Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Peter de Villiers versus the Springboks

Jeremy Gordin writes that it would be nice, at this very moment, not to have an inarticulate bozo as national rugby team coach.


Chippa or Pippa - or what about De Villiers for the SABC?

We Seffricans are - if I might indulge in a generalisation or two - a forgiving bunch and, secondly, we pay close attention to what our leading thinkers say.

For an example of our magnanimity, consider Zapiro, the cartoonist and plumber. A while back Zapiro generously announced that he would temporarily suspend Jacob Zuma's shower head.

This, as you might imagine, resulted in a massive sigh of relief - you could feel the earth move - in the Zuma household, the ANC, and the government. (I'm not certain how one differentiates between those three entities, but there you are.) The government leg of that tripartite grouping - of that three-legged stool, so to speak - almost, I'm told, proclaimed a public holiday.

For an example of how much all of us, including those in power, respect our intellectuals, consider the situation when Mark Gevisser, a journalist and author, announced just before the general election that, after much soul searching, he could not, for the first time, find it in his heart to vote for the ANC.

As a result of this, the ANC, fearful of the effect of Gevisser's proclamation on the electorate, almost threw in the towel. The party wanted to postpone the elections. It said that, working together, this could be pretty easily done.

But, as I understand the events of the time, the media in general complained that it/they had already put together working schedules, cancelled leave, and so on. So it/they just would not countenance the cancellation, albeit temporary, of the elections. And Mokotedi Mpshe, the acting head of the national prosecuting authority, said - so I am told - that he had put in a great deal of effort to ensure that the elections would not only be free and fair, but also smooth, and he too would not happy if they were postponed or cancelled.

Now some readers, especially those schooled in the fundamentals of Aristotelian logic, might argue at this point that I have not, in the preceding five paragraphs, proved my original premise, as set out in paragraph one.

I would ask them please to remember that all I said was that we were a forgiving bunch and respected our thinkers. That is all. I did
not deny that some of our cartoonists and thinkers have an alarming tendency to disappear up our own rectitudes and, what's more, to think that they are more important than they might actually be.

However, one commentator who never disappears up his own rectitude, nor thinks he is more important than anyone else, is Rodney Hartman, the sports journalist, whom I (mindful of the feminist lobby) call "Hartperson", and who writes for The Star. (This last point should not be held against him.)

Now, if I remember correctly, it was Hartperson who, when Peter de Villiers, the Springbok rugby coach, was appointed to that position, said: "Let us be charitable Seffricans about this appointment. Let's give the man a chance."

And, since it was Hartperson who said this, I bit my lip and kept quiet, as Abe Lincoln once wrote. But can any self-respecting Seffrican citizen keep quiet now about De Villiers after Saturday's rugby match against the British & Irish Lions?

Look, let's be honest about this. We badly needed to do to the Lions what Samson did to that young lion in the book of Judges.

After all, the national mood is not good. The doctors are revolting. The taxi drivers - the unacknowledged rulers of the land, as Percy Bysshe Shelley might have said - are preparing to be even more revolting. Judge John Hlophe is messing around. Columnist David Bullard, aka the Bullfinch, is being bamboozled not by love but by the law.

Meanwhile, the SABC apparently doesn't know if it wants as its news and current affairs head Chippa (the nickname of Phil Molefe, number one on the short list, according to the learned Star) or Pippa (the actual name of Pippa Green, number two on the short list). Chippa has been "acting" in the position since the demise of Snuki Zikalala ( PhD, Bulgaria). It's what you call an easy act to follow.

And then, our national cricket team - the Proteas or the Roses, or whatever they're called - has once again grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. We have been asked - it is a matter of patriotic duty - to be hysterically, deliriously happy that our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, beat a team that would have lost to the Randburg U15B side.

In addition, the Egyptian soccer team members, in their moment of victory, allegedly forgot about their wives and lovers back in Cairo, and allegedly had some scantily-clad women - whom we call sex workers (geez, talk about a rose by any other name) - in for a celebratory penalty shoot-out. Or maybe they didn't. We don't know: the cops, those lousy patriots, have clearly been told to put a bloody sock in it.

Worst of all, the country seems to be in a kind of stasis. Even the mighty Sunday Times is scratching around, like a troubled chicken, for a lead story these days. There were all sorts of promises made by the new administration; promises that would be implemented, we were told, by the new ministries. A plethora of new brooms would sweep clean. But what do we have?

Only silence. Trevor Manuel, who is supposedly drawing up a master plan for our salvation, is not talking to anyone. I have tried repeatedly to reach him to find out what's potting. But his handlangers don't even return my calls.

This was why, as I said, we badly needed to thump the Lions, not scrape through with our tails between our legs. And we could have. Other than a couple of BEE appointments in the back line, we have the best rugby team in the world.

And what does this De Villiers creature do - just at the moment when the Boks were getting tired and needed to focus harder, keep their lead, and organise the loose forwards to plug the holes in the porous back-line? He takes off all his play-makers.

But even better, De Villiers doesn't say sorry for his balls-up - which would have been okay because we are, as I have said, a forgiving bunch. Instead, he comes out firing, with both feet in his mouth, saying that he'll do exactly what he likes.

What's more - in angry response to criticisms of his replacing scrum-half Fourie du Preez with Enrico Januarie (not to be confused with political commentator Judith February) - De Villiers decided to make his mark as a Seffrican thinker:

"I'm not concerned about Ricky's form. He made one blunder but so did a few other players. What I [have?] learned in South Africa is if you take your car to a garage and the owner is a black man and they [sic] mess it up, you never go back to that garage. If the owner is white, you say ‘ag, sorry', they made a mistake and you go back again. That is how some people live their lives in this country."

I have four important pieces of news for you, Pete. One, all mechanics mess things up; it's their job, whatever their skin colour is. Two, no one cares what skin colour the grease monkey is, provided he does a good job (which never happens anyway - see point one). Three, no one ever says sorry to a garage owner or a mechanic; it's just not what one does. Four, don't play the race card; that was Thabo Mbeki's job.

De Villiers is such an inarticulate and defensive bozo - with so little knowledge of what he's supposed to be doing and so little foresight - that he should be appointed to the management team of a major newspaper company. As far as I can tell, he'd fit right in.

Or, come to think of it, what about making him news and current affairs chief at the SABC?

2 Opinion(s):

Dachshund said...

Irritating and dangerous little goffel. He can screw up the Boks entirely.

Vince R said...

Nice post Dobes. Makes you wonder what the fuck we gonna do if (when?) the rugby and cricket really goes down the drain.