ead>

Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details.



Log in


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

This morning I was up, showered, packed and finished breakfast and was on the road to Hartswater by 7:30am. One look at the thermometer told me I was in for a real scorcher of a day; the temperature at that stage was already 24.3 degrees and climbing. My route to Hartswater took me north to Warrenton where I branched off to the left and continued through Jan Kempdorp and into Hartswater where I arrived in a sweltering heat of 32 degrees at 10 minutes to 10 in the morning.

My first stop, naturally, was the Beares store where even inside the store it was stinking hot. The store manager, Antonio Labate, was out at the time on business and so after greeting all the staff I made a visit to the local police station to see if I could learn anything about the child rape situation in the small town of Hartswater. This proved to be a bit of a waste of time, as I presumed it would be, because on asking the cop on duty if there was anybody specialising in the investigation of child rape, and from the look on his face I realised that he had no idea what I was talking about and went on to explain, drawing mental pictures for him, to which he responded, “no we don’t have such things happening in this town”. I then asked what must have been a stupid question, “Do you have any NGO’s or organisations like welfare that provided support for child rape victims in Hartswater? To which he responded with a look that told me he was really irritated by this dumb question after having told me that they do not experience such things as child rape in this town, and said “No”. Wow after all my travelling I have eventually found Utopia! No child rape to be found in this town! But I took this comment with a touch of salt and decided that there would be nothing gained by continuing the conversation and left.

On arriving back at the Beares store, I contacted the local Round Table and Michael Donaldson told me that he would meet me at the Beares store and that I could follow him to where we would be meeting other Tablers for lunch. While waiting for Michael to arrive, Antonio arrived and we reminisced about our last meeting almost four years ago when he was employed at the Beares store in Schweizer Reneke and was standing in for the manager Abraham who was on leave at the time. Antonio and his wife Leande had kindly invited me to spend the evening with them and so this time insisted that I do the same again.

The lunch “chat” with the Round Tablers proved to be the usual Round Table “chat” which went on from 11:30 till 5pm. I enjoyed a great steak and naturally many frosties were consumed.

<i>Me being presented with the Harts RT 186 banner by Michael Donaldson, yet another real boertjie with a real soutie name</i>

Me being presented with the Harts RT 186 banner by Michael Donaldson, yet another real boertjie with a real soutie name

<i><b>Round Tablers</b> from the left - Johan – me - AJ – Michael</i>

Round Tablers from the left - Johan – me - AJ – Michael

<i>The group enjoying a hearty meal</i>

The group enjoying a hearty meal

Fixed to the wall in the restaurant is a sign which I found very amusing – the manager of the place could not understand why I was amused by it – read it and see if you can understand my amusement.

<i>Check this sign out, I’m <b>sure</b> a <u>smoking baby</u> <b>would</b> cause an injury to the mother while being breastfed</i>

Check this sign out, I’m sure a smoking baby would cause an injury to the mother while being breastfed

At 5 o’clock I returned to the Beares store to say goodbye to the really great friendly staff and to meet up with Antonio and Leande so that they could show me the way to their house where I was going to spend the evening.

<i>The friendly staff of <b>Beares</b> Hartswater – my last <b>Beares</b> store on this leg of the project</i>

The friendly staff of Beares Hartswater – my last Beares store on this leg of the project

The trip out to where Antonio and Leande stay on a farm, which is situated about ten kilometres out of town in a really quiet and peaceful environment, involved a gravel road which caused Buddy to moan and groan incessantly but was through some lush green Lucerne fields and in-spite of the rattling and squeaking being made by Buddy, we both thoroughly enjoyed the drive. The evening was spent sitting outside in the cool night air braaing and enjoying more than a few cold Millers. Fortunately the heat of the day which at one stage had reached a sweltering 40 degrees, dissipated and the evening turned out to be really enjoyable. Antonio and Leande acquired two Jack Russell puppies a few weeks ago, named Boesman and Zack and these two little puppies absolutely stole my heart, you have to admit they are really cute.

<i>Meet Boesman and Zack</i>

Meet Boesman and Zack

<i>How’s that for a pose for the photo</i>

How’s that for a pose for the photo

<i>Antonio and Leande, Leande is the good looking one (in black)</i>

Antonio and Leande, Leande is the good looking one (in black)

When the Round Tablers heard that Hartswater is my last town, Beares store and Round Table on this leg of the project and the fact that I intended stopping off probably at Bloemhof where I intend camping, fishing and resting up for a few days before heading back to the madhouse of Jo’burg, they contacted a guy by the name of Edward Londt who owns ‘Die Oord” resort which is situated a kilometre or so down stream from the Bloemhof Dam wall and arranged for three nights camping for me.

So on Saturday morning, without any further ado ‘Buddy and Me’ took to the road again and headed for Bloemhof. I was told that major road works are currently being undertaken on the Jan Kempdorp – Christiana – Bloemhof road and taking this route could take me half the day to reach Bloemhof and so I took the recommended route via Taung – Manthestad – Tweelingstad – Avondster – Schweizer Reneke – Koosfontein and finally Bloemhof. The trip covered a distance of 162 kilometres and took ‘Buddy and Me’ three and a quarter hours to complete, but I must admit we stopped a couple of times to cool off with some cold orange juice and had a really leisurely trip.

So now we are settled in our camp, I’m enjoying a cold beer, and Buddy is just resting up, watching and enjoying the tranquillity of the Vaal River water and waiting anxiously for me to catch that ‘big one’I have been telling him about so often during our many lonely hours on the road, but which I have not yet caught.

<i>Buddy enjoying the tranquillity of the Vaal River</i>

Buddy enjoying the tranquillity of the Vaal River

And so that brings an end to the first leg of this project. Beares stores are really busy during the festive season and so a decision was made to shelve the project until the 4th January 2010 when ‘Buddy and Me’ will be returning to the Mpumalanga region where we were forced, due to Buddy’s serious illness during the last week of September, to postpone our visits to the Klipfontein, Witbank, Middleburg, Belfast, Kriel, Bethal and Secunda stores. So on the 4th of January we will start the next leg by visiting those stores and then continue with the Bloemfontein store. Check out our adjusted itinerary which is available on the website to see when we will be in your area and hope you can pop in and say hello to us at the Beares or Lubners store near you.

So from ‘Buddy and Me’ we would like to wish everyone a merry, blessed and safe Christmas and a very prosperous New Year for 2010. So keep well, keep safe and above all keep all children safe, especially over the festive period.

Special wishes for the festive period go to all the friendly management, staff and their families of Beares and Lubners as well as all the Round Tablers in South Africa. ‘Buddy and Me’ look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

Caring regards from

Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Mon
30
Nov '09

Day 117: Thursday, 26 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Today proved to be a very busy and interesting day for ‘Buddy and Me’. The day started with a great breakfast – when Round Table arrange my accommodation and throw in breakfast as well I must, after all, make good use of it – my budget doesn’t usually provide for such luxuries so it went down very well. Then it was off to the Beares store where I made a few phone calls to set up some appointments for the day and the first appointment was with Ntombizandile at the Thuthuzela Care Centre which is based at the Galeshewe Day Hospital in the Galeshewe Township on the outskirts of Kimberley.

Ntombizanile proved to be a very capable lady and is very dedicated to her job at the care centre, but unfortunately although I am convinced that the Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC’s) is an inspiration as far as its original concept is concerned, and by that I mean the services which the organisation was originally designed to provide to victims of domestic violence and in particular rape victims is concerned, it has not met these expectations, and this after having been open for six years!

Quite honestly after entering the hospital grounds, which as usual with most hospital facilities in South Africa, is dirty and the grounds are overgrown with weeds and litter lying everywhere, I cannot believe that the management of the hospital as well as the officials from the department of health who are supposed to visit the hospitals can drive into these facilities and see what filthy state they are in and just ignore it, surely it must indicate that they themselves don’t have any self respect allowing a hospital facility to degenerate to such a state. The Thuthuzela facilities however are very clean and pleasant and on meeting Ntombizanile she presented me with a brochure on the TCC which outlines the facilities offered by the organisation precisely as I was told by Matilo in Kuruman.

Ntombizanile confirmed that the facility was opened during 2003 which means that it has been operational for 6 years. I then went through the brochure with her asking about the facilities offered by the TCC and was told exactly what I anticipated hearing. Of the services identified in the brochure, the main services required by a rape victim are not provided by the centre and these are:

  • A dedicated investigating officer is not available. The centre is sent a policeman/woman from the Kimberley police station to open a case, how long this takes varies considerably depending on how busy the police are?? And of course if they have transport available – have you ever phoned the police and experienced how long they take to respond? Sometimes, I was informed, they are told to send the victim to the police station to report the matter once all the necessary examinations have been concluded! This is not a dedicated investigation office as stated in the brochure.
  • They are not permitted to make use of the EM Services, ambulance services; the EM services head in Frankfurt confirmed to me that they are not permitted to transport rape victims in ambulances. According to the brochure, “The survivor is offered transport by an ambulance or the investigating officer”. The victim is always transported in the back of a police van, once again, trauma on trauma and the victim is made to feel like a criminal by being transported in the back of a police van.
  • They do not have a dedicated legal expert as in a prosecutor or ex-prosecutor to provide the victim with support in the form of court procedures.

Based on my visit to the TCC in Galeshewe, I do believe that the idea and concept of the organisation is a very good one and believe that if it is applied and instituted as it is stated in the brochure, it would be a tremendous support structure for victims of rape and domestic violence. The problem is that, we frequently see some great ideas being generated by South African politicians and government employees, but unfortunately no sooner do the ideas get formulated and begin the process of applying them when the individuals are removed from office for whatever reason, usually for stealing money or corruption, and someone else is appointed and the ‘new broom’ policy is adapted and so the planning for new systems starts all over again or the previous individuals ideas are shelved when the “new broom” starts his or her own new plans and ideas.

From the TCC I headed for the Department of Social Development where I met yet another very friendly and interesting lady by the name of Masego. She explained the structure of the Department of Social Development and how the sub Department of Social Welfare Services fits into the Department as well as the structure of the Thuthuzela Care Centres and how they fit into the whole story. She confirmed that the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) is technically the founder of the TCC, being the brain child of the programme and that the other ‘stakeholders’ include the Departments of Social Development along with all their sub directorates, the police, the Department of Justice as well as the Department of Health.

I find it absolutely amazing that after coming up with such a tremendous concept and with so many different government departments involved, that they, after 9 years of starting the programme, still have not got their act together and are not providing the victims of rape and domestic violence with the basic support structure which they themselves (the TCC) profess to provide in their own brochure.

Later, during a discussion, an old friend from the Kimberley Rotary Club, Geoff van Rensburg who also happens to be the Chairman of the Rate Payers’ Association, told me that 7 of Kimberley’s Board of City Councillors had been sacked after a case had been opened with the police for the embezzlement of 50 million Rand. The money was stolen in one foul swoop from one contract. Evidently a company (a ‘white’ owned company quoted 32 million Rand to install (I think) meters for pre-paid electricity, another company (a BEE company) quoted 93 million Rand for exactly the same job and was awarded the contract. The Town Manager and Executive Vice Mayor were involved and on being dismissed and with the criminal case still pending, have been appointed to government positions. Later in another discussion it was suggested that perhaps this is the manner in which the ANC political party is being funded? It certainly gave me food for thought!

I visited the DFA newspaper offices and on entering the building the sky was clear, there were just a few clouds dotted around the sky and it had been a real scorcher all day. Twenty minutes into my interview with Sandy, the paper’s reporter, another lady came in and said “Steve it’s pouring with rain and your buggy’s open”. I wasn’t fazed about Buddy being in the rain but I could not believe it was raining. By the time I finished the interview and left the DFA offices it had stopped raining, but 4 times during the day with an almost clear sky overhead it rained and not just lightly, it poured and the drops were huge, it actually felt like I was being hit by hail, but fortunately the rain would only last for about 10 – 15 minutes at a time.

In between the downpours of rain I managed to get a picture of the “Big Hole of Kimberley”, I mean, one can’t visit Kimberley and not see the main attraction, although at the price they charge just to see a big hole in the ground I was tempted to pass it up, but I decided, what the hell I’m sure there are a lot of people visiting my website who have never seen the Big Hole so here it is.

<i>The “Big Hole of Kimberley” with the city of Kimberley in all its glory in the back ground</i>

The “Big Hole of Kimberley” with the city of Kimberley in all its glory in the back ground

Then I popped into the Beares store to chat with the staff and say farewell and in particular to thank the store manager, Fiona, for all the hard work she put into setting up appointments for me and generally running around trying to make my visit to Kimberley the great one it was, so thanks Fiona and all the friendly guys at Beares Kimberley, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

<i>Kimberley <b>Beares</b> staff – Fiona is the lovely lady 3rd from the right</i>

Kimberley Beares staff – Fiona is the lovely lady 3rd from the right

During the day, Brian Fisher of the Kimberley Round Table called and told me that he and a couple of the Round Tablers of Kimberley were going to meet me at 5 o’clock at the Horseshoe Inn where they had arranged accommodation for me yesterday, to have a couple of beers and a “chat”. I thought I had better start early on my blog because once again I had “heard” that story about a “chat” but alas Geoff van Rensburg called and asked to meet with me and so my early start on the blog went out the window.

I met the Tablers at the arranged time and we had a “chat”. Unfortunately the one Tabler Jannie Schoeman had suffered a tragic personal tragedy and could not make the meeting, but Brian and Rian van Rooyen made up for it. As with all the Tablers I have had the pleasure of meeting so far, Brian and Rian proved to be really great guys and we had a great “chat”. Brian had to leave early(ish), and Rian and I continued for ‘a while’.

<i><b>Round Tablers</b> Brian on <u>my</u> left and Rian on <u>my</u> right handing me the banner for RT 5 Kimberley</i>

Round Tablers Brian on my left and Rian on my right handing me the banner for RT 5 Kimberley

I got back to my room just before nine pm and thought I would get down to some serious business on my blog. I had only completed two paragraphs when my cell phone rang; it was Jason Horseman, that hooligan friend of mine who used to work for Beares in Kimberley. He ‘instructed’ me to join him at that notoriously old and famous hotel in Kimberley called “The Star of the West” which was built way back in the early 1970’s. The wood from which the bar counter is made as well as the wood used to build the base of the bar counter as well the wall units behind the bar, was brought up from Simon’s Town on ox-wagons and was the timber used to build the ship called The Star of the West which sunk off the coast of Simon’s Town in the Cape in 1970. Jason is a very accomplished musician and has written a number of really good songs and now dedicates all his time to producing a CD entitled Empty Spaces which he produced together with his band called ‘GAGE’. To get more info on the CD and its availability visit the band’s website www.gage.co.za you won’t be sorry.

i>The Star of the West</i>

The Star of the West

<i>The inside of the hotel which was evidently frequented by Cecil John Rhodes who used to visit the “ladies of the night” upstairs and then sit on the balcony overlooking the ‘Big Hole’ from which his notorious wealth poured out of in the form of diamonds</i>

The inside of the hotel which was evidently frequented by Cecil John Rhodes who used to visit the “ladies of the night” upstairs and then sit on the balcony over looking the ‘Big Hole’ from which his notorious wealth poured out of in the form of diamonds

 

<i>Jason presenting me with a copy of GAGE’s CD entitled <b>Empty Spaces</b> and me holding the only printed copy of my book <b>‘Buddy and Me'</b></i>

Jason presenting me with a copy of GAGE’s CD entitled Empty Spaces and me holding the only printed copy of my book ‘Buddy and Me'

And so ended what had been a very busy day for ‘Buddy and Me’ in Kimberley. So now it’s very late and I am bushed and so will be retiring to bed to enjoy a good night’s sleep before ‘Buddy and Me’ take to the road once again tomorrow morning and head for Hartswater, which will be our last Beares store visit for this leg of the project. So cheers for now, keep well and as usual please keep all children safe and a special message to all the woman of South Africa during these 16 days of activism against the abuse of woman and children, “If you want the abuse of woman and children to stop – YOU MUST DO THE RIGHT THING AND REPORT THE ABUSE OF YOURSELVES AND YOUR KIDS TO THE AUTHORITIES AND ALLOW THE LAW TO FOLLOW ITS COURSE, IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO STOP IT!

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Thu
26
Nov '09

Day 116: Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

So having obtained what I consider to be some very interesting information yesterday while in Kuruman about the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC’c) which are reported to be Government established care centres for predominantly rape victims and which are, I am told, operating in various centres around South Africa, and after thanking Judy Bolweg for her kind hospitality and generosity for sponsoring my night’s accommodation in her Red Dune B&B in Kathu, Buddy and I headed for Kimberley. I have been told that there is a TCC based at the hospital in Kimberley, which is one of the centres which has been fully functional for a number of years and so I am looking forward to seeing how they are actually operating compared with the manner in which I was told they were originally designed 9 years ago to operate.

Although the day was a real scorcher, with the temperature reaching 29 degrees before 8:30am – it actually stuck around the 36-38 degree mark for the rest of the day – I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. For the third day in a row the countryside was absolutely flat with the landscape dotted with thorn trees, I think they are called ‘Kameeldoringbome’ (camel thorn trees). Apart from a few trucks and cars which passed me every fifteen minutes or so and the few people I saw when passing through the small towns of Postmasburg and Barkly West, I saw nobody on the road. When I stopped now and again to get some ice water out of my cooler box, the silence was, as I have heard the expression and never understood it but do now, deafening.

<i>This is typical of the areas I have been driving through for the last three days. These photos were taken about 80 kilometres from Kimberly. Let’s see if Gail can work her magic again and put these two photos together. She did it once before so come on Gail, do your thing</i>

This is typical of the areas I have been driving through for the last three days. These photos were taken about 80 kilometres from Kimberly. Let’s see if Gail can work her magic again and put these two photos together. She did it once before so come on Gail, do your thing

The 283 kilometres took ‘Buddy and Me’ almost five and a half hours to complete. We left Kathu at a quarter to eight in the morning and arrived in Kimberley at 10 past 1 in the afternoon and when I walked into the Beares store I was really hot and tired. Buddy does not like being driven in the morning without being warmed up first, but he also does not like getting too hot and when this occurs he tends to splutter a bit and his clutch for some reason starts to shudder a bit. So with this in mind I stopped every 45 minutes to have a drink of ice water and to cool Buddy down as well, usually I stop at roadside rests where there are trees to cool both Buddy and me down, but travelling through this area the tree are very few and far between.

<i>Crossing the ‘mighty’ Vaal River after passing through Barkly West. If you look carefully you can faintly see the town in the back ground in amongst the trees</i>

Crossing the ‘mighty’ Vaal River after passing through Barkly West. If you look carefully you can faintly see the town in the back ground in amongst the trees

<i>Looking up stream</i>

Looking up stream

Talking of these roadside rest areas, I must comment on the state and filthy condition of these areas. When these areas were established, litter bins were erected, mostly concrete, but I don’t think any of these litter bins have ever been emptied resulting in the area being littered with bottles, papers and the ever present condom wrappers and even used condoms. These I am told are usually from the truck drivers. The areas are disgusting and if the government expects tourists during the 2010 soccer world cup to travel through our country using our national road structure, they had better start focusing on cleaning these areas up and keeping them clean.

While on this topic, on leaving Kathu and because I knew it was going to be a very long and extremely hot trip to Kimberley, I decided to wear shorts and a T shirt rather than my usual jeans and golf shirt. When I was about 15 kilometres out of Kimberley, I stopped at one of these ‘roadside rest areas’ to change because I was going to be going straight to the Beares store on my arrival in Kimberley. I had no sooner changed and was sipping on a mug of ice water, when a taxi pulled up, the side door slid open and a large group jumped out. They stood around jabbering and proceeded to empty the taxi of a pile of garbage, KFC boxes, cool drink cans and all sorts of other plastic bags, wrappers and bottles. After a few minutes they all jumped back in and continued on towards Kimberley. I stood there staring at the pile of rubbish on the side of the road, there had not even been an attempt to throw the rubbish into the large concrete litter box which, on this occasion, was only half full, although if all the other rubbish lying around was put in it, it would probably have overflowed, and this, without the help of the newly deposited garbage.

I got a phone call from May soon after leaving Kathu and she told me of shocking case of child abuse which was reported in the news this morning. It involved a 5 year-old little girl who was found in a shack situated in an East Rand township in Gauteng who was found by the authorities tied to a table and chewing on a bone like a dog. The neighbour had heard strange noises coming from the shack and had reported it to the authorities and on entering the shack they discovered this barbaric scene. The child cannot talk and can only mutter strange animal type noises. No further comment from me, I get too worked up thinking of these savages who abuse children like this and who are living in our country, South Africa.

During a discussion recently, a man told me of a situation he and his wife are facing concerning their three year old daughter. After attending a braai get together, with some close friends and on returning home, the mother entered the room and found their three year-old daughter with her hand in her panties touching herself. Obviously the mother was shocked and tried desperately to handle the situation in a calm and gentle manner. She asked the daughter what she was doing and her daughter told her that the little boy (eight year old son of one of their friends who had attended the get together) had touched her there and had shown her his “tinkie” and had shown her how to touch it and proceeded to masturbate in front of her, all the time showing her how it’s done, the little girl demonstrated with her fingers how he had done it.

The father told me that he is “between a rock and a hard place’ because the parents of the boy are long time family friends and if he approaches the parents about what happened it will mean the end of their friendship because he “knows how the father will react to it”, and obviously the little boy will deny having done “anything like that”. I’m pretty sure I will have the support of child psychologists and counsellors around the world in what I told him must be done. I told him that compared with the damage that this little boy can do, breaking up their friendship is a drop in the ocean.

Secondly if the father of the little boy does not accept what has happened and does not provide his youngster with much needed psychological support which he obviously needs right now, his little boy could be, and probably is, a walking time bomb for other babies and little girls, and so the parents of this eight year old boy must be made aware of the problem right now before it escalates into a much worse situation. Our discussion ended when I told him that he must consider the fact that, should he choose not to confront the boy’s parents about what happened and this little boy rapes a young child or even a baby, they will have to live with the knowledge on their conscience that they could have prevented an innocent child being raped and possibly damaged for life. I certainly hope you do the right thing, this little boy desperately needs help, your help.

<i><b>‘Buddy and Me’s’</b> home for the next two nights – <b>The Horseshoe Inn</b></i>

‘Buddy and Me’s’ home for the next two nights – The Horseshoe Inn

Okay, so once again Round Table have come to my help and Brian Fisher, Jannie Schoeman and Riaan Van Rooyen of Round Table Kimberley, RT 5 arranged accommodation for me at the Horseshoe Inn in Kimberley where I am now settled in and once I have finished writing my blog will go and find something to eat because I’m famished. I was also extremely hot, but a cool shower followed by a cold Millers (MGD) soon sorted that out. So until tomorrow when I will be visiting the Thuthuzela Care Centre and get more facts and details on the organisation as well as facts from other organisations in Kimberley on the child rape situation in Kimberley, I will say good night, sleep well, and most importantly, keep all children safe, and remember, if you know of, or have been made aware of, any abuse of children, be it physical or sexual abuse, it is your duty, both civil and legal in-terms of the Sexual Offences A, act 32 of 2007, to report it. SO DO IT!

Caring regards from

Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Wed
25
Nov '09

Day 115: Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Once again I woke to a beautiful, clear and sunny day. After a scrumptious breakfast I thanked Babsie for her and Johan’s kindness and generosity for sponsoring my nights accommodation at their lovely establishment and if anyone passes through Vryburg and needs comfortable and accommodation you must stop in at The Molopo Travel Inn B&B, you won’t regret it. Here are their contact details: Telephone and fax: 053-927 3466 website: www.vryburg.com/molopotravelinn

I thoroughly enjoyed the drive to Kuruman. The weather was tremendous, Buddy was cruising along without a care in the world and the road and countryside was absolutely flat with the landscape dotted with thorn trees.

<i>The countryside stayed like this all the way to Kuruman</i>

The countryside stayed like this all the way to Kuruman

On arriving at the Kuruman Beares store, I phoned the local police and after asking to speak to someone regarding child rape and after being put through to 6 different people, I eventually got through to a Captain Motsaathede who was only too happy for me to pop into the station to chat about the project and the child rape situation in the area. He told me that he had headed up the ‘FCS’ unit up until they were disbanded/closed down in March 2009. The captain confirmed that there are a lot of child rape cases taking place but as usual very few are being reported, mainly due to the fact that, as is occurring everywhere else, the perpetrators are family related.

Then came some really devastating news for me; this was after I asked him if there is any organisation or NGO in Kuruman who provides a support structure for child rape victims, and he told me of an organisation which has recently been established in Kuruman called ‘Thuthuzela Care Centre’ which he said is situated in the Kuruman Hospital. He gave me the name of the guy who I could talk to and without further ado I phoned Matilo at the centre and he agreed to meet me at the facilities in half an hour. So after returning to the Beares store and having a brief chat with the staff I headed for the Kuruman Hospital.

Matilo turned out to be one amazing and interesting guy. He told me that the ‘Thuthuzela Care Centre’ project was initiated by the ‘Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Department’ which is a division within the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). The other stakeholders in the project are; the South African Police Services, the Department of Health as well as the Department of Social Development. The project was started back in 2000 and over the past 9 years a number of care centres have been opened in various areas around South Africa. The centre in Kuruman was only initiated about two months ago and is not fully operational as yet.

The purpose of the centres must be one of South Africa’s best kept secrets, because the centres (TCC’s) have been established as multi-disciplinary care centres to deal with the high levels of sexual violence and abuse of woman and children with specific focus being on rape. The centres are designed to provide professional medical care, counselling and access to dedicated investigation teams and prosecutors, with all of this under one roof and based at the hospitals.

The centres hope to improve the process of reporting and as well as the prosecuting of sex offenders which will be in a dignified and caring manner as well as a caring environment for the victims. According to Matilo, the services which are provided at the centres include:

  • A nurse in the examination room
  • An explanation of how and why the examination will take place
  • What and why certain items of clothing will be taken for evidence
  • A consent form for the doctor to conduct the examination for the completion of the J88 form needed for the court
  • Facilities for a bath or shower after the examination has taken place
  • A specially trained investigator to interview and take the victims statement
  • A specially trained social worker to counsel the victim
  • A nurse to undertake follow-up visits to the victim for treatment and medication for sexually transmitted infections/diseases
  • Arrangements made for long term counselling
  • The survivor is offered transportation home by an ambulance
  • If necessary arrangements are made for the survivor to be placed in a place of safety
  • They provide consultations with a specialist prosecutor before the case goes to court
  • Provide the victim with a an explanation of the outcome of the trial process
  • Access to information on the case

According to Matilo at present these facilities are offered in the areas of:
· Mannenburg in the Western Cape at the G.F. Jooste Hospital
· East London in the eastern cape at the Cecilla Maklawane Hospital
· Umtata in the Eastern Cape at the St Barnabas Hospital
· Soweto in Gauteng at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital
· Kimberly in the Northern Cape

Absolutely fantastic! All I can say is that someone has been sneaking a look at my proposed solution to child rape which I am presenting to Parliament in March, because these centres are exactly what I have been campaigning for and which the country needs. My only problem is why, after 9 years has the public not been made aware of this programme. According to the information provided to me, this initiative was started way back in 2000. I started my campaign in the middle of 2005 and have visited almost every town and city in South Africa and to date have never heard of this programme and on speaking to thousands of people around the country including the police and at hospitals nobody has ever so much as mentioned the Thuthuzela Crisis Centre programme.

Matilo arranged for me to attend a meeting of the Gamagara Crisis Centre (the Kathu municipality is called Gamagara) meeting in Kathu at 2pm today as well as to visit the TCC in Kimberly tomorrow, which I am told was one of the first TCC’c to be established, and so look forward to seeing for myself if what has been described to me as “standard procedure at all TCC’s”, as in the functions and procedures I have listed above, are actually being provided. So watch this space!

After popping back to the Beares store to get a photograph of the staff for my blog, I headed out for Kathu which is 45 kilometres south of Kuruman in a hurry at 1:15 to make the 2pm meeting in Kathu.

<i><b>Beares</b> Kuruman staff, with a few short who were on lunch</i>

Beares Kuruman staff, with a few short who were on lunch

I arrived in Kathu at 1:55pm and was rushed to the meeting place by one of the Beares staff which was in the magistrate’s courts and walked in at 2:05. Fortunately the meeting hadn’t started yet and so I was welcomed in and took a seat. After the chairlady’s greetings and apologies – she was actually standing in for the lady from the Department of Social Development who had I was told, actually convened the meeting but couldn’t attend along with a few other senior individuals of various departments associated with the crisis centre for reason which were not told to us – she proceeded to explain that they are in the process of establishing the Crisis Centre which is specifically aimed at providing sexually abused woman and children with a jacked-up support structure which will involve the police, social development and court structure. This ‘Crisis Centre’ is not actually connected to the TCC’s so obviously my mind was in a bit of a flat spin, “Why go to all this trouble to develop a ‘Crisis Centre” if the government is already establishing state of the art Thuthuzela Centres around the country?” Quite mind boggling but could it maybe be a case of, as usual, one hand not having a clue what the other hand is doing.

Anyway I was introduced to all present and given an opportunity to address the delegates, well those who had actually arrived for the meeting, and received their support to my campaign and confirmation that “It is imperative that we stop child rape and that we cannot afford to continue spending fortunes in damage control”. The meeting was finally closed with a decision to postpone the discussion related to establishing a committee and setting up the constitution for the Crisis Centre until such time as the other stakeholders, to the newly to be established Crisis Centre, can attend a meeting to do this. I emphasise Crisis Centre because evidently the establishment of the centre does not appear to be very much of a crisis to some of the stakeholders because its establishment has been an ongoing story for quite some time, I am told.

On arriving back at the Beares store, Shirley, the stand–in manager gave me the very happy news that the editor of the local newspaper, Judy who had also attended the meeting, had offered to provide me with sponsored accommodation for the night at her B&B called Red Dune B&B, so because I was pretty tired with all the gallivanting around the country and attending meetings, I had a quick chat with the Beares staff and headed for the Red Dune B&B.

<i>The really serious looking bunch of the Kathu <b>Beares</b> staff – I got a smile when I asked them to turn sideways for mug shots, but seriously although they are very serious looking and serious about providing friendly service, they are actually a really friendly bunch</i>

The really serious looking bunch of the Kathu Beares staff – I got a smile when I asked them to turn sideways for mug shots, but seriously although they are very serious looking and serious about providing friendly service, they are actually a really friendly bunch

The other good news I was given by Shirley (Shirley’s the one on the extreme right in the front row) was that Juliana of the Wimpy, which is situated right next door to the Beares store offered me a free meal, half a Peri-Peri chicken, chips and salad for supper. So after getting settled in my room I cleaned up and at 6:30pm headed for the Wimpy and enjoyed one of the best Peri-Peri chickens I have had in a long time.

So that’s all the news I have for today. Tomorrow ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading for Kimberly, which I am told is 280 kilometres from Kathu, so we will be leaving a little earlier than usual to reach Kimberly by 1pm. So until tomorrow keep well, keep all children safe.

Oh before I sign off, there is one bit of great news I got which I must share with you, but you might have seen her comment on my comment blog. If you read my blog from the weekend in Lichtenburg, you will have seen a picture of a stunning young lady by the name of Nadia sitting in Buddy, who was one of the entrants in the Rapport Top model competition, WELL SHE WON THE COMPETITION HANDS DOWN! Well done Nadia you absolutely deserved the win and good luck with your future career in modelling, I know you will take the world by storm. Here she is again:

<i>That stunning lady and top model for Rapport 2009/2010, <b>Nadia</b></i>

That stunning lady and top model for Rapport 2009/2010, Nadia

So now I can say,

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Mon
23
Nov '09

Day 114: Monday, 23 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

In spite of all the comforts of my accommodation at the Mamusa Guest House in Schweizer Reneke, and believe me it was comfortable, I had a pretty restless night, because May phoned me yesterday afternoon (Sunday) and told me that my Golden Cherry female Indian Ring-neck (miniature parrot), of which there are only reputed to be about five of in South Africa, had killed my white male Indian Ring-neck. The white male was a really beautiful bird and I had been hoping to breed a stunning set of babies from this pair of really stunning birds, but alas this is not to be. But I kept thinking of the female attacking the male and killing him in the manner in which these birds normally kill their adversaries and that is by clinging to their back and pecking the back of their head. I was really sorry for the male and so found myself waking every half hour or so with this on my mind.

But I managed to get some rest and woke at 5:15am to a beautiful and clear blue sky, not a cloud in sight. After a scrumptious breakfast, I made my way through the ‘bustling traffic’ right! – like traffic in Schweizer Reneke could ever reach a bustling stage – and was met by the friendly staff of the Beares store. I had no sooner introduced myself to all the staff and was settling down to enjoy a cup of coffee, when I was summonsed to the shop’s front door. On stepping out onto the pavement, my attention was attracted by two local guys who said “Aaieesh, this is a good thing you are doing with this funny little car and it’s so dirty we will wash it for you”. Buddy, I must admit, was not looking his best covered in mud from the last few day’s rains and the gravel road to Rafters in Lichtenburg had not helped matters. I asked what it would cost to clean Buddy and the trailer and the response was, “Aaaeeish, this is a good thing you’re doing we won’t charge you, you can just make a donation”. Right! But they did a good job and the R30-00 ‘donation’ was worth it.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff, car washers, and visitors</i>

Beares staff, car washers, and visitors

Abraham, the store manager, had arranged for a cop from the local SAPS as well as a lady from the Department of Social Development to come to the store to meet and chat to me. Unfortunately the lady cop who is attached to the “CPU” unit (which officially does not exist) could not make it so another lady cop arrived, and the social worker from the Department of Social Development could not make it either because they are on strike! I was told that the strike is for more pay, which I find quite amazing because everywhere I have travelled I have been told by the social workers that the department has no money and so they cannot provide trauma victims with the proper support they need. In fact most, if not all of, the departments I have visited do not even have vehicles to transport trauma victims to hospitals or to visit them to provide counselling and support in the home and family structure, so what do they do, and now they want more pay??

The policewoman (she didn’t want me to identify her by name but insisted on being in the photo with the Beares staff) confirmed once again that the child rape situation in the nearby township as well as on the outer district farms is running rampant. She also confirmed that the Schweizer Reneke police station does not receive more than maybe three or four child rape cases a year. As a group we discussed the reluctance of the parents to report child rape cases to the police and everyone agreed that it is because they believe that the police do not have the necessary experienced and qualified investigative staff and techniques to investigate child rape cases and basically have lost all faith in the police force’s ability to provide them with the necessary support structure, and of course the necessary protection if the culprit is apprehended and then released on bail.

In many discussions around the country with police officers, it has been identified that in fact the problem is a ‘catch 22’ situation, in that the police say that if one considers the fact that the number of child rape cases the average police station receives on an annual basis is very low when compared to other crime such as robbery, murder, hi-jacking, house breaking etc, it is not worth their while to spend fortunes on training large numbers of specialised units to investigate cases of child rape. I can appreciate this reasoning, but the fact of the matter is that there are almost 600 cases of child rape occurring every day in South Africa and the mothers/parents cannot report it for a couple of reasons, these being that one, they don’t have faith in the police and justice department and two, that the majority of the perpetrators are fathers and uncles which creates a financial problem for the family if the father/husband is sent to prison. From my discussions I have come to believe that the problem related to the police and justice department is a very big hurdle and I personally believe that the police need to take the initiative and get their act together and regain the public’s faith in their abilities to police this country.

On this note, I watched what I can only describe as a horror movie last night on M-Net. In fact it was the Sunday night’s episode of Carte Blanche (for the benefit of the foreigners on my website – it’s a television show of some really top class investigative journalism) and the first story was about the rape of woman by members of the South African Police Service (I’m really glad I was a member of the South African Police Force and not the SA Police Service based on the contents of the Carte Blanche show) and I strongly encourage any foreigners reading this blog and in particular women who intend visiting South Africa to visit the www.mnet.co.za website and click onto the Carte Blanche site and check out Sunday the 22nd November 2009’s article – I’m pretty sure it will scare the hell out of you, as it did me.

I am scheduled to visit the Kuruman Beares store tomorrow morning and then continue through to Kathu in the afternoon, and so I needed accommodation in Kuruman or somewhere close to it for this evening. On checking the ARTSA (The Association of Round Tables of Southern Africa) booklet, I discovered that there is no Round Table in Kuruman and so contacted Denis Britz of the Vryburg Round Table where I would have to pass through on my way to Kuruman. When I explained my predicament to him he said, as I usually hear from the Tablers I have met so far, “No problem, stop off in Vryburg on your way through and we will make a plan” and make a plan they did. I met a group of Tablers at the Spur in Vryburg and then I was shown to a really magic place called The Molopo Travel Inn B&B where arrangements were made for me to stay over courtesy of the Round Tablers of Vryburg. And so now I am settled in, and based on my experience with Tablers; these guys do amazing work for charity, but boy can they party, I decided to start my blog early because the Tablers of RT 72 Vryburg are coming round to “chat” and from experience I know what happens at these “chats”. So until later when we have finished our “chat” I’m going to take a break and will relay exactly what was discussed at our “chat”.

<i>Molopo Travel Inn B&B</i>

Molopo Travel Inn B&B

—————————————————BREAK——————————————————————-

<i>The start of what I thought might be another long “chat”</i>

The start of what I thought might be another long “chat”

So I’m back, and after a relatively short “chat” mainly because the guys were given very short notice of my arrival in Vryburg and coupled with the fact that it is, after all Monday, so most people are still suffering from a heavy weekend after the Bokke win. I am going to finish off so that Gail can hopefully get my blog (e-mail) posted to my website before she heads for bed and gets off early in the morning for work. But before I go, here are the photo’s of the guys from Round Table Vryburg RT 72. Also I just want to share a bit of info just to highlight the calibre of people I get to meet on this crusade of mine and Buddy’s and to express my gratitude for their generosity. Initially the arrangements for my accommodation here at the Molopo Travel Inn B&B was that the Vryburg Round Table guys were going to sponsor my stay, but after meeting ‘Buddy and Me’, the owners, Johan and Babsie Burger, insisted on providing my accommodation themselves, on the house. On being informed of this, the Tablers of RT 72 insisted on doing their share and provided me with a full tank of fuel, R320-00’s worth. So what can I say but only to re-iterate that there are amazing people in this country of ours? Thanks guys, to Johan and Babsie and all the amazing guys of Vryburg Round Table, you have Buddy and my heartfelt thanks for you friendship, hospitality and generosity.

<i>The guys of Vryburg Round Table 72 getting acquainted with Buddy</i>

The guys of Vryburg Round Table 72 getting acquainted with Buddy

And so ended the day for ‘Buddy and Me’, so tomorrow morning we head for Kuruman and then on to Kathu where we overnight. So until then, keep your feet on the ground but reach real high for the sky, and above all —- keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Mon
23
Nov '09

Day 112-113: Saturday and Sunday, 21-22 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Well it rained all Friday night and when I woke on Saturday morning it was still raining. I had quite a bit of washing to do and was hoping that the rain would relent for a few hours so I could get it done, but the weather was not playing the game and so no washing was done on Saturday.

After breakfast which consisted of beef sausages and boiled eggs, I headed into Lichtenburg where I eventually got the Beares staff to pose for a photo. I have actually decided to award them the prize for the longest time taken to get a photograph of any Beares staff on the project to date.

<i>Lichtenburg <b>Beares</b> staff. I’m sure you can fathom out which one is Dirk – the manager – and Carol Ann is the dizzy blond next to me</i>

Lichtenburg Beares staff. I’m sure you can fathom out which one is Dirk – the manager – and Carol Ann is the dizzy blond next to me

While chatting to the Beares staff, an ex-Regional Manager of Beares arrived, Dave Kearney, who is an Irishman who only speaks Afrikaans?? On hearing that I am a history fanatic – I can’t pass a vintage cemetery without going in and checking out the ancient details inscribed on the gravestones – he decided that I cannot leave Lichtenburg without undertaking a history tour and so took me to see General De La Rey’s house, grave site and monument in the town.

<i>The General's house where he lived, about 5 kilometres outside of Lichtenburg on the Mafikeng road</i>

The General's house where he lived, about 5 kilometres outside of Lichtenburg on the Mafikeng road

<i>The plaque mounted outside the front door. The front of the house is still exactly as it was at the time of the General's death in 1914</i>

The plaque mounted outside the front door. The front of the house is still exactly as it was at the time of the General's death in 1914

 

<i>The General's grave site. He died when he was shot in a police road block on the 15th September 1914 – he was born on the 22 October 1847</i>

The General's grave site. He died when he was shot in a police road block on the 15th September 1914 – he was born on the 22 October 1847

<i>The monument that was erected in the town's centre in memory of General De la Rey</i>

The monument that was erected in the town's centre in memory of General De la Rey

Back at the Beares store, Carol Ann told me about a pub called Rafters, which is very close to the caravan park where I was staying, in fact it is almost next door, and told me that when she had phoned her friend Jackie Hechter who is the co-owner of the establishment together with her husband Mark, Jackie had told Carol Ann to make sure I visited them. So based on the fact that the Bokke were playing Italy at 4pm that afternoon I decided that I would force myself and go over and indulge in a few frosties while supporting the Boks, I mean come on, surely the Bokke can beat Italy and I was sure they would do better with my support.

When I arrived at Rafters I discovered that Jackie had made arrangements for a photographer, Herman, to pop in and for a local Lichtenburg top model, Nadia Labuschagne, to make a visit to the pub and have some photo’s taken for the local newspaper.

<i>Nadia trying out Buddy’s comfortable seats and exquisite interiors</i>

Nadia trying out Buddy’s comfortable seats and exquisite interiors

 

<i>An article on Nadia which appeared in the <b>Rapport</b> about the entrants for the top model competition for 2010 and she is still in the running. She also featured as one of the top 20 <b>FHM</b> girls for 2009 and was <b>Miss Lichtenburg</b> in 2007. If it wasn’t for all the mud Buddy was covered in from the gravel roads and rain in the area, you would have seen how Buddy was glowing to have such a beauty sitting in the driver's seat for a change</i>

An article on Nadia which appeared in the Rapport about the entrants for the top model competition for 2010 and she is still in the running. She also featured as one of the top 20 FHM girls for 2009 and was Miss Lichtenburg in 2007. If it wasn’t for all the mud Buddy was covered in from the gravel roads and rain in the area, you would have seen how Buddy was glowing to have such a beauty sitting in the driver's seat for a change

<i>The inside of <b>Rafters</b>. If you look carefully on the wall on the right side, there is a section of the wall which has been painted in the form of bricks. Special people are allowed to buy a brick and inscribe their details/message on a brick. Jackie fortunately considered me to be a “special person” and not only allowed me to write on a brick but actually donated a brick to <b>‘Buddy and Me’</b></i>

The inside of Rafters. If you look carefully on the wall on the right side, there is a section of the wall which has been painted in the form of bricks. Special people are allowed to buy a brick and inscribe their details/message on a brick. Jackie fortunately considered me to be a “special person” and not only allowed me to write on a brick but actually donated a brick to ‘Buddy and Me’

 

<i>Jackie and me indicating the <b>‘Buddy and Me’</b> brick</i>

Jackie and me indicating the ‘Buddy and Me’ brick

<i>The <b>‘Buddy and Me’</b> brick</i>

The ‘Buddy and Me’ brick

It was a really great afternoon, particularly because the Bokke actually won this game and at 6:30pm, after the game ended I headed back to my caravan and after cooking a short rib curry, I bet you would never have guessed that, I climbed into bed with my Wilbur Smith book, Monsoon which I am reading for the third time. I have often been asked, “If an arrangement could be made for you to meet any person in the world, who would you most dearly like to meet” and my answer has and always will be, “Bishop Desmond Tutu, who I believe is the most astute holy man, politician and individual I have ever heard talk, and of course, that amazing man, Mister Wilbur Smith. So if anyone reading this blog has any ‘pull’ with either or both of these two men, I would sincerely like to meet them one day.

Sunday morning dawned and it was a beautiful, sunny and hot morning, and so by 6am I had finished my washing and hung it up to dry. I was hoping to leave and head out for Schweizer Reneke by 2pm and so hoped that the bright sunshine would have my washing dry by then. It was in fact dry by 11am and so at 12pm I was driving out of the caravan park destined for Schweizer Reneke. I had hoped to be able to chat to Vicky and Garth, owners of the caravan park who had kindly helped me by sponsoring my caravan accommodation for the two nights – they had had a function in the park in a huge marquee on Saturday afternoon and night and so I did not get a chance to chat to them – and when the time came for me to leave, they had gone out on Garth’s motorbike on a Sunday afternoon joll. So to Vicky and Garth, I am terribly sorry I missed you but thank you for your kind hospitality and generosity.

<i>My caravan ‘home’ for Friday and Saturday night</i>

My caravan ‘home’ for Friday and Saturday night

The 179 kilometres to Schweizer Reneke took ‘Buddy and Me’ two and a half hours to drive. The entire drive was done through completely flat terrain. Not once, on the open road, did I have to change Buddy out of fourth gear and I could see far into the distance on all sides. The only time I had to change gears was when I entered and drove through the small towns of Biesiesvlei, Sannieshof, Delareyville, (where, I must be honest, I thought General De la Rey had lived and was buried), then on through Migdol and finally arriving in Schweizer Reneke.

<i>The main street of Schweizer Reneke. I’m sure that tomorrow morning, Monday, will prove to be much busier?</i>

The main street of Schweizer Reneke. I’m sure that tomorrow morning, Monday, will prove to be much busier?

There is unfortunately no Round Table, Table in Schweizer Reneke but Tabler Heindrich Schulze of Round Table in Rustenburg contacted a friend Sakkie Viljoen in Schweizer Reneke who, together with his father Gert, arranged and sponsored accommodation for me for the night at the Mamusa Guest House B&B and Restaurant, which believe me is a lovely place. So now I’m settled in and after completing my blog will indulge in a meal and then once again retire to bed with Wilbur Smith, or rather his book Monsoon.

<i>The front section of my room at the <b>Mamusa Guest House, B&B and Restaurant</b></i>

The front section of my room at the Mamusa Guest House, B&B and Restaurant

So until tomorrow when I visit the Beares store here in Schweizer Reneke and then head out for Kuruman and then on to Kathu in the afternoon where I will spend the evening, ‘Buddy and Me’ wish you well and hope you had a terrific weekend and for our sake, please pray that the rain has left us and that we have sunny skies ahead of us.

Before signing off, ‘Buddy and Me’ have another plea for anyone who has contacts with companies or wealthy individuals who can contribute towards Buddy’s depleted medical aid fund. To date we have not had a response from one single person and so desperately need to replenish the R10 000-00 (ten thousand Rand) that was spent fixing Buddy’s gear box, engine, new starter motor, new carburettor and front suspension which knocked our budget for a loop. So if you know anyone who can help, pleeease, any contribution will help.

Keep well, stay well and above all, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Sun
22
Nov '09

Day 111: Friday, 20 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

I suppose I don’t need to tell you that it rained all night and I woke to yet more rain this morning, because from what I have seen on the TV in my chalet it appears that it’s raining almost everywhere in South Africa, the only exception being the Cape region. It’s unbelievable, but I heard that there was even a snowfall somewhere in the Drakensburg Mountains, incredible, with all these changes in the climate soon we might even have a white Christmas in Jo’burg, who knows maybe even Durban!

<i>The view from the front of my chalet at the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre</i>

The view from the front of my chalet at the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre

<i>The view from the opposite direction</i>

The view from the opposite direction

Anyway after showering and packing – I’m going to need to dry out all the stuff in my trailer soon because every time I open the trailer lid in the rain to pack everything gets sopping wet – I headed out of the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre and arrived at the Beares store dead on time at 9:15am. Dirk Kleynhans, the store manager was already dressed up in his bear suit and after Ronél Hefer (a social worker from the Department of Social Development) arrived we drove off for our first of three visits to schools in the Lichtenburg area. I of course followed in Buddy, fortunately the rain had eased to a slight drizzle and so I wasn’t too wet when we arrived at the first school where we met up with two magic ladies from the Lichtenburg police department. One being Inspector Carina Fourie,who is head of the communications department and is involved with the schools and all the kids know her well. The other, Inspector Hanlie van Wyk is employed, here we go again, with the ‘FCS’ unit. I spoke to her about the confusion which reigns over whether or not this unit actually exists and is officially operational and she confirmed that there is definitely a lot of confusion over this but she is adamant that “In this area it is fully operational and successful”, so that was good news.

I also asked if there are a lot of incidents of child rape taking place in the area and she confirmed that there are, but that they actually receive very few reports of child rape. Of course this is not unique to this police station, but that domestic violence in the area, as in the physical abuse of woman, takes up most of their time. Now while on this topic, I would like to raise an issue which, because of the forthcoming 16 days of activism against woman and child abuse, has been discussed with me at great lengths. As I have already said on my blog, the abuse of woman in particular has had a huge amount of publicity over the last few years. I have also said previously on my blog, that I get really annoyed when men say that they blame the mothers for the rape and sexual abuse of their children for leaving the kids with sisters, etc which gives uncles and grandfathers the opportunity to rape and sexually abuse the children (hell if we can’t trust our own family members with the safekeeping of our kids, who can we trust?) But this situation does unfortunately occur due to the economic situation which forces mothers to have to work and the fact that they can’t afford a crèche or nursery school and so they don’t have a choice. I must however add that unfortunately the children and babies are even being raped and sexually abused in the crèches and nursery schools around South Africa. The other day I was told of a case involving a husband and wife who own a crèche/nursery school who have been charged with the sexual abuse of 6 young girls and boys aged between 3 and 5 years of age, so where is it safe to leave the kids? But I am sorry to say, I do blame them for the abuse on themselves, and the fact that eighty percent of the time they are not supporting their children and the fight to stop the rape and sexual abuse of their children by reporting it and ensuring that the law takes its course.

The reason I say this is, having been a cop myself for eight years, I saw many cases of physical abuse of woman being reported to the police only to have the charges withdrawn within 24 hours of having been reported and this is still being practised today. I have been told by many policemen and women all over South Africa that women are still, either not reporting the incidents of abuse, or when they do, soon after reporting it they contact the investigating officer and withdraw the case. Recently we saw such a case in the media which involved a celebrity rugby player, Percy Montgomery who was charged, arrested and detained for beating up his wife only to have his wife withdraw the charges within 48 hours of having laid them. So my message to the women of South Africa is, “If you want the public sympathy and support against the abuse of woman, you must show that you yourselves want it to stop, and report the incidents to the police and allow the law to take its course. The same goes for the raping and sexual abuse of your children, if you want it to stop you are the ones who can make it happen; by keeping quiet about the assaults on yourselves and the raping and sexual abuse of your children you are not supporting the fight to stop either of them. So Ladies please wake up and get with the programme – there are a lot of people out here supporting the fight to stop the abuse of woman and children and you are the only ones who can do something about it! TALK OUT ABOUT THE ATROCITIES BEING COMMITTED AGAINST YOURSELVES AND CHILDREN – DO THE RIGHT THING!

Okay so having gotten that off my chest I will go on with today’s activities. We arrived at the first of the three schools and we met a lot of kids and we were all given an opportunity to address the kids and all contributed to providing them with information pertaining to ways in which the rape and sexual abuse of children can be combated. Ronél, Carina and Hanlie focused a lot on the various other forms of child abuse and got the kids singing to another song about “no one is allowed to touch their bodies and who they must report it to”. These songs I have been hearing all over the place are really effective.

<i>The kids really loved Mr. Bear (Dirk) with nappy and all</i>

The kids really loved Mr. Bear (Dirk) with nappy and all

<i>Me addressing the kids and Ronél with her back to the camera</i>

Me addressing the kids and Ronél with her back to the camera

<i>The ladies leading the kids in song – Carina on the left of picture, Ronél centre and Hanlie on the right and four teachers</i>

The ladies leading the kids in song – Carina on the left of picture, Ronél centre and Hanlie on the right and four teachers

Then it was off to the second and third schools where once again we addressed a whole bunch of kids.

<i>2nd school</i>

2nd school

<i>My back up team</i>

My back up team

 

The 3rd school, where the Head Mistress interpreted for me

After we finished with the schools we headed back to the Beares store where a steaming cup of coffee went down like pure magic.

Now I have to tell you, working at the Beares store is a lady of absolute note, and she is Carol Ann. She was at the store on my previous project and is, I’m sure, now legible to be claimed as a fixed asset for tax purposes by Beares. Carol Ann had made the arrangements for me to stay over at the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre, and because it was still raining this morning, decided that I was not going to set up camp and camp at the Boat Club on the dam as I had intended doing for the weekend, and so took it upon herself to arrange accommodation for me in a caravan at a lovely tranquil caravan park situated about 6 kilometres out of town which is owned by Vicky and Garth Homan.

So without any further ado I said my goodbyes to the staff of the Beares store in Lichtenburg and headed for my new/latest ‘home’.

<i>My ‘home’ for the weekend</i>

My ‘home’ for the weekend

And so ended my Friday in Lichtenburg, and it’s still raining, so until Sunday when I will tell you about the rest of the weekend’s activities in this lovely little town, ‘Buddy and Me’ will wish you well and hope you have a great weekend, in-spite of the rain! And please ladies, don’t forget what I said, do the right thing and report and nail the savages who abuse you and your children and in doing so keep all children safe”.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Sun
22
Nov '09

Day 109-110: Wednesday and Thursday, 18-19 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

I have decided to combine these two days because nothing really exceptional happened on either day – actually they were both days which will stand out in my memory for a long time, and that’s because I was socialising with my host in Zeerust and by the time we finished I was too tired/lazy to do my blog yesterday and so have to combine them, so there you have it, the truth!

So to start, yesterday morning I was up, showered, dressed and packed by 7am and after a scrumptious breakfast prepared by that crazy lady Marietjie, with her own hands nog al, I thanked her and Paul for their unbelievably kind hospitality, generosity and friendship and bid them both farewell. It had rained throughout the night, but at the time I was not concerned because I was snug as a bug in a rug watching another shocking display of rugby by the Springboks and losing to yet another English club side and being beaten 24-23 by Saracens, but let’s not dwell on that – watching them being beaten again was punishment enough, so back to my departure. Fortunately the rain had stopped by this time although the sky was still very overcast and the rain was threatening to start over again. On approaching Buddy I discovered that Marietjie had left enough evidence of my visit to El Shadai to remind me of the place for a long time to come. She had written El Shadai BB on the Beares stickers on Buddy’s sides as well as attached her business card to the metal strip above the windscreen so that, as I climbed in, this was the first thing I saw.

At the Lubners store I met a local newspaper reporter, Michelle Loubser from ‘Die Kwêvoël’ newspaper, who I think will produce a really good article for the local residents to peruse and who will hopefully respond by e-mailing me with their comments and opinions on child rape or submitting their comments to my website blog.

After a chat with the staff I had to make a hurried departure so that I could drive the 278 kilometre drive to Zeerust and make the scheduled visit to the Beares store there, which opened, I think, at the end of October this year.

<i>Thabazimbi <b>Lubners</b> staff – Marietjie's crazy friend Elna, the store manager is third from the left; I cannot believe that it’s legal for two crazy women like these two to be allowed to reside in a town the size of Thabazimbi at the same time</i>

Thabazimbi Lubners staff – Marietjie's crazy friend Elna, the store manager is third from the left; I cannot believe that it’s legal for two crazy women like these two to be allowed to reside in a town the size of Thabazimbi at the same time

<i>Mandy and Reinette insisted on having their pictures taken while trying out Buddy’s comforts</i>

Mandy and Reinette insisted on having their pictures taken while trying out Buddy’s comforts

Soon after leaving Thabazimbi, in fact I was only about ten k’s out of the town, the rain started coming down and I had to stop and fit the roll on canvas canopy and put on my rainsuit and the rain continued right up until about 10 kilometres from Zeerust. During our chat the previous night, Marietjie had told me about a ‘short cut’ to Zeerust which is, according to her, about 80 to 100 kilometres shorter than the route via Rustenburg, where I had left the trailer. She convinced me that I should take this route rather than going via Rustenburg and so I contacted Francoise of Round Table in Rustenburg who had offered to tow the trailer to Zeerust because he had to go there on business and he confirmed that he would take the trailer through to Zeerust.

The decision to take this route ended up to be a really bad one. The road is in a terrible condition with huge pot holes and bad corrugation and if this wasn’t enough the rain made the drive a real nightmare. When I passed the entrance to Sun City I decided that seeing as Buddy has never been to the Casino and the fact that the rain had eased for a few minutes I would keep in his good books and get a photy of him at least at the entrance, so here’s Buddy at the entrance to Sun City itching to go in and win a million so that he can get all snooted up.

<i>Buddy dying to go in and get pampered by the parking attendants in <b>Sun City</b></i>

Buddy dying to go in and get pampered by the parking attendants in Sun City

After passing the Sundowner Ranch and arriving at the turn off to Lindleyspoort, I took the turning to the right and continued as instructed. After about seven kilometres and after cresting a rise in the road I got a glimpse of the road stretching out far into the distance, and my heart did a double skip and even Buddy’s engine skipped a beat. As far as I could see into the distance the tar road disappeared and was replaced by a gravel road. Road works were underway and for exactly how far the gravel road continued, I had no clue. I started on the gravel road but after travelling for about one and a half kilometres, I decided that if I continued with this devastatingly rough road which was made worse by the rain, Buddy would shake and rattle himself to pieces and would probably hold it against me for the rest of his days. So with this in mind, I stopped, made a perfect three point turn and headed back to the tar road.

Not being able to take the Lindleyspoort road to Swartruggens and then on to Zeerust meant that I would now have to take the road to Rustenburg and then on to Zeerust. When I had driven to Thabazimbi from Rustenburg, the trip involved driving 148 kilometres and took me exactly two hours because the road was great and flat, by the time I arrived back in Rustenburg this time I had driven 167 kilometres and it had taken me four hours! But this wasn’t the end of my frustrations. After passing through Swartruggens there is a toll and this toll has to be the biggest rip off in the country. The cost is R61-00 and if this ridiculous cost is not bad enough, the road is a single lane, not even a double lane, so you get stuck behind the trucks, of which there are plenty, and to cap it all, the road surface leaves a lot to be desired, absolute daylight robbery!

About ten kilometres out of Zeerust the rain stopped and the sun sort of filtered through the clouds and when I drove into Zeerust all I could think of was the magic cup of coffee which was hopefully waiting for me at the Beares store and which was placed in my hand by one of Nico Thorne, the store manager’s staff within minutes of me entering the store.

During our chat the previous night, Marietjie had asked where I would be staying in Zeerust and because Round Table unfortunately doesn’t have a Table in Zeerust I told her that I would still have to beg a bed for the night when I got there. She started making phone calls and before I arrived in Zeerust she confirmed that arrangements had been made with Gerhard Visser who owns the Vissersrus Guesthouse for me to spend the night there, sponsored. What can I say, this crazy woman can really get things organised.

By the time I had drunk my life saving cup of coffee and chatted to the really friendly bunch of guys at the Zeereust Beares store, it was already after 4pm, so I phoned Gerhard who arrived a few minutes later and I followed him to where Francoise had left my trailer and we drove to the Vissersrus Guesthouse, and yes the rain had started again so not having put my rainsuit on after leaving the store I was wet.

<i>Zeerust <b>Beares</b> staff – another store with the <b>Beares</b> new look signage</i>

Zeerust Beares staff – another store with the Beares new look signage

I met Ouma (granny) Visser who is 74 years young and walks into town, about three kilometres, frequently during the week to do her shopping, and Gerhard’s friend Kleintjie. After getting settled in my chalet Gerhard insisted on taking me to meet his buddies at the bowling club down the road where we obviously indulged in a few cold frosties and I got to meet a few of the local residents and chatted about the project and got to learn a bit about the lifestyle in Zeerust. Unfortunately the town has deteriorated badly over the past 10-15 years, but compared to my last visit in 2006 there have been attempts to get it cleaned up a bit.

As usual all comments made confirmed that child rape in the area is rampant and once again the residents are not overjoyed with the attitude of the police and their ability in controlling crime in general let alone solve the child rape crisis.

<i>Gerhard, alias Gert, alias Kattie (as in Afrikaans for cat fish), Ouma Visser and Kleintjie</i>

Gerhard, alias Gert, alias Kattie (as in Afrikaans for cat fish), Ouma Visser and Kleintjie

Gerhard and I got back from the bowling club just after 8:30pm and with heavy cloud overhead, but no rain – for the moment anyway. We started a fire and braaied and after supper, which included a lovely potato salad and green salad prepared by Ouma Visser, and after a few more cold ones we retired to bed somewhere around midnight, hence my blog not being done, and if you are wondering, yes soon after braaing it started raining, in fact it poured and continued to do so right through the night. I was really glad I was snug in a comfortable chalet but unfortunately Buddy had to sleep out in the rain and so he’ll probably hold it against me and give me grief.

This morning when I woke at 5am it was still raining pretty hard and I thought maybe I should just stay in bed and cancel the day due to lack of interest, but there were people waiting for me in Mmbatho and Mafikeng so I didn’t have any choice but to get up, shower, pack and hit the road again. So after a cup of coffee and thanking Gerhard and Ouma Visser for their kind hospitality I was driving out of Zeerust at 8:30 in the miserable rain.

Now if I had thought the countryside between Rustenburg and Thabazimbi had been flat, that is like the Canadian Rockies compared to the countryside between Zeerust and Mafikeng. The road and the countryside, is completely flat and you can see for miles in all directions and all you see is thousands (actually millions) of thorn trees/shrubs. In spite of the rain I thoroughly enjoyed the drive and was only disappointed that because of the rain I could not stop as I usually do and talk to the local residents walking on the side of the road and working in the fields.

My visit to the Mmbatho Beares store was a great one and I got to meet a lady by the name of Kelebogile Thebe who works at an organisation called Boikagong Child and Care Centre who provide shelter and support to children who are victims of domestic violence as well as those who have been abandoned by their mothers at birth. I was once again told how the child grants being paid randomly by the government are causing more problems than good. She told me that although they don’t get involved in many child rape cases themselves, there is an organisation based at the local hospital called Thuthuzela whose main function is providing a support structure for, specifically, child rape victims in the area. She did however confirm that the raping of children, like everywhere else, is completely out of control and that very few, only the really bad cases where the child requires serious medical assistance, are reported.

<i><b>Beares</b> Mmbatho staff</i>

Beares Mmbatho staff

I made a visit to the Thuthuzela offices in the hope of getting an interview with someone there but unfortunately because an appointment had not been made, the senior lady was out and I was told that she is the only person who is allowed to talk to me on the subject of child rape. So feeling very disappointed, because I really wanted to talk to them and hopefully get a new line and views on the subject of child rape, I headed out of Mafikeng for Lichtenburg which is 70 kilometres away from Zeerust. I had intended to stay overnight in Mafikeng but I was told by the Beares store manager that all attempts to obtain sponsored accommodation for the night in Mafikeng had been met with flat refusals, so I decided to rather go through to Lichtenburg where, on the previous project, I had been provided with fantastic accommodation at the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre which has a lovely game reserve, and when Carol Ann of the Beares store in Lichtenburg contacted Abel Motladi at the park I wasn’t to be disappointed. When I arrived at the park gate, and on seeing Buddy and me, Abel greeted me like a long lost family member.

Because it was already almost four o’clock in the afternoon and the fact that although the rain had relented for a short while, it was obvious that it was going to come back with a vengeance, I unhooked the trailer and did a quick drive through the game park and within a few hundred metres of passing through the gates I encountered my first animals.

<i>I think this is Rudolf although I couldn’t see his red nose with his mate</i>

I think this is Rudolf although I couldn’t see his red nose with his mate

<i>And this is the latest addition to the sleigh team for this Christmas</i>

And this is the latest addition to the sleigh team for this Christmas

<i>This is <b>Big Daddy</b>, which reminds me, what is the difference between an Australian Baison and an American Bison? – you can’t wash your hands in an American Bison – get it, if not contact me by e-mail and I’ll draw you a picture</i>

This is Big Daddy, which reminds me, what is the difference between an Australian Baison and an American Bison? – you can’t wash your hands in an American Bison – get it, if not contact me by e-mail and I’ll draw you a picture

While driving and keeping a wary eye on the weather, I went around a bend in the road and suddenly found three rhinos, a mommy, a daddy and junior standing no more than about 80 metres from the edge of the road. I don’t know who got the bigger fright, me or them, but fortunately they scuffled off in the opposite direction to Buddy and me. I managed to get a photo but couldn’t get one of them with the baby, the two adults made sure that they were always between me and the baby.

I saw a lot of buck and Blue Wildebeest but it started to rain and so I headed for the chalet where you won’t believe this, I decided to cook a chicken curry for my night’s meal. So now having eaten, I am finishing off my double blog – Gail will probably curse me for it – so I will say good night and wish you well for Friday – tomorrow. It’s now ten to ten in the evening, I am really tired and it’s still pouring outside. I hope to get some interesting information on child rape in Lichtenburg tomorrow, because all the info I have been given lately is pretty repetitive and so I have not mentioned it in my blogs, but hopefully I can be given something different and new tomorrow. Also please contact me on my e-mail or blog if you have any comments or opinions on the subject of child rape. So with that, keep well and, of course, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Wed
18
Nov '09

Day 108: Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

It rained almost right through the night last night and when I got up at 5:30am it was still drizzling and the sky was filled with thick grey cloud, but fortunately by the time I had thanked Shawn and Debbie for their kind hospitality and they had left for work at 6:15 and I had showered, dressed, packed and was headed for the Beares store in Rustenburg at 8:15, the rain had stopped and, although it was still overcast, it was very bright. Yesterday it had been very hot but this morning the temperature plummeted to a very chilly 13 degrees.

I had a quiet morning at the Rustenburg Beares store for which I was thankful for because due to having to include a new Beares store into my store visits which has recently opened in Zeerust, I had to make a couple of changes to my itinerary which included rescheduling the Thabazimbi Lubners store visit from 12pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to 9am the same day. This change ensured that I would have time to make the long drive to Thabazimbi today, visit the Thabazimbi store tomorrow morning and then get back to Rustenburg to collect the trailer which Round Tabler Heindrich kindly offered to look after for me, and then continue through to Zeerust for the store visit at 3pm. I decided to leave the trailer behind in Rustenburg because it puts quite a strain on Buddy.

<i>Beares staff Rustenburg</i>

Beares staff Rustenburg

While at the Rustenburg Beares store I received a call from Elna Retief, the Lubners store manager in Thabazimbi who informed me that a live studio interview with Thabo Stereo Radio had been scheduled for immediately after the 1pm news today, so I said a quick goodbye to all the friendly Beares staff in Rustenburg and headed out of Rustenburg with thick cloud cover overhead and a very chilly wind blowing from my right hand side. During the 147 kilometre drive to Thabazimbi, which took Buddy and me a little over two hours to complete, the temperature never got any higher than 15 degrees, and combined with the wind chill factor, this caused it to remain pretty cold. My thick jacket had been left back in Rustenburg with the trailer so obviously I reprimanded myself heavily for this stupid move, but was forced to live with the situation and suffer the cold all the way through to Thabazimbi.

The big problem I experience whenever there is a strong wind, particularly when it blows from the right hand side while driving, is that I can’t breathe, and so I am forced to turn my head to my left, take a breath of air and then repeat the process every minute or couple of seconds. The cold wind/air and this irritating breathing method caused me to suffer another severe headache and about thirty kilometres out of Rustenburg I was forced to stop and take a few headache tablets, which didn’t really help. Unfortunately because of the headache, cold and wind and threat of pending rain, I was unable to enjoy and absorb the beautiful vast and flat countryside that stretches for kilometres into the distance, only broken by small hills which are formed from huge rock boulders and covered in dense shrubbery. As I got nearer to Thabazimbi the open flat lands were replaced with mountains, not as in the size of the Drakensburg but lots of small ones which the road meanders through.

I arrived in Thabazimbi and headed straight for the Lubners store, where after a quick cup of coffee, was shown the way to the Thabo Stereo Radio studios by Elna where I met the presenter of the talk show Jessie Lang. It was a really good interview and later, while driving through the town, I discovered just how many local residents listen to the show. I had people waving to me and calling out “Hey, great stuff Steve” and “Steve, drive carefully” and was met with greetings and well wishes all over Thabazimbi.

<i>Radio interview with Jessie Lang</i>

Radio interview with Jessie Lang

I was then shown the way to the El Shadai B&B which is a short way out of the centre of Thabazimbi CBD where I have been very kindly provided with accommodation (sponsored) by the owner Marietjie Conradie and her husband Paul. This is one amazing place and has what I can only describe as one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen outside of the professionally designed and laid out gardens such as seen in the five star hotels etc. but these have been designed and cultivated by Paul’s very own, obviously very green, fingers. Instead of the usual African carved animals we see all over South Africa at establishments such as El Shadai, Marietjie and Paul employed the services of a local artist, actually he’s from Zimbabawe, who has carved animals directly into the tree trucks and support logs of the house and garden, and these are truly amazing, check this out.

<i>A buffalo</i>

A buffalo

<i>An elephant</i>

An elephant

 

<i>A leopard in the tree</i>

A leopard in the tree

<i>A fish eagle</i>

A fish eagle

We had a wonderful evening chatting over a ‘good few’ frosties and were joined by a couple of other guests. I think I must warn anyone who has the pleasure and privilege of visiting and staying over at El Shadai, Marietjie is one hell of a character of note and if you think I can talk wait until you meet Marietjie Conradie!

<i>Marietjie and Paul, with another guest Jacques</i>

Marietjie and Paul, with another guest Jacques

Displayed at the pool side is a highly technical weather indicator especially designed and manufactured at huge cost by Paul. He din’t really want me to photograph it because he is concerned that because he hasn’t registered the patent yet , someone might steal his design, but what the heck if he sues me so be it, what do you think of this master piece?

The weather indicator designed by Paul. For those who can’t read it clearly it reads:

This is a weather indicator. If the stone (hanging below) is:
· Dry – Sunshine
· Wet – Raining
· White – Snowing
· Swinging – Windy

So today is an easy day’s reading, no gruesome serious child rape stuff, but tomorrow we will be back in full swing on the ‘Buddy and Me’ crusade to fight and find a solution to the rape and sexual abuse of children. So I hope you enjoyed the break, I certainly did and in particular I enjoyed my stay and visit to El Shadai B&B and the time I had to spend with that crazy lady Marietjie and Paul, and will definitely be making a turn to this lovely part of our country again, hopefully in the not too distant future. So if you ever are fortunate enough to visit Thabazimbi here are the details of the best and friendliest B&B in the area:

El Shadai B&B
e-Mail: elshadaibb@polka.co.za
Website: www.tourismgrading.co.za
Telephone: 014 772-3389

Tomorrow morning I will be visiting the friendly staff of Lubners Thabazimbi and that other crazy lady, Elna Retief, who by the way is an ex-colleague of Marietjie’s, hell I shudder at the thought of these two woman working together, let alone living in the same town the size of Thabazimbi together, but I will brave it and spend a few hours at the store hopefully meeting a lot of the local residents and getting their opinions and comments on the subject of child rape. So until tomorrow when I visit Zeerest, ‘Buddy and Me’ wish you a good night and keep well and above all, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN


Wed
18
Nov '09

Day 107: Monday, 16 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Today was a particularly good day for ‘Buddy and Me’. I was anticipating hordes of traffic on the freeway out to Krugersdorp and so left early, 9am in order to be on time for my 11am visit to the Krugersdorp Beares and Lubners stores. On arriving at the Beares store, 40 minutes early because the hordes of traffic never materialised, I was told that I would be meeting with a large group of kids and teachers from the Jollige Jakkers Nursery School and Crèche as well as some policemen and woman from the Krugersdorp police station. I was warned that because I was also going to be doing an interview with the local newspaper, the Krugersdorp News-Nuus, I might not be finished before one or maybe two pm. My plans were, after finishing in Krugersdorp, to go through to Rustenburg where arrangements had been made with Shawn Harris, the Chairman of Round table RT 54 and his wife Debbie to host me with accommodation for the evening. So with this in mind I decided to make an early appearance at the Lubners store, which is situated right next door to the Beares store and meet and chat to the staff so that, in the event that the arrangements which had been organised at the Beares store ran late, I could get on the road to Rustenburg without any further delays.

<i>Lubners Krugersdorp staff</i>

Lubners Krugersdorp staff

<i>One staff member was busy with an important client while I was taking the staff photo and so had hers taken on her own while enjoying Buddy’s comforts, so meet Phindi</i>

One staff member was busy with an important client while I was taking the staff photo and so had hers taken on her own while enjoying Buddy’s comforts, so meet Phindi

The kids and teachers arrived at the Beares store and the fun began.

The kids and teachers of the Jollige Jakkers nursery school and crèche

The kids meeting the big bear and enjoying the sweets and lovely snacks provided by the Beares staff while engaged in a colouring in competition

While the kids were munching away and colouring in, I got to chat with the teachers and the police about the project and to get their opinions on the child rape situation in the country. I also presented snatches of what I believe would be a solution to stopping the raping of children in South Africa and they were all in unanimous agreement that my solution would work. One aspect of the discussion which everyone agreed on is the fact that by reducing the age of consent to a ridiculously low 12 years of age, the government is definitely not showing their commitment to stopping the raping of children in South Africa.

The kids undertaking a ‘demo’ march outside the Beares store with balloons and placards reflecting slogans of “Stop child rape and stop child abuse” – So to our esteemed politicians, the message to you from the kids is: You always show a positive reaction to the demonstrations which take place all over South Africa concerning poor service delivery, so listen to these demonstrators for a change, these demonstrators are the future of our country

After a really magical day with the kids and other guests, it was time to say good bye to everyone and take to the road once again and head for Rustenburg.

<i>The friendly <b>Beares</b> staff of Krugersdorp. Unfortunately the manager of the store Cheryl Fish had been stung by three bees yesterday (Sunday) and was not able to attend the function she had planned so well, but the number two in-charge Antoinette Moss (extreme right of the photo) did a sterling job in ensuring that all went as smooth as clock work in Cheryl’s absence, and so Buddy’s and my thanks go to the friendly staff of <b>Beares</b> Krugersdorp for the wonderful day</i>

The friendly Beares staff of Krugersdorp. Unfortunately the manager of the store Cheryl Fish had been stung by three bees yesterday (Sunday) and was not able to attend the function she had planned so well, but the number two in-charge Antoinette Moss (extreme right of the photo) did a sterling job in ensuring that all went as smooth as clock work in Cheryl’s absence, and so Buddy’s and my thanks go to the friendly staff of Beares Krugersdorp for the wonderful day

People often ask “Don’t you get lonely undertaking this project all on your own”, and my response is “Not at all, invariably I am with a lot of people during the day in the Beares and Lubners stores as well as the many police, social workers and NGO’s etc I meet every day, not to mention the Round Tablers who host my accommodation and who I get to meet almost every night. So when I get to drive Buddy from one town or city to another I get some really good quiet time, if you can call the noise Buddy generates as being quiet time, to think about comments made by individuals I get to meet during the day.

And the comment that was made today by one of the lady guests which gave me food for thought during my relaxing drive through to Rustenburg was, “Government is forever establishing ‘planning commissions to solve one problem or another’ and these ‘planning commissions’ obviously cost the tax payers a heck of a lot of money, so if the government is so serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children, who after all are the future of our county, why haven’t they set up a planning commission to investigate what is needed to be done to bring a halt to the raping and sexual abuse of our children?” After pondering this question while driving to Rustenburg the only answer I could come up with is that, perhaps the government is not really serious about stopping the raping of our children, especially when considering the fact that the age of consent is a ridiculous 12 years of age, but the bigger question on my mind is “Why are they not serious about stopping it?”

I arrived in Rustenburg and after contacting Shawn Harris of the local Round Table, he arrived with another Tabler, Heindrich Schulze and after a cold frosty we headed for the family’s lovely home where I met another Tabler, Van and his wife, Marlie. We indulged in a few more frosty’s and had a lovely supper prepared by Shawn’s wife Debbie. Obviously we got involved in the topic of child rape and once again the shocking fact of the ridiculously low age of consent of 12 years of age was brought up and everyone agreed that until the government comes to their senses and increases this to an acceptable level, which according to everyone I have spoken to, should be a minimum of 16 years of age, the public in South Africa will never believe that the government is serious about stopping the raping a sexual be of their children.

<i>The evening’s group – From left – Marlie, Van, Debbie, Shawn and Heindrich</i>

The evening’s group – From left – Marlie, Van, Debbie, Shawn and Heindrich

<i>The guys of Rustenburg Round Table 54 and me</i>

The guys of Rustenburg Round Table 54 and me

And so ended day 107 on my crusade to stop the raping and sexual abuse of children in South Africa. I want to tell you that I have spent many hours pondering the various steps which I have come up with in my Odyssey searching for a solution to stopping the scourge of child rape in our beautiful country South Africa, this mostly during my “quiet time” while driving Buddy, and I have concluded that my solution will undoubtedly work. I have no doubts that the raping of children can be stopped. There are however one or two aspects of it which I believe needs to be “tweaked” and when these have been ironed out I will publish my solution on this blog for public comment prior to presenting it to Parliament, and present it to Parliament I will, have no doubt about that. So to our esteemed parliamentary and government members, Buddy and my message to you is “be prepared, ‘Buddy and Me’ are on our way to Cape Town.

So until tomorrow, when after visiting the Rustenburg Beares store, we will take the long drive out to the Lubners store in Thabazimbi where hopefully we can secure an evening’s accommodation because unfortunately there is no Round Table to help us out there. So ‘Buddy and Me’ will wish you a good night and hope you have a really great day tomorrow – Tuesday the 17th and of course Keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

To register (new users) or login (existing users) to leave a comment on this or any other blog, select one of the following:

REGISTER

LOGIN