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It’s frighteningly close to Saturday’s first kickoff. The Crocman and I are hours away from home. We’re waiting for the president to arrive. We do that a lot.
Sometimes it’s worth the wait. Sometimes it isn’t. Either way we get to wander around and go to places we’d normally have no reason to go to. And we get paid. I dig it. I don’t dig missing Arsenal games.
Bummer. Not as big a bummer as Wednesday night. I end up running like a dog to dodge a beating from this Congolese pimp and his members. The Ghenginator takes a dive in the box at this after-hours joint in Zilleville.
The pimp’s table goes bottoms up. So does his straight of Johnny Walker and everything else on the table.
There’s death threats, broken glass and dabbing hankies everywhere. The bouncer drags Ghengie into the street. I lurch after them. We hit the corner, baying like hyenas the minute we figure we’re in the clear.
Back to Saturday. Zuma is playing a home fixture in the foothills of the Drakensberg. Ingula is this Eksdom pumping facility near Besters outside Ladysmith.
According to the programme, its nearly lunchtime. We haven’t started. The Commander in Chief’s chopper touches down.
The CiC hits the underground pump station. There’s a traditional group doing their thing while we wait. They’re cool. I’m standing next to a catering station looking at the mountains. I smell coffee. I figure it’s a flashback. It’s not.
Eksdom’s brought in Enoch Ndlovu. Gatsheni’s this Champions League travelling barista. His coffee is murderously good.
The audience starts belting out songs praising the CiC. The gig turns into a second term rally.
The CiC steams in. He’s with Ace Magashule, Zweli Mkhize and Dipuo Peters. Malusi Gigaba’s still all dressed up in his engineer’s outfit. He looks ridiculous. Somebody sends him outside to get changed.
The speeches start. So does the cheerleading. It’s intense. The CiC’s the man. The CiC discovered electricity. The CiC leaps tall buildings in a single bound. The CiC needs another term. You live and learn.
The CiC does his thing. The CiC’s all suit, facts and figures. The CiC lays down the policy and targets. There’s no mshini, the CiC’s or anyone else’s.
The CiC wraps up. Ace takes the podium to give a vote of thanks. Ace goes into super praise singer mode. Ace is clearly very thankful for something.
My mind starts wandering. There’s electrical equipment of every kind guzzling power in the air-conditioned tent.
There’s all these stickers encouraging the punters to save power. I’m sure the contradiction is not lost on somebody at Eksdom.
But this gig isn’t about electrical power. It’s about the political power which goes with the ANC presidency.
That’s how it is. And that’s how it’s going to be in every fixture the CiC plays between now and Mangaung next month.
That’s a lot of missed Arsenal games.