Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Groundhog Day



Another day of the Jackie Selebi corruption trial. My life has become a boring version of Groundhog Day - same routines repeated countless times over.
Get to work, check e-mails and communicate with relevant characters.
Walk to the Joburg High Court with my large enviro friendly bag containing my notebook and pen, newspapers, bottles of water, wads of toilet paper (yip - there is none in the ablution facilities outside courtroom 4B) and throat lozenges to ward off any sudden and embarrassing coughing fits while court is in session because the germs circulating around the media bench have everyone sniffing and croaking.
Arrive at court and put my bag through the x-ray machine and walk through the metal detector. Greet creepy guy on door surveillance duty. Walk to the lifts and decide that it's just not worth fighting through the crowds for the place in the only working public lift servicing the building.
Climb eight flights of stairs. Go through a second security set-up on the fourth floor. Have my bag searched. Sign in and take the tear-out security slip labelled with the number of the stupid red security tag-on-a-lanyard that has to be worn by *T*H*E* *M*E*D*I*A*. Never mind that you have signed in umpteen times before and never presented a security hazard of any kind. Never mind that cops can just walk on by and park off wherever they want in court armed with rifles. Oh no, Sunshine - we journalists pose such a danger that we must be marked and set apart.
And so to the press bench where our dysfunctional media family sets up camp. Literally. I am talking little pillows (to ward off piles?), blankies, beverages and munchies, notebooks and laptops lie scattered around. We hunker down and embark on oversharing of personal information - pregnancy scares, the relevance of a feature headline "Will I Never Have Sex Again?" to our lives and stuff like that.
The court starts. And carries on. And on. And on.
Rarely a highlight or a smidge of entertainment. Mind you - today we had the appearance of an undercover SA Revenue Service investigator. Called as a witness, he stood proudly in the dock in a dark grey suit, hair long and curly. Italian?  Spanish? We had not yet been told who he was, so we debated whether - given a white flowing cotton blouse and a sword - he would be better cast in a Robin Hood movie or Pirates of the Caribbean.
We heard he was an undercover investigator. Cool! He was asked for his name: Johannes Hendrikus Helluvalongafrikaansurname.
Total mismatch.
And that was it.
Postponed. For another witness who is still in Mozambique.
So we all have to return again another day.
Groundhog Day!

3 comments:

  1. Sooo... you're saying journalism isn't exciting and glamorous then?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think journalism is like a career in law. It looks great in TV programmes, but nobody ever talks about the bits that would not make for appealing viewing. :)

    ReplyDelete

 
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