E-learning, I hated it, I think I even hated my principal when he first introduced it in 2017. He stood behind the podium and said it was “compulsory” for us to start using Tablet PCs. He laughed and he said: “Technology is taking over!”
Sure carrying books to school was sometimes a burden but some of us didn’t mind. The thought of having one small device replace my 4 textbooks irked me. A device that could fall just once and stop working in a split second. What happens to a book when you drop it? Nothing! If it catches dirt you just simply wipe it off. I was not against change or development. I am a fan of change, but carrying books every day of the week – Monday to Friday – was normal.
Myself and my other comrades contested against this E-learning. We were very strategic in addressing our grievances and did our best to refrain from violence. We did not want another Hector Pieterson case, and our principal did say that he was once in the military.
We brought the matter up to the school executive committee, but they needed some convincing so we sought to convince them. We reminded the executive committee just how precious books are.
“My president, what about the paper fights? Remember the last paper fight we had…the pea shooting of papers? The paper guns?”
And just like that we won them over.
We managed to make them see things our way and the following week our school principal announced that it was no longer compulsory for us to purchase tablet PCs. Instead we now had a choice – Textbooks or Tablet PCs.
That’s when my Normalisation movement started, 27 years ago.
Things are slightly different now. Our country is divided into two; Blacks and Whites. You must be thinking: Ha! Aren’t you a racist! South Africa is different now. In fact I am dating Jessica, a white girl whom I really love. She sees through the poverty and everything we face down here. I thought she was going to leave me last week when Normalisation gave her old, wrinkled newspaper instead of toilet paper.
I’ll tell you more about her later…
What I mean is that our country is literally divided into two. Below, lives us who fight for Normalisation and above, live those who prefer the new world, the Techno-World. The problem is that we are seen as terrorists. So every now and then the ruling government which is of course part of the Techno-World attempts to do away with us.
A small fraction of the Techno-World consists of robots which totally look like humans and live like humans. These robots are programmed so that they are completely moral. They are perfect and cannot do any wrong. Even in the ruling government there are one or two robots, hence there is no corruption now. One of their officials was fired after he used an enormous amount of the state’s tax money to upgrade his home, he was dealt with immediately. His accounts were frozen, assets seized and all his wives left him.
Although unemployment continues, no one goes to bed on an empty stomach. Everybody seems equal even though some are wealthier than others. This is all great, I know. However it is not normal walking around with robots! It is not normal for a country or government to be controlled by robots. Soon they will take over. It reminds me of my principal’s statement: “Technology is taking over!”
We’re trying to prevent just that; that’s why we fight for Normalisation. We don’t care about the cars that drive themselves while humans sit and do nothing. No we don’t. I’ll tell you what’s normal, a father teaching his son/daughter to step on the bloody clutch and changing the gear from one to two. That’s normal, but we don’t care about that, really. What we’re fighting for is for humanity to exist even tomorrow. For us to be able to bury our loved ones the traditional way, not for them to be frozen like pieces of chicken. They announced it on the news a year ago that they would now start freezing the dead.
They’ve even banned barbeques! They say it’s our fault that the ozone layer is so thin now. Well that’s partly true but still.
It was around 9:30 p.m. when Jessica texted me that she was here. I was at one of our Normalisation meetings. I snuck out so that my fellow comrades would not see me, otherwise they’d know I was going to meet Jessica. It was hard for us to be together. It was not the race that was the issue; it was where she comes from.
You see Jessica comes from the Techno-World, so we have to sneak around like kids – A modern day Romeo and Juliet case. My people also hate her because she’s part of the family of the ruling government. What they do not know is that Jessica, like us also does not approve of some of the Techno-World ways and norms. They just will not accept her.
I went out to the car landing zone where Techno-cars landed and there it was, still aloft, Jessica’s white Techno-VW beetle. It had blue under car neon lights, and no wheels at all. She jumped out before she even turned off her engine, ran to me and gave me a hug. She had been crying, in fact she started crying again.
“It’s my father, now I know why he wants the dead to be frozen and not buried…”
I took four of my best men and drove in Jessica’s car. Jessica too tagged along, we needed a hostage and who better than the daughter of the president of the ruling government. I put tape around her mouth to make it look real, which she removed so she could kiss me and then returned it.
The border control didn’t waste any time after we drove through the boom barrier. They ran to their cars. At least they can ran, compared to those round people we used to call cops, the likes of Constable Mthembu and them. After 2 minutes we were being chased by Techno Cops.
I was driving really fast, turning left and right, right then left again. Jessica was really frightened by the whole scene – fast driving, cop chase, close calls and near misses.
“Is this how the taxi drivers you told me about drove…?” she asked.
I felt like Justin Bieber in Fast and the Furious 18. He plays the role of Dominic now.
We took the right, they took the right. We took the right again and they too took the right. We took the left then the right then the right then another left. I looked back at Jessica’s rear window and they were gone. Stupid robots.
Now we were headed towards the Union Buildings, and there it was, the nine-metre high bronze statue of Nelson Mandela. I still wonder how they got it to float. I guess even after so many years some figures will still be respected. We used Jessica’s access card to get past the security. I told two of my men to stay in the car with Jessica and the other two to come with me.
The building was surrounded by Techno-cops as I thought it would be. And the rest of Jessica’s family and other members of parliament stood behind them, cowards. So we had no way in. That’s at least what they thought.
“Bring her in…” I said in my walkie-talkie.
And before I could look up, I felt a slap to my face. It was hard; definitely not a human’s hand. I saw blood. This was not good. The robot stood in front of me, it had the face of Jessica’s uncle, the one who died about 3 years ago. He didn’t blink at all, but he walked like a human.
That’s why Jessica’s father wanted the dead to be frozen. They were turning them into a business scheme. Bringing the dead back to life. They charged people to bring back their loved ones to life, except they were now 80% robots and 20% human. But who wouldn’t want to spend a minute more with their loved one?
“Human being,” it or he called me. “Have you seen all the time travel movies… Have you?”
“Back to the Future, Terminator, Star Trek, Edge of Tomorrow, The Time Machine… Why do you think not any of them dare attempted to interfere with the year 2044? Because they knew they would be defeated. Accept it Human Being, we are taking over. And do you know what’s funny? You people made us. YOU MADE US. Your first mistake was thinking that you could control us forever. Ha ha ha ha ha.” he laughed.
He turned and shot a laser through Jessica’s father. She came running.
It was true. We made them, and now we can’t control them.