Alive With Possibility

One of the first times that I can recall getting into trouble for something I had written, was in high school. I was the editor of the school magazine in all likelihood because no one else wanted the position, but nevertheless assumed the role with so much gusto and enthusiasm that it should have screamed “red flag” to anyone who was paying attention. I was a risky choice by all means and should not have been allowed to function without strict and constant supervision.

But there were gaps, and without trying to, I had managed to find one.

There were a number of apparent problems that were highlighted after publication. But that the one that resulted in the paper being “banned” (remember it was the 80’s) was a reference I apparently made to a very boring Afrikaans teacher. I might, in theory, have mentioned in the magazine that;

“If I were to choose a place to die, it would be in Mev. Hennops’ class, because in her class the transition from life to death would hardly be noticeable”.  (Please note that the name of the Afrikaans teacher has been changed changed to protect the identity of the now late “Mev Hennops”).

According to the Principal (also now late), I was not nearly as funny or as smart as I thought I was. More than that, he continued, the afterlife was apparently not something that I should have toyed with. Even in an admittedly mindless double Afrikaans lesson. It needs to be said that this was also the same man who would tell us at school assembly that the only excuse for not attending an after-school soccer match, was death- and that even that was debatable. So I am not certain that he was in much of a position to comment.

Death it seemed, was an important theme back then. As it seems to be in 2020 South Africa.

 Yet again, South Africans have proven that the country is “Alive with possibilities.”  It might be that whereas there is a lot that we should not be proud of, the remarkable achievements of dead South Africans is truly unbelievable.  Yet again, a dead man has not only managed to achieve some success but has secured a tender that many would kill for.

According to News24, “A dead Mpumalanga businessman is apparently making a fortune in the afterlife after his company scored yet another multi-million-rand contract – a year after he died in a horrific car accident.” It turns out that the man, Tshepo Ngwenyama, was awarded a R50 million tender to supply the Department of Agriculture in that region agro chemicals, fertilizer and seeds”.

The tender was awarded a year after his death.

If the fact that he no longer roams this current and present world doesn’t present enough of a concern, it turns out that even whilst living he did not have the knowledge and or capacity to successfully “execute” the tender. It so happened that the company was in the business of electrical contracting, civil engineering and construction. Which means that unless there is a fantastic upskilling and training program in the afterlife, there is little reason that the contract should have been awarded to him.

And yet it was.

As was the case in August when an East London businessman who had been dead for two  years, scored a personal protective equipment tender worth almost R1m from the Eastern Cape health department.

According to Times Live, “Odwa KK Matshaya’s family was stunned by the appearance of the dead man’s company on a list of more than 600 firms to have benefited from the department’s R1.2bn Covid-19 procurement expenditure in the past three months”. The information was disclosed after the launch of an investigation by The Special Investigation Unit into PPE contracts awarded in the Eastern Cape.

Not unreasonably, the South African tax payer is somewhat sceptical about the funding of businesses run from another dimension. Still burned from the cost a “Fire pool” they are not as easy to placate as they once were. In addition, it seems unfair to corporeal citizen that they have to live with RICA requirement that demands a proof of residence every time a living person changes a light bulb, but those in the next world seem unbound by these regulations. It’s not even clear if there is a double taxation agreement with Heaven. Or hell for that matter.

We are often told that our good name is the only thing that we can take with us when we die. I was certainly told that I stood as a 17 year old in the principal’s office with my head bowed, trying to look contrite. I agreed whole heartedly that I was wrong and that Mev. Hennops’ class was definitely not the place that I would choose to die. What I couldn’t know is that it would be far better to wait until the year 2020 in South Africa when some of the most successful business people have already been dead for years.