Day: July 20, 2014

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!