The King has a fleet of black BMW Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs). These sinister vehicles transport his family members around the country in style. The SUVs are topped with blue flashing lights and have darkened windows. They are usually accompanied by a sporty police pickup truck in front and behind, for the security detail and bodyguards.
One Saturday morning I was walking back from town when a black SUV passed me and pulled over at the side of the road. I could see there were pennants flying from mini flagstaffs on the front wings, but I didn’t know what these indicated. The two passenger doors opened and someone got out between them. At first, I thought this chap was going to clamber up the embankment and pop into Moneni SPAR to do a bit of shopping. But he stayed where he was, stationary, facing away from the car. I realised what was happening when I saw a jet of urine splattering against the roadside.
For a brief moment I thought I might just pull out my camera and take a snapshot as I walked past. Would this be a national scoop? Would my photo be on the front page of the Swaziland Observer or The Times? I could see the by-line in my mind’s eye, “Royal Wee, by expat pee-parazzo”. But happily, common sense prevailed and I decided on discretion, rather than fame. My camera remained sheathed. And I remain at large, not confined to a Correctional Institute.
I’m sure it wasn’t the king who had been caught short. The gentleman was very casually dressed. There were no flanking motorbike outriders, no muscular policemen in shiny black pickup trucks, front and rear. If it had been HRH, I could have offered him a throne at my place, just a 100 metres down the road, where he could pee in peace.
He climbed back into the SUV, the doors slammed shut, and with blue lights flashing, the vehicle pulled back onto the tarmac and roared off.