Mangaung Mutters: Green, but not with envy

2012-12-18 12:00

Nursing a hangover in a tent that’s like an oven isn’t the best way to start a conference

It’s boiling hot in the main tent on the opening day of conference.

I’m on my knees on the floor with the photographers.

I’m not part of the Mangaung24 team chosen to get into the marquee, but I’m not letting that stop me.

I didn’t come all this way to watch the commander in chief (CiC) on TV. I could’ve done that at home.

I’m sweating like a lost Anything But Zuma (ABZ) lobbyist who’s taken the P15 and ended up in Nxamalala.

The tent is packed. There’s no air and the aircon is on the blink.

It’s like working in an oven. Comrade marshals had forced me to walk the university perimeter in the blazing sun.

I’m accredited to the hilt but that doesn’t matter. Media is Gate 6 and that’s that.

They’re like stones ... no means no, and all that.

I suppose you can’t blame them. Some right-wing nutters have apparently been trying to bomb one of the tents.

They must have been overdosing on the Klippies en Coke.

How the hell were they going to get past the comrades at the gate with no dompas?

Unless they were going to do it long-range, like Ju Know Who.

One comrade told me that the Jelly Tsotsi is now a “binocular delegate”.

Another told me that the (former) Prince of Polokwane tried to sneak through Gate 7 in a catering truck disguised as igwinya.

Cruel, but creative.

Malema has been noticeable in his absence.

He wasn’t even at Capello on Tweede Laan.

That’s where the youth league has set up shop in the evenings.

Everybody wears berets, even the bar staff.

There were even one or two wearing shades when we popped in at 2am.

Across the street, the Maskandis have their evening choir practice at Cubana.

There’s a R200 cover charge (not for the honeys, though) and a no-sneakers rule.

Needless to say, Team Mangaung24 hasn’t made it inside. We don’t have tenders.

We’d rather spend the money on beer and whisky.

Back at the marquee, the CiC is warming up.

The night before’s Amstel, Glenfiddich and Jagermeister are oozing out my pores.

My head starts spinning and there are these black spots dancing in front of my eyes.

I realise I’m going to vomit.

The CiC’s wives are at the table immediately behind me. If I throw up here, I’m a dead man.

I bolt out of the entrance next to the podium.

I hit the corner. There’s a box of water bottles.

I snap two and start necking them to try rehydrate.

Big flop. The next thing I’m walking and killing the cat simultaneously.

I end up on my knees, then I black out. A colleague starts fanning me with my T-shirt.

He pours water over me to cool me down. The CiC starts delivering his political report.

I make it to the media centre at the bottom of the campus. The aircon revives me a bit, but a wave of nausea hits again.

Then, out of nowhere appears Sister Keabetswe Motingoe.

She’s the nurse on duty in case the media hurt themselves.

The next thing I know I’m lying in the sickbay. T

urns out I have “heatstroke”.

She and Dr Fundie Nyati give me a jab, put me on a glucose drip and tuck me into bed.

The CiC is still speaking.

Two hours and a short nap later, and Harper is back in the game.

I needed the nap. Credentials turn into trench warfare.

The ABZs and the Maskandis want to whittle down each other’s delegations.

Conference adjourns at 1am, but we’re not going anywhere.

The ANC has organised a sheep on the spit for our supper and it’s banging. That sheep did not die in vain.

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