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Jo'Burg Days: Sheep May Safely Graze

Here’s an amusing story from Jphannesburg, brought to us by Barbara Durlacher.

Many of you who know, or have visited South Africa, will have seen standing on various street corners, the wire sculptures made by talented local Africans. They almost bring to life representations of the various creatures of the wild. The sculptures come in all sizes and are eagerly sought after by tourists, and as many of them are skilful reproductions of the real thing and sufficiently easy to pack, they sell well. However, recently the African sculptors have begun to create near lifesize models of white sheep. It is all done with beads threaded onto thin wire which is bent and twisted until it cleverly resembles the original.

A few days ago, Bang & Olufson, the famous Swedish audio company, decided to put several of these white bead sheep on the green grass outside their head office. Shortly afterwards, the animals were seized by officials from our Traffic (Metro) Police, and B&O were given a large fine for “selling sheep without a permit.”

When the story was broadcast, there were so many objections and it raised so much mockery, it was not long before someone with a stronger sense of humour higher up the ranks returned the beaded sheep to B&O and cancelled the fine. However, this was done on the strict understanding that if they continue to display the sheep in front of their offices, they would place a prominent notice next to them reading, “These Sheep are Not for Sale”!

Can you believe that anyone could be so utterly stupid as to imagine that beaded sheep are “real” or, supposing they were smart enough to realize they were imitations, go further by accusing the company of selling them? Why didn’t one of the Metro officers simply go into the office and ask why the sheep were on the grass?

As I write this, a listener has just phoned the radio station to say he was taking a walk with his Australian sheep dog past the B&O offices the other day, and the dog also thought the sheep were real, and tried to herd them into a corner. I leave it to you to decide the levels of intelligence between the police and the dog. In my opinion the dog wins.

Soon after, the head of the Metro Police decided that a lighter approach was more appropriate and asked B&O if they would mind if they adopt a beaded sheep as their mascot, to be named “Metro.” This was readily agreed to, and consequently it will not be long before a representation of “Metro” will adorn police artefacts.

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