Mintoff is just one of those figures every single Maltese person has heard of, developed an opinion on, and probably even argued endlessly about. Sometimes, though, we forget that most of the world doesn’t really know – or care – about our tiny island’s former Prime Ministers… which leads to the glorious moment when you have to explain it all.
In a short video that’s been steadily making the rounds online, a Maltese taxi driver runs his tourist passengers through the life and times of Dom Mintoff, and why the politician is so highly revered to this day.
However, the whole thing comes crashing down when the tourists mention the C word. No, not that; chocolate, of course.
The driver’s tone instantly changes to that of frustration, as he fumbles to explain that Mintoff was actually not banning chocolate in Malta, but “he made the Maltese chocolate, that’s why he was very big”.
Now I’m 99.9% sure this video is actually completely staged… but it doesn’t make the conversation less real or the #MaltaFeels less intense.
Uploaded by TikTok sketch writers Ragnar Films, the clip follows another short video that features the Maltese taxi driver and his two passengers, this time presumably shot in the moments right before the mini Mintoff lesson.
But who cares whether the whole thing is staged or not, when this could’ve literally happened yesterday in another taxi with another couple of tourists?
Of course, the whole crux of the joke has some very factual roots…
During Labour’s government of the 70s and 80s, Maltese manufacturing of certain consumer goods was practically non-existent. In a bid to change this, Mintoff had banned imported competition to help local companies slowly enter the market without facing complete obliteration at the hands of established foreign brands.
Amidst all this, however, the comparatively inferior local products in beloved sectors like desserts and chocolate led to people smuggling in foreign chocolate. Eventually, the whole thing became a meme decades before the internet even made it to our homes.
And a couple of decades later, it looks like Mintoff’s chocolate saga continues to live on in TikTok.