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Pat Fahrenfort Talks to Business Day’s Penny Haw About Spanner in the Works

Spanner in the WorksPat Fahrenfort, author of the memoir Spanner in the Works, recently talked to Business Day’s Penny Haw about her life of contrasts. In the interview, she reveals stories about some unsavoury characters she escaped from, including a potential boss who required his secretary to sleep with him, and how she felt about lazy government employees when she worked for the Department of Labour.

To all her numerous roles it seems that she has brought a sparkle and sense of determination, which she perhaps got from her family. This gave her enough courage to ask Antjie Krog for help with writing the book.

During a career that has spanned 46 years, Pat Fahrenfort has bent over a conveyor belt in a printing factory and stacked books until her fingers bled (she was 15 at the time); responded to job advertisements for “fair-skinned coloureds” and “well-spoken coloured females”; and was propositioned by a prisoner in a courtroom while working as a reporter.

She turned down the offer of a “position” in London that required, in addition to secretarial duties, having sex with the boss when he was in town, and completed a degree while working full-time.

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