Bar Talk:Of promises and vicarious riches

makhosini hlongwaneBra Gee
Open letter to Minister Hlongwane
We hope you will forgive our presumptuousness in daring to address your august office from the counter at the usual place as we swirl our tipple. These days we seem to be seized with the matter of amplifying the voices of the masses so that our esteemed leaders can hear what the great unwashed would really like to see them do.

So we feel obliged to tell you that after listening to your impressive reiterations on how you will clean up the mess at ZIFA we have one reply; talk is cheap. We are sorry if you feel you have walked directly into a baptism of fire and you think our cynicism is premature.

But you see, dear Minister, as a country we have lived with the albatross of the ZIFA problem around our necks for far too long. We really expect a lot from you on this one. And as for talk, we have heard it all before, we assure you.

At one point we almost threw a party at the usual place, convinced that the hated one was gone. But as you know, the whole sorry lot is still firmly with us. So you must forgive us if this time around we desist from pumping our fists into the air until the money is in the till, so to speak.

We know that your portfolio entails a lot of work across many areas but we only ask of one thing. Please rid us of the hated one and we know the rest will fall like nine pins, whatever those may be. Then as far as we are concerned you would have delivered on your mandate.

We also understand that getting rid of these people is not an easy task seeing as they are ring-fenced with legalese that they created to protect themselves. But we assure you that no contract has been written that is unbreakable.

All you need is a team of brilliant minds among whom is a lawyer for the finer details. And loopholes will be discovered that you can use expeditiously. For until someone looks at the problem while standing on their head, they will keep on missing the solutions that are there to be plucked.

Just think of the poor employers who all these years had to put up with employees that they no longer liked just because they thought the law prohibited the firing of the same. But now we all know that the law never said that at all. Even as the workers cried foul the dreaded letters came pouring down.

In other words, we are not prepared to listen to any excuses.

Thank you for your kindness in graciously hearing us. Now all that is left is to find out if you are a listener. Should you grant us this one boon we promise that you will never have to buy a drink again as long as we live.

Going, going

We are relieved to hear that the other ghost who was refusing to leave the feast has finally decided to go. We are talking of the man who presided over the building of illegal settlements, the death of service delivery and the invasion of vendors while asking us to just keep on paying our bills and shut up.

Yes, we must say it is a relief that the parties are talking and soon enough we will be able to say that the former town clerk is not just no longer in the town house, but also no longer on our bills. We really had grown tired of paying for large vehicles, holidays abroad and who knows what else.

And staying with the same institution, we are happy to hear that there are some arrests being effected for the thieves who have been masquerading as land barons. But as usual we are not holding our breaths in the hope that someone will actually be locked up for real. We have come to understand the laws of the world which say that you only pay for small crimes. But we are happy enough to see the motions being gone through.

Rich is us

When we elect representatives they become our proxies through whom we speak our minds and give direction to how our country should be run. They represent us and are us. Therefore it figures that whatever experience they go through, we too can add it our lives’ CVs, even it is only vicarious.

In other words when our representatives are rich, we too are rich. So if our representatives are being asked to cough up $9 450 a month for the upkeep of one child we feel really great. Some of us thought that $400 a month is something that some families would deem a dream life and we have lived to learn that this just something for “incidentals”. We presume that Junior may need more pizzas that the $40 pocket money can buy. Which would be more than poor Mummy with her measly $1 000 a month can afford.

And then people try to tell us that we should tell our daughters to run when men who earn $60 000 a month ask for their mobile numbers? We are not crazy, we assure you and we give them the facts of life from an early age. Fortune only knocks once on your door in a lifetime and if you refuse to answer then you are beyond help, even of a divine nature. $9 450 a month would take care of our whole tribe and then some. We would buy two cars a month and still have enough left over to have meat at every meal and buy all the regulars a drink every night.

Silver lining

We believe that the glass is always half-full until we quaff that half down. But sometimes it becomes a challenge to find the light at the end of the tunnel. That is the challenge we are facing with the blackouts.

We could have said that the mandatory keeping of early hours are good for conjugal activities, but with more stories of spouses disembowelling each other and like horror stories we are not sure that such enjoyment is being found in too many houses.

We could have said that it is a good thing that the couch potatoes are being forced to find other ways of occupying their leisure hours. But what can they do in the dark except go and lie down in dark bedrooms? There is really no silver lining to this one unless you are selling solar products or have a handy gas or generator outlet.

Last Call: Power needed:

One workmate to another: “We had a power cut at home last night, so instead of a night of TV, the spouse and I spent the time chatting. It was a real eye opener — I’m off to buy a generator today. — Courtesy of

Till next week, bottoms up!

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