Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The March Past

On Sunday, like all good journalists, I was there at the Freedom Statue to see the marching of our loyal workers past their Great Leader, the carrying of banners and the great speeches. What a glorious and impressive occasion of state, enough to stir the patriotic heart of all loyal citizens! Bugger the Royal Wedding, we have Labour Day!

I was standing on the pavement opposite the Great Leader’s dais, where the Beloved Father of the Nation stood to take the salute from each marching cohort. First down the road, behind a big red banner proclaiming Chambeshi Exploitation, marched a brigade of identical ill-fitting brown suits. As they drew level with the Great Leader their commander shouted Eyes Right! Salute! and the Great Leader picked up his microphone and shouted Starvation Wages for All! Whereupon they all responded in hearty unison Thank you Sah!

Now came the next cohort, behind a bright yellow banner announcingSlavery PLC. The sequence was very similar.

Eyes Right! Salute! shouted the commander, as the brown suits all saluted.

Strikes are illegal! declared the Great Leader.

Thank you Sah! sang the workers joyfully.

Then came another cohort of ill-fitting suits behind a bright blue banner reading Work, Sweat and Blood and Company Ltd,

Eyes Right! Salute!

I give you batons and bullets!

Thank you Sah!

I turned to Ample Mapulanga from The Digga Deepa, who happened to be standing right behind me. ‘Why do the workers keep saying Thank you Sah! when they are promised death and destruction?’

‘What workers?’ asked Ample, looking around with the keen eye of an investigative reporter.

‘The workers marching past our Beloved Leader!’ I hissed angrily.

‘They’re not workers,’ he laughed. ‘Workers were banned from Labour Day years ago, after one cheeky worker shouted at the Great Leader and asked for a wage increase.’

‘So who are all these people in horrible brown suits?’

‘They’re all Chinese managers from the new extractive industries,’ explained Ample.

‘Extracting copper?’ I suggested.

‘Extracting flesh and blood,’ sneered Ample, ‘and possibly a few kidneys.’

Finally all the identical cohorts of identical brown suits had given their identical salutes, and now stood at attention to hear further gems of wisdom from the Great Leader, our Beloved Father of the Nation.

‘We are gathered here today,’ began the Great Leader, ‘at the Freedom Statue, which represents the figure of Capital breaking free from the chains of regulation and workers rights, in order to be free to accumulate wealth.’

‘Ching Chang!’ cheered the Chinese managers

‘Only by keeping down wages can we encourage more investors to come to this country. And only by brutally putting down protests and strikes can we keep down the wages down.’

‘Hing Hong!’ cheered the identical brown suits.

‘How does the Great Leader expect the workers to vote for him when he says such things?’ I whispered to Ample

‘That’s why he imported two million Chinese,’ said Ample. ‘They’ve all been given the vote.’

‘I am taking this opportunity,’ continued the Great Leader, ‘to announce that Desertification Unlimited of Shanghai are investing 500 million dollars in a new project to clear all the trees from Northern Province. This will create 10,000 new jobs, provide a dollar a day for the workers and a further dollar a tree for the treasury.’

‘Ho Ho Bling Bling!’ cheered the brown suits, now jumping up and down with excitement, as the surrounding crowd stood there in sullen disbelief.

‘It seems everything he says and does,’ I said, turning again to Ample, ‘is intended to please the Chinese rather than us!’

‘What d’you expect?’ laughed Ample. ‘He’s a Chinese puppet!’

‘But how did he become a Chinese puppet?’

‘Same way as other Chinese puppets,’ laughed Ample. ‘He was made in China!’

‘You mean they’re pulling the strings?’

‘Exactly,’ said Ample. ‘You see the canvas canopy on top of the dais? That contains the Chinese puppet master. He’s pulling the strings. If you look carefully, you can even see the strings. But the puppet is a brilliant imitation, every roll of fat and obscene gesture is replicated perfectly. See that Chinese lorry behind the statue? That’s where they keep all the gear!’

‘A mobile Great Leader! He must have imported it from China!’

‘He imported nine of them,’ laughed Ample. ‘One for each province. That’s why you see him on the TV every night, laying foundation stones in ten different places. The election campaign will have ten Great Leaders, but only one Cycle Mata!’

‘So if this Great Leader is just a Chinese puppet, where is the real one?’

‘You know our Great Leader is very fond of traditional ceremonies. I’m told he’s gone to Solwezi for the Dance of the Naked Virgins. This is the time of year when they initiate their young girls into womanhood. You know he takes his duties as Father of the Nation very seriously.’

‘Couldn’t one of the puppets do the job?’

‘Oh no,’ laughed Ample. ‘That one needs the real thing.’


  1. ke ke k ke ke ke ke keke ke ke ke ke this is hilarious mwe