Leon Louw's weekly Business Day column -

YEARS ago, highway robbers held up innocent travellers and demanded "your money or your life". Little has changed. Today’s highwaymen, though, are called "police", and hold-ups are "road blocks" that can be formal or informal.

The phrase originates from the 1700s, when John Mawson testified in the Old Bailey: "As I was coming home … I was met by two men … the man who attacked me … clapped a bayonet to my breast, and said: ‘Your money, or your life!’ He had on a soldier’s waistcoat … I gave him my silver."

Last week, my daughter’s friend, who is a teacher, was not only robbed, like Mawson, on her way to the opening of an art gallery in Johannesburg’s leafy suburbs, but she was subjected to an even more terrifying experience.




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