Full Flavour Behaviour!

the Times of Swaziland
8th July just after lunch

It's massively surreal that I should be gainfully employed in Swaziland, and doubly so that I would be hired by a newspaper so soon after graduating. I suppose you can't fight the desire within.. or something. The Times is a hoot, it really is; this is the paper that is regularly 'most quoted' in Private Eye and also saw fit, when Swaziland lay under the first dusting of snow in 80-odd years, to print the headline, Second Coming of Christ.

With a Government ban on political activity, the journalists are forced to seek out the most mundane stories and print them twice in the same issue.. it's a fascinating and at times hilarious read. My job here appears to be more copy editor than sub editor, but although the opportunity for comedy headlines is greatly reduced, it's still great to have people thank you so emphatically for converting their rush job gobbledigook into comprehensible English.

My favourite screw-up so far has been the MP whose stolen and recently returned horse has '"born" him a cow'. In fact, this is not as biologically extraordinary as it sounds (get those guys from the Natural History museum back off the plane) but was merely a colourful way of saying that the father of the horse theif had also furnished the MP with a cow as compensation. Occasionally, the detail of the story are African enough - for example the burglary victim convinced that the theives used a 'muti' (potion) to put her and her husband into a deep sleep, because they heard nothing.

Sometimes, though, stuff comes through which simply isn't funny, no matter which way you look at it.

MBABANE – A young woman’s failure to differentiate between labour pains and stomach ache resulted in her baby girl being born into a pit latrine in the morning hours of Saturday.
The incident occurred at Mavula area in the northern Hhohho and was confirmed by Police Assistant Public Relations Officer, Willie Maseko. The baby, who spent about 4 hours in the latrine, is alive and was admitted together with her mother at Mkhuzweni health centre..
..The baby’s mysterious survival comes a month after another survived death after being buried by her mother at KaPhunga area.

Urgh. In other news, Ava and I are having great fun with the R4,50 (about 30p) ball I bought yesterday and is showing signs of being a great footballer.. just like Maradona she can't keep those little fingers off the thing. Lizzie has put me in charge of dinner this evening; watch out for a pull-out special on food poisoning.

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