Bokka the tame gemsbok


‘You’re probably here to see Bokka,” Ben Olivier says and gestures in the direction of the lawn in front of his farmhouse in the Stormsvlei district of the Western Cape.

From here all that can be seen are two long, black horns sticking over the wire fence. It’s only once you get closer that you see a pack of sheepdogs running around the 18-month-old gemsbok bull lazing in the sun and watching his canine friends.

Bokka was an abandoned buck Ben (52), manager of the Melozhori Private Game Farm, brought home. He’s also a TV star, as a video Ben made of him won third place in magazine show Kwêla’s Feite en Geite (“facts and quirks”) home video competition on the Afrikaans DStv channel kykNET.

“Come Bokka. Come my bok,” Ben calls. The gemsbok looks in our direction. Then, seeing it’s his “dad” he walks over. Instinctively you want to scratch his head between the horns.

“Watch out!” Ben warns just in time as Bokka’s horns, now nearly a metre long, sweep down and up.

“He likes to head-butt people,” Ben says, laughing. He and his wife, Bianca (37), have the bruises to prove it.

Mostly, though, Bokka is a bok for sports. “That’s his new ball. He played the old one to bits,” Ben says. He kicks the ball to the dogs, Nikkie, Tjokkie, Chip and Dino. They dribble it to Bokka’s feet.

Read more of when YOU’s Pieter van Zyl met Bokka in YOU 3 January 2013.

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