In praise of the Admin Lady

What is an admin lady? I always see requests for an admin lady in the job classifieds. Often it’s for a mornings-only position.

The question is rhetorical of course. What could be more evocative in the South African idiom than that particular term? The admin lady is middle aged with a kapsel  hairstyle. She might smoke Courtney Satin Leaf Extra Mild (if she smokes), wear biggish glasses and do all her shopping at Checkers. And, as her name suggests, an admin lady does admin. She files and checks for post. She makes the tea and pays the wages of the drivers. She keeps the accounts of the business and panics every February when the auditors arrive.

We had many admin ladies in my church in the mining town where I grew up. They were often in the choir. They lapped up everything the Reverend said. And they helped at cake sales and fellowship suppers. Each one had her forté: chocolate cake, potato salad, tongue in raisin sauce, Herzoggies. And from Monday to Friday they worked at the time office at the local mine.

Thank God for them. Thank Heaven that they are there. These salt-of-the-earth old birds are what prevent many people from going off the rails. They are timeless, unchanging, perennial as the grass. Their consistent, level-headed, common-sense approach to things can always be relied on, no matter what the weather, no matter the levels of panic and hysteria. There is no pretence; no superficial affectation. Thank God for them.

Two Fat Ladies

Who remembers the Two Fat Ladies who were on South African television in the nineties? They were so refreshing. It was Jennifer Paterson – the well-known cookery columnist – and Clarissa Dickson-Wright – the barrister.

During the nineties the healthy eating fad really started to take off, so it was such fun to have these two opinionated characters using copious quantities of butter, fresh cream and full fat milk. And they were absolutely brazen about it. In addition to their fondness for artery-clogging ingredients, they were quite old-fashioned and offish about modern inventions like ready-made mustard and stock cubes. Paterson regularly said that she would “have no nonsense” with a stock cube.

Imagine the horror they must have caused in certain faddish health-conscious circles? How nice it is to have free thinkers who don’t give a rat’s arse about what other people think.

 

Kia Sportage ad in abysmal taste

I’m deeply disturbed by the new Kia Sportage ad running on TV. I don’t like it one little bit. I’m upset by the implied bullying that takes place in the scenario presented. Not to mention the waste of local government resources in the helicopter and car chase.

How typically South African the advertisement is. How utterly lacking in taste. Is it really OK, ladies and gentlemen, for the local police of some picturesque town to chase and hunt down an innocent motorist just to check to see if he is, in fact, driving the new Kia Sportage? Have we reached a stage in our popular culture where we find this kind of behaviour by uniformed louts amusing?

In a country where political bullying and cronyism are growing evils, can we really afford to give our quiet assent to a scene in which local law-enforcement officials can treat ordinary citizens with contempt and disrespect? It beggars belief that this ad could have been signed off and aired. Clearly no one is in charge at Kia. And to add insult to injury, our television channels (M-Net and DSTV to name only two) have no problem with airing this subtle approval of bullying.

Disgusting.