The first regular column I ever wrote was "Main Street", for the Windhoek Advertiser in the 1960s. I poked fun at Dr HF Verwoerd's declaration of Windhoek as a "city", pointing out it didn't as yet have any parking meters, whereupon the chairman of the municipal council, a Dr A B May, attacked me in public and compared me to the Reverend Michael Scott (a local activist who had been banned), which May regarded as the ultimate insult. But we still continued to greet each other politely when we met on the same flat landing we shared with adjacent front doors.
Within a few years of joining the Cape Times in 1966, I took over writing the parliamentary sketch "Notes in the House", which the first editor and founder, Frederick York St Leger, had begun in 1876. I wrote it for the next 30 years, from 1969 to 1999. In 1971 the then editor, Tony Heard, suggested I also write an out-of-session column (Parliament only sat for six months a year) as a sort of satirical PS to the leader. With odd breaks, I've been writing that column ever since.
I delighted in taking the mickey out of the apartheid Nats, and thought I would run out of material when the ANC, who were clearly on the side of the fairies, came to power. But leave any party in power long enough, and they insist on becoming fair game. So hats off to Zuma, Malema and the rest of the gang for making a columnist's job so much easier.