Comrade Mapfumo is not happy

21 04 2009

Comrade Mapfumo was not a happy man. In fact he was nothing like the person who’d blustered his way through my nursery some 2 years ago and baited me for half an hour. Then as now he was the chairman of local branch of ZANU-PF and supremely cocky.

On Friday he’d come scrounging for funds or items in kind for the Independence Day celebrations to be held on Saturday. After much cajoling and pleading I’d given him R200 (about $20). This went on longer than I was prepared to listen to it so I took back the Rand and gave him $100.

I suppose I should have known there was something wrong when I saw 4 missed calls on my cellphone on Saturday, but I did not recognize the number and as it was a public holiday I did not phone back. Apparently he’d been caught using a fake $100 note at a local supermarket and they were all ready to lock him up for the weekend! Well, that was his story and I was not particularly moved by it.

On Monday I’d got a message from him to this effect and thought it prudent to go and see the supermarket manager even though no-one could prove that the problem note had come from me. The manager was philosophical about it all and helpfully showed me all the problems on the note. Apparently they’d had a number of them the previous week, possibly coinciding with the army being paid. He was careful to say that he thought someone was taking advantage of the extra money around to dilute some fakes into circulation.

Comrade Mapfumo continued that he’d only got off after borrowing $100 dollars from his wife to buy the groceries for the next day’s festivities. I bluntly told him that I was not giving him a replacement as why should I be left carrying the baby and end up now $200 down? I was unmoved by comments such as “my wife will never understand me”. This carried on for some time along with probing me to go into a dairy venture with him and supplying him with gratis seedlings. Politics were delved into (how the MDC was just talking but isn’t that what politicians do?) and even my marital status – nope not even illicit children. Eventually he left none the richer and still more than a little downcast. 

Of course we have now tightened up our vetting of $100 notes and customers have to sign that the notes given us with serial numbers listed have come from them. A pain but we don’t really want to get caught out again.

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3 responses

23 04 2009
Big Blister

What a pain! Would credit cards alleviate the fraud aspect or only add other complications?

BTW, I think the mexican marigold may be a Tagetes sp. T. minuta rings a bell but may be a different plant.

23 04 2009
gonexc

Yes, I have updated that blog. Tagetes minuta is the common marigold we grow in the garde, T. lucida is the “Mexican”. T. minuta is supposed to have some nematicidal properties and the TRB was working on it some years ago as a rotational crop that could also be harvested for the colouring. Not sure what became of the research.

24 04 2009
Sharon Keith

How unfortunate for Comrade Mapfumo! Have to say a small guffaw escaped on reading this account. Well played.

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