Category Archive 'South Africa'
09 Mar 2019

Leftie Journalist Takes Two-Month Safari Guide Course (And Then Sends Management a Stern Letter of Complaint)

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Rachel Aspden, tattoos and all.

God! how I detest narcissistic, self-important, leftist-conformist scribbling members of the international urban community of fashion. Heads inserted deeply up their fundaments, they go busily around the entire world applying their warped, twisted, and fundamentally wrong aggrieved-victim’s-eye-view of everything, then they insist on telling us all about it, in the process appointing themselves dictators-of-the-universe with every intention of imposing revolutionary change to everything they touch.

This Rachel Apsden is a sort of professional journalist chick, who studied Arabic in Cairo, and who in 2017 published her one big book, Generation Revolution, an account of the failed Arab Spring revolution “from the front line between tradition and change,” as shown through the viewpoints of four young Egyptians.

But, the role of wise, judgmental journalist rooting for change, man! was not enough, evidently. Off goes Rachel to South Africa to enroll in a two-month course qualifying her as a White Hunter/Safari Guide.

I wasn’t a guy, I had no idea how to use a gun, and the only wild dogs anywhere near my own home were part of a research project at London Zoo. But I was learning to change the tires on an old Land Cruiser and memorizing the birth weight of hyena pups because, at thirty-seven, I had burned out. I had just spent several years living in Egypt, reporting on the 2011 revolution and the cruelty and suffering of its aftermath. When I returned to work in the UK, I was angry, heartbroken, and guilty at being able to leave. Though my life in London was safe and easy, as I went through the motions of commuting and sitting in the office, everything felt dark. That was when the dreams began: huge open spaces, empty skies, light—places I’d seen when I’d visited friends in South Africa. That wild nature felt like a lifeline, something I could believe in as an absolute, uncomplicated good, a unifying and healing force that was somehow separate from the moral tangles created by humans. I didn’t think about where these beliefs had come from.

It seems unlikely that she intends to do any Safari guiding though. What this is about is judgmental and condescending tourism with an article in the New York Review of Books, to be followed by the second big book, as the real goal.

Her chief insight seems to have been that her instructors were unconsciously sexist and racist, and unreasonably resentful at finding themselves “at the bottom of the pile” in today’s South Africa.

Rachel knows better. She understands that any White Presence in Africa and Apartheid were terrible Wrongs, and Big Game Hunting a highly questionable part of the Culture of Masculine Machismo and Colonialism. Native Africans were treated unequally. Atonement is due.

“Black Africans just aren’t interested in nature,” a white South African student said, as we sat by the campfire one night. We’d been talking about how dominated the country’s safari industry still was by white people, who owned and managed most of its private reserves, and made up the vast majority of guests. “It’s not PC to say it, but it’s true.”

Bit by bit, I pieced together the true nature of the land I was hiking and driving over every day. It was an Apartheid-era cattle farm that its owners had designated a game reserve in the 1990s when foot-and-mouth disease made beef farming unprofitable, and the law changed to allow landowners to “own”—and therefore benefit from—wildlife. However wild it looked, it was as carefully managed as any London park: the conservation manager showed us his spreadsheets recording the number of animals on the reserve, each species kept in a precise balance with the others in rounds of buying, selling, and culling. As in the Kruger and Botswana’s reserves, elephants, which multiplied quickly thanks to the artificial water sources, posed a problem no one quite knew how to solve.

I admired the reserve owners’ efforts to rewild land that had once been exhausted by intensive farming: uprooting invasive vegetation, reintroducing wildlife, clearing the detritus of old fencing and machinery. This was the story of many South African protected areas (and a reason that some wealthy tourists dismissed the country as “not wild enough,” preferring the remote wildernesses of Zimbabwe and Botswana). But as elsewhere, the land’s human history was obscured. Empty, untouched wilderness was what tourists wanted to see, and this was the illusion the safari industry aimed to recreate.

It wasn’t the only hangover from the days of empire. Guides weren’t simply responsible for providing expert knowledge and ensuring their guests’ safety. They were also expected to administer first aid, mix drinks, change tires, host dinners, clean vehicles, defuse complaints, and assist their guests in every way. Our textbook offered blunt advice on everything from hosting what it called “Oriental clients” (“Do not call the Japanese ‘Chinese’ and vice versa”) to dealing with a client’s corpse (“Under no circumstance may the body be transported by the vehicle used for transporting other clients”). Part of our training was to entertain our “guests” on each drive we led, serving up drinks, snacks, and small talk from behind a folding table.

I wondered whether these expectations began to explain the weirdly fluctuating sense of bravado and victimhood that seemed to dog our instructors. Part of it was economic. Guides worked in a luxury industry, but the majority of them were paid very little. A single night at a high-end safari lodge in South Africa could cost $2,000 (including game drives, but excluding French champagne), but the monthly wage of a guide might be less than a quarter of that, with the workers living in basic rooms hidden from the luxurious guest accommodation, working three-week stretches without a break.

Spending your days fixing 4x4s and tracking lions was also a way of avoiding some of the troubling consequences of being a white South African in general, and an Afrikaner in particular. One was the trappings of middle-class life in a high-crime country: the electrified fences and rapid-response signs, guard dogs, window-bars, and lockable internal gates that made me feel caged and edgy when I stayed in Johannesburg or Cape Town. Once past the fortified outer boundary of the game reserve, all these disappeared—along with much of the impact of the Black Economic Empowerment policies that the company official had alluded to, under which non-white South Africans were preferred for most business and employment opportunities. The safari industry, like agriculture and wine farming, had been shaped by historical patterns of land ownership and perceived expertise. At its senior levels, white men still faced little competition.

But the most significant escape, I thought, was probably psychological. In democratic South Africa, to be a member of the minority that had implemented Apartheid was to find yourself in a particular psychic bind. That uncomfortable sense wasn’t one of identity alone: pre-1994 South Africa had made military service compulsory for white young men, and now and again, the older instructors alluded in half-sentences to serving in the army or draft-dodging in small towns along the southern coast.

Although they seemed to have little compunction about the language they used toward others, these men were acutely resentful of even the possibility of being thought racist. When they taught us Zulu or Shangaan animal names, or explained how “local people” harvested honey from mopane trees, I understood that they saw themselves as liberal. And by the standards of the Afrikaner community, which tended to be socially, religiously, and politically conservative, they could well have been right. I thought of the small farming towns I’d driven through in the remote Northern Cape, where everyone seemed to drive Toyota Hilux pickups and listen to Afrikaans country music, and I saw signs for the controversial right-wing pressure group AfriForum, which focused on the ownership of farmland that lay at the heart of Afrikaner national identity. …

Though we had complained both to the staff members themselves and to company management, the behavior and demeanor of the instructors didn’t change, and Dionne and I spoke often about leaving the course. In the end, we resolved to qualify as guides. Perhaps, we thought, we could eventually help to change the industry. After studying and training every day for two months, we took our exams: drawing diagrams of katabatic and berg winds, describing the flagship species of the succulent karoo biome, and discussing the action of neurotoxic venom. Each of us then had to guide a four-hour game drive, with David as our assessor. I sat beside Dionne in the front of the 4×4 as she led her drive; later in the day, she did the same for me. We were both passed as competent to lead 4×4 safaris in dangerous game areas. When we returned to London and New York, both of us submitted detailed written complaints to the company.

RTWT

06 Jul 2018

Go, Maneaters of Sibuya

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Daily Wire has some good news:

A gang of poachers learned the merciless rules of nature when they broke into a South African game preserve to slaughter a herd of rhinos and were instead eaten by a pride of lions.

“A head and a number of bloodied body parts and limbs were found near the scene after at least three illegal hunters were devoured by the predators,” reports Mirror. “Staff at the Sibuya Game Reserve, in Eastern Province, South Africa, called in a helicopter to search the area for more poachers.”

The six lions had to be tranquilized in order for police to venture into the area and recover the poachers’ remains. The owner, Nick Fox, said as many as three poachers were eaten, according to the evidence.

“We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more,” said Fox. “They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here.”

The poachers were most likely going to kill the rhinos for their horns.

RTWT

The Tsavo lions were only two and they reputedly ate more than 100 railroad-building coolies. Who knows how many rhino poachers these six can get?

15 Apr 2017

Alleged South African Grad Student Proposes Disenfranchising White Men

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“Shelley Garland” looks like a transgender specimen to me.

The South African edition of Huffington Post recently featured an interesting editorial proposal offering a glimpse of just where the radical left will be going in the future internationally.

Some of the biggest blows to the progressive cause in the past year have often been due to the votes of white men. If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa’s biggest cities.

If white men no longer had the vote, the progressive cause would be strengthened. It would not be necessary to deny white men indefinitely – the denial of the vote to white men for 20 years (just less than a generation) would go some way to seeing a decline in the influence of reactionary and neo-liberal ideology in the world. The influence of reckless white males were one of the primary reasons that led to the Great Recession which began in 2008. This would also strike a blow against toxic white masculinity, one that is long needed.

At the same time, a denial of the franchise to white men, could see a redistribution of global assets to their rightful owners. After all, white men have used the imposition of Western legal systems around the world to reinforce modern capitalism. A period of twenty years without white men in the world’s parliaments and voting booths will allow legislation to be passed which could see the world’s wealth far more equitably shared. The violence of white male wealth and income inequality will be a thing of the past.

This redistribution of the world’s wealth is long overdue, and it is not just South Africa where white males own a disproportionate amount of wealth. While in South Africa 90 percent of the country’s land is in the hands of whites (it is safe to assume these are mainly men), along with 97 percent of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, this is also the norm in the rest of the world. Namibia has similar statistics with regard to land distribution and one can assume this holds for other assets too. As Oxfam notes eight men control as much as wealth as the poorest 50 percent of the world’s population. In the United States ten percent of the population (nearly all white) own 90 percent of all assets – it is likely that these assets are largely in the hands of males. Although statistics by race are difficult to find from other parts of the world, it is very likely that the majority of the world’s assets are in the hands of white males, despite them making up less than 10 percent of the world’s population.

It is obvious that this violent status quo will not change without a struggle, and the only way to do so will be through the expropriation of these various assets and equitably distribute them to those who need them. This will not only make the world a more equitable place, but will also go some way to paying the debt that white males owe the world. Over the past 500 years colonialism, slavery, and various aggressive wars and genocides, have been due to the actions of white men. Redistributing some of their assets will go some way to paying the historical debt that they owe society.

It is no surprise that liberalism – and its ideological offshoots of conservatism and libertarianism – are the most popular ideologies among white males. These ideologies with their focus on individuals and individual responsibility, rather than group affiliation, allow white men to ignore the debt that they owe society, and from acknowledging that most of their assets, wealth, and privilege are the result of theft and violence.

Some may argue that this is unfair. Let’s be clear, it may be unfair, but a moratorium on the franchise for white males for a period of between 20 and 30 years is a small price to pay for the pain inflicted by white males on others, particularly those with black, female-identifying bodies. In addition, white men should not be stripped of their other rights, and this withholding of the franchise should only be a temporary measure, as the world rights the wrongs of the past.

A withholding of the franchise from white males, along with the passing of legislation in this period to redistribute some of their assets, will also, to a degree, act as the reparations for slavery, colonialism, and apartheid, which the world is crying out for to be paid.

RTWT if you can stand it.

14 Dec 2015

Cheetahs

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Cheetahs

The Atlantic tells us about airport pest control, South African-style.

This week, two cheetahs attacked an officer on a South African air-force base.

The officer was not seriously injured, and was treated for minor wounds on her shoulders and the back of her head. After that, the cheetahs got back to work.

Wait, what?

The cheetahs didn’t wander onto Makhado Air Force Base by accident. They were deployed there earlier this month as part of a program started in the 1990s that places cheetahs on military bases for animal-control purposes. The big cats roam the base freely, hunting small game that might run onto airplane runways from nearby nature reserves and pose risks to flight safety.

“As wild animals become habituated to noises from aircraft, they are no longer frightened off the airstrip at the sound of an oncoming plane,” explains the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center, which donates cheetahs to the program. Makhado is located near three nature reserves.

Read the whole thing.

07 Nov 2014

Lions Against Porcupine

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17 lions (13 females and 4 males) versus one porcupine. Guess who wins?

Londolozi blog story

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

18 May 2014

Lions vs. Blesbok

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01 Feb 2014

And Was the Chamber Empty?

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I bet not.

11 Jul 2013

Impala Eludes Cheetahs

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Express story

20 Feb 2013

“Stand a Bit Closer to the Rhino.”

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Photo taken seconds before it charged.

Telegraph

07 Oct 2012

Leopard Takes Impala

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The locale is South Africa.

15 Nov 2011

Axe Deodorant Ad Banned in South Africa

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Because it was thought to offend Christians. Daily Mail.

20 Dec 2008

Charging Lion

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This video, apparently shot in South Africa, shows what a wounded lion is capable of. After the initial shot, which appears to be a good hit and which definitely knocks the lion down, the (unusually large) hunting party approaches the lion, which rises and proceeds to charge at a speed resembling a fast car. The lion probably would have done more harm to the shooter if he had contacted his target at a slower speed. There is no way of knowing the result, but the person hit by 400-500 lbs. (182-226 kg.) of fast moving lion was undoubtedly injured. And was the second person hit, or did he fall to the ground leaping away from the lion’s path of exit? The fusillade of close range and desperately hasty high-powered rifle fire that occurred when the lion was in the midst of the hunting party looked pretty hazardous to me as well.

That was quite a lion. I expect Major Parker would have said that particular lion was a gentleman.

1:29 video

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