Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I was slumped in front of the TV waiting for the news, when instead came a grim picture of two young boys, stripped to the waist in the hot sun, swinging pickaxes at some hard and unrelenting rock on a barren hillside. Then the picture switched to a smooth fat old gentleman in a Saville Row suit, standing in his luxury mansion. He looked straight into the camera and said ‘Keep working hard, so that you can maintain me in the style to which I have become accustomed.’
Then, typical of ZNBC, everything went blank, for several minutes. When the picture finally came back, the scene was much the same, except that the fat old gentleman was gone, and instead the room was full of small children. In the big chair in the middle sat a little girl, perhaps four years old. I recognized her immediately, it was my granddaughter Nawiti! She and her pre-school friends must have gone on a trip to State House!
‘Hi, Nawiti!’ I said, waving at the TV. ‘Say hi to Grandpa!’
Nawiti leant towards the microphone. ‘This is your New Leader Nawiti speaking on behalf of my new cabinet. This afternoon, at 16.00 hours precisely, the under-fives of this country walked into all the main instootions of guberment, where we found all the fat old men drunk and asleep. In the interest of good governance, we have taken control of the state, and the constootion is spended.’
‘Ha ha, Nawiti,’ I chuckled, ‘that’s a good joke. Not much left to suspend!’
‘We children,’ shouted Nawiti, waving her arms, ‘are fed up with these incompetent old men running this country. They are not only greedy and lazy, but they have very long fingers. We shall bring all this theft to an end!’ As she spoke, she raised her hands in the air, as did all of her cabinet. ‘Now you have a leader and a cabinet who all have short fingers.’
‘Grandpa won’t ask for much,’ I said, taking another sip of brandy. ‘Just the occasional trip to Paris.’
‘These old men were always going on trips abroad because they couldn’t understand computers. Your new government has mastered computers in pre-school, and we shall conduct all international consultations by video conferencing on Skype.’
‘So that’s why my broadband bill is so high!’ I shouted at the TV.
‘Children of Zambia, we are free at last, free at last. We the children of Zambia have always been in the majority, but we have been left without a vote. We the young ones who have all the ideas, we were imprisoned in schools by these geriatric exploiters, whose purpose is to stop us thinking and make us obey their mindless instructions.’
‘Heh heh, little girl,’ I chuckled, ‘what d’you think you’ll turn into when you grow up!’
‘For years we have endured being treated like second class citizens. But a single spark can start a prairie fire. Last week one of our geriatric leaders, in looking for yet another insult to throw at another geriatric leader, called him an under-five. By the end of that same day we had our own Under-Five page on Facebook, and the revolution was under way!’
‘Children of Zambia! Did you know that while these old fools have been spending millions of dollars going to South Africa to treat their geriatric diseases, 30% of children die before the age of five from disease and starvation. If these were adults dying, they would call it genocide. Or a holocaust. But we children are expendable, so they call it under-five mortality!’
‘Terribly sorry Nawiti,’ I sighed, ‘Your Grandpa is a geriatric monster!’
‘You old geriatrics! We are no longer their slaves. No longer your domestic servants! No longer your unpaid labour! No longer your rock breakers! No longer your orphans! No longer your street kids, to live in your drains like rats! We have come out from our slavery and we are taking over!’
‘I wish now,’ I said, tears rolling down my cheeks, ‘that I’d never asked her to fetch me the brandy bottle.’
‘Now I come to the instootional changes,’ declared Nawiti. ‘All hospitals are now children’s hospitals, and the previous under-five clinics become adult clinics, where adults will be inoculated against greed and cruelty. The Police Farce is abolished, and replaced by former School Prefects. All innocent and unconvicted prisoners are released, and to be replaced by the criminal police. All schools are now for adults, where they will learn how to treat children properly, without beating, abusing or sexual molestation. Parliament will become a Comedy Theatre, where children can go to listen to old people talk nonsense. State House is abolished, and will be transformed into an amusement park with slides, swimming pools, swings, roundabouts, jumping castles, and…’
As she was talking I heard the door bang and in came Sara. ‘What’s on the news?’
‘Revolution!’ I said. ‘Children have taken over. All adults have to go back to school!’
‘Rubbish!’ she laughed. ‘You were asleep in front of the TV, as usual!’
Just then Nawiti came running round the corner. ‘Aaarghh! Aaarghh! I screamed.
‘Are you alright, Grandpa?’ she giggled, as she gave me a little kiss. ‘Can I get you something?’
‘Go to the cupboard,’ I said. ‘And fetch my brandy bottle.’

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