Leader of Democratic Party resigns in protest

By Dintwe Jonathan Brooks, TheShortStraw Africa; some parts of Asia; no parts of Europe at all, not even--lucky for him--Albania correspondent

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA ( the transformation from apartheid to democracy and simultaneously righting the wrongs of yesterday, the South African Parliament passed yesterday the Honkey Name Act. Accordingly, all whites will now be given black names.

In cases of domestic workers, the (mostly white) employers will be given the African names of their employees.

Because in the past African names were considered too different and too hard to pronounce--not to mention remember-- by the whites, South African blacks were given "European" names.

Thus from birth, for example, Nthabiseng Thsabalala, a domestic worker in Pretoria, has been known as Chantelle Nthabiseng Thsabalala.

Now, Thsabalala's employer, Mrs Julia Van Rensburg, is known and officially documented as Nthabiseng Julia Van Rensburg.

The whites, for the most part, are not pleased by the Act. Not even when their names have an agreeable meaning as in the case of Nthabiseng, which, in Sotho, means happiness.

"This is an outrage," said Van Rensburg, a surly middle-aged woman with a shadow of a moustache, "I have carefully cultivated an image of bitterness and self-pity--and now this. I mean, do I look like an Nthabiseng to you?!"

Sipho Joost Langeveldt echoed Van Rensburg's sentiments. "I've been saddled with my gardener's name just because my parents and grandparents voted for the Nats (National Party). I'm all for reconciliation and all that, but really now, this is going too far. When I call people on the phone and say my name's Sipho, they hang up on me. It's reverse discrimination, in reverse-uh, something like that."

Dr. Qaqamba Selwyn Slotzkin stuttered: "Q-q-q-qaqamba is a Xhosa name. My parents came from Russia. I'm Jewish, for God's sake. I'm a member of the tribe, but not that tribe. My patients have started calling me Dr. Q. It's completely absurd. Q-q-q-qaqamba has a slight click on the first 'q'-I can't even pronounce my own name. When I do, I nearly choke or have coughing spells. In the past, I didn't entertain any thoughts of emigrating to Australia like most of my friends, but now I am going to make enquiries."

Thabo Tony Leon, the leader of the Democratic Party, coincidently now also having the same first name as the South African President, resigned in protest.

"It was bad enough to lose to (President) Thabo Mbeki in the recent elections," Leon said. "Now I have to be reminded of it everyday."

The President, seemingly a bit hurt, was unapologetic.

"The whites are an ungrateful bunch," he said. In the case of his namesake, Mbeki said Leon was particularly unappreciative.

"Thabo means joy. Leon should be overjoyed to be Thabo. I''ve been Thabo most of my life--there's nothing wrong with it. Oh, sure, I'd have preferred other names, such as Jean-Paul, or Leroy, or even Archibald--I've always had a weakness for that name. But none of us can choose our names. Dammit, Thabo's alright. I'm stuck with it anyway, so there."

In any case, just like the democratic elections and despite the grumbling, the change seems to be going through peacefully enough. It has even elicited more than a few smiles.

Said Nthabiseng Thsabalala: "My Madame is now also Nthabiseng. Of course, I never call her that to her face, but I think it's just wonderful. Ser-r-r-rious. How much happiness can one house take?"

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


TheShortStraw is intended for use by those age 18 and older. All stories are fictional and satirical and should not in any way be construed as fact. All contents Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw. All rights reserved.

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