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.