A (bad) day
in the life of Malusi Gigaba
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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 ...’