Eat like a Lion, sting like BEE
Every weekend there are marathons and bicycle races all over Johannesburg which somehow get by without my patronage. I absent myself from these events not because I am averse to exercise (which I believe is good for you), but because my agent tells me that, at my age, I can't command much in the way of appearance fees.
Mainly, though, my not taking part in marathons, cycle races and other individual games has to do with the fact that I am what you would call a team player.
Every Saturday at this time of year I energetically engage in supporting my rugby team.
I am such a wholehearted team player that I have supported the Lions since they were known as Transvaal and I went into self-imposed exile from the Western Province (I am such a loyal fan that I have considered a bit of public self-immolation to protest the relegation of the mighty Lions from the Super 15. But Sanzar are such a heatless bunch of bean-counters that I doubt they would even notice.)
Most Saturday mornings I go shopping for my weekly quota of red meat - to see me through the afternoon's exertions. The vegetarian matriarch I am currently living with frowns upon red meat during the week. but I am determined to spare my children rickets or kwashiorkor or whatever it is that people get if they don't eat enough sausages.
For my meat I go out of my way to patronise not some Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed retail chain (even ones that still employ white people) but a family-owned butchery several suburbs removed from me. There I buy more boerewors than I need and, always, a chunk of biltong I have selected by scientifically squeezing the various candidates arrayed for my custom.
One of the reasons I patronise this particular butchery is that I get to practise my Afrikaans. (They are all Afrikaans; even the black people they employ speak Afrikaans.)
Although I have never run a marathon, I am very health-conscious. I read every issue of the Health News supplement in the Business Day and I never light up a cigarette without counting how many I have had that day. When I've selected a hunk of biltong, I always ask whoever is serving me to "sny die vet af asseblief" (please cut off the fat).
When I am t told how much I owe, I request "die discount vir Lions supporters". This (because the butchery is owned by people who, inexplicably, are Cheetahs diehards) always results in my being quoted double the price. We chuckle at this old joke and I get charged the first price.
Then, if I have one or the other child with me, we try to see if we can manage to not eat half the biltong on the way home. If it's only me, I try to get home without scoffing half the packet on my own. Their biltong really is that good.
Every other weekend, it seems, those people whose lives are devoid of nobler pursuits such as running marathons or supporting the Lions go to wine festivals. This past weekend, I believe, there was something on called the Soweto Wine Festival.
I have just read a splendid article about the wine shindig in Soweto in which someone called "Spikkels Senekal from Bon Courage" and another named "Innocent Mpahleni of Boekenhoutkloof" were decrying black consumers' reluctance to buy their plonk.
I giggled over what Mpahleni had to say about the festival's visitors: "Today they are drinking wine but tomorrow they'll be drinking beer."
And there was a-weeping and a-wailing from the industry winos about how all the wine businesses (except for three) continued to be owned by white people and how small emerging wineries couldn't get shelf space in the booze shops.
Oh please. Black entrepreneurs figured this one out long ago. They got themselves shelf space by opening up shebeens.
Black people be warned: this drink-wine propaganda you're being subjected to is nothing more than a veiled white crusade to get you to support the Stormers (where the wines come from) and buy un-fetching, overpriced blue-and-white hooped rugby jerseys. Don't be fooled. Real rugby fans support the Lions. And they don't drink pinot noir.