A (bad) day

in the life of Malusi Gi­gaba

Sunday Times - - Stinsight - Fred Khumalo dips his pen in satire and imag­ines . . .

We start with his names as they ap­pear in his iden­tity doc­u­ment: “Knowl­edge Malusi Nkanyezi Gi­gaba.”

For the ben­e­fit of those not fa­mil­iar with isiZulu, the name Malusi means “Shep­herd”. Nkanyezi means “star”. And, of course, the isiZulu noun isigi­gaba means “an in­ci­dent”.

How I wish I were mak­ing this up. He is a very busy man, our Shep­herd. En­gag­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties rang­ing from chas­ing il­le­gal for­eign­ers across our bor­ders, right to en­sur­ing that our na­tion is well fed: “Imag­ine this in your mouth.”

Through my in­ge­nu­ity, I man­aged to break into his fre­netic sched­ule and pin him down for an in­ter­view. This is a sum­mary of a typ­i­cal day in his life. Fo­cus­ing specif­i­cally on how Tues­day November 6 2018 un­folded:

5am

Wife No­machule nudges him into wake­ful­ness. She snaps a selfie of them to­gether. She posts it on In­sta­gram and Twit­ter.

Then fol­lows what Shep­herd blush­ingly calls a Morn­ing Glory ses­sion. They’re a re­li­gious lot, the Gi­ga­bas. Not sur­pris­ing if you re­call that his fa­ther was a church min­is­ter.

The Glory ses­sion over, No­machule snaps an­other selfie. Posts it on In­sta­gram. Overnight she’s gained 120 new fol­low­ers, which pushes the to­tal over 649,000. Not bad for one who’s not a rap star.

Af­ter brush­ing their teeth in their sep­a­rate His and Hers bath­rooms, they hook up again in the cor­ri­dor. An­other selfie. Post.

No­machule stum­bles on some­thing. She grum­bles: “What’s this now?”

Shep­herd: “An­other pair of shoes you bought last night.”

No­machule: “What’s it do­ing in the pas­sage?”

Shep­herd: “Last night you said you’d run out of space in your closet.”

No­machule: “Khanyi Mbau keeps her shoes in a closet; so does Pearl Thusi. I keep mine in a boudoir! That’s what my stylist calls the room where I keep my shoes. So, please, don’t down­grade me.” An­other selfie, with this pair of shoes.

Break­fast ta­ble. Shep­herd re­coils from the of­fer­ing in front of him: “I told the maid I don’t want to see a sausage ever again in my life.”

No­machule: “Sweet­heart, it’s counter-rev­o­lu­tion­ary to call her a maid.”

Shep­herd: “A sausage and two boiled eggs and a pud­dle of gravy. The in­nu­endo, the in­nu­endo! She’s an en­emy agent, planted in this house by agents of white monopoly cap­i­tal.”

The home-keeping ex­ec­u­tive (for­merly called a maid) comes run­ning, sweeps the of­fend­ing items away. Re­places th­ese with muesli, yo­ghurt and fruit. Shep­herd re­laxes. No­machule snaps a selfie, posts it.

Nib­bling on a piece of toast while perus­ing the news on his phone, Shep­herd growls: “Damn, that video is now on Porn­hub!”

No­machule: “Why is it such a bad thing? They will pay roy­al­ties for that per­for­mance. I know I would!” She takes a screen grab of this news item, posts it on In­sta­gram.

Noon

Gi­gaba, all min­is­te­rial now, is be­ing driven to work. On the stereo, R Kelly is singing, “If I could turn, turn back the hands of time …” Have no doubt, that’s a tear in the cor­ner of the min­is­ter’s eye.

12.15pm

In­side the Na­tional Assem­bly, Shep­herd is shep­herd­ing mem­bers of the house around the con­fus­ing Fire­blade in­ci­dent: “Op­pen­heimer yad­dah-yad­dah. White monopoly cap­i­tal. Blah-blah. I was not there. It wasn’t me. Yad­dah-yad­dah! Zzzzzz!”

ANC mem­ber of par­lia­ment Male­sela Kekana rises: “Com­rade speaker, rev­o­lu­tion­ary greetings. I rise on a point of ex­i­gency, com­rade. My rev­o­lu­tion­ary spirit tells me com­rade Gi­gaba needs to rest. Go and rest, com­rade Gi­gaba. Let the pres­i­dent and speaker deal with him.”

2pm

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa is on the floor, the tjat­jarag DA chi­huahuas snapping at his heels. Shep­herd mut­ters to him­self: “We’re in power, god­dammit, why should we lis­ten to them?”

His phone, which is on vi­brate, and is rest­ing on his lap, sud­denly tick­les his crotch area. Some­body called El­hub has sent him a pair of fe­male mam­maries, with cho­co­late ooz­ing down them, and the words: IMAG­INE THIS IN YOUR MOUTH.

El­hub of course is a co­de­name for Buhle Mkhize, Shep­herd’s one-time squeeze. To fool No­machule, he wrote the name in code. Clever Knowl­edge. If ever No­machule were to ask who this El­hub is, he would re­tort: “He is the guy who is work­ing with Duduzane and Ajay, try­ing to find us a house in Dubai.” Af­ter all, El­hub sounds Ara­bic. Prom­ises of shoes and houses al­ways do the trick.

An­other mes­sage comes through, from DuduM: “UBaba says u must trans­fer some money. His lawyer’s bills r killing him.”

3pm

Ramaphosa is still on the floor: “Bosasa this, Bosasa that. Blah-de-blah.” Shep­herd’s stom­ach be­gins to growl. He’s think­ing: “I should have eaten that sausage in the morn­ing af­ter all.”

His con­cen­tra­tion on the sub­ject of the sausage is so in­tense that he closes his eyes. Be­fore you know it, he is snor­ing …

Then the dream comes: El­hub ap­pears in front of him, in EFF re­galia. In­stead of the usual red beret, she has on what looks sus­pi­ciously like fine lin­gerie. She starts peel­ing off the over­alls. The funny thing about El­hub is that she is wear­ing a beard. She’s al­ways been kinky, El­hub. Shep­herd smiles to him­self in his sleep.

When he opens his eyes he re­alises that he hasn’t been dream­ing. While he slept, his sub­con­scious mind was watch­ing Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi of the EFF. Nd­lozi is on the floor. He is rec­om­mend­ing to Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa and the house at large that per­haps in fu­ture min­is­ters should be supplied with cam­era-less phones, so they can­not record them­selves en­gaged in the on­earmed struggle and other em­bar­rass­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Shep­herd, a proper Zulu man who won’t turn away from a fight, re­sponds im­me­di­ately: he shows Nd­lozi the pinky fin­ger: Imag­ine this in your mouth! Though Shep­herd is con­fused and dis­ap­pointed at how the me­dia re­sponds to his ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse, he nev­er­the­less apol­o­gises to the na­tion.

But not be­fore he has re­ceived a mes­sage from No­machule: “Babes, I ws jst lookin at that Nd­lozi. Is it true what u said about him?’

Shep­herd: “About the pinky? Yes, I saw it in the toi­lets at the gym the other day.” No­machule: “Such a pity.” Shep­herd: “Why?” No­machule: “There’s this friend of mine who is in­ter­ested in him.” Shep­herd smiles to him­self. He thinks: “She thinks I don’t know her stash of Mbuyiseni Nd­lozi pic­tures. Doesn’t she know I know ev­ery­thing there is to know about phone hack­ing? Poor woman.”

Then an­other mes­sage, this one from Ajay Gupta: “Yo, com­rade, you won’t be­lieve. The women here in Dubai, who can’t wait to be parted with their money, are head over heels over that video of yrs. They know u and I are friends. With you on my side, we will score a num­ber of busi­ness con­tracts. We’ll bam­boo­zle th­ese women with Duduzane’s beau­ti­ful face, and you’ll close the deal with your for­mi­da­ble tool.”

There’s a smile on Shep­herd’s face, just a ghost of a smile. When he looks up from the phone, the EFF fools are jump­ing all over the place, punch­ing peo­ple, howl­ing like bulldogs. He has no clue what trig­gered the vi­o­lence. “This place has gone to the dogs,” he What­sApps No­machule. “Gone are the days when we used to sit and lis­ten en­rapt by Thi­boz do­ing a remix of Pix­ley ka Isaka Seme’s speech, I am an African. Thi­boz ran this place prop­erly. Wouldn’t tol­er­ate even a snig­ger, let alone a dif­fer­ing opin­ion. Now look at this! I’m em­bar­rassed to be here.”

5.50pm

No­machule meets him in his pri­vate of­fice. A selfie. Post on In­sta­gram. In front of him, she goes down on her knees. And they pray.

6pm

He meets me at our ren­dezvous for the in­ter­view. Ex­tends his hand so I can shake it. I break into a fit of cough­ing. The wait­ress rushes me a glass of wa­ter. I’ve avoided shak­ing his hand.

The in­ter­view be­gins. He gives me a blow by blow ac­count of how things went to­day. In con­clu­sion, he says: “It’s a lot of work, Khumalo, don’t you think? I truly be­lieve I de­serve to be pres­i­dent of this coun­try, I’ve worked so hard.”

Out of the cor­ner of my eye, I see a gag­gle of women stand­ing at the en­trance to the restau­rant.

They are hold­ing plac­ards that read: “Gi­gaba for pres­i­dent!” “Every home needs a Gi­gaba”, “Don’t just imag­ine it in my mouth; Gi­ga­bite it awready!” I snap a selfie with him. Two min­utes later, it’s trend­ing. There’s spec­u­la­tion on Twit­ter: “This chap pos­ing with Gi­ga­bite looks ex­actly like him!” An­other one re­sponds: “It’s his big­ger brother.”

“Check out his lips. Could be Gi­ga­bite takes af­ter his big brother, in all the de­part­ments that mat­ter!”

My ego swells like a vetkoek made of self-rais­ing flour. I pho­to­graph my­self, and post my ma­chine gun on Twit­ter. Some­one re­sponds: “Why do peo­ple post their pim­ples on Twit­ter?”

Damn. Knowl­edge Malusi Nkanyezi Gi­gaba has set the bar very high.

‘We’ll bam­boo­zle th­ese women with Duduzane’s beau­ti­ful face, and you’ll close the deal with your ...’

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