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The world is littered with people who make money for jam. It is just the way of the capitalist system. The trick about the capitalist system is to discover what it is that one has (product, skill, talent) that people are willing to pay for that is meaningless and has no value. This is why Bill Gates has the sweetest gig in the world — he makes bucket loads of money doing what I suspect he’d be doing anyway even if he had to hold down a post office job to fund it.

In the last year or so I have also started staking a claim for a piece of the “easy money” pie. My strategy revolves around packaging my retarded opinions in such a manner as to be able to sell them off. That’s why I wrote a book full of half-baked opinions disguised as satire.

As I say in the book, my dream is to spend the rest of my life in an empty room and having people come in to ask me what I think about stuff. I think it’s the sweetest gig of all: peddling in opinions without the added burdens of rationality, veracity, usefulness or even credibility.

After all, these are just my opinions. No need to shake my hand now. Congratulate me when the stench from the sulphuric fumes of my opinions rises all the way up to heaven and chokes St Peter and the choir of seraphims.

The closest thing we have, in the current landscape, to the dream occupation I’m thinking about is the political/social-expert commentator/analyst scene. You know, the guys who get paid to tell us what is going to happen in future. I call these guys the crystal-ball gazers/palm readers/sangomas or (when I’m being kind) doomsday prophets. This occupation is not as easy as my dream profession because of the added pressure to be knowledgeable, well-read, smart-sounding and interesting at the same time.

    I have been studying the best analysts for a while and I think I know what their formula is:

  • If, in future, the probability that something good or something bad will happen has about a 50/50 split, predict that something bad will happen.
  • Find the wackiest, most unlikely event you can think of and predict that it will definitely happen.

These principles of prophecy are the most basic foundations of any analyst/prophet worth their salt, although growing a really long, grey beard is not such a bad thing to do either. [Refer to Nostradamus.]

Of course, the best feature of the prophecy business is that nobody ever comes back to you to ask you why you predicted that Cyril Ramaphosa would emerge victorious as the “compromise candidate” at the ANC conference and whether you had been inhaling dried-up cow dung when you made that prediction.

Having said all of that, here are my predictions for 2008:

  • 1. Dame Judi Dench will announce her retirement as “M” and the producers of the Bond movies will cast the net far and wide for a replacement. They will finally announce that they have signed a $5m contract with Cape Town’s Helen Zille based on her resemblance to Dench and her “excellent understanding of the complex intricacies of espionage”. Joe Seremane will be cast as Zille’s chauffer in the movie, which will be shot in Cape Town.
  • 2. The PAC will confound the pundits and actually hold a congress in Cape Town successfully. Of the 28 people who will attend, 13 will actually be gang-bangers from Mitchell’s Plain who will have mistaken the event for a 2PAC concert, three attendees will be a contingent from the Daily Sun following a lead about former deputy president Godi sending tikoloshes to current president Mphahlele and the rest will be former members of the Mandela football club bussed in by former president Motsoko Pheko in his latest bid to return to the helm.
  • 3. Bafana Bafana will score a goal at the African Cup of Nations. Orlando Pirates will amass an incredible two-game winning streak.
  • 4. President Thabo Mbeki will give in to pressure from the baying masses and resign. He will grow a long beard and dreadlocks, use his extensive connections to found the “21st Century Galileo University” where he’ll head up the Virology Department.
  • 5. Osama Bin Laden will finally be captured in the Vatican City where he has been skulking about in cognito as a speech writer for the pontiff.

There you have it. And unlike those other guys, I fully expect the Silwane Files readers to hold me accountable to these spot-on predictions.

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  • Once upon a time, Ndumiso Ngcobo used to be an intelligent, relevant man with a respectable (read: boring-as-crap) job which funded his extensive beer habit. One day he woke up and discovered that he had lost his mind, quit his well-paying job, penned a collection of hallucinations. A bunch of racist white guys published the collection just to make him look more ridiculous and called it 'Some of my best friends are white'. (Two Dogs, ISBN 978-1-92013-718-2). Nowadays he spends his days wandering the earth like Kwai Chang Caine, munching locusts, mumbling to himself like John the Baptist and searching for the meaning of life at the bottom of beer mugs. The racist publishers have reared their ugly heads again and dangled money in his face to pen yet another collection of hallucinations entitled 'Is It Coz 'm Black'. He will take cash, major credit cards and will perform a strip tease for contributions to his beer fund.

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Ndumiso Ngcobo

Once upon a time, Ndumiso Ngcobo used to be an intelligent, relevant man with a respectable (read: boring-as-crap) job which funded his extensive beer habit. One day he woke up and discovered that he...

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