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May 27, 2018

G-Spot: What I learned from my regular Sunday paper this week

Man reading newspaper
Man reading newspaper

It’s never properly Sunday in my Cape Town life until I’ve read the day's paper. In our house, we prefer the Sunday Times, the country’s biggest newspaper.

Normally I head first to the Lifestyle magazine pullout, looking for the humour column and to see what the travel, food and arts and culture writers are saying is the bee’s knees.

However, this Sunday I wanted to see what the main paper was saying about the Supreme Court of Kenya ruling. In the end, I found the story deep inside the paper, on Page 19. Initially I had thought that the story might have been more prominent, but then I figured the story, which was a couple days old and had received prominent radio and TV coverage, would suffer, especially as there were so many local matters fighting for prominence.  

Nevertheless, I had fun getting to page 19, starting with the headline story. This featured the private life of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who many think is a shoo-in to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC president this December, and then as national President whenever President Zuma decides to go between December and 2019, when his term officially ends.

Before I continue, I must make clear that what consenting adults do with each other is their business, and I don’t think the fact that one has affairs makes them better or worse political leaders or lawyers or teachers or pilots, etc. But if they are pushing a moralistic line in their campaigns and public life and living a lie in their private life, then they deserve all the judgment they get.

In this story, the DP admitted in an exclusive interview to an extra-marital affair that ended eight years ago. This, after weeks of murmurs doing the rounds about his private life on social media and elsewhere. Reading it, I wondered if there would ever be such a story in a Kenyan paper.

Just below the Ramaphosa story, there was another marriage in the limelight. This was about a 76-year old woman who is married to a 34-year-old man and how the marriage has  attracted the attention not just of the usual gossips, but of the South African High Commission in Islamabad, which has refused to give the man a visa, partly because of the age difference, despite the two having been married in South Africa back in 2014.

If it is okay for a 76-year old man to marry a 34-year old woman, why is it a problem when it’s the other way around?

Then there was a pointer to the story carried inside of the South African university student who mistakenly received R14 million (about Sh111 million) as payment on a student loan instead of R1,400 (about Sh11,000) and went on a spending spree, where she used up R818,000 (about Sh6.5 million) in 73 days before the authorities realised their mistake and caught up with her.

While the accounting student was wrong to spend the money, one has to ask, what kind of organisation takes 73 days to realise they are missing R14 million?