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February 10, 2009

Why Microsoft should recognise the word Capetonian


Photo courtesy Mark Thijssen

Anyone with a spell check will know that Microsoft is quite biased in its vocabulary preferences. Generally the little dictionary inside your computer is interested in the grammar of countries with more than four TV channels and whose drivers know how to use a multi-entry traffic circle. Despite this, try setting your spell check to UK English and, mysteriously, you still get little red lines under the Ss of words like familiarise and customise, which after a while really bastardise your perception of the English language.

I’ve lived in Cape Town all my life and been computer literate for half of it. And I often refer to myself and my fellow mountain-gazing dwellers as Capetonians, but this word is crossly rejected by Microsoft’s grumpy little librarian. It saddens me to see that in the mind of the world’s largest operating system, we simply don’t exist.

So I’m thinking of petitioning those geeks at Microsoft or inviting Bill and Melinda Gates to detour for tea when they are next in sub-Saharan Africa to hand out mozzie nets. I would tell them that ignoring Capetonians is simply not on.

Who would ignore people who are so beautiful they hardly have to work? Or maybe that’s why Microsoft isn’t interested in us… Who would fail to notice the creators of such memorable delicacies as snoek and apricot jam, samoosas, Gatsbys and mosbolletjies?

Why would anyone ignore a gathering of people who make more (excellent) wine than all of them could ever drink?

Shame on them for excluding the lifestyle example set by people of this name; who do business in gorgeous coffee shops; gaze out to sea for creative inspiration, then sign and go for lunch only to take off from work at 16h00 and head for a sunset walk with the dogs on the beach. Could the librarian be jealous?

It’s not difficult to define a Capetonian. Those who aren’t gorgeous usually make up for it with their excellent characters or abilities.

Watching this species, it is difficult to ascertain where they make their money, since they spend most of their time relaxing on the beach, sipping cappuccinos, snoozing under trees or chatting to each other in small, fascinating groups.

Table Mountain is a finalist in the New7Wonders of Nature, Hollywood stars come to visit Cape Town incognito because Capetonians are too cool to stare at famous people, yet still the little red squiggles appear beneath the word Capetonian.

So I’m going to start a petition to have us included in Microsoft’s next spell check. Maybe they can launch it in Cape Town, um sorry, where’s that again?


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