A little travel foray into South Africa’s much-maligned Free State. It’s not all sun-baked mielie fields and moonshine-brewing boers. Well, maybe a little. Pics courtesy of that man with a most special eye, Jay Jay Gregory. Thanks JJ!
Boasting an unenviable teaspoon- sized brain and flightless plumage, this oversized and ornery fowl has long been a much-parodied beast of burden. Case in point: ostrich-back riding – hilarious to witness. And yet, at one time, ostriches were the golden goose of South Africa, and one of the reasons we arrived on the global map.
The great ostrich feather boom began around 1870 and at its height, there were more than 750 000 domesticated ostriches in the Klein Karoo, the feathers of which were exported at the rate of around 450 000kg per year. Max Rose,
a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant, made an enormous ostrich fortune in Oudtshoorn. He also lost it all when World War I detonated and austerity measures meant London’s ladies had to abandon their fashionable flights of fancy and adopt
a more proletariat uniform. Ruined ostrich fortune mansions still dot the ostrich capital today, having been slowly reclaimed by the dry, hard earth.
Extract from a story I wrote on the ostrich meat industry for Food & Home Entertaining.
Some cities have underwhelming newspaper headlines. Like this one:
But here at home, on the vast and wild plains of ‘Jobeg’, we look forward to gems like this one, from that bastion of journalistic integrity, the Daily Sun:
All hail the Daily Sun! Hoorays!
* A vetkoek, my dear international readers (who wudda thunk I’d ever get to say that? all hail the blogosphere!) is kinda like a deep fried ball of dough, that you then stuff with mincemeat, or chilli, or jam, or cheese. It are flippen amazing.