If conmen zag instead of zig they trip on own gig

I have to confess my admiration for conmen.

I have to confess my admiration for conmen.

I realised my eerie fascination with charlatans watching a low budget, funny-ha-ha video of Moruti wa Tsotsi, which stars my homeboy Senyaka and musical luminaries such as Brenda Fassie.

It was vintage Senyaka, sans profanities which were becoming a blemish on his topsy-turvy career. Damn it, the bugger's a talented actor!

He plays the role of a preacherman who cons gullible communities and makes shocking amounts of money in the process.

It reminded me of two of the all-time "greats" of Conworld in my lifetime. One was the infamous "Prof Chaucer Mampuru", a high school dropout who spent months lecturing at the then Turfloop University in Polokwane. He booked himself into a plush hotel and somehow got the university students and staff to believe he was a professor.

As they say, he zigged and zagged, zigged and zagged, and zagged when he should have zigged. They caught him. The last I heard he was in the slammer.

Then there was the infamous Eugene Nyathi, an eloquent orator and a fiery, brilliant debater if there ever was one.

In the months running up to our first democratic elections, Nyathi was a leading "analyst" of political developments, a popular guest on TV and radio shows where he debated with heavyweights and often won.

He claimed a string of colourful qualifications from august institutions throughout the world. He was so in demand the Mpumalanga government pipped everyone and grabbed him as a consultant, paying him a handsome fee of R1million for his services.

Somewhere down the line Nyathi also zagged where he should have zigged and it all came crumbling down. It turned out that "Mr Nyathi" was in fact Albert Nana who had not finished his high school education.

When we buried my sister in September last year, a dignified, bearded and balding man clutching a Bible sidled up to the front and sat with the priests.

In case you are not aware, it is traditional at African funerals to invite priests from various denominations to come forward and "share" the proceedings with the officiating preacherman.

This one had bishop written all over his face, and walked with heavenly grace. His Chinese collared white shirt completed the picture. The presiding priest, in his generosity of spirit, offered the "bishop" the opportunity to throw in a word or two - an offer politely declined.

When family and other mourners marched out of the church hall, he ambled solemnly next to the leading priest. At the graveyard, the real priest must have insisted the job at hand had to be shared. The penny dropped. The "bishop" knew absolute zilch about priesthood.

As we watched a video of the funeral later, he was identified as a known conman in the neighbourhood. I giggle each time I watch footage of him nodding vigorously as the Word got to him during the funeral.

He probably conned us all to get his three minutes of "fame" - and he got a whole morning of limelight and a ride in a plush limousine to the graveyard.

Naughty, old bastard.