…a luta continua

It is done. Of course there will be the loose ends between now and the time it finally goes to print, but the text has been written. Instead of feeling jubilant, I have simply moved on to the next pile of papers on the desk, as one does when one earns a living sitting on one’s ass.

I wanted to make some wisecrack about a treadmill, but that reminded me that I should go get on one, rather, seeing that writing about nothing requires quite a bit of good chocolate to prevent one from plunging into despair.

I thought I should post an excerpt, just so that Guilietta can see WHAT EXACTLY writing shit is. By comparison, the rest of the blog is a page-turning crowd-puller replete with wit and fresh insight.

…a luta continua

President Thabo Mbeki’s State of the Nation address on 9 February 2001 had a lot of good news.

In the previous year 1,1 million subsidised homes had been completed, or were under construction. Almost 400 000 electricity grid connections were made. Clean water supplied through the Community Supply Program had increased a hundred fold to 6 495 205. Four hundred and twelve thousand new telephone lines were installed in the preceding financial year. One hundred and twenty seven clinics were built.

A distorted distribution of income and wealth persisted (84% of low-income earners were black, and 71.9 per cent of the high-income earners were white) and increased efforts needed to be made to achieve gender equality by government as well as the private sector. But on the brighter side, the Bureau of Market Research of UNISA reported that between 1995 and 2000, real personal disposable income of all categories of South Africans had increased.

On the whole, the economy continued to improve. The foreign trade surplus in December 2000 was a record R9 billion and the consumer inflation rate was 5,3 per cent, compared to 15,3 per cent in 1991. The share market was approaching record highs and South Africa jumped 14 places to the number 33 spot on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.

And so on. There were good reasons to start the year filled with optimism. The MGDA* did its best.

[* Mystery Government Department Acronym]

Then you add a couple of words (120) of what exactly went on in the organisation, and then you call it an overview of a year in which absolutely nothing happened, and that most people who still work there cannot even remember. They scratch their heads and stare into space. They “hmmm” and then call to the person in the office next door… “Sheila! What happened in 2001?” and Sheila shouts back “Before my time… ask Mpho.” And then they say, “Did you look at the resolutions?” And if you did, then there is not much more help they can give you.

Of course, in any government organisation a lot happens every year. But I guess rampant back-stabbing, politicking and manoeuvring for position is not really something that you want in your 10-year anniversary book.

Anyway, the text is done now, and I am pleased with it on the whole.  (Post script, Sunday morning: by “on the whole” I mean ALL of the 14 000-odd words and 12 sections I wrote and that are “the text” – not just the three paragraphs I spoke of here… really.)

Now for the treadmill.


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