Ebony and ivory live together in perfect disharmony

There was a photo in a Sunday newspaper of an enraged white man shouting at an annoyed black man outside Hoërskool Jan Viljoen, a hideous neo-Calvinistic throwback named after an education minister who served at a time when righteous laws like the Group Areas Act, the Immorality Act and everyone’s favourite, the Population Registration Act, were being passed in parliament.

The school is in a godforsaken town called Randfontein. To be fair, I don’t know the area very well. Spending time in Randfontein is something I hope to never do. No good can come of any town that ends in “fontein”. Yes, I know it means fountain and fountains are supposed to be happy, sparkly things. But in many of these places, the fountains have either dried up or been smashed by poor people who need something to throw at the police.

When I was in the army, some of us would go to a place called Fountains in Pretoria when we weren’t being murdered by PT instructors. I remember there being a lot of bush and water of some kind. I think it might have been government land set aside for psychotic troopies to blow off steam rather than their staff sergeant’s head. While running amok one Friday night, a demijohn of Paarl Perle crooked in my elbow, I bounced heavily off a length of barbed wire strung between two trees. It was probably the remnants of a fence erected by Paul Kruger, but I prefer to think it was an MK ambush. That way I can tell people I saw action on the border (of Groenkloof and Muckleneuk). Being a trained soldier, I lay there laughing and weakly crying for help.

Anyway. This isn’t about my exploits as a war hero. I was talking about the photo of the angry men shouting at each other across a yawning chasm spanning generations of ingrained prejudice. Some found the image troubling. Shouldn’t be happening 48 years into democracy, or however long it’s been, they said.

Thing is, racism will only die out once the country is inhabited entirely by people of the same colour. No white. No black. Just a soothing shade of café au lait, thereby rendering racial discrimination redundant. It’s why Verwoerd and PW Botha didn’t want whiteys getting jiggy with the Others. They knew it could only lead to the end of racial discord, and what kind of terrible world would that be?

Once we’re all the same colour, and Herman Mashaba’s great-great-grandson is president and there are no more foreigners in the world, we can be like France or England and discriminate purely on the grounds of class. Now that’s something to look forward to.

For now, though, we need to make some changes to our national symbols. Our coat of arms makes no sense at all. In my case, literally. I had to turn to Wikipedia for help. Apparently it’s “a series of elements organised in symmetric egg-like shapes placed on top of one another”. What the hell is this? The time for balancing eggs is long past. Lose the eggs and let’s have a black face and a white face, confrontational and rampant.

“The first element is the motto, in a green semicircle…” That needs to be changed to red and white. Red for the blood that must still be spilled and white for the seed that will make us one nation, indivisible by race.

“The shape of the shield makes reference to the drum, and contains two human figures from Khoisan rock art.” So is it a shield or a drum? It’s these oblique references that confuse everyone. Take a stand, for heaven’s sake. Worse than Ramaphosa. Yes, this is Africa, but do we really need to be reminded? Our liberators are carrying Louis Vuitton bags and stolen Vektor Z88 handguns, not shields. And they’re beating their wives, not drums.

We can do away with the two human Khoisan rock art figures because, quite frankly, they look as if they were drawn by Beezy Bailey on one of his off days. Replace them with two lawyer figures, one representing the elitist, intransigent right (AfriForum) and the other the hypocritical agents provocateur on the left (EFF).

The motto could still be written in the Khoisan language, but instead of a doomed message like “diverse people unite”, let it be writ as “fuck you all”. Given the way these people have been treated by every government since Jan van Riebeeck sashayed ashore with a cabin boy in one hand and a hashish pipe in the other, I have no doubt they can express the sentiment more than adequately.

Speaking of which, I understand there’s a crisis in Cape Town. For once, it doesn’t involve homelessness, gunfights on the Flats or cyclists complaining about the southeaster. With parliament a smouldering ruin, there is nowhere to put our MPs.

“We have to do legislation,” they cry, waddling about the city like giant, overfed penguins.

Let them return to the way of the Khoisan. Hold sittings around a Table Mountain pine tree. Everyone gets a chance to speak and nobody leaves until consensus is reached. While that’s happening, we’ll get on with running the country.

Apartheid? Ah, the good old days

The good thing about the Internet is also the bad thing. Everyone is pretty much free to spread as much love and hate as they wish. Occasionally I find myself a member of a Facebook group which I have been invited to join. I make a point of declining because I am not a joiner. Unless, of course, sloths or pandas show an interest in adopting me.

I don’t do groups, either. Well, with the exception of threesomes, obviously. And even then, certain rules would have to be in place. No sniggering, sighing or eye-rolling, for a start.

Anyway. Somehow I have become a member of a group called The Nation’s In A State, along with over three thousand other red-blooded patriots.

I wasn’t unduly alarmed. After all, the name is a fairly accurate representation of the good ship South Africa as she steams rudderless towards the reef upon which failed states dash themselves with careless disregard for charts, lighthouses and a chorus of warnings.

The first post I saw said, “We are looking for a nanny. Trustworthy, punctual, vibrant, a super cleaner, great with kids and dogs! Anyone?” Nanny? Please. Were I to find a woman with those qualities, I would ask her to be my wife, not my servant.

Then this, from a family poised to emigrate to Australia. “South Africa, we adore you & without you, THIS would not be possible. Our country has shaped us, grown us & prepped us. Gods’ promises are mind blowing & His presence has been SO tangible during this journey. See you soon Adelaide.”

For a start, people who truly adore South Africa don’t emigrate. And to say that without this country, emigration would be impossible is … I don’t even know what that is. It’s like something a graduate of the Dunning-Kruger School of Existentialism might say.

So this country shaped and prepared you for emigration? How very generous of South Africa. There can’t be many third world countries that would bend over backwards to help you become the very best you can be, and then, apparently with help from God, wish you well as you fly away to contribute to a first world country’s economy.

Then things kicked down a gear. Hans asked, “What was the good things under Apartheid?” Probably not your English results, buddy. Hans blew the biggest dog whistle ever made and South Africans nostalgic for the good old days were quick to start yapping.

Mark was first to bark. “Everything worked and if a government employee stole money it would be”Go Straight To Jail & Don’t Pass Begin”. Rapist & Murderers Were Hung By The Neck Until they DEAD!!!”

The emphasis was presumably necessary in case some of us thought he meant hung by the neck until they requested canapés and a glass of chardonnay.

Stephne also heard the whistle and pricked up her ears. “There was an amazing army. Border control. Excellent police force. Censorship and God was at the core of everything.” It’s unlikely Stephne was in the army because, well, boetie het border toe gegaan. I spent two years in 2 Signals Regiment and the experience was several light years away from amazing.

For Stephne, apartheid was also good for keeping refugees and migrants out of the country. Okay, fair enough. That’s no different to what decent Christian leaders like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson want. But she also misses censorship. Sounds like Stephane might have seen stuff on the Internet that made her perm curl tighter than her gardener’s pubes. I am curious about what she thinks happened to God after 1994. Did he move to New Zealand?

Walter said, “Hijackings was something you only saw in movies.” I don’t know, bro. I imagine you watched those kind of movies precisely because they had hijackings in them. Wouldn’t you want to see hijackings that aren’t only in movies? Real life is wild, bro. Get into it.

Andre: “Crime rate was low.” There were definitely fewer house robberies because most suburbs had white-by-night curfews and the police had shoot-on-sight orders. And since black people weren’t allowed in parks and cinemas or on beaches and buses, decent mugging opportunities were few and far between.

Pierre misses the death penalty while Greg says EVERYTHING! was better under apartheid. Indeed. With the exception of conscription, no alcohol sales on Sundays and the subjugation and dehumanisation of forty million people, everything was definitely better.

Lizette, panting and straining at the leash, misses a whole bunch of things. “Safety, friendliness, trust, the law was effective and law officials the police was respected. The defence force was one of the best in the world. There were no shoot outs in hospitals and government hospitals were clean had no need for private hospitals. Universities were safe and worldclass and you went there to study not to have sex and become drug and alcohol addicts.‼

I never went to university. If what Lizette says is true, I’m applying this week. Actually, forget applying. I’m storming in with my bong and brandy and pants around my ankles. Gimme a goddamn education, I will shout with my willy a-flap in the breeze. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll go to the nearest hospital and shoot people.

Willem, coming late to the debate, reprimanded Hans for even daring to ask the question.

“If you are old enough you would not ask. There was very little in 1948 compared to 1994. Infrastructure ROADS, DAMS, SCHOOLS ,AIRPORTS from 10th the size to taking the biggest PLANES . A DEFENCE FORCE to just about the best in the world. Industries like an ESKOM [ Massive transmision grid up into neighbouring countries MINING , UITVOERE [COAL. DIAMONDS, GOLD, STEEL ect ] , YSKOR, SISHEN. AGRICULTURE FROM SMALL TO VERY BIG. Want to know more. Shall I go on and tell you what is left.l”

You know what’s left, Willem? Me. I have left. I just can’t do the group thing any more. Good luck with your visa application.