News / Opinion / Columns
I suffer from synesthesia. It’s a condition when a sense, such as sight, triggers another sense, like smell, at the same time.
I’m still unsure whether it’s a gift or an affliction.
Probably depends on what you see and sense. Clips of Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on the bench sees a sweet-smelling haze enveloping him.
When witnessing the Proteas being hammered, I see blue (for depression), and faded jerseys with the dreaded bended knee emblem.
But when our opening pair batter the boundaries I see a rainbow and smell freshly cut grass.
But when espying the political scene, I not only see colours, but come out in zits around my belly button, causing itching.
Constant scratching around the midriff is embarrassing. Scratch. My synesthesia can also at times become subject specific.
Whenever I see a photo of a smirking Jacob Zuma, I smell cattle dung and see blue. Scratch. Scratch.
Hearing the name Gupta raises the sense of smell to new heights. I see huge brown rats wearing fezzes gorging on rotting corpses.
Just the voice of Fikile Mbalula is enough to cause the zits to swell and scratching to increase. And I see yellow smiling emojis.
Julius Malema elicits pillar box red (for danger) and the smell of arid grabbed farmland dust. The zits are ready to ooze.
Scratch. Scratch. You’ll recall that Shakespeare’s Hamlet spoke of “something rotten in the state of Denmark”, referring to the politics of the day.
Nothing has changed. Thankfully there are some good combinations. Like wonderful neighbours.
When coming across Theo and Marietjie, I see bright yellow (cheerful and optimistic) and inhale the smell of roses.
The zits and scratching immediately recede.
ALSO READ: Who really runs the ANC?
When I hear the voice of Louis Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World, I see merlot, and the smell of genuine leather fills the air.
All in all, synesthesia isn’t a bad thing. And I reckon most of us have it to a greater or lesser degree without realising it.
Try a little exercise. Close your eyes and picture a parliamentary sitting. Or Zuma and his pals having tea beside the Nkandla pool?
Or SA’s Bonny & Clyde glugging down a Glen Livet after a successful heist from a bank for the poor. What do you see or smell? No doubt, enough to make you heave.