The Sandton Chronicle kindly printed out an overview of the candidates for the local government elections on Wednesday. The sad thing is that I am looking more forward to a day off than I am excited about the chance to change things in my neighbourhood. Perhaps my cynicism is not politically correct, at worst it is defeatist at best realist. Do I think that any of these people can actually do anything about the stench of the Juksei or any service delivery issues? No.
Regardless of this attitude I read the candidates’ answers quite carefully. During the course of working on an aspect of this election I have been made aware that people do not vote on sentiment, but will tend to vote as they have in the past. My DA councilor is 27 years old and is an IT project manager. He looks very sweet and utterly incapable of taking on the city council or even, in fact, a rabid daschund. He’s totally given up on the city council and plans to get other people in the community to do the job we pay taxes for. I am sure that if I needed someone to reformat my hard drive he’s be on my speed dial. The ANC prospect will dedicate his term to talking – a lot. Talking to the council. Talking to the people. Blah, blah, blah. I am sick to death of talking. As is everyone else. How about some old fashioned action? The Freedom Front chap offered the most intelligent solutions. The only thing standing against him is his party. Although I believe he’ll do the best job of the bad bunch I can’t align myself against a lifetime of conditioning against a party that seems to be the new evolution of the AWB. So, I am stuck between a rock and hard place, and will have to walk around with purple fingers for a week. Voting is not easy on a French manicure.
As an English speaking, white South African, I often myself feeling a little culturally divorced. Unlike the Greek and Italian communities, there isn’t really one for the descendants of the 1820 settlers. I hadn’t realised how much this affected me until I persuaded the family to come with me to Celtic Fest in Modderfontein this weekend. First of, Modderfontein is an incredibly unspoilt and beautiful area that I never knew existed. It offers kilometers of cycling track, great facilities for events and a beautiful space to picnic and relax. The Celtic Fest spoke to the Scot in me. It was lovely to see small girls dancing the Highland Fling and everyone in the clan colours. Small girl aged 5 wore my Bruce tartan very proudly. Our friend plays in the Transvaal Scottish Pipe Band and it was spectacular to see the bands belt out the tunes I grew up on long road trips with my father. Code Red was undoubtedly the highlight of the bands. This drum ensemble is the first non-military drum band to play in Red Square, Moscow. The showmanship and seamless teamwork make them a perfect choice for events (Call Anthony – 082 412 5101). We headed home before the mass bands, but not without stopping to watch the broadsword fighting first. Real warriors still exist and the sight of a man wielding a broadsword with muscles rippling is not to be sneered at. One explained to me that they were using wooden swords despite the fact that they practice with steel. This is because the steel does result in blood and gore. In fact last year one of the men was stabbed in the eye and almost lost it. I like the realism of the sport. Perhaps I could heft a broadsword? Hmmm. If you have even a drop of Scottish heritage make a plan to visit the next one at De La Sol school in two weeks time. I went home whistling Scotland the Brave.
Or I would have gone home whistling Scotland the Brave if Bella the Kombi had not decided to die as we left the Celtic Fest. Testosterone must be a terrible burden to bear and challenge to live with.
Me: “Should I call someone?”
Me: “You know I belong to the AA?”
Him: “Shut up and let me fix it.”
I chose the path of prudence and closed my mouth. An hour passed and we moved about 100 meters up the road.
Me: “Perhaps I could call someone?”
Him: “And what would you say?”
Me: “I’d ask for a lift home, collect the other car and bring it back so we can tow Bella home.”
Silence. Time passed.
So I did. I called our kilt wearing, bag pipe playing friend and begged. It takes a real man to wear a kilt, but as there is a Queen on the throne at least he wasn’t going commando. Well he rode to our rescue and off we went. Thank god he offered to wait while I collected the rope and the car, because, guess what? Spouse had the car keys back on the side of the road. Embarrassing much? By the time we got back to where we’d left sweet Bella, she was gone. Shock and horror. I had spouse’s cellphone. We retraced our route. At last we spotted her about 50 m further on. Now, here is an interesting insight in to the male psyche. A woman can’t suggest we call the AA. Another manly man can. I wanted to scream my frustration. The AA said about 2 hours and at least an hour for a security guard. The Scotsman roped up my 1976 classic to his shiny AA Quattro and towed us home. We were back for 45 minutes before the AA called to say they hadn’t sent a truck yet. So, Steve you are my hero. Thank you for getting us home. I owe you a bottle of some obscenely expensive whiskey.
During the day I had a chat about my school woes. Apparently there are government schools that cater exclusively to children who can’t fit in to mainstream schooling. Unfortunately, this includes any child with obedience issues, ADD and everything else. Remedial schools can help bridge educational gaps, but are socially devastating for the children involved. Funnily enough the school sent out a newsletter saying that friends are more important than anything else. The saga continues. One saga that is ongoing, but quickly nearing its end is the Great Wendy House Construction. The roof is now on, the paint is on coat one. Now we just have to do the insulation and put in the mezzanine floor. Yes, a mezzanine floor and a bay window. Once done it’ll be an architectural wonder. I even braved the hallowed masculine halls of Builders Warehouse for the pale pink paint.
I’m writing this keeping an ear on the meeting I’m in. We’re trying to get South Africans to become active citizens and do something small to make a difference. So, whether you live in South Africa or have departed for greener pastures, keep an eye out in June for something you can get involved in. (www.southafrica.info). Sometimes we need reminding about what a great country we live in and how much a single person can do. So, put on your big girl panties and clear out your wardrobe. Give an old jersey to a homeless guy you pass on your way home. Drop off your old magazines at the hospital. Small stuff that can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. That’s what Ubuntu is about. Hell, it is as simple as giving the beggar at your window a smile instead of the finger. There but for the grace of god go I and so on.
It’s just been raised that women fall under the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. This raises a tsunami of ire within me. It classes us all as second or third class citizens. I am a woman, not a child and my sex is not a disability. Men don’t have a department looking fater their interests. This is because they are regarded as able to look after themselves, unlike me as a mere female. Bugger that.
This week I am single parenting, while my spouse embarks on another journey into deepest, darkest Africa. Ghana this time. No more extra hour to snooze in the morning. But, at least I can put the electric blanket on as a fait accompli. Sadly it coincides with my mother going off on a journey through Israel so it’s all up to me. Please don’t let the children’s sniffles bloom into full blown flu. Please don’t let the car break down. Please don’t let my client suddenly wake up to her deadlines. Please let everything go as smooth as shave from Gillette.