......claimed to be
The following are claimed to be actual news excerpts from the African press
in South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
1. The Cape Times (Cape Town):
"I have promised to keep his identity confidential", said Jack Maxim, a
spokeswoman for the Sandton Sun Hotel, Johannesburg, "but I can confirm that
he is no longer in our employment". "We asked him to clean the lifts and he
spent four days on the job. When I asked him why, he replied: 'Well, there
are forty of them, two on each floor, and sometimes some of them aren't
there'. Eventually, we realised that he thought each floor had a different
lift, and he'd cleaned the same two twelve times. "We had to let him go. It
seemed best all round. I understand he is now working for GE Lighting."
2. The Star (Johannesburg):
"The situation is absolutely under control," Transport Minister Ephraem
Magagula told the Swaziland parliament in Mbabane. "Our nation's merchant
navy is perfectly safe. We just don't know where it is, that's all."
Replying to an MP's question, Minister Magagula admitted that the landlocked
country had completely lost track of its only ship, the Swazimar: "We
believe it is in a sea somewhere. At one time, we sent a team of men to look
for it, but there was a problem with drink and they failed to find it, and
so, technically, yes, we've lost it a bit. But I categorically reject all
suggestions of incompetence on the part of this government. The Swazimar is
a big ship painted in the sort of nice bright colours you can see at night.
Mark my words, it will turn up. The right honourable gentleman opposite is a
very naughty man, and he will laugh on the other side of his face when my
ship comes in."
3. The Standard (Kenya):
"What is all the fuss about?" Weseka Sambu asked a hastily convened news
conference at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. "A technical hitch like
this could have happened anywhere in the world. You people are not patriots.
You just want to cause trouble." Sambu, a spokesman for Kenya Airways, was
speaking after the cancellation of a through flight from Kisumu, via Jomo
Kenyatta, to Berlin: "The forty-two passengers had boarded the plane ready
for take-off, when the pilot noticed one of the tyres was flat. Kenya
Airways did not possess a spare tyre, and unfortunately the airport nitrogen
canister was empty. A passenger suggested taking the tyre to a petrol
station for inflation, but unluckily the jack had gone missing so we
couldn't get the wheel off. Our engineers tried heroically to reinflate the
tyre with a bicycle pump, but had no luck, and the pilot even blew into the
valve with his mouth, but he passed out. When I announced that the flight
had to be abandoned, one of the passengers, Mr Mutu, suddenly struck me
about the face with a life-jacket whistle and said we were a national
disgrace. I told him he was being ridiculous, and that there was to be
another flight in a fortnight. And, in the meantime, he would be able to
enjoy the scenery around Kisumu, albeit at his own expense."
4. From a Zimbabwean newspaper:
While transporting mental patients from Harare to Bulawayo, the bus driver
stopped at a roadside shebeen (beerhall) for a few beers. When he got back
to his vehicle, he found it empty, with the 20 patients nowhere to be seen.
Realizing the trouble he was in if the truth were uncovered, he halted his
bus at the next bus stop and offered lifts to those in the queue. Letting 20
people on board, he then shut the doors and drove straight to the Bulawayo
mental hospital, where he hastily handed over his charges, warning the
nurses that they were particularly excitable. Staff removed the furious
passengers; it was three days later that suspicions were roused by the
consistency of stories from the 20. As for the real patients: nothing more
has been heard of them and they have apparently blended comfortably back
into Zimbabwean society.