Universal suffrage finally came to South Africa in 1994. Not everyone cheered. Many whites hoarded beans, rice, rusks, canned protein, candles and gasoline, etc. They expected societal breakdown, if not mass violence committed by blacks in retribution.
Thousands of whites emigrated, but, this is often overlooked, thousands also returned from overseas, so the “chicken run” was balanced out by repatriation. Foreigners also arrived to join the Rainbow Nation. Here in Cape Town, I’ve met two Americans who are still here, though their children have left.
Chicken Licken is a South African fast-food chain. Founded in 1981 by the son of a Greek immigrant, it has 259 branches in two countries. In 2010, it aired a classic ad that begins with a snapshot of suburban tranquility. We see a pleasant house in Krugersdorp boasting a landscaped front yard, date palm, arbored entrance, stone chimney and handsome muntined windows. Its fence is low, with no razor or electric wires above it.
A young male voice narrates, “In 1994, we moved from our house in Oranje Street, number 30, to our new home, under Oranje Street, number 30.” From warm, natural light, we shift into a darker world that’s blueishly lit. Long rows of steel shelves hold boxes, bags and cans of food. Brilliantly cast, a ghostly pale, moon faced boy with a bowl haircut seems incredulously at his new abode. A thick steel door slams shut.
“Whenever I asked pa why we moved down here, he’d just say, ‘Don’t be silly. Go play outside!’ Of course, there’s no outside. As the boy hugs a ball while running around a pole in a tight circle, his mom tells him to go back inside! It’s too dangerous outside, you see, even when there’s no outside.
“But life in our new home was very fine… for a while.” The mother is shown lounging beneath several lamps, with an electric fan behind her. She’s sunning herself at a mental beach, to the strumming of an electric ukulele.
As soul sapping boredom sets in, they become zombie like. Dead eyed, the boy throws a ball repeatedly against a wall. He presses the vacuum cleaner hose against his mouth or cheek. Their meals always feature Vienna sausages. They welcome a baby girl into their tiny, suffocating universe. We see her blowing out two candles on a Vienna sausage cake.
“We lived there for 16 years, 9 months and 5 days.” Finally, their food runs out, so the father has to emerge to look for some. After three days, he’s still not back, so the son has to go find him. With a backpack and bush hat, the young man laces up his boots with trepidation.
Above is a cheery Chicken Licken franchise, next to the old date palm. He comes out through the garbage can to a heavenly chorus, “Gloria… Gloria…” Basking in the normalcy of it all, his face is angelic. Suddenly, he sees his pa at a Formica table, pigging out and looking guilty. Golden fried chicken fills the final shot, “IF YOU HAVEN’T TRIED IT, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”
In 2010, it’s easy to laugh at the hysteria of 1994, but some of it had been justified. A lot depended on where you were. By 2010, over 3,000 white farmers had been killed by blacks. It’s a problem that’s especially serious in the eastern, more Zulu-dominated provinces, such as Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
In the three Cape provinces, it was less of a problem. Cape Town based J. M. Coetzee, though, has seared us with the horrific black-on-white gang rape in his 1999 novel, Disgrace.
Coetzee also describes “cardboard-and-iron shanties clustered on the fairways of the golf course.” Shacks and tents have certainly become common all over Cape Town. Bits of the black townships have encroached into civic spaces and formerly all-white neighborhoods.
Many ramshackle dwellings or just ragged people sleeping on the ground can be found outside the Castle of Good Hope or Saint Mary’s Cathedral. The Grand Parade opposite City Hall has turned into a third-world bazaar, with shoppers rummaging through steel bins for used clothing.
Coetzee is off, though, with this prediction, “Inexorably, he thinks, the country is coming to the city. Soon there will be cattle again on Rondeborsch Common; soon history will have come full circle.” Cape Town hasn’t devolved that far yet.
An Oriental immigrant tells me Cape Town has gone steadily downhill through his two decades here, yet he won’t go anywhere, for he still loves this sophisticated beauty. Plus, can you deny that the US, UK, Australia or France, for example, hasn’t suffered maybe even worse decline?
On his cellphone, the Oriental man shows me a party of whites dining in rococo splendor at some country mansion. “They get there by helicopter,” he chuckles.
Coetzee taught at the University of Cape Town in Rondeborsch. As with college neighborhoods everywhere, political statements are common, so I wasn’t surprised to see anti-Covid vaccine fliers there.
Threatened by the Coronavirus, a sweating man crawls towards a carrot dangling over a skull-filled gully, with a false bridge over it. “NEW NORM,” says a sign. “We’re In This Together,” mutter the skulls.
From above, there are three messages, “Almost there!” “…And The Next VARIANT…” “It’s JUST For Two Weeks!”
On the N1 Freeway, I’m behind a car with a large sign in its back window, “I SAY NO THE EXPERIMENTAL.”
In 2 ½ months in Cape Town, I’ve taken Uber just three times. Two of those drivers told me about Covid vaccine deaths.
Shaun, a Mozambican immigrant, told me about his 23-year-old friend. Vaccinated on Friday, he felt unwell so went to a clinic on Saturday, where he was assured he was fine. Sunday, he went to a private doctor and, again, was told there was nothing wrong with him. On Monday, he died.
“Before he was vaccinated, we even joked about vaccine passports. He said, ‘If we don’t have vaccine passports, who will buy food for us?’ We were laughing about it.”
“If he had any doubts about the vaccine, why did he get it?”
“Many companies require you to get it.”
“So he had no choice.”
“And you can’t even sue them!”
“No, you can’t sue them.”
“What will happen to his wife and children?! You said he was only 23. Did he have a wife and children?”
The other anti-Covid vaccine driver was from Burundi. One of his country’s leading intellectuals had just died, he said, after being vaccinated. During my ride, he got a call from a fellow Burundian, and they discussed this shocking death.
No way in hell would he be vaccinated, he said. “They’re trying to kill people! They want to get rid of us.” On his phone, he found an anti-Covid vaccine video to show me. “See? He makes sense.”
With his phone already out, he also showed me photos of his family, “My wife. My son. He’s sixteen-years-old.”
“Good looking kid! Very manly!”
Justly proud, he smiled. Then, “Today is my 50th birthday! You’re my last customer. Now, I go home and have a nice braai!”
“And some beer!”
“Yes, and some beer!”
Castle Lager and Castle Milk Stout are both healing, and cheap. Slightly burnt meat is nice, too, and straight talk. Normality is soothing.
When I came here in early August, there was only one silly Covid related rule, no alcohol takeouts on weekends, but that’s been lifted, so life’s almost 100% normal. Most people still wear masks, because that’s the rule, but many have their nose sticking out.
It’s sad to see masked kids in school playgrounds. What crime we complicit adults are committing against children.
As for social distancing, you can shove that unlubricated uptightness up your misanthropic ass.
Me, I’m never happier than in a packed taxi van. For less than a buck, I can ride where I please!
In one, though, I found this most preposterous sign, “COMMUTE SAFELY DURING COVID-19 […] Avoid touching surfaces […] Keep distance in queues […] Avoid contact with other passengers […] Only travel when necessary […]”
It’s almost impossible to avoid touching other passengers inside a taxi van. Your average worker, then, will have plenty of contact with surfaces and other passengers at least 12 times a week.
When Covid broke out in January of 2020, I was in Laos, and since then, I’ve been to Vietnam, South Korea, Serbia, North Macedonia, Lebanon, Egypt, Albania, Montenegro and, now, South Africa. Nowhere did I have to endure a lockdown, though it was technically in place for two weeks in Lebanon. So lamely enforced, it didn’t cramp me.
Lockdowns weren’t necessary, I realized, for life went on everywhere I went. Nearly each day, I ate and drank in crowded cafes and restaurants, and walked or rode buses among the masses. Also, an extended lockdown in Albania, Lebanon, Egypt or South Africa would have triggered massive social unrest, since their economies were already so precarious.
Even in richer countries, though, lockdowns inflict tremendous economic harms, so why has it been enforced so ruthlessly in so many places? Vaccine passports and mass layoffs of the unvaccinated are also wrecking economies. None of this makes sense until you realize many governments are not just trying to cripple, but kill their own people.
With the first wave of Covid, it was knocking off the old in nursing homes. Now, it’s the culling of the young through bogus vaccines.
They’ve been talking about overpopulation for decades, with too many people wrecking the planet with their plastic bags, flushing toilets, plane travels, eating, drinking, breeding or just living, in short, so seven billion must be trimmed to less than two, at least. There are too many lights on all the time, too many plastic knives, polyester scrunchies, cans of baked beans and Styrofoam cups of coffee.
Nothing about the Covid vaccine makes sense. If it’s so safe, why would thousands of nurses rather lose their jobs than being jabbed? Battling Covid for a year and a half, they should know better than anybody what’s what.
Why are the most vaccinated countries, such as Israel, experiencing new Covid outbreaks? Why did Vietnam suffer almost no Covid deaths until it started jabbing people with American vaccines? Pfizer just donated a million doses to that foolish government, by the way.
Though a vaccine is supposed to immunize you against a specific disease, the Covid ones destroy your natural immunity, to make you more susceptible to Covid! Isn’t that a sick joke, at your expense.
Seeing through all this, commenters such as Mike Whitney, Paul Craig Roberts, Del Bigtree and James Howard Kunstler all expect a very dark winter ahead, as the wokingly vaxxed keel over by the millions.
Since I’m in the southern hemisphere, spring has just begun. Up and down Kloof Street, the cafes and restaurants are packed, and the shelves at my local supermarket, Checkers, are always overflowing. At Hartlief Deli, I can eat a great, cheap breakfast at the counter, then buy some Schwarzbrot and biltong spread to take home. Its lively atmosphere always cheers me up. Unlike in Paris, Rome or Amsterdam, there are no protests here. Once again, I’m blessed with normalcy, and it feels good.
Is the US, say, more threatened than South Africa in 1994? Aren’t all its wheels falling off? How fitting, then, that it has another clown as president.
Impotent, citizens can only try to save their own asses by stocking up on rice, beans and Vienna sausages. Even those who can afford to emigrate don’t know where to go, for isn’t America still number one, with the rest of the world mostly a dangerous or filthy mess? So suckered, many still wait for the second coming of Trump!
On April 5th, 1994, the Los Angeles Times quoted a South African doctor who gave his reasons for leaving, “Political uncertainty and violence. Worrying about getting shot and killed. Worrying about getting hijacked. Worrying about the kids… We finally both woke up one morning and said, ‘We’ve had enough.’”
Michael Treisman then moved to Saint Louis. A quick web search shows that he’s still there, working at Mercy Hospital. Saint Louis’ murder rate is already nearly twice that of Johannesburg, however, and about the same as Cape Town. At least the doctor has a second home.
Political violence, loss of all basic rights, fear of losing your mind and despair at seeing your kids satanically brainwashed. This dark winter, billions will more than realize they’ve had enough.
Reprinted with the author’s permission.