“Justice says the world is over,” announced Edie. Justice nearly dropped the pot of chocolate sauce he was pouring. He was following her round the table while she scooped ice-cream into bowls of fruit salad.
“Edie I never said that.”
“No boet, you never said that. But what you said should not be repeated in polite company.” Farleigh sniggered.
“Oh yeah I guess you right but you’ve taken it out of context and now everyone thinks I’m a fruitcake.”
“Specially me,” said Farleigh, slurring slightly. “I’ll have a slice with my fruit salad.” He picked up a sharp knife and waved at Justice’s retreating rear end. Edith was about to shriek but Justice muffled her in time and everyone else eagerly tucked into dessert, oblivious.
“So Justice, why do you think the world is over, or what was it you meant?”
“Eish Beth, I guess I just read too much and think too much.”
“Really? I always think of you more as a doer. And a talker mind you.” Justice laughed sheepishly.
“You’re right, I’m not one for sitting still much, so when do I get to think so much? Do you ever surf the internet Beth?”
“Me? No, never. I mean I can use a computer as long as it’s running windows. I do my correspondence and financial stuff on the computer. I have thought about getting e-mail and I guess I will one day. I think your father uses the internet, Farleigh?”
“Duh, Father is hardly ever off the internet.”
“He says he plays the stock markets.”
“And all the others,” says Farleigh airily, counting off on his fingers, “Blackjack, roulette, even the one-arm bandits I’m sure.”
Beth turned her back on him. Sipping her wine, she turned to Justice. “What about the internet?”
“The thing about the internet is that anything you want to know is there. I like to connect to reliable news sites. With digital news, the site does not have to carry the whole story. It can just be a headline or a brief summary with a link to the source and maybe links to related stories. Even the source article may have links to their original source so if you’re really interested in a story you can sometimes trace it back to actual eye-witnesses. You get a clearer picture of what is going on.”
“So somewhere you have found a story that the world is over, and yet it’s not front page news. You are going to have to try harder than that to convince us that you are not a fruitcake,” Beth teased him.
“Okay. First I want to tell you about blogs.”
“Blogs? You are not serious.”
“Yep. Blogs. They’re little self-personalised web pages in which people write whatever they want and hope that other people will read them. Anybody reading a blog can leave a comment about the blog or even about someone else’s comment. A whole discussion can get going.”
“But what is the point? And why on earth are they called blogs?”
“I have no idea. Actually I think it’s short for web-logs or something. But there is good reason. There is a lot of biased reporting happening, there’s a lot of media cover-up going on and there are still countries in the world with fascist governments controlling the media. Blogs give people living under such conditions a chance to tell their story. It’s a way of sharing information about anything. There are a lot of health issues where people share their solutions which are not dependant on pharmaceutical companies. Or people get a chance to share views on controversial topics. Some people just talk about beer.” Justive took a long draught of his wine. “Maybe there are wine-tasting blogs too.”
“So how do you know that what people are writing in their blogs is true?”
“Well by the the fact that they are totally open to commentary. I mean we all have our own perspective on truth so by reading a blog and all the comments posted you get a more complete picture of any situation.”
“So what did you read?”
“Wait julle,” Palesa interrupted them. “Let’s go and sit in the living room and relax a bit.”
“Yeah come.” They all got up and moved into the easy chairs while Justice did refills all round taking care to give Edie the diluted one. As Palesa said, she never noticed.
“So now tell us Justice. Seriously, I want to know. I know about global warming but it does seem to be kept low key in the news.”
“You see Beth they’re either deliberately keeping the truth from us or it’s just not sensational enough to boost sales. Firstly our oceans are really badly polluted. Not just from shipping but also from all the garbage that washes down the rivers. Oceans have also been responsible for absorbing a lot of excess carbon in the atmosphere but they are rapidly becoming saturated. Right here in South Africa we have the problem of the fishing trawlers struggling to make up their quotas so now they want our government to allow them to fish in areas where they were previously kept out because these are the breeding grounds. If they do that we soon wont have any fish left to eat.
“Then there’s the global warming curve. A lot of people are pooh-poohing the global warming hype saying that it’s been happening for millenia. But if you plot it on a graph it soon becomes apparent that it’s a hyperbolic curve that possibly within the next hundred years could approach the vertical line.
“Another thing is the uranium poisoning of the planet. Even here in South Africa we have rivers that are highly radio-active as a result of uranium poisoning just from gold-mining. In the middle east there’s a whole area thoroughly poisoned by uranium from the US using so-called depleted uranium to make the casings for the ammunition used in the gulf war. Now there’s a big push world wide to mine more and more uranium. To mine uranium is utter madness just in terms of bringing all that toxicity to the surface.”
“And now we are living with Fukushima.”
“But which rivers in South Africa are poisoned with uranium?”
“One I know for sure is called Wonderfonteinspruit and it feeds one of the dams supplying Potchefstroom with drinking water. Farms along that river have been badly affected. But even without radio-activity, river conditions in South Africa are bad. You know I just spent some months in Qwaqwa. It’s a most beautiful place and it’s a natural water catchment area. There are about six major South African rivers whose source is in the mountains there. The problem is under the old regime it was never considered a part of South Africa so there was never any infrastructure put in place. Unfortunately, 20 years into the new regime and still nothing has been done. The majority of the villagers are barely surviving and the numerous river banks are their dumping grounds. There are signs every against illegal dumping but no effort has been made to provide the villages with waste removal. At the same time there is an increase in disposable income in terms of social grants. Combine this with the influx of cheap disposable nappies, now the rivers are dead.
“When I was little whenever we visited ngunu we used to fish in that river that runs past her house. Man I remember some really delicious fish braais from those days. Now the fish are all gone; some few crabs and frogs left and poor water fowl dying out from loss of habitat. It’s really tragic what us humans are doing to ourselves.” Salem had just refilled Justice’s glass and he downed it in one go and held it out for more.
“Even the rivers in central Africa are seriously toxic. There’s a village in Zambia where all the kids have chronic lead poisoning as a result of copper mining in the area and the mines have been closed for nearly twenty years. Not only the river is toxic but the dust from the old mine dumps too. During the dry season everyone has to hide indoors. But the people are that poor some of them still risk their health scavenging the dumps and other areas of the disused mines for anything of value.”
“What about that other thing you told me?”
“Which thing Farleigh?”
“About the ball of fire.”
“Oh, that’s just my own hypothesis; kinda worst case scenario.”
“I thought you was gonna tell us about why you left varsity and went travelling through Africa. Your whole trip n all.”
“Ja, I was. It’s Edie’s fault for hi-jacking the conversation. The worst thing about the environment is the ‘official’ stand I mean Kyoto protocol which was just so much lip-service and then the Bali fiasco. That was a stinking rotten joke. You’re right Ma I shouldn’t even think about this stuff while I’m socialising cos I just get so bloody mad.”
“So now I’ve ruined your evening?”
“No, Edie. Actually I’m fine because tonight I’m in that warm fuzzy place where nothing can hurt me.”
“I’m at home, Beth, I’m at home.”
“Me too. What happened?”
“Danny!” Edie leapt up to assault her brother. “Why you weren’t here for dinner?”
“Oh, ja. You told me. I forgot.”
“You forgot!” Edie looked like she might throttle him.
“Ag you know sis. Life goes on and then I must come home eventually.”
“Oh Daniel,” said Beth. “So home is not your warm fuzzy place; just where you go when life stops going on.”
“Er, evening Ma’am.” Danny starts to realise how drunk everyone is. “Hey, I’m here now. If there’s nothing left to eat can I at least get a drink?”
“Oh, Danny boy.” Edie was ever forgiving of her beloved brother. “Here’s a glass of wine for you. But there is still food. Hare a kitcheneng.”
“So Justice do you have any suggestions of how to sort out the state the world is in, or do you just think it is too late.”
“It is kinda late but I don’t think that should be an excuse to do nothing. Truth is the only solution is too radical for most people. Most human people anyway.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“We are all people Beth, not just the humans and for one hundred percent of the non-human people the solution I propose would be loudly applauded by them all.”
“And what is that solution?”
Justice put his fingers to his lips.
“First, I promised my Ma here to tell her what I been up to the past ten years. But don’t worry Beth we will continue this discussion.”
“When we are not drinking.”
Danny came out of the kitchen balancing a plate of food, dessert and his drink. “Move over bro, I’m sure I can squeeze in there next to you. Hey where’s the table gone?”
“You can have my seat Daniel,” said Beth starting to rise. “It is getting late.”
“Aw mam, I just got here and it is nice to see you here. Please stay a bit. Have one more drink.”
“Oh alright.” Beth sat down and Edie jumped up to do the honours.
“So now tell me Justice. Start with what happened at university. Why you left.”
“Okay Ma. You see, one of the modules I studied in my first year there was called “History of Construction.” It’s normally split over the first two years but as I was starting there with my third year I did both parts at once. Actually they were discouraging me from doing it as not being essential to the degree. But it looked so interesting.
“Anyway, it was piss. I sailed through it, I think because I found it so fascinating. The first part was the history of construction in Europe while the second part was the history of European construction in the colonies. They kept insisting that I finish part one before starting part two, like their experiences in the first half justified everything they did in the colonies. It’s amazing how much you can learn about the history of the world just by studying such a narrow slice of it. Far more than what I learned in high school history.
“But what I realised, maybe because I was actually studying them simultaneously, the history of construction in Europe was also colonisation. The old European cultures were simple and natural, much like Africa used to be. Until the romans came along. Europe and England were both colonised by the romans.”
“And while the romans were colonising Europe the arabs were colonising North Africa.”
“Yeah, Salem, I’m sure that’s true. Actually the romans colonised it too but only along the mediterranean coast. But it explains why islam is so entrenched in North africa. Only they never completely eradicated the original cultures. North African countries still feel like colonies. Europe on the other hand is totally roman. Except for in eastern Europe, there’s hardly a trace of the original cultures. And nobody’s objecting.
“But the roman empire collapsed when? Fifteen hundred years back. The old knowledge was destroyed by then and superstition and mistrust were rife. The perfect culture for the growth of the holy roman empire. So under the guidance of this holy roman empire, the countries of Europe, including England, sent out explorers to find other natural cultures to colonise, exploit and destroy.
“Meanwhile Africa is sitting where Europe was fifteen hundred years ago. The colonials have allegedly pulled out; superstition and mistrust is rife. But the legacy of colonialism, the churches, be they christian or mohammedan, are cleaning up. Doing what the holy roman empire did in Europe. They’re totally eradicating all trace of our natural cultures. Already the knowledge of our ancestors is virtually lost.” His eyes were blazing.
Suddenly he remembered Beth and looked up at her. Her eyes were a bit glazed and she had a look about her that he had never seen before. She looked like a small child who is regularly abused. He had just been starting to feel angry all over again. His mother was looking very worried but her eyes never left his face.
Salem looked positively exultant. Farleigh just stared at him. Edie was asleep on Salem’s lap with Danny’s head in her hands, but Danny was wide awake, following every word.
“I’m sorry Beth. Come, I can see you’re tired.” She stood up and took Justice’s arm.
“I’m exhausted Justice. Too much wine. Bye-bye Palesa, everybody. Thank you. It was a wonderful evening.” She looked at Justice dubiously.
“Don’t pack up the party.” He was looking at Salem. “I’m coming back.”
They walked quietly up the hill. When they got to the house Justice opened the door for Beth. She looked at him. “You don’t need to come inside. I’m going straight to bed. Tomorrow, no not tomorrow. One day soon, when I am not drunk, you must run that all by me again, okay.”
“Yes Mum.” He hugged her warmly. “Sleep tight.” She kissed him on the cheek, patted his arm and went inside. He wandered back down the hill deep in thought.
When he opened the cottage door it collided with Edie who was jiving wildly with Farleigh and Palesa to Culture. Farleigh had worn himself out and fell against Justice as he stepped in. Salem and Danny were sitting at the table picking at the remains of the fish. Salem stood up.
“Here.” He tossed a banky to Justice who fielded it in spite of having to support Farleigh. “Yay! You don’t mind Ma.” She looked at the bag of weed he was showing her. “You know my rules.”
“No, Ma?” He helped Farleigh to the sofa.
“Whatever you gonna consume in my house, you gotta share with me.”
“Oh Ma!” He hugged her and swung her around.
“Hooo ? stop! Don’ do dat. I’m too old boy.”
Justice set her back on her feet and, after finding something to crush on, he went to sit with Farleigh. Farleigh looked at him sideways. “Your confidential source?”
“Something like that.” Justice grinned at him. Danny came and sat with them. He pinched a bit of weed and sniffed it.
“Jeez Salem. You never told me you had this. It’s so fine.”
“Sure. Wait till you smoke it.”
“Salem was just telling me bout how slavery was abolished like a hundred n fifty years ago and even the colonials left long ago but we still all slaves to money.” Danny was addressing Justice. “I mean most people aren’t lucky enough to work for someone like Beth, but it’s just not possible anymore to survive without tshelete.”
“But it’s true,” said Salem. Edie had joined him with the ice-cream tub and the remains of the fruit salad thrown in. “The thing is they keep coming up with more gadgets and stuff we really don’t need. That’s where all the garbage in the sea is coming from. I guess I’m just as bad cos I’d hate to be without my music but I don’t need a home theatre system.”
“But it would be nice if you had speakers,” Edie chipped in. “I mean it’s really nice listening with headphones, even for both of us, hmmm, real cosy.”
“Zactly. ‘Sonly you that visits me anyway.” He pulled her onto his lap and started eating the fruit and ice-cream.
“But surely we don’t really need money,” Danny proposed. This talk made him think till his brain hurt. “We could’ve still done all that stuff like put a rocket on the moon without ever having invented money.”
“We don’t really need a rocket on the moon either,” commented Salem, “and it seems that maybe we never did do that either. The whole thing was just another US hoax.”
“But you’re right Danny. The whole money thing is like a major intellectual game invented by the romans. Here Ma.” Justice had lit the spliff and passed it to Palesa. Suddenly it was like all talk stopped while they watched Palesa. She took a few tokes and passed it back to Justice.
“My boy, that was nice. It’s been a long time since I had some a dat. I want you to do something for me.”
“Sure Ma, anytime. What can I get you?”
“No, no. Not now. It’s your brothers I’m worried about.”
“Bokang and Kabelo? What are they up to now?”
“I wish I knew. That’s what I want you to find out for me. They both in Jozi an whenever we speak they insist they’s fine n all but when I ask them what jobs they got, they jus vague saying they jus do whatever jobs come along and that it’s easy makin money in Jozi.”
“Okay Ma, I get you. We all know how naughty those two can get when they start getting up to stuff. I promise I’ll make a turn north-side sometime soon.”
“Thanks my boy. Me, I’m feelin good n sleepy now but don feel y’all need to run away or keep the noise down. I’m gonna sleep real nice now. G’night.” Palesa got up and went into the bedroom to a chorus of “Night Ma” and “Sleep tight.”
Justice smoked a bit more and then passed the spliff to Danny. “The thing about money, Danny, is like how do we convince everyone that it’s just a fool’s paradise. It’s been disguised as the real thing for too long.”
“So maybe that’s where the gangsta’s is helping us,” reckoned Salem.
“How?” Danny asked.
“Well isn’t it bling was like the thing of the rich whiteys. It was like look what I can afford to drive or to buy my wife or whatever. Now it don’ help to jus be able to afford it cos you would’n dare to drive it or wear it cos some tsotsi niggaboy might come n take it. So these days bling is more about ‘look what I can flaunt cos nobody would dare touch me cos I run this hood’. Trouble with hip-hop is it’s trapped da niggers into believin they need that bling stuff in order to be someone and they needa do crime in order to prove it. It’s like it was designed to get as many niggas into jail as possible.
“Meantime more n more of us are realisin it’s not worth havin valuables cos you jus gonna get mugged for it. So that fancy thing become less valuable, get it.”
“You got a point. Meanwhile those that’s really hooked on the roman lies have their insurance n stuff n would never be able to see the benefits of losin their worldly wealth. Problem is it’s such an intricate game n the romans are using it to control what drives the human race. The whole world’s money systems, stock markets, the credit market, it’s all part of the game. And now they trading carbon credits to save the world!” Justice swigged at his glass, then remembered the wine was finished.
“Truth is,” he stressed. “The truth is that if we took back command of our universe we would not need money at all. Money could never open the gates of paradise. Money can not command the power of the universe.” He was almost shouting. Suddenly he spoke quietly. “Only love can do that. The only key is to love your universe. You have to love your life. Serious. As long as you keep loving what you do you will keep doing what you love. But you have to love it all. That’s the hard part.”
They all looked at him. Their faces were a bit blurred.
“Hey,” said Justice trying to stand up. “I’m drunk. I needa go home.”
“You’re at home, boet,” Edie reminded him.
“Yeah, thanks Edie. I mean I needa go to bed.” He looked at Farleigh who stood up gallantly if not steadily and offerred his arm.
“Come darling, lesh go.”
After a couple of false starts they managed to guide each other to the door and out.
“You wanna borrow Peter Tosh?”
“Anything, dawg, what you got?” Justice had come to borrow some music from Salem.
“I want you to listen to Tosh. They shot him dead years back. It’s maybe cos he knew the kinda stuff you talk about. Wait.” He put the headphones on and skip tracked a few times, then he passed them to Justice. He listened as Tosh sang,
“The lips of righteous teaches many
“But fools die for want of wisdom”
A few seconds later he was amazed to hear
“The rich man’s wealth is in the sea”
He took the headphones off and looked at Salem. “I had forgotten this song. I was kinda into reggae in high school and while at Wits. It was only when I went to London that I got into the whole hip-hop thang. I remember wondering what he meant by that; bout the rich man’s wealth being in the sea. But the man lived on an island. He must have seen it. US east coast garbage probably washes ashore Jamaica all the time.”
“Yeah, but I think it’s more than that. I think he also studied something in England. I know he spent time there. Probably studied music, I dunno. But like, who were the romans, I mean where did they come from?”
Justice lit the spliff he had just rolled before answering. “That’s the thing, ne. Where did the romans come from? Most people think they’re ancient history.”
“‘Cept the rastas. They always sing bout the downpressors as being the romans.”
“Yeah I reckon the rasta culture preserved a lot of truth from their experiences of slavery days. It’s like this, god made us, the natural humans on earth, but Adam made the romans. That’s the whole crime that got him banished from paradise. The romans were never supposed to have happened.”
“Say what?” Salem wondered if this man was not just another nut. The world is full of them but this man had said things that fit in with rasta philosophy, and he wasn’t even a rasta.
“‘Slike this. After life on earth had evolved into humans, the ultimate form, ha-ha, then god made itself into the image of man ie Adam. I reckon da point of Adam was so god could experience the whole creation thing. Anyway after some long time Adam got bored n wanted a wife so after much negotiations eventually he got Eve but with much caution, like No Kids, get it. I reckon like the forbidden knowledge was like Adam’s knowledge of god was not allowed to be spread to the natural race of humans.”
“Yeah,yeah. Wait. I have an idea, before you carry on cos everything you sayin is popping sparks in my brain. It’s like this, I figure if there’s any truth in religion, well not religion, they’re all bullshit. If there’s any truth about, I mean like if there is such a thing as god, it’s gotta be earth. Serious.
“All this evolution that the christians are tryna deny, to me it justs proves we are all one organism that is earth. All life is like just earth’s will to live. Which means you are no more nor less my brother than da tick on da fuckin dog man. Even da mountains and da rivers are like da bones n blood of god.”
“Yeah! We jus da ticks on da fuckin god man. Woo-hoo! Yeah, yeah. It’s like this, you’re da dog n you wonderin what it’s like to be da tick. So somehow you hi-jack one tick and use it to explore your own body. ‘Snot gonna help if you go tellin all da other ticks bout da dawg.
“Imagine you take them on da guided tour and when you teach them bout da heart, they gonna build a mine to have blood on tap so they can relax and educate their kids.”
“No, no, wait.” Salem is wiping tears from his eyes. “‘Ere gimme that. Eish it’s gone out. You not even smokin it.” He lights up. “It’s like this. Like every species performs some function, like one of our organs. Now imagine you tell them all bout ‘Da Brain’ next time you got an itch you wanna scratch, yo fingers gonna be so hung up bout ‘Da Brain’ they wont even hear it.
“That’s what’s happened to people. We’re also a part of it but we don’t feel it anymore. So why? What happened?” He lights up again.
“Yeah.” Justice leans back and drinks his beer. Salem passes him the spliff and he puffs it a bit and passes it back. “Yeah it fits. We weren’t so much different from the other creatures before Adam. Okay we had extra skills and talents but at the same time we were pretty defenceless, lacking hide or horns n stuff. But our culture was like theirs. Animals don’ pull shit on each other y’know. They don’ tell lies or cheat. They don’ have secrets. It’s not because they can’t, it’s like a different consciousness. It’s not like it’s against their beliefs or something, it jus’ wouldn’ occur to them.
“We was da same. We had our ways of doing stuff. All species is like that. They were our natural ways of doing things, in other words we were performing accordin to the will of earth. Jus’ like any wild creature. We were still very much a part of it.” He drank his beer and Salem passed him the new spliff he had just rolled.
“So,” said Salem, “Adam and his sons, they were not a part of it? I mean, definitely the sons. It makes sense that they should never have happened. And they knew they were not a part of it, so they decided they were better than it. Wait. What is ‘it’? Fuck, I’m gerook.
“Okay, get this. The whole it, god thing has to be the planet. We are all part of it. But because they were more conscious than the evolved humans, they considered themselves better n us even tho they knew they were the product of Original sin.
“Yeah, that’s why it’s called Original sin, cos before that no human had done any wrong, but under the influence of the romans we’ve become a real wicked species.” Salem cracked up.
Justice stared at him. “But that’s exactly it. And when they saw how gullible we were, cos nobody had ever lied to us before, they invented religion. First the roman gods, that is the sons of Adam. Then Jesus came along and showed us how foolish we had been so when the romans saw what a huge following he had they declared him the son of god and replaced the roman empire with the holy roman empire. Which just proves how gullible we are. The people who founded the christian church were the same people who murdered Jesus Christ. Hey, hullo Edie.”
“Hey Justice. Has JC been murdered?”
“It was along time ago,” Salem kissed her on the forehead. “Sit. You look tired.”
“Yeah, some people had a wild party at home, but I had to do the after party on my own. Pass me the spliff a bit. I’ll make tea n toast jus now.”
“Oh shit, sorry sista. I just came here to borrow some music and then I was gonna make a start on it. Um, that was about two hours ago. You relax. I’ll make tea n toast. Salem make her another spliff, that one’s kus.”
Edie climbed into the hammock and made herself comfortable while Salem crushed and directed Justice around his ‘kitchen’.
“So, Salem, how much of the moslem culture, scriptures, whatever, do you know?”
“Who me? Less than you. Isn’t it you’ve jus’ spent some years travelling through the moslem parts of Africa?”
“Yeah, yeah, but I just thought . . .”
“I know, my name. My father was a moslem. My mother was just a coloured woman. She used to say that y’know. If someone asked her if she was a christian or a moslem she used to get real angry and say ‘ek’s jis a kleurling!’
“He left us when I was about five. My mother was supposed to have taken on his culture and then they were gonna have a moslem wedding. He came back many times to try n take me away to grow up as a moslem. But then we moved in with my mother’s brother. He was another oke. He was the leader of a radical gang and Mahomet was afraid of them. He tried to organise a rabble against them but when they saw what they was up against, they fled. I remember that day, hey. I was like nine or ten.
“We heard Mahomet’s car coming up the hill. You could always hear that car from far. But this time it was like a cavalcade. We could hear it. Pops, that was my uncle, his father was indian. He didn’ even look out the front. He jus dived out the back door and was on the roof in a second. He sticks his fingers in his mouth and whistles man, twice. Loud. Then he runs out the front door and by the time his feet hit the pavement, his cronies are armed n at his side.
“It was magic. Mahomet pulls up and his car stalls. As always. His cavalcade take one look an they don’ even slow down. They jus drive straight past and take the first street outta there. So the whole gang close in on Mahomet who cant get his car started.” He hits his forehead. “On a steep incline! Anyway he wet himself. They all said they could smell it. So what they did, they all pick up his car and turn it around and push it fast down the hill. His tyres were smokin until he realised he could jus drop the handbrake n get outta there.”
“So where’s your family now?”
“My mom passed away when I was seventeen. Then I stayed with Pops for a while but he was crazy hey and I was young. I left jus’ before I turned nineteen. I dunno what’s happened to him now.”
“Where was that you were living then?”
“Woodstock, Cape Town. High up on the slopes of the mountain.”
“People like Pops. I like to connect with them. They’re often the natural leaders of the community and they’re better in touch with what’s really wrong, on the ground y’know. More and more I’m seeing that ‘on the ground’ is our true and natural culture. That we have to undo all the so-called improvements made by the roman paradigm.”
“Ja,” said Salem. “Improving on god. How can anyone think they can do that.”
“Heh-heh. I left Spain bout six years ago and since then I’ve travelled through bout a dozen countries in Africa, more than half of them were moslem colonies. But what I found is the people like your uncle Pops, the so-called gangsters, were often my best guides. Also the elders in remote villages; they were great to talk to for advice and info on the real living conditions of the people. Most of the time I never had much money and twice in the last three years I never even had a passport. Here we go then.”
Edie leapt from her perch and threw her arms around her brother’s neck. “How did you survive? You must have been suffering, boet.” Justice laughed and hugged her as she squeezed between the two giants to see the spread he had prepared for them.
“That’s the crazy thing Edie. I hardly ever went hungry. Ever. I slept outdoors many times cos it was so warm you could. I always managed to rig up something against the mosquitoes.”
“It’s the same thing all over Africa,” said Salem. “You get those people who are finally fed up with the law not protecting their rights, so they get together and fight back. I don’ even mean rebel soldiers n stuff. I jus’ mean ordinary people protecting themselves.
“When the downpressors see what’s going on they send in their mercenaries. In the old days they called them missionaries, huh. Anyway these special mercenaries are not attached to any government forces, foreign or local. They jus’ highly trained private people. Mostly they’re chosen to blend in well with the locals. They mimic those ordinary folks who’s tryna survive only they pull radical stunts to turn the world media against us. They have carte-blanche an they get paid mega-bucks for it.”
“Yeah. That was exactly it. Listen.”
“Bontate, wait, wait. I have a question.” The room was smoky and in uproar. Justice had earlier told them his abridged version of the world domination under which they were currently struggling. The last two hours they had been telling him their stories. His friend and interpreter, Tamil, had introduced him to his friend Yusub who had brought them to this room where about a dozen old men had been playing cards and dice. While he was talking to them the room had filled up.
After he had explained to them, with Tamil’s help, that ‘Bontate’ was South African for gentlemen, he found they responded to it. Even now they quietened. Tamil looked at him enquiringly.
“Listening to your stories, I’m asking myself are you people the so-called infamous Somalian Pirates?”
Although most of them had little or no grasp of English they had all caught the phrase ‘Somalian Pirates’. The resultant uproar made Justice worried that he had said the wrong thing until he saw Tamil stand up chuckling. He was a big man. He roared over the heads of the hub-bub. “BONTATE!!”
There was instant silence but when they saw it was Tamil who had shouted, to Justice’s amazement they all started laughing. The more noise they made, the more they shouted at each other ‘Bontate’ and the more they cackled. Eventually even Justice had tears streaming down his face.
Eventually one very old man stood up and the room quietened. The old man started explaining and Justice learned, through Tamil, that they were all retired Somalian ‘pirates’.
“In our families we have been pirates for generations. Those of us present here have earned our retirement, except Yusub who has stopped in for repairs and supplies.
“When our ancestors first became pirates, maybe five hundred years ago, the world was a much simpler place. Slavery was rife and it took cunning to survive. But our ancestors realised that their survival meant nothing unless we fought back. So we learnt to sail. And we set up a system of spies all up and down the east coast of Africa at all the ports. That way we always knew which boats were carrying people as cargo. Then we would hunt that boat.
“In the first hundred years we were pretty useless. Our skills were rudimentary and our boats were worse. Often the best we could do was just sink the boats laden with our friends, families, knowing that to drown was better than what was in store for them.
“But we improved and started rescuing more and more people. When they saw how often we were winning they started using their navies to protect the slave ships. Those were hard times for us but at least we still knew who was the enemy.
“When slavery was allegedly abolished, nothing really changed except the slave trade went underground. They had to be secretive. Most of the slave boats started disguising themselves as fishing trawlers. But we were already operating underground so they couldn’t hide from us. But now their governments could not openly defend them anymore. They developed a new strategy.
“Suddenly there were a whole lot more ‘pirate’ boats. Mostly portuguese and arabs. At first we thought it was some kind of private army that would try to defend the slave ships. But they were just ruthless cut-throat pirates. Only they never ever targeted slave ships. They obviously knew which ones they were. Instead they targeted ships carrying valuable cargo, occasionally even passenger boats, anything that would make big headlines about the wicked Somalian pirates.
“Sometimes they got busted, sometimes we got busted. Before they started operating we never got busted. We sometimes got sunk by navy ships but they never arrested us, they just left us to drown unless we were able to rescue our own. Now we would get arrested. But whenever they got arrested we would always see them back in action again very soon. Then when our guys got busted, for rescuing women and children, they would suddenly find themselves facing charges of hi-jacking maybe a swedish trawler, terrorising, even murdering the crew and stealing valuable cargoes. It’s happening all the time. So where’s the justice?”
Justice grinned. Then said soberly, “Meanwhile the media are having a field day, but we know who owns the media.”
Suddenly Tamil jumped up and screamed something unintelligible. There was an answering shriek from beyond the door. Justice looked at him alarmed. Seeing Justice’s face, Tamil sat down and grinned at him sheepishly. Next thing the door opened and half a dozen young Somalian girls entered bearing trays of tea, coffee and injera.
Once they were all sipping and munching quietly, Justice asked Tamil to introduce him to the old man who had been doing all the talking. Tamil was very pleased. He introduced him as Talib, the oldest of the retired seamen and the custodian of their history. Once the introductions were over Justice asked him, “So do you still only target slave ships?”
“It’s a hard question. The world has become a place of dirty tricks. We feel we need to fight back more. We see foreigners plundering our countries. We are not only Somalians. We have spies in many ports and we see foreign ships laden with materials plundered from our countries under the guise of foreign investment and trade deals. We are often tempted to take back what belongs to us.”
Justice looked at him. He sighed and mopped his face with a large handkerchief.
“We tried it once. It was a disaster. We need much better resources before we can move in that direction.”
“It was a big ship and we were no match for her. We only managed to hole her while our boat was nearly crippled.”
“It was your own boat?”
“No, no, listen. The big ship got away leaving a terrible trail of oil. We damaged our own coastline badly with that alone. However when they realised it was us and not one of their renegades, there were very soon American ships hunting us down.
“I don’t know where they came from but they were at the spot where it happened before dawn the next day. Our poor boat was still trying to limp home. They picked it up before lunch-time but by that time one of our other boats had collected all but the essential crew members.”
“When was this?”
“Two, no, three years back. The last I heard the crew were being held at Gitmo. We never heard of them since then. I mean we can’t exactly step forward either. We should never have done that thing but we’ve come to a point where what we doing is like bailing with a coffee cup.” He indicated the miniature cup he was drinking from. Justice noticed the man was not angry. He was sorrowful, almost heartbroken. He reached out and took his hand, almost as if to shake it, but he just held it where it lay in the old man’s lap.
“We gonna do something, baba. We are. We gonna do something.”
* * * * * * *
Back at Salem’s crib Bob is singing from the headphones around Edie’s neck
“Oh pirates yes they rob I
“Stole I from the merchant ship
“Minutes after they took I
“From the bottomless pit”
Salem was very quiet, building a spliff. Edie was stretched out with her shoulders resting against his leg, watching her brother.
“It’s hectic, the things I’ve learned and seen in Africa these past six years. The past, the present, and judging from the past and present, it will be the future too. We have to do something and it’s gonna have to be drastic and it’s gonna have to be soon.”
“Like now,” Salem said, lighting the spliff. He was looking a bit pale after listening to Justice’s story.
Edie looked up at him. “You alright, my baby?”
“Yeah, wait.” He moved her away and went over to the hi-fi. “Bob was like the prophet but Tosh was the genius. Listen.” He skip tracked until Tosh was singing ‘Equal Rights and Justice’ at which Justice took a bow, but soon the lines he was looking for came over the headphones. He passed Edie the spliff, saying to Justice, “Here this bit.” Tosh was singing
“Everyone is talking bout crime, crime
“But tell me who are the criminals”
But Edie had got up to jive while she smoked so they couldn’t really hear it, only her singing along.
Salem looked at Justice, “So is there a plan?”
“You don’ wanna hear it. It’s drastic. In fact it’s radical. It’s also long, complicated and still in need of a lot of work. And I needa go n see my mum. I really do.”
“Okay so just the bare bones, the outline as such.”
“Firstly we gotta Lockdown Africa. Of course first we have to get a big enough following in at least 30 countries in Africa. At least. After that the push will be Lockdown Africa ? Everybody Out.”
“Well it’s like this, all multinationals, all foreign investment. No more corporonialism. No more imports, no more exports, no more mining or any environmentally damaging industry. We just gonna give them a deadline, ‘You got jus’ so long to get out before there’s complete mayhem’.” He started cackling.
“They’ll think you’re mad.”
“Yeah. N they’ll leave. In droves. Well even give them free flights in the end. These are the last planes outta here ladies and gentlemen. There will be no more coming in. Well pay our debts in second hand aeroplanes, cars, whatever.”
“We’ll all die without any transportation.”
“We all gonna die if we carry on like this. This way we’ll get ahead of them in the alternative energy game and we’ll nail them all for polluting the environment. Sure the transitional period will be mayhem. The governments are not gonna like us cos we gonna dissolve all internal borders and they will jus’ become infrastructure service providers.
“Here, take this, it’s gone out again. Listen, I gotta go home to Momma.” He kissed Edie on the cheek. “See you later.”
“Momma, I’m home,” he called as he strode through the open door. Palesa was sitting at the table reading the newspaper. He kissed her cheek and squeezed her shoulders.
“Come and sit, my boy. You hungry? Edith’s cooked us dinner.”
“And she’s cleaned the crib. She’s a darling. I see you never moved the table back.”
“I like it here. We jus’ put the coffee table back. Are you hungry?”
“Not just yet, Ma. Relax.” He sat at the table with her.
“I want to hear the rest of your story.”
“Ja Ma. It was hectic. After I learned all that stuff I told you bout last night, I was kinda dazed. Any lecture that gave me an opening, I would confront the lecturer with it. Especially the white ones. As I said I passed most everything way ahead of the pack but by the end of the year my relationship with the lecturers was deteriorating.
“When we opened for the second year I had decided to jus’ forget it and concentrate on the work y’know, the scientific, technical, practical stuff. But it was too late; I had no idea hey. By the time we opened again I had this kinda following. And they weren’t all engineering students either. At that time about sixty percent, maybe more, of the students were white. Of the rest of us, about a quarter of them became my connections. By the end of the first semester, whenever I wasn’t in lectures there was like two hundred kids hanging with me.”
“Why they was all after you like that? And was there really that kind of racism there too?”
“Yeah but not so much. I mean some of the kids hanging with me were white. It was just’ like they all wanted to know what’s the story. They’d all heard scraps n they wanted to know more. They wanted details and a lot of them could fill in the gaps with what they had learnt in their studies. Mostly the white kids were offended by my understanding of their history but some of them could see it too.”
“Didn’t that make trouble for you?”
“And how? I got called into the Dean’s office. Twice. I was interrogated about what I was up to. Well the first time it was jus’ the Dean and his secretary and it was all terribly polite and we are all gentlemen and all that! The second time their head of security was there and he started claiming that he already knew who I’m working for and what I’m trying to do.
“Then he tried to appeal to me as my mother’s son and laying it on thick about being a sponsored student, while the Dean looked out the window, too polite to eavesdrop on my financial problems, hah! You don’ know how nauseating polite people can be. They use their manners like a weapon.”
“I know, my boy. I know exactly what you mean.”
“I told him straight Ma, ‘You better tell me what you know about me, cos it’s the first I heard about it’. He was a big guy, used to people being intimidated by him, but even then I was bigger than him. You shoulda seen the Dean’s face the first time I walked into his office. He only jus’ managed to stop himself from hiding behind his secretary. Heh-heh.”
Palesa shook her head. “I’m hungry. Let me dish for us, then you can tell me the rest.”
“Okay Ma.” She was soon back with two plates of food.
“Mmm. You taught her well Ma.” Justice had a good tuck in before continuing his story.
“It was about three weeks after that second interview that I came home to find my place wrecked. Not burgled, no. And I wasn’t in Res that year. I had my own accommodation close to campus, but it was obviously that arse-hole from security or some of his goons. They just bust the door down and went through everything.
“The only stuff they took was my computer hard-drive and all my disks. In those days I never had any idea about mobilising people. There was nothing unusual on my computer. My disks were all my projects and stuff for the current year. This was near the end of the second semester. It was when I realised that. About my disks. All my work. I was really getting into it and I had worked hard. And everything was on those disks.
“That was on top of realising that I was now marked, possibly even being followed around. Jus’ cos I’m a black man or what? I hadn’t done anything. But already they were hassling me. When I realised on top of that, all my disks, all my work, gone. I decided ‘That’s it, I’m outta here.’ I packed the two bags I had with what I could salvage out of the mess. Mostly clothes and a couple of my books. I never went back to that address or to varsity. Sorry Ma.”
“Nay, you did the right thing, I’m sure. Who knows, you went back there n I never see you again. And look here you are, big and strong and healthy. I pray that you keep making the right choices.” She got up and gave her son a big hug. Only when he was sitting down could she hug him properly.
“Come let’s go sit where it’s comfy. I’ll make us tea.”
“No Ma, you sit. I’ll make tea. Go on. I need to stretch my legs.”
* * * * * * *
The next morning Justice made his way to the house to see Beth. He found her in the morning room. Breakfast had been cleared away but the coffee was still hot.
“Morning Mum.” He poured himself coffee and kissed her cheek as he sat down beside her. She reached out and took his hand.
“Justice. I am glad to see you. Are you well?”
“I’m very well, and you?”
“Yes I am well, thank you. Just very glad to see you. I have been worrying about what you said the other night. Although it is somewhat blurry and confused.”
“I’m sorry about that, Beth. I was terribly drunk and I didn’t consider your feelings before going into that whole rant. I really am sorry.”
“No, no. It does us all good to have our comfort zones shaken up from time to time. I just want to hear your whole reasoning. It seemed to me that what you were saying is that the whole mess the world is in right now, is the fault of the church.”
“Yeah, that is a bit harsh. I think a lot of the churches are quite unaware of the human rights abuses they’re supporting. Some of them are even trying to do stuff to alleviate the suffering of the victims. The truth is they’re kinda avoiding the issue of who god really is. Instead their power is based on what they consider their direct descendancy from god. Both the christians and the moslems have this hierarchy. But their descendancy is actually from Adam and if you analyse the story of Adam and Eve it soon becomes obvious that it’s a symbolic tale forbidding them to have kids because of the very disastrous consequences it would have and has had on earth.
“The very people who are claiming the right to represent god are actually the product of Original sin.”
“But that does not mean that what they are saying about god is untrue.”
“The whole masculine slant to god as preached by the christians and moslems is a lie. And it’s the root of all gender inequality world-wide. Arab women are severely oppressed but although western women are comparatively liberated the western world is still male dominated. Over the millenia this practice has filtered down into all the natural cultures of the world and become entrenched there. Such attitudes did not exist in the natural culture of earth.”
“But who says the natural culture was better than Adam’s culture?”
“Me, I say it, Beth. The thing is earth was god’s perfect creation. As I see it the created culture was the perfect culture. When Adam first arrived on earth everything was perfect, it was a paradise.
“The problem with the descendants of Adam and Eve, they were not a part of that natural culture. The rest of us were still natural beings operating according to nature’s will. They were not and they had no birthright to be here with their god-consciousness. Earth’s culture had no need of the worship of the father god. That was invented for the sole benefit of Adam’s descendants. Not only did they infect us with that consciousness, they also twisted the story to make themselves out to be the pious, pure ones and us the tainted. We were the innocents.”
“It is a shocking story Justice. But surely if it was true somebody would have been proclaiming it long ago.”
“Somebody did Beth. About two thousand years ago. His name was Jesus. However, the christians, started by Ptolemy about three hundred years BCE, used the council of Nicea, some three hundred years after Jesus’ time, to have him declared the ‘Christ’and deified as the son of god. Of course Jesus’ vast following thought they were vindicated by this move, whereas the romans were just adopting him as their mascot in order to replace the crumbling roman empire with the new holy roman empire. The reason they got away with it is because the truly righteous sons of Adam were the ones who did not infect earth’s culture with their genes. They brought forth no new generations, they were gay Beth. As a result they had died out by that time.
“Those same families who founded the holy roman empire are the ancestors of the very same handful of people who govern the wealth and power of the world today. What we call The Bilderberg Group. The heads of multi-national corporations, and all the political leaders of Europe, Asia and North America. Especially the US. It was a big blow to Europe, historically, when they lost control of America after most of their wealth and power moved there.”
“But what about Obama?”
“What about him?”
“He is an African, is he not?”
“He is an american, Beth. And although he has some alleged African roots he is far more closely connected to those families that consider the rest of us their chattel.”
“You have strange sources of information, Justice.”
“I’ve found it necessary. The world is full of deception and the media is controlled by those orchestrating the deceit. If you want to know the real truth, it doesn’t work to just ‘google’ it.”
“So what is the solution, Justice, or are we doomed?”
“Unless we do something really drastic, yes, we’re doomed. But when I say drastic, I mean radical, literally.”
“Literally? As in pertaining to the root?”
“Exactly Beth. What the majority of Africans are realising is that our ancestors lived comfortable lives without any of the trappings of modern technology whereas now we live miserable lives so that the ‘whites’ including the black elite, can enjoy those trappings. So once we have a large enough following continent wide, we will come out in opposition to the so-called AU which is really that same black elite. What Obama has made obvious to us is that the romans are no longer all white.
“Once we can honestly lay claim to being the voice of the masses we can evict all the so-called foreign investment, the multi-national corporations, even the foreign NGO’s. All those foreigners exploiting our natural resources, particularly in places like Nigeria, Sudan and DRC, must all go.”
“What is wrong with the NGO’s. How or what are they exploiting?”
“A lot of them are just fronts for human trafficking and other notorious ends. Like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation trying to poison our lives with GMO seeds and other equally dodgy agricultural techniques. Ironically the wealthy world is far more dependant on what it is getting from Africa than it will ever admit. If we stopped exporting our meat and fruit we would have more than enough to go around. If we stopped exporting our minerals the rest of the world would be almost crippled. And that is what we need to do in order to regain the upper hand. We need to act fast in other ways too. There are unscrupulous countries offering large sums to struggling countries to have them accept their toxic waste. Africa could rapidly become the world’s garbage tip. We need to declare our whole continent a conservation area. Halt all polluting industries, especially the mines. Just close down everything.”
“But you can’t do that Justice. What about jobs?”
“We need to go right off the money standard Beth. The whole system is heading for a crash and Africa is sitting at the bottom of the pile. We need to get out before the whole thing falls on us. We gonna give everyone a deadline. Any industry that does not pass our rigorous environmental standards by that time just gets closed down. No more fossil fuels. No more poisoning of our earth.”
“What about road transportation, aeroplanes?”
“It’s all gotta stop.”
“No! It’s ridiculous. I mean everything, absolutely everything will come to a standstill.”
Justice beamed and nodded. She stared at him incredulously.
“How will we even cook? No coal generated electricity, no gas, not even parrafin or coal for coal-stoves.”
“But it’s those very problems that will bring us through. Those fundamental questions upon which our very survival is dependant. We in Africa have survived slavery, colonisation, foreign investment, hah! Many, many things; we are strong.”
“Is that not what Mugabe was trying to do?”
“Mugabe never had the methodology. In the beginning he was definitely on the right track but I believe that somewhere along the line he was influenced by the wrong advisors. People who wanted him to fail. Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra had the methodology. We could learn a lot from them.”
“But Cuba is socialist!”
“I know; and the media has the whole world hung up on this gung-ho mob-rule thing called democracy.”
Beth stared at him. “You don’t believe in democracy.”
“I don’t believe in democracy in a world so controlled by a media that is under the control of the corporonialists. It has definitely failed Africa. The ANC could have done what we want to do. They have the power and the leadership but I don’t think they have the guts. They are too blinded by economics.
“Mbeki was supposed to have been the economics genius but his policies failed the people. Did you know that under Mbeki South Africa became the first country, and is still the only country in the world, who has genetically modified the staple food of its own people. GMO’s are truly a modern weapon of mass destruction and the ANC is using that weapon against us.
“Now Zuma has the difficult task of keeping us afloat in a world that is in economic crisis. And what has he done? Built himself an impregnable retreat. This does not inspire confidence. Meanwhile under him, the government’s big drive is job creation. But as Jomo Kenyatta said, it’s not our culture to indenture our labour. ANC was supposed to free the people from this yoke of colonial hangover slavery. If we can drop right out of the whole monetary system, we can stay one step ahead of them.
“Once we come through the mayhem, we will be leagues ahead of them and in a position to take on the world as an equal power, instead of the crippled state Africa is in at the moment.”
“Justice, your ideas certainly are radical; and quite exhausting. If that is out only solution . . . Oh, good morning Farleigh, did you sleep well?”
“Yes thanks, Mother. Hello Justice.”
“Hey Farleigh. How you doing?”
“Spiffing. What you up to?”
“Just came to visit Beth a bit, but I’m afraid I’ve wearied her with the woes of the world.”
“I am fine. But I think I will go and have a little lie-down before lunch. You will have lunch with us?”
“Thanks, Beth, I’d love to. What you say, Farleigh; you n me go finish planting veggies for Palesa? I found a whole stash of seeds at home.”
“Sure. Let me just drink my coffee.”
“You must eat something Farleigh.”
“Oh. Mother! It’s nearly lunch time.”
She smiled and left them to it.
* * * * * * *
Later, while they worked, Farleigh wanted to know, “What about Pan?”
“What about him?”
“Well you were saying how the romans were the sons of Adam and I was wondering about Pan because he is always depicted like the original satan.”
“Yeah poor Pan. More like the original scape-goat. It wasn’t Adam’s sons that were the romans. Mars was the son of Adam and the father of Remus and Romulus.”
“Who were suckled by a she-wolf.”
“I don’t believe it was literally a wolf. I believe that was just the prejudices of Adam’s family against the native people of earth. What I believe is that Romulus and Remus were set afloat the River Tiber in their crib. The local villagers must have unwittingly rescued them and found them a wet-nurse.
“Anyway they were the founders of Rome and set their family on a pedestal to be worshipped. But not all of Mars’ siblings were like him. A lot of them were homosexual. Pan was the coolest one. He loved the earth and all it’s possibilities. He had no need to dominate or be worshipped. His love of earth was such that wherever he went earth’s will to live flourished.
“That is why the holy roman empire painted him the devil. He refused to share their burden of guilt and instead shared his love of earth with the mortals, basically showing us the power of accessing earth’s will. If we had listened to Pan we would have learnt the truth about god long ago and they would never have succeeded.”
“Yeah and the truth about satan too. From what you said god is just a mask created by satan to fool us. And we have been fooled.”
“Okay, so now we’ve planted everything, should we build a temple to Pan to encourage earth’s will to live to flourish here?”
“Yeah right. It’s the whole worship thing that’s fucked up da earth in the first place. Way I see it worship is the constitutive act of satan. As soon as you worship something it becomes another tool accessible to satan. All we needa do is love earth the way Pan did and she will flourish. Oh, goody was that the lunch-buzz? What we must do is come back this evening and give it all a good soaking.”
‘It’s because of lust that dust doesn’t remain just dust.’