Tag: israel

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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A complex problem

The gates to the complex had jammed shut and the residents were getting jumpy. People were late for work and I was late for a surf. Through the trees, beyond the electrified fence, I could see the ocean. The onshore wind was picking up. Much more of this malarkey and the best part of the day would be ruined.

We milled about shaking our heads, muttering darkly, pressing our remotes, tugging futilely at the intractable gate. Something heavy hit a roof and ricocheted into the undergrowth. Probably a coconut. Or a drunk monkey. Mrs Cohen from number nine screamed. I laughed.

“It’s not funny!” she shrieked. “We’re trapped here! Anything could happen!” I gave her the lazy eye. “Just relax,” I said. “This isn’t Gaza.”

It was as if I had pressed some sort of panic button embedded in her brain. She went pale, clutched her jewellery and began making a sound identical to the Israeli sirens that follow the firing of a Hamas missile.

“We could tunnel our way out,” I suggested helpfully. The wailing kicked up a notch. Somewhere in the complex, a dog began howling. Mr Pillay from number six shook his head. “Probably best not to mention tunnels,” he said. I nodded towards Mrs Cohen. “Maybe you should go and comfort her,” I said. He shook his head. “I’m a Muslim. She will have a heart attack.” I shrugged, went back to my simplex and turned on the television for another hit of horror.

“A child is being killed every hour in Gaza,” intoned a Sky reporter. In other news, Prince George has celebrated his first birthday. I fetched a beer from the fridge. In times like these, it’s never too early to start drinking.

What does a Hamas fighter even look like? It’s important that people such as Mrs Cohen know these things to avoid mistaking one for a gardener emerging from the shrubbery.

Rebels throughout the ages have generally possessed well-developed egos. Che Guevara went to extraordinary lengths to get his face on a T-shirt. Spartacus had a movie made of his life. And don’t even get me started on Jesus and that whole cross business. You might think at least one of the Hamas soldiers would have taken a selfie by now and leaked it to the press. I certainly would have. Not on one of those cameras with a built-in GPS, obviously. Click! “Hey guys, I …” BOOM!!

The good news is that our government has sent a team led by Aziz Pahad to Israel and Palestine “to convey our growing concern with the escalation of violence there”. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper and just as effective to send an email? No, that’s too impersonal. Maybe a phone call.

“Shalom, can I speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu?”

“Of course not. There is a war on. Who are you?”

“This is Aziz Pahad from …”

“Pahad? You are Arab? Hold on …”

“Actually, I’m representing the South African …” BOOM!!

Just kidding. Not even Israel has a missile powerful enough to reach us. We should all sleep better knowing that.

I barely remember Aziz Pahad. Then again, I barely remember last weekend. Wikipedia reminded me that he was once our deputy foreign minister. Apparently he played a prominent role in South Africa’s attempt to stop the US-led attack on Iraq in 2003. That went well. I imagine after Pahad’s visit, Israel will agree to implement a two-state solution – the state of Israel and the republic of Israel.

I hope he at least gets to have his picture taken with Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas. Did you know that Hamas is an acronym? I didn’t. It stands for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, which means: “Silence! I kill you!”

Meanwhile, in parliament last week, MPs of all stripe and size called on the government to play a more active role in trying to broker a ceasefire between these rebarbative Jews and Arabs. I think President Zuma would be very good at negotiating a settlement, even if it is of the out-of-court kind.

DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa reminded everyone what they already know. “Israel and Palestinian leaders must return to negotiations, all hostilities must be brought to an end, and all strategies employed that result in the death of civilians must cease immediately.”

Or else what, Mokgalapa? If you’re going to state the blindingly obvious, at least follow it up with some sort of threat. Like, “We won’t buy any more Israeli tomatoes at Woolies if you don’t stop.”

Even UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who is about as threatening as a harp seal, has issued a warning. “If more than, say, one million Palestinian civilians die, we will be forced to ask Israel and America for permission to hold some sort of meeting.” He then apologised and had a bit of a cry.

The EFF’s pin-up girl for the revolution, Magdalene Moonsamy, said her party was calling for “an immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and not to leave for hours but recall without return”. I’d hate to know what that came out as after being translated into Hebrew. I wouldn’t have thought the situation stood to benefit by sending Israelis back to Israel.

Comrade Moonsamy continued: “We demand the end of Israel’s illegal occupation and further instruct the South African government to end all business with companies that continue to perpetuate terrorism in Palestine.”

The EFF is instructing the government? Way to get them to do the exact opposite. I predict a lot more kosher food appearing in parliament’s cafeteria soon. And don’t be surprised if you see Gwede Mantashe wearing a yarmulke the next time he makes an appearance.

Apart from the overarching apartheid theme, there are many similarities between us and them. Nkandla is roughly the size of Gaza with fewer people but more goats. The Nkandla goats are better off than the people in Gaza, though, in that nobody bombs them. However, they do on occasion get eaten. What they lose on the swings, they gain on the roundabouts. Not that goats care much for playgrounds.

Eskom could learn a lot from Israel. For instance, Israel drops leaflets in a particular area advising residents that there will be load shedding in their area. This gives them thirty seconds to move to another area where load shedding isn’t due for another hour. The load being shed, in their case, mainly constitutes 150mm artillery shells.

Eskom doesn’t even bother with leaflets. They simply shed their load, regardless of whether or not you’ve had time to flee to a neighbourhood that has power. You can do yourself a nasty mischief stumbling around in the dark looking for the matches. Sure, it’s not the same as losing an arm or a leg, or your entire family, but a barked shin at my age is no joke.

 

Thinking about drinking like an African

A few days ago, President Zuma said we should stop thinking like Africans, although I am fairly sure that he meant to say we should stop drinking like Africans. It would have made more sense. Anyway, our fearless leader is not known for making much sense. It’s why we love him.

I thought he might be onto something, though. Just because we live in Africa doesn’t mean we have to think like an African any more than we have to speak, look or taste like one. And so I spent much of the past week thinking like other nationalities.

I started off by thinking like the English. This came quite naturally to me because I think in English and it’s easier to think like a particular nationality if your thoughts are in the language of that particular group. This sounds more complex than it is. I think this is what long-suffering spin doctor Mac Maharaj was getting at when he said the president sometimes gets his words mixed up because English isn’t his home language.

The problem with thinking like the English is that almost immediately you start complaining about things. It’s raining too much. It’s not raining enough. Blasted beggars at the traffic lights. Them darkies are making an awful mess of running the country. Good help is so hard to find these days. I also found myself nipping down to the pub a lot more. When I was thinking like an African, I’d go to the bottle store. I would get into conversations with strangers and moan endlessly about the weather and how David Cameron needed to pull up his socks if he hoped to get my support next year.

Then I tried thinking like the Germans. I woke up and reorganised my cupboard. After colour-coding my socks and folding my underwear into perfect little triangles, I went off for a breakfast of schlackwurst, bratwurst, blutwurst, schwarzwurst, leberwurst and rollmops. If I were in Syria, the UN weapons inspectors would have mistaken me for a biological weapon. The trouble started when I waddled out into the city. My brain began having miniature seizures. The littering. The jaywalking. The shouting. The hooting. Mein Gott im Himmel! And all of this to a German porn soundtrack in my head.

On top of it, I was struck by an unfamiliar urge to separate my garbage. Even worse, my sense of humour was slipping away. I had to think like someone else quickly or risk going mad. When Germans go mad, they put ads in the paper asking for volunteers to cook and eat them.

This time I chose the Russians and found myself waiting for the bottle store to open. I took my vodka into a park and it wasn’t long before I was going up to people and shouting at them about those bastard Chechen rebels, the gays in government, the tyranny of babushkas and the shocking price of potatoes. At one point, I was crying because I was in love with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the pretty one from Pussy Riot. That’s all I remember.

The next day I decided to think like an Israeli. After instructing builders to add another five metres to my boundary walls, I declared my house a sovereign state and annexed the neighbour’s back yard. His dog bit me when I tried to put up a flag. There will be retaliatory strikes when he least expects it. I stuck an ‘Occupied Territory’ sign on my bathroom door, locked myself inside and prayed for eighteen hours for the total destruction of my enemies. After that I felt guilty and tried thinking like an American.

This one suited me the most. I felt even more like one of God’s chosen people than I did when I was thinking like an Israeli. I began to find that the idea of oil – olive or engine – excited me more than it should. My voice went up several decibels and I was taken by conflicting urges to buy a gun, become a hippie, kiss a man, hurl abuse at homos, evangelise my suburb, torch a church, buy an SUV, save the environment, go to war, join a peace movement, fill up on hamburgers and go to gym.

It was all too exhausting. I felt myself drifting perilously close to stereotyping those who do not think like me. The last thing I needed was to be accused of bigotry and intellectual indolence. That’s the domain of Julius Malema and Steve Hofmeyr.

In the end, I found it easier to just go back to thinking like an African. Time to work on a new get-rich-quick scheme. But first a nap. Then something to eat. And maybe a post-snack snooze. Followed by drinks. And later, sex.

I’m feeling better already.