Dear Comrade Patrice,
My father always told me not to beg for anything. Today, he is a very proud man. Living in a cardboard box on the N3, but proud nevertheless. I would rather be rich and ashamed. This is why I am writing to you today.
I have swallowed my pride. It wasn’t easy. I had to wash it down with a dozen beers.
I am, after all, a white man and we are traditionally accustomed to rejecting the hoi polloi with a wave of the hand or a burst of automatic gunfire should a ragged urchin happen to ring the doorbell while the rugby is on.
There is no other way to say this, so here it is. Please, sir, may I have some of your money?
I am emailing you a photograph of me down on my knees kissing a photograph of your shoes. Very nice shoes they are, too. Is that gold plating or were they crafted from Krugerrands melted in furnaces fuelled by the bones of widows and orphans? Just kidding. They are a gift from the guys over at the Mint, right?
You should have the next pair studded with a bunch of Nicky Oppenheimer’s blood diamonds.
Listen to me, giving you fashion advice! You should see my wardrobe. I live inside it in someone else’s bedroom. It’s not too bad. The rent is reasonable and I have a candle for light, heat and cooking. Now who’s laughing, Eskom?
It is unlikely that I would be soliciting so brazenly had I not read a story in the lying, filth-mongering, foreign-controlled media about you donating half the family fortune to the Motsepe Foundation.
My friend Ted said donating money to your own foundation is nothing short of money laundering. I called him a paranoid racist pig and had the neighbourhood watch come around and administer a rectal examination with one of their high voltage cattle prods. He seemed to enjoy it.
Besides, if that’s money laundering, then Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet are also up to no good. White Anglo-Saxon prostitutes, I beg your pardon, Protestants would never dare do anything to besmirch the puritanical reputation of their pilgrim forefathers.
From what I can gather, your magnanimous gesture is aimed at improving the lives of the poor, disabled, women and the youth.
I don’t suppose it’s enough that I am merely poor. You should know, then, that I am prepared to become a woman if it means getting my snout into your largesse.
Would you insist that I have my giblets chopped off? If not, then I am quite happy to become a woman in other ways. I would wear skirts and panties, wash my hair three times a day, shave my nether regions, check my phone every thirty seconds and behave like a lunatic for five days out of every month.
If that’s not enough, I am prepared to become disabled as well. I don’t mind losing a leg if it means never having to work again. I mean, walk again. It doesn’t have to be a leg. An arm is fine. Just not my right one. I use that for drinking and, well, the other thing. You know. You’re married. Of course you know.
Patrice, if you … may I call you Patrice? It seems as if we already know each other. If you cashed in your chips tomorrow, you could walk away with R24-billion rand.
If I were you, I’d buy Zimbabwe first thing Monday morning. Imagine the fun you could have with your very own country. Come to think of it, you could buy Jacob Zuma for a lot less and still have your own country. This might already have happened.
Over the years, I have been watching you grow richer and richer and I often wondered when the bank would call you and tell you to start getting rid of some of it because they were running out of space.
What prompted this sudden act of generosity? Ted says you must have gone to South America on a business deal when you were kidnapped by shamans and taken to the Temple of the Way of Light deep in the Amazon jungle and made to drink ayahuasca which opened up channels to the spirit world where the Cosmic Serpent told you to share your wealth with those who needed it.
I know this guy in Cape Town who went to Peru and drank a ton of ayahuasca and when he came back he bought me breakfast after a surf at Muizenberg, something he never would have done before.
It’s definitely possible that you were in an altered state of consciousness when you decided to give away half your fortune, and I don’t particularly care whether you reached this state after taking a psychoactive drink or a call from your accountant.
The important thing is that you did it.
Let’s get back to me for a moment. Like John F Kennedy, I, too, have asked not what I can do for my country, but what my country can do for me. Not much, as it turns out.
Oh, sure. My country was very nice to me when it came to guaranteeing me an education, a job and plenty of room to spread out on North Beach in December. But that was then, before democracy came along and ruined everything. I have been outraged for a very long time.
You can’t love anyone unless you love yourself and you can’t help anyone unless you help yourself. And I want to help myself. To your money.
However, I am so far back in the queue that I might as well give you something instead. Advice.
Listen to me. I know what I’m talking about. Your charity will be wasted. A fish rots from the head down.
Rather use your money to stamp out corruption by bribing the government to do its job properly.
Be our Pied Piper leading these rats out of temptation, down the path of righteousness and into the promised land.
We want to fear no evil as we walk down the valley where Dr Death lives when he is not pretending to be a motivational speaker.
We want to lie down in green pastures and smoke them without fear of being arrested.
We want to be comforted by your rod and your staff, but we would rather you lost the rod. And make sure your staff are who they say they are. The Congolese are everywhere these days and they won’t hesitate to watch your car.
Call me. I am so looking forward to my cup running over.