Only recently did this scribe, a native of that great technology hub, the Transkei Wild Coast, take advantage of the opportunities offered by the world of audio books. Having someone read to me while I drive means, of course, I must forgo the pleasure of Fela Kuti singing to me when I am behind the wheel.
This way of reading, I must say, is much safer and more comfortable than reading while on horseback, looking after my grandfather’s cattle back home; or trying to read while riding my bicycle to school. Even reading while in a train carriage wasn’t this comfortable. Audio books have transformed driving into a productive experience in which one may fit in some more reading while in transit. I digress . . .
In the office last week I read Malusi Gigaba’s “inclusive growth action plan”, with which the finance minister hopes to kick-start economic activity and help pull SA out of the recession and away from junk status. But when I heard narrator Grover Gardner dishing out smart financial tips from The Richest Man in Babylon, written by George S Clason, I was left wondering who advises our minister. This was days after he had dished out another R2.2bn of our money to that deep, dark hole called SA Airways.
“Could a loan be well made if the borrower cannot repay?” asks a gold lender in the book, questioning the wisdom of dishing out loans (or equity) to borrowers who cannot repay them. “Must not the lender be wise and judge carefully if his gold can perform a useful purpose to the borrower, and return to him once more? Or whether it will be wasted by one unable to use it wisely and leave him without his treasure and leave the borrower with debt he can’t repay?”
It would seem that Gigaba, the keeper of SA’S treasures, needs to have this book read to him.
Since it is available in audio form, it would not nec- essarily interfere with his no-doubt-busy schedule. This means he can be read to and listen while he is being ferried to the shebeen in Saxonwold. Even while there, Gardner’s golden voice can easily replace the music blaring from the speakers while he waits for the rest of the crew.
Just as my driving time has become even more profitable and enjoyable, drinking time at the Saxonwold Shebeen can alter the course of our economics for the better, in addition to delighting the soul.
If the comrades who frequent the place allow themselves to imbibe a chapter of Clason’s book each day (it takes just 10 minutes), they may even walk out with better financial management skills.
In his “inclusive growth action plan”, Gigaba hints that he will lend more financial support, albeit “soft” support, to our other state-owned companies, including Eskom. And, as has become custom, the finance minister will not allow the bankrupt Petrosa oil company to go bust. More gold will be thrown in that hole, too. Did I mention the SABC?
While SAA and Petrosa are the hopeless borrowers that deserve no further gold in Clason’s book, Eskom can get its gold from the market if it is given worthwhile guardians to safeguard its fortunes.
But instead of being wasted on the dens of corruption that our state-owned companies have become, this gold, and its children and their children, as Clason puts it, can be put to better use to pull the nation out of the mire of unemployment, poverty and criminality in which it finds itself.
If we do these things, investing our treasures in worthier causes than SAA and Petrosa, we may all end up enjoying the good things in life, such as quaffing the smoothest tipple money can buy while discussing high-level economics at the shebeen.
‘Must not the lender judge if his gold can perform a useful purpose to the borrower, and return to him once more?’