How to publish a fees report


Dear Fees Commission,

We regret to inform you that your 570-page manuscript, titled Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training, will not be considered for publication as a hardcover at this time.

Stories — in their current form — consist of a beginning, a middle and an end, with a hero, or protagonist, undergoing some sort of change to come to some sort of deep insight.

Your story (although with a considerable beginning and oversized middle) has, at a total length of a gazillion words, no end and is bereft of heroes, plots, insights and twists of any kind.

Furthermore, in addition to a moral lesson, and despite the trials and tribulations of the hero, contemporary stories have happy endings — so as to leave readers with the joyful notion that everything is okay, and will be as long as they lose themselves in fiction.

The manuscript you sent us (bar, perhaps, mention of a R99-billion surplus) brought us, and by extension our readers, no joy.

We were also appalled by your habit of blatantly stating the obvious (and there is no other way of putting this) to pad a horribly deficient document.

We all know that everyone has a right to further education and that the state has a constitutional duty to realise this. There is no need whatsoever to acknowledge it, and even less so in the opening stanza of the manuscript.

A good tip to remember is that the readability of a novel hinges on what the reader does not know and the author’s expert ability to reveal the unknown in a slow and tantalising drip that forces said reader to keep turning the page.

We also know that the state does not have the funds to provide free higher education and training. It was our fervent hope upon hearing about your project in January 2016 that your manuscript would be a work — a suspense thriller of the highest order — that tells the story of how those funds could be generated.

Apart from shining a light on curious abbreviations such as TVET and HEPI, it does no such thing.

Try as we might, we could not find a genre for your submission other than horror, our in-tray for which is already filled to its desperate brim with ill-fated submissions (like yours) comprising the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, the State Capture Report and the Arms Procurement Inquiry, to name but a few.

For future reference (although it is our professional recommendation to make this your last attempt at writing), at least send us an entertaining, rose-tinted novel about a country thriving at the hands of a creative government with the means and motivation to find a way and, while they’re at it, the will to make a change.

As another free tip (from us to you, to illustrate the immense benefits of free education), note that the hero in such a utopian tale would be the country, and the moral embedded in its prose the resilience of that country to rise above circumstances to reach unbelievable heights.

Make sense of your world

Subscribe to Mail & Guardian at R10/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Kidnapping in Mayfair: Claims and counterclaims

More revelations in multimillion-rand Mayfair kidnapping

Bad data: No, VW Polo drivers aren’t the worst in...

The headlines vilifying one group of drivers miss the point about an important road safety report.

A BIG deal: Universal income support could resuscitate South Africa’s...

A basic income grant could add 0.5% to GDP growth by 2025, according to a report commissioned by the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

Public protector to investigate president

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks has asked Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate Ramaphosa’s ‘failure to report corruption’

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…