Simon Lincoln Reader
It was only because of a lovely old seamstress called Martha – and my friend Grant’s restaurant – that I didn’t bomb the shops in Parkview when I lived in Johannesburg. As awkward as I would have felt I just could not think of a better way to stop white liberals assembling and scheming. It was there where I first heard a well-known sneering liberal telling others what a wonderful chap John Hlophe was and how everyone should cease the shittalking; I don’t know if it was Jeremy Gordin or Ray Hartley, but they were always there too, plotting – I don’t know – a GoFundMe page for Colleen Chauke or something. But that unwarranted flattery for John Hlophe was the early stages of what has inspired the crap that Rebecca Davis writes about today – alongside talentless, Nazi-bondage funded anti-semites like Nafeez Ahmed – in the Daily Moron, attacking PANDA and its founder Nick Hudson.
John Hlophe is like a cartel boss and Bonga Bongo is like a talented thug, so what happened in court last week wasn’t so much as a ruling as it was an eye-ing up – flirtation – between the established godfather, and the rising, if somewhat isolated street king – whose previous benefactor is stuck counting onions with Dudu Myeni. Hlophe has long been sympathetic to the profile of Jacob Zuma’s village gangster – he would have been impressed at just how brazen Bongo’s overtures to Nthuthuzelo Vanara were in trying to kill off the parliamentary enquiry into Eskom. Because it wouldn’t be good form to say: “I like you, young Tony Montana, so come with us tomorrow to collect the rent, 9am sharp,” Hlophe instead spent 27 pages on wankerese, before he happily dismissed the charges with a signature akin to a hurricane at a sewage treatment facility.
Hlophe is no clown: take a look at the list of surnames he has skirmished with – Traverso, Gauntlett, Jafta, Nkabinde, Goliath – some virtually legal royalty, and yet Hlophe is still there, brooding, awaiting opportunities just like the one that appeared last week to get one back for the bad guys – for the Lungisas, the Magashules. That alone indicates formidable, calculating intellect, which would probably be much more effective were it not contaminated by such racial hatred – which has always been his problem (and he doesn’t give a monkeys about the sympathetic things a few guilty white consciences muttered in Tyrone Avenue – so well done you lot for spending so much time castigating Helen Zille for her meany tweets – really, thanks).
I was impressed when Hlophe converted to Islam, not only because it would mean having to sacrifice the wine he once asked for pay rise to make, but because he was constructing around him an impenetrable shield of intersectional grievance. Having already cornered one issue, race, he was rapidly onto another by accusing no less than his own Chief Justice of “islamaphobia” (which isn’t actually a word, or even a thing) for comments Mogoeng Mogoeng made on the subject of Palestine. The logical progression from this point, I thought at the time, would be to demand a wheelchair ramp to the High Court – at which point John Hlophe could celebrate the most accomplished victimhood in South African history.
Hlophe has been a very real, serious problem for a very long time, and nobody knows what to do about it. Politicians are terrified of losing followers and journalists – like Rebecca Davis – would rather whiteshame their way around Dr. Seuss’ catalogue or a nauseating Facebook confessional – which leaves the public not only scared, but with a more damaged faith in the country’s most important institution.
Scholars argue that the state should appeal Bongo’s acquittal. I don’t know if there’s a choice, because it certainly feels like if they don’t, this moment will etch itself in the country’s future, and become like a critical piece of pilot error evidence in a giant air crash investigation.