True story: Zuma unveils phallic erection in his own honour
Wednesday afternoon. Durban’s humid and blustery, the perfect incubator for the flu virus that’s laid me low since Monday.
The laptop screen’s staring at me, tauntingly. The virus and a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs have frozen my brain. My fingers are lead on the keyboard. There’s words appearing, but it’s as if somebody else is writing them. They’re cardboard. They don’t have texture. They’re dry. There’s no pace or rhythm. They lack taste.
There’s a loud bang from the flat next door. Then a sharp crack. I stumble to the door.
My neighbour’s son’s outside. He’s white as a sheet. Three cats had booted in his bedroom burglar bars. He opened up on them with an air rifle. They kicked down.
The laaitie’s shaking like a KPMG executive on the morning of a public accounts committee hearing. I know how he feels.
My flat got hit last Tuesday, about an hour after I left for Newcastle and an interview with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that never materialised. My 11-year-old disturbed them when he got in from school. That was rough. And the loss of my suede Puma Clydes. The laptop and phone were insured.
My last flat also got burgled, shortly after the Nkandlagate story broke. My middle son, Small James, was asleep inside. The burglars took a cellphone that was next to his head, along with every piece of electronic equipment that could record or store anything. Left the big-screen TV and the PlayStation behind and vanished out the lounge window like ghosts.
The news is on TV when I get back in. There’s this massive metal phallus on the screen. It’s got this huge, flanged head. On the head there’s an image of President Jacob Zuma. There’s a leer on Nxamalala’s face. It’s not a pretty sight.
Brett Murray must be at it again. The Spear 2.0. A 2017 depiction of the presidential penis. It’s a crass, ugly caricature of the head of the head of state and his head. It must be inspired by Economic Freedom Fighters president Julius Malema’s less-than-affectionate use of the term “Makhandakhanda”, or “person with many heads”. The ANC Youth League is going to go mad, if anyone can find Oros to tell him about it.
The camera pans. There’s this concrete bench like you get at those picnic spots at the side of the freeway. On the left of it there’s a bust of Supra Mahumapelo, the premier of North West Province. Across from him there’s a smaller bust of former ANC president Oliver Tambo. Between them, on the floor, is another head. It looks like former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. Maybe it fell off the bench. This shit is getting weirder by the second.
The camera homes in on the head on the floor. It’s not Obasanjo. It’s ANC national executive committee member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Murray must have lost his mind. He’s a dead man. The ANC Women’s League is going to cut his balls off with a blunt butter knife.
I turn up the volume. Zuma comes on the screen. He’s looking pretty happy for a man whose head is on a four-storey penis. And whose exmissus’s head is on the floor. That’s some kind of stoic, man.
Zuma starts rapping. This isn’t the work of Murray or some artist protesting state capture by the Guptas under Zuma. It’s the opening of a R6-million monument to him, at the site of his capture along with 51 of his comrades in 1963 by the security cops in the Groot Marico.
That’s interesting. I always thought Nxamalala got captured in Saxonwold. And Dubai. One lives and learns.
Zuma’s praising the unsung heroes and heroines of the struggle who gave up everything for the freedom we have today. They need to be recognised for what they did, Zuma says.
The camera returns to the heritage site. There are a few plaques. There are no busts of the 51 other comrades who got jammed up with JZ. No smaller nyana statues. No murals of their faces. No group photograph. I can’t even see anything with their names on it. Maybe the camera missed them.
I’m baffled, as the late Sipho Khumalo would have said. And a little unsettled. I’ve never heard of a South African president — or an ANC president — unveiling a statue of himself. Isn’t that kind of thing normally left to others to do in recognition of the legacy you have left?
Perhaps Nxamalala doesn’t trust the ANC to preserve his legacy. Or maybe he doesn’t intend to leave one.
Or perhaps he’s immortal and doesn’t intend dying.
I always thought Nxamalala got captured in Saxonwold. And Dubai. One lives and learns