Sunday 16 August 2020
SOS – Steve on Sunday
THE WEEK THAT WAS
16 – 22 August 2020
My fellow South Africans and Makwerekwere,
A Merry Christmas to you all. It is Day 144 (or thereabouts because who cares anymore) of the Lockdown and it is indeed Christmas in August for the 11 Million smokers and 55 million consumers of strongly flavoured water. It is too late though for many in the hospitality and tourism industry but that is an ongoing saga on which I shall indeed touch on from time to time.
144 days!! Who would have imagined such a length of time under lockdown when this hoohaa all began at the end of March about a century ago. Perhaps a cricketer may have and a batsman would certainly be very happy with 144 not out, but not the fielding side. Sadly, I am on the fielding side and being an elderly fellow with ailments most attractive to the Chin*** vir**, cannot run around the paddock as much as I used to. My bowling too has deteriorated from a pretty pathetic leg spin lob to a mere floating lob that takes 10 seconds to reach the delighted batsman (or batswoman). The word ‘batswoman’ is, I believe, frowned upon, hence the commentators using the word ‘batter’. Well, every commentator except Mr MacNtini who may well use it but I cannot understand what he is trying to say. Mute button is good.
Anyway, let me not procrastinate.
We have now reached Level 2 Part 1 (a).
I have no idea what it really means as many sections of Level 1 were already allowed under Level 3 Part 64. It may be a good idea to remember that there is still Level 1 to come before Level 0, Level 0 being when the lady Prime Minister Dlaminimussolini finally, finally, relinquishes control. And are the talking heads still loving it!! The control that is.
But, and a big but here, it may well be that some of our so-called leaders have realised that to continue with the socialist agenda, they actually need the capitalist money. In other words, the taxes like from alcohol and nicotine. 144 days for all the smokers. Will the supermarkets have cigarettes in stock on Tuesday? Is one or two days enough time to get stock? Those who do not will have sold their original stock illegally to be sure!! Think I shall take a stroll on Tuesday morning to check it out, if the beggars, vagrants and muggers allow me too that is. (I believe the new regulations take place at midnight on Monday evening, not Sunday evening).
And there are so many beggars etc at each and every traffic light in Kimberley it is surprising that there have not been some tragic accidents yet. Maybe there have been but it will not be noticed as the casualties are put down to the plague, or so I am told. Wonder if those stories are true?
I was more than a little concerned a few days ago when I happened to glimpse our Minister of Healthy Bodies Dr McEasy, and he looked stressed out. He mentioned that we must prepare for a second wave.
What does he mean?
Our leaders, fine bunch of fellows and fellowesses that they are, must have been astounded that the so-called plateau or levelling of the plague appears to have peaked and infection numbers and deaths are heading downwards noticeably. Or so the graphs suggest and it is a very noticeable downward swing too. That is of course if the numbers are to be believed. And why should we not believe them?
Those fine chaps and chappesses had thought that the peak would only come about September/October and that they still had everything under control for some time into the future. But now they have not, according to the graph, so what must be done to keep this power?
Oh yes, warn the masses of drinkers and smokers that there is a second wave coming.
I can only presume this warning is on the instructions of those wonderful medical and scientific experts that are advising the Goon Show. Sincerest apologies to Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan here who, should they have been with us on this earthly coil, would have cringed to be even mentioned in this context. These of course are the same experts who made South Africa the world leaders in banning nicotine and alcohol.
So while us ‘plattelanders’ in the hinterland are only peaking now from the plague, we are being warned of the second wave. Therefore further bannings or restrictions may well be coming back sooner rather than later. I am sure there shall be a rush on nicotine products and that smokers will purchase enough for 144 days plus and also keep their receipts. Those of you who do not understand the word ‘plattelanders’, it means ‘people who live on the flat lands’, basically me and my compatriots who live high on the plateau and who think a small hill (kopje) is a mountain.
Coming from a beautiful town named Umtali that was nestled in a valley and surrounded by mountains to all points of the compass it is hard to believe that I have spent 40 years in the flat lands! Miss the mountains.
I wonder what those thousands of men and women in blue are going to do? Back to their admin jobs perhaps? I do note that the curfew is still in place. Is it too much to expect that the crime figures will now go down dramatically since all of those on duty at the provincial roadblocks are now free to drive around and catch criminals? Should I hold my breath? Not while wearing my mask I shall not.
Before closing and going to wait in the queue at the bottle store on Monday night with my camping chair, winter woollies, blanket and flask, let’s have a quick look at what we are now permitted to do.
I am aware that the lifting of certain restrictions are too late for many in the hospitality and tourism industry. I am in that industry but fortunately for me have no business or staff or any other overheads except basic living expenses. You know, alcohol, nicotine, etc. I think it quite hilarious that few days back you could (sort of) smoke dagga (marijuana) legally but you were not allowed to smoke cigarettes.
Did I say Goon Show? Sorry, a circus where only the ringmaster, sawdust and manure perform, especially the manure that has been quite alive and moving for 144 days now.
Apologies to genuine circuses, if they still exist at this stage of the lockdown.
Most important for the hospitality/tourism industry is the lifting of the inter-provincial travel ban, and that you may be served alcohol at restaurants and hotels with your meal. It also appears that bars may once again open for business. Not sure if private clubs can open yet though.
You may now visit family and have a social gathering but of course, no more than 50 persons. Unless you dabble in politics where it may be permissible especially if you apologise afterwards and promise it will never happen again.
We are still kaput in Kimberley for attracting tourists. While the rest of the Northern Cape province has opened virtually completely because their attractions are nature bound, here in Kimberley our attractions are all ‘museum’ orientated, and museums here are not yet open. Therefore the Big Hole and mine museum remains closed and that is the biggest attraction in the city of no diamonds.
There are 14 museums in the city and immediate surrounds so the places we cannot visit yet include:
Big Hole (as mentioned)
Wildebeestkuil Rock Art Centre
McGregor Museum (massive)
Rudd House and Dunluce (on the ghost tour)
And many more…
(All this info reference museums in Kimberley from their websites which state they are closed. Unless of course the museums are open and I have missed reading about it.)
Despite the airlines operating from next week with three flights per week into Kimberley, all accommodation allowed to open, with bars and restaurants allowed to sell alcohol, there are no places for the tourist to visit except bars, taverns, shebeens, and their local gyms. Perhaps I should start drinking and smoking again, but cannot, as I have zero income from tours, cannot see any coming in for the foreseeable future, and therefore might as well wait in the queue at the traffic lights.
Have a lovely week of driving, drinking and smoking, but not all at the same time. I sincerely hope that your favourite restaurant is also open for business and did not close permanently like so many have done these past 144 days.
A luta continua…
The struggle continues…