Allow us to formally introduce ourselves.
We are the Gamemaster, the Gatekeeper of the New Normal and a shape-shifting spirit of your World.
This evening as you are about to enter our little game, we greet you as a familiar family favourite: The Monopoly Man.
A portal has opened, and we are here to negotiate a settlement.
A highly contagious, and sometimes fatal, global pandemic has ravaged the globe.
To curb the spread of the virus many countries – of which yours is one – have implemented “lockdowns”, severely restricting the movement of people and halting business operations in all but “essential services”.
Your country is about to go into Lockdown level 3.
Many have lost their jobs, others are working at reduced rates and hours. Unemployment was high even before this.
Your hospitals are overburdened.
Your people go hungry.
They don’t have decent housing, and even those who do, can’t pay rent.
Your president has introduced a range of humanitarian relief and economic stimulus measures to combat the effects of the virus – but these come at a cost to the country of around R500 billion.
Your country was already over indebted before the crisis
Your continent continues to be exploited by global elites.
Your world is out of sync with nature.
People are scared and they are divided. Violence is rife in homes, in the streets and heavy in the fists of the structures that rule.
…as the deadly virus spreads.
We have the power to make your wildest dreams an immediate reality.
If…the Council offers you their good faith
So now that you are comfortable…
Tell us, where do you imagine we begin?
Today I come to you as the last breath of a dying rainbow.
Perhaps I was always just a mirage, but I beg you, as the Gamemaster, to help me change the course of history for my people.
It has been a couple of months since we received the massive loans. Now our investors are demanding payback on their terms. We are in a trap. Paying high interest rates on loans that we couldn’t afford. The only way we can keep up is to take out more debt. And with that – more limitations, more conditions. Creditors also have interests in my ports, my mines, my infrastructure. The rand keeps plummeting.
The community facilities prosper and are hubs for activism but when people organise to shift the balance of power, their leaders disappear. They protest in response and are portrayed as uncivilized. People are scared to take action for fear of the law and so they continue to watch each other suffer. They want things to change, but they don’t know how to make it happen. Everyone is surveilled.
Despite pockets of collective power, the lines of divide are settling again and racial inequalities are pronounced. The same police that were supposed to support communities are killing them. Investors are offering to buy our jails and build more, if they can use the prisoners for cheap labour. More people get thrown into crowded prisons. These are Covid hot-spots.
Homegrown elected ward councilors don’t have the budgets to fund the needs of their communities. Even before Covid 19, these areas were in crisis. The temporary Wendy and Nutec houses were erected faster and at higher quality than many of the housing settlements people have been living in for generations. There are fights over who gets these houses as many have been on waiting lists for decades. There are xenophobic attacks on homes that shelter anyone that is not South African. Banks and landlords demand an end to the rent freeze, but people still cannot afford to pay rent, illegal evictions escalate and their are rising tensions between landlords and tenants.
With hospitals better equipped, people are able to access care. However, the overwhelming need to earn a living meant that there was a return business as usual otherwise. Those that could work from home, don’t suffer too many financial consequences and those working half time, feel so lucky to be working that they don’t want to rock the boat. The death toll is rising.
I, the rainbow, am trying to survive but the lines of privilege are never crossed.My people ask why they are receiving charity, from resources they should own.I don’t have an answer, because I don’t know if I own these myself.
Please kind and noble players, tell me, what should we do?
No more MR nice baas.
Congratulations. You made it rain.
So many in the world applaud your lazy so – called “protest”.
Refusing to work, lets see how far that gets you.
So you’ve a domino default on debt across the sh**hole countries of the globe.
Enjoying the “Sovereign Default”?
We hope you’re having a nice Kumbaya moment? Burning bras across the equator, or whatever you mean by “global feminist solidarity”
Must be nice watching currencies across the world crumble while you faff around with your cucumbers and cauliflowers.
It’s going to be such a pleasure crashing your nice little communist party.
We are bigger, better, and more organised than you.
We’ve got armies, we have systems. We are legacy.
We have people everywhere.
We are ready for this war…are you?
Besides, many of your own people don’t even like your new normal. A whole lot of them aren’t exactly grateful that you’ve thrown them back into the stone age.
We’ve imposed some hefty travel bans, so those you’ve pissed off can’t even leave, they’re calling you a dictator – asking for your head,
We have cut you off. You in South Africa and your international feminist friends. You’ve isolated and economically excluded half of the Third World. Congrats.
So you can look forward to full-on trade embargoes. Enjoy having no petrol. No grains. No machinery, no new technology (goodbye smartphones), no pharmaceutical or medical imports.
Where are your friends now?
Not everyone wants to be a farmer.
Your people might have veggie gardens, but they have lost a lot more things that they love
And Not All men are not happy about all this feminist hoohaa. Your wealthy are losing everything that they have worked for. Your institutions are crumbling. Opportunities are limited.
This might have all been cute as a slogan on a crop top, but in the real world, YOU can’t handle what comes next.
We are coming for you from inside your own borders.
When you took the R500 billion loan from “whoever” would give it you signed off collateral to us.
And seeing as you won’t pay, our people will seize 50 percent of your precious organic produce – as agreed. A warning, we are always armed.
We have always ran the world
And this little stint will only prove that you can’t.
We could just blow you up.
But for now,
We will just watch you unravel.
So what now Social Justice Warrior? How are you possibly going to last without us?
Note: Masana has landed on a Life Happens block on the Board and draws the following card: There is a reemergence of the Covid19 virus. It is stronger than ever.
The earth speaks back.
I come to you as the Eland, a living God.
I carry the spirits of the ancestors, the threads between the natural world and the spiritual realm.
I’ve been listening, buried deep, struggling to survive in a world that has forgotten my name.
You’ve invigorated me. I want to help.
But I come with a warning.
You in your smaller villages and co-ops might be honouring the ways of the past, resting, planting, praying.
But the wealthy powers that hold your country captive persist.
They’re watching you all the time. Making sure you stay small, making sure you stay non-threatening.
Slowly they are cordoning you off.
Eventually, they will fence you in with wire and high walls in all too familiar “conservations” and parks.
Outside of your collectives and villages the powers that reign continue to take from the land, in resources, minerals, in produce, fish, even excavating and profiting off the ideas of your people, claiming every cent for the debt your country has not paid.
There are other ways they want to be paid too, they have seen the effects of your healing herbs. They want to “invest”.
Their pharmaceutical conglomerates romance your people with promises of wealth beyond measure.
Be careful, they want to buy up your way of life, chemically enhance and patent it.
In no time they will privatise the land where these herbs grow freely.They’ll put permits on how much you are allowed to use, plunder the soil, and sell your plants back to you and millions of others until there is nothing left as has happened before….
Some of the troops you brought herbs to defect to your side, thankful for the healing.
Your soldier allies disappear in the night.
They bring in stronger, brutal, mercenaries from across the globe to keep their law and order.
They have their spies, they know you are quietly talking reparations.
There may be an uneasy peace now, but they are waiting for you to give them a reason to respond with force.
I have some news from my wider travels.
There are other parts of the country and the world that have caught onto the ways you worship, your planting, your praying.
Elsewhere people are starting to do the same.
Some very beautifully, others terrifyingly, distorting your vision, creating cults where beliefs are rigid, even violent.
Even in your own community, there are new, evangelists, claiming to speak on behalf of the ancestors, trying to control your people, making up scripture and rituals to suit their own needs,
enacting patriarchy, greed, exclusion,
all in the name of the culture of the past.
People are listening to these off- key, persuasive voices. People are following.
Faith can be a lethal weapon.
And I am here to warn you that something bigger than these false prophets is coming.
Your new – old spiritual movement is being watched.
And an old superpower is waiting in the wings, they do not like the sound of your voice, they are jealous of the old Gods.
They are planning an attack, that will capture the minds and hearts of your people.
What will you do when your way of life is being so rapidly co-opted by so many who seek to distort it?
When the outside threat, watches, waits…
You may call me your Father, the Alpha.
And I come with a message from the one true God
This brave new world was built off the sweat of men. We are tired of being silenced.
We reject your perverse worship, your treacherous claims of women and genderless gods.
We watched your “uprisings”, refused to perform your wifely duties in lazy revolt.
And we stood with you each time there was an external threat, willing to fight and die to build a better world for our women and children.
But you appreciated none of this.
You claim this world as yours, you say this land belongs to women and homosexuals but Men are born leaders, strong warriors who are the fathers of this country.
Recognise we are the image of God Our Father, your fathers and brothers are the leaders of society and end this anarchy.
People need to be controlled for their own good and we will do it.
This is a revolution that starts in the home.
Women may work as long as they look after the family as well and give their resources to men to control the household.
All false gods and false religions are banned. And so is the cult of feminism and homosexuality.
Women submit gently, we will all live in peace and prosperity if you accept your time-honoured roles and responsibilities.
This is a holy siege.
We are closing off the community, we are patrolling the perimeters.
You are in our homes, in our bed.
You cannot escape our righteous gaze. You must not resist us.
We will root out the evil and use holy fire to purge this new world of sin and start anew if we must.
We are Your husbands, your uncles, your brothers, your sons. Don’t make this difficult for us.
We only want what’s best for you.
Amen. Our Men.
The Final Step…
The gamemaster steps aside with a final wry smile. You, intrepid player, are left alone. There is a pavement beneath your feet. Besides this, your surroundings are whatever you want them to be. You look down, you notice a narrow and twisting crack in the pavement, a tiny green weed rears its pretty head from the crack. You smile. As you do, the crack widens, you know instinctively that the crack is a portal. From the other side, you hear a voice, it’s warm, it’ strong, it’s speaking only to you.
VOICE: “Dear player, your imaginings have been heard, seen, and felt. You can now come home.”
On the other side of the portal is “home” it can be whatever you want it to be. What is your ideal “home”.
IT’S A WRAP!
Our world-builders joined us in the midst of a global pandemic that continues its path across countries and communities, illuminating and exposing rickety social structures and long-standing systemic injustices that have formed our core for far too long.
They joined us on a journey of imagination and free-thought, resistance where required, and kindness when it was most needed.
They fought off distant Gamemasters intent on exacting their own world order and provided us with their answers, their insights, and their truths.
More than just a game The New Normal was a chance to build together, to see into a better future, and to find our way home.
As we welcomed our challengers home, winning became the act of engagement, the act of hope, the act of action.
Society demands a single winner… but we do not.
To our final four left standing – welcome home.