It’s a cliffhanger! What is going to happen on Friday? How will the judge find? Are there going to be riots? To tell the truth, I can’t even remember which Zuma case this is. Is it the one about the evidence from Mauritius, or the one about throwing the whole case out, or the one that went to constitutional court? I honestly can’t remember and I couldn’t be bothered to look it up. I’ve got Zuma fatigue.

So why am I still writing about him? Well, on the one hand, I admire his dogged approach. He certainly doesn’t give up easy. I remember reading a quote from one of his attorneys who said that they will pursue every single legal strategy, and then keep on appealing until they get the case dismissed. I tell you, it’s enough to make lawyers weep with joy.

The Zuma saga is also very dramatic, both on a superficial level and in a very real sense. I fear instability in South Africa. The seas are stormy and the boat’s already rocking. So the last thing we want is a physical explosion of anger in which anyone or anything is damaged (as has, rather discouragingly, already occurred at a preliminary protest action that degenerated into a near-riot in Durban). That’s why the legal system is so important. It may not be perfect, but it is a forum that facilitates a strictly verbal form of conflict resolution and that’s crucial in a democracy. I agree with Zuma in thatit is OK to criticize the judiciary, but this must always be balanced with a certain respect – kinda like disagreeing with your parents.

But if I may be glib for a moment, I’m just finding the whole thing very entertaining. More than that, I’m loving the whole Obama-McCain thing in the states. What a nail biter! Two candidates. Neck and neck in a race for the White House. Also starring Sarah Palin. With a guest appearance by Hillary Clinton. And unwanted cameos by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Then there’s The Mugabe Show, playing daily on our northern border. It’s part comedy, part tragedy; think King Lear mixed with a Ray Cooney farce. It’s got everything: power, greed, vanity, ambition, suffering, intrigue. Also starring Thabo Mbeki as the Quiet Diplomat. And Morgan Freeman as Morgan Tsvangirai.

And every day, there is new news (which is kinda the eponymous point). Is Kim Jong-Il ill? Did the crazed, pyjama-clad dictator of North Korea have a stroke? Is Castro going to die? Will Ariel Sharon wake up from his coma?

It’s the great global soap opera, and the fact that it’s all real makes it even more entertaining. It’s the ultimate reality show because we’re all in it. Obviously, it was the Americans who turned news into entertainment. They may not know where Europe is, but their gung-ho coverage of every speech, event, calamity and scandal that took place within North America made ordinary news sound like a movie trailer.

Have you watched any American prime time news? You can catch CBS and NBS on DSTv (through Sky News and MSNBC respectively). “…And now the question remains (pause) will the people in this small town (pause) ever be able to live the American dream again???! This is Generic Field-Reporter, from Crapville (big pause) Nevada.”

It’s Newstertainment, I tell you! So tune in next time to find out what’s going to happen to Fanny and Freddy. Will Gordon Brown turn Britain into the next Zimbabwe? Have you seen Posh’s new hairstyle? Is Sarah Palin a Bulldog or a Pig?

TV pales in comparison (although it is much less stressful to watch). IMHO.

[Originally posted 11/09/2008]

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