Tag: travel

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.




My 2008 European Holiday – Part 1

By the time you read this, I will be gone.

Not, as some of you may hope, to the afterlife, but to somewhere far more erotic. Spain.

And not a moment too soon, either. There is blood in the water and darks shapes are circling. Treachery is afoot and it’s time to get out of town.

Spain seemed like a good bet because it is a lawless country with no police and a handful of corrupt politicians in charge. Hang on. That’s us. Spain is a well-run democracy full of beautiful women with fiery temperaments and a rebel movement that can’t really be bothered to blow up too much stuff.

Brenda seems to be under the impression that the trip is going to be some sort of second honeymoon. Well, I suppose it couldn’t be any worse than the first. What am I saying? Of course it could. At least we survived the first, even though I will carry the scars with me for the rest of my life.

I have been trying to interest Brenda in bullfighting but she says it is a cruel and barbaric sport practiced by cruel and barbaric people. I told her that if she insisted on talking like that in Spain, I would have her arrested by the Guardia Civil. Then I showed her a picture of the famous bullfighter Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez in his tight, sequined trousers and scarlet cape. Her eyes glazed over and she began breathing heavily. I quickly pointed out that a bull by the name of Islero gored him to death in 1947. She seemed disappointed.

“Don’t worry about that,” I said. “Wait until you see me in action.” If there’s one thing that will rekindle the guttering flame of passion, it will be the sight of me leaping over the barricades and single-handedly challenging a giant Córdoban bull to do his worst.

Obviously I won’t hesitate to reach for my ankle holster and whip out the old 9mm Parabellum if el toro gets too cheeky. That’s how we South Africans fight wild animals. None of this girly sword stuff for us.

Apart from an inexplicable reluctance to gun down their wildlife, Spain is very similar to South Africa in many respects. They had General Franco. We have General Mbeki. The Basques and the Boers both want their own homeland. We have Vladimir Tretchikoff who was influenced by his mother. They have Salvador Dali who was influenced by lysergic acid diethylamide. Their street life is as vibrant as ours is in Khayelitsha or KwaMashu except that in Barcelona people generally don’t wind up in hospital, jail or the mortuary after a good night out.

I read on a website that “Spanish men tend to maintain eye contact with females for longer, although this does not mean anything”.

Yeah, sure.

“Hey amigo, I’m just taking your wife for a walk down the beach. Relax. It doesn’t mean a thing.”

The rules of the road seem similar to ours: drive as fast as you can on whichever side of the road has the least amount of traffic and stop only for petrol.

When it comes to the winter solstice, “the tradition in Spain witnesses the jumping of men over men which is a symbolic representation of victory over illness”. In Cape Town we have men jumping on top of other men, which is a symbolic representation of a society going to hell in a handbasket.

Spain is known as a wine-drinking country. We are known as a country that drinks wine, beer, brandy, vodka, cane, ethanol, formaldehyde and, if it’s very late on a Friday night, blood.

Another fine tradition we share with Spain is the siesta. The only difference is that while the Spanish close their shops and offices for a few hours in the afternoon and go home to sleep, our people keep theirs open and sleep right there on the counter in front of us.

The money might take some getting used to. Thanks to the likes of Tito Mboweni, a couple of sheiks with more wives than they can handle and a bunch of narcissistic coked-up teenagers in the New York Stock Exchange, the rand is like Monopoly money compared to the euro.

I bought a wad of the stuff on the black market last week. And please understand that I don’t mean black in any pejorative sense. Even though some of my best friends are white, they have close ties to the black market, which must count for something.

Thousands of our money got me a few brightly coloured notes with boring pictures of old buildings on them. This trip is going to cost me a fortune. With beer coming in at around R35 a pint, I doubt that I shall have much money left over for luxuries like food and accommodation.

Never mind second honeymoon, I have a strong feeling this is going to end in Brenda being deported and me clinging to the legs of a Flamenco dancer, begging for refugee status.

An Open Letter to Julius Malema – Washer-in-Chief of Filthy Lucre

Dear Julius,

What’s happening, old boy? Seems as if you have landed yourself in another frightful mess. The hounds of hell are hot on your heels and you don’t appear to be in any shape to outrun them.

These charges, to even the most indolent of observers, are a travesty. Do you know what is a travesty? Of course you don’t. And why should you? There is no word in Pedi for travesty. Let me give you an example of a travesty – President Zuma getting invited to be part of a United Nations initiative on education.

Still, I suppose it’s marginally less ironic than him being part of an initiative on the importance of vasectomies in developing countries.

Speaking of which, if I were you I would keep your legendary Limpopo lizard well-sheathed for now. There is talk of them putting you away for a thousand years and it wouldn’t be right to have a herd of pregnant groupies skulking about the prison gates in the hope of getting a fistful of taxi fare flung through the bars of the top window in the A block.

You must have been awfully disappointed when the court released you on R10-thousand rand bail. Back in the day, a man was judged by the size of his penis. Now, his worth is measured according to the size of his bail. Larceny, my fat little friend, has never been more grand. Go big or go home.

We, and I speak for the few South Africans who have not yet been jailed, are growing bored with petty crime and paltry punishments. If our politicians are incapable of thinking ambitiously, then we should at least be able to rely on our miscreants and rogues to impress us.

Your business partner, referred to in professional circles as your co-accused, was given R40-thousand rand bail. In one foul swoop, Selbie Manthatha became Al Capone and you were relegated to goon status. Julius “Lamb Chop” Malema.

A terrible miscarriage of justice has been perpetrated. I am appalled that your lawyer did not insist on bail being set at a higher amount. Fire him at once.

Hang on. If I am not mistaken, your lawyer is in fact a she. One Nicqui Galaktiou, if I recall. No wonder your bail was so low. Women are bargainers by nature. They are hagglers and whores and will stop at nothing to reduce a man’s worth to the lowest possible price. We are like shoes in their eyes.

I am talking metaphorically, Julius. Please do not go around saying I told you that women like shoes in their eyes.

By the way, who advised you to hire a Greek lawyer – Jacob Zuma? Have you seen what these people did to their economy? Souvlaki, they know. Money, not so much. On the other foot, she’s pretty damn hot for a lawyer. She could handle my defence any day.

It’s a pity, though, that you didn’t come to me first. I would have had you off the hook by now. My training as a journalist enables me to think like a civil servant, drink like a thief and lie like a lawyer.

There’s nobody at the courtroom door checking degrees. I could walk right into the Polokwane Regional Court wearing my black coat and sunglasses and represent you without a murmur from the bench. In Polokwane, you’d be lucky to get a murmur from the bench under any circumstances.

From what I’ve heard, half the provincial judiciary has a holiday home in Premier Cassel Mathale’s back pocket. This is just a rumour, mind you. Don’t go around repeating it or we’ll both end up downstairs being buggered by a fighting general in the 28s.

Well done on arriving at court in the same big black BMW that the prosecution says was bought with dirty money. Well, dirty before you had it cleaned, anyway. It shows you have panache and style. It also shows you have three functioning brain cells. If you had arrived on a donkey cart, the court would have taken this as a gesture of solidarity with the poor and released you immediately.

You must be very disappointed in the Hawks. After threatening you with grown-up charges like fraud and corruption, all they could hit you with was money laundering. Is that even a crime in this country? I do it myself now and again.

After a long, hard night in the company of Mr Jack Daniels and Mrs Palmer’s five daughters, I ram my sticky jeans into the laundromat’s washing machine and regularly lose a couple of hundred bucks before the spin cycle is over.

I lose money and you make money. I work for the Sunday Times and you’re on television. You’re black and I’m white. I don’t know why God is punishing me, but there it is and there’s nothing I can do about it.

And why are you way down in the cheap seats in the dock? Accused number 10. R10-thousand bail. IQ of 10. There’s some bad juju going on here. Somebody in the prosecution is a tokoloshe. Get your men to find him and burn him. Inside the court, preferably. Lessons need to be learnt.

Listen to me now. Here’s how you get out of this.

While the sultry Ms Galaktiou is giving her closing statements and the magistrate is incapacitated with lust, get your people in the Limpopo roads and transport department to grant a tender to On-Point Engineers to build a highway through the courtroom. Then get your grandmother to send a runner with a cleft stick, or, if you prefer, a cleft palate, to Gwama Properties to put Polokwane up for sale. The Ratanang Family Trust then puts in a cheeky offer and in under twenty minutes, the city is yours. Segwalo Consulting Engineers supervises the demolition of Polokwane, allowing everyone except the prosecution and the media to escape. Selby Construction rebuilds the city, surrounds it with moats and minefields and unilaterally declares independence. The People’s Republic of Malemania creates a powerful army over a long weekend. Led by your five-year-old son, the army succeeds in smashing down the barriers. It doesn’t matter which ones. There are so many in that province.

By the time your army has negotiated Limpopop’s four million stop/go roadworks, Helen Zille will be president and she will be waiting to embrace you because embracing darkies is what she does best. I expect you will be needing a hug after all this is over. My advice is that you take it.

I enjoyed your speech outside the court on Wednesday, even if it did lack the usual rabid extemporisation we have come to know and love. I especially enjoyed your, “I have nothing to hide. I have never been part of any criminal activity. What you see is what you get.” It was positively Shakespearian, if not Selebian.

Speaking of which, it’s never too early to start dropping a few hints about the state of your kidneys. No, wait. Jackie Selebi claimed that one. Hypertension, maybe? Nope, that’s what Schabir Shaik used. How about early Alzheimer’s? That way you can pretend to remember nothing, behave like a child, get a medical parole and a cabinet position when Zuma gets mangaunged in December.

My advice is to continue referring to yourself in the third person. At worst you can plead insanity. At best it will confuse the prosecutors when they try to indict you on fresh charges. As they will, if you don’t shut the fuck up.

Anyone For Chemo And A Nice Cup Of Tea?

I lost my mother a few days ago. Not in the way that you might lose your car keys. Keys can be replaced. Mother’s hardly ever.

It all started several months ago when she developed a cough. Our family doctor, who must be 104 years old, gave her cough mixture. Later, when she complained of chest pains, he gave her a modern miracle drug he’d just come across. Panado, I think it was. Then she started coughing up blood. “How much?” he demanded to know. “A cup full? A bucket?”

A few weeks later, my father suggested she saw someone other than a geriatric GP who spent most of the time complaining about his own ailments.

Her consultations went something like this: “Please sit down. How are you? I’ve got this terrible pain in my knee that just won’t … would you mind not spitting blood onto my carpet? Thank you. As I was saying …”

So she went off to see a man who took some X-rays, told her she had six months to live and suggested an around-the-world cruise rather than chemotherapy. Not being married to Richard Branson, my mother went to another specialist who scoffed at the first specialist, saying: “What does he know? He’s a cutter.” What? You mean this is his part-time job and he actually works for the municipality trimming verges along the M4?

Not quite. He’s a surgeon. For some reason, doctors who aren’t surgeons look down on those who are. Jealousy, I suppose. After all, what red-blooded South African man doesn’t long for a sharp knife and a couple of hours alone with an unconscious woman?

Oncologists look down on everyone because they are fabulously wealthy and also because they get to play with lots and lots of human guinea pigs who eventually stop bothering them because they are too weak to pick up the phone and make another appointment.

House calls? Please. I have no idea what you’re talking about. James? Bring the Jag around to the front and get these weeping peasants out of my office. They’re upsetting the angelfish.

Thanks to the tobacco industry, red meat and deadline stress, oncologists are able to afford offices the size of Khulubuse Zuma’s breakfast nook. Which, in case you didn’t know, is the size of a tennis court.

Oncologists would rather their patients didn’t take a cruise around the world. At least not before signing up for one of their once-in-a-lifetime chemo courses at just R40-thousand a day. Free tea and biscuits included! If lines are busy, call later! But do call!

By the time my mother’s hair fell out, the medical aid was squealing like a stuck pig and the tumour in her lung had shrunk to the size of a grape. I don’t know how big it was to start with. If you ask the family doctor, he’d probably say: “Oh, I don’t know, the size of a hippo? Did I tell you about my leg?”

Then the oncologist, giving us the full benefit of his dazzling smile (no extra cost), suggested she went for radiation. The tumour loved the radiation. It got big and fat off it. Radiation causes cancer, so let’s give cancer patients radiation. I’m missing something, here. An enormous salary and perfect teeth, for a start.

Her tumour was inoperable because she also had emphysema. And why shouldn’t she? After all, she came from an era when they made cigarettes that were good for you. Better than fruit. Yum yum. Got a light?

I had already uprooted the family – if you can call Brenda and two dogs a family – and moved from Cape Town to Durban so I could help out and spend time with my mother. I bought her a wheelchair when she began struggling to walk and forged a disabled sign so we could get the best parking, even when she wasn’t in the car.

Not being a fan of country music, Brenda had apparently never listened to the song, Stand By Your Man. After a while, she packed the dogs and disappeared two weeks before the grand finale.

I suspect all cancer patients ultimately face their fate with extraordinary courage and fortitude. But not all face it with the same degree of acceptance. Some go quietly. Others, like my mother, rage, rage against the dying of the light. Even after she slipped into incoherence, she was still shouting at us. I shouted back, trying to get her to take her medication. Then my sister would shout at me and my father would shout at her. It was like my childhood. Lots of shouting and nobody making any sense at all. The only difference being that I was too big for anyone to hit me.

A hospice nurse dropped off a bottle of morphine. I insisted on trying it in case it was poisoned but my father slipped the bottle into his pocket and gave me the lazy eye.

My mother died in her bed, but I wasn’t there. I was down the road at a strip club playing pool with three lesbians from a local biker gang. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. It doesn’t really matter. When I left the house two hours earlier, she was already in a coma. I said my goodbyes while she was still breathing.

The crematorium was fun. To get there, we had to negotiate a part of the city that makes Cormac McCarthy’s The Road look like Disneyland. Hesitantly, we walked into what they call a chapel. Not a sound. No one around. Just rows of cheap blue office chairs facing a low stage. A curtain twitched and a coffin glided into the room.

A monochrome man appeared from nowhere. “Is that one ours?” asked my father, perhaps expecting more coffins to start appearing and a sudden rush of people claiming them as if it were the baggage carousel at OR Tambo International Airport after a suicide bombing in Kabul.

The ghoul nodded, unscrewed the coffin lid and went to stand a few metres away, watching us in case we stole something.

My father recited a Hindu prayer because he doesn’t know any Christian ones. Then I kissed my mother on her ice-cold forehead and walked out into the sunshine.

Hamba kahle, Ma.



Dr Piazza’s School Of Conflict Resolution

I like Facebook. It’s full of cuddly animals, happy families and squirrelly sociopaths. Amidst this foul repository of inexcusable spelling errors and grammatical atrocities committed by people who received a superior education at the expense of the great unwashed and consequently have no excuse for their reckless abuse of the English language, one occasionally comes across a character interesting enough to warrant further investigation.

Dr Ignatius Piazza is among them. His name popped up on the newsfeed, presumably posted by someone who follows me. Much like Jesus, I am followed by some of the most rabidly disturbed people imaginable.

At first glance, it sounds as if he could be a gynaecologist from Rome. Or perhaps further south. Calabria, maybe. Dr Piazza will see you now, signorina. Grazie.

If not a gynaecologist, then an architect. The last in a long line of Piazzas who designed public squares across Italy. Or perhaps he is a venerable member of Sicilian society. While Dr Piazza is no longer with the Cosa Nostra, his opinion is highly valued by the next generation of mafioso.

In reality, if there is such a thing on Facebook, Dr Piazza is the founder and director of Front Sight Resorts. Excellent. A real estate company dealing in properties with sweeping sea views. I clicked on the link to his website, thinking I might put in a cheeky offer on something nice in the Bahamas. Not too close to where the locals live, obviously, but certainly close enough to score cheap weed.

His page popped up and right away he began talking to me. There was no mention of fabulous homes with ocean frontage. Instead, he said: “Welcome to Front Sight. Your firearms training starts right here.”

What? Wait! Where’s my gun? Brenda, where the hell is my gun? You’re kidding. This is no good at all. Apparently I don’t even own a gun. What the hell kind of South African am I? Being hopelessly unprepared for Dr Piazza’s training session, I did what all unarmed men do in times of crisis. I slipped my hand down my tracksuit pants and gripped my willy. I blame the SA Defence Force for this. Back in the good old days when older men gave teenagers automatic weapons and the freedom to kill strangers, we would be punished if we called our rifle a gun. We would have to stand in front of the rest of the troop, drop our brown trousers and giant Santa Maria undies, and chant: “This is my rifle, this is my gun, this is for fighting (hold up rifle), this is for fun (point at willy).”

This is all I remember from two years in the army. Everything else was in Afrikaans, which was little more than gibberish to an 18-year-old from Durban. To this day I don’t know who the enemy was. He could walk up to me right now and I wouldn’t recognise him. Just a minute. Fill it up, please. Unleaded. Hey, I like your Swapo T-shirt! Were you part of the group? I heard you guys put on a great show at Covent Garden in the ’80s. Do you still dance?

So. Dr Piazza. Not so much property as weapons. He runs a “firearms training institute near Las Vegas”. The only thing near Las Vegas is the Mojave Desert, which contains more dismembered corpses than the Maitland Cemetery.

Still and all. If you are going to carry a piece of metal capable of exploding someone’s head using little more than a squint and a twitch of your index finger, it’s not a bad idea to get some training. Squinting can make your face unsightly if you don’t know how to do it properly. And then nobody will want to have sex with you. On the other hand, you do have a gun …

Dr Piazza, who I imagine has his PhD in humanitarian studies, posts videos lifted from security cameras. The one I saw involved four burly white men standing inside the lobby of a building somewhere in America. They had just returned from a night on the town. If it were four white South African men caught on CCTV in the early hours of the morning, they would be flashing their bottoms at the camera, vomiting down their shirts and playfully punching one another in the face. These guys were standing around chatting – right up until a scraggly black dude knocks on the glass door. One of the whiteys lets him in. The dude pulls a pistol out of his pocket and points it at them. You can’t hear what he is saying, but it’s probably something along the lines of: “Which one of you dumb motherfuckers stole my future? I want it back right now. Y’hear?”

The fratboy on the left suddenly tries to disarm the gunman. The other three pile in but nobody can get the weapon away from him. It’s four against one, but this dude was raised on blows to the head. As a kid, his stepdad would whack him upside the nut before school. He called it his breakfast punch. So he shoots two of the white boys and runs off into the night.

Like any doctor worth his degree, Dr Piazza says there are lessons to be learnt from this. He tells us about the Survival Triad. The Combat Mindset. Skill. Action. Nothing about not opening the door at 3am to an unidentified darkie with luminous red eyes and a Snoop doggish demeanour.

First, he says, you must have “the mental willingness to inflict incapacitating damage to your opponent through overwhelming violence with no regard for your opponent’s well-being”.

Second, you must have the ability to use “tools of defense to inflict immediate damage to your opponent”.

Third, you must move decisively to incapacitate your opponent and not stop “until he is vanquished”.

What worries me here is his use of the word “vanquished”. It’s Middle English with French and Latin roots and was last heard at the Battle of Bannockburn when Robert the Bruce whipped Edward II’s ass and secured Scottish independence. It was heard a few years later at the Battle of Neville’s Cross, when the English whipped King David Bruce’s ass. I don’t know if he was related to Robert. Feel free to look it up.

My point is, vanquished is not a word that should be used in polite company these days. Then I saw a photograph of Dr Piazza. He is Freddie Mercury, had Freddie ever bothered to use a condom. The moustache is pure gay biker bar, which is fine. Some of my best male friends like nothing more than riding powerful motorcycles into the hills and having wild animal sex with one another before pulling out their guns and killing themselves.

Dr Piazza is disappointed. Although the four citizens had the Combat Mindset and demonstrated Action, they lacked Skill.

As a result … the fourth citizen who is hitting the armed criminal with the effectiveness of a junior high school girl ends up paying for his lack of skill with his life.”

Dr Piazza says this is unfortunate because these citizens “did what was right”. Out here in South Africa, where there is no violent crime at all, the experts advise us not to fight back. This doesn’t seem to be an option at Dr Piazza’s institute.

He says the citizens should rather have “used a thumb to gouge out an eye of the gunman, or smashed the lateral aspect of the gunman’s knee with a forceful kick, or crushed his windpipe with a directed punch”.

Or, I suppose, they could have handed over their wallets and not been shot at all. Or maybe invited him upstairs for a bit of racial bonding and a drink. And then gouged his eyes out.

The good doctor says the situation would have had a dramatically different outcome if even one of the citizens had been trained by Front Sight.

For a start, your “persona” is changed dramatically after spending time in Dr Piazza’s hands. I bet it is. He says your newly acquired “quiet confidence” will be sensed and “criminals will leave you alone and attack someone else”.

This is a far happier scenario. As a loyal Christian, I consider myself to be my brother’s keeper. But when it comes to taking a bullet, rather him than me any day. So I’m signing up.

I’m just a bit worried that our local criminals might lack the ability to pick up on my quiet confidence. Perhaps they could go for sensitivity training. This is something Dr Piazza might want to consider offering. Maybe slot it in between the Uzi submachine gun and the tactical shotgun courses.

The War Is Over – You Can Go Back To Germany Now

Camps Bay. The Riviera of the Western Cape. What was I thinking?

For a start I can’t speak German. I was marked from the outset and I never even saw it. All I saw was a sea view. I thought it was enough to be a white man with blue eyes. But it’s not. Not any more.

Somewhere between 1943 and now, wealth superseded genetics as the ticket to the ultimate golden circle of life.

My former landlord can’t even speak English. Living in a castle on the Rhine and supplying small African countries with guns, drugs and Uzbek prostitutes, he doesn’t have to. Apparently he doesn’t have to give my deposit back, either.

Apparently I left his house in such a shocking state that I should consider myself fortunate not to be extradited and taken in shackles to The Hague to face charges of general untidiness.

Rent from a South African and he’s happy to return your deposit in full because you have taken the trouble to clean the bloodstains off the walls and remove the bodies from inside the basement.

Rent from a German and he’s going to make you pay for a squad of imported lesbians in waterproof lederhosen to remove three leaves from the bottom of the pool.

He is going to want to replace the carpets because of a vomit stain in the corner of the spare room and he’s going to bring in a team of landscapers to deal with four weeds and a rock that shifted two centimetres to the left during the six months he so graciously allowed you to live in one of his schlosse.

Lebensraum, my ass.

That was the last time I rent from a German. I will never go to Germany. I will not watch any more German porn. If the Germans ever invade Africa again, I will join the army.

But I am not an unreasonable man. I will continue drinking Tafel lager, but only because Werner List spent so long in Windhoek that he is virtually one of us. And if Werner is dead, his beer lives on.

When the landlord sent word via the minion who controls his South African interests that he was upping our rent by 25%, I called an emergency family meeting and told Brenda and Clive that we could either move or swallow our pride and be slowly squashed beneath the brutal thumb of imperialism. They both went for the thumb. Fortunately, our society makes provision for men to overrule women and children so I instructed them to start packing at once.

And so began, once again, the long and terrible business of dealing with the capricious shape-shifters of the property underworld.

I cannot bring myself to recount the full horror of the process – one that was fraught with an unusually high quota of greed and treachery – but I can say that we have drifted, flotsam and jetsam-like, into the Deep South.

Our house lies on the fringe of a stinking, flyblown lagoon in Kommetjie. It has no off-street parking. We leave our cars across the road alongside the perlemoen poachers and crayfish hustlers. Some nights they dance naked in the street, disco hits from the ’80s pumping from the back of their Cortinas.

In the middle of writing this, the house was plunged into darkness. Brenda panicked and thought we were under attack. I moved quickly to reassure her but she had me in a stranglehold before I could even get her top off.

Clive found the fuse box and discovered we were on some kind of meter system.

Nonsense!” I shouted. “This isn’t Khayelitsha!”

Brenda called me a filthy racist pig and told me to go to the shop and buy some electricity, as if it were a loaf of bread or a box of Rizlas.

I had never heard of such a thing.

What do I ask for? A thousand volts? A million? And what do I put them in? Can I go barefoot or should I wear rubber-soled shoes?

The surfer kid behind the counter was unfazed.

How much do you want?” he asked.

About three weeks worth, please,” I said. He looked puzzled.

How much money’s worth?”

It was like one of those how-long-is-a-piece-of-string kind of Zen questions. How much is money worth? I couldn’t answer right away so I said I would be back shortly and walked outside to clear my head.

I crossed the road and sat underneath a milkwood tree. I hadn’t been there for more than an hour or so when a soft-spoken woman with dark eyes came up to me and asked if I needed help.

I told her that I was struggling to weigh up the cost of temporary power versus the consequences of eternal darkness and she took me by the hand and led me into what appeared to be some sort of guest house called Stepping Stones.

She sat me down in the lounge, brought me an orange juice, told me to take it easy. This never happened to me in Camps Bay. Nice people, the Kommetjeans.

I began wandering about the premises looking for a barman to liven up the orange juice when a young man with the eyes of a dead goat accosted me and asked if I had any drugs. I was outraged.

Of course not,” I said. “Do you?”

He looked indignant, then asked if he could buy the rest of my orange juice for R12 because he was scheduled for a urine test in the morning and didn’t want to take any chances.

This was no guest house. I had been lured, under false pretences, into a rehab jam-packed with dangerous drug addicts.

I gave goatman my juice and fled for the exit.

Application For The Post Of CEO Of Armscor

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was alarmed to learn that Armscor does not currently have anyone in charge. With no pilots to fly the Gripens and our submarines up on bricks, our flanks are vulnerable to warmongering nations like Lesotho. There is already ominous assegai-rattling coming from Swaziland. As you know, their lunatic king is claiming a chunk of KwaZulu-Natal all the way down to the coast on the grounds that every country deserves a harbour.

But it is not only beyond the fringe where danger lurks. Our security forces must also be fully equipped and capable of subduing an increasingly violent section of our population. Their mood is ugly and right now they pose the biggest threat to this country’s internal stability.

I am talking about our police force.

With apparent free license to go on strike, form death squads or open fire on ordinary civilians, our men and women in blue are the new Tonton Macoutes.

Have you seen what is happening in Durban? The metro police have taken over the city and are running amok in the streets while the council cowers in its well-feathered nest. My first act as CEO of Armscor will be to despatch air and ground forces to eThekwini to help these officers understand, in the language of Rooivalk attack helicopters and G6 cannons, that their job is to maintain law and order.

Please inform the minister of defence that, in future, these decisions will be made by me. We cannot leave such critical matters in the hands of a woman. I am not being sexist (some of my best friends are transgendered bisexual paraphiliacs) but whether it’s quelling a civil insurrection or dressing for dinner, she is going to take forever to get ready. Our enemies will capitalise on this.

You fail to mention how much the position pays, but I am not a greedy man and will settle for half a million rand a month. I do not expect a company car. However, I will be needing a modified Centurion tank with a built-in bar fridge, water bed and three-person jacuzzi. And a stripper’s pole. And maybe a disco ball. War is hell and one must keep one’s spirits up.

You mention in the ad that you are looking for a visionary leader. In that case, you will be happy to know that visions are the one thing I have plenty of. Especially around 3am on a Sunday morning when the absinthe is finished and the goats have gone to bed. Admittedly, some of my visions are a little on the unrealistic side, but there is one that involves jet-propelled statues of the Virgin Mary fitted with concealed anthrax dispensers that I will discuss in greater detail with my team.

You say a strong political and commercial awareness is essential. I presume that means you don’t want some DA-supporting idiot who is going to be suckered into buying Uzis from Israel at a million shekels a piece.

Acquiring cheap weapons from the right sort of people will not be a problem for me. This is South Africa. I was in a shebeen the other day and the owner asked if I wanted a piece of artillery with my Black Label. It would have been rude to say no.

Having said that, I don’t think we should be fiddling about with conventional weapons. We are neither a conventional country, nor do we have a conventional government.

Until the exploding Virgin Marys are ready, we need to concentrate on our nuclear capability. Obviously I’m not talking Fat Man and Little Boy, here. I’m talking about pocket nukes, small enough to be fired with catapults at targets big enough to warrant that kind of lesson. Take Julius Malema, for example. Drop a very small atomic bomb down his trousers and he will be a changed person, I guarantee it.

I will also personally supervise the production of Agent Orange, except I will change it to blue because orange is gay. This fabulously toxic defoliant worked wonders for the Americans in Vietnam and there is no reason it won’t work when it comes to flushing no-good hippies out of the Knysna forest.

Your ad says you are looking for a person of influence boasting excellent communication skills. While I think boasting is vulgar, I should point out that I certainly know a thing or two about influence. When it comes to convincing people to agree with my point of view, I employ a combination of methods used by the legendary Dale Carnegie and Francesco “The Beast” Matrone of the Camorra group, masters of persuasion in their own right.

As for communication skills, well, I have always found that shouting and slapping are the most effective tools when it comes to getting one’s message across.

Since there is no reason not to believe the job is mine, you might as well begin refurbishing my office. Please model it on the Centurion tank I mentioned earlier.

You may also go ahead and hire a team of crack sangomas. Let us be clear on this. I do not want to get there and find the building overrun with sangomas on crack.

Why sangomas, you ask? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it. Don’t make me slap you. All but 34 of the striking mine workers at Marikana used muti before the police got medieval on their asses. This stuff clearly works. With our best and brightest sangomas working for Armscor, our troops will no longer need body armour. That’s a huge saving right there. We won’t be manufacturing armoured vehicles, either. Second-hand Toyotas and VW Jettas, painted with muti, will be indestructible in battle. Europe will be ours by Christmas.

You say a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement? This is fantastic. I have spent most of my life as a bachelor and know all the tricks of the trade. I can’t imagine, though, why the head of Armscor would need to know how to maintain seven girlfriends without them finding out about each other.

I also have top security clearance from my wife, Brenda. She says I can’t remember anything as a result of years of alcohol abuse. I’m sure you agree this would be useful should I ever be tortured by foreign agents. In fact, in the morning I probably won’t even remember applying for this job.

A last request. I cannot relocate to Pretoria because I am allergic to the pollen and the people. Armscor will have to relocate to Umdloti. I will make space in the spare room.

Looking forward to contributing to the destruction of the human race!

Big Trouble In Little Germany

All this talk of crime is making me jumpy. Very jumpy.

On Saturday night Brenda and I were sitting in front of the television finishing what in her mind passes for supper, when the dogs started barking wildly and ran from the room.

She instructed me to investigate, knowing full well that once I have descended into my comfy chair, it is only offers of sex and beer that stand a remote chance of getting me to move.

The dogs were making a terrible racket so I turned up the volume on the TV. Some kind of gun battle was raging and the noise inside the house was almost unbearable.

All of a sardine, Brenda jumped up as if she had been bitten on the bum. She grabbed her knife and fork off the table and went into a defensive crouch. Here we go again, I thought, steeling myself for another post-prandial skirmish.

But she wasn’t looking at me. She was staring, eyes wide with fear, in the direction of the kitchen where the dogs were growling and backing into the lounge.

I wasn’t overly concerned, because animals can see dead people and they can’t always handle it. Then Brenda screamed, “Who’s there?” I almost jumped out of my skin.

It was like having a hysterical John Edwards in the house.

In one fluid movement I was out of my chair and sidling towards the kitchen in a crab-like fashion. Brenda was behind me, heavily armed with cutlery.

What are you going to do?” I whispered. “Eat them?”

She shoved me and I stumbled into the kitchen ready to give the intruders a damn good talking to about the sheer bloody rudeness of breaking and entering at a time when civilised white folk were sitting down to their dinner.

But nobody was there. Just Boris the cat, staring at the dead people who had caused all the fuss in the first place. I was so relieved that I exhaled loudly from every orifice in my body.

The dogs walked in and looked at me as if I should feed them instead of kick them to death for causing such mayhem.

I got down on my hands and knees and explained to the dumb brutes that unless they got their act together, they would come back as township dogs in their next life. Pedigree counts for nothing if you can’t tell the difference between a spook and a yellow-eyed varmint wearing a balaclava.

Once she had got her voice back, Brenda insisted we devise an action plan to be implemented in the event of a security breach. I said with talk like that she should get a job at the Pentagon. She said I should get a job, period.

Let’s not get distracted,” I said. “The first thing we need is a drink.” Brenda has no sense of occasion and insisted that we first devise an emergency exit strategy.

Listen to me,” I said, firmly. “We are not Americans and this is not Iraq. First we drink, then we think. Look at George Bush. He stopped drinking and now he can’t think.”

In the end we compromised by wandering around the house, vodka in hand. It’s a big place. Three storeys with swimming pool and sweeping sea views. I only rented it because if nobody had to live in these mansions the working class would have nothing to aspire to, and I couldn’t live with the knowledge that my selfish actions were helping to perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

Even though our landlord is an international arms dealer who lives in a fortified schloss on the Rhine, I knew he would never allow us to electrify the burglar bars, plant land-mines in his garden and dig a moat around the property. Especially not now that he has given us until the end of the month to vacate the premises.

Soon after we moved in six months ago, I hacksawed one of the bars off the security gate so the dogs could get out at night and defecate in the neighbour’s garden instead of in my bedroom.

When the National Party was in power, housebreakers were skinny little runts with not much meat on their haunches. Back then they could easily have slipped through the gate, but now they are corpulent from gorging on the spoils of freedom and would almost certainly get stuck.

We live in that part of Camps Bay known as Klein Deutschland, an area one might expect would attract a better class of criminal. Sadly, this is not the case.

The house across the road was recently burgled by two men who tried to steal the owner’s Mercedes GL 450, but they had to abandon it because they had no idea how to start the thing. Just imagine. Robbers who can’t drive an SUV. This country really is going to the dogs.

Brenda said that since we couldn’t make the house varmint-proof, we needed to agree on what we were going to do when they slithered in with weapons in their hands and evil in their hearts.

Show me your moves,” she said. I drained my glass, raised one eyebrow and said, “Hey, sugar lips. How you doing?”

She gave me the lazy eye and said that line might work on a bottie bandit, but not on a genuine badass bandit.

I walked to the edge of the balcony and checked out the distance to the neighbour’s roof. I reckoned I could make it. Hell, with a drug-crazed, knife-wielding madman on my heels, I could make it to the top of Table Mountain.

And what about me?” asked Brenda. That’s one of the problems with heterosexual marriage. As the man, you are expected to protect your wife from danger.

But what if flight comes so much more naturally than fight? What if my body decides to run away of its own volition? Is my mind strong enough to overrule my legs?

I hope not.

An Open Letter to Mitt Romney – Republican Party nominee for President of the USA

My darling Mitt,

LOL! Just kidding. I’m straight.

But I do think you’re awesome. Your hair is awesome. Your teeth are awesome. Even your name is awesome. Mitt.

Being named after a baseball glove is about as American as you can get. I bet your father was a real red-blooded patriot who tossed a baseball to you right there in the delivery room. It’s no shame that you caught it with your head. A lot of newborn babies far less awesome than you would have struggled to get a hand to it.

You gave me a terrible fright the other day when you introduced your running mate by saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the next president of the United States.”

You needn’t feel stupid. All the great men of history have made silly mistakes in speeches. Look at Martin Luther King Jnr. When he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said, “I have a bream …” everyone thought he was talking about a recent fishing trip.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about your man Paul Ryan. My mother always told me you can’t trust a man with two first names. Look at John “the Pope” Paul, Bruce “Batman” Wayne, Lee “Harvey” Oswald, Ray “what step” Charles, Paul “Ladysmith Black Mambazo who?” Simon, Woody “almost incest” Allen, Cliff “facelift” Richard, Elton “backdoor” John and, the most evil of all, the Black Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger Zack Taylor, although Taylor isn’t strictly a first name but there is Taylor Swift and country music is the work of the devil.

However, I did see a photo of Paul Ryan which went a long way towards redeeming him in my mind. He was courageously kneeling alongside a vicious-looking elk. If the brute hadn’t had a heavy-caliber bullet embedded in its skull, it would have had Ryan’s throat, make no mistake about it. And what a loss to the world that would have been.

I hope you are also a hunter, Mitt. This is one of the problems I have with Barack Obama (apart from his being black). The man is not a natural born killer.

With the exception of Osama bin Laden, who has he killed? Okay, apart from bin Laden and several thousand people in Afghanistan and Iraq, who has he killed? Nobody, that’s who. If it were up to Obama, none of us would have guns and we’d all wake up dead in the morning.

I hear Ryan Paul also fancies himself as a bit of a Robin Hood. I don’t mean robbing the poor to give to the rich. That goes with being a Republican. I’m talking about clearing the forests of unsightly animals.

Kudos to him, then, for teaching his nine-year-old daughter, Liza, the fine art of hunting deer with a bow and arrow. Who killed Bambi? You did, sweetheart. Good shot. Here’s $5000. Go buy yourself some shares in Bain Capital.

With you hailing from Michigan and Ryan from Wisconsin, come November we gonna git ourselves a couple of good ol’ boys in the White House. And it doesn’t even matter that he’s not a moron, I beg your pardon, Mormon, like you.

The important thing is that he’s a believer.

For too long the Oval Office has been in the hands of a cabal of godless Muslim sympathisers with links to the Hawaiian sugar mafia, the Indonesian underground and the Mau-Mau in Kenya.

I see Paul Ryan is married to a tax attorney. Smart move. It means he can shoot his own loopholes in the tax laws and get away with murder, and by murder I mean tax evasion. Just wanted to be clear on that in case you thought I was suggesting your wing man was a homicidal maniac.

I am also glad to see he is against same-sex marriages.

Once gay couples start being happier than normal married folk, you might as well kiss the American dream goodbye. It’s a bit worrying, though, that he comes from a swing district, but I suppose there’s no harm in it if both couples are consenting heterosexuals.

Ryan Paul is also in favour of concealed weapons and faster background checks on people wanting to buy guns. This is great news. Drop off the kids, pick up a bucket of bullets and an AK-47 and you’re in the bar by 10am.

This way, people in schools, cinemas and malls can be wiped out in even greater numbers. It’s certainly a more righteous method of population control than, say, abortion.

Go pro-life!

I like what he wants to do with health care for the elderly and the poor. What was it again? It had something to do with slashing the food stamp and Medicaid budgets and sending mobile clinics into the inner cities. The idea is that the vans will slow down as they drive through the ‘hood. If you can keep up, you can get the meds. If not, tough.

Survival of the fittest. Also the richest. It’s Darwinism, Republican style. Got to love it!

Paul Ryan’s a bit of a gym bunny though, isn’t he? What’s that about? He’s a politician, not an athlete. Does he know that “running for office” is not meant to be taken literally? Last year, congressional staffers voted him “biggest gym rat”. Could be worse, I suppose. My colleagues once voted me “biggest gin rat”.

By the way, I don’t think you should call him your running mate. The word “mate” has sexual connotations and, well, you’re both men. Elohim would be displeased with that kind of talk. In future please refer to him as your running buddy.

Watch out for this one, Mitt. Ryan Paul is a frisky young buck and he will be wanting to out-awesome you at every turn. As the campaign heats up and his loins grow enflamed with the arousing scent of power, he might put a little more than a white-tailed deer in his sights.

A last word of warning. In 1978, after 125 years, the curse of Cain was lifted and black people were allowed to become priests in the Mormon church. How’s that working out for you? Keep an eye on the collection plate, my friend. I live in Africa. I know what I’m talking about.

Anyway. Time for a double Mainstay on the rocks. I call it the curse of cane.

Love to Rafalca and the kids.

Real Men Eat Meat And Die Young

On Sunday Brenda asked if she could take a picture of me. I agreed without a moment’s hesitation. Although I am not an exhibitionist by nature, I am one of those people who believe in flaunting their assets. And if there is one thing I have, it is assets in abundance.

Quickly stripping off, I went out into the garden and struck a number of exciting poses. The Greek man next door threatened to call the police.

I thought that was rich, coming from a man whose culture embraces a pantheon of drunken whore-mongering gods, two of whom spawned Priapus, an ugly little bastard possessed of an enormous penis who spent most of his life scaring the horses and wondering who his father was.

I flexed my thighs at the neighbour and said if he called the cops, I would transform myself into Pan and ravage his Alsatian dog with wild Hellenic abandon.

Then I pranced about all goat-like, willy a-flap in the southeaster, a sight that sent him scurrying indoors. And not a moment too soon, because I lost my balance and fell into the strelitzias.

Brenda recoiled like a startled mongoose when she saw me thrashing about naked in the shrubbery. Apparently she wanted to photograph me fully clothed. I couldn’t quite see the point of that and insisted on keeping my shirt off.

There is something noble about a well-toned male torso. Not so noble that I would want to wake up next to one, I hasten to add.

I put on my tough-yet-empathetic expression and prepared to be immortalised. Brenda told me to stop grimacing and suck my stomach in. I gave her the lazy eye and told her in no uncertain terms that I had no stomach to speak of. Then I inhaled deeply to enhance my rampant pectorals.

Tiny pinpricks of light erupted before my eyes and my chest emitted a high-pitched whining sound that caused Boris the cat to scramble for higher ground.

Brenda watched coldly as I wrestled with the possibility that my physique resembled not so much that of the Greek god Heracles as it did the Greek dog Cerberus.

You’re fat,” she said.

I got up off my knees and adopted the Enraged Bull position. Brenda laughed harshly. I lowered my head and charged. Well, I would have charged had the sudden rush of blood to my head not incapacitated my legs.

I sat down unexpectedly and watched helplessly as my stomach unfolded like a terrible pink mudslide crushing millions of unsuspecting parasites and tiny defenceless mites who had set up home among my scraggly pubes.

Brenda averted her eyes and told me that my body mass index was higher than my IQ.

Struggling to my feet, I lost my centre of gravity and tried to grab hold of something that wasn’t there. “No more beer for you,” said Brenda.

Fine,” I said. “Just help me inside and I won’t have any more today.”

She made a short, sharp sound that was part bark and part snort – a snark, I suppose – and said no more beer. Ever. From now on, it’s health foods.

I was deeply suspicious of her motives for wanting to keep me alive. This was virgin terrain and my instinct was to fight her with all the rotten teeth and splintered nails at my disposal.

But resistance was futile. Soon I was learning the difference between fruit and vegetables, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat and transsexual fat.

A few years ago I took some fatty acid in Barcelona and for six hours afterwards I was convinced my hands had swollen to ten times their normal size. It was no fun at all so I don’t mind not doing that again.

In the past I have avoided salads because they are very gay and Cape Town girls operate from the premise that all men are gay unless there is visible evidence to the contrary. For a long time I carried a T-bone steak in my jacket pocket that I would whip out and gnaw upon whenever a brazen hussy deigned to look my way. I can’t say it ever worked, but at least it kept the bandits at bay.

Brenda has now taken to bringing me plates of food clearly designed to render me impotent and get me writing poetry instead of reams of made-up filth.

Tomatoes,” she says, “are good for you. Full of lycopene.”

That may be, but I have heard terrifying stories of what can happen if you mix lycopene with certain pharmaceuticals. Lycopene and heroin, for example, can cause tremendous harm to your health.

Brenda is also feeding me nuts because they are full of iron. I hate the word iron. It reminds me of a corporal who accused me of sleeping in my browns and then made me run around the parade ground with a big fat pig from Benoni on my back.

Eggs are on the list of banned substances. Not because they will clog my arteries, but because Brenda says if humans were oviparous instead of viviparous we wouldn’t like it one bit if a species much bigger than ours came along and turned our offspring into omelettes.

Liver I can have. Whoopee. I can hardly wait to get snout down in a plate full of internal organs that have filtrated all the toxins out of animals that died half-crazed with fear.

Ostrich is also okay, she says. Sure it is. Why don’t I just drive to Oudtshoorn and let one of those giant mutant birds sneeze avian flu right into my mouth?

And only this week federal authorities in America issued warnings that eating spinach, lettuce and bottled carrot juice from California’s Salinas Valley – the self-proclaimed “Salad Bowl to the World” – could lead to paralysis, respiratory failure and death. Charming.

Brenda doesn’t know it yet, but I have started a group called Vegephobes Anonymous. If you’re interested, let’s meat.