by Wilhelmina Maboja
Imagine this: A Zulu warrior, Indian shopkeeper and an Afrikaner man sitting at a bar. Now imagine a swashbuckling American redneck with walks in and announces that in fact, they could curl up and die any second from now.
The Zulu, being Zulu, might have his Shaka tendencies stirred and as a last form of defence, whip out his spear and attack the American, the Indian shopkeeper might just start to set up shop on the floor of the bar (he can feel a profitable and last bargain coming on) and the Afrikaner man might just start braaing boerewors, a glass of Klipdrift and Cola at hand, slowly whistling, “De la Rey”.
I say might because in actual fact, Shotgun Spratling is nothing like a swashbuckling redneck.
Yes, his name is Shotgun.
And no, his sister’s name is not 9 mm.
At first glance, the first thing you might notice is a ring the size of a jawbreaker Shotgun wears. The off-white cotton pants, sky blue T-shirt and plain sneakers could have you assume that he is, in fact, of a laid back demeanour. We stand in a lecture venue hallway with mingled smells of pizza and Coke.
“Yeah, I slept on friends’ couches for nine months,” he confirms this bit of information his friend, Hillel has just decided to give me. This was apparently a tactic to avoid paying extra when staying in college for the holidays. So, if fact, he is the laid back type.
From the university of Southern California, America, Shotgun and his friend Hillel, a somewhat lanky, dark-haired and sorely forward friend Hillel were part of a graduate programme that allowed them to intern in various countries. They’re both interning in Cape Town but somehow find themselves at the Highway Africa conference, amid pizza eating and sleeping on pool tables (another fantastic tit bit of information Hillel was glad to share).
“Shotgun is like a goat-he eats everything,” Hillel gives me this last gem of information like a parting gift as he walks up the stairs, disappearing before I can tell him that he reminds me of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
“You have all you wanted to ask?” Shotgun looks at me with slightly crinkled eyes. I nod and he saunters away to a table and I walk away into a chilly Grahamstown afternoon.