Taking Charge of a Charge

Vic Jenkinson Fending Off a Wildebeest Charge.

Vic Jenkinson Fending Off a Wildebeest Charge.

Taking Charge of a Charge

Vic Jenkinson loved the bush.  He would walk for miles teaching his daughters, Leslie and Gail, how to collect snares, look for ant-bear holes and teach them which mushrooms to pick after the rains came.

Taking Charge of a Charge

A favorite spot for mushrooms was the densely shaded Brachystegia woodlands of the Que Que River area.  These woods, dominated by a few species such as the famous msasa,  cover a great swath of land in Central Africa.  Their compound or doubly compound leaves give softness to the landscape, especially after a summer afternoon rainstorm.

Fallen leaves from the previous season make a crunchy carpet to walk on, in the cool shade, and is a perfect mulch for little red mushrooms called Ambavas  (grandmothers ears).  Vic showed the girls how to distinguish the dinner plate size white Mahowa Nedzi mushrooms from their look-alikes, which were deadly.  Mahowa mushrooms are still an integral part of the traditional Jenkinson Christmas morning breakfast along with bacon and eggs.

On one of Vic and the children’s walks he ran into a newly released blue wildebeest.  Its broad face and muzzle, small eyes, black beard and mane, grey hide and sloping hindquarters give it a quaint, expressionless air.  However, its sharp horns, shaped like a buffalo’s, size, speed and disposition make it a formidable and unpredictable foe.  It had just carved with the onset of rains.  It charged.

Vic was a handsome and cool guy.  He had a smooth charm about him.   With a cigarette still in one hand, he picked up a stick in the other, waved and shouted.

As the wildebeest veered, he took a deep draw on his cigarette.

(The only wild animal that will not break it’s charge once it has started, is the hippo.)

Many thanks to Lez Jenkinson Ogley for the story and photos.  A great contribution to the blog.




  • betty goolsby

    Reply Reply December 2, 2011

    First of all, what does carved medn? also, I do not understand why the wildebeast veered! Was it the glow of the cigarette, or the cool attitude, which was confusing to the beast?

    • Diana

      Reply Reply December 3, 2011

      Betty, the wildebeest had just given birth (calved), and like all animals the wildebeeste is very protective of it’s young. Unfortunately reducing the size of the photo for the blog you can’t see well the small stick he is waving in his right hand. His cigarette is still in the left hand. Vic never turned a hair as he faced off with the animal. It’s really a good action shot, capturing the moment. Who knows why the animal veered. He was lucky. It could easily have gored him resulting in serious even fatal injuries.

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