Letter from The Editor
Johnny Masilela

On a point of plain English, honourable comrade


Johnny Masilela   l   Views: 70

The English language has been under strain from no high a mortal than Gwede Mantashe, he of the greying goatie.

In a surprise Tweet, the all-powerful secretary-general of the ANC threw his considerable weight behind the Bela-Bela game farmer, otherwise known as Presidential candidate Cyril Ramaphosa.

Twice Mantashe warned of a “crises” (sic) should a certain scenario play itself out, during or post the hotly-contested ANC elective conference in December.

Stroking his goatie in deep thought, dare one suggest, the secretary-general warned that should President Zuma “recists” (oops!) to hand over to Ramaphosa, there was to be a “crises” (maibabo!).

As a newspaper striving for accurate and perfect grammar, we have to be worried that Mantashe’s slip-ups have the potential to mislead, if not confuse English grammar learners, and/or the young lions under the stewardship of Collen Maine.

To begin with, there is no such thing as a “crises” in English. The secretary-general most probably wanted to speak of a “crisis” in the singular. “Crises” is plural for the singular “crisis”, say after me Mr Secretary-General. Good, very good.

The “recist” with regards to Zuma should read “resist” pleeeaaase, honourable secretary-general! 

When the red berets’ Commander-in-Chief, Julius Malema, was the head honcho at the ANC Youth League, he got involved in an infamous stand-off with a foreign journalist.

In rather harsh words, the no-nonsense Malema dared the journalist to “come out!” of Luthuli House, instead of “go out!” 

Malema has since taken the academia route, from which he obtained a junior degree and topped that with an honours, something for young learners to look up to.

This brings to mind my own grooming as a wannabe reporter at the now defunct Rand Daily Mail.

My favourite one-liner was the one captured by journalist-turned-politician, Helen Zille, at the time President PW “Die Groot Krokodil” Botha introduced the State of Emergency during the volatile 1980s.

… President P W Botha has unveiled sweeping measures which political observers believed were tantamount to totalitarianism, Zille reported at the time.

Ok, learners, what this means is that if Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler’s rule was “total” (absolute), then the man was a “totalitarian” (dictator), who practiced totalitarianism (authoritarian). I leave the word “tantamount” between you and your dictionary. Good luck.

For me The BEAT’s last edition looked like an improvement from our previous efforts.

One gremlin ‘though, was that we had a mix-up with the dates of two consecutive events with regards to the gallant entry of GoldRush into the Bela-Bela entertainment circuit.

On Friday, 22 September, was the occasion of the gala dinner, and the next day, 23 September, the venue threw its doors open to the general public.

At the time of writing, The BEAT team was grappling with the newspaper having lost a full working Day (Heritage Day).

We had to be creative and double our efforts to produce this particular edition under trying but still exciting circumstances.

One of the measures we put in place was to push as much of the regulars the week before, so as to be on top of things in terms of the proverbial headlines and deadlines.

Write to The Editor at beateditor@gmail.com


2 years ago       28 September 2017