When it comes to SA adventures on the wild side, YouTube’s two most-viewed are Kruger Park’s battle of the crocodile – and mountain biker Evan van der Spuy (17) knocked for six by a flying hartebeest at Albert Falls Dam and Game Reserve. Evan’s cruising for a bruising was captured by team mate Travis Walker (19) on his GoPro.
This has so far been watched more than 15 million times on YouTube alone. In just the first day it was posted, it was watched more than 2.5 million times, according to the well-named site Most Watched Today .
The antics of that lively hartebeest, who’s become known to Albert Falls staff as Harry, have gathered a worldwide audience.
When it comes to understanding what’s happening with this unexpected wipeout, there’s no language barrier and the clip featured on TV news bulletins round the world. Many TV channels and other media still feature the clip on their websites to this day.
Harry the Hartebeest goes Stateside
The clip was aired on the USA’s top news channels, such as CNN. ABC , called the incident ‘A beastly bike ride’.
Nat Geo Wild developed its own background video, hearing more about what happened from both cyclist Evan van der Spuy and cameraman Travis Walker – including Travis’s own extraordinary escape from the incident. A really bad case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, comments zoologist Dr Brett Gardner of Johannesburg Zoo.
Discovery Channel blogged about the incident under the title ‘Antelope takes down cyclist’, linking to the clip. Respected newspapers also featured the clip on their websites, knowing their readers would want to take time out and check it. The Washington Post, for example, simply headlined it: ‘Cyclist collides with antelope’.
“This one will make you wince,” warned major news website Huffington Post under the headline, ‘Evan van der Spuy, SA cyclist, hit by buck while mountain biking’.
Harry the Hartebeest hits the UK
In the UK, the Telegraph and the Guardian, two newspapers at opposite ends of the political spectrum, found themselves in agreement for once on their headlines: ‘Antelope crashes into mountain biker during race’ and ‘Antelope crashes into cyclist during race’.
Harry the Hartebeest in Australia and the East
In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald summed up the battle: ‘Antelope vs. Cyclist’. Video News Australia was more macho: ‘Oh deer? Cyclist gets smacked’. As the camera zooms in on Evan van der Spuy’s crumpled headgear, the message flashes up: “This is why you wear a helmet.”
The video also went viral across social media in the Far East. In India, Samachar featured the report from international news agency Reuters under the title, ‘Cyclist gets rammed by antelope’: “Just when you think you’re on track in a cycling race in a natural park in South Africa, this happens . . .”
Harry the Hartebeest fascinates South America
In South America, Brazil’s iG news group reported, ‘Ciclista é atropelado por antelope na África do sul’ (Cyclist trampled by antelope in SA).
Peru’s RPP similarly headlined its blog: ‘Ciclista de montaña es atropellado por un veloz antílope en África’ (Mountain biker trampled by fast antelope in Africa). It asked why the video should attract 6 million views in a couple of days. Sheer shock and awe seems to be the answer!
Harry the Harteebest does Europe
In Europe, the Italian newspaper Repubblica broke into its usual coverage of the country’s many political quarrels to feature, ‘Antílope investe il ciclista, boom sul web’ (Antelope attacks cyclist, hit on web).
In Spain, the video also featured in TV news bulletins and on the website of leading national newspaper El Diario: ‘Un ciclista, derribado por un antelope en Africa’ (Cyclist unseated by antelope in Africa). Oddly, though, it describes KwaZulu-Natal as being in the north-west (“noroeste”) of the country.
Harry the Hartebeest at home in SA
Back at home in South Africa, the iconic status of this unusual sideswipe was confirmed by a cartoon from multi-awardwinning cartoonist, Zapiro, first published in SA’s The Times.
Durban’s Mercury newspaper reconstructed events and the global sensation.
Pietermaritzburg’s Witness newspaper looked at how a 17-year-old from a small town felt about suddenly being at the eye of a global media storm: ‘Teen recounts Buck Norris incident’.
Johannesburg’s Saturday Star interviewed cameraman Travis Walker about his scoop of a lifetime: ‘MTB buck cameraman enjoys global attention’.
KwaZulu-Natal’s Sunday Tribune investigated what could have caused this unusual incident: ‘What the buck happened?’
What Harry the Hartebeest did next
Soon after Harry took out biker Evan van der Spuy, though, the thundering hartebeest started showing a more respectable side to his nature. He became a proud father and a blog entitled ‘Harry’s happy event’ for Wild magazine tells the story.
But the Albert Falls action continues . . .
A while afterwards, another Albert Falls resident seemed to have taken to heart the film ‘Racing Stripes’, shot nearby at Pietermaritzburg’s Scottsville racecourse. Wild magazine was again there to blog about this dash for the headlines.
What about your Msinsi adventures? Let us know!