The crazy days of South African soccer in the 1970s … that’s the setting for this week’s story about former Kaizer Chiefs masseur Joe Mashinini. What a character Bra Joe was! Why did he steal two peacocks and how did he manage to get past two guard dogs in the process? Read on to discover the answer … it’s unbelievable!
Peter: Here we are, guys … it’s alive and kicking.
Ace: Of course.
Banks: Ha, ha … what else … what else?
Peter: Talk to us … what’s happening?
Ace: Ha ha … today’s story is a bombshell.
Banks: Ja, it’s about our former masseur at Kaizer Chiefs, the late great Joe Mashinini.
Ace: Man, Joe was a real character. He had so many stories. He was a real funny guy. Any Kaizer Chiefs player of the ‘70s will have his own stories of Joe. He was magic.
Banks: He loved Ace. He and Ace used to always joke together. You see Joe was an ex-boxer and he also used to train boxers. He also loved America and he used to sometimes joke around and talk with an American accent. Because Ace was playing in America some of the time, the two of them used to joke around with each other, talking like Americans.
Ace: Sadly Joe’s gone now. I miss him, he was a helluva guy. He was also very, very strong.
Banks: And streetwise!
Ace: Oh yes.
Banks: You know in the early ‘70s we had this one white guy who used to support Kaizer Chiefs. He was a friend of Kaizer’s. He was a big supporter of Chiefs and he used to come to most of our games and he even came to our training sessions regularly.
Ace: He used to boast to us that he had these two Doberman dogs. He said they were so terrifying that no one could enter his yard. He told us that he had no locks on his doors because his dogs were so terrifying.
Banks: He also had two peacocks.
Banks: Ha, ha ja, he had two peacocks in his yard as well. The Doberman dogs were so well trained that they knew not to attack or bite the peacocks. This guy was really proud of his dogs, especially about what great guard dogs they were.
Ace: So one day when he was bragging about his dogs and peacocks again, Bra Joe started teasing him.
Banks: So this guy says to Joe. “Joe, if you come to my house and try to steal my peacocks, my Dobermans will kill you.” Bra Joe just laughed at him and said, “Man, us Zulus, we have something, some muti that will put your dogs to sleep while I steal your peacocks.” All of us there at the time got involved in this friendly argument … everyone had an opinion. Man, we were betting and arguing left, right and centre. Eventually the guy said to Bra Joe, “Don’t be stupid. You’re a good man, we don’t want to lose you. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Ace: Joe just went for it then. “No way, man,” he said. “Let’s bet because I am going to get those peacocks.” The next thing this guy says, “Okay, okay, no bet. But if you steal the peacocks and get out alive I’ll give you R100.” Remember R100 was a helluva lot of money in those days.
Banks: Ja, about R3 000 today.
Peter: Probably. So, what happened to Bra Joe? Is this how he became the late Bra Joe?
Ace: Ha, ha. Bra Joe just said to him, “Okay, one day soon you’ll wake up and find your peacocks gone.”
Banks: A week passed and then at one training session, Big Bra Joe walked in with the biggest smile on his face ever. “I got the peacocks!” That’s all he said and then he just burst out laughing. About 10 minutes later, the white guy came running onto the field. He was furious, shouting, “I’m going to kill that Joe, my peacocks are gone!”
Ace: Joe appeared again and can you believe it, he just looked at the poor guy and said, “Never mind your peacocks, where’s my R100!” Ha, ha …
Peter: Brilliant. A deal is a deal!
Ace: Eventually Joe calmed everything down. I mean he was a big strong guy. He said, “Don’t worry, your peacocks are safe, just give me the R100 and I’ll go and fetch them.”
Banks: Ha, ha. So the whitey handed him the hundred bucks and Joe left to get the peacocks. He brought them in the back of a closed bakkie. They were both 100% okay.
Ace: We couldn’t stop laughing. We all begged Joe to tell us the story as to how he stole the peacocks without being attacked by the two ferocious Dobermans which we were all very scared of. I mean the guy used to sometimes bring them to training and I can tell you that they were terrifying.
Banks: So after training, Joe made us go buy some beers and then he sat us all down, including the white guy who owned the peacocks. Right there and then, he started telling us how he did it.
Ace: Ha, ha.
Banks: Joe said it was moonlight. He got to the guy’s house and in the field next to the house he took all his clothes off.
Ace: He stood there completely naked and then smeared Vaseline all over his big body!
Banks: Ha, ha, ja … honestly this is the truth. No exaggeration. Ask any Chiefs player of that time. Then he jumped over the wall. When he landed … Now imagine this, he put his head between his legs and squatted.
Peter: He put Vaseline all over his body and then put his head between his legs and squatted!
Ace: Yes. Can you imagine what he looked like to those two dogs? I mean it was moonlight - he was big, black and shining from all the Vaseline.
Banks: The best part is that he then started reversing towards the dogs so that he could see them through his legs. Can you imagine what he looked like to the dogs?
Peter: Ha, ha. They must have thought, ‘what kind of a creature is that?’ Plus he was much bigger than them.
Ace: And he must have looked very scary … and ugly ha, ha, ha.
Banks: And he just kept reversing towards the dogs with his face and bum facing them. They just kept quiet and tried to move away. But Joe said every time they moved in one direction he moved straight towards them. The poor dogs were so scared that they ran to the front of the house to hide, leaving Bra Joe all alone with the peacocks, who apparently never made a sound either.
Ace: All that was left was for Bra Joe to catch the two peacocks, which he did with ease, and then he passed them over the wall to his accomplice who was waiting with the bakkie ha, ha.
Peter: Magic. Still, he was brave because if the dogs decided to take a bite, they could have got his face or his bum … or even worse … ha, ha.
Banks: By this stage we were all laughing our heads off at the story. Bra Joe then demonstrated to all of us how he did it. Man, he was a sight to behold.
Ace: Even the owner of the peacocks was laughing now. Although I’m still not sure if he really believed Bra Joe. Joe said to us that dogs will never fight or bite something they don’t know or understand. He told us that “Us Zulus we meddle in the muti, we know such things!”
Peter: What a guy, God bless him.
Banks: He died in the early ‘90s of old age but he was one of Kaizer Chiefs characters and I am glad that we have been able to use Soccer-Laduma to tell the soccer supporters about a Kaizer Chiefs legend that few have really heard of.
Peter: Yes, good.
Ace: And now we need to take it easy.
Banks: Just like Sunday morning.