Dik dik – a small African story

Dik-diks are tiny antelopes found in southern and eastern Africa. They are only 30-40cm high and eat leaves, berries and fruit.

There is an African tale which goes like this:

One fine sunny day in the savannah a dik dik called Juma was on a walk when suddenly he stumbled and fell into some elephant dung. After getting up and cleaning the dung off himself he was angry! He thought “this is unacceptable; I have to do something about it”. So Juma ran home to his friends and family and called a meeting. So, all the dik diks gathered wondering what was so important.


The meeting started off and Juma explained to everyone why he had called them and what happened to him that day. All the other dik diks were upset by this, and one dik dik in the crowd stood up and said “but we are so small and the elephant so large, how can we do anything about it?”

But Juma thought of the perfect solution. “I know we are small but together we are big! From this today on we will have a communal toilet. Whenever anyone needs to go, please use the same spot and one day the pile will become so big that the elephant will fall inside it and we will have our revenge!”


To this all the dik diks cheered and the meeting was over.

It is true that dik diks use a communal toilet in the wild. This is more because of marking territories. Males mark their area by making dung piles and cover the female’s dung with their own.
Dik diks usually pair for life and it is touching to see how these couples go about their daily life. Some researchers claim when one dies then the other one also dies a short while later.