He wants to be a well-mannered man, with poise and class, perhaps a CEO of some corporation living in the most affluent part of town. He wants to drive the most expensive car in town and wear the most expensive and exclusive clothes. What he wants is wealth; lots and lots of wealth. And so he hustles. At least that’s what he says he is doing. He is hustling. Life itself is a hustle; a series of hustles. It must be said that he also wishes for sophisticated mannerisms, something he can’t put his finger on because it keeps shifting like shadows. Is it a kiss on the cheek perhaps? Is it in a hug? A smile? Opening the door for a lady? Perhaps pouring the lady a drink? He isn’t sure. But both wealth and sophisticated mannerisms evade him at every corner.
If he were to visit a good psychologist perhaps she would discover that somewhere deep in his heart; somewhere where the spirit and the soul engage in the dance of old, there is a cry for recognition; an insatiable desire to be; to be somebody that can be seen, that can be recognized. No man wants to be Ralph Ellison’s Invisible man groping the underground. A man must be seen. He must be noticed.
And so he wears his suit with its tight pants. His tie is bright – always bright. It is important to have a bright tie. A man’s tie is his closes piece of attire to his phallus. What animal goes around with an exposed dark phallus? A phallus must be bright to appeal to the opposite sex and announce the presence of the beast. It must be bright for its owner to be seen. Is it any wonder then that his tie is made by the top men’s-clothes company called Hermes? Hermes is the son of Zeus. He is the Greek god of the phallus! A fertility god. He is a well-put together city boy. He is physically groomed. A good hair cut; a moisturized face and an over perfumed body. He drives a sleek clean car. It is always clean because it is cleaned whilst it is still clean.
Sometimes he comes to work driving a Land Cruiser – a heavy fuel-guzzling thing with clean shovels on its sides. This is not a mistake. He wants to be a farmer, yes a farmer. Though at one level he despises farming and all that is associated with it, there is one part of farming that appeals to him. The reason he drives his Cruiser is because a number of successful men drive Cruisers. This is the part that appeals to him. He wants to be within the circle of successful men. He wants to be seen as one of them. Certainly if successful men drive Cruisers, to appear successful, one ought to drive one.
So he says he bought a farm. Yes, a farm, not a tshimo. You see there is a subtle difference here to be made. Anybody can have a tshimo. Government allocates masimo to its peasants. Old men and women have masimo. They cut a few thorny branches to form a wall around a tshimo. Ke batho ba masimo! Tshimo communicates poverty and rustic mannerisms devoid of any refinement. It is associated with dikhwaere le banyana ba ba tlerebetsang. A farm means something else. It communicates money, wealth, modernity and sophistication. So he has a farm. That’s what he tells everybody else. No one has seen him farming. No one has seen him selling any produce. But that doesn’t matter. He has a farm.
He has also made sure that he lives and eats where important people eat and live. It really doesn’t matter to him what the expense is. It has cost him dearly to live in his neighbourhood which is far removed from his work place. He has a simple motto: you have to spend money to get money. He knows that money is not made by the most educated or intelligent, but by the most connected. He therefore runs after connections and pays to get connected. The most important issue for him is who knows him and not whom he knows. He therefore has a stack of business cards somewhere in his inside pocket from which he periodically extracts one card to hand to his contacts. He hopes for a call from his contacts. It is always better to receive a call from a contact rather than to call him. It is a good sign. But he is angry and frustrated because his choices and tastes have left him financial exposed. For a number of years now he has been sinking into a dark pit of debt from which it is becoming rather tricky to extricate himself. He has therefore tried strategies of extracting money from his contacts in a dignified manner. He tries to be useful to his contacts. He has got a number of his contacts to supply his employer with much needed services with an understanding that upon receipt of payment his contacts would grease his hands. Up to today his hands remain dry. Recently he travelled to China and Dubai in search of ways to make extra money. It hasn’t been as easy as he thought it would. Now he frequents coffee shops in Riverwalk, Game City and Airport Junction with a laptop. He still shakes hands enthusiastically with a wide smile followed by a short loud laugh. He hasn’t lost hope. One day. All it takes is one day, then that tender will be in the bag and he will be home and dry.