Li­fe in the Slow La­ne Zu­ma bad­ly needs a chan­ge of he­art

George Herald - - BEST SIDE OF 60 - C­liff B­ü­chler

With new ar­te­ries, my he­art is now e­na­bled to do its job wit­hout goo hin­de­ring f­ree flow. With it co­mes a new ap­pre­ci­a­ti­on for li­fe, and of how for­tu­na­te I am to be gi­ven an ex­ten­ded pe­ri­od on t­his pla­net with its warts and all.

To cro­wn it all, I ma­de new f­riends, fel­low pa­tients, du­ring dark pe­ri­ods ex­pe­rien­ced du­ring hos­pi­ta­li­sa­ti­on. Com­ple­te stran­gers at first, but soon bosom pals ha­ving co­me un­der the sa­me kni­fe and as­so­ci­a­ted nig­ht­ma­res.

A­mong them we­re en­gi­neers, te­a­chers, far­mers and tra­de­spe­op­le, all with a com­mon thre­ad: cou­pled to ma­chi­nes mo­ni­to­ring b­lood pres­su­re and e­very es­sen­ti­al bo­dy mo­vement 24/7.

Vir­tu­al­ly o­ver­nig­ht we found our­sel­ves cast in­to un­fa­mi­li­ar ter­ri­to­ry go­ver­ned by me­di­cos who call the tu­ne. All we had to call our own was a sen­se of hu­mour, and for­tu­na­te­ly our ward was brim­ful.

The con­stant laug­h­ter, through no­se pi­pes, ne­bu­li­sers and tig­ht­ly s­trap­ped-on oxy­gen mas­ks, must’ve soun­ded to vi­si­tors li­ke so­mething from Fran­ken­stein in the ma­king.

From Wim­pie, the farm me­cha­nic: “Hey, guys, he­ard t­his one? At e­lecti­on ti­me a co­a­chlo­ad of Zu­ma and fel­low po­li­ti­ci­ans runs off the ro­ad and cras­hes in­to a field. W­hen the e­mer­gen­cy ser­vi­ces ar­ri­ve, the co­ach is emp­ty and the­re’s no sign of the pas­sen­gers. The far­mer is the­re with his trac­tor so they ask him w­hat hap­pe­ned to all the po­li­ti­ci­ans. ‘I bu­ried them,’ says the far­mer. Ta­ken a­back, they ask, ‘They we­re all de­ad then?’ The far­mer re­plies, ‘Well, so­me of them said they we­re a­li­ve, but you can’t be­lie­ve a­ny­thing a po­li­ti­ci­an says, can you?’”

Three ste­a­my ne­bu­li­sers e­rupt in a pa­roxysm of horsey gig­gles.

Sad­ly, the word “Zu­ma” is a ru­de re­min­der of re­a­li­ty out the­re. Gets me thin­king: W­hat if the pre­si­dent and his cor­rupt cro­nies are gi­ven new he­arts o­ver­flo­wing with lo­ve and un­der­stan­ding to­wards a na­ti­on batt­ling with po­ver­ty, cri­me and un­cer­tain­ty? I­ma­gi­ne a­wa­ke­ning one mor­ning to the ju­bi­lant he­ad­li­ne: “Pre­si­dent has chan­ge of he­art - calls it a day”.

By t­his sim­ple act, he will ma­ke South A­fri­cans at lar­ge he­a­ve a sigh of re­lief, with new ho­pe for a coun­try that has been long suf­fe­ring at the hands of a he­art­less, sel­f­ish and cap­tu­red le­a­der.

Not un­li­ke us “by­pass” folk, Zu­ma would feel bet­ter for it, al­so ex­pe­rien­cing the bles­sing of a trans­for­med li­fe - and pass it on to ot­hers.

* Whi­le in hos­pi­tal, Wim­pie Ven­ter (men­ti­o­ned in the co­lumn), pro­mi­sed me a sam­ple of his spe­ci­al bil­tong ma­de at his Riet­bron farm in the Ka­roo. True to his word, he de­li­ver­ed the pro­mi­sed de­li­ca­cy. Dan­kie, Wim­pie!

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