Gimme three steps to get away from this ab­surd sit­u­a­tion we face

Pretoria News Weekend - - OPINION - Jou­bert Mal­herbe

THE other day, at around 1.45 in the af­ter­noon, I was driv­ing into town to go to work. “So you want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star,” The Byrds were singing on the car CD. When I got to the top end of what must be Sisulu Street – by the sadly di­lap­i­dated and over­grown erst­while Berea Park cricket ground – I was pulled over by a metro cop.

It was a reg­u­lar road­block, so it wasn’t as if I had been sin­gled out. Straight away, as you do, I got out my wal­let and started fer­ret­ing around for my driv­ing li­cence as the guy came to my win­dow.

He was rather pleas­ant and I gave him my usual “hey cool man, thanks for look­ing after us” open­ing line. “No, no, no,” he said, adding that he wasn’t in­ter­ested in see­ing my li­cence (a first in my ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing pulled up by the cops).

He was keen to know about the liq­uid con­tents of the glass bot­tle stand­ing in the com­part­ment be­tween the two front seats. Well, I was happy to dis­close to him that the bot­tle con­tained 100% H2O – plain tap wa­ter, which had ad­mit­tedly been fil­tered at home.

I had ac­tu­ally, at var­i­ous times in the pre­ced­ing 18 hours or so, in­dulged in both the fruit of the grain and grape, but I was as sober as a judge. Maybe these days, that state­ment should be qual­i­fied by an “erm”.

I prof­fered him the bot­tle and he had a good old sniff which must have sat­is­fied him that I was not a felon and he waved me on. I drove off.

Talk­ing of want­ing to be a rock ‘n’ roll star, Berea Park was ac­tu­ally the venue where I came clos­est to achiev­ing that lofty sta­tus. It was in De­cem­ber 1975 when a day-long rock fes­ti­val was held on the grounds. The main act of the day was Hawk.

Ear­lier in the day, one of the sup­port acts – I don’t re­mem­ber the band’s name, but they were from Cape Town – did a storm­ing ver­sion of Lyn­ryd Skyn­ryd’s Gimme Three Steps; real south­ern, swamp rock.

As one who used to feel the rhythm rather acutely – still do ac­tu­ally – I stepped up and started do­ing a spot of solo id­iot danc­ing right in front of the stage.

You know, hair (lots of it at the time) fly­ing all over the show, air gui­tar to the fore etc.

Well, such was the spec­ta­cle that I made of my­self that a few days later, Pre­to­ria News – no less – on one of its in­side pages, pub­lished four or five pics of yours truly rock­ing out. With some witty cap­tions and a bit of a story about the fest. Head­line was “Rock­ing into the sun­set”.

I al­ways think of that day when I drive past the rem­nants of the once proud Berea Park ed­i­fice that has been al­lowed to de­te­ri­o­rate, shame­fully so, to the ex­tent that it has.

Talk­ing about shame, I think the gov­ern­ment’s stance in the whole Grace Mu­gabe af­fair has been noth­ing short of ap­palling and dis­grace­ful. Al­low­ing that brazen crim­i­nal to get off scot-free.

On the ra­dio this week, some prof was ex­plain­ing that, no, from a re­alpoli­tik point of view, grant­ing her diplo­matic im­mu­nity was the only po­si­tion the South Africans could re­ally take; SADC ties and all that.

What about old-fash­ioned jus­tice, I thought to my­self as I con­tem­plated pic­tures of a head-tilt­ing, nap­ping Bob at the SADC shindig and the per­ma­nently scarred Gabriella En­gels’ face.

But, then again, what to ex­pect from a once-proud move­ment that now is home to peo­ple like Manana and his cheer­lead­ers in the ANC Women’s League (no­gal) singing his praises.

Ah well, I’m sure Not-Jimmy Manyi will be able to put a pos­i­tive gloss on the shenani­gans once he starts run­ning ANN7 and New Age.

Hey, gimme three steps out of this theatre of the ab­surd, please.

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