GLAD IT’S OVER
Midmorning of August 08, I’m driving up to Gauteng with The Queen Mother. At some point between Welkom and Kroonstad, we meet one of the most intimidating road blocks I have ever seen anywhere in post-1994 South Africa. The Army, Road Traffic Police, and South African Police Service (heavily-armed, Marikana-style) made a very, very strong presence. All women. Only a fool would want to fuck around here.
First check point is by four Army officers on us. They give us some road safety info materials, wishing us a safe and enjoyable journey further ahead. Very warm, polite, and happy. I’m thoroughly charmed. Now I am in my element, I thought quietly. One of the ladies even congratulates my mother on a great catch. All laugh heartily as Queen Mother replies, “No, no, no! This one is for you. Ke letsibolo la ka/ He is my first born, and he is single. Come on ladies, Twitter, Facebook!!!” This, of course, draws a lot of attention towards us, the police looking a bit uncomfortable a few metres ahead, though.
Next check point is Road Traffic Police. The seriousness, and hard faces of the lady officers here failed to warn me of the impending nightmare I was stopping into as we are waved to park our car on the road side. Document check.
I was born by a hard, tough, and strong woman. During my formative years I was raised by a High Priestess whose followers came from all corners of South Africa and beyond. My maternal grandmother was both a spiritual healer and medium. Despite a turbulent childhood till well into her teenage years, my younger sister has grown up to be one Super Woman in her own right. The vast majority of the women I know, or have heard of, on both sides of my family, in South Africa and Zambia, are very strong personalities whose presence is/ was noticed everywhere they are/ were. My male relatives, my closest friends and Brothers, the whole lot of them seem to fall for and marry the strongest of women. It’s no wonder, then, that strong women ever so fascinate me. I admire strong women. I respect strong women. I love strong women. I adore them.
I find power(-ful) women outside family ever so intriguing and sexy I’m not into War-of-The-Sexes, and the ensuing power struggle between men and women with respect to who shall rule over whom in society. My power women don’t have to strive to do anything to prove to me that they are strong women. They don’t ever need to squeeze and crush my balls to prove anything. I don’t need that. Totally unnecessary. I am a man. I am that I am. A man. I have nothing to prove myself. Punktum.
When I am in a bravado modus, bragging about my power, my strength, my physical and mental prowess, my energy, my Karate, my intelligence, my chic, my wealth, my countries, my people, my Rolex, my Mercedes, my women, etc., etc., it’ll often be when I am in a party mood, drunk or sober same difference, but certainly groovy happy, together with people with whom I share mutual love, trust, and respect. I will from time to time do this to get to the occasional bigoted, uncultured fool(-s), though. Deep down inside of me, I do not have any pressing need to want to prove anything about me, and the things I do, to anybody. So sure and confident of myself I am. I want my deeds, my work to speak for me, for themselves. I want to be judged by the outcomes and consequences of the things I do. If I’m good at something, I’m good at it. That’s it. If I’m bad at it, I don’t do it. Simple. If it’s important but I don’t know it, I learn. I get it, I get it. I don’t get it, I don’t get it. Pass! Chilembo means scripture. Therefore, my life is like graffiti, written on an open wall. Read it, interpret it as you will. I am a man. Any doubts? Try me! That’s how I roll.
So, deciding to make a fuss about my valid Norwegian Driver’s Licence, the Road Traffic Police Boss Lady chose to pounce on me. Feeling good and relaxed, given that I knew for sure that all of my necessary documents were good to go – the said driver’s, valid International Driver’s Licence, valid Norwegian passport, and a valid South African Permanent Resident ID – I got totally disoriented when the Traffic Police Boss Lady yells at me military-style, “So you think you are smart, ntate/ Sir? Well, tomorrow is Women’s Day, I am going to show you that us women can be tougher than men!” Felt like I just got a kick below the belt.
It is one thing to question the legitimacy, or integrity of an unfamiliar driver’s licence written in a strange language, even though the English translation is clearly printed. But to stubbornly and rudely dismiss my explanation of rest of the text, resolutely telling me what she and her colleague deduced from symbols and corresponding texts to be the only thing that matters for them to declare my driver’s licence not valid in South Africa, baffled me beyond words. As this confusion dragged on, with me getting more and more frustrated, beginning to wonder if I indeed were not speaking Norwegian or Latin to this hard-nosed Boss Lady and her junior colleague, their levels of ignorance bordering on stupidity, sense of insecurity, envy and jealousy, narrow view of the world, lack of history and cultural sophistication, and cheap arrogance of power began to emerge. It is at this point I thought it prudent to tell the officers that the old lady patiently sitting and waiting in the car was actually my mother. As such, I had no intentions or desire of getting on the wrong side of the law when I am travelling with her. They let us go only after confirming with the Queen Mother that I was indeed her son. Upon arrival in Gauteng, I discovered my passport was missing. It turned out later that the Boss Lady had for unknown reasons withheld it, without letting me know about that. Very strange.
In my travels across Europe, as well as partly USA, I have encountered extremely rude and power abusive women in uniform. But the Road Traffic Police Boss Lady here takes the cake. I have never been made to feel so small in a communication break down situation with a woman in/ with power in any setting. As I sat in the car to drive off, I squeezed my legs together. I didn’t feel my balls in place. I felt like a eunuch. I wanted to cry, but I heard my voice very thin and flat in my head. I didn’t want to alarm the Queen Mother; I am a big man now. Strong. Female chauvinists can fly to the moon.
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September 03, 2014