Bread was top of mind for many after the riots last week.
Bread was top of mind for many after the riots last week.

Use your loaf and guard humour

By Lindsay Slogrove Time of article published Jul 24, 2021

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Humour has always been a go-to for Saffers.

It’s like that little thingy on a pressure cooker to help us avoid blowing up in response to the problems we live with and confront every day.

Last week, we had a collective sense of humour failure as we watched in horror the looting, burning and thuggery of an insurrection.

In every crisis in the age of social media, there have always been memes. They flood WhatsApps groups, emails, tweets and (I presume) Facebook ‒ I have been off that for a couple of years because I just can’t, um, face it. They are retweeted, forwarded and emailed and go viral.

This time, off the top of my head, I can only recall seeing about three. And they were very dark, apart from the Chuck Norris one: if he was tougher, he could have been a South African. This one did, however, seem to start circulating only after people began to join together and stand up for who we are as a nation.

Most Saffers salved their wounds by helping each other, which also meant ensuring supplies could start getting through.

Speaking from the isolation of the couch, the ban on booze seemed to take a back seat; now we all needed bread. People who had small home bakeries to fill orders from friends and small communities were over-run by pleas for a loaf. A friend in Cape Town called me and wondered whether she could courier a loaf to us.

I had a tongue-in-cheek tweetversation with someone ‒ also obviously in Cape Town ‒ who posted pictures of some delicious-looking mini bunnies they were about to tuck in to. It was mental torture. I had the bread to buy it, but not the bread. We went without for about three days, and ate some “interesting” stuff.

We did get a loaf late on Saturday. And early on Sunday, we shopped a bit. Many shelves were empty, but packers were working hard to replenish them and we managed to get most of what we needed to make a home-made bunny.

I also bought two bags of bread dough. I had no idea what to do with them, but was certain I’d heard somewhere that you could freeze it. So I have. The fun will be when I try to bake it.

The kitchen is not my friend. I am able, very importantly, to provide dog food. And toast. And sarmies. With peanut butter, mostly. Last week I realised my diet is bread. I am a pathetically apathetic cook, although I can do the odd thing if desperate.

Baking, not so much. My last “cake”, nearly 20 years ago, was thinner than a frisbee and heavier than a heavyweight gym thing. It fell to the floor and exploded as we rolled on the floor laughing when we tried to frisbee it.

We didn’t have the internet then, so I hope to be able to find really basic instructions on reconstituting the bread dough into something vaguely edible. Maybe with a few raisins it can be a rock cake.

While we lick our funny bone wounds and look for answers and justice, we should just remember: most Saffers use their loaf, we still rock and we will laugh, even at ourselves, again.

  • Lindsay Slogrove is the news editor

The Independent on Saturday

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