The Hat (Hoed) in Hoedspruit
Hoedspruit - Which means “hat fountain”, when translated, but should not be translated, is situated just to the west for Kruger National Park.
Wild country, hot humid country, I love it! But I have always had this love/hate relationship with small towns. Goodness I have lives in a few, Vaalwater, Sedgefield, Keimouth and a few more.
I am going to stick my neck out and profile these little towns and it does not seem to matter whether they are on the coast or inland. I am mentioning this because I once had the perception that people in coastal towns are as a rule more liberal in their ways and thinking, but this only seem to apply to cities. This is obviously just my opinion and many may differ. .
Hoespruit is rather unique in one specific way. It does not have a Township, like almost every other town or city in South Africa (Township is that place where the very poor, normally people of colour, lives). Hoedspuit was basically established as an Air force base for the old South African Air force. It was strategically picked to be very difficult to access. It is pretty much surrounded by Private game reserves and Kruger National Park on one side. To get to Hoedspuit, you have a few access roads, but getting their through the bush means you had to face the Big five (Lions, Rhino and the lot). There is still an air force base here, but not nearly as active. It is still surrounded by reserves on all sides, which does not leave much space for expansion or Township.
With all these privately owned reserves and (horror of horrors) hunting business also unfortunately still booming, there is a lot of wealth around.
This is also very fertile lands and people grow Mangoes and all sort of other fruits. Apart from that it is truly a breathtaking part of the country. Majestic Mountains, like Mariepskop and Blyde towering over everything. Then there is an almost tropical climate for most of the year. It is also amazing in the sense that every drive to town is a game drive, you are guaranteed to see at least some baboons and buck, sometimes even lions.
Most of the small town are rather beautiful, although that does not quite include Vaalwater, flat dusty dirty little town. The surrounding area is a very different story.
So how is Hoespruit similar to most other small towns?
I think it is mostly in the mentality of the people. Every little town seem to have a few families that basically believe they own the place, mostly because they have always lived there (never climbed out from under their rock) and perceive it as their “religious right” to enforce their ideas and believes on the whole town. A lot of small town have far too many churches for the population, Sedgefield had something like 6 churches, while only two schools and two (one descent) Grocery stores.
Then there are the crosses! Keimouth has one, so did Sedge and so does many many other small towns. You are forces to look at the thing, whether you like it or not. I once raised the question about who exactly is paying for the electricity for that monstrosity, seeing that it is (in a county with an Electricity crisis) shining all night long. I am still waiting for that answer, but I suspect it is probably the rate and tax payers of the town. At least Hoespruit does not have one of those, yet. The poor can go cook their food on fire, but we will waste electricity all night, in the name of god...
Basically you have the extreme conservative, who believe in an invisible man in the sky, ruling the roost and the really sad part is that most of them live in fear of this invisible god of theirs. Vaalwater was the real funny one, at eight on a Sunday morning everybody is in church, by eleven they are all in the bar at the Vaalwater Hotel.
In all these towns the “ruling clans” as I call them, hold a few other rather strange beliefs. Keimouth, Vaalwater and Hoedspruit are full of religious hunters (killers) and according to them their god made these beautiful creates so that they can kill them. What wicked weird god is it that these people believe in? But you do not dare ask that question, because then it is you that is insulting god... seriously!
We all run down to the Hoedspruit (and Vaalwater) Wildsfees (Wildlife festival), where copious amount of carcass is consumed, any kind of animal from Bushbuck harts to Lion liver is tasted and chewed on, and then we go bitch like crazy, on the Hoedspruit Town face book page because somebody left a doggy in a hot car... (Yes the person that left the doggy in a hot car is an ass, but the Moonie clannies can insult, shame and ridicule whoever they like, but how dare anybody question them?)
I simply asked the lady (on face book) if she does not think this is all a bit hypocritical. All hell broke loose, I am of very low IQ, I am an internet troll etc etc and I was ungrouped. The moral of the story, if you do not agree with the clan members you are out! I use the words clan because they have the big house and the game farm and the expensive cars, but the head is still in a cave.
It is like going to an Anti poaching rally and there you wave around our genuine crocodile leather handbag in fury... and you see nothing strange about it.
I have also been banned from a Restaurant in town and this was honestly not because of bad behaviour, the owner and his little clan simply did not like me daring to question some of their “fact” and the way they generally treat people of colour. The fact is this place and many other small towns still exist in this time warp, where it is still okay to call a person of colour a kaffir and if you dare disagree with this mentality you are out... Similar things happened in Vaalwater.
I fully understand that I am a bit of a rebel (sometimes with and sometimes without a course), but I just do not get these people and they obviously do not get me. Lucky thing is that I live way out of town and only go there when absolutely needed. I guess I am lucky in the sense that I normally only live near these towns and not in them.
I dislike cities, but I also deeply dislike small town mentality, the story of my life...