The revelations on Day 1 of former president Jacob Zuma’s appearance at the Zondo Inquiry - with its spy allegations and unqualified references to foreign intelligence agencies - was disturbing, to say the least.
In this theatre of politics, uBaba’s account of a conspiracy-saturated exile history was cast in the choreography of Indlamu, the Zulu war dance. My confrère and fellow Anglican, Geoff Mamputa, says there are different dances: “Pre-war, during a lull in fighting, when approaching the enemy etcetera.” It was also a signal of intent or, as some might say, a declaration of war on the part of Msholozi.
But it was the reference to the spies from the days of Struggle that preoccupied my thoughts. One’s past, it is said, is ever before you. Exhibit A, a kaalgat perske boom (some would know it as a nectarine or, a Sandy Bay peach) on the grounds of Valkenberg Lunatic Asylum.
This institution, housed in a bleak cluster of buildings, dates back to the late 19th century. It is situated on land previously owned by a Dutch farmer Cornelius Valk and was located on the southern end of Garden Village.
The area is also a significant site of pre-colonial resistance. It was from a Khoi settlement in the vicinity, the confluence of the Black and Liesbeeck rivers, that warriors set off to recover cattle and rescue children kidnapped by marines under the command of Francisco D’Almeida, the Portuguese Viceroy of India. The Viceroy and the 50 marines were killed in the ensuing skirmish.