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)

The Baboon and The Butter - Part One

Cherie Roe Dirksen

Barrydale, South Africa

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Artist's Description

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

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  • cathyjane
  • Cherie Roe Dirksen
  • cathyjane
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