A 22-YEAR-OLD man in the American state of Idaho is in big trouble. He got drunk, got into a zoo in the town of Boise, got into the monkey cage and stole a patas monkey, wrapping it in his jacket.
But then things started going downhill. The monkey bit Michael Watkins on the arm. Watkins plucked a branch from a tree and whacked it. But he whacked it on the head, and so hard that it died.
Now he faces charges of felony burglary and grand theft. He could face a total of 24 years in prison. Idaho law is very stern about people stealing and harming livestock. But his dad says he was not really trying to steal the monkey, it was just a drunken prank. He wanted a picture taken of himself with the monkey.
This surely is a case for leniency. Our consular officials in Idaho need to strike some kind of deal with the prosecutors get Watkins shipped to Durban, where he will be able to commune with monkeys to his heart's content; get fired up on cane spirit, chase them about the place and wrap them in his jacket (though without whacking them).
He could become a useful part of the campaign to discourage monkeys from our suburbs.
NO MAN IS a prophet in his own land. Nor any woman a prophetic sculptor. Not in her lifetime anyway.
The folk at St Clement's listened enthralled this week as sculptor Andries Botha spoke of the life and work of Mary Stainbank, an artist of world class who hardly anyone had heard of.
Andries himself had never heard of her as an art student. He encountered her work only later, and used to visit her in an old age home.
Mary Stainbank trained in London but her work drew heavily on African culture. Slides of her sculptures, produced in the 1930s, reveal art that was decades ahead of its time and possessed of a vigour and eloquence that is startling.
How she could have remained in such obscurity is a mystery. But that is about to change.
Her old studio in her parents' home, Coedmore Castle, in the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, south of Durban, is being refurbished to become a gallery of her work.
Coedmore is also headquarters of the Wilderness Leadership School, which has taken on the project. An environmentalist organisation involved in art? It might sound strange but the WLS has a strong Jungian ethos. And the followers of CG Jung have a strong belief in what they call "synchronicity".
Gems of art in a green lung in an industrial landscape that's synchronicity for you.
Thirty years on
THE STRAND Strikers a club within a club at Umkomaas Golf Club tee off early tomorrow to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The Strand Strikers, have been playing together every Saturday since 1982. They take their name from the old Strand Hotel at Warner Beach, which they used to frequent.
Striker Richard Andersson pens a few lines to mark the occasion.
Thirty years and still we play,
How much longer, I hear them say.
Numbers sure, they have diminished,
But rest assured we're far from finished.
Some bodies tired, legs are weak,
Ride on carts, can hardly speak.
Big drives that used to go a mile,
Remembered now with just a smile.
Long putts that used to find the hole,
Now we need a soccer goal.
Thursday nights we drank 'til late,
Now we're fast asleep at eight.
Would go big on Saturdays too,
Now it's just the same old few.
One Pres we've had through thick and thin,
Taken plenty on the chin.
For twenty-four, the bell has tolled,
The rest of us just getting old.
As they look down and watch us play,
We spare a thought for them today.
Up there together I'm sure they'll say,
'Thirty years, hip, hip, hooray!'
Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.