An Open Letter to SA National Defence Force Chief, General Solly Shoke

Dear General,

I got quite a shock when I saw you on telly the other evening. I thought Magnus Malan still had the job.

Like many white people, I stopped taking an interest in current affairs in 1994. However, I didn’t think for one minute that the new government would ever put a black man in charge of the armed forces.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Some of my best friends are black men. Well, that’s not strictly true. But I do know someone who has a friend who works with a black man and they sometimes go for a drink together after work. If they ever had to invite me, I would definitely go. It would cost me a bit more because darkies aren’t so quick to buy a round, but it would be worth it just for the sake of good race relations. Plus, if we had to go for a leak at the same time, I could see if it’s true what they say about black men. Just kidding! When I am at the urinals, I always make a point of not looking. Unless the other chap looks first. Then it’s open season.

Anyway. This is not why I am writing to you.

I wanted to congratulate you on the magnificent performance put up by your men in Bangui, the beautiful capital of the Central African Republic. What was it – 200 men against half a million drug-crazed rebels? And we whipped their asses. In fact, we have been whipping African asses all the way from Cairo to Cuito Cuanavale for the last seventy years.

Remember Tobruk? I can. I was there. I personally took out a Panza tank and a Stuka bomber and was on my way to give Rommel a swift kick in the nuts when a member of the Italian Motorised Corps advanced on my rear and I was forced to flee. Some effete little pantywaist by the name of General Klopper waved the white flag and handed the city to the Nazis soon after.

You will never be a Klopper, General! You are a Rommel! Don’t stop at the Central African Republic, I implore you.

We can take Chad easily. I knew a Chad once. He was a pushover. Literally.

Niger will capitulate in exchange for three goats and a bottle of whiskey.

Algeria’s a bitch so you might want to skirt that one.

My suggestion is you take a left at the Niger border and go through Mali. They only wake up on Tuesdays for an hour or so, which gives you plenty of time.

Then punch through Mauritania. Your men will meet with no resistance. Well, almost none. My sources tell me they should expect to be confronted by an elderly man with one leg and half a face. He is in charge of the government’s human trafficking department. Give him two of your smallest, most effeminate soldiers and move on to the Western Sahara. It calls itself a country but nobody really believes that.

From the top of a hill, you should be able to see the lights of Casablanca. Once your men have taken Morocco – easily done on a Friday when half the army is at prayers and the other half is stoned on hashish – you need to regroup in Tangiers. Give your men 24 hours off. The whores are excellent and the opium even better.

I expect you will get a call from President Zuma congratulating you on “defending” all those democracies. But he is a nationalist at heart and will probably suggest you move on to Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, where the men can take some time off to watch the migration of refugees across the Serengeti.

My advice is that you ignore his orders. During the wild years, Zuma was the ANC’s head of underground structures and chief of intelligence. If he were a superhero, his name would be Supermole.

Forget Africa. Once you have taken Morocco, steal a fishing boat and get your men across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Spain. Europe’s transportation system is effective and reliable and, with the right tickets, they should be able to get off and defend democracy in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Let them rest for a while in the brothels and cannabis cafes of Amsterdam before unleashing them on Germany. Once Berlin is ours, the world is ours.

Ideally, of course, we’d help to secure peace and democracy in America, too. But that would mean having to fix our submarines and there just aren’t enough spare parts in the world for that.

I am something of a military man myself, having served in the illustrious 2 Signals Regiment. Our emblem was a little dude with wings. He might have also had a bow and arrow. Maybe it was Cupid. The infantrymen called him Jimmy the Cunt. I don’t know why. Or maybe they were just talking about Jimmy, the guy two beds down from me. I don’t remember much from that time. Post traumatic stress, probably. Or alcohol abuse.

What I am saying is that you need more signalmen and fewer paratroopers when you next decide to enforce democracy in a country that falls two rungs below basketcase.

Parabats love jumping out of planes but you can’t keep them on the ground for too long. Once they have defended democracy for a day or two, you need to get them into the air and have someone push them out at 20 000 feet or risk having them become all listless and dispirited, which obviously makes it easier for rebel armies to sneak up and shoot them.

Signalmen, on the other hand, never sleep. They are constantly tapping, whether it be sources, Morse code or the sergeant major’s one-eyed daughter.

So I am asking that the next time you send a frigate up the Umgeni River to bring peace and democracy to the savages of Lesotho, you give me a call. I apologise. The uMngeni River. Old colonial habits die hard.

By the way, did you hear that the new pope has called for an end to the violence and looting in the Central African Republic? This is outrageous. I don’t even care that the Catholic Church has its foundations in violence and looting. Without hypocrisy, organised religion just wouldn’t be the same.

But for him to bring this up in his very first general audience suggests this is a meddlesome pope. A dangerous pope. A pope who has the interests of ordinary Africans at heart, much like the early missionaries who came to Africa. They had the Bible and we had the land. They said, “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes and when we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.

I think Archbishop Tutu might have said that. It’s a great line. Truth is, I could do a hell of a lot more with a Bible than I could with a piece of land. I don’t have a clue about the proper care and feeding of a beetroot, but I do know how to use a book as a doorstop or tear out a page when the Rizlas run out.

The International Crisis Group – based in Brussels in case you think it is a bunch of crack addicts based in Muizenberg – described the Central African Republic as a “phantom state”. Listen to me, general. Forget about rearming. You need to rebrand. Your unit in Bangui? They are no longer paratroopers. They are Ghostbusters. You can thank me later.

In the meantime, let us scramble those fancy Swedish jets of ours and target the people who are really responsible for this mess. Yes, general, I am talking about carpet bombing Paris and Versailles.

Since we have only two pilots trained to fly the Gripen, I would suggest we let one bomb Paris and then land on the Champs Elysee and let the second pilot take over and continue on to Versailles with instructions to either bomb the palace or, if he is too drunk, make a U-turn and ditch into Disneyland.

Looters and gunmen are roaming the streets of Bangui as we speak. Perhaps we should send in ADT. They deal with this kind of thing every day of the week.

I think we should support the rebels. Maybe sign a memorandum of misunderstanding with them. When I was a schoolboy, a teacher called me a rebel. I threatened to burn his house down. He laughed and patted me on the head. It was the last thing he ever patted.

I’m ready to go, general. All I need is a gun and a bag of bullets. And maybe a cooler box full of beer. We can win this thing.

Let the “training and capacity building” begin.

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14 thoughts on “An Open Letter to SA National Defence Force Chief, General Solly Shoke

  1. Eish! Thees man….he ees tekking the pees out of the very profeshinal SANDF. Oh, end eet eed not true thet 60% hev got eds end thet most won’t go fighting becoz they got toothache or piles! Amandhla uwetu!!!

  2. Yes its a good thing what our armed men are doing in their uniform, infact I apploud what they had to put up with in CAR. But our General has to also pay attention on the increasing number of reserve force members, imagen being training a group of people weapon marks manship and then later throw them on the streets?has it ever crossed the minds of any of our military leaders to compensate the families or MSDS members who got injured on line of duty?I’m talking about members who were involved in an accident that occured on the 12th November 2011 when an armoured car collided with a civilian truck that claimed two lifes? Are those members permanently hired or did they receive formal recurring trauma counselling?

    Anyway was just putting my remark in passing.

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