It really wasn’t looking too good, thought President Simpiwe Ramaphosa as he lay in the bath, scrubbing his nails. He was sick of service delivery protests, that old white woman in the Cape had become a real pain in the butt and his wives would not stop wanting things. He eyed his toes, poking up through the bubbles and just visible over the growing mound of his belly.
He remembered with concern the day some stupid artist had painted his spear on a painting. He had needed to get wife number four to get on her knees and take a photo, assuring him that it was not accurate depiction. It had been a very long time since he had been able to see his own spear, and his toes were visible only when he was in the bath.
“Stop it, you giant fool. Just stop it,” said a voice from outside the tub. Simpiwe was annoyed, but not at all ready for what he saw when he did open his eyes. The beastly thing was perched on a chair, its wings folded somewhat loosely behind its back.
“Who are you to speak to me like that?”
“I am a Messenger from the God you claim belief in. That same one you refer to when you say your party will rule the country until the second coming of Jesus. Not a clever statement, by the way. God really doesn’t like that sort of over-reaching. In fact he has a tendency to poes-klap people back into place when they say that sort of rubbish. Hitler claimed a thousand year reich. Ian Smith said it would be a thousand years before blacks ran Rhodesia. Didn’t get them very far…”
“What do you want with me?”
“God has some things he wants you to do. If you don’t, things will get ugly. Well, uglier. Really, you think making your people eat biltong and not cake will avert your head on a spike?”
“What things?” Simpiwe felt honoured that God had sent a messenger to him. Now he would truly be able to claim he, and his party, were what God had in mind for this country.
“It’s a long list, so pay attention,” said the angel.
Simpiwe suddenly felt rather undignified lying in the bath, stark naked, talking to an angel. He also wanted his iPhone to record the instructions. His memory was not all that good. Goldfish-like it had been called. He was not entirely happy with the angel’s tone either.
“Stay where you are and just listen. First the wives must go. Nowhere and at no time has God said five wives are OK. It’s actually just not acceptable and sets a shocking example.”
“But, it is my African…”
“Shut up and listen. There is no African way. There is a human way. There is God’s way. You, forgive the pun, want five cakes and to eat them all. So, they must go. Besides, a man of your age should be just relaxing and not keeping the manufacturers of Viagra in business.
“Then we need to talk about all these cronies you keep putting into positions of authority. That must stop. If you think you are doing a good job, why is this necessary?
“You have a salary bigger than the president of America – why? Your people cannot sustain this. You have given them no jobs, how do you expect people to keep paying taxes? They won’t. They see where their money is not going.
“You are guilty of all seven deadly sins. All of them. It is time you stopped pretending otherwise and started fixing yourself. A head on a spike tends to lead to some time in the burning, fiery pits of hell.”
At this point Simpiwe felt cornered. Wondering if it was too late to become an atheist, he decided to argue again.
“I am the chief of this country, as chief I am entitled to..”
“You are entitled to nothing. The people did not vote for you just to watch you get fatter and shinier. They did not vote for you so that their freedoms could be eroded.”
“OK – but what if I change the constitution to put an end to this gay rights rubbish? God doesn’t like gays.”
The angel smiled.
“God made gays – what possible problem could he have with them? Besides, we are not here to talk about other people. We are discussing God’s issues with you. You have betrayed your people. You have forgotten that this is a country in need of healing. Not of more hatred and tension.”
Simpiwe gazed at his toes. The nails could do with a buff, he decided.
The angel gazed at Simpiwe.
“You aren’t getting this are you? You think you can carry on as before with no consequences. Well, I thought that might be the case. In that event, God was very clear about what your final instruction should be. Resign. Step down now. Relieve yourself of your duties.”
Simpiwe shook his head. “No. What sort of chief would I be then? I cannot let down all the people I have around me. This is my country. You are white. I can see all the light around you and you are white. This is racism.”
The angel sighed and stood up, wings unfurling.
“God doesn’t get involved very much any more. This was an exception, several people asked him to intervene – good people. I see the task was as pointless as they feared. I’ll be off then.”
Simpiwe was relieved that the angel had left and was confident he would be able to continue as he always had.
He wasn’t so confident a year later when he had been relieved of his duties by an angry, jobless and hungry mob. His confidence dwindled further when he saw the guillotine and realized they also planned to relieve him of his head.