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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Language purists must be jumping up and down

By unknown | Apr 22, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

MILLIONS of people around the country are laughing their bellies sore at the latest faux pas to hit our airwaves: "Do not touch me on my studio".

MILLIONS of people around the country are laughing their bellies sore at the latest faux pas to hit our airwaves: "Do not touch me on my studio".

Wannabe comedians are having a ball and the Internet is clogged with permutations of the now famous line.

For those who missed it, the line was unwittingly coined by e.tv anchor Chris Maroleng a couple of weeks ago when he had AWB spokesperson André Visagie in the studio in the aftermath of the murder of the party's leader Eugène Terre'Blanche.

When Visagie's co-panelist, Lebohang Pheko, apparently got too clever for a black woman, looking the right-winger straight in the eye and asking uncomfortable questions, he snapped, ripped the microphone off, threw it to the ground and stormed out of the studio.

In the melee that erupted, Visagie and his bodyguard touched Maroleng, and he let rip: "Don't touch me on my studio!"

The line was hurled to and fro, with Visagie retorting: "I touch you on your studio!"

Hours later the country was ablaze and a song had been penned around the now famous line.

If I were Maroleng I would not give a damn. In fact, I would bask in the glow of instant fame.

Language purists must be jumping up and down as much as they did when Ras Dumisani catapulted himself to fame with a derring-do hatchet job on the national anthem when the Springboks played France last year.

A now deceased well-known councillor in Evaton went to court one day and refused the services of an interpreter.

Throughout his trial, speaking in a shrill, high-pitched voice, he referred to the magistrate as "my worship" (instead of your worship). He pronounced it wah-sheep.

He was so sure of himself, throwing the phrase (my wah-sheep) two or three times into every sentence, and then turning proudly to see if the scores of his supporters who jammed the courtroom were impressed.

He made his point nevertheless, and got acquitted on several fraud charges.

I love relating the story - if I have told it before bear with me - of a former primary school teacher who thought I was a clever little boy who wrote wonderful essays.

Those days, everyone thought you were quite clever if you spoke good English - even if you got nought in maths and an F in woodwork.

One day he asked us to write an essay on a crime story.

I gave it a good shot and ended with a line that said someone had been sentenced to three years jail with hard labour.

Meneer was so impressed that he read out the essay to the class, showering me with superlative praise.

After reading the last sentence, he looked proudly at me and said: "Well done Charles. But we do not say 'hard labour'. We say hard labority."

My high school English teacher had a lot to undo. But what the heck ...


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