30-Second factoid for the day: The Boomslang or ‘tree snake’ in Afrikaans, is a venomous, largely tree-dwelling aka ‘arboreal’ snake (as the name suggests) and feeds on things that live in trees…naturally! Its venom is classified as a haemotoxin, highly potent and halts the blood-clotting process causing internal and external bleeding – something a Band-Aid will struggle to fix and deadly if a mere couple of milligrams is administered to a human victim. Nasty little reptile (although rumoured to be timid); unless of course you happen to spend a lot of time in Sub-Saharan African treetops rediscovering your primal tree-swinging abilities, or practicing to become the next Tarzan (or Jane).
Tow Truck Derby
Watching Sunday night’s episode of Carte Blanche, a ‘Boomslang’ is something poles apart from the arboreal reptilian, although the people involved could themselves be described as slimy. Working as a tow truck driver in South Africa must be one of THE most boring jobs I can think of. Sitting at the side of the road all day in your cut-and-shunted Navara with blinged mags and heavily tinted windows, or a slammed (lowered) Nissan Hardbody with roll-bar-mounted Hella-wanabee spotlights, waiting for sight of an accident or a call over the shortwave must be mind-numbing. There is definitely a limit to the number of donuts one can ingest during a single shift! Judging by the number of different companies involved in the tow truck trade in South Africa however this business must be lucrative; either that, or the adrenalin rush experienced by the drivers during the customary drag-race to the scene of an incident must be on par with a mind altering drug high. Continue reading →
South African men (most of them anyway) love guns. Guns are used for numerous things in the country, from game and sports hunting, to illegal poaching; from self defence to car-jackings, cash van heists, general robbery and then by the police in the ‘dropping’ of crime perpetrators. Let’s stay on the right side of the law for the remainder of this post.
One of my friends recently purchased a handgun, adding to his growing arsenal, which he proudly showcases in its leatherette (or perhaps leather?) holster attached to the belt on his jeans. It goes everywhere with him and is clearly visible (is this a rule?). Now the weird thing is that his new accessory has an accompanying cowboy-come-Chuck Norris style swagger attached to it, and when not swaggering, a thumbs-through-belt-loop control of his hands. Got the picture? It’s like the BMW car effect of the gun world. Perhaps if I owned a handgun I would also be….possessed? Continue reading →
Having lived and worked in London, I have frequently been exposed to the ‘joys’ of the business commute. This is especially momentous during summer months when rush-hour masses are packed into claustrophobic, non air-conditioned tube train and whisked to their respective destinations. There is always one soap dodger who inevitably ends up in your train car and then decides that he would like everyone to know that HE (and it was usually always a male) was the one who neglected to take a shower that particular morning. I’m sure that these people purposefully stand with their arms raised to grip a handhold next to an open window, at just the right angle so that the draft dissipates the horrors within their armpit(s) throughout the entire shared air bubble.
“When you vote for the ANC, you are also choosing to go to heaven. When you don’t vote for the ANC you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork… who cooks people”.
President Jacob Zuma
No one can argue that the current South African president and leader of the leftwing African National Congress Party (ANC) hasn’t got a sense of humour after reading the above statement (made during the run-up to the 2011 municipal elections). Personally I think that it’s important for any progressive president to have a developed comic stance on life and love (more on the love later) in order to make it through a normal working week; especially when you have such a serious day job! Take George Bush for instance – an astute man, focussed on making the world a better place. He had a host of ‘Bushisms’ which he could throw into a speech at a moment’s notice to keep his audiences entertained whilst going about the serious business of running America. Who else could inject humour into otherwise sobering and serious statements such as the one which he made at the signing of a multi-billion dollar defence spending bill?
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
America wouldn’t be the superpower it is today without his outstanding efforts whilst in office (ahem). It is pretty obvious that Zuma ‘wants in’ when it comes to filling the political comedienne and model presidential role left by America’s former leader. Continue reading →
‘Boer’ (noun; plural – Boere) is the Afrikaans word for ‘farmer’. Although the use of the word in its traditional sense leans more towards a reference to the white Afrikaans male farmer, I believe that the word can be applied to all manner of ‘farmer’ and is irrelevant of colour and race. Phewff…racial and cultural minefield avoided! Proceed to next level.
This post pays references the word ‘Boer’ in its more traditional sense and concentrates specifically on the clothing worn by staunch Afrikaans Boere men. If you can imagine back to caveman days, your local Truworths equivalent probably had very little in the way of choice when it came to clothes. They may have gone as far as to cater for separate departments for men and women, however there are restrictions to what can be done with a loincloth, leaves and animal fur clothing. Bearing this in mind, a caveman would probably suffer an embolism, brought about by a combination of his/her mammoth-rich diet and the advancement in clothing range and design if they were to walk into any modern-day department store. Continue reading →
‘Dancing’ in South Africa took on a whole new dimension when I moved here from the UK. When we first met, my wife told me that she loved to dance; my first thought (being from the UK) was that this was the type of dancing one would do in a nightclub to either a current chart number, or cheesy 70/80/90s tune. In South Africa, this type of non-structured arm flailing is termed ‘loose dancing’, whilst ‘social’ dancing is the more refined, ballroom-type affair, which includes yet another popular South African past-time, the langarm; known affectionately as ‘windsurfing’.
Ballroom or ‘grab-a-partner’ dancing in the UK is something which is usually reserved for ‘other people’, and by this I mean not involving oneself, i.e. celebrities on shows such as ‘Dancing with the Stars’, or children with parents who make them attend dance classes so that they can either pursue a unfulfilled dream through their kids, or take up a ‘hobby by association’. Here in South Africa couples dancing is viewed in a completely different light. The majority of youngsters know how to ‘langarm’ and have grown up being able to dance, from early-on in their childhood years and through attending high-school proms, weddings etc. Continue reading →
To borrow a lyric from a Zirk Bergh (Afrikaans song), ‘here comes a potbelly with a person on’. The word ‘boep’ refers to the ‘well-defined’ belly (you know the sort I’m referring to) which can be found increasingly in younger-generation males and goes beyond that of the usual middle age spread. It is something which I can’t help but notice whilst walking around the local supermarket or shopping mall.
My expression of interest in this matter pertains to the number of guys (and let’s not rule out the fairer sex) with boepens and the associated health and general body aesthetics issues connected with carrying around so much fat. Many boepens owners are very proud of their boeps and their ‘talent’ of being able to comfortably accommodate a case of beer and/or an entire drinking session of ‘brandewyn met coke’ in their on-board keg. Whether this would make the next installment of South Africa’s Got Talent however is debateable. Continue reading →