I have made previous reference to the baptism of royal Fuarchie and so, some have concluded that St George’s Cathedral was being offered as a site for that esteemed royal initiation into the faith.
That would be presumptuous, but let me not be skimpy when exercising our celebrated African hospitality. I am not claiming ties to English royalty when I speak of “Cuzzin Meg”. She’s from the Motherland and we embrace her as our own. Also, do note, Beloved, that we were royalty long before those people on the ships came and overstayed their welcome. For centuries. And now they too are family. On the colonial black sheep side of our lineage.
My first alert to that possibility of a Cathedral royal baptism was when the Duke and Duchess (D&D) made their appearance on the occasion of a recent Trooping the Colour.
They were tucked deep inside the far-right corner of the palace balcony. There was speculation about what was said in the exchange of looks between D&D, like when the latter briefly turned to her spouse. He looked a bit stern, unusually so. It could be that the pressure of carrying Fuarchie around the room late at night was having a wearying effect.
My usual late Friday high-tea libation confederates, after repeated reviewing of the balcony scene, skilled in lip-reading as they are, observed the following narrative: Cuzzin Meg to Harry: “Did you speak to Michael about the baptism?”
Harry: “You mean Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church, the one who married us?”
Cuzzin Meg: “No, Michael the Dean of Cape Town.”
Harry: “I am onto it. Semasoe en kyk vorentoe. Agter is nag.”
And then not much later, this announcement: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have revealed they will take their son Archie with them when they make an official visit to South Africa this autumn.”
Mashallah, ek Hettie woore nie. With that, I understand the reason for the unusual visitors attending the Cathedral’s 9.30am mass in recent Sundays. They tend to lounge about and engage in desultory chats.
Last Sunday one chap says to me: “My, Archbishop Desmond Tutu looks good for his age,” pointing towards Father Shaun Cozett, our cathedral curate. “Actually, very sexy in that Sydney Poitier dark and lovely way.”
Then his friend showed me a piece of paper and asked how one pronounced the word on it. “Koesiesta”, I told him. “Oe, how lukker” he said and wanted to know if we could order a lot of it, “like 200 for an after-party”.
He invited me for tea at the Gorgeous Hotel on the mall. We spoke about a lot of things there near the rooftop pool. But I can’t go much further than this. And please don’t send Tietie Mariam to me with doepmaal delicacies. I am not that shallow to be bribed. Not even with a plate of crayfish daltjies.
By the way, Yaaseen Barnes from Athlone is the one who identified “Archie” as “Fuadchie”.
On an interfaith note I must say: “Yaaseen, djy moet wiet - al is Baby Sussex Fuad-Sharief-Abdullah-Moegsien-Benguela-Ighsaanie-SannieBooi, wanneer ek hom gedoep het, salie laaitie Kris wies en bly (dit wil se as Mymoena nie sy hartjie draainie).”
* Weeder is the dean of St George’s Cathedral.