At the beginning of each academic year, Beloit College in Wisconsin, US, puts together a list to try to give the teaching staff a sense of the mindset of the year’s intake of new students.
It is interesting to do the same exercise for those who are about to begin at our universities.
Most of them would have no meaningful recollection of PW Botha or apartheid. They don’t recall the Nationalist government and the “homelands”.
They have no recollection of the township school boycotts and riots. They have no recollection of press censorship or states of emergency.
The Angola War is ancient history.
As far as they are concerned, Nelson Mandela has always been free.
They weren’t even born when the space shuttle Challenger blew up, and as for the Titanic, they think we’ve always known exactly where it rests.
They are too young to remember Joburg as SA’s commercial capital and think that Sandton – born in 1971 – has always been a big office and retail centre.
There has been only one pope.
They do not remember the Cold War or the Soviet Union or Gorbachev.
Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.
The expression “You sound like a broken record” also means nothing to them. A record player to them is as old fashioned as a wind-up gramophone is to their grandparents.
There have always been compact discs and there have always been answering machines and VCRs, but they have no idea what Beta was.
They have never known life without a remote control and can’t remember when e-mail wasn’t around.
There’s always been Aids.
They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter but have always known computers.
They have never played Pac Man.
They were either in their cradles or still in the womb when the Walkman was introduced.
They have no recollection of the Iraqi War and don’t care who shot JR and, anyway, have no idea who he was.
DEAR MR PRESIDENT
Ian Snelling of Hillcrest found the following addressed to Britain’s prime minister, but feels it is his bounden duty to adapt it for President Jacob Zuma.
Dear Mr President,
Please find below our suggestion for fixing the SA economy.
Instead of giving billions of rand to yes men and ANC followers who will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. There are about 3 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay each of them R5 million “severance pay” for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1. They MUST retire. That’s 3 million job openings – unemployment fixed.
2. They MUST buy a new car. Three million cars ordered – car industry fixed.
3. They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – housing |crisis fixed.
4. They MUST send their kids to school/college/university – crime rate fixed.
5. They MUST buy R500 worth of alcohol/tobacco a week. There’s your money back in duty/tax etc.
It can’t get any easier than that!
PS If more money is needed, have all members of Parliament and officials pay back their falsely claimed expenses and their bribes for fiddled tenders.
PPS You might say: “But what about the lack of skills of those who’ll fill the jobs vacuum?” I say: “Well look at your friend who’s filled the vacancy for the CEO’s job at the SABC. He doesn’t even have matric.”
LETTER TO THE STOEP
Writing as an average woman I can tell you that women would rather have beauty than brains. This is because the average man can see better than he can think.