HE lay with his spouse in a burial mound in Russia, symbols of their royal status, power and wealth adorning both skeletons, their tomb untouched for 27 centuries. But while the find was thrilling for the archaeologists involved, it was the palaeopathologists, specialists in ancient diseases, who ultimately benefited most.
For the man had died of metastasising cancer and this is the oldest confirmed case of prostate cancer in history.
At the heart of the recent Mail & Guardian judgment sit two figures, mere shadows in most comment on the case: judges Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe.
Commissioned by then-president Thabo Mbeki to observe and report on the 2002 Zimbabwe elections, the judges filed an account of their observations, which representatives of the office of the president refuse to release. What exactly they did in Zimbabwe remains obscure; the state's argument in court obscures matters even further, smudging the nature of the judges' work by claiming that they were effectively diplomats whose work was due the secrecy, WikiLeaks notwithstanding, usually accorded a country's foreign service.
I have found some disturbing judicial interplay in an otherwise mundane appeal decision about a property sale. Tucked away at the end of the decision, issued by the Supreme Court of Appeal last week, are two troubling judgments both written by acting members of that bench.
First, the characters. The five judges who heard the appeal were Jonathan Heher, Azhar Cachalia and Eric Leach, with acting appeal judges Ronnie Pillay and Shamim Ebrahim.
The sixth judicial character is a senior advocate, Dumisa Ntsebeza, who - while acting on the High Court bench in Joburg - wrote a decision that became the subject of an appeal. Ntsebeza is an influential member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and plays a decisive role in who gets appointed. Ebrahim wants promotion to the appeal court but has so far failed in her efforts at the commission; Pillay's acting stint on the appeal court suggests that he, too, hopes for permanent appointment there.
First the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had its chance; now the Supreme Court of Appeal is having a say as well. The problem causing concern to both was Judge Ntsikelelo Poswa of Pretoria, who holds the national record for delay in giving reasons for making a court order.
It's possible that Judge Poswa was merely following the example of one of South Africa's judicial leaders, Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. But the appeal court has now made it clear that when it comes to such spectacular delays the behaviour of both is unacceptable.
When Nekele Dolo's boyfriend was charged with defrauding his employers at Anglo Platinum, she needed to act quickly. If she wasn't going to be charged with him and face a long jail sentence, she had just one chance. She would have to make a full statement about her involvement in his fraudulent scheme. And if, on the basis of her statement she was called to give evidence in court, she would have to testify openly and honestly.
Dolo's statement achieved her aim: she wasn't charged and she hasn't gone to jail. The trouble is, her own bosses got to hear of her less-than-lawful activities. Now, because she colluded with her boyfriend's frauds and even though her own employers were not directly affected by her actions, she has lost her job.