Swaziland’s newspapers have produced some highly entertaining stories over the years – never more so than in 1995, when a headline in the Times of Swaziland proclaimed ‘Swazi ship missing’. Baffled readers, unaware that their tiny landlocked kingdom was in possession of any kind of ship, were treated to the full explanation offered to parliament by Transport Minister Ephraim Magagula. ‘The situation is absolutely under control,’ reported Magagula. ‘We believe it is in a sea somewhere. We sent a team of men to look for it but there was a problem with drink and they failed to find it, and so, technically, yes, we’ve lost it a bit. But I categorically reject all suggestions of incompetence on the part of this government. The Swazimar is a big ship painted in the sort of nice bright colours you can see at night. Mark my words, it will turn up.’ If parliament does not prove entertaining enough then you can always try the court reports. ‘Accused claims to be every character in bible’ (Swazi Observer) and ‘Pissed-off prisoner pees before court’ (Times of Swaziland) are among two of the more memorable headlines in recent times.
Stop the press!
Written by Mike Unwin
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