‘Now arriving: Mama Winnie Airport’

“The most popular names for airports last year were Fly-By-Night, Start Here and Brian,” said a member in a blue T-shirt. “Why don’t we go for one of those?”

“The most popular names for airports last year were Fly-By-Night, Start Here and Brian,” said a member in a blue T-shirt. “Why don’t we go for one of those?”

THE FIFTH COLUMN

“All members in favour of renaming Cape Town International Airport to Project Runway, say aye,” the leader of the renaming committee said.

“Hayi …” said a member in a red beret who leaped from his seat. “…bo! We must rename the name of Cape Town airport to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Airport!”

“Mr Malema,” said the leader. “We already have a street and many buildings in the city named after a Mandela. One Mandela is enough, don’t you think?”

“No,” said Malema. “A thousand Mandelas will not be enough.”

“The most popular names for airports last year were Fly-By-Night, Start Here and Brian,” said a member in a blue T-shirt. “Why don’t we go for one of those?”

“I like Brian,” said a member in a safari hat. “Kind of says it all.”

“All those in favour of calling Cape Town International Airport Brian raise their hands,” said the leader.

Malema brought his fist down hard on the table. “Who is Brian?” he asked. “What has Brian ever done for the emancipation of this country?”

“Brian’s Kayaks,” cried a member at the back. “Supplies half the country with tough, durable watercrafts.”

Mention of kayaks put a damper on the proposal and, without anyone saying so, Brian International Airport was taken off the table.

“I agree with Mr Malema,” said a member, surprising everyone. “We must name the airport after someone who has worked tirelessly for the people. I propose the name Patricia de Lille International Airport.”

The room went silent.

“How about DHL?” said a member in a rugby jersey after a while. “In the vein of LAX in Los Angeles.”

“Delivery company,” said the leader. “I like that. All those in favour of DHL International Airport, clap once.”

At this, Malema threw his table forward and jumped up. “Mr Leader, this is your captain speaking,” he said, fist in the air. “I demand you name the Cape Town airport Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Airport.”

“Mr Malema, will you calm down,” said the leader.

“I will not calm down, you calm down,” shouted Malema, crossing his arms and stamping his feet.

The tantrum had the desired effect. “Winnie Madikizela-Mandela doesn’t sound too bad,” said a member. “Rolls off the tongue, really.”

“Nice alliteration, yes,” chimed another. “Bit long though.”

“We can always use small letters,” said the leader.

“Let’s have a Twitter poll,” cried a member. “Let the people decide.”

The leader took out his phone, typed A) Brian B) DHL C) Winnie Madikizela-Mandela under the question: “Hey guys, help us choose a new name for the airport!” and tweeted it to the City of Cape Town’s 300 000 followers. A moment later, the results were in with Brian the winner.

“Give me that,” said Malema and typed “New name for Cape Town airport: A) Mama Winnie B) Someone Not Mama Winnie and tweeted it to his 1.95-million followers. “There,” he said, holding up the phone to the committee. “The people have decided. We will call the airport Mama Winnie Airport in big, bold letters.” 

JS Smit

JS Smit

JS Smit is a Cape Town-based freelance writer. Formally trained as a copywriter, he took a break from ads in 2010 to write a blog for the Mail & Guardian's Thought Leader and since 2015 has written for the Mail & Guardian. Read more from JS Smit

    Client Media Releases

    MTN backs SA's youth to 'think tech, do business'
    Being intelligent about business data
    PhD for 79-year-old theology graduate