A Politically Incorrect Tale Of The Politically Inane - Poem by Margaret Kollmer
In the late 1980’s Willy Whitesod’s father, the former Willem Terre’Blanche (trans. White soil, or sod) departed his home country, France, to make Ireland his home. Soon after his arrival, he met and married a fair colleen and bore a son with such wondrous eyes that they would, one day, be likened to ‘piercing blow-lamps cutting through the blue-white haze of molten steel.'
Little Willy, as the child had been called, was unaware of his origins, as his Dublin born mother had died when the lad was but a tumbling tot. The former Aisling McGinty had been both feisty and gentle and had recounted many a vivid tale to her young son about the wee folk, making it a point to assure him that should anything happen to her, she would send him her own special little leprechaun to guard and care for him if ever he should get into trouble.
Came the day when the already ailing Aisling closed her eyes and tidily went to the angels. Little Willy knew without doubt that he would never need anyone’s help let alone a strange little creature whom his Mama had so fondly called her ‘ittle leppy.’
So it was that Little Willy grew up under the guiding hand of his gentle, albeit sometimes foxy, father. Mostly, the child appeared to favour his mother's side for he was a high-spirited, if pale and moody, youngster with a penchant for matters explosive.
Inevitably, this caused both him and his Papa to beat a hasty retreat from the old country when Little Willy was found with a box of suggestive firelighters under the Liffey River bridge.
The years passed and Papa Whitesod (as he soon called himself) set about trying to educate his little Willy. Now living in an isolated area of South Africa, Papa Whitesod taught Little Willy how to read and write and hired a dark skinned lady to teach both himself and his Little Willy some of the many strange languages used by the indigenous inhabitants of this wild country.
For all that, Papa Whitesod realised that the young Willy could not live by African roots alone, so he taught him all he knew about the country they had left behind; about the dubious 'sight' of the Irish, their quaint and sometimes quirky predictions and many dark tales of dangerous derring-do's.
Little Willy revelled in the magical whimsies of his Irish heritage and his eyes were a constant marvel of cerulean candour as he joyously spent time in the wide open spaces hunting for the elusive and reluctant leprechaun whom he hoped and, indeed, believed would one day pop up right in front of his eyes just as his Mama had promised. Never mind that he now lived in a country far distant from his homeland across the seas.
To Papa Whitesod's credit, he determined that his Little Willy would grow up to be a lover of all things equestrian as is the way of the Irish. Of his own French heritage he spoke little, never mentioning the surname of his birth. He so loved being considered English even though he wouldn’t admit it to his closest friends.
Papa Whitesod was a strong, stocky man and could outride anyone in this rugged land, just as he had done in his youth and vowed that his son would do the same. Alas, day after day, week after week, year after year, Little Willy would mount a fine mare but just like Humpty Dumpty would inevitably find himself flat on his back on terra firma. The verbiage which spilled from the young Willy's lips was as molten lava on a summer’s blooms and Papa Whitesod was gravely disappointed in his son's unbridled ineptitude. The sight of Little Willy's pale, tortured face and cruddish ill-humour caused him to stop the riding lessons forthwith and rename the little Whitesod 'Terror' Blanche for obvious reasons, none the least for the lad’s pale, pale complexion.
Sadly, the day arrived when Papa Whitesod gave up the ghost and Little Willy, now known by his new name, found himself alone in the world. Papa Whitesod had never remarried, for his racy red beard had scared away even the most desperate of virgins. Unlike his father, the now middle-aged Terror did not want to spend the rest of his life in similar lonely circumstances. So he married a young Afrikaner beauty with whom he hoped to live happily every after.
This was not to be as, many years later he was to be caught in flagrante delicto with a becoming blonde hack who fought vociferously to deny any association with he of the ‘blow-torch eyes.’
Whether the said relationship had existed ipso fatso made little difference but it was to Terror’s eternal credit when, like Alice through the looking glass, he was discovered bravely flaunting the Green. The fact that he had elected to do so in a pair of pock-marked Y-fronts did little to diminish the admiration of those whose religion took the form of perusing the Sunday papers.
The years passed and Little Willy, now known as Terror Blanche Whitesod, spent his days alternately immersed in the history of his adopted land and fathering but one child who was a fair maid of much grace and beauty. Terror loved reading tales to her about how the courageous Voortrekkers in their rickety wagons had left the Cape and travelled far and deep into the hinterland bringing with them astoundingly powerful survival instincts for a people unused to such harshness of clime and terrain. He loved their songs, 'Sarie Marais' and 'Jan Pierewiet' and always said he could almost smell the 'koffie in die kan.'
Now, older and wiser, and the country having long since cut its Commonwealth ties, Terror Blanche Whitesod was rarin' to go but like Little Bo Peep didn’t know where to go to……..! Although now free to expand his horizons, he was still apt to confuse his present with his past.
One part of him was drawn back to the misty emerald isle with its dewy glens and leprechauns and the other to the gently blowing Cosmos fields, the lissome lion and the sloe-eyed deer. Over hill and dale, kopje and krans, his dual personality surfaced and spilled over into... oh my goodness! A burning desire to lead nothing less than his own private Army!
The magnitude of the idea caused him to blanche but, in that moment, he became one with the land and language of his adoption. Leprechauns, 'wee folk' and airy-fairy flights of imagination were immediately consigned into the deepest recesses of his mind. Happy, now, Terror allowed a gurgling burp to escape his lips. He knew, of course that he ate far too much of his favourite tamatie-bredie, water-blommetjie bredie and the delicious koeksusters from the local Home Industries.
Whoops! Surprised at both the long rumble from his expanded girth and his sudden grandiose ambition, Terror grinned. 'Ek is n Boer, ' he proclaimed proudly and loudly to no one in particular. Much satisfied, he unleashed himself upon a burgeoning group of super-patriots who dressed funny and lived by the code 'White is Right.'
His Papa Whitesod had always been comfortably at home with the indigenous people of the African soil and, since this fact had never unduly concerned him, Little Willy had simply followed suit and had had a reasonably happy relationship with them. Why, they had even played kennetjie together!
But time was marching on and there were rumblings of discontent amongst the majority of the peoples of the land. There was increasing talk about 'one man one vote.' This hinted at equality for all! Terror was astounded. They could not be serious. Being friendly with them was one thing but having to share the land, its structures plus all the benefits which came from having a White skin was quite another! .
Terror’s blood ran hot and like a tormented banshee he ran screaming down the hillside of his farm and thus burst in upon the South African political scene like a Catherine Wheel on the night of November the 5th.
Since the original people of Africa became increasingly anathematic to ‘The Code’ and since Terror needed so desperately to be 'in' with what he thought to be the in-crowd, he put away all memories of the child within him and took on the cloak of what he hoped would make him the titular head of the White Right.
With fierce determination and a growing sense of self-importance, it was only a matter of time before he was elected their leader in true democratic style. One did not argue with a large, overweight, pugnacious Boer and so, naturally, the volk took to him instantly. They respected him without question. He was never to fully understand the slight quiver in their voices when they agreed with everything he had to say but he strongly suspected that it was something to do with his sweet and gentle nature.
They did, ‘tis true, sometimes become embarrassed when their esteemed leader fell off his horse, much to the delight of the media both at home and abroad. But his henchmen soon learned to take with them, on each mission, a tube of Superglue which thankfully ensured no further falls from grace.
With his piercing blue eyes and now greying beard, Terror
was in his element, representing, as he said, the untainted past of the early settlers. The Boers. How How he loved the sound of that word. Boers.
He went to great pains to stress the correct pronounciation as there were those who incorrectly referred to him and his men as bores and Terror did not like this. They were Boers and he, the one time pale and moody Little Willy Whitesod, was now their own fierce and fiery protector. A shiver ran down his spine. His life had jelled. Everything had come together. No longer was he all at sixes and sevens trying to sort his past from his present. Life was good.
It was during this period that the former Willy Whitesod decided to use the three 7's to represent his Army's insignia. He would far have preferred the three 6's but these had already been usurped by The Beast but, on second thoughts, he realised that seven was one-up on six.
So it was, that Terror designed his ‘White is Right’ insignia which later was also to be found on his ‘Wit is Reg’ flag. Three thickly painted sevens, round and round, up-side-down, down-side-up and side-by-side on a sparkling Aryan-white circle slap-bang in the middle of a Russian-red flag. Terror was elated with his ingenuity. Involuntarily, Terror admitted to himself that the three 7's going round and round without seemingly anywhere to go was yet another Little Bo Peep thing in his life and found it all very confusing. Nonetheless, he revelled in the macho feelings created by dressing up in khaki or camouflage gear with the awesome insignia on his sleeve.
Then there was the crack of a shiny leather whip; the sense of power in his turned-up-farmer's hat and the shiny black comb which he wore, with such savoire faire, tucked into the top of his sock. To all this, he added the sharp tang of the dried, salted meat which he always carried in his top pocket. Aaah! Terror was very pleased with himself.
With his Anglo-Irish heritage, which he now went to great pains to hide, he became more boorish than the Boers themselves. He practised bellowing into the wide open spaces until his voice became hoarse and gruff. He ate more potjekos than did his subordinates and likewise partook of more Brandy and Coke. Thus, he grew wider and wider in girth. (There was, at one time, some suggestion of hiring professional image-makers but Terror refused, saying he had no use for either Saatchi's or Naartjies. They would do very nicely, baie dankie, with Boep-Baard-en-Braai.) Three 7’s and three B’s. That’s lucky, he thought. Like 7 Brides for 7 Broers.
Daily, the name of Terror Blanche became one to be reckoned with. The ageing Republic of South Africa reeled in awe at the never-ending exploits of this loud man and his equally blustering men.
Like Tucson vigilantes in Cowboy suits, they would suddenly appear out of nowhere to 'democratically' disturb the political meetings of ordinary people who had not yet seen the light.
And how he loved it when they all got together at Boksburg Lake and lit up myriads of coloured lights which they strung across the trees. And how they tucked into their lamb chops and boerewors and assuaged their thirst with brandy and coke and beer! And how they hoisted their vibrant flag, pulled out the old squashbox and sang hearty patriotic songs to remind them of the great trek but most of all they loved singing their own national anthem, based on a German Krismis kêrel. One-by-one, they carolled: ‘O khaki oom………O khaki oom……’ which they sang until tears rolled down their bibs.
Suddenly, and without warning, the Day of Beckoning arrived. Terror's beard was now a rusty shade of pale and his skin was deeply tanned by the African sun.
The once famous blue eyes were now cowled in a caul of limpid overhang but they had lost none of their fire. He still had difficulty remaining seated on his much bemused steed but his demeanour remained that of a short sighted visionary.
Came the day when the President of a neighbouring country called upon the brave man's assistance.
The telephone lines were crackling and not very clear but Terror could swear he heard something about 'not mushroom, ' 'pea, ' and 'chicken.' What he clearly heard was the President telling him that they've sure got the beef!
Terror laughed aloud. Naturally, the President was speaking in code and naturally he, Papa Willy Whitesod's son, understood perfectly. No problem. He warmed to the thought. This was the sort of work he and his men had been trained to do. Doubtless there would be a medal or two in the offing, not to mention a place in the Presidential Cabinet at the very least. The fact that the President was dark-skinned suddenly mattered not at all. The Boer Army had been recognised. Accepted. Needed!
Excitedly, Terror made the necessary arrangements to appoint a meeting place from which he and his sturdy warriors would all depart in convoy. But first he had to get his gear together and prepare padkos for the journey.
So it was that he was busy polishing his marbles when suddenly he caught sight of a tiny, green, gnome-faced creature staring up at him from the sparkling buckle of his shiny brown belt where it lay upon the bed.
'En nou....? ' Terror shouted, for now he no longer spoke the language of his birth.
'Top o' the mornin' to ye too, ' said the little fellow.
'An' who might ye be? ' asked Terror, unaware of how his Irish-speak of long forgotten years had unconsciously resurfaced.
'I be yer muther's own wee leprechaun God love 'er, soire, an' I be here for I know ye to be in big trouble, soire.'
'Oi be in no trouble at all, at all, ' said Terror, 'and Oi'll be askin' ye to be mindin’ yer own biltong.'
'Ye're a pig-headed lad an' ye do an' all need me, ' insisted the leprechaun with some frustration, 'ye'll be needin' my advice on how to fulfil the President's wishes.'
'Now how would ye be knowin' about that then? '
Terror was both furious and curious. If he'd had more time he may have been more interested in the little green man. But he had no time for any whimsical memories of his youth. The magic was gone.
'Bokker af! ' he snapped, ‘ek is 'n Boer nou en ek is baie besig. Weg is jy! '
'Then let it be on yer own hands then, ' said the little leprechaun and promptly disappeared from whence he had come. Terror frantically returned to the job of rounding up his men, checking uniforms, weaponry and garnering hundreds of plastic shopping bags from all and sundry.
He smiled. The President had not called for the South African Defence Force. He'd called for HIM and his 'White is Right' Boere Army. Top Secret Mission. Terror rubbed his top pocket proudly with gnarled fingers. ‘Ek is ‘n Boer, ’ he told himself happily.
The journey was tedious, for the land of Bop was dusty and dry but eventually he and his men arrived in town. They pulled up in the main road and looked around in amazement. There were people running hither and thither, in and out of the thronging shops carrying overloaded plastic shopping bags.
Terror felt a wave of disappointment that the President had apparently not seen fit to await his arrival. They'd got here as soon as they could.
Disappointed but totally undeterred, Terror and his heavily armed men left their vehicles and forced their way into the local grocery fortresses armed with hundreds of yellow plastic bags. With the aid of teargas and a few well aimed rubber bullets, they were soon able to render such embattlements void and begin their onslaught of filling the bags. Just as the Bop President had requested.
Meanwhile, the teeny Bop-pers looked very happy as their heavily loaded bakkies, 'AmaBenz' and 'Break-my-Windows-make-my-day' vehicles rumbled through the town en route for the Presidential Palace.
The streets were alive with the sound of musical bullets and people dancing in the streets but Terror had heard all about this country where some of its inhabitants were said to be quite wild.
He smiled benignly; some were even carrying mattresses on their heads! And there was a man pushing an electric grass cutter out of the Store! Definitely with the clear intention of starting a garden maintenance service, Terror thought indulgently. These people had ambition.
But no! Much as Terror tried to think kindly of all the President's men, their behaviour was too much even for him. No control whatsoever. He shrugged disdainfully. The thought of a Cabinet position for him in this wild country was beginning to pall so he signalled his men to return to their armoured vehicles and load up all the yellow plastic bags. He would fulfil the President’s request with duty and honour. He was a man of his word.
Now, they must move on. Their assignment was almost done. Turning to signal his men onward he felt so proud. What a sight they made compared to the bad mannered locals. Such bravery! Intrepid soldiers all. Sturdy and strong. Soldiers of fortune, face and valour. They acknowledged him with a mini 'All hail Caesar' cheer and Terror knew that his past was well behind him. He was a Boer leader.
Now what? Suddenly, the advance of the Boers was impeded by a battery of soldiers in huge armoured vehicles from The South African Defence Force. What on earth were they doing here? It was his, Terror Blanche Whitesod's Army which had been requested to do the President's bidding. Terror could not believe the possibility that the President could truly have been so devious. The S.A.D.F. were coming at them from all sides and the President himself was being escorted by what appeared to be many regiments.
Terror, now standing up in his four-by-four, looked around and blanched visibly. A fanfare of trumpets flared and suddenly right in front of him was the little green man; his mother’s little leprechaun. Her promised guardian. But what was he doing standing on the head of a very shocked Bop President.
A cold shiver ran up Terror’s spine as the little lep gestured with his hand and, in response, a manacled Presidential Guard handed him a loud-hailer.
The leppy's voice came through strong and clear: 'Go back home, you silly plonkers! He said 'coup' not 'Koo! '
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