A FAMOUS GROUSE
CHRISTMAS at the Mahogany Ridge has yet to be decolonised. For this the regulars are grateful and, as the festive season peaks, we find our demeanour softening. We grow warm and fuzzy with good cheer.
It is a time of some silliness. As the writer PJ O’Rourke noted, “There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made out of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them.”
Not here they don’t. Our traditional tipple is Mrs Ferreira’s ginger wine with lashings of brandy. But point taken. The decorations may be a bit sparse in the mistletoe department, but at least the barmaid’s wearing her reindeer antlers, and she smiles obligingly at our inane jokes.
Like the one about Santa’s vertically challenged helpers being subordinate clauses.
It is sad that it has come to this. One-liners that wouldn’t pass muster at the Christmas cracker factory. “Why did the subordinate clause need therapy? Low elf-esteem.”
Such nonsense is inevitable as we prepare to kiss off 2016. It has been a truly miserable year, a banner time of death, destruction and doltish behaviour the world over.
Here at home, President Jacob Zuma’s own contributions cannot be overstated. He went so much further this year than ever before in his efforts to harm the country politically, socially and economically.
He has grown increasingly delusional and stubbornly refuses to acknowledge his failings — and they are legion. This is a common enough trait in politicians, and it does suggest a certain lack of development in the “leadership” classes. But with Zuma it is exacerbated by a toxic narcissism; he is convinced he is a great leader, one so ordained by divinity, merely because he says so.
Lately, though, an unseemly persecution complex has developed — and he is now seeking our pity. His enemies, he says, are everywhere and we should feel sorry for the martyr in the making. He’s taking the punches for all of us.
He was at it again this week, unrepentant and slightly gaga. Delivering the ANC Youth League’s economic freedom lecture in Durban, he complained that he was the victim of a great injustice, the hapless target of an ongoing conspiracy.
As he put it, “You know, I listen to the news at times, at times I don’t. I heard some chamber from outside of this country demanding the president must go and some big business who also said so. And I realised it’s more the time that I will never on my own resign‚ because if I do so‚ I would be surrendering to the monopoly capital.”
This from a man who had long since surrendered to monopoly capital. Who had, in fact, greedily grasped at the opportunity to do so with both grubby hands. How we laughed at that. Not a happy laughter, mind you, more like sour little barks.
“I ask what is it that I have done wrong,” he whined. “I even ask those who said I have done wrong but they run out of answers. The only answer is the repetition: corruption‚ corruption‚ corruption — until our own comrades also repeat by saying corruption.”
One comrade who is still very much onside, as it were, is Collen Maine, the league’s president. Unswerving in his support for Zuma, Comrade Oros, as he is known, went on to astound the audience in Durban with his own understanding of economic freedom.
What, he wondered, was all this fuss about South Africa’s credit rating being cut to junk status?
“We want the rand to fall, we need those economic turntables,” Oros said. “We are threatened [with] junk status, [but] as far as I am concerned we are at junk status already … I want actions to be taken so that the rand must fall. It must fall. We won’t be dictated to by white monopoly capital.”
Turntables? Did he really mean hi-fi equipment? Perhaps, for he then challenged league members to compose a song titled Jacob Zuma, Economic Freedom Is In Your Hands.
Clumsy title, we thought, but with a good melody, who knows? Perhaps that Hlaudi Motsoeneng will be moved to put it on heavy rotation at his radio stations.
But we have a tune of our own and it goes like this: “I’m dreaming of a white monopoly capital/With every Christmas card I write/May your days be merry and bright/And may all you monopoly capitals be white.”
And why not? What would the narrative of the aggrieved and the culture of entitlement be without white monopoly capital? It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
This article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.