Month: July 2014

A complex problem

The gates to the complex had jammed shut and the residents were getting jumpy. People were late for work and I was late for a surf. Through the trees, beyond the electrified fence, I could see the ocean. The onshore wind was picking up. Much more of this malarkey and the best part of the day would be ruined.

We milled about shaking our heads, muttering darkly, pressing our remotes, tugging futilely at the intractable gate. Something heavy hit a roof and ricocheted into the undergrowth. Probably a coconut. Or a drunk monkey. Mrs Cohen from number nine screamed. I laughed.

“It’s not funny!” she shrieked. “We’re trapped here! Anything could happen!” I gave her the lazy eye. “Just relax,” I said. “This isn’t Gaza.”

It was as if I had pressed some sort of panic button embedded in her brain. She went pale, clutched her jewellery and began making a sound identical to the Israeli sirens that follow the firing of a Hamas missile.

“We could tunnel our way out,” I suggested helpfully. The wailing kicked up a notch. Somewhere in the complex, a dog began howling. Mr Pillay from number six shook his head. “Probably best not to mention tunnels,” he said. I nodded towards Mrs Cohen. “Maybe you should go and comfort her,” I said. He shook his head. “I’m a Muslim. She will have a heart attack.” I shrugged, went back to my simplex and turned on the television for another hit of horror.

“A child is being killed every hour in Gaza,” intoned a Sky reporter. In other news, Prince George has celebrated his first birthday. I fetched a beer from the fridge. In times like these, it’s never too early to start drinking.

What does a Hamas fighter even look like? It’s important that people such as Mrs Cohen know these things to avoid mistaking one for a gardener emerging from the shrubbery.

Rebels throughout the ages have generally possessed well-developed egos. Che Guevara went to extraordinary lengths to get his face on a T-shirt. Spartacus had a movie made of his life. And don’t even get me started on Jesus and that whole cross business. You might think at least one of the Hamas soldiers would have taken a selfie by now and leaked it to the press. I certainly would have. Not on one of those cameras with a built-in GPS, obviously. Click! “Hey guys, I …” BOOM!!

The good news is that our government has sent a team led by Aziz Pahad to Israel and Palestine “to convey our growing concern with the escalation of violence there”. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper and just as effective to send an email? No, that’s too impersonal. Maybe a phone call.

“Shalom, can I speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu?”

“Of course not. There is a war on. Who are you?”

“This is Aziz Pahad from …”

“Pahad? You are Arab? Hold on …”

“Actually, I’m representing the South African …” BOOM!!

Just kidding. Not even Israel has a missile powerful enough to reach us. We should all sleep better knowing that.

I barely remember Aziz Pahad. Then again, I barely remember last weekend. Wikipedia reminded me that he was once our deputy foreign minister. Apparently he played a prominent role in South Africa’s attempt to stop the US-led attack on Iraq in 2003. That went well. I imagine after Pahad’s visit, Israel will agree to implement a two-state solution – the state of Israel and the republic of Israel.

I hope he at least gets to have his picture taken with Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas. Did you know that Hamas is an acronym? I didn’t. It stands for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, which means: “Silence! I kill you!”

Meanwhile, in parliament last week, MPs of all stripe and size called on the government to play a more active role in trying to broker a ceasefire between these rebarbative Jews and Arabs. I think President Zuma would be very good at negotiating a settlement, even if it is of the out-of-court kind.

DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa reminded everyone what they already know. “Israel and Palestinian leaders must return to negotiations, all hostilities must be brought to an end, and all strategies employed that result in the death of civilians must cease immediately.”

Or else what, Mokgalapa? If you’re going to state the blindingly obvious, at least follow it up with some sort of threat. Like, “We won’t buy any more Israeli tomatoes at Woolies if you don’t stop.”

Even UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who is about as threatening as a harp seal, has issued a warning. “If more than, say, one million Palestinian civilians die, we will be forced to ask Israel and America for permission to hold some sort of meeting.” He then apologised and had a bit of a cry.

The EFF’s pin-up girl for the revolution, Magdalene Moonsamy, said her party was calling for “an immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and not to leave for hours but recall without return”. I’d hate to know what that came out as after being translated into Hebrew. I wouldn’t have thought the situation stood to benefit by sending Israelis back to Israel.

Comrade Moonsamy continued: “We demand the end of Israel’s illegal occupation and further instruct the South African government to end all business with companies that continue to perpetuate terrorism in Palestine.”

The EFF is instructing the government? Way to get them to do the exact opposite. I predict a lot more kosher food appearing in parliament’s cafeteria soon. And don’t be surprised if you see Gwede Mantashe wearing a yarmulke the next time he makes an appearance.

Apart from the overarching apartheid theme, there are many similarities between us and them. Nkandla is roughly the size of Gaza with fewer people but more goats. The Nkandla goats are better off than the people in Gaza, though, in that nobody bombs them. However, they do on occasion get eaten. What they lose on the swings, they gain on the roundabouts. Not that goats care much for playgrounds.

Eskom could learn a lot from Israel. For instance, Israel drops leaflets in a particular area advising residents that there will be load shedding in their area. This gives them thirty seconds to move to another area where load shedding isn’t due for another hour. The load being shed, in their case, mainly constitutes 150mm artillery shells.

Eskom doesn’t even bother with leaflets. They simply shed their load, regardless of whether or not you’ve had time to flee to a neighbourhood that has power. You can do yourself a nasty mischief stumbling around in the dark looking for the matches. Sure, it’s not the same as losing an arm or a leg, or your entire family, but a barked shin at my age is no joke.

 

Lotto for the literate

A lot of people are asking me how they can get hold of my latest book without actually paying money for it. That’s just how they roll.

One of the ways is to enter a competition being run by the publishers, Pan Macmillan. It involves retweeting their tweet.

If that’s still too much effort, you could always try shoplifting.

‪#WIN 1 of 5 copies of ‪@BTrovato‘s Incognito! To enter, RT this by 9 am (SAST) on 28/07. Ts&Cs: ‪http://bit.ly/HWOGj0  ‪pic.twitter.com/eXlRy94nEl

 

cover copy

A letter to King Goodwill Zwelithini

Dear Comrade King,

You, sir, are a true king. You are not only the king of the Zulus, but you are also king of the land claims.

While everyone else is pussyfooting around, demanding a farm here or a game reserve there, you are putting in a claim for the entire province of Kwazulu-Natal. Now that’s what I call a land claim!

And why not? This is, after all, where the Zulus lived quite happily for years until those British bastards came along and ruined things for everyone.

The Ingonyama Trust, which is coordinating the claim on your behalf, currently owns 2.8 million hectares in the province. This is clearly not enough. What can a man do with 2.8 million hectares? Not a great deal. Not if you want to spread out a bit. Plant stuff. Grow some cows. That kind of thing takes room.

I see you’re also after bits of the Free State, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. Might as well strike while the iron is hot, eh? Good thinking. The Israelis get away with nicking Palestinian land all the time and there’s no reason to think you can’t do the same here.

After you have won the claim, I expect you will want to knock Durban down and put up something a little more traditional. The city hall, which has hosted the symphony orchestra and other colonial atrocities, must be the first to go. I, for one, would like to see it replaced by the world’s biggest thatched hut.

Will you be implementing an authentic pre-1840 look and feel across the board? I hope so. There’s nothing wrong with having our metro police dressed in leopard skins and armed with assegais and shields. They could use knobkerries to discipline errant motorists and short-handled stabbing spears to encourage whoonga addicts to move along.

Hang on. There wouldn’t be any motorists, would there? Fortunately, the council has been digging up the M4 for months. Another year or so and it’ll be perfect for travelling by horse between Thekweni and Richards Bay. Or, as it will probably be known, Ngilahlekelwe Isikhwama Semali Bay.

Since the rand is virtually worthless, you might as well reintroduce the old currency. I don’t have a problem using shells and salt and beads to buy things.

Are you aware that Swaziland has its eye on some of the land that you’re claiming? Cheeky. King Mswati isn’t even a proper king like you. For a start, you have 37 children to his 24. Then again, he has 15 wives to your six. On the other hand, he drives a Maybach and you only have a Mercedes-Benz.

You can’t let Mswati get away with this. He has always had an inferiority complex because his country is smaller than ours. If he takes some of our land, the people living there won’t want to be ruled by a dictator. Where are they going to go? They can’t stay with me.

The British were responsible for drawing the boundaries. It was they who decided to make Swaziland small enough to take a brisk walk around before lunch at the polo club. Tell Mswati that if he wants land, he should get it from Queen Elizabeth. She can give him Wales. It will be years before the Welsh realise they are Swazis.

If Mswati doesn’t behave, mobilise the impis and invade Swaziland. Take the entire damn country away from him. The people won’t mind, that’s for sure.

Anyway. Good luck. Let’s just hope the Khoisan don’t put in a claim for the whole of South Africa or we’ll all be speaking !Kung by Christmas.

 

I have a bream …

I find it best not to move around too much in winter. Body heat and energy need to be conserved at all costs. Expeditions from my desk to the kitchen are fraught with danger. There’s a reason you don’t poke a bear with a stick while he’s hibernating and tell him to get off his hairy arse and find some food for the family.

That’s why I have had a bar fridge installed under my desk. I went foraging earlier in the week and my little metal friend is now stuffed to the gills with beer, cheese and chunks of boiled pig. According to Tim Noakes, this is all I need to live a long and healthy life. I even have a slab of duck fat that I rub on my face to keep the warmth in and the diabetes out. It’s a trick I picked up watching a video of Lewis Pugh swimming to the North Pole.

I also have an ichthyoallyeinotoxic fish that I take out and lick now and again to offset the carbs in the beer. Another beneficial side effect is that it makes me hallucinate. I’m surprised Noakes hasn’t mentioned this in his Banting diet. It’s a species of bream called sarpa salpa, although in KwaZulu-Natal he prefers to be called Karanteen. Down the south coast, where the holidaymakers hang out, he goes by the more informal name ‘Strepie’. However, he can’t speak Afrikaans so don’t waste your time trying to strike up a conversation. Club him, cook him and eat him. Enjoy the trip.

On my desk is a computer, a printer and a fax machine in case someone from the 1980s needs to send me a document. I have an array of remote controls within easy reach. One for the hi-fi, two for the TV and three to alert the armed response company that I am being attacked by a swarm of flying wombats. I have since cut back on the bream.

When I pause between sentences – because every good writer takes a break between sentences – I flick between CNN, Sky, BBC World, eNCA, al-Jazeera and Russian Television. I know everything that happens anywhere, sometimes before it even happens. And when I pause between words, I flick between Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes I pause between letters and check my email.

If I were a child, I would have grown-ups fighting among themselves to get Ritalin down my throat. If I could tear myself away from my computer and the television, I would go to a doctor and get my own Ritalin. No, I wouldn’t. I would never make it. I’d log on to Twitter while I was driving and plough into someone’s house. Into their lounge. Where the TV would be on. The paramedics would find me bleeding and tweeting and when they tried to strap me to the stretcher I would resist and scream, “Fuck off! The Israelis are bombing kids on the beach! Leave me! Save the Palestinians!”

There is too much information coming in and not enough going out. Something’s got to give. But it’s not just information. Facebook, a bottomless reservoir of inconsequential froth and mawkish inanity, is heroin for the easily distracted. Like the collapse of a star – and I don’t mean Lindsay Lohan – it creates a gravitational force that sucks you in. And the deeper you go, the stupider you get. It won’t ever spit you out. You have to climb out by yourself, minus several IQ points, clinging to the ephemeral tendrils of … aww, cute! A Husky wearing sunglasses! What was I saying? Oh, yes. The effort it takes to drag oneself from the suck-hole of Facebook is often … Oh, no! Kirstin has lost her iPhone! It’s midnight and Vuyo can’t sleep! A miniature horse! John is going to Mauritius! A talking cat! Ravi just had an ice cream! Ooh, a test to see what kind of dog I am!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High times in Hound City

I had my 21st birthday party at a club in Durban. I hired it for the night. It was dangerously cheap. I don’t remember the name. It was down a side street deep in the noxious belly of the beast. It wasn’t one of those clubs with a glitterball. Or staff. Or décor of any kind. There must have been someone in charge, though, otherwise we’d all still be living there.

At around 3am, I’d had enough of being 21 and turned the lights off. My friends took it as a sign to crank up the degeneracy to unprecedented levels. After whatever it was that everyone had to get done in the dark, we left at 4am, cascading down the stairs and into the street.

Waiting to greet us were half a dozen members of the South African Police. They cornered us and demanded to see our hands. I thought maybe they were ‘precogs’, mutants with precognitive abilities who could read our palms and tell if we were going to commit a crime. But this was the plot of Minority Report, a movie that came out years after I had turned 21. It was deeply confusing. Perhaps I was a ‘precog’ gone bad.

The officers took our hands, held them up to their snouts and sniffed. The dogs must have been off for the night. Had I known the evening was going to end like that, I would have done unspeakable things with my hands in the bathroom. When we enquired as to what the hell it was they were doing, they said they were checking if anyone had been smoking dagga. Policing techniques have improved since then. These days, they smell your feet, too.

A few months later I was arrested, charged and convicted for possession of a tiny portion of Durban’s finest. It was at a roadblock in Villiers, a nasty little town that squats sullenly on the N3 somewhere in the fetid bowels of the Free State.

My roll of skinny karchies weighed 4.3 grams. I got six months suspended for four years. First offence. Not much has changed since those days. Our courts and jails are full of people who were caught with a bit of weed on them. Isn’t it time for a change?

America, a nation that believes evolution is a myth and their president is a Muslim fundamentalist from Kenya, is way more progressive than we are. Colorado and now Washington state allow people over the age of 21 to buy up to 30 grams of marijuana a month for recreational use. Alaska, Oregon and the District of Colombia are next.

In Colorado and Washington, it was put to the vote. The people themselves chose to legalise it and tax its use. We don’t have that kind of democracy. Here, the government decides what’s best for us. We can barely be trusted to dress ourselves without supervision.

Although more than 2 600 businesses applied for permits to grow and sell, fewer than 80 licences have been granted. I imagine it takes a while for any stoner to complete a 45-page application without getting distracted or making mistakes.

It’s estimated that in the next year, the Colorado state government will make $117-million dollars in taxes from the sale of cannabis. That’s R1.2-billion rand. South Africa could quadruple it, easily. The Eastern Cape could be turned into a giant plantation. They don’t seem to be doing much else with the land. And it would make driving through Mthatha a little more bearable.

But, no. Here we still have headlines like, “Surfing organisers deny drug allegations”.

My first thought was that the Mr Price Pro contest, held in Ballito a few days ago, was found to be awash in heroin. That the overseas surfers were riding boards made of compressed cocaine. That everyone on the beach was given a free Mr Price T-shirt and a complementary cap of acid.

Instead, an undercover cop, probably dressed like a holidaymaker from Benoni, bought a small bag of weed from a friend of a stallholder at the market on the beach. He was arrested and his stash confiscated. All fifteen hundred bucks worth. I feel so much safer knowing that officers like him are out there. Let’s hope the city gives him a medal.

In the end, we’re the ones who are going to be paying for this harmless dude to spend a few months behind bars. Fighting crime? Please. Three rhinos being poached every day is a crime. E-tolls are a crime. What the ANC’s Thandi Modise did to those animals on her farm is a crime. The civil service is knee-deep in criminals. Communications Minister Faith Muthambi claiming to have “applied her mind” before appointing Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer of the SABC borders on the criminal. I doubt she applied much more than her lipstick before making that decision.

C’mon, Mr President. Let’s free up the cops and the courts to deal with real crime.

Big or small – we kill ’em all

Hunters like Melissa Bachman and Kendall Jones are way braver than I am.

For a start, I wouldn’t dare go on a canned lion hunt because those lions are drugged and you don’t know what a lion on drugs is capable of doing. It might launch itself from a tree, thinking it can fly, and land on your head before you have time to pull the trigger. What if it’s on methylenedioxymethamphetamine and tries to give you a hug? Or lick you to death? Ecstasy has that effect on people, so why not lions?

I’m not interested in hunting anything that can hurt me. Right away that rules out the Big Five. When it comes to the infliction of grievous bodily harm, I shall do the inflicting, thank you very much.

So you can imagine my unbridled joy when I came across John X Safaris in the Eastern Cape and discovered that they cater for gutless wimps like me.

My eye was caught by this line on their blog: “In a world where everything is changing and high standards become the norm, so does the urge of our hunters.” I didn’t understand it, but it sounded deep and esoteric.

It went on. “Hunters from around the world are looking for new opportunities to test their skill and wit against the often forgotten small species of Africa.” Having run out of people to test my wit against, I am delighted to find that small animals are up for the challenge.

The Eastern Cape, according to John X Safaris, gives one the chance to hunt seven of the Tiny Ten. The other three have presumably moved to the Western Cape in the hope of finding a better quality of life.

I could bag myself an Oribi, though I am advised to use “solids” to minimise damage to these “fragile trophies”. Does this mean I have to capture one and feed it solids until it quietly expires from over-eating? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Besides, I am told that Oribi “succumb to predators very easily”. I don’t want to stalk an Oribi for days on end only to find the tawdry slut down on its knees in front of a leopard, one hoof to its forehead, whispering breathlessly, “Take me if you must, you predator, you! Take me now!”

I couldn’t tell from the picture how big an Oribi is because it was lying down. The man who killed it was lying behind it. They seemed to be spooning, which I found romantic. Its long horns threatened an unwanted vasectomy so I looked for something on the Tiny Ten that wasn’t quite so fierce.

???????????????????????????????

The Grey Duiker is apparently “an opportunistic species”. The Julius Malema of the antelope world is usually hunted in the early morning, late afternoon or at night. That’s no good for me. There is a brief window period around midday when I am fully alert, otherwise I am asleep or drunk.

grey duiker

The Cape Grysbuck is a “personal favourite” of whoever runs John X Safaris. And I can see why. It’s small enough to fit on the braai. They are also very shy animals. I guess when Charles Darwin said the meek shall inherit the earth, he wasn’t talking about the Cape Grysbuck. Apparently it will require “many nights of hard hunting”. I have tried that, mainly with women in bars, and there is a serious imbalance between effort and outcome.

???????????????????????????????

The Blue Duiker is preyed on by caracal and eagles in the coastal forests. Now we’re talking. Any buck that can be carried off by a bird is the kind of buck I want to hunt. Hang on. John X Safaris suggests moving the animals around with Jack Russell terriers. Now I must get a pack of dogs? Jack Russells are roughly the same size as the Blue Duiker. The carnage would be unimaginable and I’d have the SPCA on my case in no time at all. There’s also this: “A 12-gauge shotgun is best suited for these fleet-footed masters of the forest.” Masters of the forest, eh? We’ll see about that. BLAM! BLAM! Blue Duiker, red mist. We are also told it’s known as Puti in Xhosa. I wouldn’t feel comfortable shooting something that can speak Xhosa. Well, apart from the motherfucker who burgled my house last month.

blu duiker

On to the Klipspringer, which means heading into the mountains. This displeases me. I am afraid of heights and clean mountain air makes my head spin. Besides, they are easily spooked. With my stalking skills, Klipspringer in Zambia would hear me coming.

klipspringer

Vaal Rhebuck are out of the question because they live half way to the moon and unless I can shoot one from a helicopter, I’m not interested.

???????????????????????????????

“The Steenbuck is one of the most beautiful of the ten.” Hmm. I like it already. And the hunter in the photo holding up its dead head looks about nine years old. If he can do it, so can I.

Steenbuck

So that’s the Eastern Cape’s seven. For the remaining three in the Tiny Ten, we must visit neighbouring countries. First, to Namibia, to hunt for the dangerous Damara Dik Dik. Well, dangerous in the sense that you could trip over him and do yourself a mischief. Standing 30cm high and weighing in at three kilograms, he is the “ballerina of the bush”. Any animal that thinks it can get on my good side by performing pirouettes and the pas de chat deserves to die. On the other hand, two mouthfuls and he’s gone. If I’m going to have a braai, I can’t expect everyone to bring their own dik dik. Besides, theirs horns are so small that, once his head was on my wall, my jacket would keep slipping off.

Damara dik dik

So it’s off to Mozambique for a clear shot at the Red Duiker. “Often spotted as a glowing ember in the forest” – or more likely as a red-hot rifle barrel of a Renamo bandit – we are told to “look for an oversized scrotum hanging between the back legs”. Where? On the buck or on one of the men in the hunting party? It’s not made clear.

red duiker

Last on the Tiny Ten list is something called Livingstone’s Suni. The one in the photo looks as if it weighs little more than a hamburger. Suni make weak barking and whistling sounds. “I’m over here,” they seem to be saying. Idiots.

Livingstone suni

The blog ends with a heartwarming story of Spanish clients, Jose Recio and his sultry wife Filo, who came to the Eastern Cape. Their mission? To hunt fifteen species and kill two of each. Like a homicidal version of Noah.

???????????????????????????????

They shot 28 animals in eight days. Jose got not one, but two Vaal Rhebuck. “Two great Vaalies in a morning!” If only.

The final photo of the great white hunters from Spain was of Filo posing with three dead dassies. That’s one brave senorita. A snaggle-toothed dassie will tear your throat out if you don’t give it a ham sandwich. That’s when I got the idea.

dassies

I want to hunt the Tiniest Ten. Here’s my hit list. Chihuahua. Hamster. Gecko. Tortoise. Etruscan shrew. Pygmy possum. Jerboa. Tree frog. Mole. Mouse.

 

A blast from the past

A Letter to Eric and Donald Trump Jnr

 

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 jnr, 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 game in southern Africa is 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. Poachers probably stole his detonator. With elections coming up, they are worth more than ivory these days.

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 jnr, 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. Whatever the hell that means.

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 jnr, seeing you straddling that dead buffalo makes doggie style seem positively Christian.

Y’all come back again!

Citizen Cane (& Coke)

Citizenship issues seem to be in the news lately. Here’s a column I wrote in 2010. Not much has changed.

 

IF the ANC gets its way, which generally happens in this benevolent dictatorship of ours, people who want to become South African citizens will have to renounce citizenship of their countries of origin.

In a sentence that belongs in calipers, Home Affairs Minister Noksazana Dlamini-Zuma said: “A people that does not value its citizenship is not worthy of being characterised as a nation and will not be taken seriously by other nations.”

This is a pack of jingoistic lies and the minister should be arrested at once. With the exception of money, geographical entitlement is the single biggest cause of conflict in the world. What else are the Israelis and Palestinians fighting about if not ownership of territory?

What our government should be doing is scrapping citizenship laws, not reinforcing them with misplaced notions of superpatriotism. We should throw open our borders and issue everyone with passports declaring the bearer to be a Citizen of the World. If, as the minister fears, other nations don’t take us seriously, then we resurrect our nuclear weapons programme and build bigger and more powerful bombs than the world has ever seen. That should stop the sniggering.

An ANC MP said the legislation, which essentially forces people to choose between deportation and pledging their undying allegiance to South Africa, would also prevent naturalised South Africans from participating in “wars which the government did not support”. How quaint to have, in this era of death and destruction, a lawmaker who proudly admits we are a country that supports war. Not all of them, though. Just the sexy ones.

How about a law that outlaws wars altogether? A law that converts the defence force into a peace force. A law that says war is an aberration and makes it illegal for any South African citizen to ever participate in one.

Nkosazana-Zuma says citizenship is one of the key elements in our precious national heritage. So is good governance. Once nationalisation has crippled our mines and the media is muzzled, our jails are full and the coffers are empty, at least we will be able to hold up our little green book and say: “I am South African! Hear me roar!”

As it turned out, not much could be done with the Citizenship Amendment Bill because parliament lacked a quorum. This means a fair number of MPs were too sick, drunk or lazy to come to work. But at least they don’t have dual citizenship. And once these fiercely proud South Africans return from recess, “it will be one of the bills put up for adoption”. Much like an unwanted child.

 

An open letter to ANC MP Lindiwe Michelle Maseko

Dear Comrade Lindiwe,

You suggested the other day that the SABC should broadcast the national anthem twice a day – at 6am and again at midday – to foster patriotism. Well done! If there is one thing this country needs, it’s more patriots and fewer people whining about crime and corruption.

You said that when you were growing up in Bophuthatswana, the radio and TV stations played the Bop anthem twice a day. And look what a success story your ‘country’ turned out to be! Without the anthem, the world might have mistaken Bophuthatswana for a raggedy-ass Bantustan led by a delusional puppet of the apartheid regime.

At my school, we were expected to sing the anthem at assembly every morning. All that business about creaking wagons and echoing crags really got my blood pumping. By the time we reached the final verse where we called on God to guide our people (that would be white people), I was so pumped up with patriotism that I often had to be shackled to my desk to prevent me from running off and joining the army so that I might fight against the communists.

As you so rightly point out, today’s South Africans are not patriotic enough. In the old days, it was only by dint of sheer patriotism that we managed to keep millions of bellicose darkies in their place. Well, sheer patriotism and an army. And a police force. And a complicit judiciary.

The citizens of today show more pride in their cellphones and iPads than they do in their country. But that is no reason for you to give up. I suggest you have a word with Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko. Get him to create a new unit – the Patriotism Police. Their job will be to patrol the streets, shopping centres and office blocks at 6am and midday to encourage people, at gunpoint if necessary, to sing the anthem. Anyone who refuses to stop what they are doing and stand to attention, with their hands over their hearts, will be shot. And anyone who doesn’t know the words will be sent to re-education camps in the Karoo.

What you are proposing is laudable, comrade, but I don’t think you are going far enough. It’s too easy for people to sing for a few minutes, then return to the more traditional pursuits of killing, raping and stealing.

If we are to develop a generation of true patriots, we need to ensure that everyone over voting age wears the colours of the national flag when in public. It can be a shirt or a skirt, but it must contain green, black, white, gold, red and blue. Very bright, yes, but studies have shown that bright colours make bright people.

We also need to have a new national pet. Dogs are all very well, but they don’t exactly inspire one to great heights of patriotism. I suggest a new municipal by-law requiring the possession of a minimum of one (1) springbok per household.

Furthermore, gardens must consist solely of giant proteas. Yes, they are hideous, but for as long as they are our national flower, people should grow them to the exclusion of all else. Anyone caught planting untrustworthy expatriates like the shady Brazilian guava or the dangerously cosmopolitan coral creeper will be heavily fined.

The national fish, the feisty yet unflinchingly loyal galjoen, shall be eaten at 7pm on Fridays. No exceptions. The ministry of fisheries will have to amend its motto, “Let them eat hake.”

I bet you are pleased that Cosatu has taken Victor Matfield to task for wearing what they describe as “an old South African riot squad skull cap”. I don’t remember seeing members of the riot squad wearing rugby scrum caps, but then again I didn’t spend much time around them. The minister of sport must force Matfield to wear a more patriotic scrum cap – perhaps one printed with images of the galjoen in its happier moments.

I am pleased to see that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi supports your endeavours. As she so eloquently said in parliament on Tuesday, “You go across other countries and you find that their flag is their pride, all over their flag is flying all the time.”

The third leg of this triumvirate of nationalistic zealotry is Phumla Williams, acting chief executive of the government communications and information service. “You cannot have South Africans who don’t even appreciate that they are South Africans,” she said.

I couldn’t agree more. We need to flush these selfish ingrates out. Perhaps when they aren’t busy monitoring the singing of the anthem, the Patriotism Police could pay random visits to homes in areas where non-patriots are suspected of living. A few simple questions could easily identify those who are not suitably grateful to be South Africans. For example, if they think ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke is computer code, they must be taken away and dumped on an isolated piece of land far from the rest of us red-blooded patriots.

The former Bophuthatswana would be ideal.

 

 

An open letter to Kendall Jones – femme fatale of the African jungle

Dear Kendall,

May I call you Kendall? Ms Jones sounds so formal. Besides, I feel like I know you. Yes, I do mean ‘know’ in the biblical sense. You look eerily similar to a dozen or so women I’ve slept with. I’m a sucker for the vacuous, blonde, slutty look, which you have in spades.

You’ve been popping up all over Facebook lately. Well done! You must be tremendously excited by all the attention. Sure, most of it isn’t the kind of attention a normal person would want. But then again, you’re not normal. Far from it.

When I saw that photograph of you straddling a lion you’d just shot, I thought, “My god, what a magnificent animal.” The lion wasn’t a bad specimen, either. I like the way you’re tugging on his mane to make his mouth hang open. With his eyes shut, it’s almost as if he’s moaning and begging for more! You like that, don’t you? You’re such a tease.

fact45

I’m sure you didn’t have to walk too far to shoot that big boy. With your looks, I expect the park rangers tranquilized him, then used pointy sticks to prod him towards you. There’s an art to this kind of hunting, you know. The real professionals can take down a darted lion at ten paces without spilling their drink. You wouldn’t have been drinking, though. You need both hands to wield a bow. It must be incredibly difficult to kill a lion with a weapon like that. I bet he looked like a porcupine by the time you’d finished with him.

I really love your profile picture on FB. There’s something about a blonde dressed from head to toe in camouflage that gets my blood racing.

kendall

And if she happens to have her arms wrapped around a dead leopard, well, it’s into the cold shower for me.

leopard

Your page says you were “born and raised in the great outdoors of the great State of Texas. What a shame. Were your parents too poor to afford a house? I’m not judging you. Some of my best friends were born in the bush. I don’t mean to be presumptuous, either. For all I know, you weren’t raised by people at all. That’s okay. All the really cool people were raised by animals. Except those raised by wombats. They don’t turn out so well. Have you ever shot a wombat? I believe they explode. Quite pretty at night.

Is it true that your 13th birthday present was the chance to blow a rhino’s brains out? What a lucky child you were! Most girls don’t get to kill their first rhino until they are well into their teens. Did they blindfold it for you? Oh, wait. It’s you who would have been wearing the blindfold. On the other hand, it was probably more of an execution than a hunt, so I’m sure someone with your compassion would have insisted that the rhino be blindfolded.

rhino2

There’s something poetic about it. While kids your age were playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, you were playing fire-the-bullet-into-the-rhino. That’s why you’re famous and they’re working at Mickey D’s, right?

rhino

Well, as we say in South Africa, the only good rhino is a dead rhino. You’re doing us all a tremendous favor by ridding the bush of these unsightly vermin. Any animal that has a horn on its nose deserves to die. Silly bastards.

I also love the picture of you with the elephant. I can’t quite make out what you have in your hand. It looks like a javelin. Did you stab him to death? It’s the only language they understand.

131

I hope he was asleep and that you didn’t risk your life. Someone as hot as you deserves to live a long and happy life. Elephants, on the other hand, are grey – a color that went out of fashion in 1884. Ivory, though, will always be fashionable. Those two enormous tusks will keep you in jewelry for a long time to come. Hey, imagine if you lost one of your perfect teeth, as impossible as that may seem. You could carve a new one and use that as an implant. How cool would that be?!?!? LOL

ellie

Did you know that you can also use their feet as wastepaper bins or umbrella stands? All you have to do is hollow them out. Of course you know this. Why else would you shoot an elephant if not to decorate your ranch?

I can’t believe how many animals you have killed and you’re only 19! Imagine what you’re going to do in your late-twenties, when you’re strong enough to carry a bazooka or an RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher. The carnage will be spectacular!

zebrabucklion2543

Is it true that the bunny-huggers are threatening to shoot you if you come back to Africa? I’d like to see them try. These hairy-legged losers think knives are for cutting up carrots instead of buffalo. Morons.

buff

You’ve tried to make these rabid left-wing loonies see reason by explaining that your hunting actually funds conservation and “helps feed African villagers”.

Truth is, I’m not very good at math or even logic, really, but if you say that killing an animal is the best way to ensure its survival, I won’t argue. With a face like yours, you could tell me that hippos love nothing more than a bullet between the eyes and I’d believe you.

hippo

And if there’s one thing that African villagers want more than access to free broadband internet, it’s a crocodile carpaccio for starters, followed by fillet of wildebeest topped with monkey gland sauce. Real glands from real monkeys, obviously. Do you do monkeys? Crafty little buggers. You might want to try using a good ol’ American-made flamethrower. That way they come ready-cooked. There should be loads of cheap ex-Vietnam models floating around. Flamethrowers, not monkeys.

You probably don’t get much time to hang out with the Texas Tech University’s cheerleading squad any more, which is a bit of a pity. Perhaps you could combine the two. Drug a cheetah and when you do that leg action thing, you could kick him in the head. That would get a laugh from your fans, at least.

You say you’re hoping to host your own TV show next year? What a brilliant idea. I remember Jay Leno would bring animals onto his show. Instead of having a boring old expert talking about them, you could have people from the audience come up and shoot them in the face. It wouldn’t be gratuitous, obviously. That would be plain wrong. There would have to be prizes of some sort.

Anyway, babe. Good luck with the killing. Hope to see you out here again soon. You’d better hurry, though. The Mozambicans are poaching all our rhino and if you leave it too long there won’t be any left.

Say hi to Melissa Bachman. I’m sure you two are best of buddies. Do you have any pictures of the two of you in a hot tub? I’d sure like to see ‘em.

Anyway, darlin’. I gotta go. Tonight me and my buddies are lookin’ to bag us some German Shepherds. That’ll teach them fuckers to bark all night long.

Aim straight and keep your boots bloody.

Murderously yours,

Ben Trovato