their unusual looks and their inability to fly,
ostriches achieved fame in 1870 when the "great
feather boom" took the world by storm. Suddenly
it was fashionable for ladies to be seen with a
feather boa or an item of clothing made from feathers.
It is estimated that at the height of the feather
boom the town in the Little Karoo, Oudtshoorn (also
called the ostrich feather capital of the world)
exported 450 000 kilograms of ostrich feathers per
year. Fashion is fickle as we all know, and the
20th century saw the destructiveness of two world
wars and this all but destroyed the feather industry
as fashions became more austere and less glamorous.
There is still a demand for ostrich feathers and
leather today, but it's on a much smaller scale.