Travels with chook
It was in the Big Wet of 2006, and the normally misty area around Graskop had turned into a glass of grey milk. It was only because of my keen-sightedness for roadside poultry and, I must say, the devilishly-red lips of the roosters, that I spotted them.
It was only because of my keen-sightedness for roadside poultry that I spotted them…
They stood out like ivory sentinels over the road between Graskop and Pilgrim’s Rest, quite nicely carved out of what I hoped was not a rare wood. I stopped to take photographs.
Young Lucy Mokoena, the Mozambican stall-minder, was delighted.
'How much?' I asked, pointing at one likely looking lad.
'That one, R150. And that one, R160. It’s a very good price, because it really costs R190.'
The haggling done, we settled down to a chat. Her husband, Dibakoani, carved the cocks and she sold them to passers-by. I loaded three of them into my bakkie and drove off to Pilgrim’s Rest which, incidentally, is the official place of my birth.
I’ve always been a bit embarrassed about my mom having given birth to me in a theme town. Place of birth: Disneyland. Place of birth: Gold Reef City. You get the gist.
Then someone explained to me that I was actually born in nearby Sabie in the district of Pilgrim’s Rest. So my birth certificate is wrong, but I’m not going to stand in a long queue and have it fixed at this stage of my life.
Anyhow, back to Rooster Travel. I liked it so much that five years later, when I was back in the area, I bought another rooster and took it north to Limpopo with me. It cost me only R100 and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a smile. And it caused a great sensation, because this time around I let the rooster ride on the back of the bakkie.
So now I’m ready for that fridge. Maybe I’ll take it up to the Richtersveld, where it can work for a living and keep my beers cool...