I had planned to meet my best friend and his mother for the Easter Weekend. Andy’s mom and I have been friends since we were eighteen and hardly a day has passed where we haven’t spoken to each other. From the day Andrew was born, and throughout his childhood, we developed a wonderful bond. Now he is going on thirteen and we speak at least twice a week. How cool is that? I tease my mate that he is actually my best friend, and he is. He is super cool and I adore him. Sadly, due to the state of our nation, Andy and his family live overseas now. They were planning a trip back to SA after a year away and I was so excited. We were going to meet in Durban on Easter Sunday and join my Lebanese family for a combination of Iftar (Muslim breaking of fast) and Easter Sunday all in one. Fourteen of us in total. I have never experienced a true iftar with other Muslims so this was going to be special for so many reasons. And then the heavens opened…
#KZNFloods tore the province into shreds. Five months of rain fell in a few days, and a nightmare of devastation beyond measure swept through KZN. One of the guest houses we had booked disintegrated, and the owner of the place called me in horror. My aunt was meant to sleep there that night, so like sensible people we cancelled the whole trip. I was devastated, but my disappointment was insignificant compared to the story unfolding in front of our eyes. We watched, with horror, as small towns just collapsed into the sea. Rivers formed where once there were highways. Landslides dragged the lives of children under the mud. Still today, one week later, we are uncovering bodies of loved ones. They say the death toll is just over 400 but we all know that number is far higher.
The #Aftermath began when the displaced thousands ran out of the most precious of resource – water. The very resource that killed their families and buried their homes. Through this apocalyptic scene we saw the best and worst of people. #SihleZikalala, the very same man who during the hard lockdown proudly put up a presentation on live television showing that in the whole of KZN they delivered twenty food parcels, yes twenty, turned up and stole the water meant for the devastated. #GiftofTheGivers did what they always do, save our nation. Twitter was calling for all donations to go to this humanitarian organisation and not to government. This time South Africa listened. The University of Johannesburg and many others diverted their massive donations to #ImtiazSooliman during the month of Ramadan. We saw government officials highjack food parcels and water on camera and not a single arrest was made. #Zikhalala only apologized, the greed is insurmountable. Twitter reached out to #KFC #Takealot, FNB and #Nedbank requesting that they hand over their charity to #GiftoftheGivers, but they didn’t. Where is that two rand I pay with every crunch burger? Where is that R5 I donate on every Takealot order? What better time to use it than now Corporate South Africa?
Enter the #President. He said government had made a huge amount of funding available and there was a zero tolerance to looting or shenanigans. He also said this with the #PPEFunding, and we all know how that ended up. We believed his intention but we didn’t believe his underlings would comply. So, yet again, we did it ourselves. The hearts of South Africans opened wide and poured love over the province, particularly through the organisation we trust deeply. Thank you #GiftofTheGivers for being the “government” we need in a crisis. Thank you #Sooliman and your team for being on the ground within minutes with aid, with water, with material to rebuild the schools that had collapsed and to house the now homeless. We owe you a great deal for your integrity.
I was watching one horror unfold on home soil only to see the most horrific scenes across social media about #Palestinians and #GazaUnderAttack. You might have missed this story if you only watch mainstream media, but the silence is deafening. It was not even published on the ticker of #AlJazeera, but they kept feeding us rhetoric about #Ukraine. While I was watching the world go silent on Palestine and the parallels drawn deep with our double-speak on Ukraine, my Mom turned to me and said “Ukraine has become a depository for weapons from across the world.” She was flabbergasted at how many weapons were being pushed to Ukraine and yet Russia ploughs on with their #Warcrimes. I turned my attention to #Palestine. The irony was lost on many, that during the most sacred time for Muslims their Arabic brethren kept silent. No outrage from Saudi Arabia even though many millions of pilgrims are performing Hajj. Instead, they chose to leave our brothers and sisters to fight alone using rocks against machine guns. No one sent a weapon. The #AttacksOnGaza and the denigration of #AlAqsaMosque didn’t count. No one called for the arrests of those maiming children in their place of worship. Children are dead and nobody condemned the action; children are mutilated, and we didn’t hear of a single sanction; children become orphans and nobody calls it a #WarCrime.
#Palestinians however, made their way to pray at the #holyMosque without being swayed by the battle that lay before prayer. Every tactic in the book was used to stop these Muslims performing their obligatory duty. They are one brave nation. A nation in isolation that when provoked or arrested, smile for the cameras or watch without a care in the world. A nation drowning but still waving. Replace the word “Palestine” with “Ukraine” and you will have a completely different narrative. This mayhem happens every single Ramadan and no one cares. No one, only you and me. I’m sick to my stomach of seeing social media screaming #FreePalestine, while on the other hand, mainstream media force-feeds us images of a battered #Ukraine. #BrownLivesMatterToo.
This is a miserable report isn’t it? I’m sorry, it’s my job and it makes me sad too. I wish you would subscribe to our YouTube channel, it’s a lot funnier than I am. And I wish I had better news, but our national treasure #Lira had a stroke this week and we pray for her wellness. #Eskom truly faces a dilemma and we face a national blackout. If you ask #DeRuyter he’ll deny it, but if you ask the experts they will tell you that this is the reality of SA. In an attempt to startle us, Eskom chucked numbers up on a screen, explaining how much diesel they are using everyday. It didn’t shock us at all. If you did your job, that would startle us, but you can’t, and shall I tell you why? Because behind the fourth wall, Andre De Ruyter, we have a war of our own in South Africa. They blew up your power stations again boet. And everyone was tjoepstil, nada, nothing, niente, zip, zero, niks, dololo.
Let’s scratch the surface of the Western Cape’s itch a little. There was fire in #Langa that caused havoc as hundreds of homes were burnt to the ground. In an interview with #HelenZille, she made it clear that it was “better to be poor in Langa” than in the rest of the country. She didn’t leave it there and she went straight for the goal and said, “in fact it was 100, probably 1000 times better”. Yes, she said that, and suddenly I feel so sorry for the people in the DA offices (apart from botoxed #Steenhuizen) because it must be a bit like dealing with #TrumpsTweets.
Staying in the Cape, we saw roadblocks sporting new technology: a machine to assess the roadworthiness of your car. It looks a bit like a weighbridge in the middle of four lane highway. #SmileAndWave. According to one policewoman, (on camera) a man had tried to bribe them with hundreds of rands, when she insisted it “should have been thousands”. Guess who was standing behind her? No other than #BotoxJohn.
I’m running out of words and humour so let’s mop up the last bits in three bullets.
- #AceMagashule is being assessed for President.
- #Lux almost lost his life in #Pimville Soweto and his chest broadens as more support lands on his shoulders.
- #Baxter was fired.
Internationally, outside of #Ukraine, Elon guns for Twitter. Johnny Depp cuts a curious character in the scenes unfolding in the #DefamationCase with #AmberHerd. I remember Depp from the first #21JumpStreet. My best friend and I had a crush on #Depp back then and I still hold a candle today, however, what unfolded was a war room rather than a court room. It’s harrowing, astonishing and riveting. Makes pretty good TV if you are amongst those that have elbowed #Netflix this month.
For those of the Muslim faith, we enter the last ten days of #Ramadan; the most magical time of the fast. I quote from my religion: “donating to a water well charity is a form of continuous reward for you or a loved one.” Make it count South Africa. Do what we do best, mop up the mess and keep pushing forward. #WavingNotDrowing
I’m Tonya Khoury and you’ve just #ScratchedTheSurface with Acumen Media