I would really love to give my fellow South Africans, and myself, a hearty slap on the back as we are blessed with a remarkable sense of humour, well most of us anyway.
I can’t actually do that of course so instead I’ll just illuminate some of my personal highlights and hope that you too get a laugh.
For nigh on 20 years now those of us who have remained/survived have borne witness to some of the funniest goings-on SA has ever seen and yet we can still make jokes, laugh and even retain our enthusiasm for living in a country where one is more liable to be burglarized, raped, murdered or fall into a pot hole than reach retirement age.
That takes humour, it really does. Or a death wish.
We laughed when Madiba became president - more from relief I guess than anything else – and our sense of humour came to the fore again when we started referring to ourselves as the rainbow nation. We made jokes about the When-we’s and those packed-for-Perth and we roared out loud when people talked about the remote possibility that Zuma could become president.
This was seriously funny as few though he was capable of even writing, never mind governing, and yet there you have it - probably the funniest thing to have happened in the past 20 years which again shows that we really are a funny bunch with a marvellous sense of humour.
We didn’t have too many laughs whilst old T-Bone was jet-setting - except for the beetroot and sweet potatoes number who gave us plenty like when she was still knocking the good stuff back, in hospital after receiving another kidney. She was a class act, wasn’t she?
T-Bone probably took himself much too seriously to be a really funny man, besides which I think quite early on he realised that he was in serious doo-doo with that AIDS denialism thing he had going.
You’ve just got to hand it to the present incumbent however as he’s forever keeping us amused with his geniality, enthusiasm and ability to just hang in there. One has to wonder about the cost of those wives and children though – enough to give the average man in the street heart palpitations at the thought of the bills, the food and household costs, the petrol, the clothes, the school fees. Wow, got to hand it to him – he’s a braver man than I.
We were amused – until we discovered that it was our money originally - when all and sundry in successive ANC governments seemed more intent on looting than governing but we took it in good spirits as we knew it wouldn’t last. It couldn’t, could it?
Surely, eventually enough of them would have enough money and then some party-pooper would take away the keys to the vault and we’d all carry on as normal. Ya well no fine, seems we missed the point of governance after all. Ask Tokyo, or Cyril, as they’re the ones who’re really laughing - all the way to the bank.
Personally I laughed out loud when I saw Zapiro’s cartoon of the pres attempting to stick it to the lady of justice, that being a real hoot. I laughed again when Bruce Mcbride became the head honcho of policing on the East Rand – that was really funny as he’d literally lifted himself from the gutter after bombing fast food chains to become a real policeman.
Not too many of us laughed, at first anyway, when the government attempted to make us pay for driving on our own roads but eventually we saw the humour. It was all a joke, they never meant it – they just wanted to see if we still had our sense of humour. That the joke backfired on them was even funnier and I’m sure that one day they too will appreciate it, as we have.
It’s thus a great pity now that the ANC seem to have lost their sense of humour, especially when we’ve been so amused, for so long now, at both their attempts to govern and simultaneously hide the facts from us. After all we’ve laughed at their jokes, their appointments and their carefree spending, why can’t they now laugh at our attempts, as in this painting of some fool in a Leninist pose with his dick hanging out?
The artist obviously has a great sense of humour – I mean just look at the name of the exhibition, Hail to the Thief. Absolutely brilliant and I’m sure that the pres will one day – maybe - get it as well.
To cap it I then read yesterday that Gwede Mantashe – he of the stern countenance – says we shouldn’t be making such a fuss of Richard Mdluli becoming our chief protector as he’s just another civil servant. Wow, the man definitely has a sense of humour, doesn’t he?
There you are folks, just some of the funny highlights I’ve experienced over the past 20 years or so and I’m sure many of you have had just as many. Face it, we never laughed like this when the Nats were in power, much too serious all of them, except for maybe old Wing-nuts Malan – he was really funny.
So people, let’s laugh more and worry less, let’s pretend that none of it matters and maybe the rest of the world will stop laughing at us and instead laugh with us. Wouldn’t that be a nice change?