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Kian Barker
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Kian Barker

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Two ways to confuse a German in Africa

Greetings and Salutations,

In all my years of guiding, I discovered there are a few topics that turn heads. Even certain one's that cause confusion. Two in particular that are applicable to Germans. Try discuss these with Germans and there is wide spread confusion. The first is understandable, the other relates to the clever use and often incisive ability of the German culture in 'clarifying' names with clever nomenclature. So even though there is a certain level of confusion or denial, acceptance is imminent when an explanation is offered.

The first is cricket and certainly more than half the world's population will sport a quizzical expression when asked about the technicalities of 'the sweet sound of leather on willow'. However there is another situation that creates a certain amount of confusion when it comes to a certain outdoor activity. This one has no connections to certain Colonial culture. When on safari in this area, we often happen upon the odd Buchell's coucal. This bird is a regular feature on any afternoon or early morning safari. If not visible, it has a very distinctive call that has been given it the nick name of 'the bottle bird'. Producing a sound like a bottle being emptied of it's watery contents.

Germans when they arrived on the great content of Africa appropriately named this bird the Tiputip. Now if you spent a few moments of time and mention this name to any traveling German on the continent of Africa, there is immediate denial. And I mean immediate, a similar sort of response can be garnered from asking them about cricket. Do not even mention the different formats of the game. Like 20/20, ODI's and a test series. Nooooo! Well, there is certainly more logic in the name Tiputip, than cricket, once you have successfully passed the denial stage. It just takes a little investigation with the assistance of Wikipedia to gain a little insight into the very appropriate use of the name Tiputip! Tippi Tup was a notorious slave trade based in central Africa from 1837 to 1905, a Swahili based on the tropical island of Zanzibar. But the full spelling of his name was Hamad bin Muhammad bin Jumah bin Rajab bin Muhammad bin Sa'id al-Murghabi, The behavior of this particular bird is to enslave any food on thorns or any pointed article if they have caught more food than they are able to consume. If impaled in the correct manner, it will stay alive until the "Tiputip" is ready to consume the enslaved morsel. Some German ornithologist obviously knew his history, but never realized the apparent confusion this name would produce into the modern World. Believe it?

Hasta la vista

The Knait Whrydah

Posted by Kian Barker

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