Spelt, sum and snubbed

Spelt, sum and snubbed

THAT our parliament is overflowing with illiterates has never been in doubt. It is futile to deny something as clear as a pig’s behind.

True, our lawmakers are capable of rare flashes of competency but on the whole the parliament is brimming with unmitigated failures on the academic front. You see it in their lame debates and obsession with trivia.

Indeed, our MPs are well-trained in the art of ignorance. They are on a mission to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are dimwits masquerading as lawmakers.

Last week ‘Mamandla ‘Musa, an ABC MP of no particular constituency or skill, decided it was time to advertise illiterateness. She did a fantastic job of it.

There she was, roaming the grounds of a local hotel while pompously clutching a humiliating placard.

Pres Suma pls help we want Dr Thabane back asmplif tokh reaqela baba,” said her placard, scribbled in Grade 2 handwriting.

Muckraker’s tears and cheeks have never met under such embarrassing circumstances.

Talent has never been a prerequisite for one to know that they are a dunderhead.

And that is for a good reason: the Almighty did not want us to live a life of perpetual embarrassment on account of lacking the gift of knowing we are slow “upstairs”.

That there is no letter ‘Z’ in Sesotho cannot be an excuse for calling President Zuma “Suma”. Judging by the stern look on her face it was clear that ‘Mamandla was not trying to pull a prank when she wrote that placard. She had a serious message to convey to President Zuma. She genuinely wants Zuma to help “Dr” Thabane return home.


What astounded Muckraker is that ‘Mamandla remembered to put the Dr title behind Thabane’s name but could not spell Zuma’s name.

For the record, Muckraker would like to inform zealots and bootlickers in the opposition and the media that those given honourary doctorates should never append them to their names.

Using the title is a sign of desperation. It’s not for nothing that it’s called an honourary title. Nelson Mandela had many of those honourary degrees but never used them.

He remained Mandela to his grave. Michael Jackson also had such a title but he ever prefixed his good name with Dr.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has never used any of the four honourary doctorates he has. Thabo Mbeki has one but he remains simply Thabo or Mbeki. Kofi Annan remains Kofi Annan despite several honourary doctorate degrees. President Obama has several. His wife Michelle also has one. Mike Tyson has one and so does Oprah Winfrey. Only in Lesotho do honourary titles become part of a name. It’s embarrassing.

Those who have honourary titles but don’t use them understand that they are just hollow titles, some of which can be purchased through favours, connections and donations.

They also know that it’s not fair to steal the thunder from those who actually earned their doctorate degrees. The distinction between what was earned and what was given on a silver platter should always be clear. People must earn their doctorate degrees. Those given such degrees should lock them up in their drawers lest they confuse young people. This business of calling Size Two and Uncle Tom doctors is just pathetic. It’s just silly.



That was a digression. What brought us here was ‘Mamandla’s placard. It is an established rule of begging that those who beg should learn to correctly spell the names of those they are begging from. President Zuma must have felt insulted by ‘Mamandla’s nerve of misspelling his name while she went on her knees to beg for his help.

But Muckraker always wants to look on the brighter side of things. Women like ‘Mamandla should never be underestimated. She has probably learnt a new language during her decades on earth.

In India Suma is a popular girl name that means flower.

So it was probably a love proposal to Zuma disguised as a mistake. Old women can be sneaky sometimes. She was probably saying “Don’t judge me by my age Mr President, I am still a flower”. There is no evidence to suggest she winked at the president as he walked into the hotel.

She probably knew Zuma will get the meaning because he has spent so much time with the Guptas, his controversial friends or masters of Indian descent.

It could that ‘Mamandla has been to Bangladesh where Suma means ‘good mother’ in Bengali. Here again the woman could have been passing a message to President Zuma.

It could be her way of telling the president that although years might have pillaged her beauty she is still a good mother.

But Muckraker knows ‘Mamandla also likes to speak tongue in cheek.  You see, Suma sounds very close to Summa, a Latin word for sum. Sum is a quantity obtained by addition or aggregation.

‘Mamandla’s might have been having a go at Zuma for his failure to understand the sum of his own money and that of government.

He used R240 million of the people’s money to build his rural home. When people asked questions, Zuma, with a straight face and in a full parliament, said he had an R800 000-bond on the property. The man could not understand why people were angry that he now had a M240 million property from an M800 000 bond. Phew! That is the quantum of ignorance. Zuma is still doing the maths and ‘Mamandla’s is still learning her spellings.


Opposition MPs are livid that Zuma did not give them a look when he was here last week. Zuma snubs opposition MPs, said a headline in a local newspaper.

Muckraker cannot understand why the opposition should even be complaining that Zuma did not meet them.

First, Zuma was not here to meet them. Second, they never put an appointment to meet him. Third, he never said he was going to meet them.

This noise about Zuma snubbing the MPs is indicative of the lack of understanding of the basics of state protocol. Meetings of heads of government are not like village pit latrines you can visit randomly. Those meetings are not meant for riff-raff.

If you are not on the diary you should just stay away because gate crushers are not tolerated.

Our opposition MPs learned the hard away when Zuma ignored them.

In the end they handed their petition to the South Africa High Commission. That, ironically, is where they should have started in the first place instead of accosting Zuma.

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