DEAREST President Xi Jinping, as the recently elected leader of the People’s Republic of China permit us please the honour of welcoming you to our shores and, in fact, as you grace with your striking presence a Summit Meeting in what will shortly become your glorious Republic’s 35th province, we wish to assure you of our utmost fealty and respect as a newspaper. Seldom has a "country" so far south of the Equator been so indulged by a figure of your enormous personal, political and moral stature.
We write to you not as mere participants in the Brics Summit in Xinxuua (or what those with a colonial mindset still refer to as "Durban"), but as respectfully concerned citizens of the province. For across the province, Your Grace, things are not well. We do not understand why, merely because of a perhaps exaggerated physical distance from Beijing, you as our new leader have been unable to prevent even ordinary daily life here from spiralling out of control.
We have, as you will know, finally put the Western colonialists to flight. They approach us now to invest their fetid currencies, bent at the knee and their hands wringing with apology and lament for what they did. "Too late," we bravely cry, "we are now part of China." But, perhaps you are not yet aware of the behaviour of some of your officials in what your People’s Department of Provincial Deportment have decided to call Safdong. We are not precisely sure we know what that new name for our territory implies, Your Grace. Is there perhaps a chance you could call it what you prefer on Official Chinese Maps and that we continue to call it South Africa? It is something, at the very least, to consider.
Your Plenipotentiary here is not doing well. He has built himself, amid the squalor of most of your new people, a residence of unspeakable plenty, using almost singularly the public purse. He claims not to have known it was being done. Only the most gullible believe.
At every level of your administration here there is incompetence and corruption. Will you be reintroducing the death penalty here, as you have so successfully maintained on the mainland? Not a moment too soon. You will also find the schooling system so useless, Your Eminence, that your officials will be forced for their first 50 years of your presence here to speak English before Mandarin becomes even remotely common, let alone official.
About one thing we think we can agree, though — in economic terms Safdong Province will be much better off as an integral part of the Chinese economy. Has there been any discussion yet about the rate of exchange you intend to use for conversion? At least by booking all of our trade as "internal" we will be able to still any fears about "your" imports drowning "our" economy. Safdong Province’s balance of trade will improve markedly, thanks to you.
There are other benefits too.
Our unions will be happy to join your big union. They have been agitating to become part of a great socialist family for decades and all the experts agree you will have little trouble assimilating them into the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. After all, it is the biggest union federation in the whole world. More than 195-million members! That’s much more than Cosatu (here) has. They’d be so happy to join in.
A word about Safdong Province though, Sir. It can be quite a difficult place to run.
The people here tend to argue a lot and they struggle to recognise, erm, what you might call boundaries when they fight with each other. We know you have trouble sometimes in the western mainland. The way to avoid it here is to be firm, right from the start. You’ll find the local police a big help in that regard. Tell them what you want done and, by Jove, a kick here, a shot and a shove there, a bit of a drag and you’ll get all the social order you need.
Good luck with all your reforms. They sound so exciting. You may find your people here about to commit to the very policies you are now trying to reverse, so please, when you have a moment, do have a word with them. We would get rid (in the political, please, not physically) of your Man on the Ground here and his ridiculous house if we were you. Absolutely bloody useless he is.
But, look, it’s your country now, and it’s your call.