I feel sorry for Patrice Motsepe. For a start, he’s the fourth richest man in the country. Fourth is a terrible position. I always came fourth in athletics at school, regardless of the event, and it was hell competing for a place on a podium built for three.
I feel Patrice’s pain. To have three white men above him on Forbes’ list of billionaires can’t be an easy thing to wake up to every morning. Especially not when one of them sells cigarettes, the other dabbles in diamonds and the third sells chicken pieces and whatnot.
But the real reason I feel sorry for him (I won’t even mention that he’s only the 642nd richest person in the world) is that he must be snowed under by the sheer volume of emails and letters he gets from people wanting something from him.
Look, I want some of his money just as much as the next man, but writing to him and asking him to share his R30-billion rand fortune with you is futile. What you need to do is wait outside his house and when he comes out, grab him and … no, wait. That’s a terrible idea. A man like that doesn’t travel without bodyguards. If you want to get your hands on some of his money, your best bet would be to work for him. I get a feeling that, in one way or another, we all work for Patrice.
I did, however, write a preposterous begging letter to the great man two years ago. It’s on my blog if you want to read it. Around 70 people have responded so far. Not, as you might think, to gush over my rapier wit or even to issue death threats, but to make their own requests to Patrice. On my blog. Because, as everyone knows, the second thing Patrice does when he wakes up on his goldbed (it’s like a waterbed but filled with liquid gold) is read my blog. The first thing he does is buy his wife a small Baltic republic she can call her own.
Those who responded to my drivel seemed to think I either was Patrice Motsepe or was so close to him that he’d stop whatever he was doing so that I could read their messages to him. Here are a few verbatim excerpts:
* “Mr Motsepe you brought positive life in and made see things in a different eye,is such an honour to write you a letter.Sir iwas reguesting you to help us build our Day care.”
* “Plz help me i am wiling to plæ soccer plz help me persue my dream.”
* “I ama profetional distance athlete in kimberly i m asking for sponsorship. In terms of running equipment transport financialy.”
* “hy mr motsepe i realy want your help,i want to be a model so can u please help me.”
*”I want donation educational toys,matersses,painted,chair,table,and gate any found accept . thank very much I wish me one of the win.”
* “i want to be a millionaire and ive have a greet plan .investing in the money market for only a year ,i need you to lend me 10 million then i return 12 million in a year and il keep 3 million ,but this money wont be handed to me but the bank and i wont be able to touch it because it will all be in your name ,gimme a email and il tell you.”
Some of the responses were more eloquent than others. Some were genuine, others were clearly taking a chance. And still they write. Quite frankly, I find it all rather sad. Patrice, I know you’re reading this. Give me your email address so that I can forward the correspondence. I promise never to write about you again.