Rod MacKenzie
Rod MacKenzie

To shower or not to shower, that is our Zapiro

I think it is most appropriate that Zaps is removing the shower head from the president’s cranium, with the caveat that the removal may only be temporary, depending on performance. And as Zapiro (bless his satirical name) avows, it is not due to political pressure on the cartoonist.

If people are going to continually ridicule Zuma, that will undermine giving him a chance — and it must be a good chance — at leading our country out of a global mess and a local economical stagnation that is not of JZ’s making. The ridicule therefore impoverishes us all. Keeping him crowned with the shower head? At a subconscious level this prevents people from taking their president seriously when he is not even out the starting gate. We need to sincerely take this herd-boy turned president (formidable achievement) seriously but maintain vigilance, the eternal price of liberty. (On this note, I still stand by my recent blogs on evil, seek to find a template for the notion and wish to create awareness of evil around us.) As Michael Trapido commented in a recent blog announcing the Richmark Sentinel website, we need to start speaking to each other, not at each other. The distance created by such symbols of ridicule (include the showerhead) between peoples, races and different persuasions helps us make myths, or lies of one other.

Remember the old Coke adverts on pre-World War Two movies? Just insert a split-second image of Coca-Cola among the film frames and people were sublimated into drinking Coke. Or so the urban legend goes; I don’t know if it was ever conclusively proven that that underhand advertising was done. So taking away the showerhead takes away the now — contextually — irrelevant issues of the women in his past and his views on sex and preventing Aids. Otherwise hope for a better future is constantly subverted as we stagnate in International Arrivals, staring dumbly and helplessly at the increasingly irrelevant baggage coming back again and again.

“Play the ball, not the man”, has been the theme of late in several of the comments under my blogs and others. The country has decided who they want to lead and Zuma takes over in a time of huge global crisis. Simple question, who among us would want his job? I don’t. I once ran a branch office in Jo’burg and man that was pressure from above (the directors) and below (my managers and staff) so I can relate a teensy weensy to the huge responsibilities that now face President Zuma and his team. He needs team players, not unnecessary insults (yes, insults are sometimes necessary) and the baggage of the past constantly coming back again and again on the conveyer belt at International Arrivals.

We’re in International Departures now, firmly focused on the promised land, even though the path there may be turbulent. The first tangible result I want to see is a hugely successful World Cup 2010. I will be thrilled.

Of course, the way Zaps, with typical satirical ceremony, has removed the world’s most infamous showerhead, is notable. He has been prepping us for it over a couple of cartoons. Symbols and symbolic actions are powerful suggestions, and reverberate through the collective psyche of SA (to which I firmly belong, though I look at SA from China with slanted eyes) and the international audience. Removing this notorious icon can only have positive reverberations, which we sorely need.

And I, for one, hope never to see that showerhead again.