100% Zulu boer

2009-04-10 00:00

So now that the National Prosecuting Authority isn’t going to prosecute Jacob Zuma for corruption and we have to stop making fun of him for alleged acts of a criminal nature, can we start making fun of him for acts of an imbecilic nature?

I’ve been away for the past five days in Oudtshoorn at that great assembly of Zulu cultural practitioners that is the KKNK (Klein Karoo Nie-blanke Kunstefees), so forgive me if I repeat jokes that prompter columnists have made, but come on — could Zuma really have said that Afrikaners are the only real white South Africans?

Short answer — yes, yes he did say that. And my initial reaction, I’m ashamed to admit, was rage. Why I should have felt amazement at the fact that a Zulu leader was trying to tribalise the whites of South Africa, I don’t know. Possibly, it’s because I’ve always sneered at people trying to push the whole Zulu “divide and conquer” tribal stereotype. Well, I might have to rethink that one, thanks to laughing boy.

Of course, all the Afrikaans institutions like FAK, KAK and LAMEDAK have reacted with gratitude to the bone thrown to them by Jayzee. (“Jissus, maybe these darkies aren’t so bad. I mean, if they hate the verdomde Engelse as much as we do, we might have grounds for a reconciliation here.”)

Poor alphabetised sods. When Zuma starts to feel sorry for you, you’ve really lost the country. You might as well borrow one of the many passports that Zuma seems to feel I’ve got stuffed down my starched shirt front. Quite where he gets that idea from, I don’t know.

I suspect he’s confusing English-speaking South Africans with white Zimbabweans, which is a natural mistake to make, given the general level of aimless whining we do. And it is true that, like those Zimbos, many English-speaking South Africans are perfectly happy to shed a tear every year on the anniversary of Princess Di’s death, but sneer at the fact that there’s a Zulu monarchy.

All these stereotypes are ridiculous, naturally, including the one about Zimbos. There are probably as many different types of English-speaking South Africans as there are charges being dropped against Zuma, and there’s no such thing as a uniform Afrikaner identity anymore, which is one of the things that bothers the alfabetsop Afrikaans groups.

But as a columnist, stereotypes are my stock in trade. Set ‘em up, gently lampoon them, then break them down. That’s the formula. But if you’re a politician, soon to be president of a country, and you trade in stereotypes, well — hello, Rwanda.

And what gives Zuma the right to decide who is a South African and who isn’t? He’s just a man with some dodgy friends and too many wives for his own good. I’d be surprised if he can tell the difference between a kleurling and a kickback (answer: a kickback is a kind of kangaroo).

South Africans have a serious problem with authority figures. We tend to worship them until proven gravely wrong, and to assume blithely that anyone in power deserves to be there. As George Orwell (the recent winner of Celebrity Big Brother) has pointed out, we’re all idiots, but Zuma fans are more idiotic than others.

As someone pointed out on my blog, every now and then, when ANC politicians suddenly realise anew that Afrikaners are massive contributors to the skills set and economy of the country and it’s probably not a good idea to tell them to bugger off to Australia, they decide to make friends with them. But they never choose the cool left-wing Afrikaners, it’s almost always the conservative ones they visit.

Orania? Why are you visiting Orania, the boere bantustan that’s the geographical exemplar of absurd and neurotic denial?

The choice of who they’re talking to says more about Zuma and Malema, than it does about Afrikaners. Clearly, they’re only comfortable with Afrikaners who are the extreme other, an easily compartmentalised and controllable threat.

The fact that there are Afrikaners who are more South African than Afrikaans, and who feel that the government is their government, and therefore answerable to them, seems to be a step too far for laughing boy and his chuckling garden gnome.

• Chris Roper is currently filming exotic naked maidens at the 100% Zulu Boer Cultural Festival.

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