Christopher Sebela

writer, wronger, rearranger

Dear South Africa,



Please get the fuck out of the way.



Wait, that probably came out wrong. Let us explain.



As you may have noted, we’re back! It’s been four long months since the Oscar Pistorious bail hearing thing, and just as we were forgetting just how crappy the Internet connections are in Johannestoria, the Mandela story breaks.



We feel that it is vital locals understand just how big a deal this is for us. In the real world—far away from your sleepy backwater—news works on a 24-hour cycle. That single shot of a hospital with people occasionally going into and out of the front door, while a reporter describes exactly what is happening—at length and in detail? That’s our bread and butter. It’s what we do.



And you need to get out of the way while we do it.



It’s nothing personal. In fact, we couldn’t do this successfully without you. In many cases, our footage is made more compelling by your presence. Specifically, we are fond of small black children praying and/or singing in unison. Equally telegenic are the Aryan ubermensch blonde kids also praying/singing, who help underscore the theme that Mandela united people of all races under a Rainbow umbrella.



[…]



In fact, we love everything about the country that doesn’t live up to Mandela’s legacy. We will take every opportunity to mention how everything you do flies in the face of everything Mandela would’ve wanted from his people—how you’re basically a nation of under-achieving screw-ups. All of this is fantastic, we thank you profusely for your individual and collective contributions to this essential storyline, and urge you to keep squandering your potential.



But like we said, we’re busy.



We need to be fed, constantly and without respite, big juicy mouthfuls of new information regarding every aspect of the story. Each piece of data, no matter how seemingly trivial or inane, is to us the rich, fatty gravy that we will slather over this one essential fact: the father of your nation is gravely ill, and we’re banking—literally, banking—on his not making it. The geraniums in the hospital planter, beating the chill of winter? Metaphor. Again—no detail too small.



Indeed, you need to brace yourselves. We’re about to engage in the single greatest orgy of industrial-grade mourning porn the world has ever known. Your little country will forever be honoured as the site that made the Princess Diana thing look like a restrained wake for a loathed spinster who perished alone on a desert island. Oh man, this is going to be big.

Daily Maverick, Open Letter to South Africa from Foreign Media

Powered by Coffee