For your safety, please fly your brooms below 150 meters

I keep coming across this. Surely it is a joke?

It seems like at least once a week we have these stories come out where you are just not sure what to make of them. A joke? A mistranslation? Or just a disconnect from reality?

In Swaziland, they talk about witches flying on broomsticks.

Broomstick-flying witches to be brought down in Swaziland – Times LIVE.

Witches flying broomsticks in Swaziland above 150 metres will be subject to arrest and a hefty fine of R500 000, civil aviation authorities said, according to a report.

“A witch on a broomstick should not fly above the [150-metre] limit,” Civil Aviation Authority marketing and corporate affairs director Sabelo Dlamini told the newspaper.

No penalties exist for witches flying below 150 metres.

The report said it was hard to say how serious he was, but witchcraft isn’t a joking matter in Swaziland, where the people believe in it.

The restrictions come after an incident with a remote controlled helicopter. So, safety is the main factor. Don’t want any witches colliding with other aircraft. Or… something.

I’ve read the article I think it might be a lost in translation joke.

What if the witch is riding a RC helicopter? Loophole!

Presumably, a Swazi member of Al Qaeda flies his broomstick into a tall building…

There are tall buildings in Swaziland?

Single engine motor boats are restricted to inshore waters, so I think a 150m limit is more than fair for a broom propelled by nothing more than newt’s eyes and the fat of an unbabtised child. I hope the rest of the world adops this Swaziland initiative. Incidently, there is a promising movie about to hit the cinemas about a now grown-up and understandably ticked off Hansel and Gretel persuing a career in slaying witches.

No, they fly all the way to New York - at an altitude of under 150m, so as not to attract undue attention. Then they suddenly gain altitude to about, um, how tall were those buildings…?

This new restriction on flying height has nothing to do with safety. Safety is just an excuse. The real reason is that it improves the chances of success during a witch-hunt. After all, it’s hard enough launching a good hammer into the air without having to aim carefully too. I heard a rumour that the Swazi authorities also want to set a speed limit for flying witches. Currently, it looks like they’ll adopt a figure of ½ cauldron per second but the debate is being sidetracked over the question of which units of measure should be used. The choices include black cat ear spans per hour, wands per leap year, hunchback circumferences per Buthelezi speech duration, and warty nose lengths per 666 seconds.


Bah, everyone knows the internationally accepted unit for absolutely anything is “libraries of congress”.

Edit: Though personally I prefer football pitches per library of congress times by size of a bus squared.