Mup­pets, pup­pets, and plots

The Times (South Africa) - - The Things You Need To Know Today - By TOM EA­TON

● It is al­ways ex­cit­ing when lo­cal fic­tion does well and Mr Gay­ton McKen­zie’s de­but novel, Kill Zuma By Any Means Nec­es­sary, has caused quite a stir among peo­ple who en­joy the fan­tasy genre.

Andile Mngxi­tama, for ex­am­ple, has called the book “ex­plo­sive” in at least one of the 11 tweets he’s com­posed on the topic. An­other one in­sists that “we all must read this book”, and while that in­struc­tion sounds re­mark­ably like some­thing that came grind­ing out of the fax ma­chine from Sax­on­wold late last night, his en­thu­si­asm is clear to see. I only hope the peo­ple who are pay­ing him see it too and re­ward this con­sci­en­tious re­viewer suit­ably.

Some­what dis­ap­point­ingly, the ti­tle of Kill Zuma By Any Means Nec­es­sary gives away the plot, which is, well, a plot, to kill Zuma, by any means nec­es­sary. For­tu­nately, McKen­zie mixes things up nicely by adding sub-plot plots, care­fully plot­ting out all the plot­ting with­out ever los­ing the plot.

For ex­am­ple, we learn that one of the peo­ple who tried to kill Zuma (with poi­soned ox-liver, no less!) was a mem­ber of the ANC’s cur­rent Top Six. I don’t want to spoil any­thing but the in­fer­ence is that the poi­soner (al­legedly also a CIA plant han­drea­red by An­ton Ru­pert) has a name that rhymes with Byril Bam­ab­hosa. McKen­zie doesn’t ex­plain why his main char­ac­ter would ap­point a known as­sas­sin to be his deputy pres­i­dent, but this is a work of fan­tasy so per­haps it is un­fair to look for logic.

Speak­ing to ANN7 yes­ter­day, McKen­zie ex­plained that the in­spi­ra­tion for the novel came to him af­ter he “stum­bled across a whole lot of files”. I as­sume by “stum­bled across” he means “got sent an e-maill” and by “files” he means “a ghost-writ­ten work of fic­tion with a space left open on the cover for my name”, but these are mi­nor de­tails that shouldn’t de­tract from a glo­ri­ous ex­am­ple of pure, un­bri­dled in­ven­tion.

This reader does, how­ever, have one small crit­i­cism of the book’s pub­lish­ers.

In the in­ter­view with ANN7, McKen­zie ex­plains that “we give the in­side story”, which is an odd thing for some­one to say who has writ­ten a book all by him­self.

Things be­come clearer, how­ever, when he sug­gests that the Gup­tas have been made scape­goats for too long.

Which brings me back to my small crit­i­cism. Chaps. I un­der­stand the value in pay­ing an anony­mous hack to bang out some sen­sa­tional fab­ri­ca­tions to draw at­ten­tion away from your­selves while help­ing your pup­pets at the up­com­ing elec­tive con­fer­ence. It’s a solid strat­egy.

But if it’s go­ing to work, you need to tell your spoke­spup­pets and spin­mup­pets that when they punt the book on Mzwanele Manyi’s pri­vate TV net­work, they Can’t. Men­tion. Your. Name. Be­cause now all they’ve man­aged to do is link this drivel di­rectly to you.

Come on, guys. Bell Pot­tinger taught you bet­ter than that.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.