Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Of secret plots to curry f(l)avour


Deadline day. I should be head down, hammering the keyboard, pushing what is hopefully my final contribution for the week.

It’s doable. I just need to keep my head down, focus. Thoughts will eventually turn into words on the screen. Eventually.

The trick is to push everything else to the edge of my mind, bring my thoughts to the front, just behind my eyes, and channel them into my fingers.

READ MORE: ANC rejects Sunday Times allegations

Once I’m there, ideas that have been ricocheting around the inside of my skull all week find some kind of order and flow, some direction.

Things that don’t have anything to do with each other link together. Words take on a beat. A groove.

Some days it happens easily.

Others not.

Today’s one of those not-so-easy days.

Instead of writing, I’m plotting.

I’m plotting, but not in an Ace Magashule kinda way, which has an endgame of using the secretary general’s office to allegedly lead a revolt against President Cyril Ramaphosa and installing somebody more comfortable with the idea of handing over the country to a bunch of dodgy businessmen from India.

My plot’s way more benign. I’m trying to think of a way to convince my better half to lift our 12-year-old’s three-month PlayStation and cellphone ban. It’s a harsh punishment, even if he was lippy.

I also have a vested interest. When there’s no PlayStation our man sticks to me like a limpet mine, as if I’m his personal entertainment centre, so if I want to watch any football in peace this weekend I have to get his suspension lifted.

I wonder what Ace and associates were really up to in their secret meeting in Durban on September  6. With half the state capture brigade on site, it’s hard not to believe that they’re not up to no good.

Perhaps it was all about ANC Youth League KwaZulu-Natal secretary general Thanduxolo Sabelo’s bid to become the league’s president. The same crew that was at the Maharani hotel introduced the current youth league president, Collen Maine, to the Gupta family. Maybe they have similar plans for TDX, as Sabelo is known.

Perhaps they were talking about the upcoming court appearances by former president Jacob Zuma and who will pay for the rent-a-crowd. Somebody has to.

Perhaps it was all about who is going to say what — or who is not going to say what — at the Zondo commission investigating state capture.

Or perhaps it was about getting the comrades from North West to try to have the Nasrec result overturned in court, now that it’s clear that nobody from KwaZulu-Natal is willing to put their name on a founding affidavit on instruction from uBaba.

Or it could be much more innocent.

Perhaps with the Guptas taking cover in Dubai, the state capture brigade didn’t have anywhere else to go for a curry. It was a coldish day last Thursday. Maybe the comrades just wanted a thick, hot curry to warm them up.

Perhaps not.

The curry at the Maharani isn’t bad but it’s wit-ou style, with coconut, slices of banana and Mrs Ball’s fruit chutney all over the place, rather than carrot salad, vegetable pickle and vinegar chillies.

If it was about the curry, there are lots of places in Durban that are way better.

uBaba lived here. Sabelo does. I’m surprised that neither suggested that they go to Gounden’s in Umbilo Road. The mutton curry there is for real, the proper Durban item — and not a shred of coconut or chunk of chutney to be seen. You can get a quart with your food as well as a banging fish curry, mutton and samp or broad beans and roti.

And nobody there’s gonna call the Sunday newspapers to burn you.

Perhaps Ace and Supra Mahumapelo, with their hinterland palates, were after a butter chicken, uttapam or masala dosa more reminiscent of the fare at the Guptas’s Saxonwold shebeen.

Perhaps the comrades can’t handle the heat of a real Durban curry, or perhaps too many cops from the Umbilo police station eat at Gounden’s. Perhaps.

Perhaps the whole thing is a misunderstanding, a case of the comrades being lost in translation. These things happen.

Perhaps Ace, with his rasping Free State tongue, interpreted the secretary in secretary general as secret aiery — like komo rate instead of comrade. Perhaps Ace thinks he’s a general of secrets or something.

READ MORE: ‘Everyone can see what’s happening in the ANC’ — Cosatu on ‘plot’ against Ramaphosa

Perhaps Babes wa Estina Dairy thinks that all the meetings he convenes have to be held clandestinely, underground, as it were, for him to fulfil his mandate as secretary general of the ANC.

This may well be the answer. Almost 90% of the KwaZulu-Natal population — uBaba included — refer to Limpopo as Limpompo, so why not?

The cellphone goes. It’s my bra Doggy, offering his legal services if the laaitie decides to take his ma to the Human Rights Commission.

I hope it doesn’t get to that stage.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

The ANC, DA and EFF ‘oblivious’ to climate crisis —...

The Climate Justice Charter Movement has critiqued the manifestos of the main parties contesting the local government elections and found them ‘shallow’

More top stories

Countries bear cross-border responsibility for harmful effects of climate change,...

The UN committee has been accused of ‘turning its back’ on the children who filed a groundbreaking legal complaint with it against five countries

Magashule files notice to have corruption charges dropped

Counsel for the suspended ANC secretary general tells court the former Free State premier falls outside category of who can be charged for corrupt activities

R1.5-billion in funding approved for riot-hit businesses

Agencies emphasise that speed is crucial to rescuing firms affected by July’s unrest

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…