Dare we cheer a happy new year?


I’m shocked and surprised — and a little bit hurt to be honest — that I still haven’t made the cut for a signed copy of former president Jacob Zuma’s long-awaited venture into the world of publishing.

Granted, uBaba’s book is going at R1 000 a copy, with a personalised message, and there’s lawyers’ bills to pay, but I’d still hoped for a freebie, or at least the offer of a discount, given all the time I’ve spent writing about him — and waiting for him — over the past two decades.

Perhaps the books all got sold out.

Word has it that a million copies of the former head of state’s missive were sold from a car boot outside a McDonalds in Johannesburg last Sunday.

It must have been a very big car.

Perhaps my copy — signed or otherwise — is still on it’s way; it’s festive season after all and the Post Office and the courier companies have their hands full — and it will get to me on time for Christmas.

I remain in hope.

Somehow, after what felt like a lifetime and a bit, what is hopefully the last assignment of the final working day of the year is almost completed.

It’s not a second too soon. 

From a work — and life — perspective, 2021 turned out — unbelievably — to be even more bruising than 2020, so the sooner it’s done the better. There’s not exactly a lot to indicate that 2022 will be any less harsh, but one remains alive, employed and hopeful.

There’s no money for a holiday or anything that resembles one, but at least there’s a couple of weeks of no work, some frolicking in the ocean and wall-to-wall football on TV to look forward to — Covid-19 and Eskom permitting.

The fourth wave of the virus has already torpedoed the end-of-year work soirée.

It’s understandable — and a bit of a relief as I had been dreading the flight — but it would have been cool to finally meet some of the human beings I’ve been working with for the last year and a bit in the flesh for the first time.

Perhaps next year.

It’s quite a thing actually: bringing out a newspaper every week and feeding a news website daily — and getting into wars with one’s alleged betters — along with people one has never physically met, let alone shaken hands — or bumped elbows — with. 

It’s remarkable — and at the same time a little bit tragic — that we’ve adapted to this way of working and living with so much ease.

Then again we haven’t had any other option but to get on with it.

It’s where we’re at.

Like most of my fellow South Africans, I’m wishing the head of state a speedy recovery from his bout of Covid-19, which we heard about on the morning od Monday, 13 December. 

Hopefully, President Cyril Ramaphosa isn’t too sick and will be back at work long before the rest of us are.

Not that I begrudge the man a bit of a break from running this madhouse of a country, but a swift return to work on his part will shut the anti-vaxxers — especially those in his political party — up for a couple of seconds at least.

Like the majority of my compatriots, I’m wondering whether Ramaphosa or Deputy President David Mabuza will address us at the next family meeting, which is bound to follow the scheduled meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council, which the Cat will be chairing

I don’t expect a whole lot of drama from Mabuza if it’s up to him to lay down the dos and don’ts for the festive at the family meeting. The deputy president behaved himself the last time he was left in charge of the shop and refrained from invading any landlocked neighbouring countries. 

There’s no indication that he would want to do otherwise right now.

Drama is also not really Mabuza’s thing — the unexpected results of the ANC’s 54th national conference at Nasrec aside — so my money is on the Cat telling us to remain calm, behave ourselves and carry on as we were, with a few small modifications — when he addresses us.

No booze bans, beach closures or interprovincial lockdowns. No cigarette pogroms. No fatwa against flip-flops. 

Be nice.

Mask up, vaccinate and behave yourselves.

Wash your hands, take your jab and crack on.

Be cool.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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