I punish myself every year by re-reading over 200 pages of the news and social media summaries with Acumen Media. We have had it rough guys, but 2023 its time for you to set us free. I’m Tonya Khoury and this is the #DiaryOfMediaMonitor. Spoiler alert, there’s not a lot of cheer here but you’ll be fine my dear.
#Eskom continued its yo-yo performance, power cuts became the nation’s way of doing an interpretive dance with #loadshedding, featuring #Ramagokpa as the lead choreographer. We started with four stages and are now on twelve. All #Eskom proved is that it can count and it can spend cash like a Bozza. #MuggDeRuyter or #TraitorDeRuyter, as I now refer to him, dropped a mic at an #eNCA interview and told us all what we already knew: #Eskom is a mafia state! Then he swanned off over the seas. I really dislike that man. The #Karpowerships sailed into the scene promising #PhuzaFace Gwede #Mantashe a pocket full of cheer and some lights for new year. The only lights I can see are the backlights of the kilometers of trucks that queue up to leave SA with our hard-earned coal in #RichardsBay. #23 Get Behind Me.
Apart from orchestral manouveurs in the dark we had a gut full of court cases. #JudgeJudy would hop off her twig with the mountain of #CourtTV. #SenzoTrial was filled with plot twists and so many judges: one got sick and another was fired while another was appointed by the President and, at the centre of it all, #Teffo kept us morbidly entertained. He was taking his robe off and putting it back on so often you’d swear he was on the catwalk. He also called press conferences like he owned a PR firm. There were the #TwistedSisters: #ZandileKhumalo, who refused to be on camera but had a photo shoot in the hallways of the courts for Instagram; and, #KellyKhumalo who should have been in court. But it is all lies that lay between the Netflix doccie and the testimony, and now no one knows what’s going on, least of all me. And Senzo is dead, and another year has passed. The only good thing to come of this trial is the magnificent #AdvocateMshololo. She’s a dynamo but sadly she’s being drawn into uBaba’s charms as she now sits for his council.
#Zuma stayed in the limelight, stayed the master of political limbo – how low can you go? Pretty low actually, seeing #Zuma in and out of court – that’s a miracle on its own. Yet, we have never managed to get him into court, not last year, not for twenty years in fact, but this year he’s done more court appearances than Kanye West has changed Bianca’s clothes or Teffo has disrobed. We are never going to deal with #Zuma’s war crimes; we are all too scared. We are still messing around with the Stalingrad battle scars that will never heal. Zuma took #CyrilTheSquirrel #cupcake, our uncle in the furniture business, to court. It was all moot except for filibustering #DaliMpofu who made a packet. My word, #DaliMpofu ran his mouth this year. He should get a reward for putting the bad guys behind bars because his defense was so poor.
#Busi Madam #Mkhwebane and Dali #BlahBlahMpofu were headline acts most of the year. While the #Section194 enquiry kept my evenings full, Madam pulled more antics than a contortionist: sick notes; couldn’t afford the plane tickets; ran out of cash for Dali; Dali staged a walk out leaving Madam on the stand alone.Every single trick in the book came out of this pantomime. Even Lindiwe #Medusa Sisulu told us how abused Busi was. Then we had the death of #TinaJoematPettersson which is still unresolved. She snuffed it after black mail material was found on members of the 194 Enquiry – which subsequently were found to not exist. I wonder if Tina is really dead or living it up with #GavinWatson? Too much? I’m just saying what you’re all thinking. Anyway, all that drama resulted in #Busi leaving the building one month earlier than her tenure. Today she’s donning a doek and wearing an #EFF uniform. I should think so too, she cannot possibly belong anywhere else. #GetBehindMe 2023.
One court case we didn’t see was who killed #AKA? It’s been ten months: nothing. It was the biggest story in South Africa at the time and now… radio silence. I’m afraid it’s about to get hair-raising my dear country, please strap yourself in before you read further how there is no love for our children. One out of three children are raped in our country. Toddlers are chopped up, mutilated for body parts and sold for black magic. #Zihali was sentenced to life for raping and kidnapping a nine-year-old girl. He’d also confessed to raping a four-year-old but the judge found there was not enough evidence. Read that again, he confessed, how is a confession not evidence? Three men sold #SpaceMuffins at a primary school to ninety #GradeR children. Our littleys were bullied into buying a “muffin” for R2. Were they trying to drug the kids to kidnap them? What could drive people to do such despicable things. Then another story about a woman who held down her own child to be raped by the stepdad. Speaking of hell, #Ackerman the pedophile was found guilty of 740 charges all concluding that he is a child predator, and the strongest argument to bring back the death penalty. He got twelve life sentences. He showed no remorse in fact he doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong. 740 children! But he’s not even the worst of them. #Omotoso, the preacher man who was caught trafficking hundreds of girls as part of his “church”, is. His trial has been going on since 2017. That’s six years of administrative delays while the victims grew, and the network of pedophiles kept churning. This man had children believe the rape was the divine will of God. Our kids have become fodder. This is a #WarOnChildren. Ten-year-olds are pregnant. And here’s something unfathomable, the #SexOffendersRegister is not open to the public, well it’s not open at all, I’m not sure why it even exists. That is not okay.#2023Flee.
If we weren’t reading about the tyranny against our babies, we were reading about violence and protests enveloping places like #Diepsloot and #Wits. But #NehawuHospital strike was one of the worst I’ve witnessed, shocking and clearly orchestrated. We watched as sick or dying people and children were brought by ambulance, only to be confronted by a mob of protesters fighting to keep them on the streets. Some died before they made it inside as doctors barricaded themselves in to save whom they could. I can’t leave hospitals without talking about #TembisaHospital and its purchase of dozens of very expensive pairs of skinny jeans. That facility’s obliteration through corruption resulted in deaths we cannot count. #2023GetBehindMe.
See what you’ve been through my nation? And I’m only half way. Do you think you can make it through this horrendous read? Take a glass of cold water to steady yourself. Well actually, hold on that. We had no drinking water coming out of our taps. Then #Ecoli in large parts of South Africa and the #CholeraOutbreak in #Hammanskraal. The President told us to boil the tap water in #Hammanskraal. He forgot one small thing. Hammanskraal is without electricity, so boiling food is a luxury most can’t afford. Cyril might as well have said “Let them eat cake”. #OutOfTouch and insulting. We found the culprit, though: Edwin #DryTaps Sodi, professional criminal, more tenders than water tankers. He ripped the ring out of our water supply; should be in jail but he’s walking free in 2023.
Talking about gangsters swaggering in front of their ruins, Julius has had a big year: the EFF turned 10 which is ironic because that’s how many votes he’s got. He treated us to a national shutdown (flashmob), and he committed high treason by storming the President during the #SONA address. I call it treason, the government calls it time for garden leave. Semantics. But holidays are a time for romcoms and there is no bigger than the bromance between #Julius and #Mashatile. Paul was working hard on the ANC side of the fence, gearing up to be President and a coalition with the EFF sets Juju straight for Deputy. Please 2023, Please leave me. I had thought that #Mashatile had blown it when his VIP protection unit viciously beat up two men on the highway for no apparent reason. That’s our president in waiting chaps. #2023 Leave Me.
There’s more on Juju, apart from firing a gun in the air, he started singing #killTheBoer in colonial English. It’s not an English song, but Juju made sure all understood what he was singing. No one cared, except for #JumpingJohn #Steenhuizen who said that South Africans were “cowering” because of this stupid song. Speak for yourself John, we weren’t and aren’t even bothered. What made us worry was when you did a speech in Afrikaans, you can’t even speak the language let alone do the #SakieSakie. #2023HelpMe.
#LadyRa kept #Ramatress on his toes as we allegedly sent weapons to Russia. Ha, we can’t fill a pothole yet we are arming #MotherRussia, please peal me a grape. Then back on land, Winde, the Cape Premier, said he was going to arrest Putin himself but only if he arrived in Cape Town. Oh yes, the DA have kept us entertained. Remember the #GreatTaxiImpoundment where the minister told the DA’s JP Smith that he is not “a goddess, he is not God and he is not Gabriel”? Enter CT Mayor #GoerdinHill-Lewis saying he would not negotiate with a gun to his head. #BhekiCele said anyone who doesn’t negotiate with the taxi industry is a chop. That was the short version. And he was right. #2023 you disappointed me.
I’m trying to be cheerful here, it is #Dezemba dammit. But no, I’m confronted with stupid stories like South Africa sponsoring #TottenhamHotspurs that left SA #Tourism with egg on its face and believe me we can’t spare eggs this year. Bird Flu, swine flu and the only good thing about this was that Lindiwe Sisulu flew out of the cuckoo’s nest. Now that’s worth a hashtag. #2023 #FlyLindiFly.
#ThaboBester and #DrNandi entered our lives like a bad soap opera dragging hashtags and clothing brand names behind it. This was and is a massive distraction. I have too many questions. Why send a jet to pick up these two cats in Tanzania? Why did the lead detective get into his car and blow his brains out? I’m clueless. We can tell you what Burberry jacket Thabo wore, though; we can tell you the type of sides on Nandi’s hairstyle, the colour of her nails. But nobody could tell if Thabo has an ID. Whereas with #DrNandi, she’s a self-appointed Nike ambassador, manipulator and grave robber and all we care about is her grooming. I was drawn into this madness but we haven’t got time for badly written soap operas, even if they have round sponsors and flat characters.
Speaking of soapies, #CoalitionChoas brought the bubbles but couldn’t clean up the political chaos and horse trading that became one fat foam party around #KetangPhelatse’ mayoral chain. You had politicians sliding and slipping all over the place. This at a time when you would never believe, unless you lived here, that we had tigers waltzing around the streets of Walkerville. Remember #Sheba? They shot our #JungleOats. And there was another tiger, but we don’t talk about #TigerClub. #2023CatChoas.
We mourned many this year: #EuB Eusebius McKaiser, the man I hated loving. #DerekWatts, a man who ruined our Sunday nights. #Zahara left us this week and probably one of the biggest stories of the year: #Buthelezi passed away shortly after his 95th birthday. It took 95 years for South Africa to voice its opinion on the Prince #Mangosuthu “Gatsha” #Buthelezi. There were so many others, 2023 set them free.
And as if our soul could bear no more, enter our annual #XenophobicSouthAfrica. This time it was #Riverlea, a place where doors get locked and bolted at sunset and children’s ears get covered from the sound of gunshots in this undeclared warzone. This is where the story of the #ZamaZamas re-emerged and dragged our #Xenophobia out from the core. A ticking timebomb, both the area and the topic. It’s the same narrative, it just shifts places and parties. And it continues because there is some fat cat at the end of the line picking up all those small nuggets at the expense of people’s lives. We saw the rage boil over in #OperationDudula, initially headed by #NhlanhlaLux (now officially known as #TenPastFour). Who can forget the staged “bomb blast” outside #Lux’s house and the granny that recounted it all with a “kwakwakwa”, surely that has to be one of the funniest things of 2023? #TenPastFour is now added to our vocab for any tall tale we hear or see. That’s what 2023 gave me.
Want more? But can you handle it? We saw quakes and fires; we saw the #BoksburgExplosion. We saw a grief stricken mother bury all her children; we saw hijacked buildings burn to the ground and take all the humans with it in the horrific #MarshalltownFire. We saw #BreeStreet erupt, the result of an underground gas explosion. Little fires everywhere, too many to talk about. We were conned by a marketing trick and #PRIME asked us to pay five hundred rand for a cold drink, who do they thing they are? The cops? They dropped the price and we gulped it down. Nice work if you can get it. Chumps of 23. You forgot that story ne? Here’s some other crackers: “Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.” #MusaMota the #XFactor golden ticket winner reminded the nation how tenacious we can be. This guy danced up a storm despite, no not despite, his crutches and one leg. We are remarkable in so many ways. Take a look at our women man, like #BanyanaBanyana are literally heroines, every single one of them. #2023Heroes we shall be!
I have to drag myself back to politics because it wouldn’t be an annual review if I didn’t mention the Prez or Fikile #Razmataz #Mbalula #Mbaks, I must write about him, our Minister of Alles. I mean just this week he said he thought the ANC is bewitched. This whilst wearing his eight-thousand-rand cap and sixteen-thousand-rand t-shirt. Bewitched? Perhaps. And our Prez, Haibo guys. Remember the flagpole behind Cupcake that fell over and almost knocked him off the podium while he was charming Finland? He said “whoopsie”. Funny. #2023 Finnished me. Old Cupcake Ramaposer, he’s wracked up more airmiles than Amelia Earhart, but I’ll say this for our jet setting absent father, he did manage to hoof #AceMagashule, #DDMabuza, #DuduMyeni, #Nkosozana #WhenPeopleZol Dlamini #StillAZuma, #ZweliMkhize, #BathabileDlamini, #LindiweSisulu and so many others that we have had in the cross hairs for years? They’re not in prison, but they have left the stage. 2023 you put a spell on me. Look, I’ve not covered everything. I could write for days and cover eye rolling stories like Herman #HighHorse Mashaba’s #BUYOgraphy that cost 12 million, or about how #SkunkHead Gumede seems to have gotten away with hijacking an entire province but you’ll stop reading and I won’t blame you. You endured the horrors that were the social grants and our elderly. We watched #Postbank and the post office disintegrate along with a host of SOEs. #Transnet has messed up our supply chain exasperating the food scarcity reality. SAA / Lyft did a phoenix act and then died again? Did I get that right? #PravinTheMagician. #2023DegenerationNation.
You’ll notice the lack of international media in this report. How much time have you got? I want to #KeDezemba so I’m skipping how billionaires got what they paid for when they went to see the #Titanic in a cup. You’ll not hear from me on #Gaza today and that’s ok, you’re all watching, of that I’m certain. I’m also not going to tell you about #Zelenksy, Putin or #Ukraine. I’m going to leave out the genocide in the #Congo that you’re not even aware of. And the big quakes that destroyed #Afghanistan and #Marakesh. I will say this though, if you just peep across the ocean it’s a murder picture. Literally. And the US are left with a choice of #Trump or #Biden, it’s best not to look really, take my advice I’ve been doing this a long time. This year was the year the robots woke up as AI and #ChatGPT cracked the code and Elon has been a twit although sometimes funny. I certainly will not be talking about King Charles and his gold dress nor will I even touch on Harry. I’ll #Spare you that from 2023.
I’d rather talk about #Sandy, the quintessential suburban chick from Durbs with her cowprint handbag. Two thugs tried to hijack her and she showed, that in a fight or flight situation, she can do both. Foot flat on the accelerator she drove straight through steel booms and smashed into the hijacker who had taken her handbag. Then beat him up so ferociously that the moo cow bag flung in the air and onto the street. She got home safely. Mooove on 2023, for Sandy.
The legendary TikTok bogus Doctor #MatthewLani when questioned became uncomfortable and churned out some whoppers. This oke can lie like a bad Persian rug China. He said he skipped three grades in school, one of which was matric. He sold diet pills with a barcode that read 123456789. Do you think these bogus profiles could be avoided if our so called education system dragged itself out of limbo? We rank at the bottom of the world in literacy. And our education funding, well it got looted, fifty-six billion rand stolen. Come on 2023 set our youth free.
I’m almost done dear reader, you’ve come so far and now you understand your media fatigue but I can’t leave you without reminding you that twenty banks stole one trillion rand a day from our country and they still have our money. #MoneyHeist. After that slap in the face we can exhale, you’re on the home stretch. Stay with me. We are #StrongerTogether. The biggest story in South Africa was the magical win of the #RWC2023. Nail biting games with a single point pushing our boys across the line to the right Kant. Let us take with us something of value into 24, something in the shape of Siya’s words that warmed every heart in our #Kantry: “As soon as we work together, all is possible, no matter in what sphere – in the field, in offices, it shows what we can do. I am grateful for this team, I am so proud of it.” #2023 #MyKantry
You think I’m done? If you’ll have me skip the election rhetoric for 2024, then yes all I have left is the very best that I’ve saved for last. #ImtiazSooliman and #GiftOfTheGivers. When you read those words or hear them, don’t you instantly feel that warmth. That’s hope my fellow South Africans. #DrSooliman you saved our country with each calamity it faced, you remind us that the “best among people are those who serve mankind”. Team Gift of the Givers, I think I speak for all South Africans when I say you are the one light that stayed on all year. Shining bright. Thank you for giving South Africa the only thing it needs – hope.
I’m Tonya Khoury, and I want to congratulate you for making it through this year. If you’re still remotely standing, you’re a good egg. I’m going diving, don’t call, don’t text, there’s no reception under the sea. It’s just my Octopus Stephen Patrick and me. Shhh, we made it.