Going on safari: the tales of two Koos Prinsloos

  • Elsie Cloete University of the Witwatersrand, Jhb, South Africa


In Kiswahili, the word safari simply means going on a journey. This article is about journeys begun, aborted and ended by two people with the matching names of Koos Prinsloo. Koos Prinsloo Senior used his handwritten memoir about his journeys and hunting adventures as a symbolic reference to his masculinity and frontiersman status in Kenya at the height of British colonialism. Koos Prinsloo Junior, his Kenyan-born grandson, who left Kenya as a youngster and lived in South Africa, embarks on journeys where his short stories explore, amongst other issues, matters of homosexuality and notions of the father, power and colonial nostalgia. Koos Prinsloo Junior uses excerpts from his grandfather’s memoir, descriptive references to his parents’ past and present homes, mementos and trophies from the erstwhile British colony to provide a critique on bravado and male inadequacy. Using Veracini’s outline of circular and linear colonial narratives a contextual and historical background on Koos Prinsloo’s grandfather’s memoir and his hunting tales is provided by briefly examining settler life-writing from Kenya, the hunting safari and ideas of homecoming. Before turning to Prinsloo Junior’s relevant short stories and examining his attempts to debunk ideas of colonial masculinity, patriarchy, nostalgia, and loss, the notion of going home, not feeling quite at home and homesickness are explored. Keywords: hunting, Kenya, Koos Prinsloo, life-writing, masculinity, memoir, narrative, nostalgia, safari, settler colonialism.

Research articles