Media Listening

Know Your Day

Feed Rural KZN



Date: 04.14.2024

Written By

Tonya Khoury

For those of you who have been wondering if I deserted my post and left the pages of our weekly summary to turn yellow in the attic: this is not the case. I found myself, yet again, belly up, flat on my back staring up at the opaque ceiling from a hospital bed. . I know, that “just can’t get enough” song is also playing in my head, especially while I contemplate the ravaging effects septicemia is having on my body and soul.

During these moments that drifted into hours and then days, I slipped in and out of a deep sleep, a sleep that made no demands on me, not even “get up and watch the news”. As you know, the news and everything happening around it, is what drives me and my team. Whether to the beach or to a psychologist., it is what I do.

On my occasional check-ins with reality, I did wake, sit up and feel for the television remote. Believe me, after doing it for twenty years, it’s very much part of the waking process. But this resulted in nothing more than a nagging voice that kept saying ‘what is happening or what’s the buzz tell me what’s a happening. This obviously depending on the drug cocktail floating down the drip and into my arm sometimes even into my feet. When you are ill, everything floats. Nurses float in and out of the ward, so do doctors and trolleys and single servings of salt, pepper and strange faces that appear at your bedside wanting to know your name.  You know the type, the ones with broken arms, swollen bellies and self-anointed saviors. Its surreal art at its best.

I started dreaming about a time in my life where I played lots of board games. My favorite was Monopoly and still is today.  Rolling dice, shifting fake money, bartering and selling houses around streets (occasionally stealing money from the bank).

When I finally started coming back to the reality of the white walls, I realized why I loved the news so much. It was simple, I missed the parlor games, the little sneaky moves, the dodgy deals and the power of fake money. Obviously, there were parts I did not miss, but that’s the way the guillotine slices the news. There are no swings and roundabouts, only puppets and puppet masters.

Now many of you will think that the levels of fraud, corruption and the fall out thereof are not fitting subjects for the use of metaphorical language, but sadly they are and they have been since the beginning of time. In many ways, South African politics is the perfect parlor game, filled with intrigue, treachery, treason, lying, cheating etc. But I still could not drag myself to the remote and so I signed myself out of the grand casino and stood outside watching the flashing neon signs, it suddenly dawned on me. Not all parlor games are filled with liars, thieves, fools and pretenders. Some are really cool, played by cool people and so I went searching for an idea that was not a board game or a crossword, something I could have a bit of fun with my team. And I found the famous Proust Questionnaire.

In the 1880s, long before he claimed his status as one of the greatest authors of all time, teenage Proust filled out an English-language questionnaire given to him by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, as part of her “confession album” Decades later, this has become the basis of many personality tests, made infamous by Vanity Fair.

There is a ton of information available if you search the internet, which I did, and when I discovered that David Bowie answered the questions I was sold. Reading through his answers, which were mostly tongue-in-cheek, I came across one which hit a nerve somewhere other than my finger. The question was: what do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? His reply: living in fear. At that moment in time the lights went out for about four seconds and then the generators kicked-in. Four seconds is impressive, but the fact that they went out at all was not. Little was I to know that it would be the start of #Stage6. I am not sure if in my hazy state of mind I missed #Stage5, but apparently that does not exist. Eskom has not only lost control of the situation but it has lost the ability to add and subtract. Regardless, I overheard the nurses chatting about Stage “SIES” and that made me laugh. “Sies” as in “sies man”, not the French translation of six. “Sies” as an expression of disgust, disgust at the fact that the sabotaging of power stations still continues unabated and without prosecution. Who are the saboteurs, this mysterious “third force” that nobody wants to talk about or unveil. Not a single prosecution. Come on guys, nobody buys this BS.

Shortly after my return home, still tired and too weary to grab hold of the remote, Mom tells me about the Eskom strike. “What strike, why, wages, what…?” Ok, so now someone is trying to force us all into a game of blind man’s bluff. Not a common parlour game, but one growing in popularity. Hypothetically, an Eskom worker earning ten thousand rand per month and barely makes ends meet, decides to join an illegal strike, you know the no work no pay version, and sacrifices a weeks pay. The person is now two thousand and five hundred rand poorer. Yes? No. No, somebody is paying them, paying them to help in the process of turning the country into an irreparable mess. But to what end? The union should be taken to task for allowing a country to slip into darkness for twelve hours a day. How on earth are we supposed to be productive, feed our families, study, and resurrect ourselves from the ashes of big fat cigars that hang out of the mouths of overfed politicians and corporate fat-cats. How long must we sing this song. Now I feel like I am in a U2 song, but why are we not taking to the streets like we did with Zuma must fall. Why are we even paying our Eskom bills. It would be better off donating it to Gift of the Givers. At least we will have something to show for it. Anyway, so much for #StageSies.

I digress from that Proust questionnaire. What do I regard as the lowest depth of misery? It would be waking up on a Sunday morning to be told that my thirteen year-old daughter had died in a tavern. It would be my lowest depth of misery because I would feel like a complete failure as a parent; I would feel that the supposed rule of law has collapsed; I would question why #EnyobeniTavern, an illegally built structure, sold alcohol to under age children and nobody did anything to prevent it; I would feel that twenty one young people died because they had no belief in their future and that the only person who probably did was the tavern owner and I would feel that the LV wearing politicians have spent more time with their noses in fashion magazines than taking notice of the unsettling truths around them.

Well now that I’ve vomited my anger across this page, it’s time to cheer you up.  We took that #ProustQuestionaire and made the Acumen team appear in a video of our own, where we too create some personal myths, exaggerate and secure our place in the realms of the immortals.  Hell Yeah – I’m there.  Watch and subscribe to our YouTube channel for something different.  #TeamAcumen


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