Episode IV – A New Hope

Episode IV because we don’t really count Kgalema Motlanthe. Sorry, Kgalema.
Don’t @ me. 

And so, pushed right to the very edge, refusing to jump, and defiantly telling us that the fall wouldn’t hurt him anyway, JZ finally stepped off into the abyss.

It certainly appears that Zuma is/was rotten to the core. And what becomes of that down the line is yet to be seen. In the meantime, South Africa is celebrating, and with good reason.

But then, perhaps we should remember the positivity with which the new dawn of a Zuma Presidency was viewed back in 2009.

And look how that worked out…

So, while I’m all about hope and optimism, and there’s always that background feeling of “well, he can’t be as bad as what we’ve just been through” (notwithstanding that Thabo topped an estimated 330,000 people through his wonky HIV policies), we do need to go into this with our eyes slightly wider open this time, as we were warned from an Ecuadorian broom cupboard in London almost immediately.

Of course, It’s worth noting that Wikileaks is full of BS and Julian is far from squeaky clean as well. No. I’m not linking. Do your own hard work.

I think the message I’m trying to purvey here is “Keep Smiling, But Trust No-One“.

And not just in politics.

That Monologue

Deeply corrupt President and all-round infected haemorrhoid Jacob Zuma has just refused to resign during his near hour long rambling monologue on SABC.

He says that the ANC has given him no reasons for his recall.

And he’s right. They haven’t.

Because he knows full well that, while there are plenty (or more) of those reasons, the ANC Top 6 et al. can’t publicly talk about them, because then we’d have every good right to ask why on earth they were supporting him right up until last week.

No resignation. He’s going down in flames. And now we’re all wondering who he’s going to take with him.

This was never going to be pretty, but it now seems that it’s going to be uglier than we could ever have imagined.

Delicious.

No-one is reading anyway

I’m busy, and I’ve not had chance to blog yet today. There was a visit to the knee doc (but more of that later), there was a lot of lab work, there was other stuff.

Now it’s lunchtime and it’s become evident that no-one has been bothered to look at 6000.co.za this morning at all.

I put this down to the fact that the political news has been moving at a breakneck speed here in SA, and people are choosing to try to keep up with that rather than keep up with their favourite blog.

Fair enough…

Wait… what?

But if you’re not going to read, I don’t see why I should waste my time writing.

Shall we try again tomorrow once he’s gone? [audience laughs]

What? It might happen.
This country never fails to amaze me (not always for the right reasons) (but still…).

The DAMH excuse

[accent=”Yorkshire”] When I were a lad [/accent], I always used to scoff at the kids that turned up to school claiming that their dog had eaten their homework. Not only was it the most obvious cliché, but it was also wholly unbelievable. Dogs don’t eat homework. Dogs eat dog food, human food, bones and – sometimes – socks. Sheets of A4 covered in conjugated French verbs don’t make the grade. Literally.

Je mange
Tu manges
Il/Elle ne mange pas

See?

I never had a dog, so I was never able to use this excuse. That said, I’m pretty sure many of the kids who used it never had dogs either.

Fast forward a few years into what should be adulthood, and people are still using the DAMH excuse. But now it’s been suitably upgraded.

Take for example, the case of Nigerian Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) employee Joan Asen and the 36,000,000 Naira (R1,193,040, $100,080) which was found to be missing from the organisation upon audit.

That’s a lot of moola to have misplaced, and clearly too much for your average beagle to have devoured, sir.

But no, this was no canine-related disaster. This was basically just theft. No, there’s an equally implausible excuse for not having the money to hand right now, officer:

It was a mystery to me too. I have been saving the money in the bank, but I found it difficult to account for it. So I started saving it in a vault in the office. But each time I open the vault, I will find nothing. I became worried and surprised how the millions of Naira could be disappearing from the vault. I began to interrogate everybody in the house and office, and no one could agree on what might have happened to the money. I continued to press until my housemaid confessed. She said that the money disappeared “spiritually”. She said that a “mysterious snake” sneaked into the house and swallowed the money in the vault.

Ah, yes. The old “A Mysterious Spiritual Snake Ate My Thirty-Six Million Naira” excuse. That old chestnut.

But then, if there was any animal which could have sneaked into the vault and eaten all that cash, it would most likely be a snake. Larger animals would have struggled to get through the keyhole and smaller animals wouldn’t have been able to swallow the money. But snakes are brilliant at getting into small spots and equally good at eating things which initially seem too big to go down the hatch.

The best of both Naira-pinching worlds then. Hmm.

And to be fair, just this morning when I was searching for my car keys and (while looking suspiciously at the beagle), asking if anyone had seen them, my daughter told me that she had seen a mysterious spiritual snake slithering off with them yesterday evening.

Of course, this turned out to be complete nonsense: they were behind the fruit bowl. But the fact remains that they could have been taken by a mysterious spiritual snake. It’s just that this time, they weren’t.

Now that we actually have a dog, I see the world through entirely new (often rolled) eyes, and consequently I believe that anything is possible. Thus, I’m (belatedly) coming around to the idea that actually the dogs could have eaten all that homework.

And if I’m going to make that concession, then it seems only reasonable to admit that Joan and her housekeeper’s mysterious spiritual snake story might also be true.

I’m planning to write a letter to the Nigerian authorities demanding Joan’s immediate release, while also advising the local police to step up their mysterious spiritual snake patrols before any more cash or bunches of car keys go astray.

Prevention is better than cure.

Groote Schuur Quagga News

Fair warning: it’s sad news.

But first, what are a Quagga?

Wikipedia says:

The quagga (Equus quagga quagga) is an extinct subspecies of plains zebra that lived in South Africa until the 19th century. It was long thought to be a distinct species, but genetic studies have shown it to be the southernmost subspecies of plains zebra.

That are nice. And what can like to be the Quagga Project?

The Quagga Project is an attempt by a group in South Africa to use selective breeding to achieve a breeding lineage of plains zebra (Equus quagga) which optically resemble the extinct quagga (Equus quagga quagga).

And thus, Quagga Project quaggas are dotted all around the Cape. Some of the most successful here, and (definitely) some of the most local just across the road from Groote Schuur Hospital.

Here’s a really poor photo I took of one back in 2014.

An aside: My, how my photography has improved. Or maybe it hasn’t, and I’m just more selective in what I choose to upload.

Or maybe both.

You decide.

Anyway, it seems that I’m not going to be able to improve on any previous photos of quaggas on the Groote Schuur Estate any time soon:

The animals at Devils Peak/Groote Schuur Estate have been moved due to uncertainty over their water supply during the water restrictions being imposed on Cape Town. Quagga and zebra need to drink daily and even a short interruption to their water supply could have devastating consequences. They have been moved to Elandsberg Farms near Wellington and Groote Post near Darling where they have joined other groups of Quagga in the wild. There are natural water holes on both these properties and the Quagga Project felt it would be safer to keep these animals there.

This is no surprise to me. I’ve been watching the Estate getting browner and browner for the past few months, and I hadn’t seen a quagga there for weeks. I usually see them twice a day: up at the top of the fields in the morning and then right down by the bottom of Hospital Bend each evening. Cape Town traffic being what it is, there’s generally plenty of time to watch them as you don’t drive past.

Sadly, it sounds like it’s a permanent move:

Those animals have been moved to other herds – the best known one, a lovely stallion called Khumba, is now on a farm on the west coast where he will hopefully father the next generation of Rau quaggas.

While that means less fun when driving to and from town, especially for my daughter, it does sound like the best thing for the quaggas. And hey, maybe another family road trip is called for out to Groote Post (conveniently located on  the Groote Post wine farm), or maybe a visit to the Nuwejaars SMA (conveniently located all around the (perennial favourite) Black Oystercatcher wine farm)?

What’s not to like?

No more quaggas on the mountain, that’s what. 🙁