If the end of the world is nigh, so be it... and so what?

STUDENTS of Nostradamus, if that is what they are called, are having us quivering in our boots ahead of 2012.

STUDENTS of Nostradamus, if that is what they are called, are having us quivering in our boots ahead of 2012.

For the unschooled (like me) Nostradamus is the great predictor of all things gloomy, being credited with accurately predicting wars, assassinations and even Hitler, among others.

This French-Christian Jew lived and died some 400 years ago and qualified as a medical doctor.

While lettered men and women seem to be trembling in their boots like the rest of us lesser mortals, fearful of some great Armageddon, surely worrying about it is not going to avert what is coming.

If it comes, so be it.

In 1970 we were told the world was going to end. Weird-looking characters would waylay us outside the school gates, dish out booklets and leaflets and counsel us, telling us about the "signs".

Back then some of the signs were that "women are wearing men's clothes (pants), miniskirts, and, believe it or not, monkey-jive. We were told The Man Upstairs was so disgusted with the world he had decided to close it down.

The year came and went just like many before and after it.

Then came the year 2000. This one seemed to be at a distant horizon only our children could possibly see. The O'Jays even composed a song with a refraining line: "How old do you think you will be in the year 2000?"

Doomsayers pointed to the violence that was enveloping the country, homosexuality, Aids, anything ... it had all been predicted to happen on the eve of the end of the world, they said.

A favourite old man I knew even told me he thought when we ran out of 19s to count the years, we would have to start counting from year one.

Then it made sense. 1976, 19-this and that. Surely 20-whatever sounded wrong. The old man thought the wise men who make decisions for the world would be in trouble figuring out what to call the years at the end of 1999.

The more "serious" and "spiritual" quoted line and verse that "indicated" there was no way the signs could not be seen.

The world was just about to end. That, too, came and went.


Close to home, on the eve of a democratic South Africa, rightwingers called rallies at which they spelt out drills to follow when blacks took over the country and a bloody civil war broke out.

Families stockpiled groceries, and sales of rusks, biscuits, biltong, tinned food, gas and candles shot up.

Democracy came in 1994, we voted (not once but four times already), there are blacks in government, but the sun is still rising from the east and setting in the west.

If Nostradums's prediction is that the end is here - I confess I do not know what the great seer said is coming - I am not brooding. God promised no points for whingeing.

I am making whoopee.