Let’s not snuff out our achievements. Rather, let’s build on them

Ideas

Let’s not snuff out our achievements. Rather, let’s build on them

Pre-democracy hope has mostly gone unrewarded but the benefits of a democratic parliament are inestimable

Columnist

For one reason or another it’s been a week of delving into my archives and being by turns fascinated, dispirited and cheered by what I found.

I had quite forgotten, for instance, that until 1993 at least (and, who knows, it may still be the case) taking snuff was a quaint privilege in the house of assembly, a small aluminium snuff-box being kept at the lobby entrance under the watchful eye of the sergeant-at-arms for the convenience of MPs.

This old privilege, dating back to the pre-union Cape parliament, had miraculously survived, though even by 1993 it must have seemed distinctly anachronistic. At any rate, I was evidently certain enough of my facts to report on December 23 of that year that, “until yesterday, the snuff-box was still in use”...

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