Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marrying in Mpumalanga

Mpumulanga province has to be the source of the most bizarre news stories ever.
It took me ages to work out what was behind one of the latest murder sprees to hit a sleepy little village near Bushbuckridge.
Apparently a regional manager at one of the rural municipality offices received a call from his junior wife, a policewoman, claiming she was on her way home to shoot his senior wife, a primary school teacher.
He rushed home but was too late. Junior Wife had shot Senior Wife and her daughter dead, and their household helper through the hand. Then she killed herself.
So why would a junior wife do this? One theory put forward, but not confirmed by the cops, was that Junior Wife wanted to punish the husband for apparent plans he had to take on a third wife.
I posed this possibility to my colleague, our inhouse expert on tribal culture. Why would she do this, I asked, if she was surely heading for a promotion in the marital stakes? I mean going from Junior Wife to Middle Wife is surely moving into a position of elevated power?
Ah, my sweet colleague explained, not necessarily. Yes, Middle Wife would indeed be entitled to boss new Junior Wife around and call some shots and crack some whips. But Senior Wife would continue to hold all the power, while the newly installed Junior would no doubt catch all of Husband's attention, leaving Middle Wife in a sort of nowhere land. The possibility of her husband taking on a new wife was most definitely cause for extreme anger. But the kind of anger one would think would have led her to rather shoot Husband himself, and at the same time annoy his third conquest, she said.
The whole concept of multiple wives has been opened up by our own President Zuma, whose wives have formulated themselves into an interesting hierarchy, with Senior Wife getting to take her place in the main hotel suite on official visits to interesting places, while the more junior rankers get farmed out to guest rooms.
So, what was this Junior Wife's name, she asked?
"Agreement. Yes - her name is indeed Agreement," I responded.
"Eish. Maybe she is Zimbabwean. There are many Agreements there. She must just have been crazy."
And then today's development. A police unit in Mpumalanga is currently out to recruit 20 new members after most of their guys were transferred to other units by the Provincial Commissioner. It seems they are suspected of seizing drugs smuggled into South Africa from across the border. Apparently they then sell these massive seized consignments back to the dodgy dealers north of the border for like a million bucks a shot. They got busted after reporting the seized goods as stolen from the cop shop.
Welcome to Mpumalanga. Land of plentifulness.

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