By Tafi Mhaka
There might be an old picturesque postcard from Santa Claus and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in the North Pole or a long forgotten love letter wishing you the loving best from Claudia Schiffer if your name happens to be Seal. But what you might find under the bed is the bespectacled figure of the Vice-President of the Kenya Olympics Committee, a man known as Ben Ekumbo. Kenyan police found Mr. Ekumbo hiding under his bed on Monday as police sought to arrest him on corruption charges. Now: if you make your bed; you surely must lie in it mustn’t you?
This is exactly what the highly knowledgeable Mrs. Barry, my Grade 7 teacher at primary school, used to say to my classmates and I in class all the time. But I guess Mr. Ekumbo did not have the good fortune of meeting a Mrs. Barry somewhere some time in his life as he literally chose to lie underneath his bed and attempt to hide from the long arm of the law.
Kenyan police allege Mr. Ekumbo and his colleagues siphoned R111 million in public funds and equipment from the Olympics federation. Police have not said why they chose to look under his bed. Perhaps they expected to find some of the missing millions stashed there? Human beings are creatures of habit after all and hiding oneself or ill-gotten property or cash or personal effects of colossal sentimental value under the bed seems to be the norm in 2016.
What do you think you would find under the bed of embattled Springbok coach Allister Coetzee? He probably has a neatly typed but undated resignation letter kept in a well-perfumed envelope, a 1976 Panasonic Vinyl Player and a 1969 Vinyl copy of My Way by Frank Sinatra under his king-size bed. Coach Coetzee, a bit like the hard-to-find Mr. Ekumbo, has probably spent some quiet but quality moments of desperate reflection contemplating his future under his bed.
He has probably found a neat cloth in his garage and dusted off the years of dusty neglect gathering on his Panasonic Record Player. He has also probably given My Way a number of spins in the last eight weeks.
The opening two lines must surely resonate with Coach Coetzee in this most difficult phase of his career as a rugby coach: “And now, the end is near. And so I face the final curtain”.
Should he do the honourable thing and give in to the immense pressure he is facing this week or should the Springboks lose to a gritty Welsh side on Saturday, he, like Mr. Ekumbo, might find some solace right under that big and comfortable bed of his.
Now: what do you think you might see if you had a look under the bed of Hillary Clinton? Well: you might find a well-written acceptance speech that never made it to the big stage unfortunately and a huge box of facial tissues. You might also find a collection of rare novels that include Don’t cry for me America and Millionaires don’t cry in public. If you look long and hard enough you will find her favorite novel as well: I hate Monica.
So: What do you think you would find if you had a chance to look under the bed of American rapper Mos Def? Home Affairs branded Mos Def as “undesirable” and ordered him to leave South Africa last night. You might find a wig; a make-up kit, a fake moustache and a book titled How to Blend in and Walk and Talk like a South African and an instructive manual titled 7 Steps to Making South Africa home if you want to.
Mos Def probably has a letter from Wesley Snipes warning him not use a fake passport under his Jado Steel Style Gold Bed. But you will not find a book titled I’m going home on my own accord though.
Then: What do you think you would find if you spent ten minutes ruffling through the junk under the bed of President Park Geun-hye of South Korea? Yesterday the Office of the President admitted it bought 360 erectile dysfunction Viagra pills and the generic version of the drug in December for the benefit of her presidential aides and employees. The pills were bought to potentially treat altitude sickness for presidential aides and employees on Park’s May trips to Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, whose capitals are thousands of metres above sea level.
President Park Geun-hye, who is engulfed in a political scandal over her controversial friend Choi Soon-Sil, has faced weeks of huge demonstrations calling on her to step down from the presidency for allegedly helping her friend loot state resources and coerce private corporations into supporting dubious companies and charities.
So: what goodies do you think may lie under her large presidential bed in the Blue House in Seoul? You might find a state of the art shredding machine and a brief matter-of-fact resignation letter. She might have a couple of thought-provoking novels as well under her bed for you to read and take notes from like Don’t trust friends, You can’t trust friends, How to choose the right friends, What a shame, girl and It’s going to be a long dark winter.
What if you knew Novak Djokovic on a first name basis? What you find under his Magnetic Floating Bed? The man not only lost his number one world ranking in men’s tennis to Andy Murray of Scotland on November 5; but the 12-time Grand Slam winner also lost any chance of reclaiming the top spot in the world rankings from the Scotsman on Sunday when he lost the ATP World Tour Finals title at The O2 Arena in London.
Many pundits had prior to his recent dip in form suggested Djokovic might win more than 17 grand slams and become the greatest tennis player of all time ahead of Roger Federer.
So you might find a number of interesting records stashed under his waterbed. Perhaps he has these hit records stored under his bed should he need them on a rainy December night in Monte Carlo: Andy is a foul-mouthed brute, I’ll get you Andy, This is not the end, Andy; If you don’t know me by know, Andy; Nothing lasts Andy; and Damn you, Andy.
But: What if you had a look under the bed of a sexual predator dubbed the ‘hyena of Malawi’ by the media? The man who had sex with 100 girls (some as young as 12 years) and recently bereaved widows in traditional cleansing rituals was sentenced to two years in jail for “harmful practices” on Tuesday.
Although the sheer stench of immorality under his bed might be a bit too much for most people to stomach: what do you think you might find under his bed? Would you find a book on The noble virtues of African tradition? Or Don’t temper with African tradition. Would there be a novel named How tradition is raping the dignity of women and a patriarchal formative piece by a much-respected traditional leader titled Remember: Women and girls are second-class citizens in African tradition?