Between the mountain and the deep blue sea

In the year 1353AD, Zatoomba gave rise to its existence. Zatoomba was a beautiful young woman from a strong family of witch doctors who lived in the caves in the mountains of Hemel-en Aarde Valley which is somewhere between Hermanus and Caledon. With her youth and beauty she was one of the most beautiful women to have walked the valley but her loving heart was never to be explored by a noble young man from her tribe or any other tribe because when she reached the ripe age of 21 years she took it upon herself to go to the forbidden Cave of Desire and perform the forbidden ritual Kootamak which entailed altering a living creature to suit one’s very own desires. She exhumed the 100 year old bones of a loved one and mixed the blood of a cobra, baboon and man and poured the mixture over the bones whilst chanting the forbidden phrases. Just as  she had uttered her last enchanting phrase to complete the ritual, the abomination sprung to life animated with grotesque features beyond her darkest fears. When she realized what she has done she tried to undo the magic but her attempt was in vain.  Her expectation was to create the ultimate man of her desires but because her magic was not as powerful as she thought it was, what she created was a legendary creature that  formed the very foundation of Cape colonial folklore amongst the people of the Cape of storms.

In the Western Cape all was not as it seemed. A mysterious creature was roaming the streets of rural towns and villages. A creature created by a witch doctor named  Zatoomba way before the first settlers arrived near the Cape of Storms. South Africans, especially the older generation, have interesting and even sometimes unbelievable accounts of sightings and encounters of this creature.

As time progressed this creature was dubbed different names by the different ethnic groups of the Cape but the most common name give to it was Beesvreeter because of its horrific ability to devour a full grown cow. One fact that every person knew was that the very sight of it at full moon, would send shivers and quivers down the spine of even the strongest man

Farmers and farmhands alike took special precaution on the night of full moon as these were the times that Beesvreeter came out to feed at leisure. It’s known to traverse mountainous and arid land and feast also on the bountiful morsels in rock pools near the seashore of the area now known as Walker Bay. Any seasoned fisherman knows very well to avoid any fishing activity during full moon.

by JP Thomas