What did you do in the Struggle, daddy?

Tom Rymore wonders, in his cheeky column, "Digitus Impudicus", just what stories various Struggle Greats will tell.

That's one question that many local politici, tycoons and hangers-on prefer to leave unanswered. Gary Player never reminisces about punting The Citizen as "the paper for the true South African".

Then as now, Business is the getting and dispensing of wealth, while Politics remains the art of getting and dispensing power. Politics and Business have always been beholden to each other, and equally pragmatic in their handling of those corrosive substances - money and power.

In Rhodesia I once knew a Hindu hustler - one of the modern thuggee. He sent clandestine cheques to Mugabe's Zanu, Nkomo's Zapu and Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front - even to clerical losers-in-waiting such as the diminutive Bishop Abel Muzorewa and the strabismic Rev Ndabaningi Sithole.

Then as now, the besuited bean-counters who command South African media run the full gamut from naked sycophancy to mealy-mouthed ambiguity; the bottom line demands that they render unto Caesar. Two honourable exceptions in this regard are the Mail & Guardian and Noseweek.

The white voters who once talked Prog, voted UP and were grateful for a zero-tolerant Nat government have evaporated. Some Nats have pupated and cast aside their dull brown husks, like Marthinus van Schalkwyk, to emerge all plump, fresh and moist, spreading iridescent ANC-hued wings. When there's a political sea-change, some movers and shakers adapt faster than you can cross a floor. Take that old warhorse Jannie Momberg; he's like the Vicar of Bray, having sincerely survived several reigns. From apartheid he lived through Mandela's brief shining Camelot, into the present era with all its impenetrability.
Others proved indispensable, like the Spooks and everyone in the armaments industry. Raven-haired, unlined Bill Venter of Altron is doing ever so well these days, ageing at a much slower pace than his charming "ex", social butterfly Edith.

In the struggle, Jeremy Cronin wrote moving prison poems - and he never grovelled. Today he grovels. What did irascible, brash, Rolex-flashing tabloid journo David Barritt do in the battle to make the world safe for Thabocracy? He drafted speeches for Lucas Mangope (which had to be vetted first by Sol K). What does suave Dave do now? Why, he serves as Spindoctor-in-Chief for Saki Macozoma and his Safika comrades.

I have it direct from onse Charlize in Hollywood that she has NOT been signed to play Anneline Kriel opposite Joe Pesci in "The Sol Kerzner Story," with Rod Stewart as himself. Pity. In the Struggle, Sol was striking sweet deals and scalping dictators in ethnic enclaves on both banks of the River Kei. In the last 10 years he hasn't learned any new tricks - now he's giving a close haircut to the Mohegans and possibly their Midwest cousins the Mohicans.

Then there was Craigie, the Fat White Spook; a decorated undercover soldier in the titanic crusade to keep the world safe from the likes of Jeremy Cronin. He used to blow people up with letter bombs. Now Mrs Williamson's little boy helps his aged parent with the shopping, moving his slow thighs toward the Rosebank Butchery on a Saturday morning.

In the Struggle, the Twins Pharmaceutical, tycoons Sol and Abe Krok, contributed to Black pride by making a fortune out of skin lightening cream. They had a setback with the Epilady, a sheep-crutching invention that used painful rubber rollers to pluck out hairs; redesigned as a female human depilatory device, it bombed big-time in the USA. The Krok clones now control Gold Reef City Casino, where they welcomed our President to the opening with identical grins. Their Apartheid Museum pays tribute to a couple of White communists, but not to all the other palefaces with a conscience who actually tried to do something in the Struggle. Precious few thanked them at the time; now, no one does.

The means of production have always been owned by the people - people like the Ruperts and the Oppenheimers, oligarchs who lie down with the politici, regardless of the fleas. They have always been steadfast and true - to the bottom line.

That's what they did in the Struggle, son.