Enterprising leaders tuck in
This Sunday I was driving on Barry Hertzog Avenue in Johannesburg when I saw something that made me laugh so loudly and so violently that I nearly crashed and wiped out myself and my daughter.
Turning into Barry Hertzog, I was just wondering how many of the tens of thousands of people who use the road every day know who Hertzog was - or the fact that the former prime minister was named after a woman.
(I'm not sure that, at the time he was born - 1866 - Mr and Mrs Hertzog were aware that the celebrated Dr James Barry, who had lived and worked in the Cape Colony as a surgeon of the masculine kind, was, in fact, a woman. Barry had died only the year before when, supposedly, it was discovered that he was actually a she.)
Anyhow, that's what I was musing on when I saw the thing that I found so immediately and overwhelmingly amusing. It was a newspaper poster advertising the fact that that day's issue of a particularly ribald little Afrikaans weekly tabloid was running a readers' competition. "Win a boob job!'' it declared.
I thought this an uproariously funny and very clever bit of marketing and was sorely tempted to stop and buy a copy of Sondag newspaper at the next robot. (Not that I am for a moment suggesting - you must understand - that anyone whom I might or might not be married to is in any way in need of any form of breast enhancement or supplementation or whatever is involved with a boob job.)
I didn't buy Sondag newspaper because, apart from anything else, I already had three different Sunday newspapers in the car with me.
Normally I'd be worried that the editor would haul me before a disciplinary committee for admitting in public to reading weekend newspapers other than the Sunday Times - or for even acknowledging in print that such things exist.
I read those other Sunday papers and give their proprietors my money purely in the interests of research, you see, and so that the opinions expressed here are informed by as wide a variety of sources of information as possible.
So, in the Sunday Times I read the tawdry story about the minister's boyfriend being paid R6-million to help organise a conference. (Tell your children not to worry about becoming chartered accountants or doctors; arranging conferences and business breakfasts, it now turns out, is where the really big bucks are to be made.)
One of the other newspapers had, on its front page, a rather good headline: "Nkandla tuck shock." This related the news that, while the nice people at Public Works were beefing up security at that rural KwaZulu-Natal key point for R200-million plus your loose change, they threw in a brand new tuck shop costing R586 487 for first lady Sizakele Khumalo.
MaKhumalo is the first lady in more than one sense, but obviously never mentioned to her husband her new tuck shop (I would have imagined that you could get the better part of a Kwikspar for that amount of money) because, as the Public Works minister has made abundantly clear, the president was as surprised as the rest of us to find out about all the work going on in and around his house.
Now that I'm reading so many newspapers, I am much better informed than I used to be and it is crystal clear to me that any suggestions I might have made in the past that this government didn't care about small business were informed only by my ignorance.
From enterprising rural tuck shop owners to impecunious conference organisers, this government is investing millions in succouring small business. Of course there is such a great need that our wise leaders are practising that famous dictum: charity begins at home.
Dr Barry is credited with performing the first successful caesarian operation in Africa. The too-posh-to-push brigade are all in his/her debt.