Okay, class, sit down and concentrate. I need you to concentrate because today we are dealing with a very complex metaphor, which was alluded to by our president in waiting, Jacob Zuma.
You will recall, class, that the great one has a huge collection of metaphors which he, in his benevolence, enjoys sharing with the masses during his political perambulations.
Not so long ago, he told us that the new party, the Congress of the People, was like poisonous snakes. But he later changed the metaphor to say, in fact, the ANC was the snake.
The snake has a habit of shedding its skin every now and then — to emerge in all its luminous glory after discarding the old, dirty skin. In this version of his great collection of metaphors, the great one said the new party was actually the old skin that had been shed by the ANC snake.
I am speaking very slowly, so I don’t think you are confused. Not yet, anyway. To recap: the ANC is the luminous snake that has just shed its old skin, and the new party is the dirty old skin.
Now, I don’t know why Terror Lekota and his crowd call themselves Cope, instead of Cop. Anyway, let’s leave that snake alone because it actually is not the snake, but the old skin of the snake.
That is a known known, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, which means, by the way, that these are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns, too. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — things we don’t know we don’t know.
But we now know, thanks to JZ, that Cope is the skin and not the snake.
To move on to Zuma’s latest metaphor: speaking at a Cosatu meeting in Polokwane this week, Msholozi said that Lekota’s party was like the donkey on which, according to the Bible, Jesus rode into Jerusalem. He said there was a story in the Bible about a “lucky donkey” on whose back Jesus rode into the city.
“The people were waiting for the Son of Man who was on the donkey. The donkey did not understand it, and thought the songs of praise were for him,” Zuma said. The stupid deluded ass, he told the crowds, later tried to return to Jerusalem on its own in order to once again experience that moment of glory, but the people chased it away.
In the same way, the Congress of the People leaders will find, in the fullness of time, that they are nothing without the ANC, that they are just egotistic asses.
It does seem to me that in Zuma’s world, evolution works in mysterious ways. Just last week, the very people who are now being called dumb asses were still snakes. And then they were the old skin of a snake! But, hey, last year these same people were being called dogs.
It seems to me it will be a long time before they evolve into fully fledged human beings.
But maybe they are better off being asses than human beings.
Being a human being, at least under Zuma’s watch, is going to be challenging. For a start, if you are a child who is lazy to go to school, you will be “taught by force” until you get your degree.
If you are a child who gets pregnant, not only will you have your baby forcibly removed from your care, you will also be sent away to some quarantine where you will be taught how to behave.
Better still, if you are a human who happens to have criminal tendencies — uzowukhomb’umuzi onotshwala, as we say in my neck of woods when we are making a dire threat to someone.
People suspected of being criminals will not be assumed innocent until proven guilty. A sad state of affairs, especially if you consider that the man who is making these statements fought tooth and nail for his right to be assumed innocent in both his rape and corruption cases.
If you hold God in disdain, you will be in trouble, if the president in the making has his way: “We need to teach our people to fear God ... How do you teach society to fear God? Is it not by making children pray before school as it was in the past?”
Oh, I remember those days when we used to pray before school. Assembly was held on a piece of dusty ground between two rows of classrooms. The teachers would stand on the verandah, resplendent in their suits and ties, while the children would be baking under the fierce KwaZulu-Natal sun.
We would sing and recite prayers in English and Zulu. But between the singing and praying, boys being boys would be pinching girls’ behinds. I don’t think God smiled approvingly at those scenes. In fact, I suspect that, angry with these pictures of disrespect, He turned His back on us.
In any case, most of the prayers were not recited with sincerity if you consider the fact that they were said in a foreign language that didn’t quite make sense to many of us. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” became “Shirley, Goodness and Mercy”. Girls with the names Shirley, Goodness or Mercy suddenly thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. They featured in one of the Lord’s prayers, after all!
Quite honestly, I don’t remember that the recital of these prayers helped with my own moral rectitude.
In any case, maybe I’m being an ass for being so dismissive of the things the great one thinks will restore morality in our country.
But I’d rather be an ass than a snake, or the dead skin of a snake. Phew, that was a complicated one, wasn’t it?