The loss of life today has been quite spectacular, even by our standards. Thousands of pigs, sheep, goats, cows and chickens fought among themselves for the honour of being the first to lay down their lives so that South Africans could celebrate National Braai Day in true style.
The day was a resounding success. Gutters ran red with blood, dogs ran wild with bones and paramedics ran themselves ragged tending to the usual braai-related assaults, rapes and homicides.
Brenda wanted to do something to mark Heritage Day. Something different. Quite frankly, I couldn’t see the point.
“We’re white,” I said. “We don’t have any heritage.” We did, on the other hand, have plenty of meat. It made far more sense to mark Braai Day.
We arranged to meet Ted and Mary down at the beach where we could fall down without worrying about concussing ourselves. This is always one of the biggest hazards facing those who choose to celebrate Braai Day instead of Heritage Day.
We passed a lot of families braaiing along the way. Many of them had taken over entire parking lots. Brenda wondered if arguments had broken out in homes across the Cape Flats this morning.
“I want to braai in the parking lot in Muizenberg.”
“Forget it. We’re going to the one in Camps Bay.”
“There’s a new lot opened near the Waterfront. Can we go there? Please, daddy!”
I told Brenda there was a very simple explanation.
“A lot of coloured people regard their cars as members of the family. We wouldn’t leave our child in a parking lot and go off and have fun without him, would we?” Actually, I would, but I couldn’t tell Brenda that.
Both Heritage Day and Braai Day are allegedly aimed at bringing South Africans closer together. In our case, it brought us a little too close.
Encamped on the beach, we had just finished our first case of Tafel and were wrestling a second kudu haunch onto the grid when we were forced to take up braai forks and fend off a pack of hungry darkies. Look, I’m all for unifying the nation and whatnot, but there are limits.
Engorged with dead animal and thoroughly beerlogged, we returned home to celebrate Heritage Day like the decent god-fearing patriots that we are. Heritage Day is a relatively new addition to the public holiday calendar. Prior to 1994, it was known as Right of Admission Reserved Day.
We agreed that the country has a fascinating array of indigenous fauna, all of which go well with one or other of the many indigenous sauces available in supermarkets everywhere.
Our flora, too, is not to be sneezed at. Unless, of course, you suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, in which case you have no business living here.
Look at our national flower, the giant protea. Actually, I can’t look at it for too long because I find it hostile and ugly. To be honest, I would rather look at roadkill.
Fynbos is unique to the Cape Floral Kingdom and you will be fined if you pick it. Cannabis sativa is unique to KwaZulu-Natal and you will be arrested if you smoke it. That’s diversity for you.
The central image on our coat of arms is a secretary bird, a graceful creature known for launching random attacks on unsuspecting tourists. It specialises in pinning people to the ground and pecking their eyes out.
Canada’s national bird is the Common Loon. A bit like our minister of basic education, really.
The motto on our coat of arms is !ke e:/xarra//ke. Nobody outside of the /Xam tribe knows what it means. Most South Africans think it’s computer code.
When it comes to the national animal, we have the springbok. France has some sort of chicken. Our rugby team is also called the Springboks. The French once accused them of playing like animals. This made us feel tremendously proud.
Our national fish is the galjoen. Like most hard-drinking South Africans, the galjoen is regarded as a creature that will fight to the death. Cooked over an open fire, however, galjoen tastes a lot better than the national drunk.
I am particularly proud of my heritage because South Africa is the cradle of humankind. So who cares if modern man migrated to Australia the moment he could stand upright? We’re still the cradle.
Our scientists have found blue-green algae dating back nearly four million years. Ted speculated that the slime was one of Glenn Agliotti’s earliest relatives. Let’s see if he’s still laughing with two broken legs.
In 2007, I was expecting to receive one of the national orders that President Mbeki handed out at this time of year. Unbelievably, I was passed over. Instead, Morné du Plessis got one. So did Roland Schoeman. And Schalk Pienaar.
If you’re white you have to be Afrikaans to get any kind of recognition in this country. As English-speakers, we are doomed. Even though our forefathers invented gin and tonic, lap dancing, airbags, the cat flap, shrapnel and the rubber band, nobody around here seems to care.
Oh, now I get it. Of course. It’s far more important to reward a people who came up with jukskei, witblits, the Voortrekker Monument, the G6 artillery gun and a racial superiority complex so twisted that it makes their koeksisters look straight.