EVITA BEZUIDENHOUT’S 2020 LUTHULI HOUSEKEEPING REPORT
(Evita Bezuidenhout has presented her Luthuli Housekeeping Report since 2015 as a forerunner to the annual State of the Nation.)
I bring you some good news: Eskom is still here. And some bad news: Eskom is still here!
Before I unpack/tick the boxes of my 2020 Luthuli Housekeeping Report from my vantage point from my kitchen in Luthuli House, where I observe, take note, ignore, eavesdrop, cook and cater. It is remarkable how much detail passes from lip to ear.
2019 certainly was a year of trashcans and turmoil with party unity making place for more factions than the old Nationalists used to hide under the excuse of state security. Of course, as a member of the ANC the boxes I wish to tick are embargoed by rules and regulations in ten official languages (Afrikaans is available on request), which do not allow comrades and cadres to exercise freedoms of speech, expression or opinion. Public utterances are controlled to prevent contradiction. So, I communicate here in my personal capacity as a Gogo.
The austerity highlight of this new year so far has been the celebration of the ANC’s 108th birthday. One hundred and eight? Do you know anyone that old? You might know them, but they probably won’t know you. At 108 you are blind, deaf, senile, incontinent and on drips. Respect for the aged therefore now includes kindness towards this very old party. White monopoly Botox has done its job on the surface, but deep down we still have to investigate every cul-de-sac before the party finds the freeway.
Sayibona, dumela, molo, kunjane, hello! Yes, those are the first words of greeting wherever I make a speech outside South Africa, and I always end with the salutation they dread: Salaam! As a member of the ANC, I spend much of my time cooking for reconciliation and with all the factions fighting for control of the party, the country and the Reserve Bank, it’s become a full-time job. I have proved that bobotie, melktert_and a koeksister can resolve the unsolvable. President Ramaphosa therefore sends me into the global village as a former diplomat and cook of note, encouraging investments in our country in spite of Snitch, Fitch and Moody demeaning our fragile currency and designer optimism.
Then came Davos – three days of stand-up theatre, topped by the orange man from a white house and also a SA Team huffing and puffing somewhere among the smaller echelon. Our Minister of Finance tweeted: ‘If South Africans don’t pull up their socks, they will lose their legs!’ CNN wanted to interview me, but I was busy trying to unravel Greta Thunburg’s plait, so Mr Quest spoke to someone else. What a relief. How would I have answered his quote from Public Enterprises Minister Gordhan: ‘You think it was bad; I’m telling you it was worse.’
Yet every time I get back to South Africa after reading overseas that the writing is on the walls for us, I am so relieved, because there’s no place like home. Yes, this is our home and it must stay our home. 90% of the news that breaks in our hand we can do nothing about. So, it’s time to put your news intake on a strict diet. Delete! Switch off! Reboot!
We are in deep trouble, but democracies are never perfect because every citizen’s fingerprints are on the silver chalice of freedom. We have still got our constitutionally-protected freedoms of speech and expression. No one can ever say, “I didn’t know what was happening.”
We know who is capturing the state. We know who the crooks are. They thrive on the publicity. Let us find the good politicians in every party and encourage them to be better and together we can make South Africa great again! Which brings me to the green plastic lawn at the White House. Donald Trump will win a second term as president. You don’t need a crystal ball to see what will happen to the USA in the future, if people there don’t use their vote.
Every democracy deserves the government they get. Impeachment will roll down the Donald’s back like a duck’s water! As President he will just pardon himself. He might even postpone the November election for ‘security reasons.’ So the United States is in a state and the United Kingdom is no longer united.
What will happen after the UK leaves the EU on 31 December 2020? Scotland will become independent. Northern Ireland will merge with the republican south. Wales will go to the highest bidder. Gibraltar will go back into Spain. Which leaves England, St Helena and the Falkland Islands. I can imagine Prince Andrew soon being exiled to St Helena and the Queen of England on the Falkland Islands looking for a place where her husband can drive his Land Rover. Harry and Megan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will put a deposit down on a house in the Bo-Kaap. And why not? Their little boy will fit in much better there than in the Buckingham establishment.
Yes, for some of us the glass is still half-full, but for too many of us the glass is half-empty, if not already captured. The world out there is moving ‘bigly’ to the right, now embracing what we left behind in 1994. Looking at the Potus-Kushner-Netanyahu coup that has been announced with its nine pieces of a future Palestine dotted all over the map, I see what. Looks like the outlines of our bantustans! Or should that be Bibistan? I so wish for a De Klerk in Israel and a Mandela in Gaza. When will they stop shooting at each other and learn from us in South Africa? If we could reconcile with each other, as we have done, anyone in the world can reconcile. For heaven’s sake, isn’t it time that the Jews and the Arabs started living together like Christians?
So let us celebrate every small success and tick that box. Will we keep on allowing third-rate politicians to frighten us into silence with their fourth-rate ideas? Or will we rediscover the legacies of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu that remind us to love our enemies and in so doing ruin their reputations?
The ANC cadre, with due respect to all of them, is both comrade and curse. The day the ANC cadre is liberated from the chains of greed and realises that the occupation of political office and political space is one of leadership, that is the day that the ANC will begin to move in the right direction. Public office is a privilege, not one for the privatization of public wealth.
There is no magic in the ballot box. A corrupt cadre who has been elected, will just remain an elected corrupt cadre. They are the downfall of our beloved party, celebrating its 109th birthday on a saline drip in 2021. So viva our democracy! Viva! (T’s and C’s apply.)
www.evita.co.za / @TannieEvita
(Pieter-Dirk Uys will present Evita Bezuidenhout’s sister, Bambi Kellermann, in ‘Never Too Naked’ at the Fugard Studio from 24 March to 11 April. Book www.thefugard.com)
EVITA BEZUIDENHOUT’S 2020 LUTHULI HOUSEKEEPING REPORT