Ernst Havemann -- Writer
Born: July 10, 1918, South Africa. See this link for more information.
Living: in New Zealand, with family.
"A Van for Violet," The Atlantic, Jan. 1989 (Volume 263, Issue 1, pg. 48; 4 pgs)
"The Exiles", The Atlantic, Nov. 1987 (Volume 260, Issue 5; pg. 103)
"My Father's Son", The Atlantic, Jun. 1987 (Volume 259, Issue 6; pg. 48)
"A Farm at Raraba", The Atlantic, Jan. 1987 (Volume 259, Issue 1; pg. 56)
"Incident at Mhlaba Jail", The Atlantic, Sep. 1986 (Volume 258, Issue 3; pg. 42)
"The Bloodsong", The Atlantic, Feb. 1986 (Volume 257, Issue 2; pg. 56)
Bloodsong and Other Stories of South Africa
by Ernst Havemann
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston (1987) and by Bookthrift Co (3/1990). ISBN: 0-395-43296-0 (Out of print: ASIN: 0395432960)
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My late Dad was a magnificent shot. One time when we were hunting in the Low Veld and had stopped for a smoke, we heard the yelp of a wild dog, and a troop of impala came bounding over the tall grass. Opposite us, three hundred yards off, was a stony ridge like a wall, six feet high. You would think those buck would avoid it, but no, they went straight at it. One after another, without pausing or swerving, they leaped over it. They cleared it by three or four feet. I tell you, friend, it was a beautiful sight.
By the time the first two impala were over the ridge, late Dad was ready, and as the next one leaped, Dad got him. In midair. Same with the next one, and the next, and the next. And the next. And the next. That was six buck, one after another.
Do you know, the wild dogs chasing those buck didn't stop for the impala that late Dad had killed. They didn't even react to the shots. They just followed one particular buck that they had marked, and we saw them pull it down a couple of minutes later. You've got to hand it to Nature; she knows what she's doing.
But the most wonderful thing was when we got to the dead impala. Four of them were piled one on top of another, neatly, like sacks in a store. Late Dad had shot each of them through the heart, at exactly the same point in its leap. The other two had been a bit slow. Late Dad had got each of them in the shoulder. If you can't get a head or a heart shot, the next best is the shoulder, because of the bone there. If you hit bone, it brings a creature down. It can't run, you see. The worst place is behind the heart, because then your bullet goes through a lot of soft entrails. A gutshot animal will sometimes run a couple of miles before it drops, and you may never find it. When I hear of fellows shooting like that, I want to put a slug into their guts and see how they would like to die that way.
-- Ernst Havemann, A Farm at Raraba
From the collection Bloodsong and Other Stories of South Africa
Copyright © 1987 by Ernst Havemann. All rights reserved.