American: Are there tigers in the streets of Johannesburg?
South African: Um, well yes sir, yes there are.
#Sheba the tiger escaped her owner and for a few days she roamed the valleys of Walkerville. For a few days she was free, for a few days she was wild. She made headlines across the world and for the first time, in history, the Americans were right. #TigerQueen.
It’s time to claw the surface with Acumen Media. We read the news so you don’t have to. These weekly ramblings are where I find my sanity after reading the news and social media posts all day, every day. This report keeps me sane, and to be fair, it isn’t difficult to make fun of South Africa, but it is difficult to feel cheerful after the death of our tiger. I say “our” because SA had all sorts of emotions about our roaming kitty. She was nicknamed #JungleOats (a home staple from #TigerBrands) and #IStandWithSheba, #GoSheba became trends, and there was a rollout of memes that kept us laughing. This ensued while the residents of Walkerville remained terrified. The fear was amplified by them living in darkness for most of the week. It’s always a bit scarier in the dark isn’t it? Scarier when you can’t see. Sheba, our endangered tiger, makes a great SA analogy for Eskom. We all would like a happy ending, and of course we don’t get one. They shot #Sheba.
I know you’re going to say they euthanised her, but please think, if they did , they would have been close enough to put a dart in the big cat, they didn’t. They didn’t tranquilise the endangered kitty and send her to a rehabilitation centre in Asia. That would make us happy. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So they shot her. They shot her because they could not shoot the lights out. Nothing exceptional can happen while the cables and diesel are being stolen. There are no lights to shoot out, but shoot something; and now we lost our #ShebaTheTiger too. I cannot explain my fury. Well, I can, ferocious as a tiger I was, unreasonably angry some may say. Even #Rasta’s painting of #JungleOats didn’t cheer me up. We could have done better. The person who bought and owned an endangered animal as a pet in a climate that doesn’t suit it should be behind bars. A bit like #JoeExotic, the #TigerKing. But nah, this is a South African story.
She kept our attention, though. And with almost 200 thousand engagements and the sentiment chart showing a massive dip to the downside the moment we heard she was killed. And we have remained there. Seems I’m not alone in my sadness and anger. #RIPSheba, our #JungleOats, you stole our attention and won our hearts. See here, pitbulls or tigers, we don’t care here, we just snuff them out because we humans know better. Just look at #Eskom, they massacred chickens, forty thousand of them. Can someone euthanise this story.
Let’s first check in with our Prez seeing that I left you on a cliff hanger last week. He had a good start, that interdict was granted and #Dali was schooled by #Sutherland, but don’t worry there’s an appeal, keep reading. #UncleCyril didn’t go to the #WEF because he said he had an electricity crisis to deal with. Most people said he’d made wild promises last time, like we all have wings, and we all can fly, and tigers roam the streets of Johannesburg. I thought he’d go and get more cash to be honest, but I was a little proud when he stayed for us instead. But yeah, the earlier explanation makes a great deal of sense because he hasn’t addressed the electricity crisis. It’s no longer a crisis #PresidentRamaphosa, it’s untenable and it’s breaking the purse you politicians keep digging into. This free for politicians ATM is broken now and we are fast making our own arrangements thanks very much. Soon we won’t pay anything at all. Well, we’re doing that now but you know what I mean.
I read an amazing #ActiveLetter to South Africa by Mike Sharman. He calls “open letters” lame. His words are bang on. Come on SA, grab your corner and get on with it, harness the sun and fix your street. That’s all it takes. I know it sounds trite but rise from the ground up. No not like that, no looting or burning mayor’s houses. Just rise and fix. Escape this political enclosure and reach out to your neighbour. Put your noggins together and fix your street. The #Eskom narrative is so blatant, we are being groomed as if we are in an abusive relationship. (Well we are but that’s another story). You see we have forgotten how enraged we were with #Stage1 and 2. This week we were happy with #Stage4 because #Stage6 punched us so hard we were thrown to our knees. During our #Stage6 meltdown, the sun taunted with a heatwave, as if to say DUH! #GroomedNation. Here’s something funny though, have you ever asked yourself why we have never had #Stage 3 or #Stage5? Is there a bias against odd numbers?
#Eskom have been busy though, there was a blitz on late payers and some people threw tantrums and a hotel had the lights switched off after an unsettled R2million rand bill. Churches and even consulates had their lights turned off, but why wait so long? I think they finally hired a debt collection agency, because there is a busy bunch of brand new heavies roaming these streets. Not quite a tiger, though.
Mining activists want to shut down Richards Bay because of the coal being exported to Europe. Their thought process is that we can no longer be powerless at the expense of other countries. I don’t think we should shut it down, just take the coal to #Eskom and make them use it, or better still, and I’ve said this before, #TakeBackEskom, just kick the whole lot out and send in those who can do the job.
And then there was this: #Zuma was back in court about Ramaphosa, the matter postponed (another great south African word) until May and I swear the only reason it was even on our TV screens was because the woman who I was besotted with, #Mshololo, sat right next to Zuma as his council. #Mshololo was the tiger of a woman who gave us hope in the #SenzoMeyiwa case. She is the one who called all Senzo’s friends complicit in his murder. And there she was, our #TigressOfSenzo, sitting next to #uBaba. I suppose tigers need to eat right? I’m also happy to tell you, that apart from a nap, #Zuma looked fit – ha, another great analogy, the prosecution rests. The judge pointed out that there’s #Covid about, and perhaps the team and gallery were sitting a little close, but he failed to add “next to a terminally ill man”. It was all giggles after that. Giggles and shiny photos of Zuma and his team, a big fuss about the judge’s red robes, which apparently means this was a criminal case. Yawn. By the time I’d wasted that hour of my life I wanted to join #Sheba. Earlier in the week #PresidentRamaphosa won that interdict we had a sinking feeling about. So, of course, more court appearances are due. Don’t watch this space, it’s a waste of your precious time, I’ll do it for you.
I found a weird post on my travels through the media mayhem. Duduzile Zuma (daughter of our ex Prez) wrote this: “My brother Julius Malema. When you become president next year, do you expect me to call you HE President Julius Malema or can I still call you J.” She’s also changed her bio pic to #WeSeeYou the slogan of the insurrection. Things are going well at the #RET camp apparently.
There was the #BackToSchool show reel across social and #MatricResults featured across most of mainstream media. Angie #Motshekga says they aced it; I’ll wait for the analysts to unpack what that means, did they D or E it? Or did they really aced it? There were some incredible matriculants though and kudos #Classof2022, what adversity you endured. Tigers every one of you!
Back to our streets and #Parys made headlines as riots turned to arson and the Mayor’s house was set ablaze. Yip, we are there folks, burning down the house and we’re going to be swimming in the President’s pool next. Water shedding protests, loadshedding protests and many of us putting our heads to good work. Let’s fix this. We don’t need politics, we would have done a better job with #Sheba, we’ll do a better job here.
In #JoburgCBD, a foreign national was assaulted and killed by police. The place became a warzone of rubber bullets and rocks. Apparently, the Tanzanian man was a drug dealer, the police say he swallowed his wears and that’s why he died. Many called for the #EFF to intervene, they didn’t.
There was call for a #NationalShutdown, stop boring us and get on with it. We’ve been shut down for three years at least. We want to work, we want our quality of life, we deserve it and we will have it. Regardless of your political killings, your theft on Charlotte #Maxeke Hospital and the diesel you keep stealing from #Eskom. We’ve seen it all and we have #JungleOats in all of us. We really can do this. Put a tiger in your tank.
If there’s one international story, that’s more than enough right, well it’s a biggie. #Jacinda #Arden said she “no longer has enough in the tank” and told us to “be your own kind of leader – one who knows when it’s time to go”. Yeah, they don’t make them like you ma’am, a proper tiger.
I’m Tonya Khoury and thank you for clawing the surface with Acumen Media