Horsing around with drugs

It’s occurred to me lately that drug-taking no longer has the stigma it once had. Drugs have become like, I don’t know, badminton. There was a time when you would avoid people who played badminton for the same reason you’d avoid people who used drugs. This is no longer the case. 

These days you can fire up a joint in your garden without having a police dog turn up to chew your face off. A Lesotho start-up has become the first African cannabis-grower to win EU permission to export its product. Scientists from Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research have found that magic mushrooms are way more awesome than we thought. The fact that such a centre even exists tells you that change is afoot.

What else have we been wrong about? Is crack actually good for your teeth? Is heroin the new miracle drug for acne? I saw a tweet this week that made me see ketamine in a new light (I have not tried ketamine). 

Jackie wrote, “The ketamine is really helping my friend. His depression and anxiety are debilitating, especially this time of year.” I was curious to know why the friend goes off the rails every April, but details weren’t forthcoming. All I knew was that Jackie’s bio said, “Abolish the police.” Satisfied with her credentials, I checked out the replies.

Let me just say, though, the only reason this tweet caught my eye is because I know ketamine to be a horse tranquilliser. Look, Jackie lives in America. There’s a good chance she is dating a horse. It is not for us to judge. Maybe he gets anxious because someone keeps entering him into the Kentucky Derby. I’d certainly need a shot of something if I had to run in front of that decadent and depraved crowd.

Andrew was quick to ask: “Did he get that prescribed?” Jackie replied: “No, his doctor was no help at all. We found this on our own.” The doctor, presumably smarter than Andrew, knew that ketamine is a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

Jackie seemed put out that insurance doesn’t cover it. Andrew, somewhat missing the point, said, “I used to use it recreationally but I can’t afford it anymore.”

Progressica wanted to know how he takes it. I was hoping she’d say, “Like Pegasus, bro.” Instead, he “goes to a clinic and gets it intravenously”. Dr Bojack’s Shooting Gallery, I presume. Hard to find, harder to leave.

He gets it twice a week for three weeks, then every couple of months, “or whenever he feels like he needs a little jolt”. I’m a big fan of the little jolt, I must say. On the other hand, reality does provide that for free quite often. Especially in South Africa.

Brianbro said, “That’s awesome. I’ve been eating acid and mushrooms. Not at the same time.” Come now, Brianbro. Jackie’s dude is trying to medicate and you’re just partying.

Arturo said he’s been enjoying it, “and it’s much easier on my body than some of the other options”. One of which presumably includes being thrown into a padded cell and beaten by right-wing Cuban medics.

Leaf said her bipolar friend was in a lot of pain but was afraid to try ketamine. Always quick with the best medical advice, Jackie said, “It absolutely causes hallucinations like beautiful colors and swirly things, so she should choose her music carefully and her trip guide.”

Swirly things, you say? Where do I sign up? Wait a minute. We have horses out there hallucinating right now? Can they even see colours? What if they have a trip guide who tries to mount them? I’m sure the right music helps. Something from the Cowboy Junkies, perhaps.

Happy Drug Awareness Week!

Did you know that more than 60% of all crimes in South Africa are committed by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol? This leaves a staggering 40% who are doing unspeakable things without even a drink to help them conquer their shyness. Either there is not enough booze and drugs to go around, or we have some of the cleanest-living crooks in the world. I reckon a police raid at the local Virgin Active is long overdue.

A more likely scenario is that, given the levels of multi-skilling among the criminal community, nobody wants to take the chance of smoking a little ganja ahead of a lazy afternoon of pickpocketing only to find themselves in a high-energy situation where they are compelled to kill someone. And what could be worse than getting all amphetamined-up for a bank robbery only to get there and remember that it’s a public holiday and the best you can hope for is a couple of car stereos?

Drugs are as popular in South Africa as anywhere else in the world. However, nobody here knows for sure why they are illegal. Drugs brighten up a miserable day and give your self-esteem a boost. Is that so terrible? In a free market system, adults should be permitted to sell drugs to other adults. Kids should have to get theirs from somewhere else. In the spirit of Drug Awareness Week, here are some examples of drugs and the effects they have on the police.


This drug, well, it is more of a weed, really, induces a sense of hostility in policemen even though it’s sort-of legal. Their eyes narrow and they tend to speak louder than normal. There is a strong possibility that they will turn violent for no apparent reason. Humour them. Play along. Never assume that they know what they are doing.


Coke makes policemen very jumpy. Symptoms include an inability to sit still and relax. They become restless and fidgety. Often they will tell you to keep quiet and let them do all the talking. They will come up with lots of unrealistic notions and ideas, like sending you to jail for the rest of your life. Nod and smile. That’s all you can do, really, until they have got it out of their system.

Tik (crystal meth)

Police become very self-assured when exposed to tik. They exude confidence. Their positive demeanour can lead to them slapping one another on the back and, in extreme cases, hugging. The comedown can be dramatic, especially when they spend two weeks testifying only for the magistrate to acquit the accused because the evidence has disappeared.

Acid (lysergic acid diethylamide)

LSD has a dangerously unpredictable effect on the police. Either they are happy with a couple of caps, or they will tear your house apart in desperation to get their hands on more of the stuff. Even if you swear on your mother’s life that there is no more in the house, they will not believe you. These hallucinations are quite normal. Do not make any sudden moves. Their imaginations are already in hyperoverdrive and the last thing you want to do is startle them. When they fire irrational questions at you, reply in low, soothing tones. They will soon be back to normal. Well, as normal as any policeman ever can be.


Carpet bong the swine

I have spent the last two hours wondering how to write about the lighter side of terrorism. It’s proving harder than you might imagine. A couple of beers usually help to ease the flow of ideas. Not this time, though. I’d try a couple of cases if I thought it would kickstart the column, but it won’t. It will simply make me confused and belligerent and the evening will end badly. I imagine there’d be very little writing done and a fair amount of stumbling around the complex in my nightgown banging on doors like a drunk, Islamophobic Wee Willie Winkie.

“But we’re Hindus!”

“Don’t care. Come out and fight. Jesweeparee motherfucker.”

By morning the complex will be under my control. I shall assume the role of America and all who are not with me will be against me. Nobody will be allowed to be Russia for the simple reason that one cannot go from villain to superhero without approval from the UN Security Council and Marvel Comics.

With assistance from my architect neighbour, I will divide the complex into sectors and implement our campaign to flush out the terrorists. They are everywhere. And yet nowhere. It won’t be easy. This is a good thing. Like women, freedom tastes so much sweeter when it doesn’t come easy. There must be fighting. Nobody is going to ring your doorbell and offer you a bowl of freedom. But if they do, you must knock them down and take the bowl from them by force. If they refuse to fight, give the bowl back and offer them incentives. Tell them that if they put up a struggle, but not so much of a struggle that you won’t be able to get the bowl of freedom away from them, you will put in a word with the president of the coalition of the damned and they might be spared. Don’t tell them you are the president. Enemies must be kept confused at all times or they might begin believing they are allies and if everyone did that we wouldn’t have any enemies at all and what the hell kind of world would that be?

Apparently dozens of South Africans have gone to Syria in recent months. So what? It doesn’t mean they’re all joining Islamic State. Tourism might have dropped off a bit in recent months, but you can still have a fun night out in downtown Damascus. You’d want to tone it down a bit if you’re gay or a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, but if you’re wearing something loose and flowing and are happy to suck on nothing more vivid than a bong, you’re in for a pretty good time. And there’s no shortage of stuff to do in the day, either. There are plenty of ruins that stay open 24 hours a day with no entrance fee at all. Sounds like a damn fine deal to me.

Most of the families that have gone to Syria were previously living in Gauteng. I don’t want to offend anyone here, but I’ve been to Joburg and I honestly can’t see how Damascus can be much worse. There’s less crime, for a start. Okay, sure, there are war crimes, but you’re not going to get mugged.

A young Gauteng man called his parents from Syria recently. They seemed surprised. Maybe they thought he had got stuck in the Lotto queue there by the Laudium Spar. They begged him to come back. Of course he refused.

We don’t know what his home life was like. His mother probably insisted on buying him mauve shirts and yellow broeks when all he wanted to do was wear black. Also, it’s unlikely he was allowed to wave flags about inside the house. Porcelain dogs don’t come cheap. Nor could he have an AK-47 for Christmas, something he’d spent years asking Allah for. I imagine his job was rubbish, too. The only reason you’d walk away from gainful employment in these harsh times was if you couldn’t afford a car. That’s the Islamic State’s biggest appeal right there. I don’t know if I could resist the offer of a Toyota SR5 4×4 Double-Cab Pick-Up with a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on the back. If I were still undecided, the unlimited mileage, free balaclava and complementary ammunition would certainly tip the scales. And I’m not even Muslim.

A Joburg-based researcher for an Al Jazeera investigation says a lot of the recruitment is increasingly done face-to-face. I also prefer a more personal approach. If you care enough to drive all the way over and meet me for a beer, I’ll listen to you what you’re saying. And if you’re buying, I’ll wear whatever the hell kind of vest you want me to wear.

The researcher also said IS was targeting individuals between 15 and 45. That’s a bit broad for my liking. A bit desperate. Contiki Tours target 18 to 35-year-olds and their missions are far more regimented than anything offered by Islamic State. Contiki’s leaders not only have flags but whistles, too. It’s quite disturbing. I was once almost recruited in Spain but managed to slip away undetected while the Australians were on their feet urging the matador to finish the job so they could return to the backpackers for more alcohol.

Speaking of which, the ex-wife of Paris bomber Ibrahim Abdeslam has told how he would spend his days smoking cannabis and drinking liquor. I have friends who do this and they couldn’t blow up a lilo. Marijuana – the gateway drug to terrorism. She said Ibrahim smoked “an alarming amount of joints, at least three or four a day”, never went to mosque and served two prison sentences for theft. Sounds a bit like a Christian to me.

I have been in the company of people capable of smoking three or four joints an hour and nobody seemed particularly alarmed. However, had I suggested we go out and source a kilo or two or plastic explosives, they might not have notified the authorities but they almost certainly would have asked me to leave. Or at least laughed at me until I left of my own accord.

Anyway. Ibrahim blew himself up outside the Comptoir Voltaire café in Paris. He was the only one who died in the blast. The lesson here, children, is that if you want to be a successful suicide bomber, don’t smoke weed.

Smoke and fire rise from the explosion Tuesday in Gaza City.



A Homicidal High

There is so much going on in this wonderful country of ours that I scarcely know where to begin.

Perhaps I could start with the murders. There are so many that, when you sit down with the newspapers, you have to be fairly selective when it comes to choosing which ones to read about. I think we can agree that we all skip the random shebeen stabbings and the gangland shootings. Par for the course, we say. Surprise us, we say, flipping the page.

Love triangle homicide. Yawn. Farm killing. Next. Witness whacked. Who cares. Even satanic ritual slayings no longer grab our attention as they once did.

Quite frankly, I don’t know why the papers even bother. If the bloodshed involves alcohol, we would rather you didn’t write about it. Instead, tell us about people who, after drinking too much, stumbled upon a cure for cancer.

Drunk people probably accomplish all manner of incredible things which nobody ever gets to hear about. After all, it’s only because Isaac Newton kept falling down while slurching home from the Slut and Legless that we know about gravity today.

But let us return to the foulest of felonies.

There is one story that stands out from the daily carnival of carnage.

Matricide has been an eye-catcher ever since Amastris, queen of Herclea, was drowned by her two sons in 284 BC. I don’t know why they did it. She was the first woman to issue coins in her name, so I suppose she might have been a bit of a pain. Or perhaps it was because she named her sons Clearchus and Oxyathres.

On the other hand, if children offed their parents because of the names they were given, it’s unlikely Kanye West, Bob Geldof, Jamie Oliver, Gwen Stefani and Gwyneth Paltrow would be alive today.

Imagine if your mother had named you Racing Cloud and you weren’t a member of the Sioux tribe living on a reservation in South Dakota, but instead you were a member of the Theron tribe and you lived in Fish Hoek. I am fairly sure, though, that this isn’t why Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron and her boyfriend Kyle Maspero allegedly bumped off her mum Rosemary.

For now, newspapers are reporting that the mother and daughter had argued. Mother went out and the two teenagers “smoked drugs” while they discussed killing her. When she returned, Maspero allegedly strangled her with a rope.

Every report I have read mentions that the idiot children had “smoked drugs”. The casual observer might be forgiven for thinking this were the sole reason for the murder. Perhaps it was. And this is where it gets interesting. For me, anyway. If you’re not interested, read something else.

Smokeable drugs include marijuana, crystal meth, heroin and the most addictive of all, tobacco. Let’s for a moment assume they weren’t driven into a murderous frenzy by one too many Marlboro Lights.

When one hears the phrase “smoking drugs”, one instinctively thinks of weed. Maybe it’s just a Durban thing. This country – and KZN in particular – grows some of the best marijuana in the world and, quite frankly, I don’t know why anyone would bother smoking anything else if they were planning to kill one of their parents. Heroin ruins your skin and crack makes your teeth fall out. Surely you would want to look your best when you appear in court?

For a few months now, I have wanted to kill my neighbour. He is loud and obnoxious and encourages his rat-faced bastard dogs to bark for no reason at all. Motivated by news reports of the Racing Cloud incident, and curious to see if cannabis would provide the impetus I needed to do the job, I went off to find some. I believe the correct terminology is “score”.

Not knowing if I would need a gram or a kilogram, I emptied out my boot and filled my pockets with money.

The last time I bought weed, it cost a rand a hand from Temba round the back of the Journey’s End Moth Hall in Broadway. The hall is now a post office sorting depot, Broadway is Swapo Road and Temba is probably a director-general in the ministry of police.

I went to a bar north of Ballito and asked for a beer. When the waiter brought it, I gave him the secret handshake and asked if he might be in a position to help me out with a smidgen of the old igudu. He brought me a menu. I tried again. Intsangu? He started telling me about the specials.

I made the international gesture for crushing a handful of dope, being careful to remove the pips and stalks, snapping the neck off a wine bottle, making a girrick, inserting said girrick into the bottleneck, filling the neck with weed, wrapping a sulfie around the neck, putting it to my mouth, striking a match and inhaling deeply. I even gagged and coughed a couple of times in case he thought I was acting out a parable from the Old Testament. You never know with the Zulus.

I noticed everyone had stopped talking and was watching me. The waiter made the international gesture for ‘I think you should leave’ and so I did.

After almost getting arrested several times, I eventually came upon a maker of beaded wire animals. It is a well-known fact that threading beads is impossible unless you are stoned. I was right.

He even threw in a chameleon with the bankie of weed. It was the smallest bankie I had ever seen. Three 10c pieces would have been a squeeze. What kind of customers does this bank have?

On my way home, I stopped to pick up an axe from Mica. One of those big mothers that lumberjacks use. When I knocked on my neighbour’s door, filled with a violent bloodlust after smoking my drugs, I wanted him to be under no illusions about what I was doing there.

There was only enough for a toothpick of a joint, but size isn’t important. Especially not in Durban. Two hits and my mouth was drier than a Mormon convention. This wasn’t good. My neighbour would open his door and he’d find me struggling to speak.

“You what?” he would say. I would make mmpf mmpf noises.

Maybe I’d lick my axe to get the saliva glands working. To avoid arousing suspicion, I might even have to do a Miley Cyrus impersonation, licking my axe, thrusting my pelvis and rolling my eyes, by which time he would have called the whole family to come and watch and I would then be forced to kill everyone.

I finished the toothpick, fetched a beer and sat on the veranda for what felt like nine hours. It couldn’t have been more than five minutes. I could definitely feel something, but I couldn’t say for sure what it was. Did I want to kill someone or did I want to eat something? Was I hungry or homicidal? Was it best to eat before or after a murder? Wait. The trees are full of something. Are those hadedas or monkeys? What if they have started breeding? Oh, God. Flying monkeys with voices from hell. I would have to move. Those branches look like fingers. I have fingers, too. We both feel. We are one. I am a tree and you, tree, are me. I must stand up before I put down roots. There was something I had to do. What was it? Water the plants? No, that wasn’t it. Stay away from the plants. They can’t be trusted. Maybe get another beer. Yes, that was it. And go to the beach. Take cheese. Someone left an axe in the driveway. Must be the neighbour. I’ll invite him for a braai. Give him his chopper back. Neighbour. What a peculiar word. Nayba. Nay. Ba.

Two days later, I can say with absolute certainty that Racing Cloud and I weren’t smoking the same kind of drugs.


Watching The Defectives

The ANC has once again dipped its grubby little paws into a Checkers bag full of recycled careerists and come up with an interim board for the SABC.

“Comrades, we’re offering you this chalice.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing. Well, it’s poisoned. Apart from that, it’s fine.”

“Great! We’ll take it.”

The previous bunch of rats jumped ship when the broadcasting behemoth began listing dangerously to port. One of them, scurrying to catch the remnants of summer in Sea Point, paused only to bite Helen Zille on the toe.

I was reminded of the SABC recently when I tried to buy a television set without providing a salary slip, proof of political affiliation, original birth certificate, tax clearance, police records and a report from a mental health practitioner.

Nobody in their right mind would give the SABC any personal information whatsoever. To avoid a lifetime of being tracked down by the bounty hunters over at VVM Attorneys, all I had to do was find someone with a TV licence.

One option was to go around the neighbourhood pretending to be a licence inspector. I would explain that the Broadcasting Act entitled me to shoot them in the face if they refused to accompany me to Game to verify the validity of their licence.

Luckily, I didn’t have to go to those lengths.

My father is an old school anarchist and will jump at any opportunity to break the law. But he is also scrupulously honest. I don’t know why he’s not in jail.

“Here’s my licence,” he said to the salesman. “But the TV’s not for me, it’s for my son. That’s him over there, trying to put a remote control down his trousers.”

SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane and deputy dawg Thami ka Plaatjie – better known as Ratman and Nobbin – were first to bail. A trio of white women – one of them with actual broadcasting experience – was the last to go.

Suzanne Vos blamed the debacle on both Ratman and communications minister Dina Pule, whose academic achievements are roughly on a par with mine. If only I could say the same for our pay cheques.

Pule’s story sounds like a Shakespearean play written by one of Isidingo’s scriptwriters. I cannot even begin to unravel the convoluted plot involving a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a dodgy weave, serious buck-passing in the digital migration debacle and the hiring of an incompetent chief financial officer for the SABC, who, to be fair, wasn’t so incompetent that she wasn’t able to sign off on a sponsorship deal that helped make the minister’s boyfriend several million rand richer.

And when it comes to Telkom, Pule’s machinations make Hamlet seem like an episode of Friends.

I suppose it’s a hard tradition to break. Anyone who has ever been in charge of information in this country, going back to Rupert van Riebeeck’s time, has lied, schemed and connived. It’s what they are paid to do.

Is there a country anywhere in the world where the information minister speaks nothing but the truth? Maybe in the Netherlands, but only because you can get sodium pentothal in the Dutch parliament’s cafeteria. For weed, you have to go to Amsterdam. It’s only 50kms from The Hague, for heaven’s sake. Stop complaining. If I could do it, so can you.

President Zuma reluctantly accepted the board’s resignation – his first choice was to have them shot as part of the entertainment on Human Rights Day – and the ANC cherry-picked a fresh batch of sacrificial lambs. And these baa-baa black sheeple will report for duty with a yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. One for the master, one for the minister, and one for the New Age reporter to make it look less sinister.

While we taxpayers were being taken roughly from behind, DA MP Marian Shinn politely raised her hand and pointed out to her fellow lawmakers that many of us had been scarred and embittered by political interference in the SABC and suggested that it come to an end. I suppose if one has never experimented with powerful drugs or threesomes that have gone horribly wrong, the occasional ministerial intervention in the affairs of the national broadcaster may well leave the more sensitive parliamentarian traumatised.

Personally, I don’t give a damn. I watch eNews Channel Africa for my news because I would rather be subjected to an endless loop than poorly pronounced propaganda.

Someone called Zandile Tshabalala is the ANC’s choice for board chair. Isn’t he the striker for Bafana Bafana? No, hang on. It’s a she. Don’t look at me like that. We whiteys recognise names like Betty and Beauty. We can’t tell our Zandiles from our Zwandiles. Give us time. It’s only been 700 years.

Tshabalala has extensive experience in banking and business, which makes me wonder if the ANC has trouble with its acronyms.


It’s all the same to them. Let’s make Riah Phiyega chairman of the SABC and put Oupa Magashula in charge of the police. They could hardly do any worse.

The ANC wants Noluthando Gosa to be deputy chair. This would be her third stint as a member of the board. I am almost certain that if she were allowed to decline the “offer” without fear of reprisals, she would. On the other hand, she seems to be some kind of high-flying estate agent and is probably impervious to threats and insults of any kind.

A lot of very bright people applauded Zuma’s decision in 2011 to appoint a commission of enquiry into the arms deal and only now are they beginning to realise it was a monumental set-up right from the start. I knew this all along, and I only have a matric. Thank god I didn’t waste any more time studying.

And it’s the same with the SABC board. The ANC will toss in one or two nominally independent names to appease the slavering dogs of democracy, but the rest will be the same malleable stooges they have always been.

And so the scene will be set for yet another gripping episode of Lawless & Disorder.

There is only one way out of this mess. Make me chairman of the board. I don’t give a hot damn who the minister is. I would tell him or her to fuck off every time he or she contacted me. I do that anyway, regardless of who is calling.

I wouldn’t even want a salary. They can put me on the dop system. The opportunity to broadcast real news, good movies and decent porn would be reward enough.

If Robert Mugabe can shake Pope Francis’s hand without one of them bursting into flames, anything is possible.