Offbeat 17 July 2015

The original intent of this column was something witty about tortoises, possibly with a mention of C. Louis Leipoldt’s unkind recipe in Cape Cookery.

Another idea was to write about the convergence of the two planets that was like the star of Bethlehem, and how I missed that because of winter cloud cover. I might also have written something about all the claptrap surrounding the papal prophecies.
Unfortunately none of that can find a foothold in my head. I’m stuck with affirmative repositioning, and it sucks like a vampire coming off some or other fad detox diet, with extra parsley, cucumber and ginseng.
I don’t have much in the way of belonging to this, that or the other group, no tribe, no religion, no love for rugby balls, and I don’t associate with any of the colour swatches in a paint mixing store. I belong to my daughter first, a couple of friends, this little village on the other end of Windhoek and to Namibia.
The thing with belonging to something or other is that it shelters you. You can stand among buddies on the sidelines and watch things in shocked silence, muttering, “We don’t do that.” Or you can go with the flow, pick a side and jump in feet first, righteously shouting whatever slogan characterises the ideology or dogma of whatever it is you are espousing.
Because my sense of belonging is challenged by whatever it is that causes me to be a badly wrapped parcel in the lost-and-found department, I have to look at things as they show up, and make my own emotional assessments.
Right now, the affirmative repositioning fracas is more uncomfortable than Goedel’s theorem that proves that just about everything can be shown to be untrue. Goedel died of starvation, in a deep state of paranoia, possibly trying to fit the idea that nobody wanted to poison him into his own theorem. Goedel’s theorem is as easy as pie. It can only cast doubt on one thing. Unfortunately in affirmative repositioning theorem, both sides are wrong, both sides are right.
Unfortunately it appears that there are no negotiating positions, and there is very little intimation of a humane approach. There are only two sides drawing up to do battle. The situation is so complex and fraught that even people who bore the brunt of segregation way back then are intimating that it was easier then, because there were houses.
That shocking, mercifully small, strand, says that minds and reason are shutting down, and they are. In other news there are mentions of revolution, bloodshed and political conspiracy. There is some kind of campaign with ill defined slogans. There are rambling exchanges that lead to Robert Mugabe and get shut down with his abject economic failures, only to reappear in a day or two. The other side seems to look at its regulation and slip into bureaucratic paralysis.
Very few seem to have fully grasped that the high price of houses in developed urban areas, and affordable land and houses, are two different issues that are separated by millions in repayment to banks.
The purposeful discussion that should characterise politics and democracy seems to have gone the same way as hope, and is taken with a pinch of salt.
There is very little discussion of possibilities and progress. The operational reality of provision of affordable land or affordable housing doesn’t feature much at the moment. Most of the discussion justifies positions on the battlefront. If land and houses aren’t issues, then the reality of it is that it has to be a power play seeded with a proxy issue. Perhaps there is something in the rumour of a political conspiracy theory.
What entered my head with the idea of the tortoise is that it can retreat into its own shell, an evolutionary blessing that I suppose I will have to emulate. I might also have added that the tortoise carries its home with it. I hope the next few weeks will be peaceful. Unfortunately the approximation of the star of Bethlehem was obscured by cloud cover.
I’ll be back again with something else in my head, maybe something more comfortable, like a riff on the grind metal that I am listening to at the moment. Until then, remember that eating tortoises is uncool.


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