Being uninformed is so last season
19 November 2017 01:23 (South Africa)
Africa

Fastest land animal meets fastest man

  • Branko Brkic
    branko3048 a ray
    Branko Brkic

    Brkic is the founder and editor of The Daily Maverick.

    He has edited magazines on business and politics, technology, and wildlife. He has also published fiction and non-fiction books, most of them in Serbian. Though he has never pretended to be a reporter, his wide knowledge of politics (especially in America), combined with his experiences in a disintegrating Yugoslavia, gives him an unusual outlook on events in South Africa.

    Despite the vowel-poor surname, he tells anyone who asks that he hails from Hyde Park, Johannesburg, having spent most of his adult life in South Africa.

    Recent columns:

  • Africa
bolt

Abandoned baby cheetah, Lightning Bolt, has a new mother – or rather a new Dad – in the form of Jamaica’s double world sprint champion, Usain Bolt.

It seems Bolt Human was scared of big cats until he fed his three-month old adopted “son” bottled milk, cradling his fuzzy cheetah head in his hand. The cub’s name conjures up powerful images of lightning fizzing across storm-clouded Kenyan savannah, a wonderland of African wildlife – of wildebeest, lion, giraffe, rhino and the extremely rare wild dog.

Bolt was touring Kenya's Nairobi National Park as a sports ambassador for The Zeitz Foundation in Germany, which is concerned that the country’s wildlife, a big tourism earner, is threatened by trophy hunting, human encroachment and climate change. So Bolt paid $13,700 to formally adopt the cub, and will pay another $3,000 a year to help raise him at an animal orphanage in Nairobi. This should give Bolt great personal satisfaction, and soon some company such as Nike will put Lightning Bolt into its “swoosh” design.

In a region that produces the world’s greatest distance runners, it would be nice to see much more of this kind of publicity. Wildlife’s great marathoners, long-distance stars, mid-distance wizards and sprint champs – including birds, snakes and lizards -- could team up with Beijing Olympics marathon king Samuel Wanjiru, 10,000 metre record holder Richard Chelimo, or one of the famous Kipketer clan. Kenya  could create a modern form of totemism, where societies practice mystical kinship with their natural surroundings, keeping balance and preserving wonder, instead of rapine commercialisation of land.

Cheetahs are able to reach speeds of up to 112km/h, nearly three times Bolt’s top speed of some 44km/h, so he’ll have a tough time chasing around after Lightning Bolt when the cub is feeling antsy.

Read more: SpeedEndurance.com, Zeitz Foundation

  • Branko Brkic
    branko3048 a ray
    Branko Brkic

    Brkic is the founder and editor of The Daily Maverick.

    He has edited magazines on business and politics, technology, and wildlife. He has also published fiction and non-fiction books, most of them in Serbian. Though he has never pretended to be a reporter, his wide knowledge of politics (especially in America), combined with his experiences in a disintegrating Yugoslavia, gives him an unusual outlook on events in South Africa.

    Despite the vowel-poor surname, he tells anyone who asks that he hails from Hyde Park, Johannesburg, having spent most of his adult life in South Africa.

    Recent columns:

  • Africa

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