Day: October 13, 2013

An open letter to the matric class of 2013

Dear adultlings,

Congratulations on making it to the end of the beginning. Twelve years of being bullied, belittled and, in several thousand cases, banged up. A South African education prepares you for real life like no other.

I wish I could give you some advice on how to get through the exams without suffering a nervous breakdown. When I hear the word ‘exams’, my sphincter snaps shut and my knees sweat. And that’s not only because the last exam I took involved my prostate.

I regard the brutally interrogative nature of exams with fear and loathing. Sit down and shut up. Don’t move. Don’t look around. Answer these questions. Now. Think very carefully before you answer. Tell us how much you know. Tell us everything. And be warned. If your answers are wrong, we will make sure you never go to university. You will never find a job. We will destroy you.

If it were up to me, kiddo, you wouldn’t be asked to simplify tan(90° + x) .sin(-x-180°). In fact, I can’t believe they are still teaching this filth in our schools. If you are 18 and interested in relationships between fixed points and angles, you’re in a whole lot of trouble and I can’t help you.

Trigonometry is the work of the devil. Sure, it can tell you the distance to a nearby star. But why do you need to know this? Are you planning on going there? Don’t you think your mother would start worrying when she last heard from you five light years ago?

The only numbers you need to know are the cellphone numbers of people who work for the government. Call them up and ask them to organise a job for you. Bribe, blackmail or threaten them. The main thing is to get your bum in the butter.

If you don’t manage to crack the Grade 12 pass mark of 30 percent, don’t despair. President Zuma has a Grade Four education and look how well he is doing.

Of course, you are going to have to find a way of getting other people to subsidise your lifestyle. You probably have the gift of the gab, right? After all, you must have spent the last decade talking in class instead of paying attention.

Start a political party. Tell people they will rot in hell if they don’t give you money. And smile a lot. If you can dance, so much the better. Make sure they watch your feet, not your hands.

The rest of you will soon have a senior certificate in your grubby little paws. This is an important piece of paper and will come in useful when you’re jobless and homeless and need something to burn to keep warm at night.

As a new cog in a very old machine, you may feel a little lost in this big, grown-up world. Don’t worry. It won’t last for long. Soon you will have lots of new friends phoning you at all hours of the day and night. Many of them will work for Sars, the municipality, traffic department, insurance companies, estate agencies and banks.

Not all of them will want your money. Some will want your vote. Others will want your soul. Try to fight off the politicians and proselytisers for as long as you can.

Also, get yourself a gun. If you find yourself being chased down the N2 by the police or hemmed in by a car full of blue-light bodyguards, the decent and patriotic thing to do is shoot yourself. This saves them the trouble of having to do it and they can get back to doing the important work we pay them to do.

So, good luck, then. I do hope you aren’t the ones to nudge my country over the edge and into the abyss.

Bring on the tokoloshe

Limpopo is one of those provinces where people believe that sleeping with a vulture’s head in your bed can make you see into the future. You can pick up a head for around R600 from your local muti merchant. That’s not a bad investment considering how much money you can win on the Lotto after the decapitated scavenger pops Wednesday’s numbers into your brain at 3am.

I slept with a chicken once and experienced some kind of epiphany. It wasn’t pretty and I don’t want to talk about it.

It makes sense, then, that President Zuma would choose Limpopo to play on the superstitions of the local yokels in an attempt to scare them into voting for the ANC.

Speaking at the 33rd Presbyterian Synod in the glittering gem of Giyani a week ago, he told the wide-eyed flock that God had made a connection between the government and the church and that people should therefore pray for the government.

By pray, he meant vote.

I am not sure if Zuma received first-hand confirmation of this bilateral agreement or whether he got tipped off by an intelligence source tapping the divine grapevine. Either way, once you have a leader who thinks he is ruling with a mandate from above, it’s best to keep a bag packed and your passport handy.

Comrade pastor Zuma also suggested that people who failed to respect the country’s leaders would be cursed. These are dangerous words in a province where a woman dare not publicly badmouth a neighbour for fear that he falls ill the next day. It’s the quickest way to get a visit from the local witch-burner.

As we approach elections, I anticipate that the ruling party will find many interesting new ways of terrifying the electorate into voting for them. It wouldn’t surprise me if, for instance, the Tokoloshe made a comeback. This naughty little imp seems relatively harmless compared with today’s gangs of marauding panga-wielding maniacs who will chew your fingers off and iron your face just for the hell of it.

With a bit of creative input from the department of electoral landslides, I’m fairly certain we can expect an appearance by Election Tokoloshe in the next couple of months. This supernatural scoundrel will wreak all manner of mayhem in your home if you dare say anything positive about the opposition. He can read your thoughts, too, so don’t even think about voting for the DA, EFF, Agang or any other interloper who thinks they can do better than the ruling party.

And you can forget about putting your bed on bricks. The only way to keep yourself safe from Election Tokoloshe is to carry an ANC membership card with you at all times. And remember ­­– Election Tokoloshe is invisible. Just because you don’t see him in the voting booth doesn’t mean he isn’t there.

The ministries will, in due course, follow the lead of the president and announce the spells, curses and incantations to be cast, invoked and chanted so that all may enjoy five more prosperous years. And by all, I mean ministers and their friends and families.

I have some predictions of my own.

The ministry of economic affairs will call on citizens to boil two western leopard toads and a fruit bat at midnight on a full moon, then stand on their heads and sing the national anthem backwards. Failure to do this will see the country’s economic situation worsen and you will be to blame.

To improve your personal economic situation, you will need to spit on your hands three times and rub the ash from a seven-day-old snoek braai in your hair. Then emigrate.

The ministry of basic education will ask voters to pour the blood of a freshly slaughtered riverine rabbit into a gilded chalice and, while a lesbian dwarf recites the Freedom Charter, drink it at sunrise on the morning after the election results have been announced. This will guarantee a 100 percent pass rate for the matric class of 2014. Don’t fail another generation, people.

The ministry of police will call on every bisexual man, woman and child to crush and snort the spine of a Knysna seahorse if it rains on election day. This will take care of the crime problem. So if you are serious about eradicating crime, keep a seahorse handy and pray for rain. And don’t think you can get away with snorting something else. It has to be a seahorse. From Knysna.

I could go on, but I won’t.

Of course, none of this will work if you vote for a party other than the ANC. It would be like expecting to have a happy afterlife if your prophet were someone other than Jesus. Quite ridiculous.

Meanwhile, word on the street is that the ANC has booked God to ensure a resounding victory at the polls. However, because an election date has not yet been set, it remains a provisional booking for now. This could backfire, especially if it turns out that the Springboks are playing on the day. God has a long-term contract with Bryan Habana and it seems unlikely that he will break it just to keep the ANC happy.