Month: August 2016

We’re the A Team – We don’t need reserves

Next to beer, I think petrol is my most favourite liquid. You can huff it to get high, use it to make Molotov cocktails and put it in your car so you drive to the bottle store. Trained professionals are able to do all three simultaneously.

With such practical applications, you’d think the government would make sure we had plenty of it stashed away. And you’d be right. We did. Until December last year, when something weird happened. Someone in the government got a phone call.

“Comrade, we want to buy petrol.”

“Sure thing, mysterious caller. How much do you want?”

“All of it.”

“Really? But we might need … ah, what the hell. It’s yours.”

And just like that, our entire strategic fuel reserve was sold. The main suspects are the appalling Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her shadowy henchmen at the Strategic Fuel Fund.

Thinking ahead has never been this government’s strong suit, but we did at least keep ten million barrels of crude in the tool shed for a rainy day. The shed is now empty. And it looks like rain.

The call continued.

“So how much money do you want?”

“I don’t know. What’s oil going for these days?”

“Market price right now? Around $38 a barrel.”

“You can have it for $28. Voetstoots. The $10 a barrel discount you can put into … let me call you back from a payphone.”

If that $10 a barrel shortfall was – in the parlance of those who patrol these murky waters – “left on the table”, it would amount to $100-million dollars, or, in numbers that make even less sense, R1.5-billion. Or, in language we can all understand, enough money to fill every swimming pool in the country with vodka.

It’s a story that’s been knocking around for a few months, I know, but I’ve been busy being outraged about other stuff. Also, news of the R5-billion sale broke only in May, five months after the fact. Just another government deal as transparent as a Vibracrete wall. Not even the Treasury knew about this one.

My research often relies heavily on research done by someone else. It’s the best kind of research because it leaves a lot of time for roaming the streets looking for trouble and love. I came upon a piece written this week by a Joburg-based business editor who got a lot of his information from an international oil trader who wished to remain anonymous. Assassins in the pay of Big Oil, if you’re reading this, you need to be clear that this is the guy you want. Not me.

Our government is always pleased to see South Africa’s name topping a global list, whether it be the highest murder rate, biggest consumer of alcohol or first country ever to sell its entire oil reserves for reasons that make absolutely no sense. We should all be very proud to be world leaders in yet another field.

First, we need to understand why it’s important for countries to keep fuel reserves in the first place. Given my readership, it’s probably easier to explain in terms of alcohol. You go to the bottle store on Friday to buy beer for the weekend. With someone else’s money. Two cases should be enough for your personal use. But you’d be a fool not to take into account unforeseen circumstances, so you buy another five cases. On Saturday night you get an unexpected visitor. This makes you happy because you’re bored with drinking alone. When you’re at your happiest, around 3am, your visitor says he has to go but he’d like to buy the five cases under your bed. You hug him and cry a bit and call him a brother from another mother and sell him your entire strategic reserve for less than you paid. Then your original stock runs out on Sunday afternoon and, in a blind panic, you call him and offer to buy back at least one of the five cases but he has already sold everything on for twice the price.

Don’t feel inadequate if you battle to grasp the complexities of this tainted transaction. This is what my source’s source said of the deal, “The oil reserves were sold for a purpose we don’t understand, at a price we don’t understand and at a price that no professional oil market participant would understand.”

Apart from selling our oil at a rock-bottom price, the government never put out a public tender for the sale. Chevron operates a refinery in Cape Town and has a pipeline to Saldanha Bay, where the reserve is kept. Chevron and other major oil companies operating here would happily have taken it off our hands for a lot more than $28 a barrel. Instead, every last barrel went to Glencore, Vitol and Nigeria’s Taleveras Group. Vitol has business ties with the ANC. Obviously.

The oil formerly known as ours will stay here until the new owners find someone prepared to pay a sensible price for it. It’ll probably be us, buying our own oil back at the current $47 dollars a barrel. Buy high, sell low. First rule of Zumanomics. This would explain why the Reserve Bank has forecast zero percent growth for this year.

The scramble to sell off our reserves at a “weekend special” price suggests someone in the government needed cash quickly. Any idea who it might be? Answers on a postcard to the Office of the President.

Speaking of the devil, President Zuma is about to take charge of all state-owned enterprises. Nothing to worry about there, then.

Fill up your tanks, people. And keep your passports close. Not that you’ll be able to travel very far, what with the rand being stabbed in the back once again.






Annie Got Her Gun

I wanted to write about the recent dramatic developments on the local government front. I really did. It’s got to be worth something, right? Stop me if you’ve heard this one. The DA, the ACDP, the UDM, the Freedom Front Plus and Cope walk into a coalition … ah, fuck it. That’s all I’ve got.

I’ve tried my damnedest to mine the situation for humour but no matter how much I drink, I keep coming up empty. Musi Maimane is not funny. Bantu Holomisa is definitely not funny. Mosiuoa Lekota is a little bit funny. Pieter Mulder is hilarious but the laughter quickly turns to tears. Where is our Donald Trump? It’s not right that America keeps setting the bar to new lows that few nations can reach. Trump is comedy gold. It’s as if someone, maybe Jesus, poured all seven deadly sins into a sack of skin and said, “Go forth and represent the worst of humanity.” Why would he do this? I have no idea. Jesus moves in mysterious ways. From what I’ve heard, he also had a wicked sense of humour. Who else would turn water into wine and then, when everyone’s off their faces, urge them to join him for a stroll across the Sea of Galilee?

I’m not being altogether fair here. Trump embodies only six of the deadly sins. Sloth probably doesn’t apply to him in the same way it applies to you or me.

Turning to Facebook for inspiration is like turning to vodka for sobriety but I did it anyway and that’s where I found Lynette Oxley. Her profile picture is of a Rottweiler looking as if he’s about to chew the photographer’s face off. That’s the fun part. She and her husband Paul run a company in Joburg called Tac Shac. I don’t know what it means. They sell teddy bears and semi-automatic pistols, shotguns and rifles that are the civilian versions of military weapons systems. Okay, I lie. They don’t sell teddy bears.

Lynette contributes to a blog called The blog’s logo is, “The Truth is our Weapon.” When ‘truth’ and ‘weapon’ get together in the same sentence, it usually ends badly. Someone called Corinthian, or maybe he lived in Corinthia, once wrote, “In truthful speech and in the power of God, with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left.” I close my eyes and see Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Which, I suppose, pretty much sums up the Bible. And America. And our Cabinet.

Anyway. That’s enough religion for now. In the piece I read, Lynette points out that the media tells us “we are under constant and violent attack by criminals”. If the only reason you think you live in a violent society is because the media tells you so, then you’re not getting attacked enough.

At least 20 people are shot and killed every day in South Africa. More guns is clearly the answer.

She says the only way to level the playing field “with a man twice our size” is by using a gun. The average woman is five-foot-six. This blood-crazed mythical man would, then, be eleven feet tall. Truth? I don’t think so. Okay, fine. Hyperbole is second nature to gun groupies so I’ll let it slide.

Her proselytising is clearly aimed at women. Actually, her contribution to this website was a tribute to Women’s Month. Let’s get started, girls. Anyone for tea and bullets … er, biscuits?

In an attack, the Bad Guys, as she calls them, will go for the men first. “This will give you, as an armed woman, an advantage.” This is just one of the reasons why it’s not a bad idea to have a man around the place. Actually, it might be the only reason.

“If you decide to purchase a firearm, you need to change the way you think.” I imagine you would. For a start, you’d need to stop seeing people as living, breathing human beings and start seeing them as moving targets.

Lynette has been “carrying” since 2003. If a pregnant woman says this to you, don’t assume she’s talking about the contents of her womb. Just run.

She says there’s no point having your gun locked up in a safe – it needs to be with you 24/7. One of the conditions of getting a gun licence is that you have a safe. I don’t know how Lynette gets around this. Maybe she straps the safe to her back.

Oh, right. The law simply says you must have a safe. It doesn’t say you have to keep your gun there. Lynette says carrying your gun 24/7 means you have to make certain arrangements. I expect she’s talking about your VGO – your visible gun outline. In the old days, women needed only worry about their VPL. I don’t know what the answer is. I’ve seen videos of women shoplifters stuffing frozen chickens up their skirts, so I imagine secreting a gun wouldn’t be much of a problem.

She does say that concealed carry would involve having to change your lifestyle and your wardrobe. I’m surprised a fashion designer hasn’t come up with a range of cocktail frocks with discreet built-in holsters for that sexy little 9mm in your life. As for lifestyle, well, I imagine you’d want to avoid those wild house parties where the men get drunk and throw the women into the pool. On the other hand, you do have a gun.

“Please don’t throw me in the pool.”

“Arrr c’mon babe! Why?”

“Because I’ll shoot you in the face if you do.”

Sensibly, she advises women against keeping their gun in their bags. Studies have shown that it takes the average woman between four minutes and two days to find any given item in her handbag.

Lynette says she carries her gun in an inside waistband holster, so if she suddenly shoves her hand down her broeks, you need to know this is not a come-on gesture. This is a go ahead make my day gesture. She also has an outside waistband holster for sport shooting, which presumably is when the mugger starts running. Firing at a moving target is always great sport.

She prefers the outside holster because she has “built significant muscle memory for this position … the gun is where my body is used to it being”. My body is used to being in the slouched-over-the-bar position and only two muscles have any memory worth mentioning.

Lynette says most of her friends “appendix carry” or carry “small of back”. I always thought the small of a woman’s back was one of their more easily locatable erogenous zones. Turns out it’s nothing more than a convenient indentation in which a pearl-handled pistol may nestle. I always wondered about that post-coital metallic taste in my mouth.

Lynette moves on to what she describes as the most controversial issue. I thought it might be, when is it okay to kill someone? Apparently not. The most controversial issue is which firearm to buy. I expect she means controversial in the sense that debate on this topic frequently becomes so heated that people get shot.

She says the size and weight of the gun should “fit in with your particular lifestyle and circumstances”. If, for example, you’re a kindergarten teacher, you might want to look at something smaller than the 1.2m Pfeifer Zeliska revolver. I suppose it all depends on how rowdy your class is.

“One of my biggest irritations are what a lot of men (I am not saying all men) think women should carry.” Typical bloody men. If they’re not trying to murder you, they’re trying to tell you what gun to carry.

Men (not all men) seem to think their women should carry .38 special revolvers. I’d be happy if women just carried their own shopping bags.

Lynette says they’re talking rubbish. Revolvers are bulky, have bad triggers and are hard to shoot. Also, they have a lot of stoppages. They’re like the Mineworker’s Union of handguns. She suggests ladies – as she calls them – should rather go for pistols.

By now, all the girls reading this will be jumping up and down, screaming, “Okay fine! But what caliber? Tell us the caliber!” Relax, ladies. Help is on its way.

Lynette’s all-time fave is a 9mm Parabellum round rather than, say, a 380 auto/9mm short, whatever that is. My knowledge of bullets starts and ends with Black Talon and, for that, I have Oscar Pistorius to thank.

She recommends hollow-point ammunition. They are designed to expand on impact, maximizing tissue damage, blood loss and shock. Yeah! Now you’re talking my language. The expanding bullet decreases penetration, which is a good thing because over-penetration could cause collateral damage. Tell me about it. I’ve lost a number of bedside lamps through that kind of thing.

Lynette reminds us that firearming needs constant practice. She says handgun skills are perishable and can go off if not used. Like bananas. She suggests joining a sporting organisation such as the SA Defensive Pistol Association or the police. Kidding. The police aren’t remotely sporting. They’re quite defensive, though.

“Shoot your gun at least once a month,” she says. If you’re not a joiner, you’re going to have to shoot someone who is committing a crime. Or looks like he’s thinking of committing a crime. Or might have committed a crime at some point in his life. Do it at the end of the month when he’s more likely to have money in his pocket.

Lynette wraps up Guns for Girls 101. “I would like to urge South African ladies to stand up for themselves and take responsibility for their own safety! Don’t moan about crime – do something constructive and get yourself a firearm. Have a safe and awesome day!”

That’s right, ladies. Do your bit. Help end crime by shooting people.


Caster’s return – A flashback

The last time Caster Semenya returned home victorious was after the Berlin world championships in 2009. This is what I wrote then. Let’s hope it goes a little better this time around.


While the state-funded broadcaster was showing a repeat of 7de Laan on Tuesday morning, was live at OR Tambo International Airport for the return of teenage mutant ninja athlete, Caster Semenya, and her muscle-bound mates.

The broadcast was live in much the same way that a snapped power cable thrashing about on the ground is live. The cameraman appeared to be having some sort of seizure and reporter Iman Rappetti could hardly be heard above the bleating of vuvuzelas and someone from the ANC Women’s League on a makeshift stage screaming hysterically. “Viva Caster Semenya viva!” she screeched. “Viva the rest of the team whose names I don’t know or even what events they participated in, viva!”

Given the uproar, a tourist might have mistaken our athletes for a team of negotiators back from securing a lasting peace in the Middle East. A reception of this magnitude surely couldn’t be for a bunch of youngsters who run, jump and throw stuff better than the rest of us.

Despite the team’s sweep of two gold medals in Berlin, the truth is that very few people would have been at the airport at all if the IAAF hadn’t implied that our star athlete was an androgynous alien simply because she doesn’t need a bra and can run the 800m in nine seconds flat.

Mercifully, lost their sound link for a few minutes. I knew what Tom Hanks must have felt like right after that shell exploded next to him in Saving Private Ryan. There were no dismembered corpses in this tableau, but Saving Caster Semenya was turning into a movie that, frighteningly, had no discernible genre. “Maybe it should go for genre testing,” I said to the cat. The cat made it clear that it couldn’t care less.

The ANC Youth League’s idiot savant, Julius Malema, was handed the microphone and the nation braced itself. “Down with racism, down!” he shouted. “Caster Semenya and Nelson Mandela make us proud!” he shouted. Of course they do. After all, Mandela spent 27 years in jail because he dared to take a stand against the inhuman policy of gender verification. Pity he couldn’t run like Caster otherwise he might never have been caught.

Then the idiot savant hit his stride. “Where are the white South Africans to welcome Caster? If it was rugby they would be here.” I may be wrong, but at 11am on a Tuesday there was an outside chance that most of them were at work. Or in Perth.

Before he was darted with a tranquiliser gun, Malema had a few words for the imperialist counter-revolutionary press. “The white-controlled media are wrong. She is female,” he babbled..

Then the Minister of Women took the stage. “Down with the IAAF, down!” shouted the human vuvuzela. “We will fight and walk together with Caster.” It’s a good thing she said “walk” because from where I sat, with my gut spilling over the top of my tracksuit pants, it didn’t look as if she could run if a lion were after her.

Then the circus moved off for a press conference. I opened another beer and, exhausted by the effort, slumped back onto the couch. Caster was flanked by a curious mixture of politicians, sports administrators, athletes and at least one convicted criminal.

The only person who failed to urge the masses to rise up against the injustices perpetrated against Caster – choosing instead to point out that sport had the capacity to unite people – was SASCOC president Gideon Sam. He ought to be ashamed of himself.

With the anaesthetic wearing off, and becoming more idiot and less savant by the second, Malema lunged for the microphone and said, “One of the people who complained to IAAF is a media institution operating in South Africa.” He demanded to know “where is patriotism”.

“Here I am,” said a Zimbabwean journalist at the back. Malema’s bodyguard moved quickly to escort Patriotism from the press conference.

The ANC Women’s League representative thanked Caster’s parents for “giving us this very pretty girl”. Caster demurely lowered her eyes, flexed her deltoids and growled softly. Then the rep said she wasn’t going to say much more “because mama is here”. Mama turned out to be Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who apparently prefers to do all the talking herself.

“I am here representing my country,” said Winnie, for the benefit of everyone wondering what she was doing at a press conference for athletes. “I align myself with everything Malema has said. The only whites here are journalists.” White viewers went to put the kettle on and check that their passports were valid.

Then Gideon Sam placed a garland of flowers around Caster’s neck. His leaning in for a kiss must rate as the second most awkward moment in sporting history, the first being at the 1972 Munich Olympics when the Israeli team opened their door expecting a pizza delivery man and instead got Black September.

Athletics SA boss Leonard Chuene, a charming man with the emotional intelligence of a five year old, foamed and frothed like a salted snail. I couldn’t understand a word. To his credit, though, he did admit that English was his fourth language, the first three being Pedi.

Then they were off to visit the president. I opened another beer and told the cat it was a bit odd that not one journalist had asked Caster a direct question. Perhaps they had been warned. The cat nodded. Then again, the cat does a lot of nodding.

Licence of the lambs

I had a friend stay with me for a few days last week. I hadn’t seen him in years. He hasn’t aged much and weighs the same as he did when he was 21. I told him he probably had that weird disease where you suddenly get old and fat overnight, which made me feel better about myself.

He said he was seriously considering dropping out. He lives in Maun, a fragmented boondock in Botswana where amphibians outnumber people. It lurks on the fetid fringe of the delta, a dystopian swamp infested with wild beasts that want you dead.

To most people, that would constitute dropping out. But not him. He means right out. Down the rabbit hole and off the radar. No more queuing for permission to drive this, own that, live here, go there. No more filling in forms or sending off applications. No more requesting permission to exist. A subsistence existence beyond the law.

He strongly recommended I do the same. Later, after a few beers, he strongly recommended that I try something called dimethyltryptamine. Surprisingly, I’d never heard of DMT. Or maybe I had. Maybe I’d taken it a bunch of times but couldn’t remember. Tricky things, drugs. I’m sure I’d remember, though.

After first smoking DMT, American psychonaut Terrence McKenna said he entered “a magical place inhabited by self-transforming machine elves made of light and language, where the totality of phenomenal existence was experienced in a terrifying transpersonal flash”. Not your average Friday night at the club, then.

Dropping out has never appealed to me more than it has this week. Allow me to introduce to you the Verulam vehicle licensing department, the Fifth Circle of Hell where sullen members of the law abiding citizenry are punished for their sins.

Verulam was here before any of us, but that doesn’t give it the right to behave badly. The town, incidentally, was named after the Earl of Verulam, patron of the British Methodists who settled there in 1850, and not, as I always thought, after the legendary shad fisherman Bobby “Crusher” Verulam.

Who knows why the eThekwini municipality chose to put this particular office in the epicenter of a never-ending tropical storm of people, traffic and general pavement-based mayhem. Perhaps it wasn’t always like that. Perhaps government departments simply become catalysts for chaos over time.

The home affairs office in Pinetown, for instance, is the place to go if you want a passport and a screwdriver in your ribs. A few days ago, well-known ANC suck-up Visvin Reddy was stabbed not far from home affairs. The last time his wife visited the office, she was also mugged. Maybe it’s a Reddy thing, but it doesn’t look like it. Last year a man set himself and his wife on fire outside the same office. By all accounts, it’s like Aleppo without the benefit of UN-supervised safe passage back to your car.

I’ve been to Verulam six times in the past fortnight to transfer a new car into my name and deregister my stolen Corolla. It’s making me physically ill. I want to vomit when I wake up and realise that I have to go to Verulam again.

This is how it should work. You buy a new car and want to put it in your name. The first scenario is that you drive to an aesthetically pleasing complex near your home, get waved to a shaded parking bay, then ushered into a spacious air-conditioned hall where you are dealt with efficiently and pleasantly. You’re out of there in minutes. You are rewarded for doing the right thing.

The second scenario is that you drive deep into the hinterland on a heavily potholed road where you risk being set upon by homicidal maniacs armed with rusty pangas at every stop street, negotiate with jumpy yellow-eyed drug addicts for a place to park outside a building located in the worst part of a bad town, find your way to a room with no ventilation and take your place in a queue of fifty grim-faced desperadoes, each with his own unique olfactory imprint, shout through thick bombproof glass at a gormless, gum-chewing, clock-watching sloth who communicates through grunts, sighs and eye-rolls, fill in reams of forms, find somewhere in town to make photocopies and get instructed to return in three weeks, upon which you are told your forms have gone astray and you will need to start the process all over again. At the end, as a reward for your tenacity, you are given a special licence to drive as fast as you want and park wherever you like.

But there is no first scenario. There is only the second, and it doesn’t end with permission to be Mad Max, either. The punishment we suffer to comply with the law is often more severe than not complying.

Turning into Wick Street, my heart literally sinks. I can feel it pounding against my liver. Maybe that is my liver. Things are tolerable up until Phoenix Funerals. Then cars and taxis begin converging like rats on a baby dove. They come from all angles and directions. Your feet tap dance on the brake and accelerator pedals and there’s a squirt of adrenalin as you swerve to miss the bag of rags stumbling from the Greencat Bar. From there it’s all downhill.

Parking in central Verulam is an existential concept. It exists but it doesn’t. This is the home of Schrodinger’s parking bay. Stop and shop seems to be the rule. Double park, triple park, leave your car in the middle of the road – it’s all good. You drive on whichever side of the road happens to be unobstructed. Don’t worry about the solid white line. It’s there to help drunks find their way home.

Wick Street becomes the Congo River and the Verulam Regional Centre my personal heart of darkness. Through a miasma of exhaust fumes, I see it up ahead. It squats sullenly above Mia’s Pick ‘a Bite and Habib’s Fast Foods. The horror.

The municipal sign says, “Sizakala”. This is Zulu for, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” No, that can’t be right. It’s too long. Although if “Gedleyihlekisa” means “He who laughs while grinding his enemies, stealing taxpayer’s money, sleeping with your daughter and causing his party to lose votes”, then I suppose anything is possible.

I spot a near empty parking lot behind an open gate on the opposite side of the road and pull in. The Congo can only be crossed by a carefully choreographed sequence involving three pirouettes, two bunny hops, an arabesque and that thing bullfighters do.

The portals to hell are flanked by Zulu clothes sellers. The sellers are Zulu, not the clothes. I have seen Zulu clothes. They don’t involve much more than bits of leopard and monkey and beaded loincloth. That’s fine for the Reed Dance but this is a peri-urban purgatorial paradise and people want to look as if they’re meeting the Earl of Verulam himself for tea and a white pipe later in the day. Fair enough.

The sign at the entrance to the hideous face brick building prohibits guns, animals and smoking. I walk in, expecting to find the place awash in gambling, drinking and fornicating. If you don’t expressly forbid South Africans from doing something, they will do it.

“But, officer, the sign doesn’t say human sacrifices aren’t allowed.”

“Okay, fine. Just clean up the blood afterwards. But the dog must wait outside.”

There’s one window marked Metro Police Fines Processing. It looks abandoned. Then there are two windows for Enquiries Motor Licensing. I have been to both. Repeatedly. See previous reference to useless, clock-watching sloth. These are the Harry Potter counters, where paperwork disappears into thin air. Where one hands over ones documents with the same feeling one gets when one goes to insert a USB, instinctively sensing you’re doing it wrong and will have to try again.

Last week you had to have duplicates – this week it’s triplicates. Last week a thumbprint was enough – this week it’s a DNA sample.

Then there’s a line of four cashier windows. This is the Holy Grail for those who seek something stamped. The Lourdes Grotto for the sick-to-death of queuing. The Wailing Wall for those who have given up wailing and are now sitting with their heads in their hands. The head-holders are the ones on the wooden bench right at the back. It takes an hour to progress to the plastic chairs. Of the four windows, one is heavily boarded up as if a tornado warning were in effect, another is devoid of life and the third is on early lunch or late breakfast. Everyone on the deck of HMS Doomed watches the fourth window like hungry people watch fat people eat. It’s a mixture of envy and disgust, if you were wondering.

Every fifteen minutes, everyone crouch-shuffles one seat closer to nirvana. Obviously I don’t because I’m busy taking notes. The security guard taps me on the shoulder and indicates that I need to move 30cm to my right. So this is how queues work? It happens more than once. He clearly thinks I’m retarded. I’m the only white person here. I must be retarded. Where are the others? Perth?

I don’t make it to the plastic chairs. I turn to the Indian fellow next to me. “I’m sorry,” I say. “I just can’t do this.” He smiles and nods, sad that I’m giving up but glad that he is one place closer to window four, the kingdom of heaven where unicorns romp and prance in the Elysian Fields of Bureaucracy.

A bag of DMT and a shack on the outskirts of Maun might be the way to go. Bring on the elves.


Lunchtime O’lympics

It is Day 10 of this sickening display of narcissism and there is still a week to go. I don’t know how much longer I can endure lying on the couch shouting, “Run, you lazy bastard!” and “Lift those weights, you goddamn leotard-wearing nonce!” and “More beer, woman!”

I have hooked myself up to a rudimentary catheter and the dogs have begun licking at the bedsores weeping on my coccyx. The phone goes unanswered and someone has been ringing the doorbell on and off for the last three days. The hired help came in to the TV room on Day 7 dressed in the kind of outfit that forensic cleaners wear when someone has died of senile squalor syndrome.

I have developed a predilection for gymnastics. Watching those Chinese girls go through their paces makes my swollen heart palpitate and my knees sweat, a condition immeasurably exacerbated by the nefarious activities of my coccyx-licking dogs.

Weightlifting is also one of my favourites, especially when the German girls do the clean snatch and jerk. It reminds me of a movie I once saw, only with better lighting and less moaning.

A lot of the time, though, I throw empty beer cans at the television set out of sheer frustration, but often the cans aren’t completely empty and the screen gets coated in Tafel lager. I can’t always make out what event it is that I am watching. I think it was on Day 4 that I was cheering for Argentina to stab those yellow-bellied Japs in the eye in the fencing event but after half an hour the beer dried up and it turned out to be two black men punching each other in the face which made me even angrier because if there is one thing the world needs right now it is black people standing together against the imperialist threat posed by table tennis.

On Sunday I pulled a muscle in my back while lying on the couch watching the high jump. It happened while lunging for a fresh six-pack that the Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman had cruelly moved just beyond my reach. This shows the importance of stretching exercises for spectators.

I was amazed at what the human body is capable of. At one point, even with a sprained rhomboideus, I managed to go from a prostrate position to a conventional sitting position while simultaneously opening a beer, changing channels and wedging my big toe into the dog’s bottom to avoid further contamination of the atmosphere.

I think these games are overrated. There are several events in which I could easily win a medal. Skeet shooting is one. Most white South Africans of a certain age are excellent skeet shooters, although in those days we didn’t call them skeets – we called them terrorists. I remember being on the border and shooting someone in the back from a distance of two kilometres. It turned out to be our radio operator, but still. When it comes to marksmanship, it’s important to give credit where it is due.

Common sense says it is easier to win a medal in a team sport, like hockey or genocide, because you can rely on your mates to do all the hard work. Take curling, for example. Right away, I would commandeer the comb and let my more talented colleagues wield the tongs and hairspray.

There was a time I felt myself drawn to archery, but then I watched Robin Hood – Men In Tights and realised this so-called sport had the potential to turn ordinary decent folk into dangerous homosexuals. It’s a pity Olympic organisers don’t offer an alternative for athletes from the developing world, using human targets and pangas instead of bows and arrows. We’d get gold in that, for sure.

As for beach volleyball. Really? The way these women carry on after winning a point, why not just make lesbianism an Olympic sport? Men play it, too. They use words like “spike” and “jungle ball” and “underhand serve” which is quite obviously code for activities of a deviant nature. And why not? After all, the Greeks started this rotten business.

And if jumping into a sand pit can be an Olympic sport, then drinking and driving should be, too. As for the 10m pellet gun, the less said the better. What next? Catapults?

I think I would be good at judo. Most married men who haven’t yet been emasculated are experts in the art of pushing and slapping. My friend Ted says it was originally an elitist money-making sport started by Zionists who called it Jew Dough. I called him a filthy anti-Semite and beat him soundly with a leg of pork, which we later cooked and ate with relish and gusto.

As for that ridiculous business with the swords. A South African’s idea of fencing is to make a tidy profit from selling stolen goods. It makes far more sense than attempting to prod a stranger with a pointy stick. If you’re going to have a sword fight, then, for god’s sake, do it to the death.

I could also win a medal in dressage. It’s not even as if you have to be fit. All you have to do is sit on your horse while it goes through its tap dancing routine, and maybe have a word with it if it gets over-excited and tries something from Michael Jackson’s repertoire. It’s best not to let your horse watch programmes like Strictly Come Dancing.

The ANC should stage its own games. Here are a few categories they’d excel in.


Deploying the cadre

Looting the treasury

Fleecing the taxpayer

Riding the gravy train

Playing the race card

Watching the clock

Hunting for witches

Jumping the queue

Pulling the wool

Loading the dice

Shooting the breeze

Stalling for time

Spinning the truth

Spanking the monkey

Palming the tender

Fiddling the expenses

Diving for cover

Dropping the ball

Passing the buck


Sex ‘n drugs ‘n frock ‘n roll

I am a feminist at heart and wouldn’t claim to be anything else, so I called Ted and said we ought to celebrate our inner women by pretending to be women, which is what I expect women would want men to do on Women’s Day.

Ted thought it was a fabulous idea and half an hour later came flouncing up my driveway wearing a purple chiffon cocktail dress and a pair of bloodstained army boots. I explained to him that the objective was to pretend to be real women and not a pair of murderous transvestites.

I picked out one of the Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman’s evening gowns. The hemline swirled about my knees in a most alluring fashion, which is more than can be said for the top half which just kind of hung around like a Jehovah’s Witness.

I told Ted we needed a boost in the boob department or our cover would be blown. I left him browsing through her bra drawer. Unlike the male organ, women’s breasts vary in size depending on their weight, marital status and mood.

“Find me a 52B,” I shouted, mixing myself a suitably girly wine spritzer with a shot of tequila gold on the side and two beers to chase.

While Ted was developing a cleavage I perused the internet to see what Women’s Day specials were being offered. I was expecting to find lavender-scented pepper spray, Rasta masseurs from Gambia and coffee table books featuring lipstick lesbians in a range of tastefully lit positions.

Instead, the deal-of-the-day websites were offering designer handbags, sunglasses, dinners in aid of breast cancer, cryolipolysis fat freeze and ultrasound cavitation (yummy!), Egyptian cotton towel sets, aromatherapy massage candles, collagen face masks, Gordon Ramsay cookware, a range of blemish-clearing devices and a shoe storage cabinet for only R3 600.

Really? This is what women want on Women’s Day? I felt deflated. “Here,” said Ted, “stick these down your top.” Feeling a bit more inflated, I wiggled my faux bosom, drained my tequila and headed for the car.

“Right,” said Ted, wedging his giant chiffon-coated arse into the passenger seat. “Let’s celebrate Women’s Day.”

Our first port of call was the beautician. I fixed Ted’s wig and he fixed mine. He was a blonde, I was a redhead. I had found a drawer full of wigs at home. Probably from the days when the Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman was stalking medical students instead of focusing on her studies. We still joke about the unmarked graves of those who refused her advances, except in her case it’s not so much a joke as it is a confession.

Her name was Xandra. That’s what it said on the name-tag on her blouse, if that’s what you call a garment so sheer you get vertigo every time it comes near you. I pronounced it with a Xhosa click even though she was a very white girl. “It’s pronounced Zandra,” she said, smiling for one-hundredth of a second.

“So you want a wax?” she said. “Yes please,” said Ted, “and a polish.” Ted gets his humour from Top Gear. That’s why he never gets laid. I nudged his leg to indicate that he should lower his voice by several hundred octaves. He thought I was initiating some sort of silly game that girls indulge in when they go to the beautician and I had to play along until the nudging and pinching and giggling turned into slapping and punching and cursing.

“So,” said Xandra. “Do youse want the bikini, the moustache, the landing strip, the American, the Brazilian or the Hollywood?”

Ted said he wanted the Kentucky Fried Chicken but she had never heard of it before and nor had I so I said we’d just get our nails done instead.

She looked at my hands and shuddered. “Do you bite your nails?” she asked. Of course I bite my nails. How else do men keep their nails short? She said there was nothing she could do for them. Ted said he had heard there was some kind of acid that they offered clients. Xandra perked up and began telling him about the acid options that would rid his feet of callouses. He told her he was more interested in the acid options that would rid his mind of reality.

She ignored him and offered me a seaweed wrap which made us think of sushi so we headed back to the car where I changed into a little red skirt, fishnet stockings and high heels. Ted asked what I thought I was doing.

“Can’t a girl look nice on Women’s Day?” I said, pretending to scratch his eyes out without bothering with the pretending part. Screaming and clutching his eyeballs, he shouted that  I deserved everything I got if I went out looking like a low-rent whore.

“That’s the spirit,” I said, sashaying off down the road to a nearby sushi bar that didn’t sell sushi. Within the space of 100m, we were whistled at, hit on and propositioned nine times. It seemed so wrong to turn down all these offers of sex, and yet we had to. As women, it was expected of us. Inexplicable, really.

Sitting on the verandah sucking upon our aperitifs – if one can call double brandies and coke an aperitif – it soon became apparent that gentlemen were giving us the venereal eye and making remarks that fluctuated between the misogynistic and the moronic.

Ted began acting like a complete slut. He batted his stupid little man eyelashes, flashed a slab of flabby thigh and did something revolting with his tongue.

“What the hell are you doing?” I hissed. While continuing to flirt with what looked and sounded like a meeting of the Boeremag’s technical division (Krugersdorp branch), Ted explained that he was paying the ultimate homage to women on Women’s Day. Women, he said, wielded the most incredible power. He said he could feel it pumping through his veins like molten lava. I reminded him that he wasn’t actually a woman and that it was most likely the brandy and not lava at all, but he was having none of it.

He stood up, flicked his wig, smoothed his cocktail dress, puckered his lips and said, “Fuck you all, you bunch of ignorant cock-sucking losers.” Then he took my hand and we flounced right out of there.

It felt so liberating to treat men like the filth they are without any risk of getting my head kicked in that I may well have a sex change.


Women’s Month – Next year will be better

I was trying to figure out why the people who bring out this particular magazine had specifically chosen the August edition to pay tribute to women. Then I remembered. Both the publisher and the editor are men. And this is winter. What better way to get a little credit in the love bank than by devoting an entire issue to women?

“Look, honey,” said the editor. “I have given your kind their very own edition. Now take your top off, drizzle honey over your magnificent breasts and come here.”

I was sharing my insight with the Bad Yellow-Eyed Woman when she turned on me without warning and wooden spooned me in the solar plexus. Using language unbefitting a toilet-trained person, she pointed out that since August was Women’s Month, it was far more likely that the magazine’s management was simply in step with the rest of the non-Neanderthal world.

I sloped off into the garden, knuckles dragging on the floor, to lick my wounds and plot my revenge. It wasn’t long before I became distracted by a six-pack of beer hidden behind the bougainvillea for use in times of emergency. I abandoned my nefarious scheming on the grounds that drinking would accomplish better results and also because women generally suffer enough, what with period pains, childbirth, skewed logic, the inability to tolerate criticism and so on.

Instead I came up with my own programme of events to celebrate Women’s Month in 2017. There will be none of the cultural performances, poetry readings and workshops that make this such a dreary month.

Here are some of the activities that will take place next year.

Week 1

  • Catholic women will dress up as priests and take charge of church services around the world without risk of assassination by the Vatican’s holy hitmen. Priests will be expected to dress as nuns and sit quietly at the back with their legs crossed.
  • Married women get the week off to relax in bed without once being coerced into having sex.
  • All cooking, cleaning and child-related chores are delegated to the husband/boyfriend (or the proxy of his choice) for the duration of the week.

Week 2

  • Women are given the freedom of the cities enabling them to visit bars and clubs on their own, in pairs or in packs and hit on men as and when they see fit without fear of picking up a nasty label. When they return home in the early hours of the morning, they are entitled to slap, punch or kick their men no more than three times with the understanding that there will be no hard feelings the next day.
  • Women get to sexually harass their male bosses without fear of retribution. If the idea of fondling the CEO’s bum simply doesn’t bear thinking about, employers can instead be spoken to in sarcastic, disdainful, patronising and/or imperious tones.
  • A cosmetics, body maintenance and diet-free week. Women may look as dirty, plain and unattractive as they wish without being publicly denigrated or denied entry to their homes or places of work.

Week 3

  • The Women’s Grand Prix takes place at Kyalami. Classes will be according to colour and not engine size. In other words, red cars versus red cars, silver cars versus silver cars and so on. Categories will include Most Vulgar Hand Signal, Least Concern for Other Drivers and Fastest Lap Combined With Best Application of Makeup.
  • Women get to play with the army and navy’s new toys. They may also stage their own war games in False Bay with the understanding that the firing of live shells at Fish Hoek is encouraged.
  • Each married woman receives a Get Out Of Trouble card to be used if and when she gets caught having an affair.

Week 4

  • An expropriation from the defence budget frees up enough money to give every South African woman a hair appointment courtesy of the state.
  • MaKhumalo takes the reigns from hubby Jacob for a day. She gets to chair a Cabinet meeting attended only by the ministers’ wives. None of the female ministers will be allowed to attend since they already know what power tastes like. During the meeting, the ‘ministers’ will be empowered to make any decisions that take their fancy. Should they, for example, adopt a motion to redecorate parliament or invade Zimbabwe, operational costs will be borne by the taxpayer.
  • Free yoga sessions or military training from the Chinese.




Paddling in the shallow end of the gene pool

Our very own doe-eyed Merman, Chad le Clos, goes up against his arch-rival Michael Phelps in the Rio Olympics today. Here’s something I wrote about the Baltimore Bullet a few years ago.


THAT poor, dumb brute, Michael Phelps. He never stood a chance. He hasn’t stopped swimming since his mother was talked into having a water birth in 1985. He has won 14 Olympic gold medals and holds seven world records. As if that’s not enough, just months after winning Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year award, he walked off with High Times magazine Bong Smoker of the Year award. Is there nothing this man cannot achieve?

Who among us can forget that image of our hero at the Beijing Olympics after winning the 100m butterfly, his long face – freakishly elongated after having to doggy paddle down the birth canal and then back stroke to the surface of his parents’ jacuzzi in Baltimore 23 years earlier – lit up with the realisation that he is the world’s fastest swimmer?

I can. I forgot that image the moment it flitted across my television screen. A highly trained world class athlete who does nothing but swim and who keeps on winning swimming races? Outrageous. Unthinkable.

The image that does stick in my mind, though, is the photograph of the human dolphin at a party near the University of South Carolina, his piscine mouth wrapped tightly around the end of a cylindrical device that could have been a plastic didgeridoo but instead turned out to be a $2 bong packed with primo marijuana.

The photograph, taken by a student with a bright future in the DEA, was published in Britain by the News of the World, a tabloid edited by a misshapen creature whose presence is preceded by the sound of weeping children and the overpowering smell of sulphur.

Oh. My. God. Michael Phelps gets high. No wonder he managed to … er, hang on. Smoking anything at all isn’t likely to enhance lung capacity, is it? If it did, half of Jamaica would be swimming off to Miami every weekend.

The cry went up. Michael Phelps is setting a bad example. Oh, fuck off. He’s not. If you look at the picture closely, you will notice that he has a textbook grip on the bong in question. This is a man who knows what he is doing.

I suspect that the mole who leaked the photograph did so because he never got a chance to have a hit. He brought the last of his stash to the party, primed the bong and then made the mistake of asking Michael to bust it. Possessing lungs bigger than the Hindenburg, Michael only stopped inhaling when the host’s Chihuahua was sucked into the bowl. His exhalation looked like an Australian wildfire.

Michael apparently had several health scares after an unusual growth spurt at school. He hit the 2m mark in grade nine. What the hell was his mother putting in his lunch? It certainly wasn’t dope cookies because I went to high school with boys who were cannabis fiends and when I bump into them today they are so small that I easily step right over them. Okay, so it was just this one guy. And he might have been unconscious. But still.

I suspect that Michael’s mother fed him on Kellogg’s, a nutritious breakfast cereal that helped turn him into a well-rounded kid afflicted with nothing more serious than Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Michael loved Kellogg’s but Kellogg’s loved Michael even more when they became his sponsor and he started getting super hyperactive in the freestyle events.

But then Michael got distracted by a passing bong, as is the wont of the attention deficit, and Kellogg’s just plain cold turkey dropped him. “We didn’t do it,” said a company spokesman. “Sugar, yes. Artificial flavourants, yes. Liver-curdling colouring, yes. Cannabis? No way, José.”

Michael is also sponsored by Subway, a company with more than 30 000 restaurants in nearly 90 countries. Right now, as we speak, the chain is promoting a hefty twelve inches of heart-stopping cholesterol on a roll for only $5.

“Hey, folks. I’m Michael Phelps and damn, have I got the munchies! Give me four of them fabulous foot-longs!”

But, no. Instead of taking advantage of the situation, Subway said, “We are disappointed in his behaviour, but we accept his apology and he remains in our plans.”

Michael, if you’re reading this, I would advise you to dump those mealy-mouthed weasels over at Subway. You might not be averse to putting twelve inches of something else in your mouth, but anyone who has seen you in a Speedo knows you don’t eat that rubbish.

The only people responding to this global crisis in a rational manner, apart from 300 million marijuana smokers, are Michael’s third biggest sponsors, Swiss watchmakers Omega. And not just because their country’s banks have tons of Nazi gold and Cosa Nostra cash in their vaults, either. Geneva is controlled by billionaire smack junkies and crack whores who can’t even swim, but, like Michael, they can speak French. Which makes all the difference in the world.

Thanks to his heinous abuse of narcotics, Phelps now has nearly two million fans on Facebook, not all of whom are gay. The messages are overwhelmingly supportive. Like this one, “I think the sandal with Plelps is ridicudiculous , the media is blowwing it out of proportion … people are quick to judge before looking at all of his acomplishemeds in a shor time he gave us the hights honor any olypian has ever had ,there is much bigger curropiton in DC this was only pot for christ sake we all have skeletons in our coloset.”

Okay, so marijuana might not be good for everyone.




Vote Warthog

I suppose I can’t put it off any longer. I really don’t feel like getting my mind dirty, but it must be done. So. Big decisions to be made on Wednesday, yes? Do we lie on the beach, go shoplifting at the mall or stay in bed with a bottle of gin and the curtains drawn? Hard times call for hard choices. I suppose some of you may want to vote. Suit yourself. Just don’t come crying to me afterwards.

I haven’t received a single pre-recorded phone call or sms from a political party. It’s almost as if they don’t want my vote. Good. Because they’re not getting it.

Meanwhile, parties are still moaning about their posters being vandalised. Please. Give me a break. Here at election time the complaint is, “They tore my poster off.”

Elsewhere in Africa at election time the complaint is, “They tore my leg off.” Get a grip. Don’t go whining to the IEC unless your polling station gets blown up and you’re carrying your kidneys in a bucket.

I felt a brief surge of hope when I saw the poster, “Chainsaw attack on DA man”, but it turned out that the merry prankster had merely sliced off the side mirror on Pietermaritzburg mayoral candidate Mergan Chetty’s car. The politician was part of a 75-car motorcade. I don’t even know 75 people with cars.

Chetty said he shouted at the man, asking him what’s wrong. This is an indication of Chetty’s commitment to politics at the local level. Even as the Imbali township version of Leatherface launches his one-man chop shop, he wants to know more about the man’s problems.

There are 206 parties contesting Wednesday’s elections. I imagine that most of these people filled in their applications to register as candidates for the same reason they fill in their Lotto cards every week. Tata ma chance. Councillors earn between R40 000 and R80 000 a month depending on the municipality. Nice work if you can get it. I use the word ‘work’ loosely.

Last year, only 40 of the 278 councils in South Africa received clean audits. Ten had sold the office stationery for zamaleks and were unable to to submit their financial statements on time.

Warthogs wallowing in bottomless pools of money.

If you’re not sure which party to vote for, here’s some information that might help you make up your mind who not to vote for. The governor of the Reserve Bank has forecast 0% growth for 2016. If, like me, you have trouble understanding numbers, let me break it down for you in words. Zero. Percent. Growth. The good news is that we all get to star in the movie, Honey, I Shrunk The Economy, produced by the ANC and directed by Jacob Zuma.

Before you vote, think about what kind of South Africa you want to live in. I already know the answer and I’m not even voting. I want to live in a South Africa where colour doesn’t matter. A South Africa with no white people. No black people. No people at all. Just a country full of animals.

That, however, might take a while. Ask yourself, then, what kind of South Africa do you want to leave for your children? If you don’t have children, or have children but don’t particularly like them, you may skip this section.

Actually, don’t ask yourself anything. Ask your children. I expect the answers will include an end to compulsory education, free money and cheaper, better weed. If these are, in fact, the policies of any party out there, please let me know before Wednesday.

Speaking of delusions, we are lucky to have such an awesome president. Speaking to ANC supporters in Inchanga a few days ago, Zuma slammed independent candidates for dividing the ANC vote. He described them as “witches” who would’ve been “impaled back in the day”. It’s common knowledge that anyone who isn’t a rabid fan of the ruling party must be a witch, warlock or goblin. Impaling is too good for them, I say. Burning at the stake. Now there’s a fitting punishment for the 21st century.

But then Zuma said they couldn’t be killed because “we are now living in a democratic system”. This must have come as a huge disappointment to everyone who had already begun sharpening their impalers. There’s not much use for a sharpened stick without having a witch to stick on the end of it. I suppose you could buy a pig and have a spit braai, but it’s just not the same.

Even though I’m not voting, I thought I should at least make the effort to find out who is standing in my area. When I say ‘effort’, I mean I walked down to the main road. I don’t know what ward I’m in. Most of the time it feels like the psych ward.

The DA says we should vote for someone called Geoffrey Pullen. It doesn’t say why. He looks like a Spitfire pilot cryogenically frozen in October 1940 after the Battle of Britain and has now been unfrozen to fight a far more cunning enemy than the Hun. Good luck, ace. Hold your fire until you see the yellows of their eyes.


Then there’s Mervin Pillay from something called Minorities of South Africa. The slogan on the poster says, “Claim your space.” I don’t know what that means. Or even if I’m entitled to claim it. I expect so, though. In these parts, if you’re not a Zulu you’re a minority. This country is awash in minorities. If we all began claiming our space, there’d be nothing left for the majority. That’s how civil wars get started.


The IFP has a photo of that old warhorse Gatsha Buthelezi, who looks remarkably well for a 107-year-old man. The message is, “Trust us…” I think the ellipsis might have been a mistake because the temptation is to finish the sentence and it might not always count in their favour.


The EFF’s man is Khuzwayo Mandla. His picture is in black and white, which is not in the least ironic unless you think about it, and makes him look like he’s wanted in three provinces. He’s not smiling because smiling is counter-revolutionary. If they win this ward, everyone will get a free farm, factory and two cows. There are no farms, factories or cows in my area.


The party’s election manifesto does, at least, stipulate that, “A revolutionary councillor does not dwell in the conspicuous consumerist practices that seek to blindly show off privilege.” In other words, he will sleep under a bridge and catch a horse to work.

And, of course, Jacob Zuma’s giant grinning head on a pole at the traffic circle. Not literally, unfortunately. On a poster.


Elections provide the opportunity for change. I’m a big fan of change. I never stay married for more than ten years and I leave a job after five. Not always by choice, it must be said. Julius Malema has asked voters to give the EFF a municipality so they can prove themselves. Hell, why not? Okay, maybe not eThekwini, but surely there’s no harm in giving them something like Kai !Garib in the Northern Cape?

So this is us – we, the people – sloshing about in gutters running thick with scurrilous calumny, militant hyperbole and enough hogwash to leave a million pot-bellied pigs clean and sweet-smelling while the supreme weasels wheedle and cajole, coax, fawn and pander, quibble, fence and lie – then cross their fingers and hope to die.

Lastly, in case you still give a damn, here’s a convenient glossary of election terms.

Democracy – A political system that punishes minorities for not breeding fast enough. From the Greek word ‘demo’ meaning ‘tyranny’ and ‘cracy’ meaning ‘of the majority’.

Party – A political home for like-minded people. Something of a misnomer since nobody ever gets laid and drinks are in the House every five years.

Manifesto – A document outlining a party’s policies. From the Greek word ‘mani’ meaning ‘barefaced’ and ‘festo’ meaning ‘lies’.

Coalition – An alliance of parties more interested in power than principles.

Proportional representation – An electoral formula guaranteeing members of parliament that they will never be confronted by an angry constituent.

Polling booth – A secure environment in which control over one’s life is delegated, in writing, to perfect strangers.

Door-to-door campaigning – An opportunity for poor people to get lied to directly to their faces.

Poverty – A recurring condition that distresses politicians for a few weeks every five years.