Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Keep it hid

I went to get police clearance yesterday. The gentleman in front of me was from Ghana and needed to renew his visa to be able to hand his PhD in January. He wore glasses and an ironed shirt and beige formal-looking pants. We waited in line to have our fingerprints taken by quite a tall police officer. They do strap a lot of things onto that belt of theirs, hey. The gun looked like a plastic one to me, but what do I know.

When the police officer had finished with the short girl he was helping by promising her he'd visit her in Lesotho, the Ghanaian gentleman has his turn. For the next ten minutes I could not stop giggling to myself, because the officer kept wanting to make conversation, to find bonding moments, and the Ghanaian man just politely nodded or shook his head, without really answering.

The first topic was the fact that there were no "traditional" women left in South Africa, that all the young ladies were "spoiled by the Constitution" and all "this 50/50 things". Gender equality is what was causing all these divorces, because the young ladies did not know their roles as "helper" to the husband and they were not willing to "clean my boots", as the policeman stated. Reading this in a CNN-serious voice would be wrong, because I do think the officer was joking, at least in part.

He then moved on to his desire to take a bus to Ghana, which takes about a week, because Ghana is "far", in order to find himself not one, but multiple wives there. The PhD student was a bit taken a back, simply stating that they were mostly a Christian nation that did not believe in polygamy. He explained that only the Muslim people in Ghana did on occasion have more than one wife. The police officer's first reaction was to say he'd convert to Islam. But then he changed his mind and said the Ghanaian people should accept their African traditions and religions and thus say yay to polygamy. All the student could do was smile and nod.

Finally it was my turn to get fingerprinted. One has to say that one has never been convicted of a crime, haha, but I said never being convicted does not mean that one has never committed a crime, simply that one has not been caught. So then the police officer was very funny and said that now, with my fingerprints, all the unsolved crimes could suddenly be closed and I would be sent to jail. As if I'd leave fingerprints.

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