The King’s Speech, like a match to tinder

2015-04-19 15:00

I’m busy working on Saturday’s babalaas when I get an SMS from a government spin doctor: “King Goodwill Zwelithini is going to talk about the xenophobia at KwaHlongwa near Maphumulo in a couple of hours’ time.”

I get hold of the Croc (photographer Khaya Ngwenya) and wake the bosses up. We can’t miss this.

We’ve spent the week running around Durban witnessing the results of the King’s Speech. Not the movie. The speech the king made at Phongola referring to foreigners living in South Africa as insects. The one telling “them” to f**k off back to where “they” come from. Berating his subjects for being too lazy to till the land – and too dumb to see that “they” are jacking their heritage.

It’s been bad. Durban’s been turned into an African Union of misery and hatred. People have been beaten and robbed of what little they have by their neighbours of 10 and 15 years. Three-year-old babies have been abandoned when their parents fled the mob.

It’s not all the king’s fault. Durban’s full of nutters who’ve been waiting for the chance to run amok.

Factor in the ethnic chauvinists, thieves and whoonga heads, the uncontrolled migration and an administration more interested in section 36 tender awards than dealing with a buckling city and you have a powder keg waiting to explode. The king just put a match to it.

I’m all ears and recorder and translator. Nobody’s expecting an apology for the deadly words. The king doesn’t roll like that.

We are expecting a call on the mob to stand down. An announcement of a joint programme with the Commander in Chief (President Jacob Zuma), the rest of government, churches, football teams, soapie stars and whoever else can be roped in, and who may have some level of influence, to go to the hot spots and speak to communities. An endorsement of the army being sent in to deal with the looting and an appeal for calm all round.

The king starts talking. The king rips into the media for twisting his words. The king gets stuck into provincial MPs for talking out of turn. The king berates Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba for criticising his speech. The king reminds us he was born to be king.

The king’s done.

I’m flattened. Emptied. The air tastes bad. There’s nothing beyond “it wasn’t me”. No “not in my name”. Nothing.

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