Special Reports

Medal makers mourn era of African tyrants

Not the Mail & Guardian

Paris's exclusive designers of military berets and medals say they are being forced out of business by the gradual spread of democracy in Africa.

'Uncle' Idi's military look is a dying trend for despots

"Forty years ago, we were shipping hundreds of field marshall batons, fake Victoria Crosses and Highland Regiment berets to central Africa," said Henri le Collaborateur. "Between Idi Amin, Julius 'the Bone-Crusher' Nyala, Adolph 'Knuckles' Ngongo and Raoul 'the Tooth-Fairy' Duvalier, we couldn't keep up with demand.

"But now it's all unity governments and democracy prizes and all that touchy-feely bullshit."

He said that there had been some "early promising signs from a South African called Julius something-or-other", but that the young demagogue had "failed to mature into a fully fledged whack job who thought he was the king of space and rear admiral of the Afrikan Liberation Navy's anti-homosodomite division, and wanted the uniform to prove it".

To make matters worse, he said, Africa's newer despots seemed to be favouring a more corporate look.

"If I had a euro for every blood-diamond-sucking monster in a Savile Row three-piece, I could retire to Saudi Arabia like uncle Idi did," he sighed.

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