The (alleged) Poisoning in the Palace

2015-08-03 17:46

It’s as if nothing shocks us anymore. South Africans, it would seem, have become so resilient and unflappable, that one would have to get up really early to plan ways in which to break our stoic stride. Certainly the news that one of our President’s least favorite wives has (allegedly) been trying to poison him, seems to be hardly noteworthy.

And although we have heard this strange tale before in the form of rumour and conjecture, it should hardly prevent this revelation from being a really interesting chronicle. One of our President’s wives’ is (allegedly) trying to poison him (read that very slowly), and we don’t seem to care at all. Not one bit.

Imagine what would happen had this (allegedly) occurred in a normal country. Like England. Imagine the press or tabloid reaction, the reaction of the populace and voters. The mums and the grannies. Imagine what Prince Philip would say -actually given recent reports of his raucous repertoire, perhaps rather don’t.

Certainly the story would hold the national interest for more than a day or so and I would imagine, that at the very least, the English might muster up a question or two and even share a disdainful look. I imagine that they actually might enquire as to the motive, the methodology and the type of poison used. Hello Magazine would undoubtedly run a feature with gorgeous wedding photos of the couple in "Happier times." And then, perhaps, the Brits would spend a moment wistfully recalling the good old days of hemlock and of palace intrigue. A moment recalling days long gone and never to return. Not since that boring young couple with no hint of scandal or personality entered the palace and forever dimmed the lights of curiosity on the Empire.

We, however, appear to have it all. We have the Castle of Nkandla where the king and all his merry wives reside. Admittedly its not Versailles and instead topiaries we have what looks like very unpleasant cactuses on amphitheatre display. But it’s our royal residence and we ought to treat it as such (after all, we have paid for it).

I used to imagine that the king’s wives spent their long summer afternoons sipping cocktails and sunning themselves beside the pool. But then I saw photos of the horrible little watering hole and I realised, given its size that it’s a strictly one per customer affair. Which is maybe what led to the (alleged) poison-plot in the first place. There was simply no room at the fire pool for all the wives.

One does have to spare a thought for any man married to four women. All at the same time. Most of us can barely handle the demands of one wife, let alone a group of them. I suspect that it is for that reason, that try as I did, I could not find an acceptable collective noun for “Wives”. Google, it would seems, insists on labelling them a "Complaint" or "Nag" of wives, which is very rude in my view. But far be it for me to argue with the well of knowledge.

The King has no doubt slept with one eye open for years. And it appears for good reason – given the fact that one of them has now been accused of (allegedly) trying to send him to the Great Nkandla in the Sky. It would seem that she is trying to not only shuffle him off this mortal coil, but is forcing him to eat it.

But all said and done, the fact that South Africans are completely unmoved by the revelation that Ntuli Zuma stands accused of poisoning our President and that almost anything is bigger news, is not just a curiosity, but rather the whole story.

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