JOCK OF THE BUSHVELD - A Classic African Children's Story about a boy and his dog
Jock’s mother, Jess, was the only dog in their camp. FitzPatrick describes her as “an unattractive bull-terrier with a dull brindled coat–black and grey in shadowy stripes. She had small cross-looking eyes and uncertain always-moving ears; she was bad tempered and most unsociable", but everybody respected her. Jock’s father is only described as an imported dog in the book and there’s an ongoing debate on whether he was an American Staffordshire Terrier or of a breed like the Bull and Terrier.
What followed were a string of amazing adventures across South Africa's highveld from the Lydenburg Goldfields to Delagoa Bay (Maputo, Mozambique) in which Jock had many adventures earned a fearless reputation second to none. Jock permanently lost his hearing in one of these adventures when a kudu antelope cow kicked him. The main version of how Jock died is told as follows: When Fitzpatrick went to live in Barberton, he realised Jock was miserable living in a town and gave the dog to his friend Tom Barnett, who ran a supply store in what has since become Mozambique. NOTE. This was the route (Pretoria to Delagoa Bay) which Winston Churchill used to escape from the Boers in 1900.
One night when Tom Barnett called him, he mistakenly shot Jock, because he was thought to be the dog killing chickens on his farm. He later discovered that Jock had meanwhile already killed the other intruding dog and was simply responding to his call. A story which has similarities to the 12th C Beth Gellert of Wales.
NOTE: The exact location of Jock´s grave is unfortunately not officially marked or known. However, in 1947 Fitzpatrick´s daughter Cecily Niven, backtracked her father´s travels according to the descriptions in "Jock of the Bushveld" and wrote about her findings in her book "Jock & Fitz" published 1968.
Sir James Percy FitzPatrick, KCMG, known as Percy FitzPatrick, was a South African author, politician, mining financier and pioneer of the fruit industry. He authored the classic children's book, Jock Of The Bushveld. As a politician, he defended British Imperial interests before and during the Anglo-Boer War.
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