COLUMN: Just how long have our fingers become...

2016-02-18 06:00
laughing lunga adam

laughing lunga adam

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Martin Luther King I am not, but I do dream of a day when our beloved Mzansi becomes a theft-free country.

We have become such a nation of thieves that you’d swear that stealing is in our DNA.

And here I’m not just talking about petty stuff. No. I mean stealing real big things. Back when we were kids, we had so much innocent fun that stealing a couple of cents to buy delicacies was considered perfectly normal.

We were small -time skollies without realising it. But of course there was always the very real possibility of a wet towel being unleashed on your buttocks should you be caught with your hands in the cookie jar.

Remember those times when you flatly denied that you had helped yourself to a sizeable chunk of the sugar, when the evidence was showing all over your face.

Sadly, and especially when the habit is not nipped in the bud soon after detection, the older the thief grows, the more serious the thieving. One begins stealing real stuff that could land one in murky waters.

One incident that involved yours truly in primary school comes to mind. I am not sure what got to me, but I was so naive to be co-opted into a somewhat corrupt activity at one stage; about three of my classmates had intentions to steal this one girl’s textbook and, since I looked the quiet and innocent one in the class, the plot was to hide it in my schoolbag, until after school. They– and me, of course–thought I’d be the last person to be suspected of any foul play. How wrong we were, because it appears there was a roving eye to our misguided deal. Imagine my embarrassment and disappointment when the textbook was retrieved from my backpack, in full view of bewildered and bemused classmates. A lesson well-learnt. This stealing business is an ancient art and every day it takes on new forms. The corruption we see in the upper echelons of society is clear evidence of this. We wake up to new scandals all the time that we have long stopped being shocked by these. It’s not uncommon to hear of a government employee twiddling their thumbs at home for years, while continuing to receive a salary. Now that’s Looting 101! The thing about theft is that it comes in many shapes and sizes. Take for example- with all due respect-the sometimes unscrupulous business of sangomas. I cannot dispute the fact there are credible traditional healers out there whose work is above board, but you also have those who over-promise and under deliver. They prey on unsuspecting and desperate folk and, as a result, our people have been known to lose their valuable assets and moolah to these individuals. On the pamphlets advertising their products/services, these sangomas rave about a ‘no win no fee’ policy, but I know of some who have incurred large financial losses but have not, for example, been brought back their lost lovers. How on earth does one ‘bring back a lost lover’ anyway. Some customers are even told to first make large upfront payments or slaughter this or that animal in order for the job to be done. It’s time these evil people are exposed. It’s 2016, for Pete’s sake. I have seen people stealing sneakers and clothing from the washing line, before making a dash for it. Others do not live to tell the tale though, as the bite of mob justice is known to be stronger than its bark in our communities. I also thought I’d seen it all until I came across the bizarre case of one young fellow in my area who had an obsession with stealing STOP signs. Thankfully, the cops managed to put a stop to his misdemeanours by sending him to jail.

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