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Features & Columns
by Alyn Denzel

Creating a Whine List

“In vino veritas,” some venerable old bugger once said.


Probably an ancient Roman, but it could just as easily have been an Oxbridge graduate showing off. “In wine is truth” doesn’t sound quite as respectable; especially if you’re slurring it.

During the flurry of tit-for-tat social media racism and outrage with which Saffas welcomed 2016, the one that caught my eye was the story of Nicole de Klerk (any relation, I wonder?), who let fly a vicious outburst during the Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town, calling fellow punters the K-word.

Of course security threw her out, to their credit, and she lost her job. I’m not going to go into the depth of unexamined privilege, the sheer brazen self-righteous confidence she displayed when, after her boyfriend allegedly spluttered, “How can you SAY that?!”, she snapped back a completely self-assured, “But they ARE!”

I’ll leave that to commentators with a higher “WTF?” threshold. Besides, I believe crimen injuria proceedings are under way, so let’s leave determining the more outrageous facts up to the court. What is abundantly clear from eyewitness accounts, though, is that Ms De Klerk, at the time, was not unacquainted with the disinhibiting effect of ethanol when ingested orally. She was completely wasted. The picture taken of her in mid-diatribe is a wonderful public service advert against daytime drinking all on its own; no text required.

Perhaps the proverb should be amended to “In vino veritas deformi”, which if Google Translate is to be believed, means, “In wine is ugly truth”. For most of us, it takes a bit of booze before the bigotry comes out. Not all of us, of course – some of us can spew poorly reasoned, one-eyed brain-farts stone-cold sober. They’re the relatives who make family get-togethers such a challenge.

The rest of us need to be a bit pissed, before we can start a maudlin lament about how persecuted and downtrodden we white folk are in Africa. When we’re sober, the absurdity of the concept makes us giggle too much. Thankfully, there is so much else to whine about, that the “ignoring the race thing till we’re shitfaced” strategy isn’t too much of an imposition.

I’m thinking of creating an official Whine List, so that people of lesser imaginations will constantly have something to bitch, moan and spew venom about, without having to venture into issues like race and gender and sexuality and cultural appropriation – you know, stuff that you really have to research and think through properly if you don’t want to get crucified online.

The White Whine List is easy. There’s the dry white whine: “Shame, this drought is making it even harder for the rhinos, hey?” The blanc-de-noir white whine: “How can these Metro cops bust me for doing exactly what the taxis do, if THEY get away with it?” And of course, the sweet white whine: “I mean, I try to give to beggars, but they’re just at every intersection. It’s terrible the way the government treat their own people, hey?”

But it’s the Red Whine List that’s giving me trouble. I’ve got as far as: “But if we never contest an election in our own right, how is the South African Communist Party ever going to divert the ANC from its neoliberal agenda?”, and then I’m stumped.

Follow @alyndenzel on Twitter.

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