Crusty old cape buffalo bulls.
They don’t mix much with their kin. They roam alone or in tight bachelor gangs at the margins of the herds.
‘Dagga’ is the mud in which they wallow. It cakes their hides protecting hairless flanks from sunburn, snuffing skin parasites and salving wounds.
Many believe that these bruisers (not crocs or hippo) are Africa’s most dangerous animal.
In the heyday of big game hunting, a thousand tales were whispered, with dread and reverence, about their irascibility, cunning and tenacity.
Once they commit to a charge - so goes the legend - they’re coming for you, and absolutely nothing - not even a rifle bolt will dissuade their hooves and horns from pulverizing your hide.
When they catch up with you, their unique blend of mass and malice ensures that they’ll make a sweet mess of your puny ass.
Peter Hathaway Capstick, my favourite wildlife author, summed the outcome of the average buffalo-human interaction -
“By the time the buffalo’s done mauling you, your own mother won’t be able to tell whether you’re lying face up or face down.”
Some locals call them ‘Widowmaker’. Do you still wonder why?
But I relate deeply to dagga boys; they are truly my spirit animal.
I get muddier and crustier each passing year. Pretty soon I’ll be exactly like one them ~
Grouch, grump, grim, gruff; completely intolerant of anyone’s guff. Dishevelled, isolated; glowering at all humanity from society’s fringes.
When my time comes, I’ll insist that they don’t just label me a cranky old man.
They’d better call me ‘Dagga Boy’.