A big (and bright) bodyguard the latest way to look cool in the Cape
IT IS always nice to hear stories which confirm that the economy is growing.
The rising crime situation in Cape Town has apparently given a welcome boost to the security industry which is doing brisk business by providing personal bodyguards for the Euro-glitterati and international businessmen at a modest R30 000 a month.
For this, you don't just get a steroid-pumped gorilla with a pair of dark glasses, a bad-fitting polyester suit and a two-way radio.
You get a hand-picked specialist with a variety of talents which go way beyond the traditional skills of rearranging the faces of people who get on your nerves.
According to industry sources, today's new elite bodyguard is highly educated and likely to be a mixture of personal protector, secretary, paramedic and nappy changer.
Apart from the obvious attraction of employing somebody to read Winnie the Pooh to the kids at bedtime while Mommy and Daddy search Sea Point for a reliable cocaine supplier, one wonders about the sort of people who need to spend R30 000 a month on a personal bodyguard.
A spokesman for the security industry unintentionally hit the nail on the head when he said that it is "not an indication of high crime in the Cape but of the calibre of person moving here".
Precisely. Apart from politicians, many of whom are unpretentious enough to wander around without bodyguards, the only people who need to spend that sort of money to protect themselves are those who have real cause to fear that they are likely to be bumped off at any moment by disgruntled creditors or hostile political factions.
Since its discovery some years ago by the Euro-trash, Cape Town has unfortunately attracted more than its fair share of financial fugitives and kleptomaniac members of disgraced political regimes.
I suppose the kindest thing to say is that they have probably contributed to the boom in house prices by choosing to spend their hot money in Cape Town.
The Mobutu family are said to be well represented in Cape Town and they certainly need protecting, although I'm not sure that R30 000 a month is adequate compensation in their particular case.
Trendy Capetonians are always looking for a new way to impress the rest of us with their innate coolness, and before we know it personal bodyguards will have replaced personal trainers as the fresh, chic, fashion accessory.
This is going to play havoc with the social scene because society hostesses will have to expect most of their guests to arrive with bodyguards.
What is the correct social etiquette in such a situation? At a garden party, for example, does one expect bodyguards to mingle with the rich and famous or does one send them all to the servants quarters for tea and sandwiches, thus reducing their effectiveness and relegating them to the lowly status of chauffers? If we allow them to stay in the same room as us are we then obliged to introduce them to our friends or should we expect them to just hang around maintaining a discreet silence and looking sinister?
It's all too too confusing isn't it? I imagine that restaurant bookings will also become a nightmare, particularly with the holiday season approaching.
Smart Cape restaurants will not only offer smoking and non- smoking sections; they will have to set aside a special area for bodyguards.
Cashing in on the current move to matters spiritual, a group of American investors is proposing to set up a "Holy Land" theme park somewhere in the desert near Las Vegas.
They've got the money and all they need now is the land for their venture.
This must be a natural for a South African investor. Surely somebody should be flying over to the US to persuade the investors to relocate by offering them a chunk of Mpumalanga that has probably already been pledged several times over to a Malaysian syndicate.
The argument to have the "Holy Land" theme park in South Africa is just as valid as the Olympic argument.
We've never had a holy land here and it would be the first time in Africa.
Besides, we already have The Lost City with its wave machine so a "parting the Red Sea" machine should present no problems.
I'm sure the KWV "boxed water into wine" kit would also be a big seller in the gift shop.