Musings from Madiba in his heavenly abode.
Dear Loyal Readers of Daily Maverick,
I greet you in the name of the non-racial, unifying, revolutionary, social justice and freedom-fighting ANC, and off course, the now mandatory RET, and the struggle against WMC … Sorry, force of habit – I have to retract.
Sadly, my beloved organisation is now the home of tenderpreneurs, fraudsters and felons, many masquerading as ANC members with manufactured Struggle credentials, with a common purpose – to loot the public purse at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged. Perched high in my divine abode, Alan Paton reminds me, my beloved country is crying.
I bring you heavenly greetings from the abode of Peter the Saint! All newspapers in South Africa and the new age community rejected this column as fake news.
I am glad to displace that hyper-critical, holier-than-thou, cynical maverick Brij-over-troubled-waters – he has nothing decent to say about my party or anyone else for that matter – what cheek! Okay, before you flood the letters’ column, he does speak truth to power. He frequently makes me borrow St Peter’s dictionary, and reminds me of the cantankerous Mac – these Maharaj fellows are normally related in some way.
I did read his flattering comments at the Maha Sabha’s memorial service: “As we celebrate Madiba’s life … if all South Africans, and indeed, the global population, adopt at least one of his principles, then the lot of humanity will be significantly improved on planet Earth. Madiba was an extraordinary person who … set the highest inspirational standards in terms of ethics, morality and integrity, which his successors have struggled to emulate.”
It is a sign of how low the moral, ethical and integrity bar has been set that there is an urban legend doing its rounds that for the 67 minutes in my honour (which I believe I hardly deserve), government officials and politicians from my party should not steal from the public. A tall, impossible order, as is evident from the trove of recently leaked emails about looting resources of the state, and the conduits to Dubai.
On my arrival at the Pearly Gates, I heard a familiar voice shouting “Madiba! Madiba! Please save me. You visited my house in Chatsworth. I put your photo on Daily Maverick!” I turned around to see the Raj in what appeared to be a holding cell, a little larger than that on Robben Island. It was adjacent to the zone of Fire, Brimstone and Eternal Damnation, and I could recognise Verwoerd, Vorster, PW Botha, Hansie Cronje and Jackie Selebi immediately.
Apparently there was a long queue and Lucifer was struggling to cope. I managed to convince St Peter and vouched for the Raj’s “transformation” – after all, he did sell (out) MF voters to the ANC. The Raj was allocated the lowest rung in Heaven, provisionally. I warned the Raj that if he crossed the floor here, then it would only be in one direction! (I also subsequently learnt that St Peter does not like breyani.)
You will be glad to know that I enjoy Platinum Plus status – the highest rung in Heaven – which I share with Martin Luther King, Mohan(das) Gandhi, and Mother Teresa. Luther believes that Obama had not realised his potential and deserved a third term as US President, to protect the Americans from being “Trumped”. I reminded him that it was this type of third-term wistful thinking by my immediate successor that was responsible for the current mess in my country.
The problem with sharing space with Gandhi is that one has to be celibate, and abstain from alcohol and meat. I am an African – that is a tall order, especially the vegetarian bit. Gandhi and Teresa do not trust each other. He thinks that she wants to convert him, and she muses that in his dhoti the “half-naked fakir” is lewd. When I tease Gandhi about the latter, he refers me to his book, Experiments with Truth.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru are also here, and continue with their earthly quarrels beyond the Pearly Gates, and have been warned to behave by St Peter or they will be sent “next door”. Last year I jokingly suggested that Pakistan’s woes can end with re-incorporation into India, and the Hindus and Muslims refused to speak to me, but were forced to forgive and forget during Eid and Diwali, respectively.
I sometimes have a chat with Satan across the fence, who tells me that he is merely doing his job. He has invited me to present a motivational talk to the inmates of Hell, and suggests that my experiences on the Island would be useful. I am thinking of proposing that those who have behave and display exemplary conduct could apply for a weekend pass to Heaven. My concern is that St Peter will have a fit! I intend to get new arrival Kathy (Ahmed Kathrada) to plant the seed.
Talking about incarceration, I am amazed by the privileges accorded to prisoners, including the titillating stuff. No wonder SA jails are bursting at the seams!
How the pendulum of time swings – some in the ANC call me a “sell-out”, and my photos now feature on the DA’s election posters. As my sprightly 90-year-old comrade, Ben Turok, argued recently, the kindergarten antics of the DA reveal that it is not ready to govern. However, the serious failings and faults of the ANC could hand an electoral majority to the DA and its allies on a plate in 2019.
In addition, a debate rages about the “unashamed manipulation” of my legacy. My legacy belongs to all who promote my ideals and value systems, and who are largely invisible, except on the annual 18 July Mandela Day charade for 67 minutes. Gandhi was quick to console me, revealing that he has been allocated 24 hours on 2 October in India without impact.
It was obvious from the antics of the fake sign language interpreter at my funeral that the SABC employs clowns. However, Hlaudi’s attempts to protect, promote and praise his political master have turned the SABC into a circus. Sadtu protects and promotes incompetent teachers, and destroys the youth and future of my beloved country. Moreover, the poor still use matchsticks and tyres to connect with politicians (reminds me of a member of my family).
The tensions in the tripartite alliance sound serious. The threats by the SACP to go it alone are ominous, and some have pronounced that this will mark the end of one of the few active commies groups in the world. Off course, when the body dies, parasites have to move on, looking for greener pastures. Once the centre cannot hold, things fall apart.
Off course, the ANC has the capacity to turn its electoral fortunes around by selecting its strongest candidate (from what some have described as a lacklustre group). Aspiring candidate Cyril Ramaphosa has suddenly discovered that he has vocal chords and has vowed not to keep quiet. One wonders why he was silent and danced to Umshini Wami – blind loyalty or fear? No doubt all will be revealed in his memoirs. With the wisdom of hindsight, I wonder whether I made the right decision when I did not select him as my successor? And would the course of history (a subject that ruthlessly reveals all) have been significantly different?
I was aware of the ANC’s plans to relocate Parliament from Cape Town (largely to spite the DA), but was surprised to learn that the seat of government has already moved to Saxonwold, from where the captured levers of the state were operating since 2009. However, in order to ensure that there are no ideological and regional biases (e.g. that the Zulus from KZN hold disproportionate sway on political decision-making), all-important executive decisions will now apparently be made in a geographically neutral zone – Dubai.
Diplomatic immunity is guaranteed in Dubai and no government officials will face the public humiliation of having their luggage screened, and being forced to reveal state secrets and private assets. This Middle-East destination is so tempting that even Ministers like Des van Rooyen go there for a day, and return with empty bags – mission accomplished.
Given the threats against the safety of the president (one emanating from within the ruling party, and the other from home affairs), he has been spirited away to a secret, secure location in Dubai, where you can lose vital body appendages for any criminality. In order to avoid volatile currency fluctuations, protect the autonomy of the Reserve Bank, and to prevent the new Public Protector from demanding more changes to the Constitution, a genetically modified clone (which is remotely controlled from Saharanpur in India) has been installed in the president’s office in Pretoria.
The various allegations about misconduct, abuse of the oath of high office, larceny, treachery, abdication of duty, violation of public duty and responsibility, pilfering from the public purse to favour select family and friends (and domestic discord due to poor performance) are all true, and the clown – sorry, clone – takes full responsibility. The real, honest president, who has the highest levels of integrity and morality, is safely ensconced in Dubai. There are some unconfirmed rumours that the clone is being offered R2-billion to leave, so that the real president could return and take over the reins of government.
And who are these puppeteers from the Saxonwold compound, with extraordinary wealth, power and influence to apparently appoint Cabinet ministers? Can spice peddlers capture the state? Before you hastily use the six letter ‘R’ word and get me wrong, some of my best friends are Indians. I know SA Indians to be hard-working, honest, peace-loving and very religious folk. I beg you to expose the corrupt, those with quick, questionable wealth, and stop parading them at your public and private functions, and especially not in your sacred places of worship.
Please do not try to contact me and there are no internet, cellphone, wi-fi or postal services here. All such equipment is confiscated upon arrival, so as not to contaminate the ethereal atmosphere.
I need to conclude, but before I sign off I will let you into a secret. I made a request to St Peter for a visa to visit SA for a week. For once, he was not exasperated and it would appear that my visa may be granted. Off course, whether the ANC government will allow me to enter South Africa, a country I can barely recognise, is another matter. I will keep you posted about further developments in this matter.
So until we meet again, on Earth or in Heaven … and hopefully not “next door” … DM
Brij Maharaj is a geography professor at UKZN. He writes in his personal capacity
Terry Pratchett forged his own sword from iron and meteorites purely for the occasion of the awarding of his knighthood.