On Wednesday, March 4 2020 the residents of Mahikeng woke up to a rather bizarre story of the uninvited company of two buffaloes roaming the streets. Buffaloes, as we all know are part of the Big Five, seen only in protected game reserves and those who want to see them pay thousands of rands.
Seeing them for free, right in the middle of a city roaming is therefore mind boggling if not outright scary. The two visitors seemed to have quickly acclimatized to the environment, with photographs showing them grazing in a bush similar to their natural environment right in the middle of what should be an affluent residential suburb. Looking at some of the photographs, one would have easily concluded that they were in Pilanesburg Game Reserve and yet the buffaloes where few meters from a University, a City Mayor’s Office, a Premier’s Office, Provincial Legislature and the biggest shopping mall in the capital city. It can only be in Bokone Bophirima. Whilst the story was very hilarious to many, it is actually a sad episode depicting how our city have deteriorated into a jungle. It is a sign of many things gone wrong from the side of administrators and a community that have become numb to lack of service delivery, including protection of lives.
There is a reason why these type of animals are classified as Big Five and why the law have designated that they should be in a protected area, where they should not be in direct contact with people. Right there, their presence points to a serious transgression the law and outright security failure. The curious question however is how they ended up right in the middle of a residential area.
There is no way one can say they took a stroll through Nelson Mandela drive up to Unibo Chapel without anyone spotting them. There is no game reserve within a possible radius to assume that this was just an ordinary game escape. One possibility is that this could have been a case of smuggling of game gone wrong. It could well be that the cargo was too hot for one smuggler who decided to let them loose. Given the casual approach and reaction of authorities, one doubts if they ever even imagine such possibilities. This is yet another sad security failure which endangered innocent lives. Thank God no harm was caused. Whilst we all continue to laugh and ask for buffalo biltong after the two visitors were gunned down, we must also know that our lack of vigilance and demanding of our security rights will soon catch-up with us. Our city is turning into a jungle, literally and figuratively.
Today is a buffalo, tomorrow will be a lion and before we know it guns will be blazing a cross the streets because the city has become a jungle for animals and criminals. Who will we blame because we laughed it off when it started and never demanded accountability and right to adequate protection? By the way, may I also have buffalo biltong.
By: Teboho Letselela