Rugby in the boondocks
Oscar Brand is my name,
America is my nation,
Drinking gin my claim to fame,
Seducing girls my occupation,
Tiddly-aye-aye, the one-eyed Reilly,
Jiga-jig-jig tres bon ...
YES, it's time to fine-tune the vocal chords for rugby songs.
Kokstad Rugby Club celebrates its 125th
after next with a Vodacom match at the club ground between the
Sharks and the Free State Cheetahs, to kick off a weekend of
celebration the way only East Griqualand knows how.
Kokstad is the oldest rugby club in KwaZulu-Natal. It began in
1890, farmers riding on horseback 40km to play their weekly
East Griqualand in those days was part of the Cape Colony but
so distant from East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town itself
that Kokstad Rugby Club became part of the Natal Rugby Union,
playing in its competitions.
It produced Springbok Ebbo Bastard and a crop of provincial
players including Ebbo's brother Cedric, Jimmy Wardlaw, Rex
Greyling and Tiny Walker.
The celebrations begin with a golf tournament on the Friday.
Rugby curtainraisers next day will feature regional teams.
This will be a humdinger. The Kokstad folk are known for their
hospitality and wild carousing – it's the last outpost of the Wild
West and it'll be a lot of fun, a weekend to rememger.
THE photograph featured comes courtesy of the Kokstad
Advertiser and East Griqualand Gazette. This is a newspaper
founded in the 1820s by a black American sailor named Yankee
Wood, who jumped ship at East London and ventured inland to
seek his fortune.
Wood met up with Adam Kok, the Griqua Kaptein who had trekked
with his people from Griqualand West to settle in the territory
known as Nomansland.
Kok was on his way back from the Cape, where he had arranged
with the governor for his territory to be annexed and known
as East Griqualand. But he needed a newspaper in which the
governor's proclamations could be printed.
Wood happened also to be a trained printer and – voila! The
"Gazette" part of the newspaper's title referred to the governor's
Wood prospered. He built the Royal Hotel. Then he moved on to
the Transvaal, where he became a mining magnate and racehorse
owner, rubbing shoulders with the randlords.
Then he moved to the Kimberley diamond fields and there things
went badly wrong. He ended up back in Kokstad, dead broke and
working as doorman at the hotel he had built.
So sad. But the newspaper he founded is still going strong. East
Griqualand has always been a place of quirks and subtleties.
You can't help feeling sorry for the New Zealand cricketers. They
played so consistently well for such a long time, then fell at the
But I'm afraid I've got worse news for the Kiwis. They're going to
lose the Rugby World Cup as well.
Hier kom 'n ding!
IT'S a free country. If you want discotheque music, you pay at the
door and go to one of those clubs. If you want rugby, you buy a
ticket at King's Park and go inside.
Except that at King's Park these days when you pay to go in and
watch rugby, you get blasted by disco music instead.
Every time there's a breakdown in play, this appalling "music"
comes on, really ear-splitting stuff.
Did any of the fans ask for this gormless nonsense? If you go to a
disco these days, do you instead find people rucking and mauling
on the dance floor?
Is it a free country?
READER Eric Hodgson sums up the status of our civilisation:
Our phones – wireless; cooking – fireless; cars – keyless; food
– fatless; tyres –tubeless; dress – sleeveless; youth – jobless;
leaders – shameless; relationships – meaningless; attitudes –
careless; babies – fatherless; feelings – heartless; education –
valueless; children – mannerless; country – Godless.
We are speechless. Government is clueless. Our politicians are
Eric says he's scared ... er, I'm afraid it rhymes with witless.
POLICE are hunting a "knitting needle nutter", who has
stabbed six people in the backside in the past 48 hours.
Detectives believe the attacker is following a pattern.
Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin
with, that it's compounding a felony.