As the dreaded Covid19 pandemic took flight stocks dropped all over the world.
Stocks that were on their knees reached record lows. Not MmaBoipelego, the social worker who was going to assess families and recommend them to receive food baskets. As global stocks dropped, MmaBoipelego’s stock rose, bucking the global trend and almost all expert opinion. This would have been really great stock to invest on during the lockdown if it was listed on the bourse.
You see as soon as the president announced that ‘no citizen will go hungry’ MmaBoipelego was catapulted to cult status. The countdown ceased to be important. The hopscotch games and all the childish games were reduced to mere tomfoolery. There was now the urgent matter of ensnaring MmaBoipelego so that families did not miss their piece of the pie. Family meetings were hastily arranged and strategies devised on how to get her (a greater part of the populace believe MmaBoipelego is female) to assess and recommend families for the food basket.
We concocted a raft of brilliant ideas to qualify for the food basket amongst them baking scones for her, a little barbecue and generally being as hospitable as we could be in her presence. We practised our widest grins and most infectious smiles. Without a proper guide to qualify for MmaB’s package it was a tough ask. We eventually settled on what we thought was the most brilliant of them all. We were going to take turns by the gate to wait for her arrival.
Since we live in a town where pizza gets to your house faster than the ambulance we were prepared to put a little more investment in waiting. Our biggest worry was whether she’d pass by when you were busy in the backyard working on a vegetable patch. Yes lockdown had bred instant farmers and all sorts of latent vocations. According to unreliable Facebook sources MmaB was supposed to knock only once and if you didn’t open she’d pass, never to come back again. That meant cranking your radio or TV volume to stadium mode was a luxury we could not afford. Our ears had only one job – to listen for MmaB’s knock.
The wait for the local airliner is small beer compared to the wait for MmaB. The former is usually off by a few days and if you are travelling from Johannesburg to GC by the time you arrive there’s a real chance that your spouse is either married
On the third week my turn to keep vigil at the gate came. The jealous sun beat down on me with some kind of vindictive fury. But I was determined to do my bit. My shift was especially crucial because by then the maize meal stock was reduced to a mere 2 cups. The tomato sauce level was boosted by a few millilitres of water and the colour of the coffee was now permanently black. We could not afford to miss MmaB’s train. My family depended on my success at the gate.
On the third day she sauntered in with the grace of a princess and I ushered her in. With diminishing food stocks in the pantry I could not help but see a princess. Everybody was happy to see her and the wide grins, which we had decided to ditch because they could convey the wrong meaning of a happy family that is far from hungry, were clearly evident. One family member had been designated to answer the questions from MmaB and we felt she did reasonably well. However, the feeling that she might have failed to secure the food basket always lingered like an unloved guest.
A few days later the Matshelonyana truck arrived with the goodies. That truck never looked so beautiful and we heaped the driver with plaudits to sink the Titanic. As it left we all wanted to hug the driver, but someone reminded us of the Covid19 protocols that were in place.
Up to this day some are still waiting for the blessings from MmaB. Some have gone back to the hop scotch games. The local councillor (who is now collateral) is now subject to some not-so-flattering discussions in some homes. Strategies are being devised on how to vote him out and names of possible successors are being mooted. For some, MmaB turned out to be a mythical figure that probably only exists in fairytales like the fabled Kgogomodumo. As for me, I am enjoying the scrumptious treats from the Matshelonyana truck that followed that kind woman. Of course, when there’s a shortage of food anything, even that maizemeal that was dismissed as fit for dogs by a vote-thirsty MP tastes scrumptious so I am not arguing with anybody on that score. Munch, munch!