Whew! Another election gone and everything stays the same. Give or take a percentage point here or there, all we have to show for billions of Rands-worth of hot air in the media is the introduction of red berets to the Parliamentary fashion ramp and the demise of the oldest politician on the block. Along with some other long-standing stalwarts of Parliamentary privilege, Mangosuthu and his late-lamented goat herders have largely disappeared, leaving KZN with some pretty boring okes in dark suits. Gone forever are nights of intrigue in what was briefly the world’s smallest provincial capital (to whit, a one-roomed hotel and a three-storey parliament) and cow’s foot soup for breakfast. He will be missed, not least by journalists everywhere, as the longest speech-maker in contemporary history. Your faithful scribe actually remembers the world’s newspapers calling his offices in Ulundi (or should that read, in desperation), asking them to halt a 794-page faxed speech from their silky leader. Ah, those were the days of real communicators. Goodbye Gatcha and enjoy the pension.
Some commentators actually seem surprised by the opening surge of the Entertaining Fat Fellows, and their showing in third place; but who would you vote for if all you had to show for 20 years of democracy was a cardboard shack and lots of leisure time? If nothing else, we can look forward to some riveting debates in the Big House down south and lots of frustration for the Speaker. The real interest lies five-years ahead, when it seems likely that a coalition of opposition interests may make it difficult for our dancing President’s successor to rule unfettered. Always something new out of Africa, as the actress said to the Greek Archbishop.
Closer to home, rumour has it that only about 10% of Clarens voters, of what might be dubbed a Typex complexion, bothered to vote this time around. Pity really. If they had, control of our mini-metropolis would have changed profoundly, much to the chagrin of Big Brother. There really are times when complacency is rather counter-productive, but who am I to criticize the political process? As least someone somewhere listened to Red Ronnie Kasrils, who in spite of his odd campaign to advocate a zero ballot, actually voted himself; just shows how dark and devious intelligence people really are.
What has changed, thank the Gods, is that Clarens is almost back to normal. Six-weeks of rampant tourism have eroded our stocks of life support materials, such as beer, bread and venison. Locals have been seen eating Mexican in desperation, but this is unlikely to become a habit unless the Good and the Great declare another 40 public holidays. Talking of tourists, has anyone else noticed that they are getting younger, happier and actually spend money? At risk of being repetitious, for those of you who have read more than one of these humble offerings, it appears that we are living through a sustained boom of sorts; pretty much everyone with a till reckons they are up between 30% and 50% over this time last year and are smiling in a rather self-satisfied way.
But given the volume of visitors and their interest in finding a new home in the mountains, it is simply remarkable that the Clarens Golf Estate remains a comparative virgin. The obviously shy bankers who own most of the empty stands on the Estate seemed disinclined to advertise their holdings or even market their empty stands anywhere or in any way. Amazing really, given the bank’s proclivity to spend millions in real money on international sports advertising, and the fact that properties in Clarens are selling fast and furiously without them. Still, when you have already repossessed 11 golf estates, perhaps you would also prefer sipping Martinis at Old Trafford and ruminating about bad investments.
Finally, before some local busybody beats me to it, it has to be said that last week’s show at Gosto’s was pretty damn good, apart from some frivolous and rather risqué comments directed at your faithful scribe. Dubbed ‘Mr Kiss’ by two-metres of gorgeous Bond Girl, your correspondent had to endure the sniggers of locals imbibing both too freely and too often. What is wrong with an honest cup of tea at dinner, I ask you with tears in my eyes? Fortunately, I have a hide like the last White Rhino (and freshly Botoxed lips, in anticipation of increased demand) so will endure these little barbs with fortitude. And wait for Cat Simone’s next show, Rocky Horror and Abba, in June. Winter is almost upon us, notwithstanding these last rays of Indian summer, so enjoy them while you can; the birds certainly are, but it has to be said that most of them have flown east to sun themselves on Durban high-rises and add to the nice white streaky effects down their aluminium and glass-sides. Nice to be able to return a favour to our KZN visitors.