« Tiger vs Goblin | Main | Votes please! »

Calling South African help.

My bedtime reading at the moment is the great Jock of the Bushveld by Sir Percy FitzPatrick - a fine yarn with great illustrations.
Now I believe Sir Percy knows what he writes about, apart from having travelled the Bushveld he also was educated at Downside which Blognor Regis points out is also the Alma Mater of Mr Free Market and Tim Worstall and Peter Briffa. Good company then.
He talks of hunting "Lions and Tigers". My "Standard Natural History" was printed in 1931 and cost 25 Shillings, so it is of good quality, and it seems to imply that Tigers are not to be found in Africa - My Google search throws up one Tiger in South Africa doing sterling work but not herds of them wandering the bush. I have never been to the old Cape Colony so would one of my kind readers who knows more than me please enlighten me as to what, as well as Lions, he was hunting.


I've never read Jock of the Bushveld, nor seen the rather second rate movie of the book, but since it was set not far from the current location of Remittance Towers I may count as the nearest thing to an expert. I'm afraid I can only conclude Sir Percy was either with drink taken when he wrote that passage or he did not have access to Standard Natural History and mistook some other striped creature for a tiger.

Unfortunately the only large and striped mammal wandering these parts in the 19th Century was the burchnell's zebra. The male can be quite agressive if you try and muscle in on it's herd in mating season, but it hardly qualifies as one of the big five. He couldn't have been doing a little bit of canned hunting at the zoo either as Jo'burg was barely built when Sir P was running around and Pretoria's only zoo was the Staatsraad.

Alas, I fear Sir Percy's artistic licence got the better of him with that chapter. It's a shame really, because I've been told the book is really quite a good account of the 19th century transvaal.


I think that you will find that,as I recall from reading "Jock" many years ago, leopards were referred to as tigers quite frequently.There is a chapter devoted to the hunting of a leopard, and it is called a tiger.
Hope this helps
Kentucky Colonel Greg. (Expat Brit from Salisbury Plain.)


I think you may be correct. I checked with one of my more learned chums who is also a big hunter. Apparently the forebears of our Afrikaaner cousins did used to refer to leopards as "tierkatte" or tiger cats. Nowadays they have learnt to call them luiperde.

They do still call giraffes "kameelperde" or camel horses though. And in fankalo a zebra is a "donkey kalo football jersey". Such are the joys of living in a country with 11 (yes, eleven) official languages.


Post a comment