Pillow talk that pays dividends

2010-05-06 09:56

By Khadija Bradlow

It’s high time we compiled an Nyama Register as an addendum to the Register of Members’ Interests.

It’s no secret that “real” South African men are fond of their

nyama. Whether it’s in Chatsworth, Dube or Constantia, enjoying the “pleasures

of the flesh” is something of a national pastime.

But it goes further than that.

Having nyama is a mark of status, of virility, of wealth.

Every man seems to

believe this – from the big shot city dude to the wizened khehla at the kraal


Meat and two veggies.

This is the dietary combo all men are said to

aspire towards, wherein both food groups co-exist peacefully side by side.


nyatsi (mistress) and makoti (wife) simultaneously – Nya-Ma.

With the Public Protector and Ethics ­Committee breathing down the

necks of ­perfidious parliamentarians, it has become more difficult for our

politicians to maintain secret business networks.

But the same does not go for the legions of wives and mistresses –

Nyamas – cutting deals and scoring tenders based on their political


Though not strictly illegal, this ­“pillow talk that pays” can

yield immense ­benefits for the ­ladies in question.

Look no further than our very own First ­Extended ­Family. ­Between

them, these ladies hold directorships across an array of sectors. Many of them,

as it has been pointed out, secured after u-Baba entered the race at


The Ministerial Handbook only considers awarding contracts to an

Nyama a conflict of interest if it directly involves the husband’s/boyfriend’s


Their consciences clear, these Lothario politicians can reap

­benefits by proxy. After all, the Asset Forfeiture Unit won’t be knocking on

their door any time soon because none of this wealth is “theirs”.

It’s high time we compiled an Nyama ­Register as an addendum to the

official ­Register of Members’ Interests. In any other country (except maybe

among libidinous ­nations like the Italians), it would be a scandal for a wife

or mistress of a politician to cream it from the fiscus. But hey, this is


Having an Nyama is our culture. Here we do things ­differently.

All of this raises uncomfortable questions about the line between

politicians’ private lives and the state’s commitment to clean government.

Neither of which can be served if the wives and mistresses of prominent

politicians are allowed to wheel and deal under the guise of “autonomous

agents”. They aren’t.

Their business interests should be kept and logged for

anyone to see.

It shouldn’t only be their direct involvement in companies and

close corporations that should be listed either.

They should be banned from

doing business with government entirely.

The register should also include gifts

received from companies trying to land government business, or even those who

already have.

And if an Nyama should find herself ­compromised in terms of this

register, the ­politician in question shouldn’t be allowed to claim “respect for

her privacy”. It should be made to stink and shine like rotten mackerel in the


Times have changed, and it’s time to rein in this matrimonial (and

extramarital) profligacy.

If there ever were an indication that the roles have reversed,

consider the case of one ­Nkululeko Mhlongo, a presidential nyatsi. Her company

was awarded a multimillion-rand ­tender for (get this) .­?.?. catering.


you have it: the wife is in business and the mistress is cooking.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.