Witch Doctor Mbeki and the 'barbarians'
Like any politician
worthy of the name, when he cannot provide bread, the Witch Doctor puts on a circus
And at an African pol's circus, bashing Whitey always goes down a treat. And history, too - getting as far away from the situation you're responsible for as possible.
To Mr Virodene, who fought tooth and nail to keep HIV mothers from getting nevirapine to help prevent them passing the virus on to their unborn children - the Hans Christian Andersen of AIDS fairy-tales - any distraction from the suffering his inaction has wrought is welcome.
Who, one may ask, is the true 'barbarian'?
And, as for his 'people' - what truer mark of civilisation, no doubt, that so many believe that sexual intercourse with a virgin is a cure for AIDS! And not a few act on the belief: over 21,000 reported child rapes in 2000; and, in 2001, the rape of a baby of 5 months old
Leader and people well matched when it comes to barbarity, one might say.
As for the Hottentot Venus herself, I'm not sure that the Witch Doctor, in the company of the Western media, isn't jumping to conclusions. Even disregarding the insistence on anachronism - hers is a time when slavery and 6 year olds down the mines were a feature of life under the British Crown - it's not necessarily true that she was the utter victim that she's popularly made out to be.
I'm not clear - from the very slightest amount of research - that we know a great deal of her life: it's her anatomy that obsesses today's media, as it did the media of her day.
Was she paid, for instance? Obviously, an animal or slave thus exhibited would not have been. If she was, that would rather suggest she was thought of as neither. Chang and Eng did pretty well from their deformities, after all.
suggests she enjoyed rather more autonomy than would fit her assigned role of agitprop martyr.
All we know is, for her supporting act in the ju-ju man's big tent, she got not a brass razoo! Efficiency in RSA government spending at last. But what of the dignity of labour?