My forefathers are mum about the future of my so-called life
IN times of great misfortune and uncertainty, it is an African tradition to consult your ancestors and ask them to show you the way forward.
In the time of Zuma, we have had misfortune in spades. These are also times of great uncertainty. This is a good thing. If you’re complacent in your job or comfortable in your marriage, you need to upset that apple cart and get with the times.
Forget certainty. It will stab you in the back as soon as sleep with you. Trust me. I speak as someone who knows these things. I have survived one divorce and am gathering my coins and girding my loins for another.
That’s on a personal level. Professionally, I continue sucking on the tattered remnants of a oncepromising career in the media.
To be fair to myself, though, I should point out the printed media began derailing about the same time as I did, thanks to digitalisation and politicalisation.
Change is in the air. Climate change. Regime change. Don’t be left behind. It’s a new year. Shed your old life and start anew.
Sure, it might end in a homeless shelter. But it might not. Come on, come and gamble with me, the odds are better than anything you’ll find at the Suncoast Casino.
So, the challenge for me, apart from catching the waiter’s eye, is to find my ancestors. Maybe define them, first. I think it excludes parents. You can’t go from mother to ancestor in the blink of an eye. Even grandparents might be pushing it.
If you’ve met them, they aren’t proper ancestors. From where I’m sitting, and I use the word sitting loosely, ancestors are people who died before you could get the chance to thank them for their contribution towards making you the genetic miracle you are today. By “thank” I obviously mean “strangle”.
I’ve always been a bit subnormal when it comes to grasping family relationships. Anything beyond uncle and my eyes glaze over, my mouth falls open and my heart rate plummets.
If someone tries to explain how my aunt’s brother’s cousin is related to me, I am clinically dead before they can finish.
When I think of my ancestors, I think Cro-Magnon. Not so much upper class as lower Paleolithic. I imagine them in skins but only because I can’t bear to imagine them naked. Perhaps I’m going too far back.
As a white South African, I have no traditions other than those involving the denigration and exploitation of black people.
Sadly, those days are over and now there are no traditions I can call my own. Braaiing, perhaps.
Even then, there are darkies who will claim they were cooking meat over open fires long before white people were invented. It’s outrageous.
Look, I’m quite happy to rattle the bones and communicate with my ancestors if it means getting an indication of what I should do with what remains of my so-called life.
Communicating with the living doesn’t seem to help much at all. Might as well try the dead.
The problem is I can’t afford to get to the graves of my ancestors. It would mean going to Italy, England, Australia and the Netherlands for a start. Those are just the ones I know about.
Europeans spread their seed like wildfire in the early days. I’m surprised I didn’t turn out Catholic.
I’m a bit ashamed to say that
I just googled Where Do White People Come From? What a mistake. I was dragged from Genesis to revolutions, from Australoids to Caucasoids, from the Semites to the Hamites, from the Third Reich to the Fourth Extinction.
I could go on, but it’s too depressing. It turns out that white people are little more than a concept.
Anyway. That’s enough about white people. In a few hundred years everyone will be brown.
I can’t do a global tour of my ancestors’ graves, but I do need some direction, so I’m going down to the bottom of my garden.
There are bones there. Chicken and mutton, mainly. They must know a thing or two with the benefit of hindsight. Watch your back.
Don’t trust humans. Keep your head down. That sort of thing.