Loot Responsibly!

Loot Responsibly!

A hoot for our time. This was the instruction to his followers from Duduzane Zuma, reportedly living high on the hog in Dubai, on the proceeds of his father’s limitless looting of South African wealth. Watching the frenzied looting in Kwazulu Natal and Johannesburg, followed by the burning of warehouses and now the endless queues for non-existent food, there is a hollow laugh somewhere deep down.

Loot responsibly!

For me the hollowness is almost bottomless. Twenty seven years of the post-Mandela ANC governance of South Africa has brought it to this? The bright hope of a bloodless revolution, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s wise approach to healing wounds and expiating bitterness, the submission of the once powerful minority white population to acceptance, only to end in ‘loot responsibly’.

The looters are starving. They are unemployed and likely to remain so, they are also largely illiterate which is why the only shop left untouched was a bookshop. They face power outages but televisions and fridge freezers were trundled away in supermarket trolleys.  Not that there will be much to put in them, even should they work. The police joined in; a police van can carry a fair bit of loot. So too the occasional Mercedes Benz joining the fray! Even the vigilantes guarding their homes seemed content with deterence and waving a gun rather than using it. For the most part.

The hollow laugh is lodged in my own childhood. It is difficult to escape from. My idealistic zulu speaking grandfather Harold Jowitt, was the Headmaster to the founder of the ANC, the Nobel prizewinner Albert Luthuli. Both of them forsaw a rich country, and in potential few countries are richer in agriculture, or minerals, gold, climate, beauty, or diversity of wild-life where there could be lavishly enough for all. Education and training would underpin that sharing, and a working life would be universal. Both, along with Mandela,  have been betrayed by the greed that followed them.

The President Cyril Ramaphosa who began his career in the Trades union movement is worth $450 million dwarfing Jacob Zuma’s mere $20 million, and son Duduzame’s $15 million, now safely concealed in the UAE. The diamond magnate Oppenheimers wealth remains in the billions. The global elite always seem to survive.

African leadership has been universally condemned by the so called first world as ‘basket cases’ of irresponsibility. But is that because the rapaciousness has been quicker and less disguised?  It comes to me that ‘loot responsibly’ might equally have been directed at all the first world monopolies like Amazon, Google, Silicon Valley, and Big Pharma, who have looted any competitor, suppressed news of alternatives and eradicated the inventive by offers they could not refuse. Take the offer or get crushed. So we in the US and UK also have the homeless, the tent citadels, the soup kitchens, and the hungry. And the uneducated and de-educated.  They have all grown used to the rigged economies, the parable of boiling a frog-slowly and imperceptibly raising the heat.

Soon we will also have the failed health systems, and the monopoly NHS will be devoid of staff, killed off by the compulsory ‘vaccines’ or dismissal for refusing them. Most of our GPs lost no time in disappearing behind closed doors. The dancing nurses are now chanting on the streets and waving placards. African unemployment has been through neglect, ours has been contrived with Covid as the bioweapon. We will meet African standards sooner than we think.

Perhaps we can learn from the subversive inventive solutions, like the one store that spread cheap cooking oil acoss a broad entrance, sprinkled it with a film of water and watched looters tumble ignominiously unable to gain entry. Poverty has its own creative spirit, and that gives just one belly laugh full throttle.

Time to find similar stratagems. To laugh and get clever.

MOVE OVER. BOOK WITH SHARP ELBOWS

The Dangers of the Memoir

Move Over- Book Seeks Space for Indefinite Period. Period

I don’t suppose anybody has noticed my absence, but in case anyone has I must include you in some reasons. The minor medical scare was not a reason but a release. I may never have to write again! Marvellous. I’ll tidy out the cupboards, sell the beloved cello. Weed the garden and wait. Maybe I’ll need a crucifix? Shall I dig a trench next to all the dogs and make life easier for everyone all round?

Milly grave

Instead the ‘all clear’ verdict has re-locked my ball and chain, fastened me to the throne of myself, and re-filled the Parker pen. Metaphorically speaking. Get to work. You don’t escape that easily.

Now here’s the problem. Or some of them. What I write does not have commercial appeal. Never did, never will.

I know ‘page turning’ ( I do it myself) means plot, means tension, means the hero’s quest, means structure. But the only quest I can call on is to understand my extraordinary life.  I have been trying to puzzle it out since I had teeth to chew upon. Too much extra-ordinariness IS the PLOT. A wholly improbable life that implies something; orchestration, purpose, intention. Towards what? I still don’t know how it ends, though it is fairly imminent. Maybe time for one more book?

But, and here comes hell, there is simply too much of it, and a life is a whole. A book, any book must make a judicious selection and pull out threads from the tapestry, and weave a hair or wrist band and leave it at that.

Here have been some under consideration.

The veldt and Denys Reitz149979483_640

1.The view from the bridge over the chasm between Africa and England? End up offending both sides? Boer the reader with the Boer War, teach them to ride bareback over the koppies, and my grandmother’s views on Cecil Rhodes, Jock of the Bushveldt, Baden Powell et al. Then transport them to Mary Quant and sixties hip London for the blast-off, that fizzled out? You get the drift. Mandela followed by Zuma- no absolute heroes,  a fair few villains. Margaret Thatcher?  Over-cooked. Yet there are distinctive flavours.

Denys Reitz 9acfca0d466326ff6bb3d4dc24fdc721--africans-book-jacket

 

-Deneys_Reitz
Denys Reitz: A Boer Commander who inscribed his book ‘Commando’ to my grandmother after he was banished to Mozambique by the victors- les Brits! In the inscription he referred to their ‘unparalleled generosity’!

Denys Reitz 00341db61fe4ef5b4a623178ba6a8569--war-horses-days-in

 

 

 

 

2. The Search for love. Now that is a kinda quest. Literature as a kind of painting by numbers ( choose your own heroes) and all the seductions of wrong directions. Just William and Ginger would never have welcomed you in their gang. There is no John of Gaunt for you girl, and Rhett Butler? Nah, never.

Rhett-Butler-rhett-butler-27877846-500-452

Oxbridge and Virginia Woolf? Getting warmer but all that racism and preciousness? You don’t know about the overt racism? Just you wait! I took Harold Nicolson’s letters home personally since they were written while he was a guest of my Zulu speaking grandfather, who was forced to endure the company of a man who despised the people he loved. And said so. Explicitly.

But wait! There is a story and one with a literary bite. George Eliot picking up the odd stitch until I faced her full frontal at a graveside in Natal. That could make a novella for a discerning small publisher? But how I came to find her, and find the grave, weaves back into the fam-damily and the WHOLE narrative. Otherwise it looks flimsy, or contrived. It is neither.

So okay a memoir. Threads of all the above discerningly selected. I probably won’t have time to manage more than one.

Can you see why I have been silent? Six beginnings, all expiring at the third chapter.

Last night I had a rescuing dream. I had summoned my Daimon and appealed. ‘Give me a sign’.

In the dream I was contemplating the need to accommodate a guest I had never met. I was apprehensive because I knew it would be a long sojourn. I drifted through my beach shack house ( clapboard, glass, and sparsely furnished swept rooms with a lot of light but few creature comforts).

Lilwala

This small room at the back? Too dark. I want her to be able to read and entertain herself.

This large room I like? Where will I spend time? She’ll command the only bathroom.

Ah, this pillar that holds up the roof? With a well supported ledge? She could curl round it to sleep and would, in consequence make herself scarce during the day? A sort of Simeon Stylites guest?

CIS:E.445-1965

Imagine being looked down upon all day? I woke up.

On contemplating this signal dream, I understood my wrestling dilemma. I was trying to accommodate this book by avoiding her, as much as possible. Confining her to an isolation ward, that would not infect me, keep her distant; feed her scraps.

I have created the shack of myself over the years. I go there when I am overwhelmed. It sits above a cove of beach, and tidal plashing sea; its enfolding arms stretch to the horizon. The shack has a porch with a grass chair and a hammock. Below, through an arch of rock, where the tide leaves small pools, and crushed shell is the opening to the beach. Across the sands lies a moored boat with a single sail. The mariner never faces me but I know he waits to unfurl that sail when I have the courage to enter through the rock and walk towards him.

I realised that if she were to be welcomed she would have to occupy, (and be invited to occupy), the whole house, from foundations up. Wander from room to room, and interrupt. I will probably end up hating her.

Because it is the whole house of myself I seek to understand. Perhaps when I have finished, the mariner and I will depart

 

 

 

The Impossibility of Writing (Post Paris)

I find I am unable to write anything new, right now.  So I offer

  1. A Link to a short story that was set in the age of innocence, and may divert you chopping onions.You can listen to it here on Narrative ( but might have to register- without cost) Link below

http://www.narrativemagazine.com/issues/narrative-backstage/blerrie-fockin-beautiful-philippa-rees

Highveldt Storm over Transvaal farm

 

More cogent is a wonderfully controlled and passionate essay on the sanity of depression. Post Robyn Williams Not only Jihadis find little left to live for. I advise you to read it, if only to share the pain and sanity of despair.

Is it Just Me? by Hal Crowther

http://www.narrativemagazine.com/issues/fall-2015/terminal-depression-it-just-me-hal-crowther