Spring in Joburg begins with a giant storm and a flash flood that washes down our street. The water takes a sho’t left down my driveway and within minutes, what’s left of my garden has effectively moved in with the next-door neighbour. The last time it rained this hard was at my wedding, an outdoor ceremony that would have been ruined if a quick thinking priest, who is also a cricket fan, hadn’t declared us married according to the Duckworth-Lewis system.
I go outside to see what channelled the runoff into my yard and notice that the water hit a pile of roadwork blocking a gutter. This is part of the improvements being done for 2010, but rubble has been lying in the street for months and I suspect that instead of clearing it away, one day somebody will just cement a plaque into the base of the mound and turn it into a monument to the big event.
I’m not sure if Joburg roads or residents can deal with much more upgrading. We used to drive on the left of the road, but now we just drive on what’s left of the road. Traffic is being squeezed into fewer and smaller lanes till the whole system is gridlocked like a sumo wrestler’s arteries. And it’s making us lose our sense of humour. I was stuck in traffic the other day in a lane full of the most unsmiling, mirthless, tweezer-lipped, people I’d ever seen. After half an hour I finally cracked, wound down the window and shouted: “CHEER UP DAMMIT!” It didn’t help though. They just ignored me and kept following that hearse.
I’m not negative about South Africa hosting the tournament. I’m so patriotic I’d sing the national anthem. And I don’t usually like country music. Don’t even bother thinking about emigrating. With all the traffic jams, you’ll never make it to the airport before your visa expires. 2010 will succeed, but the preparations are painful and laborious, not unlike giving myself a Brazilian wax with a weed-eater.
Surveying the damage, I realise that storms are part of Joburg. Mother Nature behaving like Mommy Dearest can rearrange the chaos, but the city grinds on. Punch drunk on its own contradictions, defying decoration. Johannesburg, Joburg, Jozi, Egoli, District 9, the live show. Nobody even knows what to call this place, but I love it. It has to be one of the most exciting places on the planet. A big, loud, unruly, multicoloured sprawl as if Picasso painted a herd of zebra stampeding into a nest of hadedas… with a chainsaw.
The day after the big rain, I notice that in one of the potholes in the middle of the street, a pair of “kiewiets” has built a nest. They spend the day fearlessly dive bombing cars to protect it. For suicidal stubborness and aggressive defence of their turf, nothing beats a pair of kiewiets. They’re like taxi drivers with feathers. Stark raving bonkers!
We should make them our official emblem.
Al Prodgers is a proudly South African stand-up comic and experienced corporate MC. His mission is to get us to Lighten Up for a Change by focussing on the powerful potential that we all have for making a positive difference in the world.
Al was a finalist in the prestigious international comedy competition, the Yuk Yuks Great Canadian Laugh Off, but his great love is touring throughout South Africa performing in English and Afrikaans.
Al is a truly abysmal golfer.
TV work includes Isidingo, Zooming in on Men as well as the MNet Africa series, Stand Up Zambia and Stand Up Uganda.
In October he can be seen at the following venues:
Monday, 26th – Elephant & Friends, Moreletapark, Pretoria
Friday, 30th – Parker’s Comedy & Jive, Montecasino, Johannesburg
To read more of his comedic musings or book Al for your next event follow the links alongside.