I got an email from Discovery Health this week. The subject line reads, “Ben, here’s what you can look forward to in 2018!” Wait, don’t tell me. Higher premiums? An increased reluctance on your part to pay for any treatment that doesn’t involve the loss of at least two limbs? My pitiful retirement savings being wiped out because Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is elected ANC president?
I didn’t bother opening the email for the same reason I don’t answer the phone or see who’s at the door. The news is not going to be good. Whoever it is, they’re either going to want to know if I’ve found the Lord or if I’ve found the money. What part of “prescribed debt” don’t they understand?
To their credit, Discovery doesn’t care much for wheedling or threats. You don’t want to pay? Fine. Miss a monthly payment and the paramedics will leave you in the parking lot. Face up, at least, so you can see the stars while you gently expire. Discovery is caring in that way.
In other news, at least seven people suspected of being vampires have been hunted down and killed by villagers in Malawi in recent days. This is in keeping with the Christmas spirit, especially in a country that is 80% Christian. Next to money-lenders and Romans, Jesus hated vampires most of all. Just because I’m not a Christian doesn’t mean I’m a vampire-boetie. I make a point of avoiding bats altogether. Bats and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are really just bats in human form. Not vampire bats, obviously. The more benign kind. Fruit bats, perhaps.
And moving on to that glittering jewel East London, where someone from the Selborne College class of 2017 came up with a rip-snorting poster designed as an invitation to a social event for matric pupils. The “artist” used an iconic image on which to base his masterpiece. Remember the photo of a dying Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo while his sister‚ Antoinette Sithole‚ ran alongside? It was taken by Sam Nzima in 1976 during the Soweto uprising.
So this by-product of white privilege creates a caricature of the image, but Hector is now just a body without a head, wearing a Selborne blazer. Mbuyisa and Antoinette are depicted with the heads of dogs. The boy dog seems alarmed. The girl dog appears to be howling.
There have been accusations of insensitivity, but we should be grateful that this fine young man chose a South African image to parody. He might have used that picture of the little Vietnamese girl running naked down the road after an American napalm attack, possibly putting her in water wings and snorkelling gear. Maybe a pair of flippers for added comical effect. Or what about Jesus on the cross in a clown suit with a Panda head? That would’ve been good for a few laughs.
The cretin, who remains nameless, has apologised for “any misunderstanding caused by the artwork”. That was decent of him. We’re not very bright, you see, and misunderstandings come easily to the likes of us, especially where art is involved. For instance, I was in Florence this one time and came across a statue of some oke called David. I felt sorry for the bugger because his willy was so small so I tried to put some broeks on him but got arrested by the carabinieri. I don’t know what the artist was thinking. Mickey de Angelo or something. Sounds foreign.
He said it was never meant to reflect racism or prejudice. I’m talking about the Selbourne muppet, not de Angelo. Of course it wasn’t meant to reflect these things. You’d have to be mentally ill to think there was something not right about manipulating an image of a dying boy and two terrified youngsters running from the police. I mean, two of them had dog’s heads! There’s nothing funnier than people with animal heads. And it’s not like he gave the Hector Pietersen character a dog’s head. He has no head at all. The symbolism here, in case you’re a complete moron and missed it, is that the blazer is being passed on to the incoming matrics. Or something.
“I was commissioned to do an artwork that expressed loss‚ grief or sadness that the matrics could relate to,” said the boy genius. This must be some school for its matrics to feel devastated at having to leave. I celebrated wildly after walking through the hellish portals of St Bastard’s for the last time. I’ve never really stopped. Then again, unlike Selborne, my school didn’t come with hot and cold running servants, pool tables, cable television and mouthwatering meals.
But why the dogs? In the words of the idiot savant, “The two people have been adapted into dogs as symbolism to our school. Selborne is often referred to by its official symbol of a greyhound or whippet and was in no way meant to be derogatory or disrespectful to any person.”
Ah, my boy. You will come to learn that metaphors are tricksy things. Treat them roughly and you’ll pay a dear price.
Sensing an impending scandal, the governing body was quick to distance itself from the poster, the artist, dogs in general, metaphors in particular and everything that happened between 1875 and 1994.
It was perhaps unfortunate that social media distributed a photograph of 25 boys, every one a proud member of the glorious Caucasian race, drinking beer around the poster at a gathering at the Old Selbornian Club. They were clearly working on issues of transformation. Now we are sober and later we shall be drunk. That’s transformation at its best.
I’d never heard of Selborne College until now. Like most people in this country, public or private sector, I don’t give a damn about education. Too much learning is a dangerous thing. The more words you know, the more trouble you’re likely to get into. That’s why people who communicate in little more than grunts and hisses are the happiest. And they get nice jobs at home affairs and the traffic department.
You think things are bad now? Wait twenty years, when our grade four kids are taking up government positions. Almost 80% of them are functionally illiterate. Out of 50 countries that took part in a reading literacy study, South Africa came stone last. Maybe the ability to read at 10 years old isn’t vital. Maybe the important thing at this age is to know how to hotwire a car and file the serial number off a 9mm Beretta.
The study also revealed that a quarter of kids under three are stunted. So there’s going to be an entire generation of unemployed short-arses who can’t read anything more complicated than a Wimpy menu. But it’s okay because by the time they’re grown up Noksazana Dlamini-Zuma will be in her fifth term and we’ll all be living in caves and eating locusts anyway.