WHAT THE FACT

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Bergie Bomb

Offbeat Tourist Attractions 

Local:

Warrior Toy Museum (Simon’s Town)

Where is the Warrior Toy Museum and The Cockroach Hall of Fame? Which local South African invented Computicket? What is a Bergie Bomb and Sowetan Toilet? Have fun with these and more fascinating, bizarre and astounding facts.

This small museum in Simon’s Town contains over 4 000 model cars, 500 dolls and teddy bears as well as many other toys such as trains, dolls’ houses, toy soldiers and model aeroplanes. The collection includes both vintage and contemporary toys. Percy van Zyl has been collecting toys for 60 years and most of the collector’s items are not for sale – although there is a section of the museum where items can be bought.

International:

The Cockroach Hall of Fame (Arizona)

Pest Control Specialist and Judge at cockroach dress-up competitions, Michael Bohdan started a museum of dead cockroaches dressed up as famous celebrities, such as ‘Elvis’, ‘Marilyn Monroach’ and ‘Liberoachi’.

Great SA Inventions

Computerised Ticketing

Percy Tucker from Benoni founded Computicket, the first computerised system of ticket selling. Tucker had always been interested in theatre but lacked the talent to perform on stage. So instead he channelled his passion into improving the entertainment industry by resolving the problem of having to wait in long queues to book tickets for plays, movies and concerts. Tucker has won three Lifetime Achievement Awards and two Rotary awards for his innovation.


Kreepy Krauly

A qualified hydraulic engineer, Ferdinand Chauvier, invented the Kreepy Krauly – an automated vacuum cleaner for the pool that is powered by the pool’s water filter system. He made the first one from wood and rubber tubing that he melted in his kitchen. The fully plastic one was developed in 1978.

Weird Dishes & Drinks

Local:

‘Walkie Talkies’

A popular street snack of deep fried chicken feet, are high in protein and low in kilojoules. Called ‘amangina enkhukhu’ in Xhosa.

Mopani Worms

These short fat caterpillars can be eaten plain and dried, or cooked in a stew. They are high in protein and said to taste like potato crisps when dried, and like chicken when cooked. The harvesting and sale of Mopani Worms is a multimillion Rand industry in Southern Africa.

Smileys

Braaied Sheep’s head (including the eyeballs, tongue and brain!) are especially popular in townships and in KwaZulu-Natal. The eyes and ears are considered the best part!

International:

Casu Marzu

Rotten pecorino cheese containing thousands of maggots, originating in Sardinia, Italy. The whole pecorino cheese is left to ferment, with a portion of the rind removed to allow flies to lay eggs in it; the digestive action of the maggots turns the cheese to Casu marzu. As it’s considered unsafe to eat when the maggots are dead (the EU even banned it for a while), the cheese is eaten with live maggots. Served with wine or on Sardinian flat bread, you have to hold your hand over the cheese to prevent the maggots from leaping off! (The maggots can launch themselves up to 15 centimetres!)

Hákarl

Eaten in Iceland, Hákarl is cured Greenland Shark hung to dry for four to five months. Shark meat is poisonous when raw, but allowing it to decay fully gets rid of the uric acid in the flesh. Once cured and dried, it is cut into small pieces and served as is. This dish is renowned for its foul smell and for being very much an acquired taste. Most non-Icelandic people who have eaten it describe it as the worst thing they have ever tasted!

Shooters

Sowetan Toilet: Nachtmusiek chocolate liqueur & banana liqueur (Amarula optional extra)

It’s so named because when the chocolate liqueur is poured into the banana liqueur it sinks to the bottom, resembling excrement and urine!

Bergie Bomb: Shot of Old Brown Sherry in a Black Label beer

Based on a ‘Jӓger Bomb’ (a shot of Jӓgermeister in a Red Bull), but it is made with the cheapest alcohol available, hence the name.

Vinnige Fanie: One tablespoon of sugar & one shot of whiskey

Named after the speedy South African cricketer, Fanie de Villiers, because of its quick effect. To drink, put the sugar in your mouth and chew until syrupy, then drink the shot of whiskey.

Fantastic Local Food Inventions

Mrs Ball’s™ Chutney

Launched in 1871, it is one of SA’s most treasured food brands. Amelia Ball began making chutney from her home in Fish Hoek using her mother’s recipe. Her husband, Herbert, sold the chutney while working as a superintendent at the railway station. In 2013 Tiger Brands acquired Mrs Ball’s™ from Unilever.

Chappies® Bubblegum

Created by Arthur Ginsburg of Johannesburg in the 1930s, Chappies® was rivalled by Wicks bubblegum, but the fun ‘Did You Know’ trivia on the wrapper won them massive favour. Chappies® became used as a form of currency by shopkeepers who ran out of small change – instead of getting one cent, you would get two Chappies®.

Ouma Rusks®

In 1939 in the small town of Molteno in the Eastern Cape, ‘Ouma’ Elizabeth Anne Greyvensteyn baked a batch of rusks for a church congregation and was soon inundated with orders. As demand grew the Greyvensteyn family decided to convert their barn into South Africa’s first rusk bakery. Ouma remained involved in the business until she died in 1989, aged 98. Today, the Ouma® Rusk business is the lifeblood of the town’s economy.