The latest fashion accessory for those that have everything is an adopted child from some pitifully poor part of the world. Brad and Angelina have done it, Madonna has done it and now Sir Elton John has discovered his paternal urge at the rather late age of 62. Of course, there is nothing new in all this. For centuries the super-rich have been privileged enough to travel the world and it was inevitable that some would want to take a souvenir home with them; a permanent reminder of their holiday. Not for them those small, badly carved animals or a woven basket. No, much better to grab a little human being to take home as proof, for example, that you have visited the wilder parts of the Amazonian rain forests. That sort of thing sets you a world apart from the neighbours. There’s Mrs Higgins showing off the painted wooden donkeys she and her husband bought when they went to Benidorm on a package holiday for two weeks while, just outside the back door in a small cage, you have a wild untamed pygmy child you’re hoping to train to wait at table…once he grows a bit more that is. The only problem is getting them back through customs which is why adoption is the preferred bureaucratic route.
In the good old days this was not a problem. The founder of one of the well known Scottish whisky distilleries, a man of military background, was a great hunting and safari man. On one trip to Africa he noticed a couple of young boys, possibly twins, kneeling by the roadside and ordered one of his faithful lackeys to go and catch them and put them in a bag pending further instructions from the Major. One escaped but the other was caught, put in a bag and taken back to the rather inhospitable climate of Scotland where he grew up and became the Major’s personal assistant. There’s a picture of him in the Major’s study wearing a kilt and a rather confused expression. How the hell the Major got him home is anyone’s guess. Small black boys weren’t terribly common in 19th century Scotland. I imagine the customs officer smartly saluted and welcomed the Major (a well known character) back to Scotland before asking him what it was that was wriggling in the bag. “Just a wee black laddie I found on ma holiday” replied the Major. “Och, you should nae really be bringing wee live laddies in with you Major but this time I’ll turn a blind eye”. Thus the trend for adopting small black children as fashion accessories began. Just to show he’s different Sir Elton has gone for a white child and I’m expecting the ANC Yoof League to denounce this as racist any day now.
Speaking of the ANC Yoof League, it occurred to me that somebody might want to adopt Julius Malema and take him off our hands. OK….he’s nearly thirty and not that cute but the upside is that he can take himself off to the toilet (or so I’ve heard). Maybe someone in Greenland is looking for a South African souvenir to take home. We should be so lucky.