Every year at Nationals, when W P “blows its horn” for our players who get prizes or when the Bert Hunt standings are announced, we get many comments ranging from polite chirps to threats of bodily harm from our fellow Nomads from other clubs! So I have taken the liberty of including the origins of the horn …
At the recent 38th Nationals at George, the Western Province Fish Horn was heard sounding out the successes of the Western Province players for that day and at the end of the Tournament.It was very obvious that many of the Nomads in attendance at the evening prizegivings were puzzled by the blowing of our Fish Horn and it occurred to me that there were also possibly a number of our newer Nomads who did not know the significance of the Fish Horn.
The Fish Horn is traditionally blown at nightly prizegivings when a Western Province member receives a prize, be it a division, playing four ball, nearest the pin, a raffle etc, and also when the Bert Hunt Trophy standings are read each night.The tradition has been going for the past 30 years or so and was originally blown by Roy Fisher, thereafter Brian Barends then Errol Strickland and so on.Where does this Fish Horn originate from and why is it traditionally a Western Province thing?
In days gone by the fish sellers used to peddle their catch going from house to house in the Southern Suburbs on a horse drawn cart, blowing the Fish Horn to attract the attention of the housewives to their cart. The original “Fish Horn” was a piece of pipe seaweed with a reed inserted therein, which gave a distinctive wail, with rising and lowered tones. Subsequently they acquired a brass horn, a shorter version of the hunting horn used by horsemen calling the hounds to the chase.
The Fish Horn is one of the singular proud traditions that we, in the Western Province, have and one that we treasure and I hope will be treasured ad infinitum. Our original Fish Horn is currently in the custody of Brian Barends.
Needless to say, the Fish Horn is only used at National tournaments, however there are two exceptions. These are when a past National Chairman receives honorary membership ofWestern Province Nomads and at the handing over of the Disa Bowl. The Disa Bowl is presented to the Province player scoring the most points at the National Tournament and it is here that the newer Nomads, who have yet to play in a National Tournament, get to hear the horn for the first time.
Keep up the tradition and may the horn blow many times in the future.