The Zodiac of Zuma

Daily Prompt: You’re tasked with creating a brand new astrological sign for the people born around your birthday — based solely on yourself. What would your new sign be, and how would you describe those who share it?



“Well now,” Gertruida says, rising to the challenge, “That’s an easy task…I think.”

Whenever the conversation in Boggel’s Place slews towards long ‘Umm’s” and grunting ‘Aahhh’s”, the best thing to do, is to ask an impossible question like “How big is the universe?” or “When will people see the problem with BEE?”. The magnitude of those questions will keep Gertruida talking for hours at end, providing ample opportunity for debate to while away the empty hours. The creation of a new Zodiac sign was Precilla’s idea, who thinks some people don’t fit into the twelve described in The Upington Post.

“Now, let’s see… Yes! Let’s think of somebody who we know nothing about. Nothing personal, that is, but still somebody everybody is familiar with. Then we can create a personality, a Zodiac sign, and suggest something in the future according to the stars.”

Oudoom and Servaas immediately objects, saying such things are unbiblical, but Precilla assures them it’s only for fun. And anyway, she says, they’ve talked about the drought for days now, what else could they possibly discuss?

“Look,” Vetfaan ventures, “we all know the people in the newspapers – or at least, know about them. But we don’t really know them, do we? They’re just names; faces we recognise, but with no idea what they are like in real life.”

“Like our president?” Kleinpiet’s remark results in a protracted silence.

“Ye-e-e-e-s. I suppose that’s a good one.” Precilla isn’t entirely convinced, but anything is better than Oudoom’s disapproval.

“I like it.” Boggel spreads an imaginary banner in the air. “Born under the sign of Zuma!” He ignores the guffaws. “It’d describe almost anybody involved in politics these days.”

Precilla takes out a small notebook and jots down the suggestions made by the group at the bar. People who are born under this sign:

  • Like to shower. They are extremely fastidious about cleanliness.
  • Don’t care much about formal academics – they go with their gut instinct and do not mind making mistakes.
  • Laugh a lot, especially when such mistakes are pointed out.
  • Have a way of avoiding pointed questions, blaming problems on others and ignoring criticism.
  • The men, especially, are known for their romantic side. Relationships are often compromised by their wonderful ability to attract women – especially if such ladies are conversant in the art of flattery.
  • Attract rich and influential friends, irrespective of their social standing. Being born under this sign makes such individuals immune to criticism and disapproval. If you have the gift to rub up an ego, you’re a friend for life.
  • Choose to be ignorant about financial matters. As long as the money keeps rolling in, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.
  • Love the idea of having large swimming pools, a few chicken coops and enough bodyguards.
  • Cannot drive slowly. They usually must have a few cars with flashing blue lights to clear the way in their need for speed.
  • Prefer flying – whenever they can get somebody else to foot the bill.
  • Cannot be labelled as egocentric – as long as they have an imbongi, they will sit listening with rapt attention for hours.
  • The older they get, the better they were. The past is extremely important.

Precilla doesn’t write down everything. Some of the remarks bordered on the ridiculous, like Servaas’s suggestion that Zumians have a propensity to provide ample numbers to future generations. Or Kleinpiet’s remarks about  these individual’s ability to fool everybody all the time. Still, by the time she covered three pages, the mood in Boggel’s Place may be described as hilarious – a pleasant change from the dreary discussion of the drought,


Gertruida says that is one aspect of our human nature she doesn’t understand. Why do we laugh at the things that hurt us most? Or joke about serious matters? Surely having a thirteenth Zodiac sign would be unlucky? Or is it the only way to digest the diet of bad news we have to face every day?

That question remains unanswered while Boggel serves another round.


10 thoughts on “The Zodiac of Zuma

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