The Real McCoy

Bulawayo City Hall

Bulawayo City Hall

The Real McCoy

As Mayor of Bulawayo, Abe Menashe visited all the factories in turn to give them publicity.  He visited a school every week to speak to the school assembly and a different church every week to create interest, and get a lot of publicity for himself.

The Real McCoy

Mr. Musset, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, came to see Abe’s Swiss Blade factory.  The machines stamped out the metal, ground, honed and sharpened the blades.  At that time platinum blades were all the rage, promising to hold their edge and give the most comfortable shave.

Phil Gordon, Abe’s partner, got a hold of an old dental x-ray chair and x-ray machine.  It was installed in a small room.  They passed the razor blades past the  the x-ray machine. It bombarded platinum onto the blades.    “It was all a bunch of bullshit!”   But Mr. Musset was suitably impressed.

After the tour of the factory, they sat down to tea.  Mr. Musset said, “You can be proud.  Rhodesia is manufacturing so many things.   But we have to admit  our quality is not as good as overseas.”  He opened the jacket of his suit to display his tie and went on,  “Christian Dior for instance…”

“Excuse me, Mr. Minister.  That tie was made in my factory four hundred yards away.  I’ve got the rights to make Christian Dior from my partner Norky Abrams, the top manufacturing firm in Johannesburg.  I have a tie manufacturer from Germany who knows the tie industry.  We are making dressing gowns also.  I don’t have to pay royalties because we are fighting sanctions in Rhodesia. You know I advised Ian Smith against UDI, but I’m doing very well out of it.”

Phil was a coin collector.  They sold Ian Smith platinum coins minted in Johannesburg.

2 Comments

  • Trevor Hodgskin

    Reply Reply July 10, 2016

    Bulawayo In the days of Abe Menashe was a fantastic time of natiional development in Rhodesia. If only that development had carried on as it did until approx the year two thousand. I remember Abe and his partner who had a synagogue named after his wife near Kumalo.
    I am very proud to have been a part of the development in that period. The country was fortunate to have an influx of talented people after the war from all parts of the world, all pushing for development in all spheres of life.
    What happened to retard the growth was a meeting at the SouthernSun hotel arranged by N.U.S.T looking for ideas for growth and an idea was sown that had industry in mind but regrettably the idea turned to farms with tragic consequences only a few weeks after the conference.
    People who did make a great contribution were Willie Dahmer, the Treger family, Nimr, The Industrial Development Board, Tiny Roland. Gee what a wonder full crowd and many African entrepreneurs such as the many bus operators. And every person who lived and worked in the country at the time.
    The Metal Merchants Association did a great job in stopping the export of scrap metal as this can be raw material for growing industry. There must be an abundance of machines which could be put to use again if they have not been sold as scrap. Auctioneers must, if selling up firms, identify what they have for sale corectly.
    I wish those who are pushing Zim to greatness the best of luck for the future.

    • Diana Polisensky

      Reply Reply July 10, 2016

      Trevor,
      Yes, Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end

      Oh my friend we’re older but no wiser, For in our hearts the dreams are still the same.

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