit by facilitating bribes. Not everyone has the time to enter into informal talks with our public servants.

Here’s how it will work. Let’s say you want a court docket to disappear or a contract to come your way. Or perhaps you’d like free electricity or a tax refund even though you don’t pay tax. Or how about a licence to start your own opencast mine? Or maybe you’re going to a state hospital and need to give the doctor a little something as an incentive not to kill you.

Instead of approaching the person yourself, you come to me. I do the negotiating on your behalf and pay myself a modest commission. At the moment the market is unregulated and open to abuse. Bribing a traffic cop shouldn’t cost more than R50 or a bottle of brandy, whichever you happen to have on you at the time.

Right now, too many of our elected representatives are reluctant to accept bribes because they are afraid of being reported or caught on camera. Unfortunately, there are still people – Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is one – who are doing their utmost to turn this country into a hotbed of honesty and integrity. They make everyone nervous.

By dealing directly with me, civil servants will have someone they can trust. They will also be expected to sign a code of misconduct before any money changes hands. I won’t have my clients being harassed for more and more money once the bribe has been paid. That’s extortion and we will end up looking worse than Zimbabwe.

As part of my civic duty I will also name something after the patriarch. I will then sell it in large quantities and donate the money to myself. I was thinking a plant might be nice.

Madiba Gold would be a fabulous name for a proudly South African strain of marijuana. The patron of this horticultural endeavour will, naturally, be abaThembu king, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo. I don’t know what he’s smoking at the moment, but it must be pretty damn potent to make him want to join the Democratic Alliance.

I shall breed his weed with AK-47, which, as everyone knows, took top honours in Best Sativa category at the 1999 Cannabis Cup. Hell, I might even be able to create a hybrid powerful enough to run for president one day. It will have an advantage over the incumbent in that it already has its Mshini Wami. And you’ll find yourself laughing with it instead of at it.

Also on the drawing board is a reality show. It has nothing to do with reality and shows you don’t need to be intelligent to be on TV.

It’s a cross between Survivor and The Godfather and will be hosted by George Bizos because he looks and sounds more like Don Corleone every day. He said in a television interview this week that he had a role to play in the future but didn’t want to discuss it. That’s because I asked him to keep it under wraps for now. Essentially, you have to outwit, outlast and outplay your relatives in an unseemly scramble for a big splodge of inheritance.

Or maybe I’ll just keep it simple. Real simple. Being Trovato will be so banal and vapid, and will bring so much shame on my family through its mind-numbingly narcissistic vacuity, that they will throw enormous amounts of money my way just to get me to cancel the series. They might have to borrow the cash from cousins Zaziwe and Swati, who have a similar show of their own.

I will also be posing in the nude for a range of magazines, including Farmer’s Weekly. Wealthy divorcees will then place on-line bids for me. I got the idea after ESPN The Magazine ran a series of photographs of 77-year-old Gary Player with his kit off. The pictures are on the internet.

If you do decide to google ‘naked Gary Player’, you might want to delete your browser history before your husband, or, worse, your wife, finds out. And before you click on the website, a word of warning. Make sure you have an empty stomach.

And don’t be trippin’ on no acid.

The Final Countdown to Total Onslaught

Here’s a piece I wrote in 2013. Of portents, premonitions and preppers.


I was out the other evening and happened to ask a passing waiter to bring me a fresh beer. He told me he wasn’t a waiter. He said he was a civil engineer from Joburg, visiting Durban on business, and that I could fetch my own goddamn beer. Then he said something in Xhosa and that’s when I knew it was starting.

The uprising. The vengeance. The annihilation of the last white tribe of Africa.

I raced home and phoned United Nations headquarters but they said I couldn’t speak to the secretary-general. Have these people learnt nothing from Rwanda? I turned to the interweb to see if anyone out there had an emergency plan of action. A lot of people did – mainly involving shaven Asian babes – but then I found the Suidlanders.

Patriots to a man, they have already given advice to white people on what to do when Mandela dies and the pressure cooker pops its lid. Thing is, their website is entirely in Afrikaans. When I was a child, my mother threatened to wash my mouth out with drain cleaner if I so much as uttered an Afrikaans word.

Now look what’s happened. A whole infoportal giving us instructions on what to do and where to go when anarchy engulfs this country and I can’t understand a word of it.

Maybe it’s deliberate. Maybe the Suidlanders don’t want their places of safety overrun with snooty soutpiele whinnying and braying at cocktail hour and organising games of polo with the war horses.

So, for those who wish to avoid being scalped and roasted over an open fire, but are unsure of what to do when the apocalypse is upon us, here are some handy pointers. This is aimed largely at English-speakers, but black Boers are welcome provided they sit quietly at the back and don’t keep asking other people for cigarettes.

Unfortunately, the catchy name “Suidlanders” is taken and I don’t know what to call ourselves. Send me your suggestions. The best one wins a box of matches.

We also need some kind of divine justification for our actions. The Suidlanders are backed by everyone from Isaiah to Ezekiel and when the Habbakuk hits the fan, I want to know we have solid backing from someone with real power.

Hugh Hefner once said: “The major civilizing force in the world is not religion; it is sex.” Until we come up with something better, I think that provides a worthy endorsement of our cause.

The Suidlander’s motto is taken from the fourth stanza of the national anthem. I didn’t even know our anthem had stanzas. In fact, the entire affair is the musical equivalent of an Israeli rocket attack on a children’s hospital and should be hauled off to answer charges of violating the integrity of anthems everywhere.

Right. Let’s get down to business.

First rule: Be prepared. You cannot afford to get caught with your pants down. Look what happened to Eugene Terreblanche. You need to be ready to withdraw to a place of safety. Please do not come to my house. It is a place of many things, but safety is not one of them.

It is no secret that black people operate on a complicated system of coded signals. These messages are often transmitted via email, registered post, funny handshakes or simply by shouting from one side of the valley to the other. Bearing in mind that 45 million people need to be alerted, you will have roughly four years to implement your evacuation plan. This may seem like a long time, but once you have gathered the children, found the car keys and convinced your wife that those pants don’t make her bum look fat, your neighbourhood could be in flames.

Do not jump the gun. Many whites emigrate, only to read in the Sydney Herald that it was not the final onslaught after all, but merely a group of striking garbage collectors. Nor should you take fright at the increasing number of people gathered at traffic lights. They are not mobilising. They are merely unemployed. Act as you normally do. Wind up your window and ignore them.

When the moment arrives, and you will know when it does, you need to move quickly to your nearest rallying point where trained personnel will be waiting to escort you to safe locations. I cannot identify the rallying points because the darkies would simply go straight there and tear us to pieces. Or worse, make us drink skokiaan and insist on discussing local soccer.

I recommend that you purchase a shovel, a welding torch, a toilet brush and a bag of marijuana. That’s the only downside of the safe locations – there won’t be any darkies around to score weed from. It’s a small price to pay.

You will also need to stockpile food. If you forget to pick up the groceries, you will need to know how to forage for food. We are fortunate to live in a country full of edible and smokable flora. Know your nuts and brush up on your mushrooms. If you eat the Amanita phalloides, you will need a liver transplant. If you are truly one of us, you are likely in need of a new liver anyway. Stick with the Agaricus campestri, or, even better, anything from the psilocybin family. The crucial thing is not to leave your evacuation too late. If you wake up on a Sunday morning to find 50 000 Zulus at your front gate, do not assume they are looking for gardening work and go back to sleep.

On judgement day, it is important that you get moving early. There is little point in beating the mob only to get caught in traffic. Taxi drivers will be the cavalry in this war and they will be doing whatever they can to kill you. In that respect, nothing will have changed.

Hey! Look at that. I pressed a button and translated the Suidlanders’ website into English. “The National Board of Suidelanders want all fans to moon to guard against any illegal action as it not only yourself and your family influence, but also a large community of supporters across the country already in the Suidlander structures are included.”

I am not convinced that mooning is an appropriate response to genocide, but I suppose it’s worth a shot.