It was going so well ... until Marais threw FF+ deep in the brown stuff
All the FF+ had to do was find a brown man called Pieter or Peter. What could go wrong?
It was all going so well for the Freedom Front Plus (FF+). They hadn’t seen so many journalists since the 1990s – easily four or five, gathered for the big reveal.
And they weren’t only there for the cookies like last time. They were writing things down! Actual words, not just the usual doodles of swastikas and penises and Pieter Groenewald being caught under a combine harvester. But then Peter Marais said what he said, and now everything was sad.
When dawn had broken over the FF+ headquarters on Tuesday, casting its gentle glow across the Andries Treurnicht Memorial Bowls Lawn and gleaming off the statue of Constand Viljoen riding a screaming angel with napalm under its wings towards fleeing MK cadres, everything had seemed possible. Because Tuesday would be the day the FF+ unveiled the secret weapon that would win them the Western Cape.
The search for a strong candidate in the province had been tough. They knew they needed a coloured person to woo disgruntled DA voters, but the only coloured person they knew was Meisie Adonis – no, wait, was it Adonis or September? Jacobs? No, it was Adonis. No! April! Meisie April! But she had been working for them for 40 years, and if she went to Cape Town, who would make their tea?
Complicating the search even more was the fact that the new premier candidate had to be called Pieter. After the retirement of Viljoen – or “Generaal Pappie” as they called him at meetings – Pieter Mulder had decided it would simplify things if all future leaders of the party were called Pieter Mulder, a rule slightly broadened by Pieter Groenewald.
Finally, desperate and hungry – Meisie still hadn’t come back from the shop where they’d sent her three weeks earlier – they turned to Google, searching for “brown man called Pieter or Peter who will say almost anything for money”. And there he was. Former premier of the Western Cape. Member of the NP, the NNP, the DA, the New Labour Party, and Cope. Peter Marais.
It had all been so smooth. They’d asked Marais if he had any moral objections about working for a party that had been founded to oppose the apartheid regime’s disgusting leftist liberalism, and once Marias had asked them what “moral objections” meant, they had signed the deal.
And here they were, in front of five journalists, and Marais was saying all the right things! Things being quoted in the mainstream media! “South Africa is made of builders and wreckers.” False dichotomies! Perfect!
“Everything is imploding.” Yes! Science words! Like “exploding” but intellectual!
“Inflation is our biggest enemy.” Well … “But above inflation is corruption.” Thank God, he’d got back on script: all those hours with the illustrated cue cards had paid off. And it actually worked: inflation is our biggest enemy, but corruption is an even bigger enemy, so it’s our biggest biggest enemy! Nice! Meaningless hyperbole! This is gold!
And then he said it.
“All people are brown people.”
Oh holy mother of Jan van Riebeeck, please don’t – but he was still talking. “Black people are just darker brown people and –” no no no no no no oh Jesus somebody throw themselves on the microphone or mention 1994 so everyone will be too busy getting angry over FW’s betrayal to hear what’s coming next because oh my god here it comes – “white people are just lighter brown people.”
The WhatsApp messages started 20 seconds later.
Had the party walked barefoot over the Drakensberg only to discover that it wasn’t white? Had Racheltjie de Beer frozen in that termite mound just to so her brother could live in a world in which he was brown? And since when were black people brown?! Brown people were on 7de Laan! Black people were on Generations! What next?! A sordid hybrid called 7de Generations?! No wonder the neighbours were leaving for Australia.
Yes, Peter Marais had cocked it all up. Everyone wasn’t brown. Everyone was blue.