Posts Tagged ‘only in Africa’


I will keep my opinions to myself, but here’s a quick snapshot of the results of SA’s 2011 Census. Fairly eye-opening (and more than a bit horrifying to this American, but again, I’m keeping the editorializing out of it).



(Current exchange rate = R8.86 to $1)


Racial clipart courtesy a “Dick and Jane” primer, perhaps?

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Add to the list of things you can buy on the side of the highway here: giant mushrooms (of the edible, not hallucinogenic, variety). They’re called Makowe, and they grow wild – and basically overnight – in the sugarcane fields after lightning storms. Sounds crazy, but even National Geographic concurs.

We bought some on the way out of town with Steph and Terry (it’s always handy to have a Zulu translator when you’re haggling over highway produce), and cooked them up with our steak ‘n grits ‘n eggs feast the next morning. [update: It’s been 10 days now, and we’re all still alive.]

Workin’ the window at the shroom-thru

Giant mushrooms ready to hit the grill! They weren’t life-changing, but anything with that much butter and cheese has to be at least pretty good.


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Oh, Boloney

This is possibly the worst-quality photo ever published on the blog, but it’s clear enough to get across the horrifying idea, which is recipe for Boloney and Hot Dog Curry. Sure, go ahead and fancy it up by calling it Poloney and Vienna if you want to, but we all know what’s underneath. *Shiver*

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An actual news item from our actual newspaper. Um, at least no one was hurt?

Steytlerville ‘monster’ strikes again

Johannesburg – A ‘monster’ plaguing the sleepy Karoo town of Steytlerville struck again over the Easter weekend, Eastern Cape police said on Monday.

Another two sightings of the “shape-shifting creature” were reported on Sunday evening, said Warrant Officer Zandisile Nelani .

“Two men were walking near a tavern when they saw another man wearing a black jacket. One of the men, identified only as Nozipho, went up to the stranger and asked him, “What is your problem?” said Nelani.

When the stranger did not respond, Nozipho went closer and saw that the man had no head. The man then turned into a dog that was “very angry” and “as big as a cow”, Nelani said.

He said that as Nozipho and his friend ran away, the monster allegedly turned on another group of people in the same road. “They said it turned into a big monkey, and then it was gone,” Nelani said.

He said that since the monster was spotted near the tavern, people were afraid to go there at night.

Last week police were told by residents that the monster changed shape while one looked at it. One man had reported that it changed from a man wearing a suit into a pig and then into a bat.

There had also been rumours that the monster could fly. Previously, the monster had only been spotted near the church. It had even been seen peering through the windows during a service, but had vanished by the time the congregation came outside.

Nelani said that the community had dubbed the monster “Bawokozi”, meaning ‘brother-in-law’.

Sightings of the monster began over a month ago when it was seen by mourners attending two separate funerals, Nelani said.

He said that the community requested a meeting with police because they were frightened of it. Police agreed to work with residents, but asked them to try to take a photograph of it as evidence.

Nelani said that a photograph had since been taken of the monster resting under a tree.

He said that when the photo was taken the monster had been in human form but when the photo was developed an unknown animal was visible in the picture.

“It is a very strange thing happening in Steytlerville, but no one has been hurt by it,” Nelani said.

Transcript pulled from News24.com.

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One of the best things about having visitors is that it often leads you to corners of your own city that you never even knew existed. So it was that Gael and I (along with our tour guide / Zulu translator, Terry) set off to explore the Victoria and Warwick markets on a Thursday afternoon.

Victoria Market is housed in a 1980s building, but dates back at least a century. It’s often short-handed as the “Indian market”, since it’s full of spice sellers, fabric and clothing shops, but also offers lots of African wares (many of which I hadn’t encountered before!) It’s a stunning place to poke around and take in the sights and smells.

Just across the street is the Warwick Junction Market, which is an informal market cobbled together out of scrap wood and sheet metal, all housed underneath a concrete ceiling formed by a series of highway overpasses. The sellers there hawk everything from balls of terracotta clay (“some for wearing, some for eating”) to traditional medicines made from all manner of organic – and often unidentifiable – ingredients.

It was all a fascinating peek into a side of Durban I’ve never had a look at. Our favorite part was watching Terry chat up the sellers in Zulu, which was always accompanied by just enough sign language that we could make up our own version of the conversation. The best? Terry questioning a seller of recycled plastic bottle contraptions that we all thought were some sort of ersatz shower, but which turned out to be enemas.

[Actual date: April 14]

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Now or Later

I’m not sure if this belongs under Only in Africa, or Never in Virginia. I know that it’s definitely the latter, but it’s possible that there are also other parts of the world where the population refuses to abide by normal timing conventions.

In addition to the confusion over the meaning of “now”, SAfricans also routinely issue invitations with a start time of, for instance, “7 for 7:30”. That means you can be there as early as 7, but you really should be there by 7:30 (though true locals will stretch it out for another 45 minutes to an hour or two, rarely more than three, just to be on the safe side).

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Which Came First

This is so far from “ok”, I don’t even know where to start.

Why I don't read the paper here.

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