Schabir Shaik has showed the world that playing golf can be fairway to health

What a time to be alive! Virtual signalling on social media reached fever pitch this week: black squares signalling #BlackLivesMatter abounding; many by South Africans apparently deliriously new to the movement, but still resolutely mute to the realities beyond their own front door.

Netizens have been rejoicing in the belated solidarity of “taking a knee” with NFL star player Colin Kaeperdeck, none of whom cared enough when his activism cost him his career. Few are awake to the awful irony of Derek Chauvin taking a knee to kill George Floyd – sparking the current upheaval in the US.

Here at home, the Mother Grundies had their work cut out on Monday, agog and aghast at the disciplined queues snaking away from bottle stores. Chief among them was the current commissar-at large for the Economic Freedom Fighters, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, asking: “How do we categorize these people lining up outside liquor stores? They are not at work on a Monday, or going to work. They are outside #Liquorshops, to BUY alcohol. They lined up long before even shops opened. What kind of society is this?”

His sanctimony was promptly punctured by fellow twitterati reminding him of what journalist Marianne Thamm had parsed from the legions of empties in the litter of the up-market villa Ndlozi and his fellow worthies had hired last July in Cape Town to attend Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address.

The reams written about South Africans’ thirst, understandable after a government imposed 66-day drought, were matched in volume and angst only by the reaction to the president putting politics over principles in allowing public worship from this week.

A disinterested observer might well have been forgiven for thinking Uncle Cyril had actually ordered everyone to go to church, instead of just allowing it. As it was, most pastors, priests, rabbis and imams, will not be opening their places of worship, only the Profits (sic) will, as @keithlevenstein memorably put it.

The move to open churches had many asking if golf courses couldn’t be open too, notable amongst them former Proteas legend Pat Symcox. Perhaps after Judge Norman Davis ruled on Tuesday that many of the level 3 and level 4 regulations are both irrational and disproportionate, golfers might be in with a chance.

Notwithstanding the real threat of COVID 19, it does seem bizarre that you can’t get to meet your family, observing the necessary protocols, but you can get together with 49 others to pray or to bury them. Likewise walking on the promenade but not the beach or, horror upon horrors, wearing cropped bottoms, a t-shirt and open toed shoes.

The bottom line is, as Ramaphosa noted, it’s in our hands. The government has done what it can to prepare but the pandemic will hit all of us, we’ve only delayed it. Maybe Symcox had a point about golf courses though, access to them had amazing therapeutic results for Schabir Shaik who is finally a free man after surviving almost 15 years of medical parole from his life-threatening disease.

Could golf actually be the Holy Grail to curing COVID 19?

Originally published on the 6 June 2020 in the Saturday Star