The Baboon and The Butter - Part One

I live in a beautiful part of Cape Town and one of the great blessings of staying here is the indigenous flora and fauna. We have guinea fowl, ha-de-dah’s, squirrels, cranes, porcupines (although I have never been so privileged as to see one yet) and most poignant of all – baboons.

Baboons are so amusing and so human-like but they can also be quite frightening with their long fangs and alpha male supremacy squabbles. Most of which turn into amateur roof acrobatics when they fight and chase each other from rooftop to rooftop. This is especailly daunting as I have a tin roof. I will leave the noise up to your imagination…

But besides this, I love the baboons and find them fascinating. So much so that I have even been on a ‘baboon walk’ – this is where you get to ‘hang out’ with them in their natural environment (run by Baboon Matters Conservation Group). During my baboon walk I was even groomed by one of them – an honour I shall never forget!

My story begins not so long ago…

After seeing my husband off to work, I found that I was not alone in my house. There were 2 baboons in my open plan kitchen raiding my reserves. One had my choc-chip cookies under his arm and the other my tub of butter! Now, casting all practical knowledge of how to deal with this situation aside (basically get out), I saw red and charged at them shouting (in the most terrifying voice I could muster) ‘RAAH-RAAH!’ (yes, just like Nicole Kidman in ‘Australia’!).

This baboon had my butter!

For some reason, unbeknown to me, I had a connection with that tub of butter and was willing to risk my life (or perhaps not so dramatically, loss of limb or fingernail) to get it back from the thieving hands of this rude mammal.

After startling them with my fierce war cries, I ran out after them, out of the house and down my driveway into the road, shouting at them to ‘give it back!’ Finally, he stopped to try and consume his prize on my neighbours lawn. I stopped running and stormed up to him with a finger wagging in his face, demanding that he give it back to me this instant! To no avail, he looked up at me, with mild amusement, and to my mind, complete arrogance and hugged the tub of butter to his chest in a gesutre that would have translated a bit like this:

‘When hell freezes over, Fool!’

Once a baboon grabs something, he doesn’t let go. Another interesting fact is that baboons are not scared of women (a fact that got lost by the wayside with me). So here we have a baboon who isn’t letting go. Is this the same for humans? Why can’t we ‘let go’! Hmmm, I’m beginning to smell a moral to this tale…

I started to see reason (and danger for the first time) and started to walk back up my driveway – in defeat. I realised that there was a raucous commotion coming form inside my house. I heard glass crashing and panic set back in…(continued in Part 2)

Currently unavailable for purchase

The Baboon and The Butter - Part One by 

A tale of an obnoxious baboon and an even worse human!

So much is taken for granted on a daily basis and I want to bring to the forefront colour, vibrancy, frequency, pensiveness, wonder, reflection, action and energy through my passions.

My art is how I interpret the world around me, it is how I see this life – a palette of unbelievable colours and a sea of energy. The potential every living thing has and the knowledge that everything is a manifestation of a Divine essence is, in itself, pure magic.

View Full Profile


  • cathyjane
    cathyjaneabout 5 years ago

    What a great story and thankfully a happy safe ending. (apart from the butter). You couldnt tell a story like that living in the city of London. Unimaginable. I did once put myself at risk trying to defend something , in fact a ten pound note. My only ten pound note. I had gone to the cashpoint machine and input all the details. As I was waiting for the money to pop out I had a feeling that the man standing next to me was going to mug me. So I waited for the money , grabbed it quickly and immediately turned to face the mugger ready for a fight. He was young but taller than me and said “Give me that”. I should have given it over. I was seven months pregnant and when I look back had a lot at stake. It wasnt the money. The money was the imaginary barrier between me and him. My right. I held it tight and he ripped the corner off the note trying to get it out of my hand. I kept blocking his arm and hand as he came near me shouting all the while to draw attention to us. I did draw attention but people only looked on as if it was a side show. Eventually he gave up and walked away. Like you I often question why I hung on to that money risking so much. It meant not giving in to bullying. It was as if I thought that if I give in now then i will fear this forever.Thankfully it was the right decision back then..

  • Good grief! What a story…and so much like how I felt about that butter. It just shows you, there is more to it than just the object, I think the attachment to the object is more like an attack on your sense of self and if we could only relinquish that attachment we could probably be more at peace with ourselves. I feel like we were brought up to have a ‘duty’ to protect our so called honour when sometimes it is actually alright to just walk away. It doesn’t mean we have given up , just that we have chosen not to conflict. Anyway, I am so glad that you didn’t get hurt. :D

    – Cherie Roe Dirksen

  • cathyjane
    cathyjaneabout 5 years ago

    Thanks Cherie.

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.