Tracing Jock of the Bushveld

One of the Great Characters of South African Literature

Jock's Memorial Stone at his Gravesite

Across the border into Mozambique, on the Komatipoort to Maputo stretch, you’ll pass what is thought to be the burial place of one of the great characters of South African literature. More than a century after its first publication, the book has never been out of print and continues to be enjoyed by both young and old readers.

The immortal book recounts the adventures of the famous Staffie who accompanied his master, Percy Fitzpatrick. When Fitzpatrick went to live in Barberton, he realised Jock was miserable living in a town and gave the dog to his friend Tom Barnett, who ran a supply store in what became Mozambique. Barnett accidentally shot and killed Jock, mistaking him for another dog that had been after his chickens.

In 1947 Fitzpatrick’s daughter, Cecily Niven, retraced the routes described in Jock of the Bushveld and found where Jock was buried. According to the GPS co-ordinates South Africa’s most famous dog is buried just 400 metres from the road.

Komatipoort N4

Credit: The N4 Book – The Road to Maputo & The N3 Book