In search of aerial pictures at Casa Msholozi

2012-12-10 15:38

Just before midday last Monday the Croc and I are kinda nervous. I’m lying. We’re sh*tting ourselves.

I reckon we have good reason to be a little jittery.

We’re 1 000 feet above the ground in a helicopter not that much bigger than the office Golf. Choppers are the ultimate manchild toy, but in this case we’re within shooting range of the Commander in Chief’s Nxamalala pad.

If we were waiting to land at the helipad to do an interview it would be cool. We aren’t. We’re in search of aerial pictures of Casa Msholozi.

Since we broke the story about the R248 million security splash out we’ve been plotting this. From the road it’s impossible to get an image that captures the entire spot.

It’s just too big and it’s built across and up the hillside. There’s no higher vantage point in Nxamalala. The Commander in Chief has the best view. The only way to capture it all is to go air-mobile.

We’ve been dealing with two months of doublespeak. This should straighten things out.

We kick the idea around with the bosses for a while. Things are a bit strained between the CiC and us these days. This could get us stomped on our next visit to Nxamalala. Or locked up. Or shot down. Literally and figuratively.

We lawyer up. They spew out thousands of words far faster than we do. That’s how they roll. The eventual opinion: go for it.

There’s obvious conditions. No buzzing the house. No playing Miles Runs The Voodoo Down on the loudspeaker while we’re overflying. No taking my clothes off. No drinking.

There’s some introspection from Harper. It’s not cool to disrespect another man’s house. Especially when he literally has an army at his disposal. I’d be pretty peeved if I were the stalkee and not the stalker.

I’ve also been a guest at the house twice. Both times I was treated really well. So there’s an element of guilt involved.

I also don’t really have to be there. Croc is the shooter. I play the keyboards. The Croc and I are a team. We’re also bras. If somebody blasts the chopper out of the sky, we’re both dead. Plus I don’t want him getting famous all by himself.

Nobody wants to fly us. Can’t say I blame them. They’re all getting paid for flying in the Zumas lahnee visitors. We are seemingly out of the game. Not cool.

I reach out to a friend. He does the same. We get a pilot. The pilot gets a chopper. We’re on. An hour before takeoff we get a call from the pilot. The weather is un-flyable for the next four days.

Monday eventually arrives. We’re hanging in the air like a dragonfly. We’re slow-motioning past the house. The Croc’s grinning like a madman. He’s working his camera like a mshini.

There’s no ground-to-air missiles in response. Nobody jams the instruments from below. The pilot and I are giggling like schoolgirls. We fly towards the Tugela Valley. We do this gravity-defying, sexy as hell turn.

This is not work. We head back towards Durban, the Croc’s shutter chattering away.

The radio crackles in our headsets. It’s a police chopper over Eshowe. Our hearts stop.

Are we going to be forced down?

Then the pilot gives us the thumbs up. Sounds like they’re raiding ganja plantations. We’re in the clear.

Thank you, Babylon.

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