Hoedspruit gone

You can expect to hear more on this story as it continues to develop, but I thought I’d be (one of) the first to reveal that the town of Hoedspruit in Limpopo is no more. It’s gone.

And we have indeed lost a gem in “Hat-River”:

The name Hoedspruit itself was given by Dawid Johannes Joubert and was directly as a result of an incident after a major cloud burst on Mariepskop area in 1844 (when he first arrived in the area) which caused the “now called Zandspruit” to come down in a flash flood.  During this even he ended up losing his hat in the flooding river.   Bearing in mind that a hat in those days was a valuable resource for a farmer (sun protection etc) and not something that could be easily replaced as there were not “hat shops” on every corner, this in itself was a major event for Dawid Joubert and as a result, he then named the river the Hoedspruit (the Hat River) – as in the River that stole his Hat.

Crazy story. Crazy name. Crazy place. Crazy that it’s just no longer with us.

Sure, it seems almost impossible to believe that a town of close on 4,000 inhabitants could have simply disappeared, but we looked for ages on a really big map and we couldn’t find it, and we’re pretty much experts in this kind of thing, so it must be true.

Sadly, I just don’t have the time to follow up on this personally, but if you are aware of any other small, but strategically important (Hoedspruit was the gateway to the Kruger National Park and had an Air Force Base right next door) towns which have mysteriously gone missing, then please let me know.

I have plans to drive through somewhere near where Hoedspruit probably once was next month, so I’ll be able to report back on whether I manage to find it, or anything where it might have been, then.
In the meantime, it’s back to that office in Claremont where we can once again scour north-east SA for any sign of this missing settlement.

That SAMJ wedding ring paper

Incoming DM on twitter:

This seems to be potential blog-fodder for you.

I looked. It was. Oh my, it was.

Are you married? Of course you are. Or perhaps you’re not. Maybe “it’s complicated”, although to be honest, it really shouldn’t be too difficult to work out since it’s a rather binary state of affairs (no pun intended).

We all recognise that one of the enduring symbols of marriage is the wedding ring. If you are married, you can always glance down and instantly remember that you are married. How far do most of us glance down? To the fourth finger on our left hand, of course, as tradition dictates. I say “most of us”, because if you’re in rural Limpopo, there is somewhere else you can stick it.

Hence a recent paper (A Fhima & N Lahouel, 2016) in the South African Medical Journal:

We report a case of penile strangulation with a wedding ring in an adult man who presented at Van Velden Hospital casualty department, Limpopo, South Africa.

Meh. Penile strangulation with a wedding ring. We’ve all done it*.

Penile strangulation is a rarely described medical emergency. Removal of the strangulating object is challenging, with a lack of proper guidelines.

Already, this is good. But the detail is better. Much, much better:

A 28-year-old man presented to the casualty department of Van Velden Hospital, which is in a rural part of Limpopo Province, South Africa…

Yes. And?

…accompanied by his mother.

u wot m8?


Ag, nooit! How do we think that phone call went, then?

Hi Mum. Hoe gaan dit?
No, no, I’m fine thanks.
Er… just wondering if you were doing anything this evening? Any plans?
I… er… It’s just I need a lift.
Where? Oh, nowhere really. Maybe the… hospital. A bit.
Why? Oh, no particular reason. Just…

[whispers] …please hurry.

And when they got there…

His penis was severely swollen and blue, and constricted with a ring (wedding ring) at the middle section. The patient reported that he had applied the ring 4 hours previously…

Why would anyone do that?

…for erotic reasons…

My question still stands. Why would anyone do that?
What were you thinking?
Where on earth do you get that sort of idea? The idea that putting an inflexible metal band of limited diameter around a bit of your body that is… well… that is known for “getting bigger” is a good idea?

…on the recommendation of friends.

Ah. Suddenly all is explained. “Friends”, ne? Again, let’s try to place ourselves as a fly on the wall when that conversation took place. How do you get to the point in a chat with your mates when one (or more) of them suggest that slipping your wedding ring off your finger and over your winkie might be a good way to obtain some sort of sexual gratification? I mean, I remember at the braai on Sunday when my group of friends were recommending putting an orange in one’s mouth and a bin bag over one’s head in an effort to improve the quality of one’s (self) love life, but they’d never suggest putting one’s wedding ring… well… anywhere.
Still, let’s have a bit of superfluous information to complete the horrific mental picture, shall we?

His wife had delivered 2 weeks ago by caesarean section.

At this point, I was most amazed that someone who would choose to do something like this was actually married.
Then I remembered what he’d got stuck on his willy. Look, it’s been a long day. Already.

The penis was erect and blue and the patient was in severe pain.

Now, I should point out right now that there are some pictures. I thought long and hard (STOP SNIGGERING AT THE BACK!) about putting them on here. And I thought that I wouldn’t. It’s up to you if you want to click through and see… see “stuff”.

If you do want to see the effect of four hours of penile strangulation with a wedding ring in an adult man click here.

What’s wrong with you?

Back to the story. Once you’ve got a wedding ring stuck on your bits, how do the doctors get it off?

With difficulty.

First off, you try the string method:

We first attempted to use the string method to remove the ring, with the patient under sedation with ketamine. However, this failed because of excessive swelling.

Then you try…

…using an orthopaedic oscillating saw.

*involuntary clench* But:

The ring proved too wide and strong, with limited space due to swelling.

And then… well, then you try using an aspiration method.

Multiple puncture aspirations were applied with a 20 mL syringe and a pink needle.

*immediate reclench* But suddenly:

The oedema subsided and the ring was successfully removed.

Oedema being the clinical term for swelling. Because being stabbed multiple times with a 20mL syringe and a pink needle in your… er… pink needle will cause your oedema to subside. Fairly rapidly, I’d imagine.

The patient was admitted and treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics and analgesia. Within 3 days he had recovered completely and was discharged. One month later, the patient was reviewed as an outpatient. He reported full recovery.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Possibly, anyway.

If you take nothing away from this clearly cautionary tale, then you’re an idiot. If you do take something away from this cautionary tale, then it’s surely got to be that you should refrain from putting your (or anyone else’s) wedding ring on your member.

Just. Don’t.


* obviously no. No, we haven’t.

“Thanks” Jacques


News from the far North East of the country, and the Economic Freedom Fighters final pre-election rally in Polokwane, the report on which contained this quote from an enthusiastic fan of the boys in red:

Am I… am I alone in thinking that this might prove somewhat confusing for the good people of (the province currently known as) Limpopo?

How are you going to meet a friend in that bar at that junction when every pub is called “Malema’s” and is on the corner of Malema and Malema? No, not that corner of Malema and Malema, this corner of Malema and Malema. (Although, of course, thinking about it, Malema does cross Malema as well.) (Several times.)

Every business you call would have the same name too: “Hello, Malema’s. How can I help you?”. You’d never be sure that you were speaking to Malema Taxis or the accounting firm of the same name.
Well, let’s face it, absolutely everything would have the same name, wouldn’t it?

Just how far would this policy go? Imagine the chaos at Malema Park when a dog owner calls his pet over and all the dogs in the park come running, answering to their identical name. Apart from Malema the beagle, obviously, because Malema the beagle completely ignores any human command.
For whoever he is named after, Malema is still a beagle.

Even when everything changes, nothing changes.

Look,  I’m sure that the apparently Teflon coated king of the EFF would love the idea of an entire province of stuff named after him. I’m just not sure that it’s an entirely practical idea.

I give up

There have been many comments made this week over just how terribly depressing the news in general has been recently. And while people are killing each other all over the world, mainly (but not exclusively) in the name of religion, I’ve managed to mentally put these horrible events onto the back burner and get on with my life.

But this more local story about three farmworkers getting into an argument and two of them allegedly killing the other by throwing oranges at him has brought the futility of my trying to ignore depressing news to the fore:

Two men have been arrested after they allegedly assaulted a farmworker with oranges until he died on a farm outside Tzaneen, Limpopo police said on Wednesday.
The men, aged 27 and 30, were taken into custody on Tuesday, said Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe.
“Babanto Chauke, 38, and two men had a quarrel, the two [allegedly] started throwing loose oranges at him until he died.” The men were Chauke’s colleagues at Lakota Farm. They would appear in the Tzaneen Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, Ngoepe said.

How cheap is human life? How bad does any argument have to be for you to kill a man? To kill him by throwing fruit at him? How long does that even take?

For me, this is every bit as depressing as Iraq, Nigeria or Gaza. And equally stupid.

UPDATE: Paul Scott (see comment below) also shares this:


Swimming Pool Hippo Is Dead

Just for the sake of completeness, and somewhat belatedly (I’ve been busy doing life), a quick update on the state of the hippo which got stranded in a swimming pool in Nylstroom.
Actually, the title of the post may have rather given the game away already.

The hippo is dead.

“Solly” was doomed as soon as people got all soppy over his plight and gave him a name, thus immediately humanising him and making it far more emotionally draining for all concerned when he popped his clogs. Questions have to be asked as to whether he would have survived if the vet hired to tranquilise him hadn’t arrived four hours late, but they won’t be asked, because we have far more important questions to be asked.

Questions like:

Who on earth is going to go and stay at the Monate Game Lodge near Modimolle, when their pool looks like this?

(and I’m not talking about the 1 ton of Hippopotamus amphibius therein.)

Fortunately, due to draconian export legislation, we have a surfeit of swimming pool cleaning apparatus here in South Africa and I’m quite sure they will constantly get stuck in one corner clean all that hippo crap out in no time at all.