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25th The Day It Quaked

THULAGANYO JANKIE
First it was the fashion parade.

The unwilling models were adorned in all sorts of paraphernalia. There was a ‘Vote for Moupo’ t-shirt and two other election t-shirts that seemed to have been converted to sleep shirts as soon as they were dished out to potential voters.

They had lost their advertising status the moment they were passed on to the human billboards. Some dated as far as two elections back-a good 18 years- and the only discernible word was ‘vote’.

This was a complete contrast from the usual beautiful night dresses and gowns that sometimes strayed as far as the neighbourhood shops.

However, the title of the funniest dressed was won by the holder of the best dressed in our street. It was a truly embarrassing moment.

How could this happen to the fashion queen? Her hopes to salvage her status were quickly dashed as the shakes continued meaning she couldn’t go back to the house.

The men were in all types of boxer shorts and half-torn t-shirts. No, these were not your usual boxer shorts that you’d buy from the undergarment section at Woolworths or Mr Price.

There was an Arsenal short, a few Manchester United shorts, some local run-of –the-mill team shorts and only 2 people were in what the nomenclature ‘boxer short’ was coined for in the first place.

There was also a posse of almost naked people huddled together away from the main group in a vain attempt to mask their near-nakedness.

It seemed a committee of the naked had quickly emerged and there was already a hushed meeting to perhaps select representatives to the World Half-naked Conference.

Then there were the theorists who tried to describe what had just happened. There was a theory about a really huge army plane that had just flown too close to the ground and hence the unprecedented shakes.

Some said it must have been a train but that was soon dismissed as in all the years that we had stayed in this hood there had never been a train capable of such feats.

Besides we were too far from the railway line. Some of the explanations were virtually inconceivable but the theory mill was just getting going.

There was a tale about some church rehearsing for the Easter pilgrimage. It was apparently a huge rehearsal with all the church’s branches converged in the city.

This seemed plausible enough and whipped anger and fury against this church. Why does the

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rehearsal happen in the vicinity of our hood? The council had long promised to regulate these churches but they were not coming to the party and it was the poor residents that had to suffer.

This pumped the fury an octave higher and more blame victims – this time the local councillors and ministers - were thrown in the mix.

Everyone queued to stick their knife in. In the absence of a better explanation the residents were content to go with this explanation. They vowed to set up a committee to confront the minister (the councillor was too low on the food chain). 

Social media came to the rescue. It rescued the church, the local councillor, the minister and the befuddled residents who were groping for an explanation. 

Amazingly some in their haste to leave had forgotten their clothes but had remembered their cellphones. This was an earthquake.

That is when the arguments started. This is Botswana and such things didn’t happen here. But some opined it could be a different type of Dineo or her after-effects.

This confused the less-enlightened even further. The weatherman had said Dineo was gone and we would not be having her again so how could this be any form of Dineo?

Someone picked a long-winded explanation on social media that had plate tectonics smothered all over it like some melted chocolate.

It was too complicated and for a lot of simpletons the more complicated it sounds the more believable it is. This street was blessed with a lot of simpletons. They seemed to have been handpicked.

And then the prophets came out in full force predicting another quake in a space of two hours. It was an amazing prediction. The brave ones were less convinced.

Only a few minutes ago these people were just as bewildered as everyone and now they were even predicting when the next shock would be coming.

The less convinced were determined to brave it and go back to their houses. They didn’t want to be fodder for thieves and thugs out there in the street.

The earthquake had just taken twenty minutes and in that time the street had produced instant weathermen, instant theorists, a candidate for a worst dressed contest, a committee for a global conference and several prophets.

All this in a street that had failed to form a crime prevention committee in more than a decade! More earthquakes please!



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