According to our statistician general's take on hypertension, white people are so unhappy they are dying from it. We try and find out why.
White people are dying and it's because they're dreadfully unhappy.
That, at least, is the esteemed opinion of South Africa's statistician general Pali Lehohla after studying the 2010 mortality survey and the 2011 general household survey, which showed 15% of South Africans died from hypertension-related conditions and most of them were white.
Speaking to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday about the results, Lehlohla said hypertension was "a disease of not being happy … it’s the highest among whites".
Forget the role played by much salt, alcohol, age, exercise, genetics and other factors listed by the Hypertension Society of South Africa, which also says the disease is very common and affects one in five adults. Happiness and the colour of your skin, however, was not mentioned.
No, if you want to avoid hypertension, try being more black and less unhappy.
We're not sure what's more disturbing: the not-so-medical interpretation of the data or the fact that it made front page news under the headline: "Whites not happy".
There was more, naturally. Blacks were less likely to suffer from the happiness vampire that is hypertension, probably because even "a funeral is a feast all day" in black culture. There were also bits about how diet played a role, particularly for Indians and Asians, who won the diabetes lottery in the survey and something about men being "the weaker sex", thanks to them dropping like flies compared to women.
But what we're really concerned about is this scourge of unhappiness among our white people. We needed to get to the bottom of it so we put our social media editor on the case. She asked the internet what's making white people unhappy, and here are the results. Lehohla, we were happy to help. Naturally, since we aren’t, you know, white.
1. The only thing that doesn't play games on the interweb? Google! The only thing that shouldn't? White people! Because when they do, this happens!
2. Damn you social media websites with your false sense of inflated ego and your constant reminding these poor human beings about how everyone else's life is so much more fun than theirs. Damn you!
3. Beyond this hasty research, I have seen so many practical cases of this. The depression that sets in when not being able to Instagram is a definite serotonin killer!
4. Imagine that? Can you? No, you can't. You can't even begin to think about the disappointment that comes with having to open a faucet and get running water. Well, it's heartbreaking, really!
5. You think ranting on the internet helps and that it's cheap therapy? Well you are wrong!
6. What kind of problem do you get when you have hotdogs coupled with basic math? A sad one. A sad, sad problem.
7. I don't even know where to begin with this one. Empathy I guess ... Empathy. *Plays Celine Dion music*
8. You thought you had it bad with your Taystee Wheats and semolinas? Or my grandmother's version of cereal: the crusts of brown bread in some lukewarm milk? No. No you did not have it bad. Too many raisins, that's what's bad!
9. *Single tear* Enough said.
So Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, you can stop arguing about salt content in food and start worrying about the happiness of the nation instead.