Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Little Pretoria

[This Golden Oldie was first published on 26th March 1998, at a time when Apartheid, chased out of South Africa, escaped to Zambia]

For some time I’ve been hearing strange things about the new Vacation Inn, so last Thursday I popped in for a drink at the hotel bar, Mack Finkel’s. A familiar figure came and sat beside me ...

‘Nchito Mulimo!’ I said, ‘Are you still the Entertainments Manager at this place?’

‘That was in the days of the Old Ridges,’ he lamented. ‘Things have changed a lot since the old days. My old job has been take over by a Mr Paul Kruger from Pretoria, and he’s made me his Temporary Deputy Assistant.’

He lowered his voice and said, ‘This place is now a Little Pretoria. You must write about it in your column.’

‘Tell me,’ I said, ‘about those two businesswomen being refused admission, and thrown into the flower bed. Did the guards really think they were prostitutes?’

‘Good gracious no,’ said Nchito. ‘If they had been prostitutes they would have been let in. You know this place has become a playground for all these white South Africans. It seems that all their inferior specimens come up here. ‘Their idea of entertainment,’ he said, ‘is bungy bouncing, rafty shafting, joyful jacuzzi, sexual safari, hooker hunting, and that sort of thing.’

‘So you allow in sex workers?’

‘Women who are not accompanied by a man have to pay a registration fee to the guards at the door, who act as their supervisors.’

‘Pimps, you mean.’

‘That’s what’s become of me,’ he said. ‘I’ve become the Chief Pimp, in charge of the black prostitutes. This Kruger is in charge of the white prostitutes. They’ve brought their apartheid up here!’

‘So do your clients come up specially from South Africa for this life of leisure and debauchery?’

‘Oh no. They’re the ones that live here in Zambia. We have established this hotel as their social centre. For them, their whole life is just one big holiday. They even have their own monthly magazine, Lowlife. It provides a full calendar of mindless pleasure for the idle rich.’

‘So are they here as development experts?’

‘Ha Ha Kalaki, I can see you really do have a sense of humour! They were unemployable in the New South Africa, but our privatisation programme has saved them!

‘So are they investors?’

‘That’s another good one! Investors! Ha Ha! They found out they can buy a Zambian company for a few thousand dollars, which they borrow from a Zambian bank. Then they give themselves jobs as managing directors, general managers and personnel managers, and make the blacks do the work! Just like the good old days of the master race!’

‘Can a company become profitable like that?’

‘Ha Ha, of course not! These whites are just expensive parasites. They give themselves expatriate salaries with all allowances. Holiday allowance, entertainment allowance, drinks allowance and screwing allowance.’

‘Which they come and spend at the Vacation Inn!’

‘Exactly. It’s just a way of making sure the Zambian companies never shows a profit, and therefore never pay tax. In this way the financial surplus is siphoned off at the Vacation Inn, and then sent down to Pretoria by a system of over invoicing. It’s the biggest scam since Dr Jameson walked all over Lobengula!’

‘Let’s walk across to the foyer,’ I said, ‘and see what’s going on.’

Just as we got there, a taxi drew up and two Miss Piggies, loud and lurid, staggered past the guards, who saluted. Kruger came rushing out of his office to greet them.

‘This way ladies,’ said Kruger, ushering them into the lift. ‘The manager will be with you shortly.’

Nchito turned to me and whispered ‘White hookers. All the way from Pretoria. Real professionals. Just back from entertaining a whole safari camp in one night!’

As we were talking, a white stretch limousine slid silently into the front portico. Out jumped a large white dog, which growled at the guards as they saluted. It trotted over to one of them, sniffed his leg, and expertly urinated into his left boot.

I watched in amazement as it ambled over to the lift, pressed the top button with its paw, and disappeared into the lift.

‘Was that the manager’s dog?’ I asked Nchito.

‘No,’ he replied. ‘That was the manager. He’s got a film studio on the top floor. He’s making a film called Dogs of Whore.

‘Poor Kalaki,’ he laughed, ‘you seem lost for words. Come with me to the restaurant, and sample the speciality of the house: Delicious Lady’s Rump with Chocolate Mousse!’

‘Good gracious,’ I said. ‘That sounds like quite a challenge!’

‘Its quite easy,’ he said. ‘First you lick off the mousse, then the lady’s rump is all yours!’

‘I have to decline.’ I said. ‘My wife has put me on a strict diet.’

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