An Ex-JW in the SADF IV

Puffy head r


Back in camp we had to go to this place called Lataba Ranch every now and then, the Bats have Die Brug, at 7 SAI we had Lataba. It is situated in or right next to the world famous Kruger National Park and is an absolutely beautiful part of the world, if you are a tourist. I had never been in the Kruger before, so loving the bush as much as I do this was great… not. Those PF’s tried to kill me in that place! The first time I went was with Oscar Company and we were all Motarmen or Storm Pioneers. Here we learned our trade, in between getting those ridiculous opfoks all the time.  I was under the impression that opfoks were a necessary evil of good army training, since then I have spoken to a lot of Rhodesian men, they tell me that they did not get the same type of shit in their army. A lot of PT yes, but not the kind that we did, those that joined the SADF later were unimpressed. As some of the guys were Rhodesian SAS, Selous Scouts and Rhodesian Light Infantry, it is impossible to say anything bad about their fighting skills and effectiveness as soldiers.

One night, in the pitch black I heard my name been called in a squeaky whisper, as we were all bedded down talking was forbidden, someone was going to get me in kak! The guy got louder and eventually a corporal came to see what was going on. All of a sudden torches were lit up and a lot of loud talking was going on. Now I heard the corporal yell, “Bisset, waar is jy!?” Ah shit, i knew no good could come of this, no matter what “this” was. I replied and the Corporal, in a rather panicky voice AND in English asked, not ordered me to go to him. The classic “ Come to I”, that some of the Afrikaners used to mistakenly say when they bothered to speak English.

The situation was:

One guy, Squeaky Voice, had woken up and found a strange elongated lump in his sleeping bag with him. Now this was presumed to be a snake, plenty of those at Lataba, along with all sorts of other dangerous critters. This lump was short and fat, must be a Puff Adder, sleeping right across his stomach. The reason I was been sort out was, I was known as the snake expert in the camp. When we got lectures on snakebite, they were so outdated that it ended up that Pink Vark made me give them rather than the Medic or the Doctor. If you kept venomous snakes, as I did, it is prudent to be up to date on such matters. To this day if I get bitten the last person I would consult is a common Medical Doctor. (Short Story on them here:  Snake Bite! )

In one of the books I had studied they had a solution for just this problem, so I was thinking, “No problem.” What is suggested is that you put blankets on the victim; the snake gets too warm and leaves on its own accord. Bloody books! That did not work and the victim was getting all excited and more and more afraid, to the extent that his whole body was shaking. I feared that the snake was going to bite him, so time for Plan B, made up on the spot. First we would, carefully unzip the sleeping bag, to reveal his shoulders; two guys would get their hands under his arms. Another two guys would grab the bottom of the bag. On three all would pull as fast as possible, I would dive the Puff Adder.

May not have been the best plan but the best I could think of at the time. They pulled I dived and came up with a rolled up T-shirt.


Nosce te ipsum

View the Mexican Horse Thief’s Page

Short Story




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2 Responses to “An Ex-JW in the SADF IV”

  1. chris Says:

    Shit boet this story is urban legend and goes back as far as the 1960’s in the SADF now you claim it as your story???

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