The importance of an enduring sense of humour

Well. The Fat Cats had their spies out and copped onto what was happening; they got their expensively-heeled foot in the door just before Anthony and managed to get the case adjourned until next week. Anthony, who spent a miserable morning in a cell, is out on bail but his life has been hijacked until the hearing. The company paid somebody off and bought themselves some time. They won’t crash and begin to burn – at least not yet –which is what would have happened had they not greased a palm or two because, based on Anthony’s statement, the claimant would have filed a criminal suit against them and attached assets. Incredible what a bit of cash and knowing the right people will do. We don’t know the right people and the little cash we had is fast being eroded; our legal fees were a staggering $2,000.

In my next life I want to come back as a lawyer in Africa. And drive a top of the range Toyota with DVD, air-con and blacked out windows which he has bought with fees paid by penniless farmers who don’t understand the system.

But as fearful as we might have been over the weekend, I witnessed many Africans in both the police station and the court who looked even more afraid, wringing hands and shifting nervously from one foot to another. Corruption is rife in the African justice (oh what an irony!) system, and police brutality not uncommon. The merits or otherwise of your case mean nothing, what makes a difference is how much you can afford to pay – either in bribes or legal fees – and your understanding that there is a system in place that is supposed to protect civilians. Many Africans have neither the funds nor the education to make that difference and suffer as a consequence. I have heard stories of African women who have been incarcerated in prisons in Tanzania for years and years, accused of the murders of abusive husbands. They are there awaiting trial.

I maintain that you cannot survive Africa without an enduring sense of humour.

Mine is being tested this week.

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