I am fed up to the back teeth with the “SA-negatives”, both South African and foreign, who seem to be willing our soon-to-be-phenomenal World Cup – and our beloved nation – to fail.
Did they even bother to witness the scenes of beautiful “ubuntu” which played out between the predominantly white Bulls and Stormers supporters and the almost entirely black locals of Soweto when the two South African rugby franchises contested the Super 14 final at the Orlando Stadium in the famous township on Saturday?
The genius who first suggested that the Bulls’ Super 14 semi-final and then the final of the southern hemisphere’s rugby tournament be played in the heart of overwhelmingly soccer-mad Soweto should be awarded the Order of the Totally Like Solid Gold Makarapa by President Jacob Zuma. And two VIP tickets so he can wear it to the World Cup final. His was the biggest chuffing brainwave since Einstein invented that E equals whatever formula thing it was that the old mad-haired fogey came up with.
The rugby-in-Soweto bright spark’s suggestion led to, on the eve of the most human-spirited World Cup this planet will ever witness, the most beautiful nation-building exercise our beloved country has seen since Madiba wore Francois Pienaar’s jersey and lifted the rugby World Cup trophy at Ellis Park 15 years ago.
In celebration of these momentous events, Mark Berger, who goes around showing people how to shift from convincing themselves the world will end tomorrow to believing they too can make it a far better place in which to live, has sent me a very soul-stirring and heartwarming article… which follows this introduction.
Read… and be inspired. If you’re not inspired, then bugger off to Perth (if you’re not already there and boring everybody to death with your tales of doom)… I’ve personally had quite enough of you lot. Bloody agents!
The Story of the Pessimist, the Optimist and the Realist.
Did you hear the one about the optimist who accidentally fell from the roof of a 100-storey building? Someone down on the 50th floor saw him falling past an open window saying: “So Far So Good!”
On Saturday I witnessed an historic event – two South African rugby teams playing in a Super 14 final at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. It was amazing to see the stadium full of cheering rugby fans, the cacophony of droning vuvuzelas, the colourful makarapas and President Zuma pitching up to greet the players before kick-off. For an optimist like me, this was a significant event, one which brought back powerful emotional memories of Rugby World Cup 1995. (Although back then my team won the game…)
A Bulls rugby fan attempts an opskop during a township gumboot dancing competition with a traditional dancer outside Orlando Stadium on Saturday. Mooi, man! Pic: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
Of course the pessimists will say it was a non-event, a sham, nothing more than a shortlived publicity stunt for political gain. The realists will say it was only a rugby game; South Africa has much more pressing (and depressing) issues to overcome.
Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you are right.” I think the same applies to belief in the future success of our country – if you think we can or you think we can’t – you are right! It depends upon whether you are a pessimist, optimist or realist.
Right now, the pessimists are having a field day regarding South Africa. Like Karoo sheep they will bleat about Crime, Corruption, Malema, Zuma, The Erosion of Land Rights, Senseless Farm Murders, the Crumbling Justice System, Poor Service Delivery, Nationalisation of Mines, Unemployment and Cadre Deployment et al.
And they are absolutely RIGHT! Every one of these issues is evidence of their being right. We face massive challenges, challenges which the pessimists believe we as a nation will not be able to overcome. They insist that our country, like the optimist who fell off the building, is falling rapidly towards a major disaster. In their opinion it’s only a matter of time before the mango really hits the fan. They repeatedly tell the optimists to get out of denial and start facing the grim reality of what, in their opinion, is the inevitable decline of another African economy. Just look at the evidence from up north they say, from Mad Bob to Gaddafi and in between, to see where we are going to end up.
SARU president Oregan Hoskins sings the national anthem stukkend while President zuma looks on the verge of a good blub over the nationbuilding significance of what's going down in Soweto on Saturday Pic: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images
The optimists, on the other hand, have to range far and wide (just like Karoo sheep) to find meagre pickings of hope. After some reflection they might mention our Rapidly Improving Infrastructure, Major Intersections Being Rebuilt, Awesome New Airports, The Gautrain, Bus Rapid Transit System, Tax Collection Efficiency, Our Stable Currency, Declining Inflation, Solid Banking System and Our Free Press. Not to mention that we are about to host the biggest sporting event in the world right now. They will ask if you have noticed the side mirror socks and SA flags on so many cars, showing a growing groundswell of support for Bafana Bafana to play their hearts out and make ALL OF US proud.
The optimists may also remind you to take a good look at the overall state of our economy today, compared to 1994, as evidence of how far we have come as a nation.
And THEY too, are absolutely RIGHT. Every one of these points is a real reason to believe, a reason to feel positive that we as a nation can survive, thrive and succeed. Each one of these are real achievements, concrete evidence that we can get things done and make significant progress, despite our many challenges.
And what of the realists? They will most likely take another perspective, a look at the bigger picture and ask three vital questions:
How is South Africa REALLY doing?
How is the REST OF THE WORLD doing in comparison?
What sort of shape is our whole PLANET in right now?
Some answers they may give us would be:
How are we really doing? Realistically, we are doing OK, with lots to be proud of and lots to be concerned about, in equal measure. It really comes down to a question of what you choose to focus on. More importantly, it comes down to what each of us is actually doing to make things better. Worrying achieves nothing; it simply creates stress, fear and negativity. Waiting for a political solution is a waste of valuable time. Taking action to make a difference breeds real change, positivity and optimism.
How is the rest of the world doing? Thailand just had 88 deaths due to political infighting in Bangkok.Europe is facing a major Euro currency crisis. Greece and Spain (and probably more to come) are in deep financial trouble. So deep that France is threatening to pull out of the Eurozone. Britain has lost faith in their politicians. Every sixth child in Germany is on welfare. Volcanic ash is causing regular mayhem over parts of Europe. A friend recently returned from a two-week driving holiday in Italy. He tells me that they have numerous, massive potholes which make ours seem tiny by comparison. The USA is facing its biggest oil spill disaster ever. They also found a large, (malfunctioning) car bomb in Times Square on May 1. And they still owe around US $400 trillion to somebody – the world’s largest budget deficit. Australia faces issues like refugee boats, teen pregnancy and major drug abuse among their youth. A recent survey found that the Aussie population feels that their government is interfering way too much in all aspects of their lives. Sounds familiar?
What about our planet? Right now, she is struggling with a net population growth of some 200 000 new humans per day – that’s an extra one million every five days. We are literally swarming like ants and the impact is showing. So we are seeing global warming, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and other planetary disruptions. Some even say that the melting ice caps could affect the delicate weight balance and cause our earth to shift on her axis – then we will see some major SHI(F)T happen – in our lifetime!
And as I write all of this, I can hear the pessimists bleating again: SO WHAT Mark, two wrongs don’t make a right, get with the programme, who cares about the rest of the world when our country is going to the dogs?
Rugby fans, who usually just sing "Ole, Ole" like they're at a bullfight or something give the old vuvuzelas, the noise-making instrument of choice for black soccer fans, a good paaaarp at the Super 14 final Pic: Lee Warren / Gallo Images
Listen ouens, I am only going to say this only once: The world is your oyster and you can choose to go and live anywhere you like. The choices are vast. The truth is that WHEREVER YOU GO, YOU TAKE YOURSELF WITH YOU! You will still wake up every day and have to look in the mirror at your optimistic, pessimistic or realistic face. And if you have reason to complain about SA, you will most likely find as many reasons to complain about your new country, your neighbours, politicians, the weather, rising prices, bureaucracy, traffic, systems, language and food. Granted you will probably feel safer and more secure regarding violent crime, but will you feel HAPPY? Happiness comes from within and everywhere you go you will still face challenges. Different challenges maybe, but no less difficult to overcome.
And what of feeling secure? Helen Keller said: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
I am somewhat concerned about the future of our planet. I do not always feel 100% safe in my country right now. But I am 100% happy and confident it will improve. My life has always been a daring adventure. And, most importantly, I am doing something positive to make a difference instead of sitting around waiting for the world to change. Every month, I work with hundreds of my countrymen to improve their attitudes, productivity, optimism, efficiency, profitability, motivation and team work. At the workplace, I see people of all colours, religions and creeds, male and female, old and young, integrating and working together to make things better. I see the shift happening amongst leaders, staff and their customers. On Saturday, in Soweto, I saw that shift begin to happen socially, outside the workplace, in the townships, which is where the real work still needs to be done. I saw the birth of hope.
On selected weekends, I assist groups of brave individuals to take a profound journey deep inside and discover what distorted beliefs are running their lives. I witness “strangers” sharing their true feelings with other “strangers” and thereby becoming friends. I see people dropping their masks and prejudices, being completely authentic with others and thereby undergoing profound transformation, like caterpillars becoming butterflies. I see hope being restored and deep human bonds being formed, regardless of race or age or religious belief. I see the light begin to shine from within, as we strip away the darkness of depression, fear, self loathing and negative conditioning. I see extreme pessimists make a complete pendulum swing through realism to optimism. It is the most rewarding work I have ever done in my life.
Some oke gives us horns to show that, in fact, Bulls fans have been wearing an Afrikaner variation of the makarapa for some time now Pic: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images
All of the above gives me joy and makes my life meaningful. It gives me reason to believe, because I SEE IT HAPPEN. I do not read the newspapers, because they mostly tell me what is going wrong. I remain focused on what is REALLY GOING ON, and find that there is much to be optimistic about. I realise that it is up to each individual to first change themselves and then help others do the same, if we are to have a safer, kinder, more conscious and compassionate world.
Woodrow Wilson said: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
Our own Johnny Clegg sang: “It’s a CRUEL, CRAZY, BEAUTIFUL world.”
I believe the world appears to be Cruel to the Pessimists, Crazy to the Realists and Beautiful to the Optimists.
Which one are you?
* Mark Berger is the CEO of Mark Berger Training, a Cape Town based organisation specialising in Unlocking Human Potential. He has been a professional speaker since 1996 and is currently president of the Cape Town Chapter of the Professional Speakers Association of SA. He has become well known for his uniquely pro-South African newsletters and a blog which mysteriously manages to travel electronically all over the known world. To read some examples of these newsletters visit his website.
All those “SA-positives” who visit here know that I love a good vuvuzela, the cultural weapon of choice for hardcore Bafana Bafana supporters.
In fact, I was horrified to learn that some do-gooder has banned the use of our vuvus on aeroplane flights around South Africa during our most phenomenal of all World Cups, now just a mere 360 or so hours away.
Quelle horreur!Eish. Or as we in paradisical Stanford are inclined on occasion to exclaim, “Good golly!” This Fifa-ass-kissing decision flies in the beautiful face of the spirit of South Africa’s World Cup. How are we to create a suitably raucous atmosphere around the World Cup finals if we are banned from parping our vuvus on planes?
What, because Mrs Carruthers-Smythe sitting in first-class might beckon a trolley dolly to her aid and mutter, “I say, my dear, would you mind terribly if I ask that those ne’er-do-wells at the back be ordered in no uncertain terms to tone it down a bit?” I say “Phooey, tell Mrs C-S not to be such a spoilsport, is it asking too much that she tolerate a little extra turbulence for just five weeks?”
No, it seems that South Africa’s fuddy-duddies and Spanish midfielder and Liverpool reject Xabi Alonso, who made a big stink about vuvuzelas when he played in the Confed Cup here last year, are to be indulged by our kindly Uncle Sepp (Blatter). I don’t know what the World Cup is coming to, if you ask me (but nobody does).
Never mind, it’s good to know that Hyundai, who are an official sponsor of Uncle Sepp’s Rather Exclusive African Party of the Year (otherwise known as the Fifa World Cup) and maker of rather crap cars, have shown their support of our beautiful vuvuzela with a bright-spark marketing ploy in Cape Town. Check this out…
Please Hyundai, won't you let me have a parp on that?!
Lekker, hey? I’ll be quite embarrassed to show my vuvu in public after seeing that! Call it vuvu envy if you like. And you do like, don’t you? Yes, you do. Admit it! And sticking that humungous vuvuzela right there holds an extra bonus in that it might stop a few German supporters taking a wrong turn after a heavy night down the Fireman’s Arms and plummeting off the edge of The Unfinished Freeway. Actually, come to think… oh, never mind.
You laugh?! There are many stories Capetonians will recall, if you buy them a Mojito, of friends who nearly did just that. But that was before the Traffic Department woke up to the danger of not completing a freeway… and then forgetting to let people know that, no, that road wouldn’t take them to Green Point but rather to the morgue.
We can be as “SA-positive” as a life-sized biltong replica of Table Mountain, dear Hatpeople, but if some English footy fans want to get trashed and start rorting (fighting) with nationals from every country with which Britain has ever been at war (including, I suppose, the Zulu and Boer tribes), then our World Cup cops will have their work cut out.
So the South African Police Services have been conducting simulated exercises to deal with any violent situation that might arise during World Cup 2010. They have been spotted giving their assault helicopters a good valet service, polishing millions of hand-grenades and even spring-cleaning their rocket launchers.
But we must get this into perspective. English football “fans” who like nothing more than a post-match skinful of Carlsberg Special lager, a well-dodgy shish kebab and the old “handbags at 10 paces” with supporters of the opposing team have only the British bobby to contend with…
A British bobby on the beat
Fine. The great British bobby is renowned the world over for shepherding blue-rinse grannies over a busy street, patting flaxen-haired children on the head and, after producing a boiled sweet from a large pocket, sending them scurrying home so as not to be late for tea. When they’re not entertaining Japanese tourists by wearing their standard issue tutus.
That’s all very nice. But I’m thinking that, just perhaps, those English “fans” keen on a little hows-your-father after drinking The Biltong and Boerie dry might want to be a tad more prepared for South Africa’s version of Mr Plod.
So, committed as I always am to providing a public service to foreigners trying to find their way around South Africa, here is a quick guide to how to not have to deal with the South African po-lis.
But, first, let’s have a quick peep at some of South Africa’s finest fuzz at work…
South African police deal politely with football fans who appear to have lost their way
So here’s my stagger-by-stagger guide to English supporters wanting to safely find their own beds after any of the forthcoming World Cup matches…
1. Once the final whistle has blown, proceed immediately to the nearest fan supporting the opposition (this includes those of a German, Argentinian and Zulu persuasion, as well as any stray Scots who might have got confused and landed up in the mix), cheerfully shake his or her hand and offer your congratulations for a game jolly well played.
2. After departing the stadium by the nearest exit, fall into single file and make your way home in an orderly fashion past every hostelry which purveys liquor and loose women, stopping only to smile and wave at anybody jeering at you or lobbing sharp objects provocatively from the windows of passing vehicles.
3. Once safely home, prepare for yourself a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich and Ovaltine, catch up on all the latest World Cup results and news on the telly, text your Nan back in Old Blighty that you have enjoyed a splendid day out and tuck up with a good John Grisham before lights out at 11pm.
There. That wasn’t very difficult, was it?
Alternatively, you could swarm to the nearest pub, get lashed on Carling Black Label and Jagerbombs, pogo around bellowing “Enger-land, ENGER-land” with your bum-crack showing, suggest to a large Afrikaner’s wife that she spend the night sleeping in your vomit, pick your body up from the carpark and, after returning several limbs, bones and other anatomical appendages to their former place, ricochet off in search of a bucket of KFC and an equally motley crew of Germans with whom to trigger off World War III.
No terribly clever, Nigel. And, I might add, you won’t find a full English Breakfast the next morning in the Rooinek Wing at Rustenburg Prison.
Football didn’t originate on Robben Island but the playing of the game on the island by apartheid’s political prisoners can be said to have led to South Africa’s hosting of the global footballing showpiece in just 408 hours’ time.
So President Jacob Zuma was a tough-tackling and uncompromising central defender? I do like that!
There’s only one person I dig less than a foreigner criticising South Africa. Actually, let’s start again. there are only two people I dig less than a foreigner criticising my country and those are a South African expat living overseas whingeing about South Africa and a South African living here in the most amazing country in the entire chuffing world but banging on about how bad things are and wishing he was in Perth. Or London. Or Vancouver. Or Chernobyl. Or anywhere in the world but in South Africa.
What is this all about? I, the first person in South Africa (even before President Jacob Zuma) to be medically diagnosed as “SA-positive”, cannot get my head around it. That might well be because I’m phenomenally stupid. Fair dos.
Dianne was simply exercising her right to give her personal opinion about her experience. As she did when she exercised her right to join her South African boyfriend here in Cape Town. Her eyes, unlike those of many whining South Africans, were opened to the beauty of our beloved country. Not just the physical beauty of the landscape but the beauty of our fascinatingly diverse peoples, their friendliness, their openness, their warmth, their vitality.
The view from Dianne Russell's Cape Town apartment... what a lucky Canadian!
But clearly she had not chatted to that weird group of South Africans – mostly, in the words of that nincompoop Julius Malema, of a “white tendency” – who live frozen in fear behind their electric fences and only come out by day to make large amounts of money and to go to braais held by their similarly-minded friends.
There they will wolf down humungous amounts of steak and boerewors, sluk on brandy-and-Coke and Castle Lager and whinge incessantly about how terrible crime and corruption is, how this country has gone to the dogs and, maggies, have you checked how bad the potholes are on the road to the office? These South Africans stand around the braai rooted in their collective consciousness and abject fear, moaning and wishing they could go to live in a “civilised country”.
They mourn “the good old days” (read the apartheid era) when most of the national resources were handed to them (a small percentage of the population) on a plate and the vast majority of South Africans had to get by on the scraps thrown to them. Now that our new democracy is founded on sharing everything equally among everybody (and the government is struggling to do that and make ends meet), these “SA-negative” people dream of supping on the “milk and honey” which apparently abounds in other countries.
Yeah, yeah. Pull the other one. When are these previously over-privileged South Africans going to grow up? Get real, mense. Have you even travelled abroad to grasp at the reality of living in stultifyingly over-regulated, overly politically correct and plain boring countries such as the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand? Please do. and make it a one-way ticket. You’re holding us back, bru. And your negativity is draining the beautiful energy the rest of us are putting out.
And some of you had the ignorance to write into this blog to bash away at the positivity Dianne Russell, a Canadian, feels about South Africa. Your anger was tangible, so much so that a rather confused Canadian blogger has brought it to the attention of Canada. How dare a foreigner move to our country and have the audacity to tell us how wonderful it all is? Who does she think she is? A South African? Ja, if she were South African she would share our pain at the moerse potholes our double cabs disappear into on a daily basis. And to be truly South African like us, she must give up her Canadian passport, hand in her Canadian dollars, stop being a “party girl” and sitting around sipping cocktails outside Caprice in Camps Bay and come to stand around our braai in Hierdieplekisblerriekakfontein and endlessly bemoan the increasing girth of Julius Malema and potholes.
Eish! But there is hope for these people. Remember Brandon Huntley, that sad South African okey who claimed political asylum in Canada after telling some gullible immigration officials there that he had been mugged, assaulted, sodomised and even sworn at at least five times a day while living in Mowbray, Cape Town. You do? Well, there you go. I’m sure there are quite a few countries that will give you full citizenship on the grounds that those potholes are getting so bloody big that you can’t get your double cab around them on your way to work. Then you can freeze happily ever after and leave us to somehow struggle on in the brilliant sunshine of our South African lives.
And I tell you what. Before you go, I’ll let you in on something personal. Back in the day (yes, under apartheid rule), when I was mos a laaitie – and before PW Botha’s military taught me how to shoot a R1 rifle at the commie terrorists on “the border” and before Home Affairs confiscated my passport because I refused to work as a spy for them in London and before they tapped my phone when I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement there and before they detained me and interrogated me at Jan Smuts Airport when I next came back to South Africa to visit my parents… yes, before all of that – I used to play soccer barefoot with my friends, white and black – on a golden field near a river running through Pietermaritzburg. Late into the night and by the light of nearby houses.
And the next day, we would go down to that river and feel our chests thump as we whooshed down that foofie-slide that Uncle George had fixed high on a tree. And then, slightly bruised and bleeding, we would slosh around in the river, worried about bumping into the much-feared legavaan (Varanus abigularis or Monitor Lizard) that apparently could break a child’s leg with a swish of its tail.
A Legavaan... this mythical river beast could apparently break our legs with one swish of its tail
Then we would collect tadpoles in the river to take home to watch grow into frogs, stopping only to munch mulberries off a number of trees and grab a few leaves to feed the shoeboxes of hungry silkworms about to go through their cocoon-moth-egg-silkworm cycle. And once, when the river came down in flood, the boy next-door and I borrowed my mom’s zinc bath (used to bath the dogs) and sailed merrily down the river. We ended up about eight kilometres away, on the other side of Maritzburg, and I had to borrow five cents to phone my mom and ask her to come in the car to pick us up as we couldn’t carry the zinc bath all the way back.
It was a beautiful childhood. Until I became gradually aware of the racist policies of the government of the day. I owe a great debt to my country. South Africa owes me nothing. I love South Africa.
No more so than when I see, around where I am blessed to live, children of all tones of skin kicking a football around on the village green. And getting very animated when they spot the seal that has taken up residence in the river that runs through Stanford. These children won’t grow up to be told to shoot rifles in a crazy war, they won’t be asked to spy for a crazy government and it is highly unlikely that they will be stopped at OR Tambo Airport and interrogated about why they belong to an organisation that campaigns against a racist South Africa.
That, my friends, is why I believe that we live in a far better South Africa. A South Africa that is not without great challenges, for sure, but a South Africa in which I choose to live and die in. So, when you are around that braai this sunny weekend and the dop (liquor) is going down fast and freely – and perhaps you are watching the Bulls play Super 14 rugby in Soweto, nogal – please try to get your potholes drama into some perspective.
And, even better, perhaps you might want to clamber out of your huge pothole of fear, leave Dianne Russell alone, put on a Bafana Bafana jersey, get hold of a vuvuzela and join the rest of us “SA-positive” people in celebrating our uniquely wondrous country and the sensational World Cup we are about to host. Feel it. We SA-positives are here!
There are some enduring images of football, our planet’s beautiful game.
None more enduring (for me) than the one Dad snapped of me falling on my jacksie while failing to convert from the penalty spot and score the winner for Pirates under-16A in the Maritzburg and District Football Association cup final back in 19-voetsek.
Never mind. I’m not hauling that one out. No. Instead, feast your eyes on this…
Residents walk near a soccer goal post on Copacabana beach after heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro, April 10, 2010 Pic: Sergio Moraes / Reuters
Nice, hey? Being more au fait with the art of photography than the art of penalty-taking, I plumped for this one. But you can see a whole lot more beautiful images captured around people playing football the world over by making an inch-perfect slide-rule pass through to here.
Doesn’t this make you even more excited for our beautiful World Cup to start in just 555 hours’ time (no calculator used here, OK?). I tell you what, I’m so spilling out of my body for June 11 that I feel like putting on my Bafana Bafana shirt and nothing else and running out into the main street of Stanford and yelling “Feel it. It is 555 hours away!” in 11 different languages to the granny who muttered into her copy of the Cape Times at the Arts Cafe this morning that she wished that the World Cup was already over.
The staff here at Hatman Mansions have brought to my attention a report that British actress and Austin Powers stunner Elizabeth Hurley is on the lookout for a new child to add to her meagre sprog-count of one son (Damian, 8).
I think I can help. In fact, sod that, I know I can help. I want to.
Here is why. Given that Liz is now 44 and her bio-clock is making a tick-tock like an African elephant crashing through a never-ending series of drystone walls, I wish to remove the possibility that the broody babe may casually pick up the latest catalogue of “African Orphans Seeking A Comfy Upbringing In A Filthy Rich Actress’s Country Pile” in her dentist’s waiting-room and go off on a shopping spree.
I am further alarmed by the fact, should OK! magazine be in the business of reporting facts, that her alleged hubby, allegedly one Arun Nayar is allegedly shooting alleged blanks. According to the OK! story, La Hurley told Zest, allegedly another magazine: “We haven’t had any luck so far. Arun would love another one. Damian does not want another one. And I think it would be great if one came along.”
Very worrying. One can only extrapolate from this sensational bit of information that, if he is any kind of man at all, Nayar and our very agreeably constructed former Austin Powers stunner have been rumpy-pumpying around the house 24/7. It’s just as well little Damian has any number of Playstations and X-Boxes to distract him from interrupting and possibly derailing Mum’s efforts to conceive.
Still the couple’s marriage remains as barren as the dustbowl 400km north-east of Kuruman. But all is not lost. I can certainly help. But let us first hit “Refresh” on the anatomical assets of Ms Hurley…
Elizabeth Hurley: not entirely unappealing
Yes, I’m most certainly up for this. I’m willing to – how do I phrase this? – um, stud myself out in order for Damian to have somebody to whom he can hand down last month’s computer games. I think Liz and I (and I’m sure her hubby is a broadminded and evolved kind of oke) can tick all the boxes here.
1. Liz and Arun get the second child they so badly want.
2. I get the first child I so badly want.
3. With me being African and all, they get the African (well, half-African) designer child that is so trendy in the Western world right now. And they don’t even have to stump up the cash to build any schools in Kenya in exchange for that privilege.
4. They can save all that dosh to cough up for an English public school education and all the trimmings which come with privilege over in Old Blighty and I, as a penniless blogger, won’t have to spend anything. Apart from a night with Liz at The Ritz (on Arun’s account).
5. Our sprog, when old enough, can spend his (you don’t think my highly butch chromosomes will allow for anything other than a boy, do you?) school holidays chasing dangerous wildlife around barefoot in the South African bush near Hatman Mansions and thus enjoy a healthy respite from all that time Britons spend indoors cocooned from their horrible weather.
6. Due to my having a South African passport, said sprog can look forward to playing fly-half for a world champion rugby team as opposed to mincing around rather pointlessly in mud and slush for the bunch of wusses the English like to pass off as an international rugby team.
There. I could go on and on but I think that’s enough boxes ticked for Liz to sit bolt upright and see the value in my very decent proposal.
I shall now sit back on my sunkissed verandah and wait for her breathlessly written e-mail to plop into my inbox. Crikey, what a ripper of an idea!
Some of you may recall that I got involved in a very jolly jape earlier this year, in which one of my nuttier mates Geoff “The Heartman” Brink rode a UNICYCLE from Durban to Cape Town.
That’s right. One man, one wheel… and one hell of a ride which lasted 58 days and covered nearly 2,000km. I was Geoff’s back-up driver, blogger, photographer etc and we did it to raise awareness of the madness of landmines for The Sole of Africa.
I still get flashbacks about this epic journey nearly three months later. Given that I have yet to father a child and still haven’t quite managed to engage in flagrante delicto with Genevieve Morton, The Heart and Sole Tour was the most beautiful thing I have ever done in my life.
And I thought that, Gen phoning up to ask if I would like to co-create a sprog notwithstanding, that would be that. But it’s a case of “not so fast, Freddie”. No, Gen hasn’t phoned (yet) but a couple of equally deranged unicyclists have.
To make a proposal. Not to bear my children, I hasten to add. But to create something which will involve even more pain and result in something just as beautiful.
Before I let you in on their mind-bogglingly mad idea, I’d like to get out my old projector and show you a short movie. If you’re sitting comfortably (and, of course, have pressed pause on the following fliek so as to allow the thing to fully buffer) we can flick off the lights and begin…
Crikey! What did you make of that malarkey? Yes, these guys are as nutty as squirrels poo. What did you think of the madman right at the beginning whose unicycle went over a bump and propelled him on a (near) collision course with quite a sturdy tree? Well, that’s Johnny Cronje. Fine. But the really worrying thing about Johnny is that he is actually one of the most sane people I have ever met.
So, get your head around this. Johnny, Alan Read and Donna Kisogloo are wanting to ride their unicycles for a distance of around 2,000km to raise awareness of a very good cause over a period of about six weeks later this year. Now this would sound very much like the Heart and Sole Tour… except for one rather notable difference.
They want to do it off-road!
Yes. I know. Do what I did when I first heard about this. Breathe. Deeply. In. Out. In. Out. You should start getting back to normal quite soon. Lucky for you. I’m not. Normal, I mean. Because the three of them have asked me, as South Africa’s prime exponent of slow driving (I mean, 58 days of driving behind Geoff Brink to Durban to Cape Town at an average of 16 km/h has to be some sort of record, right?) to be their “support vehicle driver” for this 2,000km off-road unicycling adventure.
And, only because I’m so intelligent and worked out that “support vehicle driver” sounded far more posh than “back-up driver”, I have agreed to do it. And photograph it and blog about it and film it and raise awareness of it and… er, live it for the next eight months.
Look. There’s a lot of organising and sponsorship-raising and stuff to do before we leave, so I can’t tell you much more about it right now. So, amuse and amaze yourself by taking a peek at what Johnny and Co and their unicycles do for fun at weekends and I’ll fill you in as we go along.
Heavens to Betsy, I am so looking forward to more unicycling craziness already! Two thousand kilometres. Every single one of them on dirt? Bring it on!