Friends & Friction: It’s time to start building

2013-10-30 10:00

“Hi Oliver.”

“Hi Jannie.”

They embrace like old friends. “You repossessed my airport?...”

“Ah, give Tambo a break, Smuts,” says Robert Sobukwe. “You took 87% of the land and truly, gentlemen, what is an airport between friends?”

“Hahaha,” they embrace.

“There’s Louis Luyt and Chris,” says Jan Smuts. “Come over here, you two,” he calls them. “Tell me, Louis, what legacy were you hoping to leave behind when you sued Madiba?”

“Legacy? What legacy?” He replies. “I already had a shit legacy. I made my money in the manure business.”

“You see, now nothing is named after you,” Smuts says.

“Nothing is named after the formerly white people,” Luyt replies.

“What are you talking about, Louis? Joe Slovo Drive, Beyers Naude Drive, Ruth First Hospital.”

“Hahaha,” Luyt laughs. “You got the black end of the stick, Chris. You were not even a doctor, but they named the biggest government hospital after you, Chris Hani Baragwanath, and we know that the government health system is falling apart.

“The other thing named after you is a squatter camp?... Ha! Your name has become synonymous with lack of service delivery.”

“I’m going to have the last laugh, Louis. Rome wasn’t built in a day and London was once a shanty town, a squatter camp,” the thick-skinned Chris replies.

“But they must solve the question of the land first,” Sobukwe emphasises.

“Your former people don’t care about farming any more!” Smuts interjects.

“Land is not only for farming,” Sobukwe says. “You can build houses on it, golf estates, office blocks, which you can sell at a huge price. So imagine your great-grandchildren who inherited land that was unfairly acquired in the 1913 Land Act.

“They are now sitting on millions of rands worth of assets. Now our great-grandchildren must buy back that land, and then you laugh at Chris Hani? And say his name is synonymous with lack of service delivery?”

“There’s Henry Kuzwayo. Come here.

“Oh Bantu abakhulu,” he says, raising both his hands.

“What Bantu bakhulu?” asks Smuts. “Don’t you remember the African spiritual that in heaven we would be all equal?”

“Hahaha,” laughs Henry Kuzwayo.

“In KwaThema there is a small street named after you. How did you get that right?” Smuts continues.

“Oh mine was a very simple one, sir. I never knew KwaThema because I died before the forced removals. But on Earth I used to enjoy a drink or two of the harmless kind, which, as you know, always wins you some friends.

“When I died, one of them went to my widow and suggested I should be honoured in the then new township. Oh, my good sirs, without much fanfare, my friend got on his bicycle and went to the municipality office and spoke to some lowly clerk. They looked at the map of the new township and they put my name down, Kuzwayo.”

“Hey, John Langalibalele Dube,” shouts Smuts. “You almost made it into our exclusive club. You didn’t get an airport, but you got a trade port.”

“You are talking to a man who started a newspaper and built a school with his own money,” he retorts. “I even bankrolled the ANC. So your exclusive club is beneath me.”

“What do you think is going to happen to Pretoria, John?” asks Luyt. “Do you think they will ever change it to Tshwane?”

“Hahaha,” laughs Dube. “In the name of ‘the reconciliation’, maybe they should rename it ‘Tshwanepoel’. But I think it’s time to stop renaming and start building.”

»?Kuzwayo is a mwalimu at Ignitive, an advertising agency

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