Aug 162015

A Donkey Cart – Basic and Down To Earth

Comfort is an essential at this speed of life


There Are Few Things As Simple as a Donkey Cart

Your outfit will need reins, traces, blinkers or even a harness for your essential donkey mode of transport? Well, no problem there. The mines are continuously using up conveyor belting. Especially diamond mines in and around most of South Africa. If no diamond mine, try the diamonds-in-the-making industry, ‘coal.’ They have more than enough in excess conveyor belting for any simple donkey cart.

Relaxing under the shade of an African thorn tree

So, all is almost set. An old car, springs, wheel hubs, wheels, tyres, an axle, a few pieces of angle iron, a draw bar, a few planks, some iron sheeting, an assortment of nut and bolts, some lengths of chain, piping, a metal welder – not for the planks. Weld and bolt it all together – except for the planks – and there you have a donkey cart. All you need now are the donkeys.

Another team on the road to shop

Donkey cart supplies? Now this reminds me of a short story. There were a few men in the local bush country who fancied themselves as wildlife movie makers. They had a leopard and two tame lions, with some zebra and the odd other sort of tame antelope. These men hired themselves out to American B movie film and cinema outfits, as dangerous African safari adventures. Well one day while filming on site, near an African village, they needed some food for the leopard and two lions.

Back at the taxi rank where the mothers and children wait, while the young girls shop

Because, without food, these animals tended not to toe the line as well as when they were fed. Especially in an attack scene, with the lion on top of its victim who had to be slapped about to perform – the lion that is – had a tendency to want to eat the stunt man for slapping it.

Up the road was a local village that had just the meat needed. You guessed it, donkeys. Donkeys for sale – mainly for people who needed transport for one thing or another. On arrival at the old lady who sold the animals – the price in those days was £8.0.0 each – and as you can guess, our intrepid hunter, actor, needing two, offered her £8.0.0 each. Refusing, she insisted on £10.0.0 each, noticing without difficulty that these men had the dough. The hunter, actor, entrepreneur, knew the price for the donkey’s was £8.0.0 each, having parlayed with the local chief. The donkey lady never knew this and was not going to buckle.

Patience is still a virtue you cannot dismiss in this lifestyle

This went on for some time, no one remembering time at this juncture, and the incident developing into a real humdinger of a fight, neither one giving an inch. When a sizable crowd had gathered, our actor, hunter, entrepreneur, gathered his thoughts and went to his Land Rover, hauled out his Winchester 30.06 rifle – a tad overkill and hard on the ears – sidled up to the two donkeys, shot them both and shouted to the old lady, “Now how much?” The old lady, shocked almost out of her skin and with her crowd all scattered, shouted back, “eight pounds, eight pounds” while holding her ears from the shock of the shot. Needless to say, the lions and the leopard were only too happy to perform in another appalling rendition of Africa at its worst, for “Hollywood” B Pictures or another “Mogambo” sequel.

Young driver in training. Maybe practising his skills for a walkie-talkie

So what’s keeping you? Go buy your donkey and become another intrepid, slow living, donkey cart, taxi driver. Actually, this job belongs to a recent school graduate who – because he can’t perform too well in school – is groomed to become an entrepreneur. Mostly, he will save his spare money, learn some basic traffic laws and maybe become a future transport driver or some such necessary profession. And you thought donkey carts had no future? Shame on you!

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Meet Our Authors: The Wildmoz team, Cari and Moz, have a lifelong passion for the Bushveld and share adventures and stories about Africa's good things. Wildmoz is Africa - the cradle of life! Travel writing about wildlife, African folklore, wildlife art, Kruger Park and wildlife safari info! Taste life as it is in Africa.
 Posted by on August 16, 2015