It was my first day at work. I was so nervous. I went over the 4Ws and an H (what, when, where, why and how) that I was taught at journ school. I was settling down at a desk when the editor blew in like a hurricane, shouting, “I need a reporter. I need a reporter. STAT!” Before I knew it I was dispatched on my first assignment. I was off to parliament to see our distinguished lawmakers mould our democracy… like a piece of month-old bread. So there I am in the belly of the yeast, when in walks Tim “Mr Banting” Noakes. Many people believe Noakes is the best thing since sliced bread. “Fat is good,” Noakes began.
“I knew there was nothing wrong with my love handles,” said President Jacob Zuma, “and this is out of the mouth of a scientist so put that on your plate and eat it.”
“Well being fat is bad, but the good news, President Zuma, is that fat makes you thin,” explained Noakes.
Zuma turned to Mac Maharaj. “Hey, Mac, we should find a place for this guy in the Presidency. I knew he was a doctor, but I didn’t realize he was also a spin doctor.”
The floor opened to a debate on whether South Africa should be declared a Carb-Free Zone.
ANC Chief miracleWhip Stoned Sizani said the ruling party was against Banting because they believed in a Batter Life for All.
The DA’s Mmusi Maimane said the DA was pro Banting.
“I knew it,” shouted EFF president Julius Malema. “The DA wants to ban tings. First they’ll ban tings, then they’ll ban tangs. Maimane, just wait until Comrade Tim starts his real revolution.”
“MEAL revolution,” shouted Noakes.
Juju flung a roll at Noakes and called him a counter revolutionary.
“You can’t have a bun fight,” shouted Noakes, “Buns are weapons of mass escalation.”
Maimane lobbed a drumstick at Malema. The FF+ let fly a volley of koeksisters, and possibly a slice of melktert, but it was moving too fast to identify it.
“Point of hors d’oeuvre,” screamed speaker Baleka Mbete.
I returned to the newsroom feeling despondent. “There’s no story,” I told the editor.
Apparently a food fight in parliament is big news. Who knew? I must have missed that lecture at journ school. Journalism is not so much 4Ws and an H, as 4Ws and an eish! Smoke came out of the editor’s ears. I thought I could make it up with a scoop because I heard from a well-placed anonymous source that Zuma has challenged Malema to a Bant-Off. Mac said it was a lie and that Zuma didn’t need a weight loss programme because he got enough exercise dodging the public protector. Besides, Malema told me, he would not diet for Zuma.
DA leader and Western Cape Madam Premier Helen Zille was nominated for the ice bucket challenge – and the editor wanted me to cover it. The twist was that the bucket wasn’t going to contain ice but, well, let’s just say the shit was going to hit The Madam. The poo chuckers were in position when Zille’s car pulled up. And that’s when my cellphone rang. It was my mother. When she had finished telling me the family news – Lynn’s getting married, Gary’s having an affair – the action was all over. “But it was my mother,” I explained to the editor afterwards. He started to shake. I went to hide in the lavatory.
I’m writing this from the back of a police van. This morning I decided I needed some mojo so I put on my lucky jacket. I was determined to earn my reporter’s stripes. The editor ordered me back to parliament with a warning that if I messed up I’d spend the rest of my career writing pet obituaries. Parliament was a bore. I wondered how I would turn this snooze fest into a front page story and was about to fling a doughnut and start another food fight when chaos erupted At first I thought Juju and his beret brigade were shouting “Pay back Maimane”, but they were actually shouting “Pay Back the Money”. It was like an SA version of Jerry Maguire, with Juju as Tom Cruise. I decided to get in the thick of the action. There was shoving and suddenly there were police. I tried to explain that I was a member of the Fourth Estate but they wouldn’t listen. If only my “lucky” jacket wasn’t red.