Ninety-Five: the number of times Wikus van de Merwe says “Fok”, or variations thereof, in District 9. Yes, I counted.


Forget “Ponzi”. Forget “Intrapreneur”. Forget “Twitterati”. The word of the year, the word heard around the world, the word that fired up the social web and shook up the streets, is “fok”.

It’s not in the Oxford English Dictionary, or at least it wasn’t the last time I looked, but it certainly is in District 9, the foktacular South African Science-Fiction film about a man named Wikus van de Merwe and his battle to save the human race from the Prawns, and then to save the Prawns from the human race.

But never mind the plot. You’ve all seen the movie by now, and you’ve all probably been wondering, because we are curious creatures by nature, exactly how many times Wikus van de Merwe says “Fok”, or variations thereof, during the 112 minutes of the movie.

Stop wondering. I counted. The answer is: 95. That’s right: 95.

I used an excellent little iPhone app called CountLite to keep count during my second viewing of the movie, and although I may have missed one or two stray foks during the scenes involving those big white guns that reduce humans to little Rorsharch blots of blood, I’m satisfied that my tally is as scientifically accurate as it can possibly be without the use of an actual fokometric device.

In any case, Wikus’s first “fok” comes approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds into the movie, at the point where he politely suggests to the gung-ho Colonel Kobus that there might be more effective ways of negotiating with the Prawns than using lots and lots of guns and ammunition.

Kobus begs to differ, shoves a hand over the camera, and knocks Wikus’s clipboard to the ground, whereafter Wikus mutters a fokwoord to show his disapproval.

Regarding methodology, I did not count the many English versions of the word “fok”, uttered by people other than Wikus, and nor did I count words that sounded like “frooooorrrkkk” that were uttered by the Chief Prawn, Christopher Johnson.

So there we have it. We may not know the number of stars in the sky, or the number of fish in the sea, or the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin, but we know the number of foks in District 9, and right now, that’s good enough for me.

The Crimeboard: A Uniquely South African Analogue Communication Device. Now In Your Neigbourhood.


If you were a foreign tourist, or a Prawn from another planet, you might think there was something a little strange about these boards that appear every couple of blocks in our pretty, tranquil suburbs.

They’re Crimeboards.

Sponsored by security companies, armed-response brigades, and community watch organisations, with a nod to the local cops at the top, they’re a way of spreading crime-prevention awareness, and chalking up the latest incidents of neighbourhood crime that somehow weren’t prevented.

By the time the chalk is applied to the board, of course, everyone in the neighbourhood will already have heard of the crime in question, at least partly because of those squealing alarms and woofing hounds that keep us from our slumber at two in the morning.

Still, these Crimeboards do serve a handy notification function and help to engender a sense of communal spirit in places where the walls are high and few venture beyond them on foot.

I think these boards would also come in handy in the event of a Global Thermonuclear War, during which the Internet, the cellular networks, the Telkom “infrastructure” and all other forms of everyday communication were destroyed.

Actually, come to think of it, if you were a Prawn from another planet, you probably wouldn’t find anything strange about these boards. Because you’d be on them.

*PS: If you don’t have Crimeboards in your pretty, tranquil suburb, it probably means they’ve been stolen. Please contact your local SAPS branch or armed-response organisation.

Sent from my iPhone