Bizarre Case of Thabo and Garden of Eden
I hate Thabo. No, Stupid. I am not talking about the South African former President Thabo Mbeki. I am talking about our not-so-new gardener anymore, Thabo. I surmise that in fact I am at the end of my rope with Thabo.
Since Thabo came to our lives, a year ago, things have gone haywire. It started slowly and probably innocently as my wife uttered these words, "I think Thabo is doing a good job." Well, I guess I had to be eased into it, then, it escalated into a torrential downpour. Now, the only thing on my wife's lips is, "Thabo this, Thabo that." I am sick and tired of it. Clearly, I am not going to hear the end of it.
As a result of Thabo of meddling in my wife's lips my marriage is teetering on the brink of collapse literally and figuratively. There is a prima facie case of alienation of affections. This is a legal condition that is found in common law tort, abolished in many jurisdictions - where it still exists, an action is brought by a deserted spouse against a third party alleged to be responsible for the failure of the marriage. I am persuaded to follow a litigious course of action - suing Thabo for the loss of affection and warmth.
In my frustration when this inadvertent flirtation began, I took to Facebook to express my outrage. Within seconds of posting about Thabo's antics, the Facebookers picked a side. I was accused of being a jealous lover. But, at least one friend advised me that in fact all Thabo's are troublesome. I believe him. Remember Thabo Mbeki and his bizarre theories about Aids.
What I didn't know is that Thabo's statue has increased exponentially on social media since my Facebook postings about him. Before, I knew it I was getting messages as far afield as Abu Dhabi, England and Australia. My wife travelled to Durban on business, and the first person she meant asked about Thabo. Our family friends from the Eastern Cape came to visit and the first person they asked about was, you guess right, Thabo. It doesn't end all there; even my mother in law has jumped on the Thabo's bandwagon. So, this Thabo fellow is now a celebrity at my expense. No dinner table talk is complete without the legendary story of Thabo, the gardener. It seems that the Facebookers are not only intrigued at my incessant complains about the loss of affection but in fact they have developed a deep affection for Thabo. I now rue the day I complained about the proverbial Thabo on Facebook. How I wish I could turn back the hands of time.
Anyway, last week Thabo made a fatal error. My wife reported that upon arriving at our humble abode at 14h00 (pm), Thabo was already in the change room - changing his work clothes to go home. I naively thought this was the end of Thabo. I posted as such on Facebook. The post read thus: "Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow countrymen and country-women, I am glad to report that Thabo's days are numbered. My wife, yes, she of the, "Thabo this, Thabo that," fame caught Thabo red-handed leaving work two hours early. This is a rare opportunity for me to show that the days of disrespecting the patriarchy are over. I must strike while the iron is hot. Thabo is to be hauled over the coals for misconduct, conduct unbecoming of a gardener, bringing the good name of the Mncube's garden into disrepute, dereliction of duty etc."
Within seconds of posting Facebookers were on my case - it felt like a ton of bricks fell on me. One former commissioner at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) Shaida Bobat posted: "Thabo is forgiven on the basis of mitigating factors - he was distressed after the US election results." Professor Cathy Campbell from the London School of Economics added: "Thabo is a lovely person and a great gardener. Am sure this was a one-off. I agree with Shaida. The world is upside down this week." Journalist at the Sunday Times, Nivashni Nair Sukdhev posted: "Dear Thabo. Please contact me to do a story about your unfair dismissal."
On Saturday, a hastily convened disciplinary hearing took place. I guess it was my turn to make a fatal error. I was not there at the disciplinary hearing. My wife accorded herself the task of being a prosecutor as well as a star witness. After the hearing I posted thus on Facebook, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Thabo, the sell-out, appeared before the DC on Saturday morning. He completely denied all the charges. In his defence, he says he was in the toilet, and not in the changing room. Since, my star witness is a woman of some repute; she on the day of the incident didn't investigate whether the voice came from the toilet or the change room. He is off the hook, for now. Truth is I'm at the end of my tether with this celebrity gardener.
Bhekisisa Mncube is a full-time writer in the public service in South Africa. He lives in Pretoria. At the time of going to press, he was still married. Network @ [email protected]