Forget the vosho! Could Theresa May's Maybot be the next big dance move?
Bringing dance to Africa is a bit like carrying coals to Newcastle, but the British PM had to offer something in trade talks
Before Theresa May crammed her rucksack with her favourite kitten heels and a fanagalo dictionary for her trip to Africa this week, she would have been flooded with mountains of advice from minions.
If you think about it, there must be many know-it-alls equipped to dispense advice on how former colonisers should behave towards their one-time subjects. Pith helmets, anyone?
It least in the post-Zuma era May no longer need worry about what to do if the head of state fondles her bum.
Amid the flurry of preparations for her trip, somebody forgot to haul out the handbook on dance.
History will record that Britain's chief induna flew to SA as part of a trade mission aimed at boosting the country's post-Brexit fortunes. (Let's hope she wasn't too successful, else we'll be groaning with yorkshire pudding and toad-in-the-hole one of these days.)
May has had a bumpy ride since David Cameron handed her the keys to Number 10 in 2016. The Sun greeted her promotion to head girl with the headline HEEL, BOYS. Social media reacted with fury at the newspaper's focus on the new PM's bias towards leopard-skin footwear instead of examining her policies. (Though Cameron never greeted his constituents in kitten heels.)
The prime minister was nicknamed Maybot for her inscrutable façade during the last election. Icebergs seemed jolly by comparison.
This week the May ship sank a little deeper after a clip of her dancing with a group of schoolkids in Cape Town went viral, and not in a good way.
Let's just say at the outset that May is in no danger of usurping Margot Fonteyn's position as prima ballerina assoluta. John Travolta's crown as the disco king is safe.
The Australian said the display was "part Saturday Night Fever disco, part robot dance, sod-all rhythm and a large dose of awkward".
The Telegraph said she looked like "a possessed shop mannequin being tasered".
WATCH | Theresa May busts a move in Cape Town
The Guardian remarked that May gave "an impression of a wobbly fridge".
The dance routine was christened the Maybot in honour of its creator.
Earlier, the prime minister had had another awkward moment just before boarding the ferry to Robben Island when a Channel 4 journalist interrogated her about her history of protest against apartheid.
What had she done to fight the racist regime? Boycott Outspan oranges? How about the fact that Nelson Mandela was branded a terrorist by her leader, Margaret Thatcher?
After seeing this week's gyrations it's safe to say liberation struggle was better off without her desecration of the toyi-toyi back in the era of placards in Trafalgar Square.
Prince Philip used to get into trouble almost every time he left British airspace. He asked a successful Aborigine entrepreneur on a trip to Australia in 2002: "Do you still throw spears at each other?"
He told Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner: "It's a pleasant change to be in a country that isn't ruled by its people." At least Phil had an old lady to try and rein him in.
No such luck with May. Being the laughing stock of the internet once was not enough. No sooner had she touched down in Kenya than she joined a group of scouts for a traditional dance. She added some more moves to her routine as if she had been rehearsing the Maybot on the plane. And this on the continent which does rhythm and dance best.
Social media had a further orgy of mirth at her expense.
Perhaps spending too much time with former public school boys has rubbed off on the prime minister. This was an act of pure self-flagellation. A good whipping.
IT'S THE NEW SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA
May's trip - to SA, Nigeria and Kenya, where she was the first British prime minister to visit in 30 years - came as German leader Angela Merkel set off on her own African tour.
Since June, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have made African Forays.
French President Emmanuel Macron has visited Africa three times since November.