370 Degrees – and Still Falling

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Neville Basson Please people, if it’s not Arsenal it’s Acacia! Every time it’s raining I have some “concerned” comrade who calls me asking: “Etse Neville! Swem julle!” Where do you people get my cell number anyway, huh? For your information, I have a boat, Jet Ski and a helicopter in my yard now, just in case! I opened up my pay-slip this morning with a great sense of joy, just to realise this is the same salary that I have been getting for the past couple of months! Dammit! Why we in fact open our pay-slips in the first place puzzles me! Los maar net! As ungrateful as we sometimes can become, we only have to visit our grandmothers to see the difference in income. I went to see my grandmother the other day (I am one of the few blessed to still have one, touch wood). Now you see, I make a point of not visiting her during “When you are mine” time. Her constant ignoring and chastising of Bolomah is enough to drive me out of her house. I turned up quite early and was surprised to see her watching the budget speech on the “NBC of Namibia”. She was sitting there, just looking at Meme Saara reading the budget for the new year. Now you see, at her age she does not care what Defence or Education gets, she wanna see what’s in store for her and all her fellow Damara “zallies” from Gemengde lokasie who have to line up at Nampost to get their “massive salaries” for the month. Mind you, I was raised on that money! My grandmother’s English is not that good, but for some reason she understood what Meme Saara was trying to tell the nation – and she was not happy, trust me! “Neville! Kyk nou huh? How are we supposed to live on N$370 per month? What is this kamma increase of N$70? What am I supposed to buy with that, huh?” I was just sitting there seeing how animated she got over this whole issue. Now you see, God has given me the talent to make someone laugh even though the chips could be down. I just thought, huh, well let me put some humour into that N$70, maybe my grandmother won’t feel that bad about the money. I gave her a few tips, so all you fellow 70’s, don’t be so down, okay? All pensioners could start their own slogan in Katutura now! They could better the slogans of the Tura youth by saying “Hola 70!” to each other when they greet. There will be a certain status attached to it – that might help. You could buy more Top Score now for the first time in a long time. When we, your children who live in the better suburbs (huh?) come visit you during broke times (10th till the 25th) you could fix us a nice pap en vleis plate. We will appreciate it. Thank you. With N$70 you could finally now buy all the Dutch medicine you need – Rooilaventel, Balsem kopiva, Jamaica gemmer, etc. At your age you probably don’t believe in Dr Aspara around the corner anymore … so go Hollands! Stop walking to Nampost! Take a taxi now, hopefully your eyesight is still good enough not to be ripped off by the taxi driver. You’ll be lucky if he gives you your change back. Put your N$70 under the mattress and wait for next year’s budget review. Hopefully Meme Saara should add something next year. Add the new money to your N$70 and finally, finally, pay for your NBC TV licence. They just might decide to cut costs on “When you are mine” by removing all these N$25 movies imported from Mexico. Well, as painful as that N$70 is, I hope all you “Ousies and Toppies” from Katutura can laugh about it now. Good luck. Mbye mbye.