One from the archives

I know it’s a bit early for nostalgia, but here’s a letter I wrote to the one-time lion of Africa eight years ago.

 

To: Zimbabwe President His Excellency Robert Mugabe

1 Feb. 2009

Dear Mr President,

As per your request, I examined your wife, Grace, upon her recent return from China and may I say what a lovely woman she is. You are a very lucky man.
Having said that, however, I would be failing in my duty if I did not admit to having detected one or two interesting anomalies in her psychiatric make-up.

While Grace admits to having attacked a man upon leaving a Hong Kong shopping mall, she maintains that she was stricken by an episode of snow blindness and mistook the photographer for a Ninja assassin working for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

I find her version of events entirely plausible. History has shown us that the Chinese cannot be trusted. You only have to ask the Japanese. Or place an order at my local takeaway. You ask for stir-fried shrimp and they give you chicken that smells like fish. But I digress.

During our session, Grace used her lipstick to draw several organograms on my office wall, proving that the triads are controlled by the House of Lords. This makes perfect sense given that Britain ruled Hong Kong with an iron fist for 150 years.
 Grace told me her primary concern was that Hong Kong, her preferred shopping destination, would now be closed to her.

I assured her that these fears were unfounded. All it would take is a call from you to President Hu Jintao threatening to cut off their rhino horn and close down the shoe shops.

I am, therefore, pleased to inform you that Grace is a healthy, normal woman. Well, she will be once the operation has been performed. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with a good man in Pyongyang.

In the meantime, I would like to suggest that you keep her indoors, preferably away from the windows, for the next 12 months.
 As far as medication goes, not that she needs it, you may wish to consider slipping 1500mg of lithium into her Beluga caviar each morning.
And if there is any buspirone, propranolol or clonidine lying around State House, you could always stir it into her raw rabbit spleen and fish eagle foie gras.
 It is up to you.

Yours eternally,

Professor Benjamin Trovato (Dipso.M.Aniac Chimanimani Univ.)

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Bitcoin se ma se blockchain

If you had bought R50 worth of bitcoin five years ago, you’d be worth R50-million today. You have read this sort of thing before. And it has left you crippled with self-loathing and regret.

You go to someone’s braai to forget the sting of failure and a drunk man shouts into your face, “It’s not too late. Get in now!” It sounds like he knows what he’s talking about because you’re also drunk so you get into your car and race to the mall shouting and singing but when you get there you can’t find the bitcoin shop because it’s 2am so you take the money you were going to invest and spend it at the shebeen instead.

In the morning, hungover, depressed and scouring the internet for free porn, you inadvertently come across news that bitcoin has slumped after plans to increase the cryptocurrency’s block size were cancelled. You don’t understand what it means, but you do recognise the word ‘slumped’. Filled with schadenfreude, you turn up the music and drink every bit of alcohol in the house.

Much later you go to bed, possibly on the floor, still congratulating yourself on not having wasted your money on this dirty pyramid scheme. Burbling about burst bubbles, you pass out and wake up two days later to the news that bitcoin has surged 500% while spittle was dribbling from your mouth. And so the cycle of self-flagellation begins all over again.

In the entire history of people, no girl or boy child has ever left home with a dream of pursuing a career that involves mindless drudgery and physical toil. People who do an honest day’s work are usually one bond repayment away from the homeless shelter. I am not the only one interested in making filthy amounts of money by doing nothing more strenuous than checking Google once a day to see what’s happening to the price of bitcoin. So don’t judge me.

Even though the R50-into-R50-million ship has already sailed, it still sounds like the kind of action I should have a piece of. Bitcoin currently has a market value of $105-billion. Once I have directions I will go down to that market and tell the man at the bitcoin stall that I want to buy some of his damn fine bitcoins. I’ve seen pictures of them on the internet. Shiny gold coins with a B on them. I don’t know how big they are. Probably as big as manhole covers. I’d have to pick up a couple of guys at the robots to help carry them to the car.

But it’s not that easy. It never is. Apparently you don’t actually get a bag of coins in return for your cash. You don’t get anything. Maybe an email. I don’t know what it says. Perhaps something like, “Dear Sir/Madam, thanks you for helping my dead father pay for his operation. Your bitcoins are in the post.”

If I was walking down the street and a man sidled out of a dark alley and said, “Psst. Wanna buy some of this?” and opened his jacket and there was nothing there, I’d say, “I can’t see what you’re selling. Get away from me.” And if he said, “It’s cryptocurrency, man. It’s good shit. The best. It’ll make you rich. Believe me,” I’d be more inclined to buy whatever drugs he was on.

I don’t think I’m mentally incompetent, even though some of my decisions in life might suggest otherwise, so I don’t understand why I can’t understand what’s going on. Perhaps there’s something of the Dunning-Kruger effect at work here.

Take this sentence. “Volume across bitcoin exchanges jumped to 436 021 bitcoins on Sunday. BitMEX, an exchange for cryptocurrency derivatives that allows shorting, saw record activity.” There are people out there who will read this sentence, raise an eyebrow and nod knowingly while stroking their well-groomed beards. Then there are those who will simply nod off while stroking their imaginary cat. I’m with the cat people.

And don’t for one minute think that it’s only bitcoin you need to get your head around. Bitcoin came home late one night in August, drunk as usual, and had a fight with itself. We’ve all been there. When bitcoin woke up, an entirely new creature called bitcoin cash was standing in the doorway with its hands on its hips saying, “I’ve had enough of this. You’re on your own.”

Since then bitcoin cash, like every woman who has ever left you, is doing very well for itself. Glowing, in fact. It jumped 32% since last Friday. I don’t even know which Friday I’m talking about. It doesn’t seem to matter. Bitcoin, still staggering about the kitchen looking for aspirin, slumped to its knees and had a bit of a weep.

Apparently speculators were spooked when a faction of the cryptocurrency community scrapped plans to increase bitcoin’s block size, preventing it from moving unessential data off its underlying blockchain thereby allowing mermaids to grow legs while red dogs performed cartwheels and the moon deflated.

What worries me is this talk of a faction. Are they rebels? How powerful are they? Who are they? What weapons do they have? My financial advisor said they’re probably just a bunch of fat boys lolling on futons in their parents’ basements pecking at their keyboards with one hand and masturbating with the other. He said there was nothing to worry about. He’s never been right before so I don’t know why he would be now.

It gets even more complicated. When bitcoin cash flounced out on her own, shares in companies that make graphics cards used in the mining of digital coins were dragged down along with bitcoin’s sorry hungover ass. So much in this sentence doesn’t make sense. Mining? It’s like expecting us to believe that Snow White never once slept with the dwarf who kept finding the biggest diamonds. Mining is a filthy business at the best of times.

And it’s no good turning to Wikipedia for enlightenment, either. The oracle of the indolent says bitcoin was invented by someone called Satoshi Nakamoto who might or might not exist. And down the rabbit hole we go.

Bitcoin was released as open-source software in 2009 and is peer-to-peer.” There was this one time I surfed a wave from Bay pier to Snake Park pier and it ended badly. I’m not saying that investing in bitcoin will end with metaphorical fishing line wrapped around your throat, but I’m not not saying it either.

The nice thing about bitcoins, apart from them being sexy golden unicorns, is that you don’t have to buy a whole one. Like you can get a mutton bunny in a half or a quarter, so you can buy a millibitcoin or, if you’re not so hungry, you can get a satoshi to take away. A satoshi is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin. If you bought one for twenty cents eight years ago, you could buy a Ferrari today.

Happy flagellating.

Unknown-2

Dead elephants tell no tales

US President Donald Trump is reversing an Obama-era ban on hunters importing trophies of elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Are his sons planning another hunt? Here’s a letter I wrote to the little fuckers in 2012.

 

Hey boys!

Just wanted to congratulate you on your successful hunting trip to Zimbabwe.

Our papers have been full of pictures of you guys holding up dead leopards in a pink mist of vapourised waterbuck. You’re real heroes in these parts, let me tell you. There has been a bit of criticism, but it’s coming mainly from white bunny-hugging do-gooders who think wild animals are there to be photographed instead of destroyed like the vermin they are. Bloody liberals.

I see you managed to bag three of the Big Five. Well done! But what stopped you from going for a full house? You got the buffalo, elephant and leopard, but missed the rhino and lion. And you call yourselves Trumps? Just kidding.

I’m sure it’s not your fault. I bet the organisers of the hunt failed to tether them securely and they escaped before you could drive up and shoot them in the face.

Donald Jr., I particularly enjoyed the picture of you holding an elephant’s tail in one hand and a knife in the other. You can even see the legs of the elephant lying on the ground to prove that you got it off the animal and not from a curio shop.

I bet you also cut off its trunk and poked it through your zipper and pretended you had a giant willy. I certainly would have.

I liked the shot of you guys posing next to a crocodile strung up from a tree. It reminded me of those old pictures from your Deep South. Now that the darkies are off-limits, croc-lynching could be the next big thing in Alabama. Wanna be partners? You gun ’em down, I string ’em up.

By the way, did you know that we also have a Small Five that are tremendous fun to kill? Meerkats are my best. If you’re quick, you can run up and kick them before they bolt for cover.

Your brother, Eric, could have been waiting in an imaginary end zone to catch the flying ‘kat. Touchdown! American football, Africa style. What’s not to love?

Another of my favourites is the tortoise. Hunting tortoises is usually done when you have a hangover. I’m sure you had lots of those on your trip because the only way to survive Africa is to drink heavily while firing blindly into the night.

So what you do is set up your chair within shouting distance of a reliable servant – you don’t want to run out of Bloody Marys – and wait for a tortoise to come along.

Put your foot on his back to stop him from getting away. This is where it gets tricky. He will have retracted himself, making a clean head shot impossible.

Don’t shoot him in the shell if you plan on using him as a paper-weight. They shatter easily. Rather take a leaf out of your father’s book: cut off his lights and water and starve him out.

You said the local villagers were overjoyed at getting the meat from your hunt. And why wouldn’t they be? Leopard carpaccio garnished with a sprinkling of civet cat and drizzled with crocodile jus doesn’t appear on the menu in the Matetsi area all that often.

When I read that the hunt organisers were called Hunting Legends, I thought they were offering legends like President Robert Mugabe. Now there’s a trophy you should have on your wall.

But I suppose he would put up too much of a fight. Not that you lads aren’t bok for a fight. Far from it. A kudu is a hell of an adversary. You were just fortunate to come across one that was drugged.

To be honest, a lot of the wild animals in southern Africa are on drugs these days. They also lack any real work ethic and spend most of the day sleeping. Smelly freeloaders. No wonder we kill them.

You were also lucky to have survived shooting a tusker. Many elephants, particularly in Zimbabwe, are known to explode without warning and, even from a distance of 300 metres, you could easily have lost a leg. Or worse, had your hair messed up. Gel is hard to come by in the bush.

I’m not much of a hunter myself, but I think I know why you boys enjoy it. For a start, Eric is a girl’s name and he has a lot to prove. And your name is Donald Jr., and yet it is Eric who looks more like your father. No wonder you’re angry.

You said the money you paid for the hunt will be used to fund nature conservation in Zimbabwe. I presume by “fund nature conservation” you mean “arm Zanu-PF veterans”. That’s okay. We understand code in these parts. No names, no pack drill.

My wife, Brenda, says you’re both latent homosexuals. As my Uncle Pervy used to say, “Better latent than never.” Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that I beat her soundly for her insolence.

I must say, though, Eric, you do look pretty damn sexy with that leopard draped over your shoulders. It brings out your eyes.

And Donald Jr., seeing you straddling that dead buffalo makes doggie style seem positively Christian.

Y’all come back again!

Unknown-1Unknown

Amazing Grace

Dear Comrade Grace,

Congratulations on achieving what nobody else has been able to in 37 years – get Robert Mugabe to stand down. This is especially remarkable at a time when it was becoming increasingly difficult to get him to stand up.

Looking back, it might have been a tiny miscalculation on your part to get your husband to fire vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Who would’ve thought a war veteran with strong military ties would have had the army in his corner? I’m no political strategist, but it seems to me that you might have moved a little quicker with your plan. If Bob had abdicated last week and installed you as president, you could have had your defence force rounded up and jailed by now. You could have borrowed our army to imprison your army. We’re not using ours at the moment. Give our soldiers a mutton curry pie and a Coke and they’ll do anything.

I was astounded that half a dozen armoured personnel carriers could simply drive into Harare and instantly put an end to life as you know it. Is it possible that Bob himself was behind the coup-that’s-not-really-a-coup? I read somewhere that you had started beating him. I always assumed he enjoyed it. Perhaps he only said he did to keep you happy. Some husbands are like that.

When President Zuma called for calm and restraint, do you think he was talking directly to you? After the awkwardness of having South Africa captured by an overweight immigrant family from Uttar Pradesh, the last thing the region needed, as the Zimbabwean army gently eased the passage of the new national democratic project, was to have you burst from state house shrieking and swinging a nine-plug extension cable at anything that moved.

I believe Zuma is sending his state security minister, Bongani Bongo, to have a chat with Bob and the new boys. Try to get in with Bongo. He’s a good man to have on your side. His predecessor loved massages. You must have all manner of oils and unguents lying about the palace. Bob doesn’t get to look like that without lashings of intensive skin care. Roll up your sleeves and give Bongo a bit of a rub. You don’t even have to pretend to enjoy it. Talk about espionage when you’re doing it. He likes that. Slap him around a bit. We’d like that.

Apparently Zuma spoke to Bobbles this morning. He said he was fine. Or fired. Or on fire. It was a bad line. I don’t suppose his health matters much to you any longer. What a tremendous weight off your mind, let alone your hips. It couldn’t have been easy being married to a 138-year-old man. Does he still wake up in the middle of the night and order Winston Churchill to be shot?

I hear you’ve, er, gone off for a bit of a holiday. You certainly deserve a break. One minute you’re shaking your booty to a North Korean marching song on ZBC while picking out an outfit for your inauguration and the next you’re in the boot of a loyal lackey’s car racing for the Vic Falls border.

Apparently you have a farm in the south of Namibia. You’ll love it there. Okay, Keetmanshoop isn’t exactly Singapore in terms of shopping and health care, but there are a lot of bottle stores and, well, that’s about it.

Do your two gorgeous boys realise they’re going to have to get real jobs now? Poor little things. They must be devastated. Still and all. Keetmanshoop is a far healthier environment for Robert Jr and Bellarmine than, say, Chikurubi Prison. Try to interest them in sheep farming. It’s better than alcoholism. Not really, but don’t tell them that.

Anyway. Don’t let the fire go out of those crazy black eyes of yours. I’m a big fan. Not big enough for you to come and live with me, I should point out. I am partial to the mad ones, but, Grace, you’re next level and I’m just not ready for that right now.

Pamberi ne chimurenga! Pameberi ne karakul farming!

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The right to bare arms (and everything else)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has ruled against a proposed nudist-friendly beach on the KZN South Coast. As everyone knows, public nudity is a far greater threat to South Africa than, say, state capture.

Rev Mike Effanga, leader of the group that opposed the idea, welcomed her decision. “Laws are informed by morality and if you break the laws, you are offending morality.” The group took their fight to the public protector after the local council approved the application for a nudist beach by “relaxing” relevant by-laws.

“They should have told the nudists to go be naked in their bathrooms like everybody else,” squealed the reverend.

Here’s a letter I wrote in 2015 to the man who saved our souls.

 

Dear Reverend Mike Effanga,

I wish to applaud you on behalf of all right-wing, I beg your pardon, right-thinking South Africans for your efforts to stop those backsliding nudist barbarians from getting their wicked way.

As you know all too well, the Hibiscus Coast municipality – quite clearly agents of Satan – voted last year to allow people to take their clothes off on a beach in your area. Unfortunately, they chose a section that is hidden away and hard to reach. This makes it difficult for those who wish to protest. Luckily, there are many of us who are prepared to go out of our way to be offended.

This country has only 2 800kms of coastline. If we give these heathens 500m of it to practise their degenerate sun-worshipping ways, where will it end?

Cape Town allows nudists at Sandy Bay and look at that city today. Gay people walk openly in the streets. We don’t need that kind of wanton licentiousness here.

If God had meant for us to walk around naked, he wouldn’t have given Adam and Eve those fig leaf ensembles to wear. The unadorned human body is a disturbing sight and I, for one, can no longer even visit my local swimming pool for fear of turning into a slavering beast incapable of controlling my most basic of urges.

I cannot believe these handmaidens of hell are planning their naked launch for Good Friday. Jesus wouldn’t be happy with that, I can tell you. Isn’t it enough that he has to deal with yet another anniversary of his crucifixion? I may be wrong but I’m sure he’d rather we just stopped mentioning it altogether.

I’m talking about that nasty business in Calgary. Nudist beaches, I bet he’d want to know about. What am I saying? Of course he knows about it. He’s Jesus. And if he didn’t get the memo, you can be damn sure his Father knows of the horror about to be unleashed upon Mpenjati beach.

I must confess there are times I walk around my house without any clothes on. It is simply too hot. However, you will be pleased to know that I do punish myself afterwards with a light flagellation followed by several Bloody Marys.

Nudity, unlike murder, poverty and child abuse, is not something we can tolerate. If we allow people to voluntarily remove their clothes on a beach far away from decent God-fearing folk, what will we allow next? Seances in the Margate Wimpy?

While you are on this crusade, have you given any thought to the farm animal situation? I’m sure I am not the only one to have noticed the growing number of cows along the South Coast. I think you know what I’m saying. Udders. I need go no further.

Once you have won this battle against the idolatrous undressed, I urge you to consider demanding clothes for livestock. It need not be anything fancy. Simple loincloths and four-cupped bras will do.

I understand you run an outfit called Worldwide Gospel Ministries. Your website has an interesting quote from Luke. “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching.” That’s exactly what the nudists are afraid of – Peeping Toms.

It goes on. “Verily, I say unto you that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

I’m a bit confused here. Luke clearly wasn’t a vegetarian. But the Lord serves the servants? That doesn’t sound right. Imagine if this happened in South Africa. The servants would be ungovernable in no time at all.

In your ministerial profile you state your nationality as “Kingdom of Heaven.” Nothing wrong with that. Presumably you have your citizenship papers. I imagine the home affairs office up there is more efficient than the one down here.

Your website says that apart from healing the sick and broken-hearted, you also bring sight back to the blind. You are truly a man of many talents. What would you do if, say, one of those rotten nudists was sick, broken-hearted and blind? Tricky one.

I see you have 18 friends on Facebook. That’s okay. Jesus only had 12.

Anyway, congratulations on getting the pagans on the council to agree to listen to your objections for a second time. As you said recently, “The voice of the people has to be heard. The decision to have a nudist beach here is illegal, immoral, unethical and undemocratic.”

And therein lies the rub. Oops. I apologise. “Rub” is one of those words which, if used carelessly, can lead to the corruption of weaker souls. It won’t happen again.

What I’m trying to say is that it takes a wise man to point out that a decision taken by a majority of democratically elected councillors is, indeed, undemocratic. Some might say the voice of the people has been heard, but, as we both know, they are the wrong people. Not all people are people.

Well, I’m sure you and your Concerned Citizens Group will succeed in denying the Devil his due. Nobody wants to be cast into the hellfires of eternal damnation, even if they are politicians.

155429

A Letter to the Leader

Dear Comrade President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, Corrupter of the Weak, Don of Dubai, Capo dei Capi, Lord of the Beasts and the Fishes, Emperor of Nkandla.

Congratulations on still being on your feet. I mean that metaphorically, of course. I expect you’re probably lying down right now. And who could blame you? These are trying times and a man needs his rest. Besides, lying is your default position. I apologise. White monopoly capital made me say that. I will discipline myself this evening.

I imagine you were as surprised as anyone to learn that there’s a new book out in which you’re portrayed you as a cross between Al Capone and the leader of the 28s. I was outraged by the scurrilous parallels. For a start, Capone wore Brooks Brothers suits, Fedora hats and shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo. You wear Pending Law suits and shoes by Glenn Agliotti. I’ve never seen you in a hat. Is it because they don’t make them in butternut size? That’s headist, that is.

Also, the 28s would never have you because you don’t drink or take drugs and can’t be trusted. You don’t even have any tattoos. But that’s okay because you have your own gang with its own rules. You have to admit that The Cabinet is a bit of a lame name for a gang, but still. It’s the power you wield that counts. And let’s not forget you also have at least 350 loyal foot soldiers sitting in your safe house in Cape Town.

I won’t take up too much of your time. You’re doubtlessly very busy instituting defamation charges against one Jacques Pauw who wrote a scurrilous pack of lies in a fake ‘book’ titled The President’s Keepers, available at all reputable bookstores but selling fast so avoid the Christmas rush and get your copy now. What? Who said that? It’s almost as if Johann Rupert himself is dictating this to me. I shall undergo an exorcism right after disciplining myself.

I have never heard of an author called Pauw. He sounds foreign. Get your man Mahlobo to check him out. No, wait. You shifted Mahlobo out of state security and in to energy. It’s an obvious move as far as career paths go, if you think about it. Or not. Far be it for me to question your thinking when it comes to reshuffling your gang. I am nothing but a voter, the lowest on the food chain in a one-party democracy, and I am lucky to be alive.

So. Back to this alleged book. Pauw, by all accounts a fifth columnist from the fourth estate, claims that for the first four months of your presidency you were on the payroll of your friend Roy Moodley’s security company for R1-million a month, which, after tax, came to R1-million a month. So what? Everybody moonlights once in a while. Security guard wouldn’t be my first choice, but each to his own. Your day job only pays R250 000 a month. Nobody can live on that. Well, I suppose I could if I cut down on drinking during the week, but nobody with four wives and 22 children can live on that.

Pauw’s so-called book also claims that you never submitted tax returns for at least the first five years of your presidency and then put all your pawns in charge of SARS so you’d never have to cough up. If this is true, you have the wardens on Robben Island to thank. They allowed you to play chess, did they not? A harmless board game that teaches strategy. What could possibly go wrong?

Aren’t you glad you don’t live in America where prosecutors aren’t afraid to do their job? The FBI has just indicted Paul Manafort, one of Donald Trump’s former henchmen, merely because he took out a home loan and then mischievously spent some of it on buying another property. Imagine what they’d do to you?

That was a very smart move putting Shaun Abrahams in charge of the NPA. You should probably give him some sort of medal when all this is over. How about the Order of Medusozoa or, in terms that the uneducated can understand, the Order of the Jellyfish. If you prefer, there are many other spineless wonders to choose from.

By the way, your man Gigaba is doing a splendid job of keeping the wolves from your door. One thing mystifies me, though. What’s he talking about when he says we can’t afford a nuclear energy programme? Didn’t he get the memo from Moscow?

His medium-term budget, however, was a master class in deflection. By taking an unprecedented stab at the truth, your flak-catcher managed to distract attention away from you, allowing you to continue working on your retirement plans unhindered.

The ratings agencies seemed their usual gloomy selves after his speech, though. The aptly named Moody’s said the mini budget signalled “a marked credit-negative departure from earlier fiscal consolidation efforts”. What does this even mean? It’s like some kind of weird word salad. Ignore them. Oh, right. Sorry. To ignore and deny are policy mainstays that continue to serve you well.

Thing is, denials can get a bit stale over time. Taxpayers want to be kept entertained by increasingly outrageous claims of ignorance and innocence. That’s why it was such a refreshing change to have you reject instead of simply deny the slanderous filth in Pauw’s bestseller. Well, you didn’t reject all the allegations. Just the ones that dealt with your tax affairs. That’s the most important one, I suppose. It’s what brought Capone down. Then again, he didn’t have the cops, prosecutors and taxman in his pocket.

Your auditor-general appears to have caught some kind of rare honesty bug. You might want to get the exterminators in. He said this week that SOEs (ATMs to you) were “regressing” as a result of inadequate controls, monitoring and oversight. Nobody needs that kind of negativity.

But it’s not all bad news. Irregular government expenditure has increased by 55% since last year. It’s now standing at a healthy R45.6-billion. This must be some kind of record. Your home province has kept the flag flying by taking two of the top three spots in the highest single contributor category. Congratulations, then, to the KZN transport department for taking first place for wasting a breathtaking R3.9-billion. Also, big up to the health department which took bronze for squandering an equally impressive R3-billion.

I hear the ex-wife’s presidential campaign is being funded by cigarette smugglers. Good for her. The country would benefit hugely if more people started smoking. Old people are a drain on the economy. More smokers, fewer old people. Nkosazana is doing South Africa a great service. Please thank her for me.

I also heard that you told the high court you’re willing to establish an enquiry into state capture before the end of the year as long as you can dictate the terms of reference and appoint the chairman. Fair enough. What about getting Comrade Judge Chris Nicholson out of retirement? If it wasn’t for him, you’d be in your thirteenth year of a fifteen-year sentence by now. In theory, anyway. I’m sure if you had been tried back in 2009, you’d have come down with a bad case of the Shaiks and been released after a month or two.

What do you think about this Peter Hain character poking his nose where it doesn’t belong? One minute he’s fighting apartheid and the next he’s trying to bring down the ANC government. Typical bloody liberal. Can’t be trusted. He’s just jealous that you have the Guptas and he doesn’t. And now he wants to destroy a bunch of banks just because they laundered a few billion rands of our taxpayer’s money. Try to get him on the payroll before he causes even more trouble.

Anyway. Must dash. Got to renew my passport in case your ex becomes president of the ANC and then the country. You couldn’t live with her so I don’t see why I should have to.

A loota continua.

Dr Ben Trovato

Whip2

How to Stay Alive

With all this talk of farm murders and other crimes of a less savage nature, I thought it a good time to share a chapter from my book Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival.

 

BUYING property is a big decision. Bigger even than choosing a wife. These days it is far easier to divorce a dud wife than it is to sell a dud house.

You home is your castle. You worked hard for it and you have the right to defend it with your life. Or, preferably, someone else’s life.

When it comes to choosing where to buy, a lot of people make straight for the gated villages and security estates. I am not a big fan of these for a number of reasons, chief among them the fact that you can’t escape easily if the sheriff comes looking for you.

Whether you opt to live in the leaf-riddled suburbs, within the walls of a fortified compound or free-range on a farm, you need to pay close attention to the points of entry. Some people prefer to stay in apartments high up in the sky where the yellow-eyed varmints can’t get to them. The estate agents call this a lock-up-and-go. All my life, wherever I have lived, I have simply locked up and gone. And yet I have been burgled more times than I care to mention. So much for that idea.

The suburbs are the natural habitat of the common housebreaker. Although they are solitary animals, it is not uncommon to find two or three of them hunting together. These shy creatures are easily startled and are difficult to spot during the day. Nocturnal by nature, they have a keen eye for detail, especially when it comes to alarm systems and dogs.

Police have warned that “scouts” leave coded messages on the pavement indicating which houses are safe to be robbed. Green crème soda cans let the boys know it’s open house. Red Coke cans signify that a little force might be required. Police urge residents to report strange objects that appear on the pavements outside their homes. Among the unusual objects that regularly appear on my pavement are drunk homeless people. I am still trying to work out what this signifies. I also on occasion leave half-empty beer bottles outside my house. I hope this strange new code gives the varmints sleepless nights.

The only way to ensure that you are never broken into is to make your house impregnable. Doors and windows are the weakest security points. These must be bricked up. Make sure you do this from the inside. If you have a chimney, seal it off. Burglars can also gain entry through your roof so you will need to replace your ceiling with a concrete slab. Your house should now be completely safe. Nobody will be able to get in to rob you. Nobody will be able to get out, either, so make sure you have enough food to last for the rest of your life. If you are married to someone who insists on getting out now and again, then you should probably consider other options.

Here are a few ways you can minimise the chances of getting burgled.

Moats

Apart from being one of the sillier words in the English language, a moat can be highly effective in keeping the varmints at bay. To minimise your water bill, it is best to run hoses from taps around the neighbourhood. If you live near a stream or river, go out late at night with a spade and divert it so that it fills your moat.

Once your moat is full, you may want to make a feature of it by adding water lilies, fountains and a couple of crocodiles to take care of those housebreakers who, as adults, have learned to swim.

Crocodiles are easily obtained in South Africa. Lake St Lucia is well stocked with these brutes. In Zululand, nature conservation officials move slower than the crocs so you need not worry about getting caught. You should worry more about getting eaten. With that in mind, try to avoid taking fully-grown crocs. As tempting as may be to have instant security, you will have trouble fitting more than one adult in the boot of your car. You could tie another to your roof racks if you don’t mind attracting attention.

If you are pressed for time, it makes more sense to load up on eggs. You can visit one of our crocodile farms and stuff the eggs down your pants when nobody is looking or you can get them on eBay for a few dollars apiece.

The eggs of saltwater crocodiles take about 80 days to hatch, but I would suggest you stay away from these unless you are prepared to go to the trouble of converting your moat. Some people say chlorine is best, others swear by salt. I don’t want to get involved. This argument has claimed lives.

You are most likely to end up with Nile crocodiles. Crocodylus niloticus can grow to over five metres long and weigh up to a ton so it is best to get them while they are young. Unless you want the SPCA on your case, you will have to feed your crocodiles on a regular basis. Although they will get to eat the occasional drunk who falls into your moat, this should be seen more as a dietary supplement than anything else.

One of the major benefits of using crocodiles instead of other aquatic species such as geese or hippos is that crocodiles can live for up to 80 years in captivity. Not having to replace your watchcrocs will save you a lot of money in the long run. Don’t forget to get the drawbridge people in before you fill your moat.

Landmines

Some people have a thing about landmines. Princess Diana was one. She decorated two entire rooms at Balmoral with disarmed mines. The green room was reserved for anti-tank mines, the red room for anti-personnel mines. They were all there, from the Soviet POMZ-2 to the American M-18 Claymore. A particular favourite of Diana’s was the Valmara 69. Produced in Singapore, this little baby can shoot more than a thousand metal fragments over a 25-metre radius. Sometimes, when William and Harry were little, she would bring out the OZM-3 jumping mine as a special treat and let them play with it. The princes had hours of fun trying to catch it as it bounced through the castle.

None of this, however, is of any concern to you. All you have to do is remember where you laid your mines. I have heard of people who went to the trouble of sowing a minefield around their house only to step outside to fetch the newspaper and get blown up. It is essential that you create a map showing precisely where the mines are.

Most housebreakers prefer to take the path less trodden, so you might want to scatter some of those mines in the more inaccessible areas of your garden. Try not to bury any in the flowerbeds. Reliable gardeners are hard to find these days.

If you are a real patriot you will want to get your hands on something homegrown. During the 1980s Armscor turned out some damn fine blast and fragmentation mines. Unfortunately these have not been stocked at local hardware stores since Nelson Mandela was released. You could try getting your mines from the Russian mafia in Cape Town, but be advised that it is very difficult to get through to them. On all levels.

Here’s an idea. Why not make it a fun outing? Take the family to Angola for the weekend. Even though the country is a little run-down, landmines can still be found in most of the rural areas. It might take a while, but with a little poking around, you, mom or one of the kids are almost guaranteed to pick up a few good-quality mines for use around the home.

Walls and fences

The Germans and Israelis have done more to popularise defensive walls than any other nation in recent times. The trend was started by Roman emperor Hadrian in 122 AD when he built a stone wall right across Great Britain. It was the only way he could keep the lunatic Scots at bay. The feat impressed the electorate back in Rome and simultaneously served as a warning that Romans would not hesitate to build stone walls should anyone dare try to stop them from taking over the world.

Today, Hadrian’s Wall is the most popular attraction in northern England and tourists are often seen walking the length of it. Considering what else is on offer in northern England, this is extreme adventure at its best.

If we had to be honest we would admit that the Chinese started this nonsense with walls around 220 BC, but they claim credit for way too much already and I doubt that I shall mention them again.

Not everybody believes in the power of walls. The anti-wallers believe that by erecting a wall you are converting your home into a prison. What’s wrong with that? When last did you hear of a prison being broken into? How often does the head warden get back to his office to find his door kicked in and his TV missing? It just doesn’t happen. Prisons are the safest places on earth because they have walls around them.

Barbed wire vs blade wire

Anyone who grew up in South Africa will have a soft spot for barbed wire. Anyone who is white, of course. Barbed wire was invented to keep the darkies in their place and out of yours. Barbed wire sent out an unambiguous signal. Barbed wire was on the side of right. Barbed wire was strong. Trustworthy. It had principles.

Barbed wire topped the fences around our military bases. It lined the streets whenever the natives got restless. It lay there in tight reassuring coils in hardware stores throughout this once great country. If it weren’t for barbed wire, parliament would have fallen to the communists long before 1994. And if barbed wire is good enough for Guantanamo Bay, it’s good enough for your home.

The only negative thing I can say about barbed wire is that it is very working class. If you have received a good education and are well spoken (i.e. English-speaking), the chances are that you will prefer to secure your house with something that has a little more breeding. I am talking about razor wire, also known as blade wire. The Germans came up with it in World War One. And even though they eventually lost the war, they did succeed in killing several million enemy soldiers before admitting defeat. This was not bad going for a country that had little more than the crumbling Ottoman Empire and a couple of stoned Hungarians on their side.

It was at 11am of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 that a ceasefire came into effect. At 10.58am, a German sniper shot Canadian George Price through the head. Being the last soldier to die in the Great War showed the world once and for all what Canadians really are – a bunch of no-hope losers with an appalling sense of time and place.

This has nothing to do with razor wire.

Eina ivy

The most aesthetically pleasing device to come out of the home security industry. Its spikes will tear your burglar to shreds, but at least he can admire its shroud of lifelike plastic green leaves while slowly bleeding to death in the hydrangeas.

Alarms

Home alarm systems remain one of the most popular deterrents to people who lie around all day drinking wine from plastic bottles and smoking crystal meth and then when everything runs out they think they can come over to your house and take your stuff and sell it for a fraction of its worth so that they can stay drunk and wired for another three days. If it were that easy, we would all be doing it.

Alarms work by frightening off burglars who suffer from hyperacusis, an abnormal sensitivity to loud noises. These burglars, who make up 0.1% of the housebreaking fraternity, now wear earplugs to work.

Alarms are also designed to alert the neighbours that there is trouble next door. However, neighbours in South Africa have long since learnt not to get involved in anything that happens beyond their garden gate. The house next door could be dismantled piece-by-piece and carried away by a chorus line of transvestites in fishnet stockings and latex rubber leotards singing “Hi ho hi ho it’s off to work we go” and still the neighbours would say, “Didn’t hear a thing. We had the rugby on, you know.”

These days most alarms are linked to armed response companies. Keep in mind that most housebreaking syndicates are also linked to armed response companies.

If you are at home and your alarm is activated, all it really does is induce cardiac arrest in the elderly and infirm, give you a splitting migraine and encourage your cats and dogs to find a new home in the next town.

If you insist on an alarm that makes a conventional wailing sound, I suggest you invest in the type that Israel uses to warn people in Haifa that Hezbollah is about to ruin their day. If your alarm can be heard by every police station in the city, the odds are dramatically increased that someone might come around and investigate. If it’s not lunchtime, that is.

Try to get your hands on a Chrysler Air Raid Siren. It is the size of a car and weighs three tons but if you can hoist it up on to your roof, it would be a desperate burglar who would keep robbing you with 138dB howling into his head.

You may want to impress or even terrify your neighbours by acquiring a siren that has the ability to broadcast voice messages. These electronic sirens are similar to conventional sirens except for the fact that they rely on a series of electrodynamic, horn-loaded loudspeaker drivers to produce sound. I presume you record your message in much the same way that you would on your telephone answering machine. Here are a few suggestions in case you can’t come up with any of your own:

“The house is surrounded. Get down on the floor. If you move, you will be shot.” (Edit in background sound of helicopters and dogs barking).

“This is God speaking. Stop that at once.” (Insert background sound of thunder and a chorus of celestial voices raised in anger).

“Freeze! I’m Ma Baker! Put your hands in the air and gimme all your money!” (Boney M instrumentals in the background).

CCTV

Closed-circuit television has revolutionised home security. Cameras mounted in strategic places are able to monitor a housebreaker as he climbs over your garden wall, enters through a downstairs window, walks down the passage, grabs a beer from the kitchen, heads up the stairs and sidles into your bedroom where he ties you up and steals all your valuables, leaving you with a unique video of an unidentified man in a balaclava roaming around your house and robbing you blind, which you can then show to all your friends and use as justification for emigrating to Perth. You may find it more rewarding to use your CCTV system to make cheap porn.

Armed response

Armed response units are to police what paramedics are to doctors. They walk, talk and smell just like real cops but are quicker on the draw because they don’t have to fill in as much paperwork after gunning down a varmint. On the down side, they are paid almost as badly as cops. And, like cops, they also have habits to feed, gambling debts to pay and kids to put through reformatory. This is worth bearing in mind when you invite them into your home to inspect the entry and exit points and provide them with your secret code and a detailed schedule of your movements.

Dogs

Let us be clear on one thing. Dogs are animals. They are not meant to be kept as pets. We have all been to the beach or to a park and seen someone throw a ball for a dog. Perhaps you have even done it yourself. You people make me so angry. Why in god’s name are you encouraging your dog to chase balls when it is blindingly obvious to all who care about these things that he should be chasing criminals? Every time your dog runs after a ball, somewhere out there is a criminal not being chased.

And you, you with that fur-covered beach ball. Oh, it’s a Labrador, is it? Shame, give him another piece of cake. Watch him go into cardiac arrest through the sheer effort of wagging his anaconda-like tail. You, madam, are doing your dog and this country a great disservice. Your Labrador should be a lean, mean killing machine. He should be at home patrolling your perimeter fence, fangs a-slaver and barking mightily at anything that moves.

Big dogs are the infantry in our fight against crime. Their position is at the front. If you only have one dog, get another to watch the back. They are the first line of defence against those who wish to take our stuff and our lives.

Little dogs are signallers in this war. They form part of an early warning system and should be scattered about the property. Their job is to alert the big dogs that something might need checking out.

It is also useful to keep a supply of miniature breeds inside your house. If a burglar does gain entrance, one of the more effective methods of slowing him down is to throw them at him. Do not waste your dogs. Use them wisely. If you have done your job properly, your handheld dogs will have been trained to bite on impact. There are very few burglars who feel comfortable robbing you with two or three lapdogs hanging from their face. On the down side, small dogs frequently come with a manufacturer’s defect. Once they start yapping they frequently forget how to stop. A finger up the bum usually turns them off.

Breeds

Alsatians make the best guard dogs. Originally bred as all-purpose working dogs, they have a proud history of keeping darkies out of white areas. They also spent a lot of time on Jesus’s side of the Berlin Wall helping to fight communism.

They are handsome hounds, even if a bit right wing, and you will have to watch out for those neighbourhood bitches slipping in for a quickie while your dog is meant to be working.

If you are in the market for an Alsatian, pop in to your local police station and see if there are any on special. Try to get a dog from the drug squad. That way the days of misplacing your stash will be over.

Alsatians have their own governing body called the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde. Being German, the dogs understand what this means but they are often reluctant to talk about it. Perhaps it is like belonging to the Freemasons.

Some famous Alsatians are Hitler’s dog, Blondi; Rex the Wonder Dog; Rin Tin Tin and Orca of the SAPS KZN Midlands K9 Unit.

Bull terriers would make ideal guard dogs if you could only get them to open their jaws and let go. Nobody wants to pay top dollar for a pedigree dog and then have to cut its head off so the burglar can be thrown into a police car/mortuary van/hole in your back yard.

Whippets are faster than cheetahs in built-up areas. Obviously, out on the plains the cheetah will whip the whippet’s ass any day. When it comes to protecting your house, the whippet isn’t much good. Nobody is likely to be deterred by the sight of its tiny head, huge chest and ridiculously long legs. That its tail is permanently wedged between its legs is also less than intimidating.

A whippet will only care about whether the strange man climbing over your wall has any food in his pockets. Look at him in a friendly fashion and he will grin gratefully, roll over onto his back and open his legs. If I ever get the chance to dabble in genetics, I am going to cross breed a whippet with a woman.

Your whippet comes into his own when the burglar tries to flee. To see some real sport, tie something soft and furry (a pair of bunny slippers would work) to the burglar’s ankles and give him a 30-second head start.

Dachshunds are a bit of a gamble insofar as security is concerned. If the burglar does not incapacitate himself with laughter, you might want to have a back-up plan.

Zulu hunting dogs only work if the intruder is Zulu.

crocmoat