Tales In 50 Words

In the 1990’s, the SUNDAY TIMES ran a contest for mini-stories of not more than 50 words which should reflect some of the changes in the New South Africa. The RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) was uppermost in everyone’s mind but anything which showed the transition from apartheid to democracy was welcome…..satire too!

The Indigestible Truth

The Revolution had been peaceful and the Fat Cats had changed sides. They had never experienced such a bountiful, belly full Christmas. Viva Mandela!

But the proletariat laughed and laughed because they knew that
one day the Fat Cats would need more than just a splenary indulgence from St. Peter.

History Revisited

Mahlamba'ndlovu was filled with Yuletide festivities as Denis a Beckett shared a snort with Bishop Tutu.

'Enough! ' cried King Canutelezi who had recently been voted Speech Maker of the Year, 'our herring-do's almost stopped the music! ' Madiba was content. The Magna Heystek was safely lodged in the new Africana Museum.

Great Cuts in Future Potential.

The Angel Tokyo serenaded the infant while its parents moonwalked him across the hay-strewn floor. Mr Mufamadi Plod parked his camel outside and got roughed up by three wise men. 'The RDP is an ass, ' they roared.

Mary passed the child to waiting hands.

'Rabbi Bobbit is here, ' said Joe.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Auld Lang Syne was playing
a sweet transitional tune
Roelf and Cyril were baying
for a piece of the African moon.
Election time now over
The winners, both, have won.
Roelf got the hole in the doughnut
Cyril, the rest of the bun.
Or, was it the other way round?

They Were the Best of Times and the Worst of Times …..
(a sketch)

‘…….jingle all the way. Oh, what fun it is to have the RDP today, yo! ’
Charles smiled at Themba’s carolling and recalled his own promise.
‘A house for your Mum and a job for your Pa, ’ he said, ‘and as for you,
Themba…..I’ll never have to call you Boz again.’

Haring Down the Yellow Brick Road

A tin of salmon, tinned ham and tinned Xmas Pud.
‘Yummy, ’ said Tin Woman, emptying the bag Tim Man had just brought in.
Something fell to the floor. Tin Woman bent to pick it up.
‘What’s this? ’ she asked.
‘Fresh jugged hare, ’ said Tin Man, ‘I hate tinned food.’

As the Stomach Turns……

The cast of the Marian Kindergarten Nativity Play were out shopping. A staff for Joseph, a veil for Mary.
‘…..and some waddling clothes, ’ bubbled Joseph.
Suddenly, Mother Mary clobbered Jesus, grabbing the plastic spoon he’d just used for his ice cream.
‘Man! It’s for the shepherd’s pie! ’ she said crossly.


The Christmas party was Divine even though the Innkeeper was not. The cattle and sheep sang ‘Lawdy, three beats to the bar.’
Joseph, attentive as always, smiled happily as the Child arrived with a printout in its tiny hand.
‘It’s for you, Mum, ’ Jesus gurgled, Mary dot com @ Bethlehem.’

by Margaret Kollmer

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