Tag: Helen Zille

Helen of Troyeville – The face that launched a thousand tweets

Dear Madam Premier Helen Zille the First, Grand Panjandrum of the Western Cape and Lady of the House,

When I read your tweets suggesting that colonialism wasn’t an entirely bad idea, I immediately suspected your phone had been stolen by an erudite thief whose idea of fun was to hijack politicians’ social media accounts and destroy their careers. On closer reflection, this seemed unlikely. Our phone-snatchers are of the common or garden variety who wouldn’t recognise erudition if it bit them on the bum.

A more plausible explanation was that you had succumbed to the curse of the legendary Singapore Sling and, finding yourself hysterically drunk inside an opium den at 3am, you went berserk and tried to call for help via Twitter but somehow ended up defending colonialism.

Apparently, though, you weren’t off your well-preserved face or even temporarily insane when you implied that were it not for the Europeans of yore popping over for a spot of the old rape and plunder, the natives would still be hacking paths through the bush, drowning people who claimed the earth was round and relying on lightning strikes to start the cooking fires because even cannibals enjoy a hot meal now and then.

You’ve had a chance to have a bit of a think and hopefully understand by now that there wasn’t a benevolent bone in colonialism’s bloodless body. Those early invaders brought guns and disease, slavery and Christianity. Sure, they also brought tobacco and alcohol. But is this enough for us to condone their war-mongering, land-grabbing ways? Almost, but not quite.

On the other hand, your ability to look on the bright side of one the most organised crimes ever committed is commendable. A lot of bad stuff happened in the past. It still happens. And it will continue happening. But is it really all bad? I’m sure if we dig a little deeper, we can find a silver lining around the most gloomy of clouds. Let’s give it a shot.

War. On the surface, war appears to be a negative thing. Particularly for those who get shot or blown up. But did war ever really hurt anyone’s feelings? No. Being told by an airline that you have to pay for two tickets because you’re massively fat is a lot worse than being on the Syrian frontline. War also gives people a chance to travel for free. And who doesn’t like free travel? I certainly do. Without war, thousands of Americans would have been denied the opportunity of a lifetime to visit exotic countries like Vietnam, Haiti, Guam, Iran, Afghanistan and even, for a lucky few, Somalia.

Hitler. A monster or simply misunderstood? Have you heard Germans talking among themselves? Not even they understand what they’re saying. It’s just one of those languages that sounds like everyone is planning a weekend of genocide. Hitler had his bad points, sure. For a start, his art sucked. But he did bring people closer. Or, in the parlance of his times, “rounded people up”. Then he put them on trains and sent them off to concentration camps, which, according to historian David Irving, were treatment centres for attention deficit citizens. Also, large parts of London were flattened during the Blitz, which saved on demolition costs when it came time to put up fancy new buildings.

Stalinism. Forget, for a moment, the millions of people Uncle Joseph ordered executed in the purges and focus, if you will, on the enduring magnificence that is the Moscow Subway. Let us not even speak of the glories of Stolichnaya vodka. Ah, yes. Socialism. What’s not to love?

Apartheid. Millions of black people were spared the indignity of having to go to school and the army. The benefits of this policy didn’t end there, either. There were also laws keeping black people safe from whites, a surly tribe isolated in their own suburbs with their own facilities. With the end of apartheid this protection was withdrawn and black people today still risk being abused by caucasoid neanderthals everywhere from public beaches to Spur restaurants.

Paraplegia. One word – wheelchair. No more walking means enormous savings on shoes. Also, no more sitting down and standing up hundreds of times a day, something that leaves non-paraplegics drained and miserable.

Hijacking. In a country that desperately needs employment opportunities, every bit helps. The man pointing a gun at your head and stealing your car is doing a job. He is self-employed and showing initiative. He isn’t hanging about the robots with a piece of cardboard covered in illegible scribbles, making you wind up your window and feel like a tight-fisted bastard until the lights change.

Alcoholism. The body’s way of letting you know that you’re still alive. Well done on not being dead. Alcoholics and their “social drinking” cousins keep the breweries ticking over nicely. Countless jobs would be lost and millions of lives destroyed if everyone had to stop drinking.

These, Helen, are just a few examples that tie in with your refreshing new way of thinking. Feel free to use them at your disciplinary hearing. Well, I say hearing, but it’s really going to be more of a medieval scheissesturm of monstrous accusations, desperate denials and multifarious explanations. You’re going to need to suppress your inner Attila for this one. Avoid stamping around the room barking at everyone. Your enemies in the party smell blood in the water and they’re not going to let an exposed flank go unsavaged.

If you do get fired, there are plenty of other opportunities out there. Afriforum, for instance, would be keen to have you. Their reputation as a coven of white supremacists is improving, thanks in part to that prosecutorial pit bull Gerrie Nel, and you will be among like-minded folk who believe that “speaking while white” is not, in fact, one of the deadly sins of democracy.

Your days at the Leeuwenhof palace do seem numbered, though. It’s a good thing you have mastered the power of positive thinking. You’ll probably need to leave Cape Town for a while. Property is dirt cheap in Orania, a town where “critical race theory” relates to strategies in the wife-carrying event on their annual sports day. You’d like it there.

As for that leadership baton you passed to Mmusi Maimane not even two years ago? There’s a good chance he’s been whittling it into a sharp point all this time. Watch your back, madam.

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Knee-deep in whackos and nutjobs

The first time I heard the term “cray cray” I was in Paternoster, the West Coast centre of operations for petty pilferers, tik monsters and venal property owners. The person shouting “cray cray” at me was a kid of about nine. He had a plastic bag full of undersized crayfish. I bartered him down to almost nothing, then went to the beach and threw them back into the sea.

The next time I heard the term “cray-cray” it had a hyphen in it and was clearly meant to indicate that a couple of buttons in my brain were missing. Not because of what I did with the crayfish, if that’s what you’re thinking. In Paternoster, the bar for insanity is so low that sausage dogs step over it.

Watching the political phantasmagoria of the last few days, I began wondering if the likes of Helen Zille and Mamphela Ramphele had not, perhaps, gone completely bonkers. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

According to the department of health, one out of four South Africans has been or is affected by mental illness. That means around 500 employees at Addington Hospital alone are not well in the head. Going by what I can remember from my stay there a few years ago, they all work in the kitchen. With the possible exception of two, who might still be working in the orthopedic ward.

It also means that six or seven cabinet ministers are barking mad, but this comes as something of less than a shock to us.

More worrying is that thirteen million South Africans are on nodding terms with mental illness. This includes around a million white people, most of whom I expect live in Pretoria.

Oddly enough, the statistic of one in four doesn’t apply to ex-girlfriends. Certainly when it comes to women with whom I have dallied, that figure jumps to three in four. The deranged have always been drawn to me. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

What this country needs more than anything, apart from state-subsidised beer, is a method of mass diagnosis. Forget the census. It would be far more helpful to have psychologists going from house to house identifying the nutjobs and dishing out useful drugs. Of course, you’re going to get a lot of people pretending to be unhinged just to get their hands on a bag of free pharmaceuticals, but psychologists are trained to weed out the imposters.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month. We can’t wait that long. By October, we might all be wearing straitjackets. We need to act now.

It’s important to remember that mental illness manifests itself in many forms. It can range from voting for Agang to putting an ad on Gumtree for someone to sever, cook and eat your willy free of charge. That’s more of a German thing, though.

There are certain illnesses common to all South African. If, for instance, you regularly read the newspapers, watch SABC or saw the photograph of Lindiwe Sisulu kissing Blade Nzimande, you almost certainly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Millions of us also suffer from depression. But, thanks to the government, there are treatment centres in every city, town and village. The only link I can find between alcohol and depression is when you drive to one of these centres on a Saturday afternoon and find it shut. Luckily, the townships are full of informal treatment centres that stay open until the early hours of the morning.

We need to start diagnosing our politicians because the combination of power and insanity is a dangerous one. Once we know what they are suffering from, we can treat them by spiking their food with the relevant medication. On second thoughts, voting them out is probably easier. And cheaper than meds, too.

Here are some snap diagnoses based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition).

Jacob Zuma – Narcissistic personality disorder with hyperactive sexual desire disorder.

Kgalema Motlanthe – Catatonia.

Helen Zille – Dementia with delusions.

Mamphela Ramphela – Dependent personality disorder with delusions.

Fikile Mbalula – Tourette’s with hallucinations.

Tina Joemat-Pettersson – Histrionic personality disorder.

ANC backbenchers – Narcolepsy.

Civil service – Factitious disorder.

Julius Malema – Disruptive behaviour disorder.

Gatsha Buthelezi – Paranoid personality disorder with delusions.

Boeremag leader Tom Vorster – Intermittent explosive disorder with delusions.

Dr Wouter Basson – Dissociative amnesia.