Have we reached Peak Zumxit or is it a mountain too high?
The long-awaited Zumectomy – the surgical removal of a malignant tumour from our body politic – is the biggest story of the last decade
He’s going. Really. For realsies. No, seriously. This isn’t like last time, or the time before that, or the time before that ...
I know. We’ve heard it all. So much so, in fact, that it’s tempting to suggest that this week we reached Peak Zumxit, that cacophony of reportage, speculation and rumour-mongering suggesting that Jacob Zuma is seconds from resignation. Tempting, but inaccurate: it’s been Peak Zumxit for months. Indeed, some pundits have cried “Wolf!” so many times that I’d want a second opinion even if they pointed out an actual wolf, actually chewing off my foot.
To be fair, though, I understand why there are so many premature ejaculators in our press. South Africa’s long-awaited Zumectomy – the surgical removal of a malignant tumour from our body politic – is the biggest story of the last decade, and every journalist worth his or her salt wants to be first.
Fortunately I’m not a journalist, which means I’m free to stand in solidarity with the unremembered heroes of pointless journalism: those poor sods who filed their reports shortly before the Big One broke and who, through a cruel twist of fate and timing, fell short of posterity by a few hours.
I can imagine all those dutiful, instantly forgotten updates, drifting like dry leaves across the pavement of journalistic irrelevance. “Unsinkable Titanic Reaches Mid-Atlantic”; “German Troops Just Doing Routine Check of Polish Border Fence”; “Neil Armstrong Gets Cramp In Left Buttock, Asks ‘Are We There Yet?’ ” …So yes. I understand why, in the face of so much potential disappointment, local journalists keep jumping the gun.
Not that Zuma’s exit will be anything near as historic as those other moments, of course. In fact I’m not even sure that journalists are the best people to report on a rather slippery pond-dweller slithering off into darkness. Perhaps David Attenborough?
“Meanwhile, back in the swamp, the common spotted Zuma has enjoyed the night. Preened by tiny parasites and feasting on swarms of passing taxpayers, it has been the undisputed lord of this distant woodland backwater. But now the dawn is coming, and it is time for it to retreat to its burrow and hide from roving herds of prosecutors …”
When will the dawn come and what will it bring? I have no idea and, with respect to their skill and determination, neither do many of our journalists. All of us are simply waiting and watching. But one thing we do know: the dawn always comes. For realsies.