Monday, September 04, 2006

When it really doesn’t make sense to use euphemisms

The following call for submissions was recently circulated in the M&E community.

“ORGANISATION ABC wants to engage in contracts with representative independent individual contactors in all provinces. We are therefore inviting representative individuals who are well qualified and experienced in Monitoring and Evaluation and related areas to submit their curriculum vitae’s and relevant information for consideration and possible invitation to attend a selection interview and deliver a simulated presentation.”

What is all of this talk about “representative individuals” about? I wonder why they just couldn’t come out and say “Individuals from Historically Disadvantaged Groups”. Strictly speaking, as a white female I am surely representative of some demographic in South Africa, ‘though I don’t think I am exactly what they mean under “representative individual!

And on an entirely non-M&E note, I read the following poem from Antjie Krog in "Verweerskrif" published by Umuzi in 2006 (Also available in English as "Body Bereft". Seems like we won’t get away from representing something ‘till the day death comes knocking.

namens myself

namens niemand hoef ek iets meer te benader nie
namens niemand hoef ek meer verantwoording
te doen of om vergifnis te vra nie.

niemand se gemarginaliseerde perspektief
hoef ek meer op tafel te plaas
of my in ander se vel te verbeel nie

die eerste voorhoedes van die dood
het opgedaag en die liggaam gly soos sand
deur die vingers. apatie neutraliseer die sintuie

oorlewing ontplooi soos ‘n woestaard en sny
jou af van ander sodat jy al meer vertroud
raak met die na-binne-gedraaidheid van die dood

Laai vir laai word jy leeggemaak
Tot net nog die leƫ binnekant jou raak