Recently in From the Fourth Estate Category

On a Friday afternoon in mid-March, as I was getting my car washed (which is probably why it began pouring at that moment, but never mind...), who would show up next to me but a major South African celebrity: Haas Das* himself, the legendary Riaan Cruywagen

Riaan Cruywagen.jpg

For my international imaginary readers, 
he is one of South Africa's most veteran and famous television news anchors and a total legend in his own right. (Americans, Riaan is basically our version of the late, great Peter Jennings and Tim Brokow.) 

Despite a disguise of sunglasses and a cap (so, sadly, no sighting of the infamous, "alleged" toupee), he was almost immediately accosted by another fan, so, since he was already disturbed by another fan and didn't bite the guy's head off, I eventually worked up the courage to also go over, shyly say hi and ask for a photo op. 

He was incredibly gracious and - rather surprisingly - deadly funny. (Which is why the resulting picture of the two of us is of me all puffed cheeks and squinty-eyed from cracking up!) I told him that I'm a journalist as well ("but only in online media, so really, it's No Big Deal") and he said: "Well, what a coincidence, so am I!" 

No shit, Sherlock.

He was SO lovely to me. Chatted to me for about 30 whole minutes. Of course, he didn't have much of a choice. I kept on incessantly quizzing him (if he hadn't believed that I was a journo, he believed me by the end of it!) and he couldn't really escape, since he was essentially held hostage there until they had finished cleaning his car. 

The interroga... conversation was about all sorts of things, from what it was like to live in Washington, D.C. almost a decade apart (he was foreign correspondent there from '81-'84), to journalism, his first big scoop in D.C. (Hinckley's attempted assassination of Reagan) BlackBerry phones, iPods and cars. It totally made my day! 

And from then on, whenever he came onto the TV and said: "Goeienaand, welkom by die nuus om 7 op SABC 2", (Translated: Good evening, welcome to the news at 7 on SABC 2), I pretended (in a Nurse Betty kind of way) that he was speaking JUST TO ME. Because we’re now BFF and therefore thisclose.

But I'm rehashing this story tonight, because earlier this evening, exactly 37 years (to the day) of anchoring his first news broadcast, Riaan retired. To great fanfare and sadness. 

I sat in front of the television, absolutely rapt throughout his entire final broadcast, waiting to see if he would get emotional during his last goodnight. 

And? I ENDED UP MISSING IT. Right at the crucial moment, the satellite decoder somehow decided that RIGHT THEN WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT TIME TO RESET ITSELF and so it first had to warm up and rescan all the channels. Meaning that I missed his very last goodbye. 

Utterly bereft, and going to campaign the SABC to put the final broadcast on YouTube. Or something. 

*Haas Das was a fluffy rabbit puppet who read the news out of animal land to kiddies when I was little. Riaan voiced Haas Das, even before he assumed that same position as human (or robot, if you care to believe some for his continual excellence and unchanged hair) anchorman. 

I just feel genuinely lucky to have crossed paths with him. 

Enjoy the break, ye legend! 

Despite Friday night's rumours, we are all still fine and - touch wood - unaffected by the violent riots and strikes that have been plaguing towns and farms throughout the region this past week. Hopefully it is all over now - although it might not be

For those who would like to know more about the whole saga, this is by FAR one of the best op-eds/columns I have read about it, offering a competent look at the positions of both the farmers and the labourers. 
The violent riots that have been plaguing the region where I live for the past few days might be inching closer to us - if it's not already upon us. 

A short while ago, my phone beeped with a message, warning everyone in our picturesque, quaint town of Stellenbosch to stay indoors; that truckloads filled with rioters have apparently arrived in town and that all access roads into and out of the area have been blocked. 

It is difficult to discern rumour from fact, but last night's message, about an uprising on the outskirts of town ended up being true. Hundreds of rioters burned tyres, threw rocks at passing cars and vandalised traffic lights - amounting to millions of rands in damage. It remains uncertain what their motives were, though. Some claim it was about providing free electricity to the town's informal settlement (AKA shantytown/township), while others think it is also about the labour dispute involving the labourers who work on the wine farms in the area.

When will people learn that violence and destruction solve absolutely nothing? 
It is almost fitting that the good news came on Memorial Day, because although the true meaning behind the day is incredibly sombre - to remember and honour all of America's war casualties - the Memorial Day long weekend also marks the unofficial start of summer in the US. And that has traditionally always been a happy event.

Today my sunny autumn day here in South Africa became unexpectedly brighter when I found out that one of the American dreams I have harboured since returning to South Africa - a dream I had almost completely written off because I've come to believe (and I've been told) that it was simply too improbable to ever happen - is actually about to come true after all!

Here's a hint... it involves the colour green.

No, sadly, it's not THAT green thing. My South African immigration liar (note: the fact that she is the same nationality as I am was a mere coincidence and definitely not any prerequisite I had when I was frantically searching for someone to take my case) was not suddenly overcome with contrition for taking all my money and then allegedly (note: I said allegedly) never doing anything for me. (Me, bitter? Never!) My case files, which, according to her legal secretary, had inexplicably and mysteriously 'disappeared', were not miraculously retrieved all these years later and filed, leading me to realise my ultimate American Dream of finally obtaining that much coveted and long awaited Green Card (which is oddly not even green at all).

But even though it's not THAT green thing, THIS green thing is a very worthy consolation prize. It is also something I have been coveting for years.

It is this:




I saw this while I was dead tired, and - make no bones about it - I just about killed myself laughing. (And now I'll stop with the lame puns.) Thank you, News24, for making me giggle for a change.


Funny Headline.JPG



























































about
is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)

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