Thursday, 12 November 2009

30 seconds

My chiropractor has this tendency to hit me with deep philosophical conversations in the 10 minutes we see each other every three months. Personally I like to give a topic justice, and I feel I cannot go into the existence of God in 10 minutes. I think deep down I wish we could stick to conversations about muscle groups and spinal tangles. But perhaps these subjects mean so much to him that he could not give them enough attention in 10 minutes.

Last week he hit me with a corker just as I was putting my shoes back on to leave. Actually he had said something similar to me before, but not quite so bluntly:

"I'm not surprised so many South Africans leave, don't you guys have another Mugabe in power now?"

How. To answer that question. In the 30 seconds it would take me to put on my shoes.

That is not a light parting question. That question deserves a good answer, that question is a startling and misguided one. I can't leave my chiropractor thinking like that, even if he doesn't really care and it makes no difference to his life whatsoever.

This is a highly educated man. He knows more about South Africa than almost any other Brit I have met, and trust me, Brits are more clued up about South Africa than most nationalities. At least they don't usually argue with you as to the existence of your home country.

If he thinks this, then what do other people here think?

I tried, in my 30 seconds, to give the best answer I could, but I think I probably just made things worse in his mind.

Poor Zuma. I mean I am not exactly running up and down outside his house with pom-poms and a skimpy skirt, (I am not a fan of his anti-gay views at all, and certain other views on various things) but how can he be another Mugabe? He has not even been in power a single year. Mugabe spent years perfecting his unique brand of megalomanic madness.

My chiropractor seemed to think that land reform in South Africa had followed Zimbabwe. Now as far as I know there was a controversial land reform bill created before Zuma's time, which was then shelved. It has now been taken up again for review. This is an ANC thing, not just a Zuma thing, as far as I can see. But you try saying all that and more in 30 seconds.

That conversation made me sad. I wanted him to understand, to not say misguided things about my country. To know some context at least. But 30 seconds is not enough. And you know what, the stuff he said is coming from other South Africans who he knows, not from him.

We need to stick to discussing the weather from now on. Or God. I don't care if he is not really interested in my views about God, but damnit, don't ask me about the Zunami unless you really want to hear all about him, and his little machine gun too.

Thank godfrey my chiropractor has not yet heard of Malema.


Justin said...

I really dislike those South Africans that's painting such an ugly picture of our country abroad.
Thanks for keeping up your chin.

Ches said...

Yeah, agree with Justin.

Poski, we've had this discussion on here many times.

But when I drive through Sandton with it's endless cranes - a 30 storey skyscrapper just popped up in Morningside the other day - I see billions and billions of Rands of investment. And thats the key. Zimbabwe was successful because it was export's just dynamics in econimics. My point is, and my answer to those questions is...there is so so so much money being invested in this country by black BEE and white business poeple, and forgeiners a like. They sure as hell don't want this country and their money to go to hell like Zim, not in a millions years. And money, unfortunately, is the govenor of politicians.

Zuma - um, ya its a hard pill to swallow - may just be what SA needs.

But I have been wrong, just hope I'm not.

Damaria Senne said...

It's sad that some South Africans are painting an ugly picture of this country. Sometimes I liken it to burning the house down when you leave. Usually, you just find another flat or house, sell the one you've got /not renew your lease agreement. But somehow, these people feel compelled to obliterate the house, so no one can live in afterwards. And I don't get why they don't jut move on.
As for Zuma, call me biased because I work in the HIv field, but I like his new non-denialist policy. If they can live the talk, we just might save lives. Not that I'm reconciled to his shower issues, mind you:-)

Tamara said...

There's no such thing as a perfect politician, whether South African, British, Chinese or Martian. There will always be room to criticise. But does it help any?

Of all the annoying quotes on the Huletts sugar sachets, there's one that rings true:

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming."
~ Johann WolfGang Von Geothe

african down under said...

Haha yeah thank god he hasn't heard of old Julius! I saw a quote last night from 1988 or so by Margaret Thatcher that went: "Anyone who thinks the ANC is ever going to run the government is living in cloud-cuckoo land". Throw that one back at your chiro.

6000 said...

Reminds me of the time when I was backing out of my mother-in-law's driveway and she motioned for me to wind my window down so she could ask:

"Why don't you believe in god?"

Great timing, love.

Gillian said...

Next time shock him with your sexual preferences.

po said...

Justin: Well judging by what comes out of my poor chiropractor's mouth, there are some angry Saffas in his vicinity. Or maybe they aren't even angry. It is so easy to say that Zuma is like Mugabe, it has been said so many times that people have taken it on board before it could possibly even happen. Not that it could actually happen unless there is some secret cloning experiment going on that we don't know about ;)

Ches: we shall have to post the chiro over and let him judge for himself!

Damaria: agreed, he could have chosen to perpetuate the denialism and he did not, and that is a HUGE positive step. It may not be a huge concern for people whining about Mugabe, but I think it was one of the most important concerns.

Tamara: I love that quote. It makes so much sense. Imagine if you have no expectations of a child, or worse expectations that they will screw up or fail. It will be very hard for them to succeed in life. I think that could very well apply to politicians too.

african down under: oooh never saw that one before. How interesting. I spent quite some time keeping my sister up to date with Malema stories, and I never finished!

6000: hectic! Perhaps she had been storing that up all day, desperate for an opening and as she saw you driving away she felt she had lost her chance...

Ja I agree, don't ask me about detailed and intensive things when you are giving me the time and attention required for me to say what I enjoy eating on toast.

I've just been eating toast. Hence my current preoccupation

Gillian: haha but I don't really have any! I mean, he has met the BFG, he knows my preferences!

EEbEE said...

According to my theories, South Africa will cease to exist after that 2010 fifa world cup ball kicking contest...

long before zuma and his cronies have enough time to turn it into a giant cowpat as predicted by your chiro.

(i'll stick around, it should be fun...these things are way more exciting than living in a boring peaceful and morally correct country like...Switzerland??)

po said...

EEbEE: interesting theory. How do you think it will go? Spontatneous combustion via the kicking of a ball? Or just traffic congestion?

As T.S Eliot so awesomely says

"this is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a

SonnyVsDan said...

i like that he's able to hit at something like that. if you had the time you could have talked about it. i like that. too much of my life has been sucked up by the weather.

as the new guy at work i just had an awkward elevator conversation with a colleague. "do, drinks this arvo?"

i'm still working on my 'cut to it' topic...

Helen said...

Well for what it's wort - remember when Zuma pitched up at the pumalanga local government offices at 3pm to find the mayor had gone home? Grooooooot Skandaal...

We we had the biggest storm in 20 years (according to die Lowvelder this morning, although as someone who lived through it, it was a humdinger and I had no power for hours) a few days ago and the next morning the local governing body folks were out assessing damages and helping people who had had the roofs lown off their houses and across fields and had their homes flooded and crashed their cars...

I think Zuma has a couple of things going for him! A year ago they'd still be trying to find their car keys amongst the rubble!

EEbEE said...

One of a few possible scenarios

a) we fail to meet target deadlines and the world sighs shrugs and moves the cup to the backup country vowing never to take SA seriously again.

b) our soccer governing body (SAFA?)will do something so incredibly idiotic and embarrassing that the world will avoid making eye contact with us ever again out of pure shame

c) Looking for a new scapegoat, Julius Malema will proclaim that God is a racist and SA will be destroyed by a massive tidal wave.

d) We won't have electricity which in this day and age means that we basically dissappear off the face of the Earth.

Don't get me wrong though, i REALLY dig this country. it's just that we tend to cock up things in a big way

po said...

EEbEE hahahaha I love C! I go for C!

Anonymous said...

I love SA! I don;t know how I'd answer too - there is SO much that are pros and cons. For one, I really like the presidential hotline because its like the movies. AND then I like that Zuma is being watched better than other presients because its maing him pull up his socks and really do something with his leadership. I like him shame.

po said...

Paula: ignore the Mugabeists, Zuma is Zuma. There can only be one Zuma. There can only be one Mugabe, thank goodness. Zuma is making an appearance of doing concrete things at the moment, which is always good. New presidents always do that, but lets hope he keeps it up!

Champagne Heathen said...

My stock answers to these:

SA is at its teenage stage. It's very moody & tempremental right now. It might be hanging around with the bad kids, and hey, it might even be experimenting with drugs. But you know, that in the long run, it'll be ok.

[That usually gets people so confused that you can walk away while they are still trying to wrap their heads around the analogy!]

Zuma - He has promised too many people too many things & so has kinda got himself too twisted up to ever act quickly. Plus, he has some clever guys behind the scenes... so as long as he keeps listening to them...


America survived TWO TERMS of George W Bush. SA will survive Zuma.