Page 49 - July 2021 Litterateur
P. 49

NakaBuhle  is  a  new  breed  of  women  out  to  emancipate  themselves  from  the  clutches  of
                   chauvinism  and  patriachy.  In  the  dialogue  with  SekaBuhle,  she  clearly  points  out  that  she
                   won't submit to his alcohol- induced behaviour. The holiday to Victoria Falls is symbolic of
                   her dominance. Her demand for a holiday to Seychelles creates a glimmer of hope that she
                   will have a way in the marriage.



                   The use of euphemism on issues associated with bribes and kickbacks is far from being an
                   act of appeasement, politeness and approval. For example, the writer sarcastically refers to

                   malevolent and prevalent corruption as  the greasing of palms '. It is more of an indictment
                   than  an  endorsement.  The  habit  of  greasing  palms  speaks  of  rot  and  of  a  system  torn  to
                   pieces  by  greed,  injustices  and  bungling.  Those  who  see  it  and  do  nothing  about  it  or  fall
                   victim to it are more of aiders than deterrents to the rot. Even in a simple place of leisure,

                   patrons  affiliated  to  a  certain  political  party  have  privileges  and  can  engage  in  unlawful
                   activities with impunity. The old man in the first chapter, "Of Pathetic Pythons ",is a caricature
                   of the rotten system of governance. The words 'serpents' in the context of the story symbolize
                   lies, evil and temptation like in the Christian tradition.



                   The  old  man  is  shamelessly  clinging  to  a  girl  younger  than  him  by  decades.  His  love  for
                   revelling at such an advanced age epitomizes the stance by some African leaders to cling to
                   power for the sake of self-gratification, self- aggrandizement and the protection of their loot.

                    The phrase  National Liability "on page number 6 aptly describes what the old man is! The
                   smell of sleaze is detectable and detestable, for example, one can see it through the actions of
                   the police details who brazenly demand that SekaBuhle grease their palms even where the
                   papers are in order. They unashamedly point out that the economy is bad hence the need for

                   them  to  make  extra  money  by  targeting  innocent  citizens.  Talk  of  a  lopsided  system  that
                   penalizes and criminalizes the innocent souls, how relevant and revealing this story is!


                   Human beings have been known to have a tendency that seeks distraction, aversion and relief

                   from  unpleasant  realities,  especially  by  seeking  entertainment,  amusement  or  engaging  in
                   fantasy  or  evasion.  The  plot  of  Cabinet  Meetings  hinges  on  a  man's  attempt  to  fight
                   alcoholism. It is like virtual reality which seeks to offer a form of escapism. Alcohol in the text
                   is  an  escape  from  economic  turmoil  and  a  loveless  marriage.  Like  a  huge  number  of  his

                   countrymen and countrywomen, the economic turmoil makes it difficult for him to honour his
                   wife's demands for a holiday in a destination outside the country.


                   The economic mayhem is a result of political misgovernance. In turn, mismanagement breeds

                   corruption. Parallel to it, is the institution of marriage that is threatened by the need for each
                   sex  to  prove  its  prowess.  As  a  result,  SekaBuhle  escapes  to  the  warm  arms  of   cabinet
                   members   borne  by  the  need  to  deal  with  economic  and  political  frustrations  and  marital
                   challenges. In Cabinet Meetings, men indulge in drinking and momentarily lose track of the

                   world and its problems. SekaBuhle summarises the purpose of the cabinet meetings as, " ...
                   we  swam  in  beer  until  my  judgment  of  everything  I  saw  or  thought  or  felt  was  one  flighty,
                   amusing and roller-skating experience."














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                          REDEFINING WORLD
                        EDITED BY SHAJIL ANTHRU
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