S.Africa’s Olympic gold medalists get cows


JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 1 – South Africa’s six gold medalists in the London 2012 Olympics have each received a traditionally revered gift back home — a cow — from the country’s barbeque champ, the Beeld newspaper reported on Saturday.

The gifts, each valued at 7,000 rand (700 euros, $830), were handed over by businessman Jan Scannell, better known as Jan Braai, for his aim of using the most cross-cultural social custom, the barbeque or braai, to the unite South Africans.

One of the six Olympians, swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, chose to have his cow processed into 140 kilogrammes of boerwors, a popular thick aromatic beef sausage, which he donated to an orphanage in Alexander township.

Rowers John Smith and James Thompson opted for biltong, dried beef strips.

Another rower Sizwe Ndlovu preferred the live animal, likening the gift to a bride price or ‘lobola’. Cows are traditionally used to pay for brides in most southern African cultures.

“From a national cultural perspective I did not expect to get lobola because I won a gold medal,” said Ndlovu.

Jan Braai who in 2010 broke the Guiness World Record for the longest barbeque at 28 hours 26 minutes, now promotes September 24 each year, South Africa’s cultural heritage day, as national braai day.