On meat culture, braais and hunting.
Being a non-meat eater* in South Africa is relatively easy. Vegetarian options are available in most restaurants. You can also easily find meat alternatives in supermarkets. However, that something is available doesn’t mean that it’s understood. “I’m a vegetarian” is not a terrifying statement for a South African until you respond negatively to the question “But do you eat chicken?”. I’m not sure where does this belief come from, but South Africans don’t really consider chicken to be meat. Maybe I’m also to be blamed for the confusion, after all I do eat some meat (and if you don’t know that by now it means that you don’t read the fine print which as a habit can screw you up badly)? Nah, it’s not my fault, you’re just being culturally unaware. It’s my Christian heritage which makes me consider fish not to be meat 😉
The fear of herbivores may come from the fact that that South Africans are big meat eaters. Biltong is all around you (a really bad song title idea). Prepared in different ways and made from different animals, this traditional dried meat is considered enough of a necessity to be sold at petrol stations along with other emergency products such as condoms and tampons. Apart from the everyday indulgence in meat eating there’s also a festive version of it called a braai (which is basically a barbecue but hush don’t tell the locals). The fire-meat-booze gatherings are truly loved, to the extent that the National Heritage Day became unofficially known as the National Braai Day. Nowadays most people buy meat in supermarkets. However, there are places where a man can go for a hunt, which smoothly brings me to the preaching part of my post – hunting.
The issue of hunting in South Africa became (in)famous some time ago when Melissa Bachman tweeted a photo of herself with a carcass of a lion she killed. I don’t really have a problem with her, rather with legislation that allowed her to do what she did. In my opinion to enjoy killing as a form of entertainment is an indicator of a lack of compassion and possibly a twisted mind. Why so? Well, when you kill and stuff a human you’re considered a psychopath. You wouldn’t do it do a dog either – you’d do nothing but condemn Asians who don’t mind an occasional Buddy in tomato sauce. At the same time killing wild animals for fun is too man not appalling at all. Double standards that’s all it is! Not wishing you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year just yet as I plan to write some more before the time comes.
* I eat fish and seafood and I also have a level of intoxication that I call “chicken-eating drunk” which happened once in last three years.