Hello ‘Dr’ ‘Mme!

Hello ‘Dr’ ‘Mme!

WOMEN know the irritation that comes with spending thousands on a genuine Gucci handbag and then see some clown storming a party with some fake Gucci bag picked up at a stall in the bus stop area for M100.
But before getting excited let’s all admit that we all have some fake things in our wardrobes.

And now that the yellowbone of a man who speaks through the nose while managing our national finances is throwing spanners in the works we should expect more fake things in government offices.

The good Dr says there will be no salary increment for civil servants this year. That’s just being mean. He also plans to cut international trips and chop per diems. That’s witchery.

So we should not be shocked when the government offices are flooded with fake socks and fake underwear. Also, brace for an avalanche of fake ‘sick notes’, as public servants use every trick in the book to duck work.
Dr Majoro is now facing 47 000 people who are faking commitment to their work while grumbling and insulting the ground on which he walks.

He must know that all those smiling subordinates at the Finance Ministry have anger in their hearts. They wish he would just choke on an ice cream.

It must have been June 1990 or somewhere thereabouts when Muckraker’s long lost aunty landed in Mafube from London. Among her gifts was a pair of Adidas sports shoes that little Muckraker promptly wore to school the next day.

Classmates and teachers were shocked that this little girl whose panty had holes was now stepping into the school yard in such opulent style.

A few rascals turned green with envy for two reasons: Some could not believe that Muckraker could be wearing such expensive shoes while others were jealous that her little cracked heels were enjoying the comfort of such pricey soles.
And as usually happens in this country full of copycats, it wasn’t long before other students harassed and haunted their parents for similar shoes. Soon half the school had similar shoes or something that resembled them.

Furious that the imitators were thieving her shine, little Muckraker moaned to her aunt about the injustice. The aunt’s response to the laments was simply: “Open your eyes little one. Their shoes are not the same as yours. Open your eyes.”

The next day Muckraker looked at most of the shoes closely and was pleasantly surprised because none of them were Adidas. Most were Abidas while a few, probably made by the most unimaginative counterfeiters, were abbibbas.
The aunt would later explain that all those shoes, apart from mine, were fong kongs that looked like genuine stuff. With time Muckraker learned that there were actually fong kongs of Fong kongs of Fong kongs. Imitations of imitations of the imitations to the imitations.

Boom! Oh boom! Now Muckraker knew that not all that glitters is gold.
If the Abidas was the fong kong of Adidas then abbibbas was the fake of Abidas.

Today, decades later, it’s her turn to put your heart at ease like her aunt did. My people let your heart not be troubled by fakes of fake things. Envy not that which is not the real Maccoy. Phew!

Let’s not pretend to be confused for there is no riddle here. We are talking about the small matter of honorary degrees. It’s time to kill this silly debate about honorary and real degrees.

Read this slowly so you don’t get it twisted. Muckraker is not hostile to honorary degrees. Her problem is that those who hold them like to pretend that they are real degrees.

Here are the distinctions. A real degree is earned while an honorary degree is given. You read for a real degree and you are nominated for an honorary one. You cannot mention your honorary degree when you say ‘I beg to apply’.
There are those who have been claiming that an honorary degree can be bought. They are right. There is a

flourishing market for honorary degrees. For a few thousands of Maloti you can append the ‘Dr’ title to your name. In the past three weeks Muckraker has been offered five honorary degrees for prices ranging from M20 000 to M100 000.
Again, she is not saying all honorary degrees are bought. Nada! The point is just to illustrate how easy it is to get an honorary title. These distinctions matter because they go right to the core of the integrity of the education system.
An owl does not become a chicken just because it finds itself in a flock of chickens.

Now that we are clear on the differences it is time to move on to the rules of an honorary degree. The first rule is that those who have been given honorary degrees shall not pretend that they have earned real degrees.
The simple point being that if you have an honorary degree you should never pretend to be in the same class as Professor Sejanamane or Professor Mahao or Dr Ntsike or even Dr Fako.
You can hobnob with them but you are not one of them.

So when holders of real Doctorates speak you are not allowed to answer as if you are their peer.
This is for your own good because you might just expose yourself as the ignoramus that you are.
The second rule is that no matter how tempting it is there is no justification for holders of honorary doctorates to prefix their name with the ‘Dr’ title.

While it is not taboo doing so makes you look desperate, if not silly. The logic here is that you should never deliberately create confusion over that which is earned and what is given.

That is to say those with honorary degrees should never seek to steal the thunder of those who have real degrees. That is why the late Nelson Mandela never called himself ‘Dr’ despite having numerous doctoral degrees. He knew it takes years of reading and research to be called a ‘Dr’.

He was aware that unlike honorary doctorates real doctorates do not grow on trees.
It’s not surprising that neither Uncle Tom nor Size Two call themselves ‘Dr’.

It is only those bootlickers around them who insist on calling them with that title.
Sadly such brownnosers have the audacity to insist on other people calling Uncle Tom and Size Two ‘Dr’. It is pathetic but understandable because we live in a country where flattery can get you far up the ladder.

The long education on honorary degrees brings us to the current brouhaha about the First Lady’s honorary doctorate from some little known church college.

When the news started trending, Muckraker dismissed it as some fake and nasty rumour meant to poke fun at the esteemed First Lady.

It turned out that this was real news and there were pictures of the stunning sister in a red gown and a hood.
Holy dung!

Those who died before this event missed out on a spectacle to behold.
The wondrous wonder was supposed to be wonderful but it has turned sour sooner than we can say ‘Dr Mme…”
It is not that the sister hasn’t done some wonderful things or that she did not deserve the honour.
The shock was in the timing.

First, the sister is only a few years in this charitable business but is already being pampered with accolades.
Second, the sister is still too young to be receiving honorary doctorates.

She still has the energy and time to earn her own real doctorate degree by reading.
But Muckraker would not judge her too harshly because it is possible that someone somewhere instigated the whole thing. She obviously did not nominate herself.

She is incapable of such deceit. Someone who wanted to curry favour with her took it upon themselves to nominate her.

It takes guts to roam the internet until you come across the Divinity College Consortium’s website because it is not known for anything. It is just a nonentity of a tertiary institution.
And therein lies the trouble with this honorary degree. If it was from a prestigious institution no one will be finding it curious and funny. What makes an honorary degree credible is the stature of the person honoured and the university honouring.

If the institution is lousy people will laugh at the recipient. It works in reverse as well.
So the person who initiated this honorary doctorate for the First Lady should be hiding in shame because they chose a crummy college to give the honour.

The result is that what should be celebrated is being ridiculed.
The only solace is that she can still get another honorary doctorate because there is no limit to how many you can have. The other source of comfort is that she can start the process of getting a real doctorate. Go girl!

Nka! Ichuuuuuuuuuuu!


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