Love In The Time Of Cholera: A Modern Parable


Once there was an esteemed leader in a small country in the south of the African continent. This leader loved his people so very much that it almost caused him physical pain (although that could just have been the old age arthritis).

And he so badly wanted to protect his Africans from the nefarious influences and machinations of the Western world with its irresponsible talk of accountability, democracy, transparency and legitimacy (the profanities that these westerners indulge in). In this vein he often hurled toe-curling insults at the leaders of the west, whose donor funds were keeping his people in food and sustaining the hobbled economy.

This largesse on the part of the demon West, however, did not stop him from constantly biting at the hand that was feeding his subjects, seeing as he himself wasn’t all that hungry, the ports to China, Singapore and Malaysia still being open to him (his court jesters ministers in fact tended towards being rather corpulent, the sad consequence of diverting much of the food aid for their own personal consumption).

The terrible pale-faced leaders had barred him from entering their cold, damp, muddy lumps of land, so looking east was the only way he could get his retail therapy fix. And keep the very very young Mrs Esteemed Leader off his back. She, so young in fact, that it was all he could do to prevent some simple monogamous minds from mistaking her for his rather pretty geriatric nurse (the term gold digger not existing in his vocabulary).

Then one day a plague was visited upon the land. A plague so devastating that it laid waste to the land and decimated entire families within a few short weeks and threatened to deny him the ability to continue ruling.

For who can continue ruling without subjects to hold dominion over (although one could argue it would be distinctly easier without the great unwashed making incessant unreasonable demands).

The leader was at a loss as to how to combat the plague for the entire health service had somehow over time become about as useful as a one-legged horse at Ascot (personal responsibility not being on the cards, none of the successive sycophants in the health ministry would assume any blame).

But being a wise and astute leader he called his coterie of yes-men and brown-nosers to sit counsel with him. Many theories were expounded, ruminating on why that blighting scourge had been rained upon their heads. But the one which found most purchase centred on the fact that the gods must have been displeased by the esteemed leader allowing the unrevolutionary and untested johnny-come-latelies of the opposition to have a go at holding the reins of power.

They argued that after all, the whining turncoats of the opposition had not been duly appointed by the gods as the esteemed leader himself had been. The esteemed leader felt in his octogenarian bones that he had been anointed to rule for life (one of the few things he could actually still feel, everything else from the neck down was gone).

To this end, the esteemed leader decided to grab the bull by its horns and its balls and come out guns blazing to eradicate this scourge. His plan, though simple and uncomplicated, was brilliant in the breathtaking depth of genius that it entailed. And his strategy was premised on three four-letter words: deny, deny, deny (its previous success for a president accused of lewd acts with a subordinate in a white-coloured house, a president who smoked but did not inhale and a subordinate who blew but did not swallow, had assured him of the efficacy of this strategy).

Armed with only his bare-faced audacity and his geriatric undropped ball of steel (rumour having it that the war was not kind to his family jewels) the esteemed leader announced his new coping mechanism to a despairing outside world. And it is for this reason that a whole generation of orphans was spawned with names like Constantdenial, Plague, Nomedicine, Mortalityrate and Neverdie.

The moral of the story: don’t let no darkies be naming no babies in time of crisis or social upheaval. It’s difficult enough going through life as a Beauty, Pretty or Clever when you clearly are not, without adding the extra burden of being named Governmentofnationalunity or Censustaker.


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