Before driving down from Polokwane to Burgersfort (roughly 150km) the other day, I was warned by one of the local miners (let’s call him Sakkie), to be on the lookout for the Big Five around the *Lebowakgomo area.
According to Sakkie, more accidents are caused by the local Big Five than by taxis in central Joburg.
So what are the Lebowakgomo Big Five?
Sakkie’s spokesperson (everyone has a spokesperson these days), Gert, says: “The Donkey, the Goat, the Cow, the **Pedi, and the Pedi’s unroadworthy Bakkie. Our very own Big Five.”
This didn’t make a lot of sense to me until I nearly collided with a herd of goats that seem to appear out of nowhere, strolling across the road; right in front of my car.
Like the rest of South Africa; where everything from manhole covers, to electrical cables, to crooked police commissioners, are constantly being recycled, the wire fences and fence poles on the side of the road, have been systematically and affirmatively, removed.
This allows three of the Big Five to migrate across the highway – causing old farts like me to have diminutive heart attacks – while hitting the brakes with my age-retarded reflex actions.
The problem is that, because of the lack of road maintenance, the grass, thorn bush, and weeds on the side of the road, are left to grow until it eventually burns down in a veldt fire. The animals walk out from the bushes and unto the road, and are only spotted when it is too late.
So I drove along, with my eyes cocked and locked for stray animals that might wander onto the road. And then, just when I thought that the worst was over, the remaining two of the Big Five suddenly pulled out of the bush and onto the highway; with no regard for oncoming traffic.
Bliksem! It was the Pedi and his unroadworthy Bakkie – making an unannounced appearance; with a cloud of smoke billowing from the Bakkie’s exhaust pipe.
As you know, it is a well known fact that ***exhaust gas can cause brain damage and retrenchment, but that’s not important right now.
What is important is that the Pedi was driving slowly. Not because he was road safety conscious, but because his smoking Bakkie couldn’t go any faster. Once again, my age-retarded reflex actions kicked in and my heart did some fancy palpitating stuff.
I managed to overtake the Pedi and his smoking Bakkie – narrowly missing a Donkey that was standing asleep, in the right-hand lane.
Needless to say, my need-for-speed was greatly diminished after these two life threatening episodes. I crawled along at a dishonourable 50kph until I reached Burgersfort.
Now here’s the thing: Wouldn’t it be nice if we could convince the Chinese to dehorn the Lebowakgomo Big Five and leave our rhinos alone?
OK. I know you cannot dehorn the Donkey and the Bakkie. But what about the other three? The Cow, the Goat, and the Pedi…
*Lebowakgomo was the capital of the former Bantustan of Lebowa. The name is derived from two Sepedi words: “Lebowa” (north) and “Kgomo” (cow)
**Pedi – Malema is a Pedi, amongst other things…
***exhaust – http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Mining-accident-1999-Mpumalanga-20131022
PS The “Hermaphrodite” used to be one of the Lebowakgomo Big Five until Julius Malema denied its existence. The “Bakkie” was then included in the list.
Malema reportedly said: “Hermaphrodite, what is that? Somebody tell me, what is hermaphrodite in Pedi? There's no such thing, hermaphrodite, in Pedi. But there is a Bakkie. It is a Pedi word. Like Donkey, and Goat, and Cow, and Bloody Agent, and EFFing Zuma!”
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