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Cousin Tuk in Durban 8
by Albert Russo

“God Almighty, Zapinette,” he managed to udder, “I’m so grateful to that nice man who saved you from the sharks. Never again shall I let you swim on your own.”

“Yeah, right,” I retorted, once I got over the shock, “From now on, we’ll walk chained to each other, after having thrown the handcuff keys into the loo.” I was only half joking, coz Bonka was starting to perform again, and when he does that, whining like them dying broads in those mooing operas such as La Traviata or Madame Butterfly, I get the jitters and want to send him flying through the window. I can’t stand men bawling like them bobby-soxers who have just finished reading a tear-jerking romance novel, even if it’s my uncle; by the way, Unky Berky was born both homey and hyper sensitive - apparently they go together -, both upstairs and downstairs, coz he pees like nobody’s business everytime his brain turns into mush.

He wasn’t the only one who looked worried. You should have seen the beaten expreshuns of the two lover boys. Panty said in a quivering voice - he too was on the verge of tears, as if he had almost lost a dear soul (yeah, that’s me all right!):

“We really want you to be careful next time, Zapy darling (whoa, le loves me yeah yeah yeah), because there have been terrible accidents here these last years.

That is how I learnt about the awful things that happened to some swimmers. Apparently the sharks don’t discriminate - they’ve never practiced apartheid sfar as human flesh is concerned - between tender lil girls like me, tough mammas or dried-up grandpas; nor do they mind if they’re white, black, blue or yellow. The blood is all the same and it tastes good. Yuk yuk yuk! You know what I call them: SS, like the nazis, Sis, “scram you shark!”

Now that we all had digested our hard lesson, we could breathe again like normal people, whew! Having freshened up and put on clean clothes, my uncle and I were gratified with another surprise. Panty and Tuk invited us to a café on Marine Parade where we were served a wonderful cocktail of fresh tropical fruits. I couldn’t get over that taste, it smelled like the garden of Eden, I swear.

But the highpoint of that evening follows. Back on Marine Parde, Tuk beckoned a Rikshaw boy in Zulu. When I first saw the guy, I thought he wasn’t real, that he had just materialized, emerging out of a fairy tale. I had never seen anything like that. He wore a mega headdress measuring at least two meters in circumference, or thereabout, and washmore, it was adorned with dozens of peacock and ostrich feathers and pennants of all colors. He also sported two huge horns covered with beads. He looked as fierce as the Lion King. But he was REAL, not Hollywood tuff.

Excerpted from Zulu Zapy wins the Rainbow Nation, by Albert Russo.