After ten years of Jacob Zuma in charge and an economy that has decayed faster than the Protea’s one day batting skills, we finally have a new president. Cyril Ramaphosa is now tasked with not only undoing the damage of the predecessor, but also with setting the country on the right footing towards becoming a true global powerhouse. While his advisers have clearly got most aspects of this rejuvenation covered I would argue that there is one element he is totally forgetting – an abstract quality that defines every great country in the world, and one which South Africa finds itself sadly lacking in. While we as South Africans can happily state we are among the leaders of the world in political influence, resources, cuisine, history, culture and jaw dropping scenery, the one thing that this country has always been missing is a giant monster attack.
Anyone who pays attention to world history must know that all of the great countries have at some point, had their finest cities pillaged by some form of massive beast. New York was besieged by King Kong and The Beast from 20 000 fathoms. London has been beset by “Gorgo”. Tokyo has been ripped apart by “Godzilla” so many times, it has become a running joke. “Hong Kong” witnessed the fury of “The Peking Man” (Ironic now I know). “Ymir” destroyed Rome. Los Angeles, saw its end at the hands of “Them”. The documentaries “Colossal” and “The Host”, go into graphic detail on just two of the beasts that have curb-stomped Seoul. Bangkok got “Garuda” and even relatively insignificant Copenhagen was attacked by “Reptilicus”. To date the most horrifying movie monster this country has experienced is “Mr Bones“. How can Johannesburg call itself a “World Class African City” if it remains unscathed by massive beasts?
Johannesburg has two large problems when it comes to becoming a feast for a Kaiju. The first is that naturally it is lacking the skyline of those other more frequently attacked cities, while the second is its position as an in-land city. As such it has no easy monster spawning sites. Any monster that arises from the depths of an, as yet unknown, sea-trench would head straight for the easier, if totally unappetising snacks of Cape Town, Durban, or even, Port Elizabeth. Cape Town’s Clifton beach, Sea-point, and town centre, are begging to be ravaged, however the city provides nowhere at all for the beast to climb during the epic finale. It’s difficult enough to get a lost Spaniard off Table Mountain, let alone fight a 300 metre radioactive monster there.
Johannesburg does have the facilities. The glittering office towers of central Sandton provide a prime location for a monster of that magnitude, complete with taxi-drivers, who, for various reasons, are already running, and screaming in the streets. What more classic monster movie setting could we ask for, than for some mammoth beast to be clinging to the top of The Michaelangelo Tower swatting at a herd of social-media drones?
But where would this animal come from, and how would we lure it there in the first place? Certainly the few remaining mine-dumps, and their low level radiations, and poisons, do provide a birthing spot fit for a creature of that calibre, but the squat Tuscan-style complexes that surround the city like nervous policemen, aren’t exactly satisfying as monster fodder. What’s to stop our monster, who has spent aeons sleeping below the The Western Deep Level Mine, and finally burst to the surface, from simply turning around and going back into hibernation?
I think the mandate for Cyril and his team is clear: If we want our country to thrive, its most iconic city needs to do everything it can to lure a giant monster to the heart of Sandton, and capture that moment on film. What greater way could South Africa announce its presence on the world scene than by developing a series of glittering skyscrapers along all its major arterial routes, awakening some ancient horror and luring it to the business district, then letting it smash it all to pieces?
Apart from launching our country to the very head of the African economic table, this act would also have the added benefit of tearing down all the over-rated, terribly designed, glass monstrosities that are already in place in Sandton, and allow us to rebuild a CBD where neighbouring buildings take the appearance of the building next to them, and the lives of the people who live, and work in the city, into account. Right now Sandton looks like it was pieced together, by an angry, and uncaring ape with a CAD system, and a hammer, and I for one can think of no better way to fix this problem than to knock it all down.