by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
Another milestone of furry fandom has been achieved on 14-17 July 2017, when South African furs held South Afrifur, their first convention.
The size and longevity of furry fandom in South Africa have been difficult to determine, due to the large spread-out size of that country, with apparently only a pawful of fans in any one city. The ZA furs (from Zuid-Afrika, the Afrikaans name – see the history of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek from 1852 to 1902) socialize primarily via the Internet. There are currently about 600+ active through all the ZA furry websites and chat groups. But it is estimated that the majority of them are only casual browsers, and only 200 to 300 should be considered true ZA furs.
As to longevity, that goes back to two previous ZA furmeets. Some claim that they were conventions, but the attendees themselves did not despite their including registrations.
On 12-16 2008, the first national ZA furry get-together was held in the Cape Town suburb of Table View. Dracius was the organizer. He booked “At Cheryl’s”, a self-catering accommodation holiday house including five small buildings; a house, cottage, cabana, condo, and den. (The exact location was At Cheryl’s, 50 & 55 Circle Road, Table View, South Africa.)
There were 16 attendees. At Cheryl’s was primarily a gathering place for daytime socializing and evening activities. Daytime events included wandering into two shopping centers and other places around Cape Town, and a trip up its Signal Hill. In the evening there were films on a projector and the game Guitar Hero.
A second get-together was planned for 2010, but it was not held until 7-15 January 2011, in Port Elizabeth. The organizers were Nanukk, Electrocat, and Cat147. The venue was Nanukk’s grandmother’s house in the suburb of Blue Water Bay. 14 attended.
The meet was very relaxed and informal. It consisted of about an equal amount of time getting to know each other around the house while sketching and gaming, and going out to see various sites in the city. Some of the main events that had been organized were going to a Karaoke bar, car-pooling to a lion park (cut short when one of the cars got a flat tire) and a visit to a museum (with a behind-the-scenes tour), snake park and aquarium.