OUT TO LUNCH
Way back in 1984 I took a three-month sabbatical between jobs and used the time to tour Europe. In those dark and undemocratic days, despite the threat of international sanctions, the rand was pretty resilient and you could do that sort of thing. In fact, on one trip to the USA I came back to re-cash my remaining travellers’ cheques at a better exchange rate than I had originally dealt. Tell that to anybody under the age of 50 and they’ll think you’ve lost your marbles.
My girlfriend at the time wasn’t so lucky because she had a proper job, so she took three week’s leave and the intention was to meet at Heathrow, spend a couple of days with my family in the UK and then push off to France and Germany. I only found out later that the girlfriend had so little faith in my promise to meet the incoming flight from South Africa that she had prudently made alternate plans in case I failed to show up.
However, I was a man of honour and was there with a piece of cardboard with her name on it at Heathrow (I think it was terminal 3 back then).
I had already spent a couple of weeks in Greece where I stayed in Athens in a really crappy hotel room over-looking a noisy parking lot and the only thing that got me through the experience were bottles of Metaxa 5 Star brandy ( I use this word brandy advisedly on the advice of my legal team). I then flew on a very dubious aircraft to the island of Mykonos. Being protected from such things I had no idea at the time that Mykonos was a popular destination for gay males. But it was a scenic location, the weather was great, the wine was so-so and fortunately I happened to meet the only two heterosexual females on the island in the only bar on the harbour that played classical music.
Then it was back to London and the second leg of the trip. I met said girlfriend at the airport much to her surprise and after a few days in rural Suffolk we departed for Paris en route to Nice. Now for some reason I decided I should propose marriage. So I lured the girlfriend to the Eiffel Tour with the promise of a great restaurant booking and on the Deuxieme Etage, on a gloriously sunny day in June and with a stunning view of Paris and a gourmet lunch awaiting, I proposed. Only to be turned down. Now you know why I am damaged goods dear reader. The girlfriend mumbled something about having just come out of a bad marriage and not being ready for a new husband and I, somewhat gobsmacked, accepted that. After that lunch was a little low key I must admit.
Not being a man to accept rejection though I planned a second romantic proposal almost a year later at the Taj Mahal. Only this time it was an Indian restaurant of that name near Midhurst in Sussex and, to my great delight, the proposal was accepted, albeit with a “let’s see how we still feel in the morning” caveat. Chicken vindaloo can have that effect on some people apparently.
I relate this intensely personal and soul bearing tale to make just one point. If the future Mrs B had said yes at the Eiffel Tower she would have been entitled to Brit citizenship but during her one year delay the law changed (thank you Maggie Thatcher) and she would now have to do what any other African refugee would do …. land on a rubber dinghy at two in the morning off the Kent coast.
We both thought we had the problem sorted. If the smelly brown stuff ever hit the whirring fan blades in SA we could just get on a plane and stay with the family in the UK until the problem passed and order was restored. After all, I had a UK passport and Mrs B had a ten-year British visa. But that visa expired in June 2020 and there didn’t seem much point in spending ten grand to renew it bearing in mind COVID and travel restrictions.
So it appears we are stuck here and having just watched ‘How to Become a Tyrant’ on Netflix it doesn’t look as though we are in for an easy ride. I only mention this since over three weeks have passed and there hasn’t been a single convincing insurrectionist arrested or even mentioned in the media. In fact, it’s beginning to look as though the most obvious culprits, including those like Dudu Zuma-Sambudla who fanned the flames and incited people to anarchy, have absolutely nothing to fear.
If I wasn’t such a naïve and trusting fellow, I would begin to suspect that the whole KZN conflagration was all carefully planned by elements of the ruling party as an overture to what they have in mind for the rest of the country. As the Netflix doccie so carefully explains, what you need to do if you want to hang on to power is to scare the hell out of the population with a mixture of terror and propaganda and then you’re home and dry.
That obviously includes scapegoating a minority of the population in order to turn the masses against them. In the case of Germany this was the Jews, in the case of Uganda it was the Asians and in the case of South Africa it is the ‘white monopoly capitalists’ who have milked the country of all resources and caused widespread poverty.
Providing you have a poorly educated, semi-literate majority who depend on government handouts to survive you really can’t go wrong with this level of propaganda should you want to rule for ever. So much easier too when there are so many white skinned media folk and academics who also seem to support the selective culling of other white skinned people.
Getting out of SA for those who are still able is the dominant dinner party topic these days. Now the previously bullish Sygnia founder and executive chairperson Magda Wierzycka has declared that she no longer sees South Africa as a ‘land of opportunity’ the rush for the exit is on. The big problem is where on earth do you go and how do you get in during a massively hyped global pandemic?
Years ago you could write a list of desirable destinations on a sheet of A4 paper but that’s not so easy now. Much of Europe doesn’t look too tempting (or politically stable) and you certainly wouldn’t want to apply for a green card to the US while a left-wing geriatric with senile dementia is running the show. Australia has proven to be a disaster during COVID and New Zealand is fast becoming a mini Woke police state with all sorts of laws planned to control citizens’ every move.
According to a recent BrandMapp survey only 30% of middle-class South Africans said that they are positive about the future of the country and 27% said they are considering emigrating within the next five years. While these numbers may look superficially gloomy maybe it’s not a bad thing that 70% of middle-class South Africans are not positive about their future here and probably realise that emigrating is not and never will be an option. That may be the catalyst we need for a change of government. Or, better still, an independent Western Cape. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___
Since it now seems certain that the UK and many European countries are intent on introducing a ‘vaccine passport’ to punish all the naysaying anti-vaxxers by forcing them to stay at home and not attend concerts, nightclubs or football matches it remains to be seen how SA will fit in with this discriminatory new world order. Will the piece of easily forgeable card on which is scrawled your name, the name of the vaccine they jabbed you with and the date they jabbed you suffice to qualify you for easy passage at most of the world’s airports? My guess is probably not and given the general uselessness of the SA government and the time it apparently takes to renew a passport I wouldn’t expect things to improve any time soon.
Thank heavens for the good folks at YouTube who have just suspended Sky News Australia from uploading content which could be construed as COVID misinformation. The Sky presenter Alan Jones, who is something of a refreshingly straight talker and highly critical of the insipid New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian, has frequently called into question the severity of the ongoing lockdown in that state. In less enlightened times we would have been free to draw our own conclusions but now we have YouTube we don’t need to bother since they are thinking ‘correctly’ on our behalf. Oh brave new world.