If you have read this column before you will know that I promote positive dialogue and peaceful change. However, practising what I preach is a daily effort and I fail more often than I succeed.
However, this is not my fault. This is the fault of a small handful of people who make thinking happy and peaceful thoughts virtually impossible. Now, I don’t condone violence of any kind. However, I totally relate if you have ever experienced an overwhelming urge to climb into your television (or newspaper) and slap the person inside.
This rather uncharitable-but-oh-so-delightful notion came up at a recent family Christmas lunch. We were talking about the events of this tumultuous year and the enormous personalities that shaped it and the conversation quickly degenerated into who had had the most “slap-able face” of 2016.
I kicked off proceedings by voicing my near pathological desire to slap SABC dictator Hlaudi Motsoeneng and this seemed to open the floodgates. My dear mother pursed her lips, narrowed her eyes and hissed “Zuma” under her breath, glancing about her to make sure he wasn’t sitting at the next table. My sister who lives in England, looked equally sour and tabled pro-Brexit UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Now my wife Cathy can watch a Springbok rugby match only when Faf de Klerk is not in view. When he appears in shot she squeals and races out of the TV room only returning when he is gone. This makes for an exhausting 90 minutes for the whole family.
All this got me thinking how we could best channel this dark and delicious energy into something productive and even cathartic. And then it dawned on me: we need an International “Slap-able Face of the Year” competition. It can have real judges, a big glitzy Oscars-style event and we can get our very own Trevor Noah (not in the least bit slap-able) to host it. Maybe we can get big name sponsors (but not, I repeat not the infinitely slap-able Gupta brothers).
And so it began. From its humble beginnings at a curry restaurant in Tinley Manor, the International Slap-able Face of the Year competition now finds itself splashed all over the newspapers.
My on and offline call for nominations was heeded like a battle cry. People from all over the world climbed in. It seems that the world (well 20 or so friends and family) was just waiting for the opportunity to cyber-slap their (anti) heroes.
So, without further ado I am proud to announce the finalists of the inaugural edition of this major international competition. They are (in no order): Nigel Farage, Ajay Gupta, Atul Gupta, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Lewis Hamilton, Donald Trump, Julius Malema, Vladimir Putin, Faf de Klerk (just the 1 vote), Kanye West, Chris Brown, all the Kardashians, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, every woman who voted for Donal Trump, every person who voted for Brexit, Brock Turner, Boris Johnson, Bill Cosby and Sylvester Stallone (“because he always looks like he’s just been slapped!”).
Now interestingly, our very own President Jacob Zuma was only nominated twice. This is surprising because as far as straight slap-ability goes, I would have thought he would be top of the pops. Have we forgotten his TV “apology” after Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s (very unslap-able) judgement on Nkandla? Could we all – regardless of political affiliation – not have taken a little jog to Luthuli House and smacked him? I know I could have. My only explanation is that we don’t want to see him win anything ever again not even the Annual Slap-able Face of the Year Competition.
Now before you all explode from sheer anticipation I would like to announce the winners of the competition. Due to a lack of funds, Cathy and I are the only judges of this inaugural event and the venue for the gala event is our living room. This year we are toasting the winners (and of course those who did not win; please don’t try again next year) with a cup of tea but next year we are sure it will be Bollinger at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
In the International category of most Slap-able Face of the Year, in runner up position we have a tie between Vladimir Putin and Boris Johnson. And the overall winner is everyone’s favourite sentient naartjie (thank you to whoever coined this wondrous description) Donald Trump.
The runner up in the South African category is our very own EFF President Juju Malema. Seems that his svelte new image has done little to reduce his overall slap-ability. And the run-away winner, happy-to-have-you-entertaining-our kids-every-night (not), the SABC’s (or is he still?) Hlaudi Motsoeneng (and the crowd goes wild – literally).
We would like to launch a brand-new category for the most Slap-able Human Being in the Entire Galaxy as we know it and Possibly of all History. And the winner is? Faf de Klerk! Wooohooo!
Apologies for that interruption. I just popped out to make tea and Cathy hijacked my laptop. There will be no most slap-able face in the galaxy/history category next year. It’s just silly.)
So, there you have it. The end of a truly slap-able year.
Until next year, goodnight from the Foxtons living room.
Justin Foxton is founder of The Peace Agency.
This column is dedicated to the memory of 17-year-old Anene Booysens: gang raped, mutilated and murdered, and our Mozambican brother Emmanuel Josias Sithole: beaten and stabbed to death.