National Embarrassments: Top 3 + Zebby

This country is choking under a myriad of national embarrassments. In fact we are very close to being the Embarrassment capital of the world.

We are churning them out by the dozens.

For the purposes of this week’s column, I will confine these to three because not many of us here are able to count beyond three which itself is a national embarrassment. Sob! Sob! Choke. The similarity with the honey badger is scary.

The first national embarrassment is the sneakily-named Bots50+1 celebration that happened some two years ago. Some really smart Alec had decided that the 2017 independence celebrations (after the Bots50 spectacle) would be christened Bots50+1.

This was a masterstroke. We were not ready to shed off the bells and whistles that characterised the gravy train that was the 50th anniversary yet.

You see, as soon as the 2017 celebration was given a nomenclature that closely resembled the 2016 milestone the business-savvy pulled out their calculators. Counting chickens those who were within touching distance of the millionaire tag would most likely cross the line. The bean counters were busier than the traffic cop at the Rainbow circle with predictions.

The preps had kicked off at a pace slower than a tortoise with arthritis. There had been no grand announcements. There was no invitation list of presidents from all over the world, their wives and their pets.

There was no grand announcement of the 2017 budget. Where were the millions? The calculators were slowly, reluctantly, shoved into pockets - never to come out again. And the bean counters who had predicted that the government will push the boat out one more time ended up with egg in their faces.

Not only that. Many were thrown out of their jobs together with their predictions and useless abacuses.

Bots50 + 1 turned out to be a lame duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, though, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine in one of those former Portuguese colonies in Southern Africa.

All good things come to an end but the bad things keep going on and on and on and that is why we will not have another Bots50 but we must brace ourselves for some more damp squibs- the Bots50 + 1 type. 

Streetlights are another embarrassment. To be more precise fixing street lights turns out to be a great embarrassment for a good number of us. We are seemingly caught in a time warp of sorts when dusk falls. Anyone who stays in a town that have street lights, that are working and that get fixed promptly surely is not from this country. The city technicians seemingly have no idea how it is done.

Having placed a huge amount of faith in the area councillor aspirant’s promises and his

voice, cranked to stadium mode at the nearby freedom square, we had no doubt who we would vote for. His promises resonated with us. Fix the potholes, fix the street lights, fix relationships that were in trouble - though the latter wasn’t said in so many words- but we thought it was implicit in his promises.

Turns out that he wasn’t really talking about romantic ones as we were to find out later when he was nicely cocooned in the council chamber. His first speech was smothered with fixing the relationship with the city clerk. We felt robbed. We left the council chamber in a huff as some spewed a few choice words his way.

Our hood felt robbed and we swore he wasn’t getting our vote in the next election. But there was a problem. The next election was a good five years away and that left us nicely frustrated. And still in the dark! We tried to find solutions and held meetings in street corners to try and draw a battle plan. These didn’t last more than half an hour as it got dark because we held them after work.

Five years passed until election time came and the useless councillor who was now slightly extended around the midriff and driving a beautiful set of wheels that was clearly not from Mogoditshane, the car capital of the country, lost the primary election.

I fervently hoped that we will one day have billboards that say ‘Corrupt politician: coming to a jail near you’ and it will feature my councillor. The next guy we voted for fared no better.

We were at our wits’ end and the penny dropped. Voting in people whose only weapon is a voice cranked to stadium mode doesn’t fix streetlights. Turns out streetlights are something you just talk about without necessarily doing anything about it. Finally there is the small matter of mini buses with complicated instructions of closing the combi door. The blue ribbon winner is the ‘pull it towards you as if you are pushing it’. What gibberish is that!

Congratulations if you have reached this point because that means you belong to that eminent group of the citizenry that can count beyond three and we have left the honey badger type behind.

Finally after the initial above we have Zebby which is a pseudonym of our national team. They are here chiefly because they failed to defend a corner kick. One of the most basic forms of martial arts, ratho seems to be missing from their armoury. In short, these Zebras cannot even kick.

(For comments, feedback and insults email

Ink Spills



The wars of poultry industry

Latest Frontpages

Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper Todays Paper