This time next week it will be Christmas – our second under a state of disaster. Much has changed since 2019 BC (Before Covid): Matric Rage, last year’s super spreader that brought us the third wave, has been canned, at least this year. Some retailers, who were quick to pivot to online shopping, today now have despatch riders clad as Santa Claus ferrying everything from the monthly shopping to a little bit of Christmas cheer across Johannesburg’s northern suburbs at the click of an app.
But not all retail has gone 4IR, some of it’s just fourth wave. Last Sunday, Mzwanele Manyi, the JG Zuma Foundation spokesperson, was literally hawking copies of his principal’s book from the boot of his car in Sandton. He wasn’t at the eponymous mall, but at the local McDonalds.
The book’s ambitiously called Jacob Zuma Speaks, but it’s actually what three prominent RET interlocutors think he said, reinterpreting those golden words for a post-pandemic world, or high noon of the New Dawn. uBaba’s daughter, the indefatigable Duduzile whose twin is 2024 presidential hopeful and Dubai resident Duduzane, alerted the literary world – and anyone looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that person who has everything else – to the birth of the new magnum opus on Twitter about a fortnight ago.
Twitter of course is our latter-day Madame Defarge’s trumpet of choice. Fresh from enjoining everyone to storm the barricades in July and get in some early Christmas shopping, she retweeted the frontispiece with a very healthy-looking Nkandla Crooner on the cover to her 171 000 followers, promising it would be a reverting (sic) read.
Demand apparently outstripped supply. The spokesman formerly known as Jimmy was forced to take to Twitter on Monday to advise those who had paid by EFT to either hold on to proof of payment pending the new print order, or follow the Carl Niehaus school of crowdsourcing and donate it to Accused Number 1 instead. It was, as some Twitter users noted, the most perfectly on-brand messaging of the entire memoir campaign.
No one knows what the actual print run was, it’s as closely guarded a secret as the nuclear codes, but even if the book could be reprinted this week, the old-school bootlegging mode in a fast food parking lot this weekend is probably a better option for Jimmy and Dudu than trying the more conventional mall setting in Durban after the RET-istas managed to destroy swathes of them across KZN in July.
But if you are one of the fortunate few who do get a copy under the Christmas tree next Saturday – maybe even one of the bespoke signed ones at three times the retail cost – do take care. You don’t need any acid bile reflux before you tuck into the turkey. Then again, we could all really do without any Nkandla reverting – of any sort – in 2022.
And on that note, allow me to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!
Originally published by the Saturday Star on 18 December 2021.