We’ve all heard about South Africa’s crime rate, but in a worrying twist, it seems that even the local wildlife is now getting in on the act:
Pietermaritzburg – Seventy-year-old Schalk Hagen died without telling anyone exactly what happened to him. Now the prime suspect in his death is a giraffe. Hagen had gone for his usual morning walk at Bisley Nature Reserve in March.
The only thing he uttered to his distraught wife on his return from his walk, with blood spurting from a deep head wound, was “I ran away*“. Hagen later died of his injuries.
Prompted by the story of Hagen’s death in The Witness last week, a reader told on Monday how a bull giraffe attacked and chased instructors and patrons around at the Canterbury stables, the same month Hagen was injured. Hagen’s wife, Aletha, added that he and his 16-year-old grand-daughter had previously gone for a walk in the reserve when a giraffe, accompanied by a sibling, charged at them aggressively.
“I suppose it was chasing them away from the group. When he came home wounded that day, the first thing I asked him was if he had been attacked by a giraffe**, but he was unable to reply,” said Aletha.
Hagen had suffered a cracked skull and a deep head wound which received 14 stitches.
And then, as ever in South African news, the amusing side to this tragic tale, which also goes some way to explain why sit-com writers spend so much time scanning our local newspapers in search of novel, yet implausible, ideas.
The story of Hagen’s mysterious injury sparked Ross McCann’s memory of a giraffe attack at the Canterbury stables, a riding school at the Bisley Valley Nature reserve.
“I am of the firm belief that Hagen was attacked by a giraffe.” He said a giraffe left marks on a tree at the stables when it attacked instructors and trainees.
Instructor Francois Hugo said the bull giraffe chased more than five people around the stables. “I was with my colleague and four people, some of whom were training in the sand arena. It charged my colleague who ran into the outside toilet for hiding. But the giraffe stuck its head into the toilet through the hole above the door. It was trying to head-butt him, so I tried to distract it. It immediately came after me as I ran and hid behind the tree. It was a bull giraffe, it smelt horrible, and had big black spots, darker than spots on other giraffes. We were separated just by the tree’s trunk.”
Hugo said the giraffe attacked him using its horns but missed and dug them into the tree trunk. Two marks are still visible***. Hugo admitted he was scared and ran for his life, followed by his trainees, as the giraffe chased after them.
I’m picturing Michael Palin as colleague cowering in outside toilet.
South African “comedian” Leon Schuster will have to be the giraffe. It’s the law.
* not fast enough, you didn’t.
** as you would…
*** neatly comparable with the number of horns on your average giraffe.
This was sent to me by a colleague. I think it’s brilliant.
If you, like me, are in a long term relationship and cohabiting, prepare to be very – very – scared.
Somebody has obviously been watching us…
And I’ll just slip in a couple of housekeeping points:
1. This blog is now registered on commentluv.com. It’s one of my favourite WP plugins so I thought it was the right thing to do. I have no idea what benefits this will bring for this site or my visitors. Probably none.
2. A warm welcome to Po who joins the esteemed and exclusive 6000 miles… blogroll. Welcome. There you go.
In an extraordinary show of solidarity with ANC President Jacob Zuma, a poll today* suggests that a huge number of white South Africans want JZ to become President of the country as soon as possible. While this may come as a surprise to many political analysts, there is a very simple explanation: pronunciation.
It seems that many white South Africans have become used to having a president who has an easily pronounceable name, like Nelson Mandela or Thabo Mbeki. The suggestion that Kgalema Motlanthe is being lined up as acting president following Mbeki’s resignation has caused widespread concern amongst paler Saffers.
My wife asked me who was replacing Mbeki and by the time I’d told her, she needed to wash her face and hair. Look, he’s a great guy and all, but I just can’t do a K followed by a G without spitting. In retrospect, I suppose it didn’t help that I was eating a boerie roll at the time.
It was originally thought that the speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, would act as stand-in President until the election next year. And that seemingly wouldn’t have been a problem for most whities:
You can just mutter the surname and then you look all knowledgeable. No-one is going to hear the difference between Mbeki and Mbete after a few beers if you say it quickly and quietly.
Other potential contenders for the post, such as Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (“Phumzile” to the whities) and Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma (“That Zuma woman”) would have caused equal difficulties for white tongues.
What we need now is for Zuma to call an election as soon as possible. And then get elected. We don’t care about his policies. Frankly, it’s just embarrassing not being able to say the name of your country’s leader without covering the everyone surrounding area in saliva.
A Zuma presidency can save us from that.
In related news, ambulance service ER24 has also made an urgent appeal to Zuma and the ANC to sort out the presidential vacuum as quickly as possible, as it was hampering their triage routine in head injury cases. Spokesperson Daniel van Wyk** explained:
When our staff attend an incident in which there has been a head injury, they assess the level of consciousness of the casualty using three simple questions: what their name is, what day is it and who the president of the country is. The current lack of a president is causing our staff difficulties and causing perfectly healthy patients to panic, as they think they are actually much more badly injured than they really are.
More later, sports fans!
* which I just made up.
** more make believe.
I’m a t-shirt, trainers and jeans kinda guy. In fact, throughout winter, you’ll find me in little else, save for socks. Undergarments are a given, obviously – it’s just too dangerous for a bloke of my dimensions not to.
In the summer, I’m more of a t-shirt, flops and shorts kinda guy, but this isn’t a post about summer.
The jeans are invariably Levis, because they’re the only ones long enough. The t-shirts are invariably one of Puma, Nike or Adidas and the trainers have been New Balance since I can remember.
I can like to be a creature of habit.
My latest pair of takkies – as they are called out here – are New Balance 606 Trail Running shoes.
New Balance 606 – I have 2 of them
Of course, I haven’t run any trails in them – they might get dirty. Oh, and because I might get dead.
Because while it quite clearly states “All Terrain” on them upon a silhouetted image of a mountain, they make me look like Bambi on ice as soon as the relative humidity rises above 8%. They’re bloody lethal.
Looking at the sole, one could quite easily believe that they would grip anything, anytime. And indeed, they will – as long as it’s not wet. I can only imagine that they were road-tested in the Sahara.
Sadly, we are still in the throes of an extremely damp Cape Town winter, which has made walking about town dangerous for me, yet somewhat amusing for passers-by whose only concern is avoiding the several hundred invisible ball-bearings that I am struggling with.
I will think long and hard before buying another pair of New Balance “All Terrain” trainers.
Assuming, that is, I live long enough to wear these ones out.
The LHC is the Large Hadron Collider, a big circular tunnel under Switzerland (and a bit of France) full of expensive electronic equipment which scientists are going to switch on tomorrow – meaning that the universe is going to end and we’re all going to die. Possibly, anyway. If things do go wrong, then Jacob Zuma may never get his day in court. Poor bugger – he’s been waiting ages!
Look, everyone’s going to be blogging about this tonight and tomorrow, so I won’t waste too much of your (increasingly) valuable time. But just to explain:
Two beams of subatomic particles called ‘hadrons’ – either protons or lead ions – will travel in opposite directions inside the circular accelerator, gaining energy with every lap. Physicists will use the LHC to recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, by colliding the two beams head-on at very high energy.
To me it sounds like a whole lot of fun. Although if the British hadron overtakes the Finnish hadron on the chicane, it will probably be disqualified.
But anyway, I’ve checked and discovered that if they do accidentally create little black holes which suck the entire galaxy into a point of singularity (or whatever), my mortgage is covered. Happy days.
So if this is goodbye, then goodbye. And thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with some very sound advice:
I can just see that this is going to be a very productive day…