Firstly –  let me explain the title of this post.  Tuck Box is what my untrained, English ear hears when South Africans talk about Tak Boks.

Tak, in Afrikaans means branch and a bok is a deer/antelope.  To confuse things a little, the true plural of bok in Afrikaans is actually bokke – but English speakers Anglicize it to produce the word boks.  The best example to illustrate this would be when referring to the South African national rugby team: the Springboks (English) or Springbokke (Afrikaans).

My other favourite “mis-interpretation” is of the phrase Baie Dankie (Thank you very much), which sounds an awful lot like “buy a donkey”.  If I didn’t know better I would think that it was a way of trying to get rid of your company, as in – “cheers for your chat – go away and buy yourself a donkey” 😉

But back to the reindeer.

I never realised, in all my 14 years living here in South Africa, that there were even reindeer in the country!  I know any number of other boks, many of which I only know the Afrikaans name for and wouldn’t know if there even was an English equivalent.  Reindeer are what I expect to see when driving around the hills and mountains of Scotland…not here in SA.  So it was a complete surprise when I put two and two together and finally saw a Tak Bok 🙂

These three were a little far off for my lens to do them true justice, but I still like the way the two older rams create a frame for the younger male, who ambled into the shot perfectly!

Nr Memel, Free State – June, 2011

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