A SECRET memo from Fifa, leaked to a source at winegoggle, mentions concern at the lack of teeth among service staff at eateries in the Western Cape. Having spent the past two years rigorously monitoring hospitality standards in and around Cape Town, which is to host eight soccer matches during World Cup 2010, the soccer body questioned the lack of front teeth among waitrons and bar-staff.
“Some international visitors may find the sight of waitron smiling without the required front teeth unsightly,” the memo states. “And in instances it is offensive, especially when the owner of the gapped mouth attempts to pronounce challenging words on the menu. Even something relatively simple, such as ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëfresh fish of the day with chips and relish’ ends up with spittle flying all over the place and an irritable glimpse of bare pink gum.”
A restaurant owner in the V&A Waterfront says the so-called passion gap among workers of Cape Coloured heritage was something that had been worrying him and his fellow restaurateurs for some time.
“Let’s face it, staring through a gap in a person’s mouth and watching his tonsils vibrate as he talks about the specials of the day, is not very appetising,” he said. “But there is no way you can control it. When the staff come for interviews, all seem okay. But during the first shift, the false teeth are popped out revealing the passion gap they seem to find so attractive. Try talking to them about it, and they go on about their culture and heritage, and drag you off to some authority for attempting to restrict their culture.”
Florida Wentzel, a member of hospitality trade union LOEPNYE, said that the passion gap was a proud part of Cape Culture. “The practice of pulling our front teeth dates back to slavery times, and is very precious to us,” Wentzel say. “European slave masters would pull their slaves’ front teeth to prevent them from chewing through the ropes that tied them up at night. It is therefore part of our culture. Other cultures have piercings, tattoos and weird hairstyles, but we have the passion gap.”
Fifa is apparently concerned that the appearance of missing front teeth will give international visitors to the Cape the impression that coloured people were still subjugated and did not have access to decent medical treatment. “It is in everybody’s interest that the World Cup’s host country be seen as a country taking excellent medical care of all its inhabitants,” the memo says. “The appearance of a plethora of toothless mouths is not conducive to the image we wish to see South Africa project.”
Wentzel said, “Of course we have excellent medical care. The bloody dentist pulls the teeth, real carefully.”
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