What a show!

Cape Times - - OPINION -

BET­TER than a cir­cus stunt­man!

This morn­ing I was watch­ing a very ef­fi­cient, co­he­sive, har­mo­nious and fo­cused team of builders ob­vi­ously en­joy­ing their work and, more im­por­tantly, proud of their prow­ess. The team com­prised brick­lay­ers, plas­ter­ers and so on.

The tech­nol­ogy used was sim­ple: spirit lev­els, trow­els, spades and plas­ter boards, and the ma­te­ri­als were bricks, mor­tar, sand, and stone. But it was a plea­sure to see how fast the size­able dou­ble-storey house took shape. A small con­ces­sion to tech­nol­ogy in­cluded an an­gle grinder to cut the chan­nels for the con­duits.

Some things needed out­side in­ter­ven­tion, such as the plac­ing of ce­ment slabs to form the first floor, and heavy lin­tels had to be lifted by a sep­a­rate com­pany with cranes. Even the con­crete slab floors were cast by hu­man power – two mo­torised ce­ment mix­ers helped a lit­tle, but they had to be fed stone, sand and ce­ment by mus­cles so well-con­di­tioned that the feed­ers could keep up the pace for hours.

From a few pe­ri­ods in my own life when I had the time to per­form labour­in­ten­sive work, I re­call how well I slept and how in­vig­o­rat­ing it was.

So what is bet­ter than a cir­cus stunt­man?

This morn­ing the team started plas­ter­ing the brick. Stand­ing on scaf­fold­ing 3m above ground, two plas­ter­ers were catch­ing slabs of mor­tar cast to them by two work­ers on ground level; they flung slabs of mor­tar to a pre­cise height – so pre­cise the plas­ter­ers caught the slabs on plas­ter boards with con­sum­mate ease!

Hav­ing seen this lusty team build­ing, I won­dered: why in the world is there a short­age of jobs in South Africa? Surely there must be a big de­mand for brick­lay­ers and other such won­der­ful crafts­men? Ben Smit Cape Town

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