Rosia photo 1 CROPPED

Rosia is a freelance biographer, writer and editor with particular interests in oral history and African history. She graduated with a First in History from the University of Sheffield and completed an MSc in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2010, graduating with Distinction. Her short fiction has been longlisted for Radio 4’s Opening Lines and for a Carve Esoteric Award, and she has won prizes for her travel writing. She believes that everyone carries a unique and fascinating story, and one that deserves to be told.

As a Story Terrace writer, Rosia interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

Baboons

Tiny brown shapes are shifting on the hillside and I am watching them with trepidation. They are leaping off rocks and scurrying down the rugged diagonal of the land.

We are standing outside our rented cottage, my husband and I. Our upturned heads are framed in hot pink petals and, at our feet, aloe splays its tentacles lazily across the paving stones. Ahead of us, the Kommetjie lighthouse stands proud – a perfect white pillar cut out of a bold blue sheet of sea and sky.

“There’s a big one,” my husband says as I watch a chestnut-coloured mass tumble over an expansive mattress of bristling heathers and bloated succulents. “They’ll be down soon!”

By the time the baboons have scampered down the mountain, we are safely inside and the door is firmly locked. I hear their call first – a rasping bark: forceful and choking and intermittent. There is the sound of a hundred drums as they thunder over the roof of our cottage. A tiny baboon swings past the window and soon they are all tumbling and somersaulting down the walls. I run to the front window and look out to see a huge male yawning. An enormous jaw creaks opens to reveal a comb of pyramid-sharp teeth. Then it clamps shut. I watch the soft brown down of his fur quiver. His is a powerful presence.

And then they are gone. I watch them trot off in single file, a comical procession of pink rubbery bottoms. A tiny baby slides off his mother and is retrieved. Without even turning her head, she plucks him off the paving stones and they are gone.

One afternoon we watch a large male monkey smash his way through French doors and emerge with a bunch of bananas to the sound of screeched expletives. He swings elegantly to his harem and off they swagger. Then we return home to discover that little arms have crept through our open windows and stolen food, creating a snow shower of broken rice cakes.

A man waits with a paintball gun. I don’t believe my husband at first when he tells me that men are employed to “shoot” the baboons. Still, I leave Cape Town with the feeling that it is in fact the baboons that hold the power. Again, they are hiding on the mountain top, brown shapes shifting on the hillside, waiting to descend once more.

Baboon photo

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