Do you have some thêgheez?
by Herman Labuschagne

Eden Express article, 17 November 2013


There’s something from the good old days you don’t see anymore. Yet once upon a time they could be found on every farm.


I was freshly graduated and still at the age where I thought the world owed me more respect. The phone rang one afternoon and when I answered it the voice sounded unfamiliar. He did not come to the point and I answered rudely.

There was a pause and then he explained: “This is Dlamini from Swaziland.”

I slowly felt my ears warm up. I had just been rude to a prince and prime minister of Swaziland. Before I could apologize he asked to speak to my dad. I was already trying to think how I would explain myself to my father. But he did not want to complain about my rudeness.

When my father answered the prime minister explained: “I’m looking for some thgheez,” he said.

“Tekkies?” my father frowned. “You need me to find you some tekkies?”

“Yes please.” 

My dad looked puzzled.

“But don’t you have tekkies in Swaziland?” he cautiously asked.

“No, no! The-ee-gheez,” the premier replied.

My dad was baffled.

“But I’m certain I’ve seen shoe shops in Manzini…”

At this the prime minister chuckled.

“No! No! Not tekkies – I mean the-ee-gheez – de bêhds!”

My dad slowly began to smile. The prime minister was looking for some turkeys – the birds you can’t find anymore!


Fortunately Aunt Georgina Liversage across the mountain still kept turkeys and we were able to secure three for the premier. He came to fetch them in person with his chauffeur and a crate that that would have held a baby rhino.

“Who built you such a strong crate?” I asked him.

He smiled proudly: “My people at the ministry.”

And that’s how Swaziland got re-supplied with turkeys.



Image: Wikimedia Commons:,_krocan_01.jpg