…and even more planes

Jo’burg As far as airports go Oliver Tumbo is pretty nice. As far as African airports go, Oliver Tumbo has to be the nicest by far. It modern and well planned. I compared it to Kotoka in Accra – the ‘Gateway to Africa’ – with its leaky roofs and cramped quarters, and was happy to be arriving into an establishment that proved that Africans can indeed do some things right. The fact that this airport was probably built by white South Africans was completely irrelevant! As we approached customs, a bio scanner read each of our vital signs. Marshall had a fever, and it was recommended that he go to the clinic before he enter the country. Fair enough. We were the last to deplane on the last flight into ORT, and only a few customs agents were left at their posts. A colored agent was idly stamping our passports, as two other agents engaged in a supervisor-employee conversation; one that takes place in work places all over the world. The supervisor was a massive colored guy, and the employee was a petite black girl with metallic blue eye-shadow and braids. “Kevin,” she said, getting his attention. “What do you want?” he snapped. “I have to talk to you.” “Talk to me about what?!?!” “I have Thursday off,” she began. “And what’s your day off got to do with me?” he quizzed. “If you wait, I’ll tell you!” she snapped back. “I have Thursday off, and I come to work Friday. But my mom is going to the hospital on Friday and I want to work Thursday instead. I have to take her.” “No,” said Kevin. “Ah!” “Get Shauley(?) to take her,” he ‘recommended’. “I don’t live with Shauley,” she countered. (Must’ve been her boyfriend) “Then get your sister to do it,” Kevin said dismissively. “I don’t have a sister!” she cried. “I’m an only child.” “Oh. Then fahck (f*ck) your mother,” Kevin said, turning his attention to some paperwork on his desk. “Eh? Fahck my mother?” She laughed in disbelief. “Those are two words I’ve never heard together- ‘fahck’ and my ‘mother’.” I don’t know if she got her day off or not because we were done and had to go claim our bags. I’m guessing not. Welcome to South Africa!

  • Oh, that’s so true! I was in SA in October last year, and my heart leapt for joy when I entered ORT. This was Africa? (Yes, I have a staple diet of Africa-bashing from the Western media.)

    On the other hand, I seriously almost wept when I saw Kotoka on my return. It looked so … pitiful.

  • O Kwaku! So you see I’m not lying! In fact, we have JUST got to do better in Ghana. I mean, we’re branding ourselves as the “Gatewy to Africa”. And this is how we’re greeting the world? Hmmm. Maybe Nana Kunadu will get a clue when she becomes the next prez. But then again, maybe NOT.