*/1 an electronic device attached to someone to monitor their movement/

*/2 a children’s game in which one chases the rest, and anyone who is caught then becomes the person doing the chasing/

*n.b. See Oxford Paperback Dictionary Thesaurus & Wordpower Guide p925.


Here is a word that reminds me of the earlier years when I came to leave at the shadow of the metropolis in search of greener pastures and the ease to live within reach of the capital’s offerings. When I moved into Arcadia in the early 2000s the environment was far more different than it is today. The flatslands entrances did not have barriers in a form of walls or palisade fences. There were no gates to get through before you entered into a unit. You simply walked through and got in.

But somehow by the year 2005 gates and fences started to come up around flats and their entrances, in some places even earlier. You now needed what was called a tag to go in. To my knowledge until then, tags were limited to places of employment where not just anybody was welcome to get through certain doors. Presto! tags found their way into the flatlands and gaining access to a residential flat changed forever. Now you could not just buzz anybody (if there was a buzzer for that matter) to open the gate for you if you did not know anybody living in a particular flat you idiotely (yes the computer tells me this word is wrong but it sounds daring and I will go with it) wanted to gain access to. But like the intelligent software that updates itself via the internet when it itches to do so the criminal mind evolves all the time, and it will come up with ways and means to gain entry into a secure space none the less. In the light of this auto skelm update suburbia soon realised that it will have to station a guard at the entrances of flats as well. A sort of a receptionist with a license to kick your arse if you tuned out to be a klein stout baas with a penchant for silly smarts. So the chapter entitled ‘the buzz and tag alone could not keep away the skelms’ came to its closure. Now should there be a burglary resulting in theft or grievous bodily harm caused to an honestly security paying member of a supposedly tripartite guarded entry it could be achieved only if mister machingelane himself was in league with the skelms. The rot could be pinpointed.

 The advent of etolling, which, I come to think of it, is like a road tagging of some sort, has caused a stir. The trouble is everybody is being chased to pay to gain entry or usage of our national roads. Thecatch of paying this tagging phenomenon is an erection and maintenance of our sophisticated highways. So we are told. However the results are that motorists of whatever pedigree will have to cough out extra atop their juice that enable them to drive around (don’t even bring cars insurance and their instalment into the sizzling frying pan will you?). Now the last time we checked was that as much as we want to catch up with international people especially the so called first worlds (sounds like earlier discovered planets) – not everybody is within the well oiled smooth sailing Armada ship. Most South Africans will battle to meet ends meet when the bread line is big-toe-tugged even further away from them due to food price hike as distribution of mundas-kos and other necessities that we need to stay sane and fit go up. Of course we are not saying anything you don’t already know of this latest development in the plot of our post-rainbow nation. But here is the simple question that may seduce a sage’s mind, are the toll gates that mark our arteries not enough and (we might as well embed another question while we close these jots to inflate the bubble to a jiggly swell) who asked for etolling in the first place anyway? The probing of the bubble will surely burst it to its essence. Await the sequel to these jots.

This article is dedicated to Toby Shapshak whom through his column – Pattern Recognition – in The Times newspaper kept me informed about all things gadgetry. His 26 November 2012 article saw him bidding his readers goodbye to concentrate on Stuff Magazine.

12 December 2012

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2012