The revolution will not be tenderised

2014-04-09 14:53

Friday. The Croc and I are hanging in Toti. Toti’s not cool at the best of times. It’s even worse on Friday nights.

Toti’s not my favourite place. I guess it has something to do with getting nailed by the Babylon there when I was a kid for stealing a cop’s motorbike. Not the wisest of moves to make in Copland. Particularly over Easter when the courts are closed.

Needless to say, Harper ended up getting the shit kicked out of him in the garage at the back of the Toti pig pen. And a criminal record that put paid to a would-be career in law. On second thoughts, maybe they did me a favour.

Toti doesn’t only come with Babylon baggage. Toti was also the home of Generaal Nicolaas Cornelius Fourie. The general was the Toti boytjie who invaded the then Bophuthatswana on the eve of the 1994 elections in a diesel Merc with a dodgy diff. The Generaal and his mates made history, live on the telly, begging for their lives before they were taken out by a Bophuthatswana Defence Force member tired of watching them killing unarmed black civilians.

We’re in Toti to see the Special Branch. Not the Special Branch that shared the pig-pen garage with the ordinary thugs in uniform. We’re in Toti for Branch 97. The ANC’s Special Branch. The governing party, it seems, has relaxed its own rules to allow the white comrades to launch a branch with 40 members, rather than the constitutional 100.

Like I said, Special. The Specialness doesn’t end there. Not only are there different rules for the Copland comrades, but the party’s Number Two, Cyril Ramaphosa, will be there to give them their membership cards and a pep talk ahead of May 7. Cyril’s got the singing doctor, ANC Durban chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Premier Senzo Mchunu and all manner of ANC brass in tow.

We hit the venue, this boutique hotel overlooking Copland with a splendid view of the ocean. The winding road up the hill is lined with (black) comrades acting as human signposts. It’s a wit ou’s jol, so we’ve already eaten in case it’s bring-your-own.

Inside it’s packed with characters who look like me. Except they’re wearing T-shirts with the Commander-in-Chief’s head on them. There’s a mix of business types and puzzlers. I don’t see any of the cops who gave me the garage tour. Some of the younger comrades might be their kids though.

Things get going. Eventually. Maybe this is an ordinary ANC gig after all. Cyril and Senzo are charming as hell. Cyril “sets aside’’ the Freedom Charter. All the boring historical stuff. The ANC’s open for business and there’s trillions to be made. It’s time you got yours. It’s the NDP for you and me. Nobody mentions Andrew Zondo. Or Nicolaas Cornelius Fourie.

We’re done. Sibongiseni leads his recruits in this song he’s taught them, Mandela, Mandela. They’re awful. So is he. Cyril tells Sibongiseni his pitch is too high. Sibongiseni obliges, drops it down and starts afresh. It doesn’t help. The Croc looks like he’s gonna pee in his pants.

I’m less than impressed. It’s not the bad singing. I have a voice like a dog with its leg in a barbed wire fence. It’s not that it’s Friday night. I gave up on those long ago.

Truth is, I’m not impressed by the idea of an ANC branch for 40 wit ous. It doesn’t sound right to me. Way more Nicolaas Cornelius Fourie than Andrew Zondo.

My last ANC branch was Durban Central. Albert Park. A comrade was a comrade (unless they were from the ultra Left) and 100 was, well 100. Then again, joining the ANC then was more likely to earn you a trip to the pig-pen garage or jail time than a plum job or a tender.

Times have changed, I guess.

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