Virgin Active has entered me as a candidate for the South African 2013 Hurling player of the year despite the fact that I’m not Gaelic, have never held a hurley stick or hit a sliotar in my entire life. In fact the manager of the gym, Gaza, was so excited about it he came knocking on the toilet door where I was vomiting for the sixth time and told me that in their eyes I was “the champion”.
Mind you I only joined the gym last Monday and on Wednesday I think I overdid it a bit. I was busy cycling furiously, looking adorable in crimplene, when everything became a blur … I became short of breath … thought I was about to die … everything was flashing before my eyes … putting on my blades … letting off a round at the restaurant … creating a tattoo with my nine millimetre on the bathroom door at three-o-clock in the morning … then I realised Oscar Pistorius’s life was flashing before my eyes.
What does this mean?
Of course even when we believe we are dying some criminal act rather than our own lives flashes before our eyes. The fact is that we are so obsessed with crime that we can’t spend an hour without thinking about it.
The same applies to the way in which foreigners view our country.
In a spirit of new positivity we have to somehow harness this negativity and make it work for us instead of letting it get us down.
Over the weekend we were treated to the latest figures marking the remarkable upswing in tourism. This means that our hotels and guest lodges are attracting more visitors than they have been in ages.
What we need to do is to introduce a single television channel (I know) which is only received by these tourists after a hot day of reading our newspapers crammed full of murder and robbery. The presenter to be the minister of justice and constitutional development, Mr Jeff Radebe.
The minister will, nightly, inform our tourists that crime are prefalent because why, because why it are and in the interests of society and it are time to introduce zero tolerance … (the minister is invited to attend the magistrate’s courts and listen to judgments being handed down … )
Something like this should dazzle the tourists :
“Good evening. I’d like to take a minute of your time to explain why we have reintroduced the death penalty for stealing towels … ”
If the hotels introduce CCTV we could then run a raffle to see which occupant of a hotel room returns his or her towel from their suitcase to the bathroom the quickest. If there is a demand we could run Hotel Lotto Plus using the room numbers of the first six occupants to get the towels back to the bathroom.
Computaform, the guys who do horseracing form, can publish a weekly magazine showing which guests are fastest, their times, placing in the last events and so on. Of course with CCTV you would have pictures of tourists in motion with no-little skid marks in the bathroom just before the towel racks.
Why stop there?
Emperors Palace had an attempted armed robbery with 19 suspects. The minister could address his audience today with :
“Good evening. I’d like to take a minute of your time to explain why we, in conjunction with Shell, have introduced an all-new Emperors Palace Mother-Of-All Botched Robberies sticker collection. The album has 19 slots, divided into custody and fugitive, which you can collect each time you fill up. The fugitives were last seen entering (name hotel with CCTV coverage) and are believed to be armed and dangerous.
Then we check on CCTV to see which rooms check out first for the raffle and our Live Hotel Lotto draw.
Anyone who watched Sky News this morning will know that the Poms are having a hartaanval because their sweeties were given four years for being bust with cannabis in Dubai. The sentencing there usually runs from 15 years to death penalty for this type of crime but they believe everyone should follow their lead — no matter how misguided that may be.
Imagine then their fascination with Minister Radebe’s nightly fireside chat.
He’d be more famous than Saddam’s minister of information and worth the visa price on his own.