Pick a side

Pick a side 1

I have been observing all the interactions on the socials about Queen Elizabeth’s death with some bemusement. I am half-Irish, a quarter French and a quarter Afrikaans, I am also a white South African who benefited from apartheid. So, I was defs confused about which position I should adopt about the Queen’s passing.

Should I have veered towards the Afrikaans side – my granny was in a British concentration camp as a baby during the Boer War? The French side…well, we all know how much the French hate the English. Perhaps I should’ve gone with the Irish side – my grandfather was a land commissioner in his area in Ireland, dishing out land to the Irish after independence. (I have to say Irish Twitter was savage and also very, very funny).

However, my grandmother also had portraits of the royals up in her house and named her one daughter after Princess Margaret. All v confusing.

Maybe I should’ve joined the throngs demanding that the crown jewels be returned to South Africa. But as one clown on Twitter said, ‘leave them there. At least we know where they are. They’ll just get stolen again if we bring them back.” Hahahahaha!

Her Majesty The Queen
Her Majesty The Queen

I have family members that have been killed by the English, literally starved to death, but I cannot hate the late Queen for that. Because I’m pretty sure I’ve also got family that have done heinous things in their lives. Also – white Saffa – benefitted from apartheid – should I be pointing fingers at anyone else??

Twitter Queen Debate

What I have noticed is that when we choose a side, we amplify their good qualities and forget about the bad things they’ve done. I personally lurrrrrrve the Obamas…but we know Prez Obama ordered drone strikes and no doubt did all sorts of other things that people find reprehensible.

I choose to ignore these things so that I can carry on loving the Obamas. The same way friends love Mugabe and Gaddafi and forget about the horrors they inflicted on their own people. I think a good question to ask yourself is would I want to live in their country?

If the answer is ‘no’, then they’re obvs not such a fab leader after all.

I also have a strong suspicion that all these people going on about the royals would shut their traps very smartly and practically run to Buckingham Palace if they were given an MBE or a knighthood. Me included. So probs best to dial down the hypocrisy a bit.

The whole “oh, it’s so tragic” crew also need to get a grip. A 96 year old dying after a full life is not tragic. I think what is leaving people shook is the mess the world is in so when we lose someone who has been a constant in our lives, it’s a shock.

Also props to the one young Joburg hustler who told his mother he needed the day off school because he was so sad about Queen Elizabeth’s death. His mother said she doubted whether he’d be able to pick Liz out of a line-up.

Whichever position you decide to take on the socials, remember that by commenting (and arguing with complete strangers) you are producing content that helps Mark and Jack sell advertising. Content you are not getting paid for. If you enjoy a good argument, by all means carry on. If not, step away. Because most of the time, these interactions are not great for our mental health.

In non-QE2 news, two of our cats have been in the wars. Princess Poppy has been in a state since the Firstborn left and her allergies have been acting up, so she is now rather bald from pulling out her fur and Prince Nigel got caught in some barbed wire.

Hopefully now they are on the road to recovery, but I did endure an hour-long lecture from the one vet about what a bad cat mother I am, as if I had personally placed the barbed wire for Nigel to get caught on. Um…hiiiiiii…we live in Joburg. Show me a street without barbed wire.

Prince Nigel
Prince Nigel
Father and son
Father and son

I had a long phone call with the Firstborn over the weekend who is experiencing the post-holiday blues after a gorgeous European summer spent travelling.

  • Him: Mom, teenagers are just horrible, I have new respect for my teachers. I now understand why we had detention and hard labour at our school. I apologise unreservedly for being such an asshole at school.
  • Me: *speechless*
  • Him: …and I didn’t realise how useless and spoilt I am until I went travelling with all these Brits.

Travel, fam. It broadens the mind and makes you appreciate what you have.

Book recommendations: at the mo I am reading the Lastborn’s matric setworks so that we can discuss them before her exams. Also, just for fun. Yes, the Lastborn is in her final term at her beloved school and all I can say is that the waterproof mascara is going to come in handy as every time I think about her leaving her wonderful school (and us), I start blubbing.

Back to the setworks. I’ve just read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver whom I had the pleasure of meeting when she was in SA promoting Flight Behaviour. She was utterly warm and lovely in person and this is a rich, gorgeous read about a missionary family in the Congo during independence. Some of the Saffa terms in the book are wrong, and I felt like this should’ve been two books, it’s a 600 page whopper with more endings than The Lord of the Rings, but these are small quibbles.

The novel is Dickensian in scope, and I am frankly in awe of her creativity and talent.

The Poisonwood Bible
Mad Bad Love

During my break I went to the book launch of Mad, Bad Love by Sara-Jayne Makwala King. She was interviewed by the fab Pabi Moloi and it was a very interesting discussion. I found SJ’s POV on adoption educational, I had never really thought about it from the adoptee’s point of view before, of the trauma of that separation so that made me think. I gobbled the memoir up, it was touching and hilarious and beautifully written and I highly recommend it.

I also lurrrve the cover.

Reminder about the Parkview Heritage Festival on the 24th. You can get your tickets HERE.

Happy Reading xxx

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