Cricket, Eton  and UCT’s “Big Phakeng Mess”


I start most mornings playing with words, either writing them,  reading them or trying to guess them.  This comes in the way of journaling, catching up with the news for the day from Daily Maverick and or playing Wordle.  I used to obsess about Wordle, keeping track of my success rate until I broke my 56 day streak with the word SPICE which I got after attempting, stout, shear, siled, swipe, spike and spine.  I wasn’t concentrating. I was on edge and I just grabbed “siled” from the ether.  Even as I’m typing, autocorrect is changing it to tiled, but alas, there is no autocorrect in wordle so “siled” slipped by. Apparently it is a word which means to move downwards in a flowing or gliding motion.  The rain siled down gently would be an acceptable use of the word.  Of course I did not know that and through desperation to guess my wordle for the day, I used it. I lean toward an obsessive, compulsive nature so breaking a streak can be mortifying for me, but with the help of reading a few tips and tricks, I get back on the horse and giddy-up toward my next streak. I now laugh at my 2 day streak and announce in town-crier-style of my success at moving toward my 3 day streak.  Anyway, it’s a bit of fun and takes the sting out of breaking the streak.

Back to my headline about cricket, Eton and UCT’s “Big Phakeng Mess”. Last week an independent report on the UCT governance crisis was released.  I’m sure you may have spotted it although you may be forgiven had you missed it because of the euphoric state our country has been in since the Springbok’s returned home from France with their 4th Rugby World Cup win. They are touring the country trying desperately to undo our crushed spirit of hopelessness since 2007. You may also have missed that  the Proteas are currently trying to bolster us even further with their World Cup hopes too. 

UCT’s “big Phakeng Mess” and Ngonyama demurely denying she has anything to do with it all while her lawyers look over the report got me thinking about Eton Mess.  I wondered if Eton had experienced the same sort of fiasco and governance crisis that brought about the naming of the dessert. It turns out that during a cricket match, an annual event Eton v Harrow, in the late 1800’s, meringue with strawberries and cream was dropped on the floor.  Rather than toss the whole lot in the bin, it was scooped up and served in individual bowls. This became known as Eton Mess.  It’s a rather mild calamity to be sure compared to our version at UCT which I will now remember as UCT’s ‘Big Phakeng Mess”.  

History nudges us to remember so that we can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.  History often gets buried or forgotten about conveniently to serve the idiots who perpetuate the wrong doings in the first place.  I won’t pelt your memory with previous history lessons here, but what I’d like to do is think about a just dessert that will help us remember what we are going through as a country so that we can rise and remember and build ONE NATION that brings us together.  One nation that believes it’s time to be stronger together rather than the alternative Phakeng Mess of racial dividing.

I’m not a journalist, so I won’t inveigle my way into Daily Maverick’s tenacity and determination to get their teeth into this despicable mess.  When the story broke in October last year, I remember feeling a deep sense of hopelessness at the entire affair.  It was a ‘what more??? kind of feeling that made me want to bury my head in meringues and come up for air when it all passed.  It’s taken over a year, but it’s actually happened, so I must be grateful for the tiny steps we are taking toward a brighter, unified south Africa. 

So what would be an appropriate commemorative dessert that exposed UCT’s “Big Phakeng Mess”?  I’d love your thoughts on the matter so that I can get into my kitchen and create a memorable mess.  I’m currently toying with chocolate meringue, nuts and prickly pears with a splash of Amarula.   

Here’s UCT’s statement  acknowledging their mess and the role they played in not listening in the first place.  I’m not sure why I keep thinking about another dessert called Spotted Dick? I wonder if they all believe they siled from public scrutiny? No time for that I have prickly pears to pluck. Incidentally the prickly pear is also known as the Indian Fig. Good Luck to our Proteas for the rest of the Cricket World Cup. 

It appears harvest time for prickly pears is between February and April so I re-thought my UCT Mess. I had a microwavable christmas pudding from Woolies in the pantry and some tin roof ice-cream in the freezer that Brian bought on special (with a ready made roast chicken). I poured over some brandy and set the christmas pudding alight, which gave me a bit of delight and it felt rather cathartic in a medieval burn at the stake kind of way. Of course I actually mean this metaphorically. I’ve been reading Stephen King’s book about writing and he tells me, my writings and ramblings are not always going to be like by my readers. This could be one of those moments.

PS I was trying to be patriotic so I thought I’d used our national fruit. When I actually found out what it is, I wasn’t feeling it. Do you know what it is, without the help of ChatGPT or Google?? They don’t agree by the way. SO I highly recommend you cross reference your research. Apparently it’s ackee????? Have you ever heard of it? I must say I was more aligned with ChatGPT’s marula answer. That definitely made more sense to me.

Cricket, Eton  and UCT’s “Big Phakeng Mess”

UCT Mess (Inspired by Eton Mess) Same Same but different, nothing like it in fact


  • 1 ready made christmas pudding
  • 1 Tbls brandy
  • Woolworths tin roof ice cream


  • Jump in your car, or maybe on your bicycle, what with petrol and diesel prices sky rocketing. Drive to your nearest Woolies and purchase the pudding and ice cream
  • Come home- pop pudding in microwave and blast for 2 minutes on high. I bought the one without alcohol and then decided I'd add my own for drama.
  • Scoop ice cream into a bowl
  • Pour brandy over warmed pudding and set alight
  • Add a slice of pudding to the bowl of tin roof ice cream and enjoy while reading my story. I made Brian do it, so you have to too.

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