Tag: free beer

Swallowing is good for you

The European swallow stands about five-foot-six in its socks, burns easily in the sun and enjoys a pint or two with the lads. It is also a small migratory bird.

In our summer months, the European swallow of the featherless variety can be spotted in coastal towns from Umhlanga to Hermanus. Come winter, he returns to his natural habitat and can be spotted in The Cock and Balls in Fulham High Street.

I am an African swallow. We prefer to conserve our energy – not to mention our limited financial resources – and migrate within the country. Winters in Durban, summers in Cape Town. Sprawled in my nest in Westbrook on the east coast, nursing a damaged wing after attempting to fly home from a friend’s house one unhinged Friday night, it struck me that the seasons had turned. My instincts said it was time to head west. My instincts have never been wrong, give or take a couple of marriages and a career in journalism.

And so I find myself hunkered down in a shack in the milkwoods of Kommetjie typing with fingers crippled from frostbite. I am clothed in a stinking onesie stitched from the fur of a dozen dassies and lined with the skins of two careless Cape seals.

I appear to have mistimed the migration. Cape Town alone decides when to call it summer. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I’d rather die of hypothermia than head back down the Transkei’s Roadkill Road.

A cloud of panic hangs over this southern tip of Africa. It used to be bong smoke, but now it’s panic. Word on the street is that Cape Town will run out of water by March next year. This is good news. I should be back in Durban by then. What? Don’t look at me like that. Okay, fine. It’s bad news for the people who live here. They could always move to Durban. By next Christmas we’ll all be drinking Chardonnay and paying R5m for a roach-infested rat hole in Gillespie Street.

I’ve never been a huge fan of water. Salt water, yes, but only because the ocean is made of it. I can understand why people would buy bottled water in a country where landmine victims outnumber cars, but nobody ever died in South Africa from drinking tap water. Unless maybe the tap belonged to a neighbour who suspected you of trying to turn him into a frog and shot you in the back while you were bent over drinking. Which probably happens fairly often in Limpopo.

Every day there are fresh statistics to scare the living hell out of everyone in Cape Town. The six dams that supply the city are currently at 38% capacity. Isn’t this quite good? It’s more than I got for maths in matric and I turned out okay.

In the old days when rain was a thing, consumption in the metropole was at 1.1 billion litres per day. It now stands at 585 million litres. A massive reduction. But the number is still too big for us to fully udnerstand. Look at it this way. We’re consuming the equivalent of 292 Windhoek draughts for every man, woman and child. Per day. That’s a reasonable average for the Cape Flats, but you’re not going to get those heroic levels in Constantia and Bishops Court.

I suppose not all of it is getting chucked down people’s throats. There’s bathing and watering gardens and washing cars and a lot gets wasted in places like workshops and hospitals where staff get grease and blood under their fingernails.

But apparently that’s still too much. The city wants people to shower for no longer than a minute. If you get caught running a bath, you’re stripped naked and publicly flogged in Adderley Street. I tried showering for one minute. At six-foot-four, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Sixty seconds was just enough to lather up into a striking resemblance of the abominable snowman. So no rinsing then? Seems unduly harsh. I went and stood outside, letting the freezing wind blow the suds from my quivering body. I didn’t want to use a towel because that would’ve meant having to wash it at some point. The penalty for washing towels is a light stoning. For now. I expect it will be escalated to the amputation of a hand by January. I went to the mall later with flaking patches of dried soap on my face and arms. Mothers covered their children’s eyes. I saw one woman gag.

It has also been recommended that you don’t flush the toilet if you’ve only had a wee. This isn’t a problem for me because I wee outside. Not in the street. In my garden. It’s a territorial thing. When I was married I’d sometimes do it indoors if it was very cold outside. One night my wife caught me in the act of marking my territory in the lounge. I stood there with my willy out, telling her it was the cat. That I was the cat. And the cat was me. Luckily she was hallucinating on benzos and found it all quite plausible. She poured me a saucer of milk and went back to bed. Actually, she didn’t even bother with the saucer.

In Cape Town, you’re also supposed to stand in a bucket when you shower, then use that water to wash the children who have to stand in their lunch boxes, then use that water to wash the baby in a soup bowl, then use whatever’s left over to water the one plant you have chosen to save.

On the rare occasion it does rain, the roads of suddenly full of people driving around aimlessly.

“Quick, get in the car. We’re going to Knysna.”

“Are you mad? Why?”

“They’re having rain. The car’s filthy.”

People are advised to close the toilet lid when flushing, presumably to save the seven drops that might splash onto the floor. They are also encouraged to use disinfectants, face masks and gloves where required. I don’t know about you, but once I’ve done my ablutions I generally don’t need to have the crime scene cleaners around.

Apparently Phase 1 of the disaster plan had been implemented. I didn’t even know there was a plan. A better one might have been to make provision for this crisis several years ago. They knew. Oh, yes. They knew alright. But there’s nothing sexy about desalination and groundwater abstraction projects. Not when you live in a city of mountains and beaches and a waterfront that makes Durban’s look like a dumping ground for junkies, vagrants and medical waste. Which is what it is.

We are warned that supply might be disrupted during peak water usage times. Being ‘self-employed’ I don’t know what this means but it seems unlikely I’ll be affected. People who live in high-lying areas will experience outages. I live two metres above sea level. I’ll be fine up until Donald Trump melts Antarctica and, in the middle of a drought, I drown in my sleep.

The city has appealed to people in low-lying areas – like Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu – to curb their usage to help their less fortunate brothers and sisters who are suffering terribly up on the slopes of Clifton and Camps Bay. Seems fair.

The city has also installed seven thousand “water management devices” on the properties of “delinquent” water uses. These are not juvenile delinquents. These are grown-ass people who just don’t give a damn. So their pipes are fitted with the equivalent of ankle monitors.

The city is divided into pressure zones. For instance, there’s no pressure in Observatory. You can wake up at midday, smoke a blunt and get a tattoo or a shot of tequila right there in the main road. No pressure at all.

There’s been talk of remotely manipulating valves in the reticulation network, but this seems to be some sort of code and nobody understands what it means. Apparently it reassures people. Not the paranoiacs, obviously.

If an area is using water above the daily limit, pressure will be reduced to force consumption down. Once consumption is reduced, pressure will be restored. It’s the old “I’ll have sex with you when you give up drinking” ploy. It’s the carrot and stick method, although I’ve never used either during sex, and it doesn’t work because there’s always one guy who wants to fill up his pool and wash his Range Rover, racehorse and trophy wife.

On my way for a surf at Muizenberg the other day, I passed two lots of people down on their hands and knees on the side of the road. This being Cape Town, I reckoned they were drunk, praying or doing yoga. Being the deep south, it could easily have been all three. But no. They were hunkered around an outlet from a mountain stream, desperately filling bottles and drums.

One of them looked a bit like Immortan Joe, the disgruntled civil servant who featured in Mad Max: Fury Road, a documentary about water shortages and how even a woman from Benoni can survive without an arm or leg or even a sense of humour.

Let’s end on a history lesson. Who said this? “It has only been through a century of dedication and a commitment to engineering excellence that the City of Cape Town has been able to guarantee clean water for an ever-expanding population. We are more than up to the task.”

a. Jan van Riebeeck in 1652.

b. Cecil John Rhodes in 1890.

c. Patricia de Lille in 2013.

It wasn’t Jan or Cecil.

It just occurred to me that a water shortage might also mean a beer shortage. Let the stockpiling begin.


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.






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.


Tap-dancing gorillas and tenants from hell

Did you know that gorillas make up “food songs” while they eat? A German scientist discovered this “fun new fact” while working with the primates in the Congo. I don’t think it’s a fun fact at all. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than coming across a silverback gyrating its hips and singing Purple Rain with a mouth full of bamboo shoots.

Oh, look. Here’s another fun fact. Come November, Donald Trump could well be the 45th president of the United States of America.

While we’re on the subject of fun facts, did you know that 42% of Americans continue to believe that God created humans less than 10 000 years ago? Understand this and you’ll find it easier to understand why that orange maniac is the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

I read somewhere that the world has experienced five mass extinctions over the last half a billion years and is on the brink of the sixth. Quite frankly, it can’t happen soon enough for me.

I don’t know what the hell this year thinks it’s doing. I went to Cape Town for Christmas and stumbled out three months later. I made an overnight stop in Jeffreys Bay and went to St Francis for lunch. Lunch lasted a month. Then, on my way back to Durban a few days ago, my biological GPS had a nervous breakdown and instead of driving past Rhodes University I found myself outside the University of Fort Hare in that glittering jewel of a town called Alice. Alice? Who the fuck is Alice?

I’m exhausted. If that’s what holidays do to you, then I need a proper job – one that restricts me to 21 days leave a year. It’s for my own good. Even heroin addicts live longer than freelance journalists. They at least have to move around to find money and drugs. We just need a laptop, a comfy chair and a running tab.

Some idiot once said that with great freedom comes great responsibility. This is absolute rubbish. With great freedom comes great freedom. That’s all there is to it.

Freedom is great. I would venture to say that freedom is greater than God because freedom doesn’t threaten to consign your soul to the eternal hellfires of damnation if you covet your neighbour’s ass. But it can be tiring.

So anyway, after eight hours of dodging Transkei road-kill and bent cops, I get home to find my refuge trashed. Not by burglars, but by the people who stayed here last. The thing with Airbnb is that you’re allowing complete strangers to abuse your house in return for nothing more than money. It’s a form of prostitution, really. It’s also a devilishly easy way to make money. This is something that speaks to me. Whoring my home comes naturally to me. I am a property pimp. There are worse things to be. At least I’m not a member of parliament.

Usually there is a domestic worker who gets dropped off by helicopter after a guest leaves, but this time she had been called away on urgent business in the Bahamas and failed to turn up. This meant I had to deal with the situation with no backup whatsoever.

I pulled in to the driveway saturated in road rage, the Land Rover bucking and snorting, and bellied up to the front door with my key in one hand and a Balinese fighting sword in the other. That’s my weapon of choice when I traverse the Transkei. Chopping off an arm here and there sends a clear signal to the local banditry. I learnt this from my Saudi Arabian friends.

The guests, luckily for them, had departed. Less luckily for me, they had left a mound of soiled cutlery and crockery in the sink, three pots of semi-cooked gunk on the stove and bits of half-eaten food in the fridge. I also found a packet of King Size Rizlas and an empty eyedropper of something called Ruthless. I don’t know what it is. The print on the bottle is too small to read. And my bedroom looks like Charlie Sheen was here. This guest from hell was an Afrikaner currently living overseas. He brought his girlfriend, his baby and his mother. It sounds like a sitcom written by the Marquis de Sade.

I suspect this is why Berlin has introduced a law banning homeowners from renting out their properties on Airbnb, although a more plausible reason might be that the city wants to keep random acts of cannibalism under control. Germans like nothing more than getting together on a Saturday night and eating bits of one another over a bottle or two of chianti. The new legislation is called Zweckentfremdungsverbot. Such a mellifluous language.

I returned to not only terrible scenes in my home, but also in parliament. A debate on the Presidency budget vote? That’s not what I saw. I saw a bunch of pot-bellied revolutionaries getting their arses handed to them by a plainclothes posse from the parking lot. Surely the whole point of wearing red is that you don’t care about getting blood on your clothes? I want to see some real fighters in the EFF. I want to see Mikey Schultz and Radovan Krecjir sitting behind Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu. Then we’ll see who gets thrown out of parliament.

Finally, let us not even speak of Matthew Theunissen, Cape Town’s latest contender for a Darwin award. After posting an ill-conceived anti-government diatribe on Facebook that would have made a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan blush, he said he “didn’t intend to say those words”. Fair enough. I didn’t intend to drink a dozen beers while writing this column either, but it happened nevertheless. Evil forces are clearly at work. Matthew has a Masters from Stellenbosch University, that shining beacon of progressive thought. I wasn’t aware that Maties offered post-graduate degrees in white supremacy. Maybe he thought you needed a Masters to be a fully-fledged member of the master race.

Matthew insisted that he wasn’t a racist; that he had “friends of colour”. By colour, I imagine he means the different shades of red his white friends turned when they realised what an utter fuckwit he is.

Bring on the sixth extinction.




An open letter to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula

Dear Comrade Fiks,

Well done on cracking down on sports that don’t have enough darkies in their teams. This is Africa, not Scandinavia. Did you know that in some parts of Norway you aren’t even allowed to be black without permission from the government? Of course you did. You are one of the few Cabinet ministers who know things they aren’t paid to know ­– like Beyoncé’s bra size. Or paid to not know – like whether bribes helped us secure the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Last week you decided that our rugby, cricket, athletics and netball federations would no longer be allowed to pitch for international tournaments because they had failed to meet their transformation targets. I don’t think you went far enough and I hope you’re not going soft on us. The people running these sports should be charged with treason and shot. I have my own AK-47 and I’m prepared to do the dirty work. All I need are bullets and a business card introducing me as The Transformer.

Like you, I have had it with white people and their Volvo-driving, child-rearing, dog-patting ways. Yes, we win a lot of games, but celebrating a victory perpetrated by a predominantly white team is like celebrating Germany winning the Kristallnacht Cup in 1938.

Quite frankly, I am astounded that netball is still a sport in this country. There are hardly any fatalities or crowd stampedes and the rules make absolutely no sense. No running with the ball? What the hell kind of sport is that? Why even bother with a ball? I watched a netball game when I was a teenager and at half-time, crazed with adolescent lust, I ran home and locked myself in my room for two days. I almost died.

Netball in South Africa is not only a racist sport but it is also deeply sexist. I have never seen men playing netball. Are they not allowed to? This is unacceptable. I should point out that if men do, in fact, play netball, I have no wish to watch them. Please do not send me any literature on this.

Your decision to ban our national netball team from competing against other countries does not go far enough. The players must be charged with treason and shot.

Cricket, too, is well deserving of your wrath. How dare they? I mean, really, how very dare they? Not only are they all white, apart from whatshisname with the face, but their uniforms are also all white. Sometimes they wear green, but it’s an open secret that green is the new white. And they call themselves the Proteas after a particularly unlovely flower that lives in Cape Town, the final refuge of white people. It is clearly a conspiracy.

Cricket is not a game that should be played by people, period. It should be played by animals. Dogs, particularly golden retrievers, would be brilliant at fielding but their batting might need work. The higher order simians would also make the game far more entertaining and I, for one, would certainly buy a ticket to watch the Jakarta Gibbons take on the Durban Vervets. Chimpanzees, too, are equipped with deadly bowling arms and it makes no sense that the likes of Dale Steyn and Hansie Cronje are allowed to play while they aren’t. The entire team should be charged with treason and shot.

I was delighted to see that you included athletics as one of the sports that needed kicking to the curb. Black people spent years jumping through hoops and running from the cops. They are natural athletes. White people can’t jump for shit and they only ever run when they’re late for their flight to Perth. I don’t even know what athletics is. Or, for that matter, are. I turned to the electronic oracle that dupes stupid people into thinking they’re smarter than they are and apparently athletics is “an exclusive collection of sporting events that involve running, jumping, throwing and walking”. Walking is a sport? I do it all the time. Well, on Friday afternoons, anyway. To the bottle store, mostly. Does this make me an athlete? Of course it does. Would I want to represent my country? Of course not. White people are only good for representing everything that is wrong with this country. This is the way it should be. Let us not even speak of the fact that when foreigners hear the term ‘South African athlete’ they automatically think of a trigger-happy psycho on stumps.

The athletics team must be charged with treason and shot.

And you’re going after rugby, too? You’re a braver man than I am, Gunga Din. I’m paraphrasing here. Unless, of course, your codename in the struggle actually was Gunga Din. It seems unlikely, though. Maybe it was Ganga Dim. I apologise. That’s the medication talking.

To be honest, I don’t think you should have blackballed rugby for being too white. Many of us only watch rugby in the hope that the game will degenerate into a bloodbath. If you take away the Afrikaners – a tribe that invented the bloodbath – we’d be left with Beast Matawaririua (is he Maori?) and the other one. I don’t remember his name. The one with the teeth. I’m just not convinced that black people should play rugby. They are inclined to stick to the rules and rarely try to murder anyone. Well, not on the pitch, anyway. Obviously all bets are off once they’re back in the township.

I urge you, then, to exempt rugby from transformation and instead target tennis and golf. You don’t get sports whiter than these. There is no reason why our top tennis teams aren’t all black. Well, apart from the white lie that black people have terrible hand-eye coordination. This is disproved by our very own President Jacob Zuma who is brilliant at seeing opportunities and grabbing them with both hands. It doesn’t matter whether it’s avoiding trial, making money or winning three straight sets, the man has talent. So if you agree that tennis is little more than a white-collar crime, you need to charge the team with treason and have them shot.

As for golf, the less said the better. Whiteys think darkies are only interested in joining golf clubs so they can meet women, drink the bar dry, steal the silverware and take home an Egyptian snow goose for the braai.

I can’t think of any high-profile black golfers apart from Squirrel Ramaphosa. As far as I know, the deputy president has never been seen washing his clothes in the water hazard, urinating openly on the fairway or using a machete to settle an argument over the interpretation of Rule 27. Then again, he is more a politician than a golfer.

Well done on leaving our soccer team alone. Even though you called them a bunch of losers two years ago, Bafana Bafana are a model of transformation. Well, they would be if it weren’t for Dean Furman and his white tendencies. You might want to charge him with treason and have him shot. It’s up to you. Meanwhile, the South African Football Association continues to set the benchmark for excellence and they stand as a shining example of … I’m sorry. I have to go and lie down for a bit.


 BEN TROVATO has offered to help Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula enforce transformation through the barrel of a gun.

Ready, aim, swallow …

Airbnb is a wonderful thing. You can make money simply by not being at home. Well, obviously other people need to be there for the money thing to happen. The downside is that you then have to be somewhere else. So I continue to lie low in Cape Town while Special Agent Banks deals with those who would abuse my North Coast home as they would their own.

He let the last batch in this week. He even helped carry their bags into the house, which will no doubt be listed under ‘additional services’ when the mercenary bastard invoices me. He said that when he introduced himself to the wife, she refused his hand on the grounds that it was against her religion. He said the husband was wearing some sort of a cap. Special Agent Banks is not an expert on world religions. Surfing, yes. And other things. But not religion. All he knew, he said, was that they had brought a suitcase with their own special food and she wouldn’t shake his hand. He said they might have been Arabs. Pressed further, he said they might have been Jews. He made it clear that further speculation on his part would be invoiced as ‘additional information’.

It mattered little to me. As long as they didn’t hurt the monkeys, fire nerve gas at the neighbours or offer human sacrifices to whatever gods they believed in, they could do whatever the hell they wanted. That’s the Airbnb credo. It’s all about the money, honey.


Special Agent Banks has been dealing with a series of guests since early December. He says he’s had enough. One family from “somewhere foreign” complained that the fridge was too small. There were six of them. I live alone. The fridge I have is big enough for two ready meals and nine six-packs. It’s fine.

Another guest said she had spotted a cockroach. In Durban? Surely not. Just one? They usually move in packs and have been seen carrying small children down the street at night.

Apparently I am not leaving Cape Town any time soon. This is the problem with Airbnb. Just when you’re about to come home, someone emails to say they want to stay in your house. I suppose I could just say no. But this is literally free money. Besides, ‘no’ is one of my least favourite words.

In keeping with my New Year’s resolution, I went for a walk on Constantia something-or-other. The next morning I woke up with an ankle swollen to the size of a prostitute’s thigh and I could barely walk at all. I am bitterly disappointed with my body. One resolution. To use my legs for something more strenuous than simply operating the brake, clutch and accelerator pedals. And, obviously, walking from the couch to the fridge and back. It couldn’t even handle that one, easy task. Stupid body. I shall take it out at once and abuse it viciously. That will teach it.

On my way to punish my body, I stopped off at a doctor with whom I had made an appointment. I limped heavily through the doors, prepared to settle for nothing less than amputation or death. Some men are comfortable with the hobbling image. I am not. I stride. I swagger. Sometimes I stagger. But only wimps limp. Wimps and gimps.

The receptionist’s dead eyes drifted to my ankle and back to her appointment book. I noticed an imperceptible shake of her ridiculous head. My handicap was all that prevented me from vaulting the counter and biting her in her tight, judgemental face. I can understand that people who work for doctors must see terrible things at this time of year, but it’s not as if I had burst in off my nut on crystal meth with a chopper embedded in my skull demanding to put a million on number three in the seventh race.

The doctor, who looked as if his Bar Mitzvah was due next weekend, had an implausible name which I shan’t reveal here because that would constitute advertising and I’m not sure he should even be allowed to practice.

Almost immediately he asked me to lie down. “Shouldn’t you take me out for dinner first?” I said. He blinked once, then regained his composure. It was probably the wrong thing to say, given that my toenails were painted a delicate shade of blue. Long story. Even longer night.

I told him about my walk. He wanted details and I was quite proud to recount that I had covered approximately one kilometre. He seemed unimpressed. I assured him I had kept myself well hydrated at the rate of one beer per hundred metres. This is apparently the international standard.

He prodded my ankle twice. “Gout,” he said. I was outraged. How can a walk bring on gout? I am an athlete. People who walk don’t get gout. They have chauffeurs. Overweight, indolent capitalist pigs who can’t control their food and alcohol intake get gout. Oh, right.

He told me to present my buttocks for an injection. I could suffer no further indignities. My reputation as an athlete was in tatters. He might as well do whatever he wished with my buttocks. As it turned out, my underwear was also in tatters.

He said gout was genetic but I could see he was lying through his perfect, capped teeth. Neither of my parents suffered from gout. Perhaps I inherited it from mad cousin George. I always thought I might have got a touch of his special brain. Turns out I got his gammy joints that attract uric acid like weed attracts sniffer dogs. Thanks, George.

If the diagnosis is accurate, and there is no reason to believe it is, then I have to say that I’m not entirely to blame. My holiday in Cape Town has turned into an episode of Survivor, where the contestants are given nothing but alcohol and are only allowed off the island to fetch more alcohol.

I spent a night with a friend who has a PhD and a drinking problem. She recently did time in one of those appalling 12-step facilities that succeed mainly in turning people into atheists. I helped find her a place after her parents threw her into the street when, after a few days of sobriety, she dismantled the wagon and sold the parts for beer. It was a room in a house being sub-let by an ex-coke fiend and his three-legged dog. A second room was occupied by a sprawling, unruly woman with two cats who subsisted on nothing but vodka and chocolate. The woman, not the cats. A third room was taken by what appeared to be a Nazi war criminal. Drunk cat woman has since been hospitalised, the ex-shnarf addict has hit on my friend, the Nazi brought a hooker home and the bed capsized in mid-coitus because it was balancing on four empty beer crates. I haven’t been back.

The island I’m on is in the Deep South. It’s an island in the sense that it is surrounded by lunatics. I have fallen in with a trio of beautiful but dangerous women and am starting to feel like Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick. I affectionately refer to them as “me bitches”. I don’t know what they call me.

At night I sleep in the bed of a 13-year-old boy. Without the boy, obviously. Just because I allegedly have gout doesn’t mean I am a beast, you know, although I do have fairly catholic tastes in other areas.

A dozen surfboards are stacked against my bedroom wall.


There are more in the lounge. And outside. These aren’t your average surfboards. These are designed for surfing waves of twenty foot and bigger. The owner is currently in Hawaii and I am staying with his girlfriend. I am on my best behaviour. Only a fool would tangle with a man who can hold his breath for three minutes in shark-infested waters after taking nine tons of water on the head. Also, she’s not that kind of girl.

Her not-married friend is tactile to the point of compulsion and her relentless platonic fondling has sent so many mixed messages to my brain that it regularly overheats and I have to lie down for a bit. Often spontaneously. The married friend … actually, let me not go there.

A few nights ago I moved into the deepest south, to a hamlet on the edge of nowhere. I was woken at 3am on my first morning by the landlady banging on my door shouting something about the mountain. I assumed she was having some sort of psychotic episode and went back to sleep. I woke three hours later to what sounded like the 101st Airborne Division coming in low over a village north of Saigon. Thanks to the previous evening’s events, my eyes looked dangerously Vietnamese. But they weren’t coming for me. Their sights were set on a wildfire raging out of control 100m from my bed.

My landlady is a voluntary firefighter – that’s where she was off to at 3am. She came home at 7am and went to work, returning at 6pm, upon which she climbed into her overalls and boots and prepared to set off for the fire line once again, her two-way radio crackling like a burning pig. She popped her head into the flatlet to see if I was okay. I was sitting at my laptop, shirtless, with a beer at my elbow, my boep around my knees and my moobs swaying gently in the breeze. I asked if there was anything I could do to help. She smiled and walked away.

As I write this, the road in and out has been closed. There is no escape. Even worse, there is no bottle store. This may be the end.


An open letter to our fearless leader

Dear Comrade Dr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma the First, President of the Republic of South Africa, Head of the Household, Defender of the Faith, Pastor of the Flock, Defeater of the Mbeki, Unifier of the Nation, Msholozi of Msholozis, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, Conqueror of the Apartheid Regime and Owner of Property in Nkandla, I hereby greet you.

I see Armscor vehemently denies intending to spend R4-billion on a new aircraft for you. I presume this means it’ll be closer to R5-billion. Good for you. A hard-working president such as yourself deserves nothing less. Ignore the critics. They’re just jealous because they don’t have free air travel on a plane with its own fire pool, amphitheatre and onboard cattle kraal.

Whatever you do, don’t get an Airbus. Buses are used by the poor. They are for common folk who can’t afford jets. Tell them you will only consider buying one if they change the name to Airpalace or Aircastle. Even Airchâteau would be a step up from Airbus.

Since Armscor is responsible for picking out your new Airmansion, why don’t you get them to fit it with guns? A president who travels in a giant luxury fighter plane would be respected and feared around the world. The Japanese have a nice range of 30mm cannons that can be fitted to the wings. Can’t go wrong with that. You could have your own personal Pearl Harbour. Coming in low and strafing Cape Town’s Waterfront on a Sunday morning would certainly give the DA a run for its money. Actually, scrap that. Machine guns are for amateurs. What you want are missiles. I’d suggest the AGM-142 Raptor. A moving target is more fun. You could get some practice taking out those silly cable cars that ferry drunk and stoned tourists up and down Table Mountain.

Hell, these are all half-measures. Get Armscor to lash a couple of cruise missiles to the fuselage. If you wanted to attack, say, Lesotho, you needn’t even go very far. Take it up for a spin around Pretoria, point the snout towards Maseru and press the button. Send in the infantry to bayonet the wounded and it’s all yours by lunchtime. A man of your stature should have a second country. A holiday country, if you will. The peasants would love you more, if that’s even possible.

Speaking of which, I don’t understand why the counter-revolutionaries are criticising you for saying that as far as you’re concerned, the ANC, and not the country, comes first. Of course it does. It was, after all, the ANC and its private army of indentured civil servants who gave you eight years in office – which doesn’t even give you much time to properly feather your retirement nest. What has the country ever done for you? It just sits there with its stupid misshapen mountains and dried up dams, making no effort whatsoever to improve the lives of you and your family.

You’ve said some profound things over the years ­– minorities have fewer rights, be careful of clever blacks, women must have more children and so on – but there’s one that still mystifies me. You once said the ANC would rule until Jesus returned. So it’s one of two things, then. Either you don’t believe Jesus could ever return because then you might as well believe in unicorns, or the Second Coming would be a terrible thing because it would effectively mean the end of ANC rule. I suppose it would. Christianity’s main man was never a huge fan of gamblers and money-lenders and he’d cause mayhem in the casinos and banks. And his water-into-wine trick wouldn’t be any good since we have no water. I suppose you could always neutralise him through co-option. Comrade Jesus Christ, Minister of Miracles. It has a ring to it. And once he’s paying off his BMW 750i and his new wife has a gold card and a Clicks account, you’ll have him right where you want him.

So, anyway. A ministerial task team has found that you appointed a liar and a cheat as your chief of police. Were these among the qualities that helped Riah Phiyega get the job in the first place or did she become like that while in office? I don’t suppose it really matters. Nothing matters.

Quite frankly I don’t know why I keep writing to you. It’s patently obvious that your advisors never allow you to read anything other than Game supplements and watch nothing more informative than The Bold and the Beautiful. After all, if you were allowed unfettered access to unbiased journalism, would you still be able to confidently stand up and deny being a liability to the country? Of course you would. Reality is subjective and anyone who argues otherwise should be flogged.

By the way, did you know that on your salary you can afford 293 Big Macs a day? That’s more than Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Congratulations. We’re all very proud of you.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma holds up a banknote bearing the face of former president Nelson Mandela in Pretoria February 11, 2012. Zuma on Saturday announced the launch of new notes bearing the image of Mandela to coincide with the 22nd anniversary of Mandela's release from prison. REUTERS/Stringer (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR2XNTG




Crafting a new revolution

There is so much to write about this week. The crisis at the country’s universities. Oscar Pistorius’ release into controlled captivity. Britain’s unseemly fawning over the president of one of the world’s most repressive and undemocratic regimes – no, not Syria. China. So I thought I’d write about beer instead.

The poetically named Anheuser-Busch InBev has put in a cheeky offer to buy SABMiller for $104-billion. Big deal. That’s my monthly tab at the pub.

I’m not usually a fan of megalithic corporate conglomerates, but this one will be able to penetrate deep into Africa, Asia and Latin America. If there’s one thing the poor need, it’s greater access to fresh beer.

Unlike some people I could mention, beer has always been there for me. That’s not strictly true. It hasn’t been as loyal to me as I have been to it. I have spent many nights in its company, only to wake up the next morning to find that it has stabbed me in the brain and made off with my cellphone.

I am not alone in this. Many of my compatriots are in a committed relationship with beer and yet South Africa is not even in the top 24 countries that love beer the most. This is pathetic and I, for one, am deeply ashamed. I know I’m doing my bit. It’s you people out there – drinking wine and other rubbish – that are letting us down.

At the bottom of the list, 67% of Ecuadoreans drink beer. We can’t even beat that. Fiji, for heaven’s sake, drinks more beer than we do. Namibia at least does the continent proud, coming in third with an unhealthy 96.7%. Bhutan, of all places, takes top honours. There, the entire population drinks beer. They score a perfect 100%. Those Buddhists sure could teach us a thing or two about commitment.

Anyway. At least it’s still October, a month in which beer is worshipped around the world. Not so much in Saudi Arabia. The northern hemisphere traditionally pays tribute to beer at the height of the fall. The height of the fall often depends on where you are and how much beer you’ve had. America named this season after the Pilgrims developed a taste for Wampanoag homebrew and spent seven months struggling to get to their feet. We call it autumn although we also fall a fair bit. It’s very confusing.

The Germans gave us Oktoberfest. However, they also gave us the Third Reich. Then again, they gave us the Easter Bunny. But they also gave us the accordion. On the other hand, they gave us aspirin, essential to any serious beer-drinkers’ survival kit. So it all evens out in the end.

Many countries have followed Germany’s example and celebrate their own version of the Oktoberfest. According to my research, “the southern Mexico City borough of Xochimilco hosts an annual traditional German knees-up complete with beer and bratwurst, all served up with a fiery Mexican twist”. The twist presumably comes when the Los Zetas cartel crashes the party and kills everyone.

Durban doesn’t have an Oktoberfest because it’s held in September so they have to call it the Bierfest. It’s quite understandable. It’s hot, the venue is available and the beer is on ice. What the hell difference does it make what month it is? We’re going to be drinking beer solidly every day until the end of the year anyway.

The first mistake the organisers of the Bierfest made was to introduce a European element to the festivities, offering oompah bands, ‘Bavarian’ barmaids with their chests hanging out, weird German sausages and so on. Their second mistake was not to invite me.

With October running out of days, I was becoming anxious about missing the few remaining opportunities to celebrate the month of beer. Of course I had been celebrating all along, but slumped on the couch throwing peanuts at the monkeys and talking to a dog I don’t have isn’t much fun. I wanted to be among fellow aficionados, or, as my mother used to call them, drunks.

After going for a surf at Umdloti the other day, I was standing under the shower when this guy joined me. It’s not what it sounds like. For a start, he had his own shower. And he didn’t just come out of the bushes, either. He had also been surfing. Surfers in Durban don’t generally talk to each other unless they’re related or have known each other for at least twenty years.

This dude broke with tradition and said he’d seen me around. Asked who I was. I gave him a fake name because I don’t trust anyone, least of all myself. Next thing you know, I’ve been kidnapped and sold off to a gang of degenerate white slave traders operating out of the Bush Tavern. It can happen.

A few days later I saw his picture in the paper. He wasn’t involved in human trafficking at all. What he had done, though, was start his own brewery. I cursed myself for being such a fool. It was as if I had allowed a soul mate to slip through my fingers. The company is called Poison City Brewing. My column is called Durban Poison. The logo is five surfboards positioned to resemble the leaf of one of Durban’s most popular herbaceous plants – the Cannabis sativa. I have five surfboards and … well, I needed no further proof that the invisible hand of Jah was trying to bring this brewery and me together.

Using my finely honed investigative skills, I tracked him down and insisted that he introduce me to his beer. It’s a lager called The Bird. I hoped he would leave us alone for a while so that we might become better acquainted. Instead, he invited me to a mini Oktoberfest at his home. After making sure that nobody would be wearing lederhosen and I wouldn’t be expected to do the ridiculous Chicken Dance, I agreed to attend. He said that, as a nod to tradition, his German wife would be there. Blonde? Yes. Okay, then. Dark-haired German women terrify me. It doesn’t feel right. Like tall clowns. Or talking sheep.

It turned out to be way better than a normal beerfest because the beer was free. Obviously it had to be an invitation-only affair. Open something like that up to the public and you’d have to get the riot police in. Especially on the north coast.

Being a Sunday I was dressed casually – much like a homeless person dresses casually – and was relieved to find myself in good company. This wasn’t the kind of crowd one might expect at, say, a wine-tasting soiree. I suppose a beer made by a company called Poison Brewing, with a logo that might get you searched at a roadblock, was never going to attract a conventional crowd. I might have been the only person there without a tattoo. Or, oddly, a young child.

And that’s the point, really. Anti-establishmentarianism might be damnably hard to say when you’re off your face, but with a bit of effort it can become the new zeitgeist.

If this Anheuser-Busch-SABMiller merger goes ahead, they will control a third of all global beer sales and rake in $64-billion a year. And they’ll pay tax in Belgium. I’m done with making rich people richer. Anheuser-Busch chairman Olivier Goudet and his accomplices have quite enough money.

If craft beer is the Che Guevara of the brewing industry, carry me to the barricades.


SUCK ON  THIS: Ben Trovato has found a crafty way to deal with giant brewing monopolies – show them The Bird.




Dear Saudi Arabia

Congratulations on your decision to kill the Shiite boy who goes by the name Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. Teenagers are dreadful at the best of times, what with their sighing and eye-rolling and endless demands for human rights and justice. If I had my way they would all be put to death.

I suppose I shouldn’t call him a boy. He is, after all, 20 years old. However, he was still a teenager when he committed the dastardly crimes for which he must die. Apparently he participated in the Arab Spring protests in 2012. Is that right? My kid once participated in a school play and by the end of it I wanted to slaughter the entire cast and most of the audience, so I know how you feel.

I gather you are breaking with tradition and not beheading the lad. Well done. Beheading is too good for some people. Crucifixion is the only language this generation understands. Well, that and textese and SMSish. Hang on. I’m getting conflicting information here. Some reports say you’re going to behead him and then crucify him. I don’t want to sound like a liberal, but isn’t that overkill? I apologise. You obviously know what you’re doing. I’m a bit worried, though. Crucifixion can lead to new religions forming and nobody, least of all you, wants that happening. Yes, I’m talking about a certain Mr J Christ of Bethlehem. If the Romans had let him off with a light whipping and a warning, Christianity would probably not exist today. And even if it did, their symbol certainly wouldn’t be a cross. I’m just saying be careful, that’s all.

Your own media, which never gets anything wrong under pain of death – in my country that’s just an expression – said you wanted to string up the body after the beheading as a warning to others. I may be out of line here, but would the average Saudi be shocked at the sight of just one body? From what I’ve heard, one can barely move in Riyadh for the corpses of people executed for jaywalking or littering. That’s just the men. Apparently the countryside is littered with the bodies of female radicals who were caught driving, watching television or talking to men who weren’t their brothers.

Wouldn’t it be more effective to round up everyone who participated in the Arab Spring and crucify the lot of them? You could do a thousand a day for three months. If the United Nations starts gnashing its gums, tell them it’s none of their damn business what you do. Tell them it’s population control. If they threaten to pass a resolution, threaten to fire nuclear missiles into New York. You do have nukes, right? You’d better have, or even Israel could whip your arse.

I hear France has also asked you to call off the execution. France! That’s a laugh. After the terrible things they did in the Congo. No, wait. That was the Belgians. Same thing. If they want a united Europe, then all of Europe must take collective responsibility for all the horror.

At least you don’t have to worry about Britain putting the boot in. Their prime minister is too busy doing damage control after it emerged that he stuck his honourable member into a dead pig when he was younger. Also, they really want to land that £6m contract to provide prison expertise to your country. To be honest, I’m surprised you still bother with prisons. Decapitation is so much more cost-effective in the long run. I hope you’re not going soft on us.

By the way, congratulations on being chosen to head up the UN human rights council. This couldn’t have come at a better time for you. It doesn’t matter how much the limp-wristed dolphin-kissers wave their yoga mats and rattle their daisy chains, the fact remains that the US State Department has welcomed it, as do all right-wing, I beg your pardon, all right-thinking members of the global community.

By the way, you might want to get the plasterers in. I hear there are some nasty cracks developing in the House of Saud. The last thing you want to do is let the light in.

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Backwards to the future

Dear Comrade President Zuma,

Congratulations on your narrow escape at the reed dance in Nongoma the other day. I was alarmed to read that hundreds of bare-breasted virgins had become possessed by demons and rushed the stage where you and King Zwelithini were sitting. What a frightening thing to happen.

I have been to the reed dance and, quite frankly, the girls scared me even when they weren’t full of demons. One of them took a run at me, leaping into the air with a terrible shriek and gesticulating wildly with her ample buttocks. It wasn’t clear if this was a mating dance or a death threat and I felt uneasy after that.

Virgins are unpredictable at the best of times. Put three in a room and it’s mayhem. From what I’ve read, even the carpenter Joseph had a hard time controlling his wife, Mary. Then again, their kid was a bit of a handful. Getting forty thousand of them to strip virtually naked and dance for you is just asking for trouble.

I know it sounds unlikely, but perhaps Satan wasn’t responsible for this one. The king was late with his speech and the maidens had already gone back to the buses and tents to get out of the rain and cold. When he ordered the girls to return, is it not possible that they were half-mad with hypothermia and were simply looking for shelter? Alternatively, this might well have been the first wave of Zulu suffragettes whose minds have been poisoned by the inflammatory teachings of Oprah Winfrey.

Once feminism takes hold, you can kiss the reed dance goodbye. And it will be the last thing you kiss for a long, long time. Trust me. I know.

Prince Thulani Zulu of the royal household said the devil spirit is common among young girls. I suspect it’s also fairly common among older girls. Well, I’m thinking more of married women, here. One in particular, really. There would be much weeping and falling over and pretty much everything short of ectoplasm would come out of her potty mouth. So I know how you must have felt. We both had a close call.

People who were there said you were quickly escorted to safety, leaving the king to fend for himself. Fair enough. He carries what looks like a ceremonial battle-axe and dresses like a cross between a leopard and a lion. I certainly wouldn’t mess with him, and I’m no virgin.

Other people who were there denied that you were escorted to safety, saying you were simply popping off to the loo. Of course you were. Who wouldn’t want to go to the toilet after facing down a battalion of topless teenagers brimming with hormones and hobgoblins?

Sometimes I think demons are inside me, too, but then I drown them with beer and feel much better afterwards. At the next reed dance, you should give the girls beer. Maybe organise a few bands. Chuck a couple of cows on the fire. It could be wild.

In the meantime, please encourage the king to keep blaming evil spirits and demons for all the bad stuff that happens. It’s the only way we can weed out and burn the witches who send lightning to strike their neighbour’s hut by sneezing twice in a thunderstorm. You should also encourage more ANC MPs to publicly denounce evolution as a racist conspiracy.

This sort of thing helps us retain our less developed country status and keeps those foreign grants and low-interest loans rolling in. The country scores, the king gets another wife and you get to ogle thousands of breasts. Everyone’s a winner. Everyone except the witches. And science.

Reed Dance