Oy vey it’s the DJ

Dear DJ Black Coffee,

Shalom and congratulations on becoming a household name across South Africa. Thanks to your gig in Israel on the Easter weekend, even white people have heard of you now. To be honest, I always thought you were a musician. I suppose the letters DJ should have tipped me off, but it could have been your initials. Like PJ Powers.

Perhaps deeejays do consider themselves to be musicians these days. If so, I apologise. When I was a teenager, disc jockey was little more than a fancy title for the neighbourhood geek with a record collection who was sometimes persuaded, usually by threats of violence, to be in charge of the music at a house party so that everyone else could have fun without the hassle of changing the records themselves.

I imagine things are a bit more sophisticated since then, although the basic principle remains the same. You people – deejays, not black people – are like the taxi drivers of the music business. Instead of women saying, “Take me to Verulam and please don’t kill me” they say “Play some reggae or my boyfriend will kill you.

Even the music has changed. It’s all digital and electronic and you have to have an ear for it. You don’t need much of a brain, obviously, but an ear is quite important. I lack the ear, quite frankly. I always seem to miss the moment the beat drops. I don’t even notice when I drop my car keys.

Your job can’t be easy, though, even if it means putting on a clean T-shirt every day. You’re on your feet the whole time and your mission is to keep everyone happy. It’s especially important that we keep the Israelis happy, particularly the soldiers who must have enjoyed your show after being out in the field all day. Shooting Palestinians is hot and heavy work, even if they are unarmed and several hundred metres away. Soldiers are people too. There is a time for shooting and there is a time for dancing. It’s a good thing the Israeli army knows which is which or the carnage at Gan Ha-Slaim (that’s The Rocks Garden to the goyim) would have been awful.

You probably know by now that not everyone is delighted with you spreading the love among the Israelis. The ever charming and always restrained Lindiwe Zulu said in a statement this week that it was “with deep concern that the ANC has learnt of the recent visit to Israel of Mr Nkosinathi Maphumulo, popularly known as Black Coffee.”

It was with deep concern that I learnt Black Coffee is not your real name. I’m not judging. All the best people have pseudonyms. Don’t worry about the ANC, comrade. The party never once noted with anything remotely approximating deep concern that the previous president and half his cabinet were stealing money hand over fist.

I do think it’s damnably unfair of the government not to even mention that your concert was a sell-out. You sold out, Black Coffee. That’s got to count for something.

Nobody could blame you for taking to Twitter to defend yourself. Hell, if you were an Israeli you would have taken to a Merkava battle tank. Your critics are fortunate that tweets do a lot less damage than 120mm armour-piercing rounds.

“Like everyone else,” you tweeted, “I have rights and free will and no, Black Coffee is not a political party. I work as an entertainer to feed my family. To sum it up I’ll take a bullet for my family.”

Funnily enough, 18 Palestinians literally took a bullet for their families on Good Friday. It’s their own damn fault for protesting about something or other instead of entertaining people with music and maybe doing some magic tricks for the kids.

Anyone with an ounce of compassion in their hearts understands that you work as an entertainer to feed your family in much the same way that Syrian President Basha al-Assad works as a warlord to feed his family, Kim Jong-un works as a dictator to feed his family and Jacob Zuma didn’t really work but he still managed to feed his massive family. We understand.

I read somewhere that you’re worth R27-million. I don’t know how big your family is, but I do know that kids eat a lot these days. Nobody wants to see your family go hungry.

You say Black Coffee is not a political party but have you considered going into politics? Now would be the perfect time. The only place to go is up. You could have bilateral relations with the Myanmar government. Set up your decks on the northern border and give the Rohingya a rousing sendoff as they flee to Bangladesh. Or hook up with the Chinese. Play at the Yulin dog festival to raise money for organ harvesting among the Falun Gong. And there are still massive opportunities in Russia and North Korea. What about doing a Taliban tour? Or, closer to home, a benefit concert for the Freedom Front Plus? The possibilities are endless and you’d be a fool to think the world doesn’t need more people who are prepared to do anything for money.

This isn’t your first rodeo in Tel Aviv, is it? You played there in 2014. At this rate you’ll be declared an honorary Israeli in no time at all. If you’re not already circumcised, get it done soon. You wouldn’t want something as silly as a foreskin getting in the way of being granted the freedom of the city.

Back then, a centrist group of left-wing conservatives called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa asked you not to do it. Maybe you didn’t get the memo because you reportedly feigned ignorance about Israel holding 4.5 million people hostage while slowly stealing their land. It’s okay. Feigning ignorance is an old South African tradition, albeit one that is largely restricted to the white population, especially when it comes to apartheid.

I don’t know whether to call you Comrade Black or Mr Coffee. Nevertheless, I applaud you for your decision not to boycott Israel even though you boycotted the Swaziland arts festival in 2011. At the time you said, “We can’t be happy when Swazi people are suffering. We support the call to boycott the festival and I am not going.” Good for you. King Mswati is way worse than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He refuses to allow his marijuana to flow freely into South Africa, for a start. The man is a monster.

Cultural boycotts don’t work. Imagine if losers like Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Keith Richards and Jimmy Cliff hadn’t pledged in 1985 to never play Sun City while the apartheid government was in power. They’d be rich and famous today. So much for principles.

You probably know that the level-headed and not at all barking mad Lindiwe Zulu also said, “We await an opportunity to engage Black Coffee and the creative sector at large with a view to … creating common cause between all South Africans in rallying behind Palestine.”

My advice is that you tell her you’re already engaged. And what is this creative sector of which she speaks? We’re a splinter group at best. Full of jagged edges and shrapnel. The minister of arts and culture is the former minister of police, for heaven’s sake. You want funding? Come and get it, painter boy. Make my day.

Also, we can’t physically rally behind Palestine because that’s the Mediterranean sea behind Gaza and it’s full of Israeli patrol boats and anyone on the beach is liable to get shot at or blown up because at that distance nobody can tell for sure what kind of shells those Palestinian kids are busy with and I still need my legs so I can get to the bottle store on a Friday afternoon.

You’ve upset some very powerful people. You can either double down like Donald Trump and become the resident deejay at the Orania Home for the Eternally Unrepentant or change your name. How about DJ Caffè Macchiato? Black with a bit of white foam. Or DJ Kafe Shachor? That’s Hebrew for black coffee. Or move away from hot beverages altogether.

Whatever you do, though, don’t move to the ghettos of southern Tel Aviv. Netanyahu just did a big flip-flop after his rightwing homies called him out for being a schvartzer-lover. Go back to Africa or go to jail now seems to be the migrants’ only option.

Anyway. What do you care? You’re off to Ibiza for six months. Keep living la vida loca, my friend.

Mideast Israel Palestinians Ramadan

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And the banned play on

Now and then I hear of someone who has been banned from Facebook for a period of time and I try to imagine what heinous filth they must have been disseminating for such harsh action to be taken.

Were they trying to get the Gestapo back together? Lower the age of consent to seven? Show us the Trump pee-pee tape?

This week I discovered you needn’t do any of these things to get banned. All it takes is a letter to Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton and for one person to be offended. Am I bitter? Of course not. I deserve to be punished. I don’t know exactly what it is I did wrong, but it’s important that I be disciplined.

We need to be sensitive to the demands of the offended, even if it is only one in 250 others who liked, loved or laughed at the post. The easily upset have so few options open to them. Yes, they could stop reading my column when they start to feel themselves becoming infuriated and go for a beer. But what if they are tied to a chair and someone insists on reading it to them, ignoring their anguished cries while deliberately repeating passages that cause them the most distress, then laughing openly at their pain?

The other option they have – the most popular one, by all accounts – is to keep reading. Turn up the heat and let the outrage build to boiling point. When they can stand no more of it – and there is no more only because they have read all the way to the end – they want retribution and they want it now. Burning my house down is not an option simply because they don’t know where I live. Slumped on the couch, reeking of anger and cheap brandy, they report me to Facebook. I say ‘they’ even though it’s almost certainly just one person who did it. Man, woman or kid who found dad’s drugs? I can’t be sure. Facebook protects the identity of those who snitch on others.

The column had to do with Australia’s offer to fast-track visas for our white farmers before they are all wiped out in the genocide. Amid the deluge of likes, loves and laughter, three of my more emotional male Facebook ‘friends’ voiced their displeasure at the piece.

They came out gums blazing, shooting their mouths off like it was a showdown in the Wild West. Which, I suppose, it was in a way. It was like Ant-Man, the Wasp and Doctor Doom confronting Irony Man, except I’m a real superhero and their only power is to get me banned from Facebook for 24 hours. Curses. You won this time, villains. But I’ll be back.

These good old boys, who chose to follow me on Facebook, accused me of crossing the line. I had no idea there was only one line. And it applies to everyone? I wonder if this ever happened to the divine avatars who attracted disciples. For instance, we know about Judas Escargot, but did Peter, John, Simon the Zealot and the other dudes ever take Jesus for a beer and tell him he’s gone a bit too far.

“Listen, J. That business today with the money-lenders? We think you crossed the line, there.”

“What the hell are you talking about, James the Lesser? What line is this?”

The owner of the tavern might have announced drinks on the house at this point because there was a bit of confusion the following morning and nobody could remember who said what.

“Matthew said something about a line.”

“Who’s Matthew?”

“Guy with the beard.”

“We’ve all got beards.”

“Isn’t his name Levi?”

“Point is, there’s a line.”

“Where do we put it?”

“In the Bible, idiot.”

“Also Facebook,” said Paul the Seer, who wasn’t a disciple but the lads liked having him around because he could predict the results in the Galilee Handicap.

And so the line was handed down from generation to generation. Everyone understood it was a line that nobody should cross. Obviously it no longer applies to money-lenders because the only line they recognise is the red line they draw around suburbs too poor to qualify for home loans.

In my case – when you are reported to Facebook it is registered as a case – the line has to do with humour. You need to stay on one side of it at all times. This makes sense. If you think of humour as a six-lane freeway, you need to stay in your lane or risk causing an accident. This makes no sense at all. An accident on the crowded highway of humour leaves no casualties in its wake. There are no bodies. No injuries. Just someone standing on the side of the road complaining that his feelings have been hurt.

Even though the content is free and I never asked you to be my friend, your hurt feelings apparently trump my right to be on Facebook. Fortunately my offence only warranted the removal of the offensive piece of filth and a 24-hour ban. The dark overlords who rule this electronic megalopolis warned that a subsequent offence would get me banned for three days. And if it happened again, well, they didn’t say. But the threat was implicit. Cyborgs would be given my digital scent. They would hunt me down and chew my fingers off. And if I persisted with voice-activated software, bionic otters would be sent across the ocean to bite off my tongue and suck out my eyeballs while I slept.

The truth is, I’m in an abusive relationship with Facebook and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to be treated shoddily. I don’t know how many others have been banned for writing something that someone didn’t find funny. It could be millions. Maybe it’s just me. Real friends have been quick to condemn Facebook for censoring and banning me. But they’re wrong. Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg and it’s not him who did this to me. It’s an algorithm. Or at best a callow youth called Verminox who is frustrated because he can’t get laid and the NRA keeps rejecting his membership application and won’t give him reasons why.

Facebook won’t give me reasons, either. I was informed that I had violated community standards, which I imagine are closely related to the mythical line. Dear Obergruppenführer Verminox, have you ever heard of audi alterem partem? No, it isn’t a a new car from Germany

I was banned on the grounds of one complaint. That strikes me as a little bit insane. How many Verminoxes must work there that they can ban someone every time a humourless rightwing nutjob files a complaint? Bashar al-Assad must complain endlessly about offensive stuff posted by members of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. Do they get banned for 24 hours? Of course not. That kind of treatment is reserved for savages like me.

On the day I was banned, Facebook sent me this message. “Ben, your friends have liked your posts 74 000 times! We’re glad you’re getting support from your friends and hope this has made the world feel a little closer.”

A more accurate message might have been, “Ben, one of your 5 000 friends who have liked your posts 74 000 times was offended by a post. We’re sad that not all your friends support you and hope you understand why we have to ban you for 24 hours.”

So I had no access to Facebook for a day. After the first hour, my skin started clearing up and my eyes stopped hurting. Six hours in and I could feel my short-term memory returning. By the evening I felt so young and alive that two beautiful women offered to come home with me knowing they wouldn’t have to compete with Facebook for my attention.

Getting punished by a company that covertly distributes personal information, and which quite possibly helped get Donald Trump elected, is a badge of honour. I’d recommend everyone tries it.

Advance Australia Unfair

peterdutton_potato_0

G’day Peter Dutton, Australian Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration & Whatever Else Takes Your Fancy.

First off, congratulations on being called the Donald Trump of Australia. That’s quite an accolade, cobber. Between the two of you, the South will definitely rise again. But let me get to the point.

I need to be on the list of white oppressed farmers with regard to your noble offer of special treatment in the visa department. I am not a farmer but that can be easily remedied. Tomorrow morning I shall dig up my modest garden and plant carrots, brinjals and chickens. I am familiar with livestock since I own a dog roughly the size of a goat, but less intelligent. And I sat on a tractor once. Will this be enough?

tractorbling

I should mention that I also feel very oppressed because on Tuesdays, when Beauty comes, I have to leave the house for the entire day because I can no longer stand the sound of vacuuming and breaking crockery. Sometimes she puts the radio on. Although I cannot understand what the presenter is saying, he is almost certainly urging her to rise up and stab me as I watch the telly.

Thing is, Beauty hasn’t assaulted me. Yet. If you think it would strengthen my case, I could put up a notice at the local Spar asking for a volunteer to knock me about a bit. How bad does the injury have to be? I don’t mind a small flesh wound. Just enough to get me in to, say, Darwin. But if it means losing an arm or leg, then I would have to insist on an apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour. Preferably in an area where the bars don’t close at 11pm.

You are spot-on with your assessment that our white farmers live in “horrific circumstances”. The tiny corrugated iron shacks they call home, the lack of proper sanitation, unreliable transport, robbers around every unlit corner … oh, wait. I’m getting the forty thousand whites who live in farmhouses confused with the 30 million blacks who live in poverty.

Your highly credible Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers have reported with fitting levels of outrage that fifty white farmers are murdered every year. Snowflake liberals, or, as you call them, crazy lefties, will be quick to point out that fifty black South Africans are murdered every day. What is this, a competition? I don’t know the going rate on the Caucasoid/Negroid Index, but you know as well as I do, Mr Dutton, that white lives are worth considerably more. Especially, in your case, near election time.

Truth is, our darkies simply don’t know how to behave. If they’re not slaughtering farmers willy-nilly, they’re out there on the cricket pitch attacking the captain of the Australian team. It starts with a shoulder bump and the next thing you know, second slip is holding you down while the wicket keeper goes at your neck with a blunt chainsaw. Quite frankly, it’s not on. Then again, at least it’s not cheating.

Now that our farmers know they can skip the English fluency test – the only thing that has stopped them from emigrating – you can expect a sharp increase in applications. You can put me at the top of the list because I are already fluent.

When you said our farmers needed help from a “civilised” country like yours, hope surged through my bosom. Not that I have an actual bosom. That would ruin my chances of getting one of your special visas. Where we come from, men are men and women are women and never the twain shall meet. Well, they can meet for sex, obviously. You don’t have to worry about me in that district, mate. I love the sheilas. Sure, they don’t always feel the same about the likes of me and you, but who cares?

We were a civilised country, once. You could ride on buses, go to the movies, walk on the beach, visit a park or go to a restaurant and it would be white people as far as the eye could see. White people only. Or, in the parlance of the good old days, slegs blankes.

It’s our own fault, really. We took our eye off the ball. One minute we were letting Nelson Mandela out of prison and before we knew it parliament was swarming in darkies demanding free education and jobs for all.

How did this not happen in your great country? Oh, right. Britain cunningly sent shiploads of convicts to colonise the place. The Abos didn’t stand a chance against that bunch of brigands. You did allow a blackfella to become a member of parliament in 1971, though, which was awfully decent of you.

Someone must’ve thought 1971 was a bit premature for that kind of thing because it wasn’t until 2015 that an indidgeridoo – my word for an indigenous Australian – was given a ministerial position. Assistant Minister for Health, wasn’t it? Smart move. Can’t do much damage there. Medicare does it all.

The Abos had already been hanging about for 60 000 years when your mob came ashore in 1788, distributing pants and cholera to the needy. In 230 years they went from being 100% of the population to three percent. Anyway. They can’t complain. It was a good run.

Sorry, mate. You don’t need me telling you about your own past. It’s all written down in history books like your Grade Five set work, “How We Bushwhacked The Boomerang-Chuckers.”

That thing you did with the Abo kids, though? Brilliant. From 1905 to 1970 tens of thousands of the little blighters were rounded up and given to decent white families to raise. Some people call them the Stolen Generation, but that’s not right. If anything, they were the Borrowed Generation. You did give them back once they’d been taught to respect the Queen and love Jesus, right? No matter. I wouldn’t have minded if my brat had been taken away and raised by someone else, I can tell you. Would’ve saved me a bloody fortune on psychiatric fees.

I should probably tell you something about our white farmers since they’re going to be arriving soon. They’ll be coming by plane, I trust. I know what you guys do to immigrants who come by boat. You shunt them off to refugee centres to be molested by rabid dingoes before being shipped off to some or other godforsaken island in the South Pacific or Papua New Guinea where they are eventually hunted down and eaten by cannibals.

Our farmers won’t stand for that kind of treatment, mate. The ones who do livestock are prolific breeders when it comes to sheep, cows and women. And the crop farmers will grow everything except marijuana. To a man they love rugby and animals, the rawer the better. And they are fighters and drinkers. No problems with assimilation there, cobber. If it weren’t for the harsh guttural accent you’d think they were true blue Ozzies.

Which, I have to say, doesn’t mean they deserve to be murdered. That’s the thing with our home invaders. You might expect a light slapping but then the kitchenware comes out and it’s not long before you’re getting your face ironed. Not nice. Not even if you have one of those very creased faces.

But thank you for saying such good things about them, even though you’ve never met any. “The people we’re talking about want to work hard, they want to contribute to a country like Australia. We want people who want to come here, abide by our laws, integrate into our society, work hard, not lead a life on welfare.” Unlike those bloody Rohingya bludgers who think they can just take a nice sea cruise to Melbourne, develop a meth habit, go down the pub and say things like “Wouldn’t mind going walkabout down the billabong and throwing some shrimp on the barbie, Bruce!” and reckon that gives them the right to go on the dole and taunt homos for a laugh.

I should probably warn you. This abiding by your laws business? I wouldn’t expect too much from the farmers. Or any South Africans, really. We don’t bother much with laws. Can’t blame us, really. We’ve had Jacob Zuma for the last nine years. The man is a proper wombat. He eats, roots and leaves, if you catch my drift. Imagine having 22 children.

Obeying the law can get you killed in South Africa. We all drive at a constant 160km/h and don’t stop for anything unless we want to wake up in the mortuary. Enormous semi-naked black men with machetes and leopards on leashes roam the streets and office buildings with impunity. The carnage around the water coolers on a Friday afternoon is too horrific for words.

I suppose what I’m saying is that you should be giving these humanitarian visas to every white South African, not just the farmers. We are all under terrible pressure and fear for our sanity and our lives every minute of every day. Sure, farmers can grow stuff like cabbages and lambs and know how to dig a hole, but a lot of us non-farmers are just as good with our hands. I, for instance, know a fair bit about origami. You never know when a couple of hundred paper swans might come in handy.

Also, we white South Africans have very little apart from money, homes and jobs. It’s the darkies who have everything these days. Okay, there are some who have nothing. But even then they have plenty of it.

You seem to have upset my government. They want a retraction. Not going to happen, right? Australians aren’t the apologising sort. Your prime minister refused to condemn or defend your comments. That Malcolm Talkbull is my kind of politician. Get up on the rabbit-proof fence and stay there.

While you’re doling out visas, mate, you might want to chuck some cash at a bunch of local patriots called the Suidlanders. They’re trying to raise a million rand for things that’ll come in handy when the genocide starts for real. Stuff like medicine, radios and “especially diesel fuel because of its numerous versatile applications in conditions of war”. They drink it, you know, with cane spirits. It’s called spook and diesel. Three in a row gives you brain damage. For example, one of them wrote this on their website, “We shall be the last people in the history of the world that shall stand – as a homogeneous nation undiluted – to die for Christ against the wave of humanism that has been injected by aliens into the veins of the European peoples of the world today.”

Anyway, possum. Best of luck with our farmers. There’s a good chance they will help you to get the old White Australia policy back on the table. Then again, there’s an equally good chance they will tell you to fuck off. That’s South Africans for you.

white australia

Eat my shorts, scientist tells God

The death this week of physicist Stephen Hawking sparked an avalanche of tributes, not all of which were riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. It’s Stephen with a Ph. No, not Phteven. And Hawking. No s. He was a cosmologist, not a cosmonaut. Also, he didn’t write a book about herbs called A Brief History of Thyme.

I suppose it’s reassuring in some small way that even the hard-of-thinking can appreciate the loss of someone whose IQ was higher than Ziggy Marley on a Friday night.

When I heard Hawking had died, I went straight to the fridge and got a beer. When the world loses someone who has contributed to the advancement of humanity, it’s important to celebrate their lives with a drink. It was 7.30am but we don’t get to choose when other people die. I wish I did. The streets would be littered with corpses.

I went outside, looked up into the cloudless sky, raised my bottle, mumbled a few words, and drank deeply to his memory. Then I had to apologise and do it all over again with a fresh beer because looking up into the sky seemed to suggest that he was up there somewhere in a mythical place called heaven.

Like a lot of very intelligent people, Hawking was an atheist. He once said, “I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either.”

If you are deeply religious, you’re probably washing your eyes out with holy water right now while shouting, “What did he know? He was in a wheelchair for most of his life!” I know what you mean. It’s hard not to look at a handicapped person and think they’re probably not that bright. Hell, it’s hard enough to look at a person in a wheelchair at the best of times. It’s not too bad when you’re sitting down and they’re at eye level, but it gets a bit tricky when you’re standing next to them like some kind of lord of the universe capable of jogging and even jumping over things.

I’m six-foot-four. I look down on everyone. My God complex is out of control.

So Twitter was awash in RIP tweets. One man pointed out that Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death and died on the anniversary of Einstein’s birth. “Time is circular – no beginning, no end,” he said. A bright lad, no doubt. Possibly stoned.

The very next tweet was from another bloke. “There’s a man walking through Woolies casually clipping his nails. Also, they don’t have cheese puffs. Can this experience get any worse??!!” Definitely stoned. Has only ever heard of Hawking in terms of selling stuff on the pavement.

After several beers in the British scientist’s honour, it seemed cruel not to share my spontaneous wake with a fellow intellectual so I called up Ted and he arrived ten minutes later with five crates of beer and a Malawian to help offload them.

“So who’s this Hawkins oke, then?” he said, despatching the Malawian with a promise not to report him to home affairs. I pointed out that he appeared to be suffering a malfunction in the hippocampus area. He started telling me about the time he registered at the University of Zululand but dropped out when he woke up one morning to find an actual hippo on the campus but got distracted by my lighting candles for the wake. Except I had no candles so I was setting random household items alight. It’s amazing how much stuff you don’t need.

“Excuse me,” said Ted, “I’m sitting here.” I apologised and made as if I was about to wee on his chair to put it out. He seemed to think this was inappropriate behaviour for a wake. Not if you’re Irish, I said. Ted correctly pointed out that the only Irish thing about us was our ability to hold our drink. The moment was ruined when he dropped his beer.

I had to concede that I was using the Irish as an excuse to ramp up the festivities and that Stephen Hawking’s mother was in fact Scottish.

“And his father?” I gave Ted the Gallic shrug, implying that nobody really knows anything about their fathers and it’s best not to ask. Ted is one of those men who believes the only way to get the measure of a man is to know about his father. He’s a bit like a Zulu in that way.

I suggested it might be appropriate to read some of the pearls of wisdom Stephen Hawking has dropped during his journey from birth in Oxford to death in Cambridge.

Ted raised his hand, accidentally dropping another beer. “Not much of a journey, really,” he said, his feet foaming like two giant salt-coated slugs. “It’s only two and a half hours on the M40.” I couldn’t resist pointing out that it’s quicker on the A421, even though it reinforced his stupid point. Anyway. The man had been in a wheelchair since 1968, for heaven’s sake. Not that there is a heaven. He did his travelling in his brain.

I told Ted about the weird Galileo/Einstein synchronicity, tossing in the little known fact that it was also Pi Day. He perked up considerably, wanting to know if I had any of them damn fine mutton curry numbers from the garage. I smacked him across the head and tried to explain how the 14th day of the 3rd month relates to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter but something got lost in translation and it wasn’t long before I had to punch him repeatedly in the mouth to stop him going on about Bitcoin.

I asked him if he agreed that the human brain was a computer that would stop working if its components failed. His so-called head wobbled in what I took to be agreement so I rewarded him with another beer and a Hawking quote. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Ted scrunched up his face and started crying. Something about Windows 10. I couldn’t help him. I work on a Mac.

To cheer him up, I hit him with another quote. “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.” Ted stopped snivelling and looked down at his feet. He wiggled his toes. The more he wiggled the more he giggled. It set me off. I imagine cardiologists would recommend avoiding hilarity of such magnitude. You won’t laugh like that looking up at the stars, I can tell you.

“Hold on,” said Ted. “Stephen Hawking. Wasn’t he on The Simpsons?” I need new friends.

Godfish

Questions are being raised about whether recently departed scientist Stephen Hawking might have discovered that God is, in fact, a catfish as described in The Holy Barbel.

Land of the free-for-all

If you look up land reform in South Africa in an atlas, you will see a picture of a Neanderthal armed with a wooden club dispersing a family of Brachiosauruses so that he might build a rudimentary security complex on their traditional grazing grounds. He was the first property developer. And while the dinosaurs went extinct, property developers still walk among us. It’s rather tragic.

Then, in the early Pleistocene – which came to an end when it got ground into the terrestrial carpet – Australopithecus africanus came along and things took a bit of a turn.

“Who the hell are you?” asked the Neanderthal.

“I am the earliest hominid and I am taking this complex for myself.”

“No, you’re not. Besides, I haven’t even started building it yet.”

“Then I shall take your land.”

“You will have to fight me for it.”

“I can’t. Not today. My wife wants me home early.”

“Your wife that Mrs Ples?”

“That’s her. Why?”

“Take my land. You’ve suffered enough.”

Not all transfers of land went as smoothly as that. Before long – well, quite long –Australopithecus sediba was fighting off Homo ergaster who fought off Homo erectus who fought off Homo rhodesiensis who fought off Homo helmei who fought off Homo naledi who thought about fighting off Homo sapiens but chose to off themselves rather than sit through interminable committee meetings on land ownership where nobody spoke the same language and everyone wanted more than they needed. Little has changed.

Then along came the Upper Paleolithic period and everything went to hell in a crudely woven hand basket. Men started thinking they should cover their willies in public and women started thinking … I don’t know what they were thinking and it’s not my place to guess, either. I apologise. Smash the patriarchy.

Hunting and gathering cultures known as the Sangoan began occupying parts of southern Africa. They were the forerunners of the Khoi and the San who, if they started dating, agreed to be called the Khoisan. Otherwise not.

They weren’t that into developing golf estates and shopping malls, preferring instead to get stoned and spend their evenings laughing and painting crazy things on the walls of their caves. They were fun people to have around on a Friday night.

Ultimately, though, they were too nice for their own good. The Bantu, you see, had plans. Well, inasmuch as you can call wandering off in a general southerly direction a plan. I think they must have travelled as I do. Let’s just go a bit further. See what’s around the next corner. Not this one, the next one. Then we’ll stop, I promise. Oh, look. A mountain. I wonder what’s on the other side.

I don’t know who was more surprised to see each other – the Khoisan or the Bantu. Knowing the Khoisan, they would have rolled a massive joint. Knowing the Bantu, they would have taken it.

You’d think that would have been the end of it. That they would start shagging each other and coexist happily. Which they did. Until the novelty wore off. Once you’ve had enough of rogering members of a different tribe, it’s not long before you want to murder them.

The Khoisan was the largest population on earth at some point. This isn’t me just making up facts. This comes from an evolutionary geneticist from Harvard University. I’m only mentioning it in the hope that the editor will notice that I’m doing research and give me more money. To spend on extra research, obviously. Not beer.

With their superior agricultural, metalworking and shagging skills, the Bantu soon enough became the dominant population and did whatever the hell they wanted. Which was only right. Those who dominate will always be domineering. That’s the whole point of being dominant.

While my ancestors were dressed in rags and selling potatoes outside a brothel in Rotterdam, the Bantu in Mapungubwe were trading in gold and ivory and building the region’s first gated compound. They had a kingdom, for heaven’s sake. With hot and cold running Khoikhoi servants. My people couldn’t even make themselves understood unless they were drunk.

Speaking of barbarians, an Australian-listed company called Coal of Africa wants to open a mine a stone’s throw from this world heritage site. Plans are on hold for now. If they do go ahead, I shall form a company called Wombats of Australia and go off to mine wombats on the Great Barrier Reef or wherever the hell it is these deadly creatures live.

So. The Bantu began expanding faster than Collen Maine’s waistline at a free buffet. Existing populations were displaced or assimilated. Or, if time was short, killed. Some fancied the Transkei so they went there and became the Xhosa nation. The rest fancied everything north of the Kei River and called themselves the Zulu nation. They had their differences but these were solved in traditional South African fashion – first dialogue, then violence.

At some point the Dutch arrived. It was okay at first. They built stuff, got high and grew vegetables. Jan van Riebeeck was a full-on hippy. Then, through some kind of weird reverse-evolution, some of them turned into Boers and went to the Transkei because it had the best grass. Still does. Since they couldn’t speak Xhosa, they skipped dialogue and proceed directly to violence.

Then the British arrived and occupied Cape Town to prevent it from falling under the control of the French. I’m starting to get a headache. From what I can make out, the Boers hated the British, the Zulus hated the British and the Boers, the Xhosas hated everyone and the British hated themselves.

Right. That’s enough history. We all know the rest. The Boers won. Then, in 1994, they lost. They spent a helluva long time at the top of the log, though. Then again, even Arsenal would dominate if they had an actual arsenal at their disposal.

So here we go. From a parliament of white people passing the Native Lands Act in 1913 to a parliament of black people in 2018 agreeing to take back the land. It’s a very complicated issue that gets a lot simpler the more you drink. Try it.

Firstly, you can’t confiscate all of it – all 1.2-million square kilometres – and give it to the state. King Goodwill Zwelithini would have a hissy fit and announce a unilateral declaration of independence. I don’t so much mind being a citizen of the People’s Republic of KwaZulu, but I really don’t want to have to go to Nongoma every time I need permission to travel outside the province.

Secondly, there’s a possibility that Julius Malema is pushing expropriation without compensation simply because he wants to get his cabbage farm back. It was auctioned off by the asset forfeiture unit in 2013 to pay his tax debt. Pouring salt in the wound, a white Afrikaner snapped it up.

In 20 years’ time, we will look back at the smouldering wreck that was once our economy, shake our heads sadly and say, “Bloody cabbages.”

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An open letter to our shiny new president

Dear Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa the First, Defeater of Zuma, Shuffler of Cabinets, Player of Golf, Shaker of Hands, King of Venda Financing, Stepfather of the Nation, I hereby greet you.

I wanted to be the first to congratulate you on your ascent to the highest office in the land, but on the day it happened I assumed that I was hallucinating and didn’t want to say anything for fear of alerting the drug squad. Nobody needs the cold, wet nose of a sniffer dog in his crotch first thing in the morning.

So I do apologise for the tardiness of my felicitations. It’s important to get in early before the names of all the fawners and flatterers blur into one. I want to be among those who stand out in your mind. Not because I want any special favours, but because … okay, it is the favours. I won’t list them now. That would be crass.

Comrade, you sure give good reshuffle. It’s as if an integrity bomb fell right into the trough while the Guptas and their pet weasels were in mid-snout. Actually, the timing could have been better. It was very accommodating of the Hawks to make sure the three stooges from India were safely out of the country by the time you slipped between those 500-thread Egyptian cotton sheets at Mahlamba Ndlopfu for the first time.

I don’t understand why people are complaining that you didn’t fire the likes of Bathabile Dlamini, Malusi Gigaba, Nomvula Mokonyani and that other one with the face. They are obviously there to make your new people look good. Diamonds always shine brighter when juxtaposed with gravel.

There are also complaints about you appointing DD Mabuza as your deputy. Something about him being involved in tender fraud and political assassinations in Mpumalanga. Hey. Times are tough. Everyone needs a side gig these days. Glad you gave the man a break.

It was also an inspired decision to appoint Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as Minister in the Presidency. Every henhouse needs a fox. Keeps the chickens on their toes. I was, however, a bit surprised to see the minister of tweets get the boot. Fikile Mbalula was at least good for a laugh. Did you know he tweeted me a death threat the other day? Something about me losing an arm and a leg. He deleted it, though, which was nice of him. I must say I feel a lot safer now that he doesn’t have the entire police force at his disposal.

Bheki Cele is his perfect replacement and I’m not only saying that because we share a birthday. The original cat in the hat is an intimidating figure. If he walked into my house right now, I’d confess to stuff that I haven’t even done. And unless he killed Senzo Meyiwa himself, my bet is that he’s going to find out who did. Keep him away from lease deals and he’ll do just fine.

It was also a good move bringing Derek Hanekom back to head up the tourism ministry. Tourists from Europe like to know that a white man is in charge of that side of things. Nobody wants to go on holiday if it means having to watch their family being boiled up and eaten by cannibals.

I’m going to miss Lynne Brown and not just because I have a thing for lesbians, either. She reminds me of the cuddly aunt I never had. Sure, an aunt corrupt and incompetent in equal measure, but cuddly nevertheless.

The moment I saw Malusi Gigaba playing Candy Crush in parliament, I knew he was out. Brilliant move sending him back to home affairs to revoke the citizenship of that unholy triumvirate of Dementors from Saxonwold. After all, he granted them citizenship in the first place. It’s obvious that he has to fix what he broke. For us ordinary mortals, to visit home affairs is to visit hell. Gigaba actually has to work there. I couldn’t think of a more fitting punishment.

I don’t know much about his replacement, Nhlanhla Nene, except that he was finance minister once before. Anyone who got fired by Jacob Zuma during his nine-year reign of error is almost certainly a hardworking, honest person. Victims of the Msholozi purges should be given the Order of Mapungubwe, don’t you think?

I imagine Nhlanhla’s counterparts from first world countries might struggle to pronounce his name. Perhaps he could use his middle name, Musa? No, wait. That sounds too much like Musi. How about Mufasa? Everyone loves The Lion King.

Speaking of Musi, isn’t it hilarious how the DA fell for the EFF’s romantic advances only for the lady in red to start making moon eyes at their former lover. I foresee a cosy quadripartite arrangement in 2019. A foursome, in other words, with the SACP and Cosatu swinging both ways.

I’m going to miss David Mahlobo. He was quite possibly the worst spymaster in the world. Everyone could see him coming. And I mean everyone, not just Chinese Chelsea at the Mbombela massage parlour.

It was devilishly cunning of you to make Bathabile the Minister of Women. It’s a ministry that, like so many of our women, can be quietly ignored and then done away with when nobody is looking. There are, of course, women who objected to her appointment. One said she no longer identified as a woman and would henceforth consider herself a cat.

Hang on. What’s this about the Hawks searching author Jacques Pauw’s house? This is excellent news. I shoplifted Pauw’s book, The President’s Keepers, and it left me thoroughly depressed. There is no place for whistleblowers and investigative journalists in a democracy.

As you said in your State of the Nation address, “We should put all the negativity behind us because a new dawn is upon us.” Jacques Pauw needs to be put behind us because new dawn raids are upon us. He is guilty of committing the crime of journalism in the third degree and must be rendered to New York to plead his case to the hanging judges of the Pulitzer Board.

By the way, seven rhinos in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve were slaughtered in a single day recently. Imagine if a school lost seven of its pupils in a day. You might be forgiven for thinking it was a badly run school. The poachers are obviously timing their raids to coincide with the live Lotto draw. Or perhaps the afternoon siesta. If you don’t do something about the management of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, there’ll soon be more poachers than rhinos in the park.

Speaking of solitary, thick-skinned brutes, I’m a bit worried about the way Jacob Zuma is carrying on. If I were him I’d be in the firepool with nothing but a snorkel sticking out. Instead, he has been swanning about like some kind of national hero. He arrived in a motorcade to the opening of the KZN Legislature and got out of the car laughing. These are not the actions of a man recently fired and one press conference away from 783 counts of corruption. Does he know something we don’t?

Before I forget, I have some land I’d like to donate to the underprivileged. It’s not much but I dare say you’d manage to squeeze four people and a goat onto it. Right now it’s just lying there unused and fallow, like me. Feel free to send your men around to expropriate it any time. I don’t want compensation. A position in your cabinet might be nice, though. I was thinking a new portfolio – the Ministry of Bacchanalian Affairs – would suit me well.

Anyway. Best of luck. Those of us not trying to get into Australia are counting on you.

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Vat cats, budgets and eejits

Patriotic South Africans are hoping that the VAT increase – the first in 25 years – will once and for all stamp out the poor. The impoverished, however, are resilient as all hell and I fear it will take more than this to put an end to them and their wretched, frugal ways.

I didn’t really want to write about the budget this week for several reasons, one of which is that any talk of finances causes me to lapse into a frightful state. My body continues to function as well as can be expected given the conditions under which it exists, but my brain goes into some kind of anaphylactic shock. This seems to suggest I have an allergy to money, which would explain why I have so little of it.

The other reason is that I associate the word ‘budget’ with pain. I’m not talking about this namby-pamby emotional pain suffered by vegans, poets and women trapped in men’s bodies. I’m talking real physical pain. You see, when I was growing up I was given a paltry amount of pocket money once a week. Within an hour I would have spent half of it on sweets and lost the rest by the end of the day. All my pants had holes in them as a result of the rigorous games of pocket billiards I played before, during and after school and one only had to follow the money to find out where I was.

With my blood sugar levels plummeting, I would approach my father on hands and knees. “Please, Sir, may I have some more?”

After extinguishing his Ritmeester Quick in my ear and delivering a light whipping with his cat ‘o nine tails – a genuine nine-tailed cat bred specifically for the purpose of punishing profligate boys – he pinned me to the floor with his knee and once again explained the importance of budgeting.

Today, after all these years, I only have to hear the word ‘budget’ and I curl up like a pangolin, weeping and shouting that I don’t understand numbers. It’s too terrible for words.

In an attempt to grasp what the VAT increase means, I turned to Twitter, that magnificent, monstrous oracle containing all the truths and all the lies of the world within the infinite depths and darkness of its diabolical bowels.

Zeenat Moorad caught my eye. She’s something called a “money editor” and seemed to want to help halfwits like me to understand. “Folks, the VAT increase works like this: It’s up by 1 percentage point from 14% to 15%, this is an increase of 7.1% in the VAT rate. So the impact is 0.877% increase on what consumers pay.”

I’m not ashamed to admit I cried a little when I read that. I do understand numbers insofar as you get odd ones and even ones. Fractions, though, are among the oddest numbers you can find. They make no sense at all. Ordinary people are unable to grasp the concept of 0.877% and I would like to marry Zeenat Moorad even though it would mean never eating bacon again.

There were others on Twitter who described the VAT increase in language I could understand. One said it was punishing the poor. Union conquistador Zwelinzima Vavi said the entire budget was an attack on the poor. It’s a good thing they’re poor, then. If they could afford decent weapons we’d all be in serious trouble. Mind you, the storming of the Bastille went off rather well and those peasants were armed with nothing more than rusty muskets and pitchforks. Then again, they didn’t have to contend with an unreliable central line to reach Paris. If Metrorail ever gets its act together, that’s the end of parliament.

Turning to our snappily dressed finance minister, Comrade Vavi described Malusi Gigaba in glowing terms. “An illegitimate leader condemned by the courts of our land as a liar who broke his oath of office. Now about to tell workers they will pay for the mess he played a leading role in creating! I feel like vomiting right here in parliament!” That’s glowing so fiercely it’s damn near ready to explode.

My attention was snared by another, altogether more serious, tweet. “He has taken our beer away from us,” it read. My scream set the neighbour’s dogs off. Judging by his svelte shape, Gigaba is not a man who regularly enjoys a case or two of Windhoek’s finest of an evening. In fact, he has the body of a teenage girl and the truth is I envy him. But how dare he. How very dare he.

Drinking during the Mandela years was a vice. Drinking during Zuma’s reign of error was a survival mechanism. From April 1, a bottle of wine will cost 22.5c more. I don’t care. Wine is an appalling habit. It makes your mouth turn inside out and the morning after drinking the filth you often find you have broken out in bruises and flesh wounds.

Beer goes up by 14c a can. I don’t know what that works out per case. You’d need to have studied maths at Harvard to do that kind of calculation. But it’s a lot. You’re going to find many more people doing their drinking inside bottle store fridges, I can tell you.

As for the rest, I don’t give a damn about the price of cigars and cigarettes. I used to smoke but gave it up when I realised that if I wanted help in killing myself, I’d rather give my money to Mikey Schultz than a tobacco company.

Bad news for car thieves is that the fuel levy is going up by 22c a litre. Nobody understands how this works. I have never filled up my car and then deducted the levy so that I know what petrol would cost without it. I have never filled up my car. The Road Accident Fund will go up by 30c a litre. This is also built into the petrol price increase because without petrol you wouldn’t have accidents. I have never benefitted from the Road Accident Fund but I certainly intend to. I’m just waiting for the right moment to crash into something that will leave me sufficiently maimed to guarantee enough of a payout that I don’t have to keep writing rubbish for a living.

Once again there is no tax break on books. This is a good thing. An educated nation is a dangerous nation. Once they start reading, there’s no telling what they might learn. They might, for instance, discover that anarchy doesn’t mean rioting in the streets but is in fact a valid political philosophy where people reject authority and instead opt for self-rule. Imagine there’s no government. It’s easy if you try. Sadly, we live in a country where people can’t even control their dogs, let alone themselves.

Estate duty tax is being raised to 25% for estates greater than R30-million. There’s something wrong with you if you die with that kind of money in the bank. Well, I suppose there was something wrong with you, what with being dead and all. But what the hell happened? Couldn’t you spend it all? It’s just not right. Death is not enough. You deserve to be penalised further.

Someone in Gigaba’s office who knows his way around a calculator has worked out that South Africa will need to borrow R224.2-billion this year. And I thought I was bad with money. Quite frankly, I don’t know why they don’t just print more of the stuff.

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