'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Waiting for Gary -The South African concept of ‘now’ - I feel a play coming on

As the NFBTNW Southern Africa correspondent I am coming to the end of a 2 weeks posting in the other WC (Western Cape). Most of it has been spent waiting for Gary. Gary is the electrician I have employed to sort out the wiring on the Southern outpost of the Renfamily. Gary is a decent sort and a reasonable sparky however he just doesn't turn up. But then neither does Paul Van Internet - the bloke charged with installing BroadBand, and neither did Kevin the generator commissioning engineer. I've had 2 whole weeks of being put off. For the last 30 years Sarth Efricans of every race, colour, gender have found it impossible to tell me that they cannot do something.

I've now realized that it is because they (yer Sarth Efricans) have been genetically engineered to be optimistic about the future. They also don't want to let anybody down, so, rather than tell the truth they elect to tell me- for instance that they 'can do' the external lights installation and they will be with me 'now'.

'Does this mean that you are standing at the front door Gary?'

'Hahah' says Gary 'No - I'll be with you in about an hour'.

Hours come and hours go – still no sign. Gary has been known to turn up and tell me that he's just going again. PVI told me that he could install BroadBand 10 days ago. It is now 10 days later and 5 promises of doing it tomorrow. To be fair he did turn up yesterday and rub his temples for 6hours, then said he would need to come back today to put up a mast. He hasn't showed.

The charming optimists that inhabit SA use the word 'now' to mean sometime in the future. 'Just Now' as in 'Ah'll be wuth yoo just nar' means maybe in the next 24 hours (providing not too near the weekend). 'Now Now' means that they intend to set off to meet me in the next 4 hours. 'Tuesday' means they have no idea at all when they may do the thing they have been asked to do. Only once in the last 2 weeks has anybody 'phoned me back before I have weakened and 'phoned them.

I am back in the UK. PVI has installed Broadband. He arrived unannounced and had me on-line 4 hours before my departure. Gary did arrive to help me out of an emergency and for this I thank him. Reaction not proaction seems to be what he does best. They'd make bloody good ambulance drivers. Yer Sarth Efrican boere or coloured chap loves to 'makaplan', BUT after doing so always ignores it awaiting something to react to. A bit like the French.

Oh dear .. I may have upset 2 nations, a few ethnic groupings and various tradsemen and technicians.

Still waiting for Kevin though.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice explanation of how things get done (eventually). Sandy

9/8/07 10:36 pm  
Blogger Ray and Gill said...

If you think South Africa is slow you should try living in Botswana!

10/8/07 10:03 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't tell me? Botswana use NOW too

11/8/07 11:28 pm  
Blogger Ray and Gill said...

Now in African time Rwanda is slower than Botswana. Gill's father has a medical project going in Rwanda. He's been waiting 4 months to get a quote from the builder who lives down the road and says he 'will come tomorrow' - mañana.

21/8/07 7:52 am  

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