What a lot of fun we’re having right now in South Africa, hey? With the World Cup fading into a yellowy-sepia tone, we’ve been given a rampaging-tiger-on-the-loose drama to hook into.
What a jolly jape. What a rollicking rumpus. What a rip-roaring reality show. What a complete poephol Goosey Fernandes is.
Goosey Fernandes. That tells you all you need to know. Would you buy a used car from an oke called Goosey Fernandes? Would you open your mouth to a dentists who drills by the name of Goosey Anything? I wouldn’t. The man is clearly an idiot.
Who keeps a tiger in his backyard? And then sticks him on the back of a bakkie to take him to the vet? Only a guy called Goosey.
So Panjo, for that is the name given to Goosey’s pet “cat”, jumped off the bakkie, swung by the local Wimpy, didn’t fancy a double cheeseburger and fries and disappeared. Any well brought-up and obedient domesticated animal would have reported itself missing to Sergeant Kriel at the copshop but not Panjo.
Panjo, all zenned out, enjoys a little treehugging while waiting for his fave dish of chicken a la king
I wonder why? Could it be that Panjo the tiger is not a domestic pet? Wait. Let me mull over that possibility. Sure, Goosey enjoyed delusions of making him one but, no, tigers are not meant to kept in cages in some nutter’s back garden. Or in his bedroom for that matter.
Sorry to be pious or in any way paraat - or to spoil the sport of the media and those on Twitter and facebook who are having a field day with the elusive Panjo – but tigers belong in the wild. Duh. And if that’s not possible – and we humans have made it so – then in a proper facility where wild animals like Panjo can be looked after in the best possible way.
I don’t want to give others who live on Planet Goosey any bright ideas but would you keep a Great White shark in your swimming-pool? Would you keep an elephant in your TV room? Not if you wanted a decent view of The Animal Planet, you wouldn’t. Oh, never mind.
So, you chorus, Goosey brought Panjo up from when he was a cute little tiger cub. Sweet little pussycat. Oh, that’s OK then. They don’t grow very big. They don’t grow to have aggressive instincts. Just like Siamese cats, really. In fact, Goosey says so. And he should know. “Panjo’s very tame and won’t attack anybody,” said Panjo’s “owner”.
it gets better. While Panjo has everybody guessing about whether he’s snacking on a herdboy in Limpopo or dining on a Japanese tour group in Mpumalanga, Goosey comes up with this helpful hint: “Whoever sees Panjo must point a stick at him and say ‘no’, or offer him a chicken.”
Well, I’ll be blowed. I think we need a little more information than that. Like, does Panjo like his chicken mildly spiced or does he prefer it done simply with just a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprig of parsley? And, if he says “I didn’t order that. Take it back to the chef and tell him to do it again or I’ll eat both of you”, do I just point my stick at him and say “No”?
I don’t know. Look. I might be wrong but I think nature’s beasts deserve to be kept away from dangerous humans like Goosey. They deserve some respect. And some dignity. And to be given their space.
Maybe, instead of being held captive under the supervision of good old Goosey, all tigers, alien to South Africa nogal, should be kept at John Varty’s Tiger Canyons set-up. None of his tigers, bred responsibly in captivity to boost dwindling population numbers, have been spotted at the roadside begging for chicken a la king. Or begging to be shot by some hunter idiot.
Tigerbomb, believed to be the only white tiger born in the wild, with her mother Julie at Tiger Canyons Pic: Daryl Balfour
Now that’s more like it. Would somebody please shoot Goosey Fernandes. And all of the other ignoramuses who keep wild animals captive as some sort of macho extension of themselves. Thank you.
All in the day of the life of the average South African, I suppose. We just roll like that. As 2010 World Cup fans will be delighted to discover when they step out of our airports in early June to find many of us scaling tall buildings without hooks and crampons (or whatever wussy mountaineers use). Tall buildings like World Cup stadiums as we couldn’t afford/were too lazy to buy a ticket and we’re trying to climb in for mahala (free).
But I digress. Back to the dolphins. Because that’s what I want to chat about today. Dolphins. I just love ‘em. Don’t you just love ‘em? Yes. You do. And, here in the paradise we call South Africa, we tend to ignore the drivel that British rag the Daily Star trots out daily about imaginary earthquakes and machete massacres in our country and focus on the loads of positive stuff that surrounds us.
Like dolphins. Never mind all the whales and sharks you can wave to from your wetsuit in the waves, we are literally surrounded ocean-to-ocean by beautiful dolphins and the positive vibe they are always putting out. I so dig that.
Now, the bit of bioscope (they call it video these days) footage I am about to show you wasn’t created by some National Geographic geek on his mega-Mac after a film crew bigger than the one that made Avatar had returned from pointing 20 cameras at our ocean for six months. No, this shaky-cam piece of fillim is the result of a couple of ordinary South African okes spending their Freedom Day messing about on a boat off Cape Point.
One thousand dolphins, Hatpeople! Yes. Een duisend! Ja, you read me right. Local digital marketing guru Andy Hadfield and his mates (actually I think it was Terence Faul waving the camera) filmed at least 1,000 dolphins (conservative estimate) chasing around after a baitball yesterday.
OK. So make a cuppa (or whatever is your poison for this time of day), kick back and be blown away (remember this is not National Geographic so make an allowance for there being no zoom shots of the dolphins’ eyes or whatever)…
How was that? Pretty damn cool, hey? I mean, you couldn’t see all one thousand – or two thousand or whatever – really close-up but you got a sense of the phenomenon being played out right there in our sea just off the Cape, didn’t you?
Yup, that’s how it is in our beloved country. One moment you’re just cruising around looking for a good spot to stop and stick the steaks on the braai and the next thing you’re having a total jol with thousands of dolphins or elephants or whiteys trying to do the toyi-toyi while Helen Zille holds her own Freedom Day rally or, yes, heavily muscled bikers looking for new friends with whom to play Charades at the corner pub.
It’s an exciting place to be, South Africa. No wonder, now that we and not Britain are hosting the 2010 World Cup, those jealous, pasty-faced journos at the Daily Star have to dream up rubbish with which to try to embarrass us. Plonkers.
Just wait till they come to cover the World Cup. I’m going to take them free diving with Great Whites. Some really angry ones. And start some fights with them. Just so that they get a taste of the extreme sports that we enjoy every day. And make the Daily Star hacks feel right at home here in the most wonderful country in the world.
I just went down to the beach. I didn’t take my board because, as the Umdloti crew know, I can’t be bothered with anything under five feet.
So I thought I might have myself a good swim but, when I stuck my head under the water there were none of those familiar clicking noises so I knew my friends were playing away. I love my dolphins. They give me a good goof for my money.
I toyed with the idea of swimming out to one of the ships anchored several miles out but none seemed to answer to the description of a megayacht teeming with Genevieve Morton look-a-likes tanning topless around the pool so I gave that a miss too.
The wind was down, ruling out any rad kitesurfing, and after the really rather rude way in which a Great White tried to chomp my leg the other day, I decided against free-wrestling with sharks as a way to enhance my Friday.
So what was an extreme sportsman like me to do? I fell back on a doing a spot of shell-collecting, of course. But I hadn’t even located my first cowrie when I was nearly knocked off my feet by a young woman. Not the Viennese Vixen this time, thank Godness, but by a powerwalker.
At least I think that’s what they call them. You know, those people, usually retired and wrinkly, who try to walk really fast and move their arms with a vicious pump-action vibe. But this one was young and, to be honest, quite foxy and, after nearly walking through me, she kicked up the sand as she zoomed, road-runner-like, over the horizon with clenched fists punching the air. I saw less focus in the eyes of Usain Bolt when he drilled the 100m in about 2.3 seconds a few months ago.
I mean, after croquet, foxhunting, WWF wrestling and running very long distances to possibly pick up a medal, powerwalking has to be the most ridiculous extra-mural activity around.
This was all quite upsetting, especially after the double-whammy of having no dolphins to swim with or sharks to beat up, so I came home.
My mood was immediately uplifted when I saw a surfer friend had sent me an update on the lifestyle progress of my boy Rob Machado. For those of you who aren’t up to speed on Rob, he’s a pretty decent surfer and, I’m stoked to say, is certainly showing some improvement in getting his lifestyle right.