Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that somewhere in the universe there is a mad alien who spends his days writing and producing soap operas for South Africa. We are the actors, and the stage is our country.
Our soapies would have names like: “Days of Our Marikanas,” or “7de Vavi,” or “The EFFing Young and the Reckless,” or “The Last Tanga in Nkandla.”
The plot never varies – it is always about the struggle; the fight for freedom; free schools; free houses; free education; free booze; free compounds and free holidays overseas. Free dignified toilets, fraudulent deals and tenders, racism, nepotism and xenophobia. Murder and rape – and a corrupt and useless police farce.
Mindless masses who strike at the drop of a hat, loot, destroy property, and even kill if they cannot get their way.
Throughout these soapies, like a polluted river running through it, the storyline would tell the shameful tale of a nation who has lost the plot – babies and grannies that are raped and killed; a president who gets away on rape, fraud, and corruption charges; a government that, through incompetence and greed, has allowed the country to go to the dogs.
A sad soapie; about a country where the words: “Integrity, Morality, and Ethics,” no longer exist.
But that’s not important right now.
What is important is to understand what goes into the making of a good soap – so here goes:
I’ve taken the trouble of reading up on soap and finally settled on the brand that we use at home: Pears.
Pears have been making soap for more than 200 hundred years – that’s before Dingane kaSenzangakhona Zulu was even born. Not that old Dingus would have used Pears – he was a Lifebuoy man – but just so you know: Pears has been around for a long time.
I Googled “Pears” and came across an advert that was published in 1890’s. It reads: “The first step towards lightening the White Man’s Burden is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness. Pears’ Soap is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilization advances.”
This got me pondering: What ingredient was added to this brand of soap that (the producers claim), would brighten Darkest Africa as a hole?
And then I found it! Right there before my red-rimmed biopic eyes – on the side of the little Pears soapbox! The magic ingredients: Sorbitol, Aqua, *Sodium Pentothal, Propylene Glycol, **Alcohol, Nitroglycerin, EDTA, BHT, CI 12490, ***BEE, Cinnamal, ****Gupta, Benzyl, etc, etc.
So this was how the early adventurers tamed Wildest Africa. With soap!
Armed only with his gun, his rifle, a few cases of whisky and some bars of Pears’ Soap, the courageous explorer would go where no white man has gone before: into Duckest Efrica.
His mission? To explore strange new lands and life forms – and new uncivilizations – to boldly go where no white man has gone before.
But, alas, alack, and woe betide! Things do not always go according to the soapies’ script. The soapie depicting South Africa can only have one name: Scandal!
And there is one every day – with yet another political “role model” playing the lead character.
Don’t forget to tune in on the newspapers tomorrow for your favourite homegrown soap!
*Sodium Pentothal – truth serum: to get politicians to tell the truth