Month: June 2018

The buck stops here

BEN TROVATO – Durban Poison


Dear Tess Thompson Talley,

I had no idea someone as beautiful and brave as you existed in America until you posted that picture of yourself moments after executing an African giraffe. I don’t even care if you aren’t a real blonde. But if you are, praise the Lord! Which is exactly what you seem to be doing in one of the photos – thanking the Almighty for having guided this cloven-hoofed beast from hell into your crosshairs.

Tess-Giraffe-Praise God-Landscape

Your caption was so inspiring that it’s worth repeating. “Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today! Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite a while. I knew it was the one. He was over 15 years old, 4000lbs, and was blessed to be able to get 2000lbs of meat from him.”

On behalf of Africa, thank you for ridding us of another giraffe…

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The buck stops here


Dear Tess Thompson Talley,

I had no idea someone as beautiful and brave as you existed in America until you posted that picture of yourself moments after executing an African giraffe. I don’t even care if you aren’t a real blonde. But if you are, praise the Lord! Which is exactly what you seem to be doing in one of the photos – thanking the Almighty for having guided this cloven-hoofed beast from hell into your crosshairs.

Tess-Giraffe-Praise God-Landscape

Your caption was so inspiring that it’s worth repeating. “Prayers for my once in a lifetime dream hunt came true today! Spotted this rare black giraffe bull and stalked him for quite a while. I knew it was the one. He was over 15 years old, 4000lbs, and was blessed to be able to get 2000lbs of meat from him.”

On behalf of Africa, thank you for ridding us of another giraffe. They are violent, arrogant creatures who strut about the bush looking down on all the other animals. It’s no wonder so many of the little ones, like warthogs, suffer from self-esteem issues.

Stalking a giraffe isn’t for the faint-hearted. They move so slowly that even an experienced hunter like yourself runs the risk of falling asleep and being unexpectedly eaten by a passing lion.

If it weren’t for people like you, the giraffe population would spiral out of control and it wouldn’t be long before they started moving into our neighbourhoods and sending their kids to our schools. That your giraffe was black is obviously a sign. Or bonus. Whatever.

As you say, these ones are rare. But rare only means there are others like him still out there. Thanks to your fearless efforts, his kind will soon be extinct and we will all sleep a little more soundly in our beds at night. Unless, of course, you mean that you cooked him rare.

Love the picture of you and the dead kangaroo. It can’t be easy shooting one of those brutes, what with all their bouncing up and down. And you got to do it on your birthday! It must be every little girl’s dream to shoot a kangaroo in the face when they turn 35.


Did you convert one of its front legs into a backscratcher like your buddy Dustin suggested? Here’s another cool idea. Use his pouch to store your ammunition in! You said your roo was going to make a great mount. Don’t you use husband Andrew for that sort of thing? I’m not judging. If you want to get jiggy with a dead kangaroo, that’s your business. The French do worse things.

I see hubby has a pic of himself kneeling next to a dead sheep. Bravery seems to run in the family. It’s a good thing he was wearing full camo. There’s no telling what a sheep is capable of doing if it sees you coming.

And you’ve been redecorating your new home! Love the pic of nineteen decapitated heads scattered on the floor. I spent a fun few minutes spotting game in your living room. I saw a warthog, wildebeest, plenty of buck, an animal that looks like someone’s dog and even a turkey. And you still had eight more coming from South Africa?


I can almost hear Andrew from here. “Hun, we’re gonna need a bigger house!” You ain’t gonna stop killing so, yeah, maybe you should build a second house just for the heads. That way you can visit them without having their glass eyes staring coldly at you the whole time. I hate the way dead animals always seem to judge you. Do you ever get the urge to shoot them a second time?

I didn’t see the portrait of your awesome president on the lounge wall. Maybe you hadn’t unpacked it yet. Or is it in the bedroom? Of course it is. I bet you get really turned on having Donald Trump watching you undress. Or is that more hubby’s thing?

I loved the picture of the cookies you baked. Little doughy deer, each with its own bleeding bullet wound. What a fantastic idea for a kid’s birthday party. You should bring out a compilation of your recipes. Call it The Psychopath’s Cookbook. Guaranteed bestseller. In West Texas, anyway.


So you were in our very own Limpopo province not long ago. A place called Marken? Never heard of it. Judging by the carnage, you and Andrew must have been on your second honeymoon. There’s nothing more romantic than a woman and her man walking through the African bush while gunning down animals side by side.

Great pic of you with your dead Vervet monkey and Andrew with his baboon. Tabatha asked what you’re going to do with them and you said, “Full body mounts. These ya don’t eat.” There are animals you don’t eat? What’s happening, darlin’? Don’t get soft on us. You turn your nose up at monkey and the next thing you know you’re one of them snowflake vegan chicks driving a Prius and treating Mexicans like they’re real people.


Stephenia asked if your monkey had blue balls. For a moment I thought she was talking about Andrew but then you said, “Such a pretty color huh lol.” Glad you can still appreciate the beauty in nature lol.

You told Regina that the US don’t allow you to bring none of that meat home, not even the giraffe even though he had such a yummy sweet taste. “But everything piece of meat gets ate,” you reassured her in your own special ex-cheerleader way. How do you stay so thin after putting away 2000lbs of giraffe?

So, anyway. If my government ever starts taking conservation seriously and bans trophy hunting, you could always stalk the children of illegal immigrants right there in Texas. Trump will probably move the kids out of cages now and into open-air enclosures where they at least have a sporting chance of survival. It could be fun. Anyone who makes it to 18 without getting shot is given a Green Card. You can’t get more humanitarian than that.

Odessa must be so proud of you, Tess. Not only does does your town have the highest rate of violent crime in Texas, but they also have the cutest killer in the whole damn state.

Yeehaa, baby.

Aviation for the nation

The naming of airports is a difficult matter,

It isn’t just one of your holiday games;

You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter

When I tell you an airport must have three different names.

That’s what TS Eliot might have written if he had airports instead of cats on his mind.

It’s just as well he was more of a cat person than an airport person. Three different names would confuse a tremendous number of pilots. Just because they wear ironed uniforms with peaked caps and gold braid on their shoulders doesn’t mean they’re demi-gods, you know. They really are just drivers of big flying taxis. We don’t even know how good they are because there’s nothing to crash into up there. Apart from other flying taxis, obviously. And maybe the odd mountain if they’re not paying attention.

South Africa has once again been dragged to the brink of civil war, this time over the renaming of airports. Cape Town, Kimberley and I can’t remember where the others are. It doesn’t matter. It’s only Cape Town anyone cares about.

Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn if it’s renamed Harry The Strandloper International or even Joe Masepus International. If you live in Cape Town and take a taxi to the airport – which you will have to do if you have friends like mine – you’re going to say to the driver, “Please take me to the airport.” You don’t even have to say please. If you like, you can hold a gun to his head and simply say, “Airport.” There’s less chance of him turning in his seat and saying, “Which airport?” than there is of him saying, “Airport? The movie was way better than the book. Man, that suicide bomber getting sucked out of the plane was something else!”

If you live in any of our major cities and say you’re going to the airport, people are going to know which airport you’re talking about without you having to name it. This means that nobody will ever actually speak its name, old or new. I’ve lived in Durban for much of my life and I’ve never used the words King Shaka International because everyone seems to understand what I mean by “airport”.

I have, however, been to parties where, if I had to say I’m going to King Shaka in the morning, there would be at least one white person who would get me on my own and warn me not to make the same mistake Piet Retief made.

The only time you need to use the full name of any airport is when you make your online booking so that when you finally reach the check-in counter, the surly hungover boarding card-dispenser doesn’t put you on a plane to some or other godforsaken hellhole like Mogadishu. Or worse, Port Elizabeth.

The other thing about airports is that they are desperately sad places that people only go to so they can get somewhere else.

This conversation, for instance, has never happened.

Man: Get your things, we’re going to the airport.

Woman: *shriek* You’re taking me on holiday?

Man: Even better, baby. I’m taking you to the Soaring Falcon Spur Steak Ranch!

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are people who go to airports to eat and shop, watch people waving and weeping and hugging, then drive back home. I don’t know anyone who has done this. It seems like a deeply weird thing to do.

But back to the real issue. Airports shouldn’t be named after awesome people for the same reason Point Road should never have been renamed in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. Point Road should’ve been renamed after one of the city’s indestructible degenerates who has outshone all others in his lifelong quest for drink, drugs and whores. There are many candidates worthier than I.

The overarching emotions in airports are ones of irascibility and sadness, undercut with notes of frustration, bouquets of boredom and a rich aroma of feet. Cape Town airport should therefore be named after the angriest, most miserable person in the city. Competitions could be held. My money would be on one of the tellers at my local Spar. She reacts to greetings as if they were mortal insults and takes my credit card with the antipathy of a mother being handed a court order repossessing her children. And it’s not only me, if you’re wondering.

A few moments ago I googled restaurants at King Shaka and instead of being showered with a mouthwatering buffet of options, I was prevented from continuing and redirected to the electronic equivalent of Guantanamo Bay. “Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network,” it warned. My sphincter snapped shut like a startled sea anemone. I was then instructed to verify that it really was me sending the request, and not a robot.

A big square filled with smaller squares showing pictures of roads appeared. I was ordered to select all images with a bus. Cold sweat dripped onto my keyboard. Is that a truck or a bus? One square had what looked like it could be the bumper of a bus. Another had vehicles in the distance. Was that a bus among the cars? Impossible to tell. It looked like an elephant. Christ, what if it turns out that I am a robot? I’ll never be able to have sex again. I’ll be reduced to making awkward jerking movements for the rest of my life.

And what is this unusual traffic of which I have been accused? Is showing me pictures of real traffic their idea of a sick joke? Who are these people? I retraced my steps. Oh dear. I mentioned suicide bomber and airport in the same sentence. But how would they know? I barely remember writing that myself.

Something is going on. You only have to mention, say, dwarf-tossing on Twitter and the next thing you know your Facebook timeline is full of little people offering to be thrown about in bars. They want money, of course. Who doesn’t these days? I wouldn’t mind getting sewn into a Velcro suit and chucked against a Velcro wall if it meant free drinks and a ride home.

But it goes beyond that. More and more people are discovering connections between their conversations and the ads that pop up on social media minutes if not seconds after those conversations have taken place. It seems apparent that trigger words are setting the whole thing off. And now that I’ve said trigger, bomb and airport in a single column, I can expect my front door to be kicked in at 2pm tomorrow by heavily armed men wearing wetsuits and night vision goggles.

Actually, given the efficiency of crime intelligence in this country, the guy two streets away with the same number as mine will be having his door kicked in. He probably deserves it.


Daft bats, fraidy cats and expats

While Mark Zuckerberg is almost certainly the antichrist and his creation a thing of great evil, Facebook does toss up some interesting things as we snuffle about like derelict bottom feeders sifting through the blighted viscera of humanity.

I was, for instance, surprised to find myself a member of a group called The Lekker Old Days. It’s a closed group, as one might expect, with an impressive 134 000 members. The South African military has 78 000 members. Just saying. Someone must have added me without my knowing.

A lot of my friends from back then have emigrated over the years. I’ve never tried to find out why but I expect it was for one or other of the usual reasons. We all know what they are. Less crime, more job opportunities, a future for the kids, better pubs, stronger weed etc.

South Africans are probably not unique in getting all melancholy and misty-eyed about a time when their country was regarded as the red-headed stepchild of the international family of nations, but I can’t help finding it all a bit strange.

It’s unlikely that you’d walk into a bar in Berlin today and overhear a conversation about how Germany was such a cool place to live when Hitler was in charge. Or go to a Kigali shebeen and retired members of the Interahamwe would be reminiscing about that glorious autumn in 1994 when any old Hutu off the streets could lop off as many Tutsi limbs as he wished.

So, since I was a member of the group, I thought I’d see how the okes were doing in their new homes there by the overseas.

First up was Julie suggesting a get-together for ex-South Africans now living in the UK. “Could take a lot of planning but could be worth it just to know there are other people just as homesick as I am! Maybe a braai, a few Castles, a couple of brandies and a bit of the old biltong!” she squealed excitedly.

Quick to mansplain that she was homesick for something that no longer existed, miserable old codger John said, “If you returned to SA for a few days, you would find very little that would be familiar to you and be glad to board a plane and get back to your new home.”

That’s right, Julie. You’d be horribly disappointed. Black people are allowed on the beaches now. You’d be frightfully confused and think you had landed in Nigeria by mistake. There’s nothing more terrifying than the familiar being rendered unfamiliar by the brutal imposition of human rights and I expect you’d want to return to the airport immediately.

I was prepared to give Julie the benefit of the doubt in that perhaps she really did miss nothing more than making salads while the okes braaied, but then she ruined it with a subsequent comment. “I would love to go back to see my dear friends, who were family to me, and hopefully come back to the UK thinking ‘thank God I don’t live there any more’.” Hopefully? That’s your best case scenario, Julie? That you’d hate the new South Africa? What’s the worst case? That you’d find it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as you imagined it? That you might not want to go back to bleak, insular England and its rude people with their ugly clothes, bad teeth and vile children? Their indoor heating and overpriced everything? You’re screwed then, Julie. It’s probably best you don’t come back. You don’t want to risk finding out that home is nowhere near as bad as you thought it was.

Jeanne-Mari asks Julie where she’s living and reassures her that “there is loads off get together and sokkies all around the UK”. Shudder.

Turns out that our Julie lives in the charming seaside town of Morecombe. It’s a blot on the landscape with no pier and  mudflats for a beach. There is no fairground or swimming pool. In December a doctor warned that local kids were suffering from malnourishment and developing rickets.

On the other hand, the town is fairly well known for its potted shrimps. Oh, and there’s a statue of comedian Eric Morecombe, described the other day on TripAdvisor as “the only thing worth visiting in Morecombe”. The West End of the town has been called one of the most deprived areas in England. Suddenly I feel desperately sorry for Julie.


Craig suggests Julie joins another expat forum which promises lots of events with “lots from all over SA wanting to speak about the lekker old days”. I would have thought the Truth and Reconciliation Commission might have been a more appropriate forum for that sort of thing.

Barry tells the group about a get-together at a caravan park near Derby a few years ago where “over 100 people from the Vanderbijlpark/Vereeniging area met for three amazing days (despite the torrential rain).” It sounds more than amazing. I’m so sorry I missed it. Also, the same place has a braai this July where not only South Africans but also “Rhodesians” will gather. I can’t imagine a party I’d rather go to than one that’s awash in drunk South African and Rhodesian expats. Well, apart from maybe a lynching party in Alabama.

Eileen ruins the mood a bit when she shyly admits to still being in SA. “I just can’t get the South African bush out of me,” she admits. Given our propensity for falling down on weekends, she might well be talking literally.

Glynnis, who is clearly drunk, has an outrageous suggestion. “Why don’t you all just come home?” After an awkward silence, Rob says, “For what? To be in the same boat as everyone else?” Rob has clearly been misinformed. Not every white person owns a boat. He must be thinking of the lekker old days.

Justin, who might well have been dropped on his head as a baby, suggests a get-together for South Africans still in South Africa to “remember the good old South Africa”. Give AfriForum a call, my boy. They’ll find some nice new friends for you.

In a separate thread this week, John asked the group what they’d like to have back from the good old days. A lot of people said their mothers or fathers, which I don’t think John meant at all. Dawn and Peter said they’d like their virginity back.

Yuri said, “Law and order the way it used to be.” Akkedis said, “To be free again without you know what.” And Neels said, “The 21:00 curfew.” I grew up in the good old days so it’s easy for me to crack this code. The lads are referring to a time when the suburbs were white-by-night. The maids had to be in their kayas and the men back in the townships. It wasn’t easy to be a housebreaker in the good old days, let me tell you.

Wilhelm misses the days when there was no TV and they built treehouses and formed gangs to fight against the English. S’oraait, pel. The good old days can also mean the Anglo-Boer War, mos.

Dezray doesn’t give a damn and comes right out with it. “White government, NOT de Klerk,” she says. While she doesn’t give her preference a name, I imagine it’s somewhere in the vicinity of Steve Hofmeyr. But only until the Boeremag leadership gets out of jail. Wilhelm likes her comment.

Hannelie misses her farm. “In those days it was so safe. We played outside till late, walked in the road safe and sound. We could leave on holiday for 2 weeks, come back and nothing was wrong.” Ag shame, man. I don’t want to be the one to tell you this, skattie, but there were a couple of things wrong.

Faried misses pre-1994 South Africa “but without petty apartheid”. Faried is obviously on drugs and has lost his way. Everyone ignores him.

Errol strays into existentialism and says he misses himself, Sharon misses decent bread and Esme misses the death penalty.

Marie misses being able to walk outside without being murdered. Marie, sweetie, I don’t know how long you’ve been inside, but it’s time to come out. The odds of you not being murdered are heavily in your favour. If, however, you do come out and get murdered, I apologise. Thoughts and prayers.

Rob misses homemade bacon cut a quarter of an inch thick. I don’t remember there even being homemade pigs where I grew up.

Johan says South Africa came closest to being a first world country prior to 1994. But then “the doom happened”. I think it’s only right that our history books should in future refer to South Africa’s transition to a democracy as “The Doom”.

As for the rest of it, well, it’s an innocuous mélange of homegrown nostalgia mostly free of malice and racism. I’m sure the administrators have their work cut out for them when it comes to comments by expats still suffering from the master race syndrome, though.

A lot of South Africans who have emigrated don’t like to be reminded of the fact that the lives and lifestyles of ordinary white people who chose to stay have remained almost entirely unchanged. Sure, we’ve lost our automatic entry to the job market but otherwise it’s all still braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and Porsche Cayennes.