Dan Ojwang, academic (Kenya, South Africa)

danOne can’t do anything in peace anymore because of all the precious manifestos flying about. But you choose to provoke us anyway, to write manifestos so that you can feel at home in the company of yet more grey ones, so that you can find comfort in the fact that we’ve become just like you. Why can’t YOU all leave US alone? S’true, manifestos come cheap; everyone has got one, like limbs, fingers, hair, the works. Manifestos don’t make a dime worth of difference.
Sample this: “Don’t be prejudiced; be prejudiced for a higher cause! Don’t question your neighbour’s bona fides, loving them unconditionally; exercise discretion!” (EDITOR can add more to the list). Ja, even my dog has an opinion.

And then you wonder why there are so many refuseniks around! There are so many of us out here who do the jive-talk and strike all the poses, ‘stretching thought to its limits’ and ‘shaking the shirtfronts of God himself’. And, tell you what? Joburg is just so full of us. We sho are even more hilarious than the ‘normal’ ones, who can be quite unknowingly yet incisively revolutionary, depending on how you look at it. Uhmm…come to think of it??!! (Strike a deep thinker’s pose, fist on chin and all, then sigh audibly). Is there any little hole in the wall that is not occupied by one kind of kitsch or another, in a time when anti-kitsch is the highest form of kitsch?

Isn’t there anything off the wall and left-field that one can try out anymore? Like kill and eat chicken, instead of the same old, same old sukuma wiki*, simply BECAUSE YOU CAN? Or have a supermarket chain do the killing for you like the yellow chicken you don’t want to look like? Or spray DOOM on God-created cockroaches simply BECAUSE YOU ARE HUMAN? I certainly have more admiration for the rednecks and peasants who kill their own dinner, for they are simply murderers! ‘Those among us’ who buy theirs neatly packed in cling wrap and styrofoam are the real accomplices to mass murder and genocide. And more dangerous for we don’t even know it! Some dead white chap once spoke of the fragile souls who faint at the sight of blood yet ravish veal (weeks-old, cute little cows) with great relish. The world is a strange place; you never quite know when you are the predator. You know, sukuma wikis are human too!!! And humans? Well…they are the worst virus ever known! The bane of all species, manufactured in Lucifer’s own laboratory!!! And you wonder why they are still my best friends.

Me? Submit a manifesto? No, I am the anti-manifesto himself! Man must live without manifestos; dude shall live on whim alone! Holy instinct changes all the time; it has none of that Mr Prissy Pants that YOUR manifestos demand. No thanks, I’ll have to pass on that one.

*Sukuma wiki: Literal meaning: “push the weeks”; Swahili for collard / kales, a green vegetable; “Chomolier” in Mzansi & Zim.
Sukuma Wiki: Let me fafanua (who said natives don’t have a term for “to break down”, to “deconstruct”?): Mindlessly massacred by the East African working classes (J) week in week out, sukuma wiki makes it possible to “push the weeks”, as we wait for payday or as we postpone our inevitable tryst with Jah. Or rather, a death-bound human life is the death of a vegetable.