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Mon
8
Feb '10

Day 150: Thursday, 4 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

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:

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

Today dawned a beautiful sunny day, so after thanking Anton and Liezl for their kind hospitality ‘Buddy and Me’ headed out into the bustling peak hour morning traffic of Harrismith. There was a major traffic jam in the ‘city’ consisting of 5 cars at the one traffic light, so it took me a staggering 5 minutes to cover the 4 or so kilometres to the Toyota dealership where Tabler De Wet Van Deventer is Dealer Principal and who had kindly offered to lock the trailer up in the dealership workshop for the night while ‘Buddy and Me’ toured out to first Qwaqwa and then Bethlehem.

While filling up with petrol at a filling station in Harrismith, a lady approached me and gave her opinion on what should be done with child rapists and criminals in general. According to her, and I must admit I personally agree with her, on conviction, the sentencing of the perpetrator should be the decision of the victim or in the case of murder, the next of kin. In so doing we would, according to her, be reverting back to he word of the Bible, as in, “An Eye for an Eye”. The only thing I personally would include is that the convicted felon must remain in custody for a period of 6 months which would provide a ‘cooling off period’ for the victim or next of kin in order that an ‘emotional’ decision is not given.

The drive out to Qwaqwa was a really fantastic one, with some amazing countryside. I could see for kilometres around me and in the distance the mighty Drakensburg Mountain range.

<i>What an amazing view</i>

What an amazing view

There are two Beares stores in Qwaqwa and believe me if you don’t know where you are going in this massive township it can be a nightmare finding your way around, but by pure fluke I stumbled onto one of the stores, I was supposed to first visit the one in which Jenny Gardiner is manager and then visit the one in the Setsing Centre where Natasja Strydom is manager, but the fact that it was the wrong one was immaterial, the fact of the matter was, I found a Beares store!

I followed Natasje to the other store and had a great time with the staff and guests who had been invited to come and chat with me. The group included a large contingent of police officers as well as social workers and kids from a local school.

<i>The kids, police and the staff of </b>Beares</b> Qwaqwa</i>

The kids, police and the staff of Beares Qwaqwa

One of the main news events for the day was the story concerning a 9 year-old little girl who had returned home from school and on hearing movement in her parents room had walked in and was screamed at by her father “To get out!” but before “getting out” she noticed a foot sticking out from under the bed. She immediately contacted her mother and a dead female body was found under the bed. Evidently, according to the news report, the young woman had been raped and strangled. The really juicy part is the fact that the ‘father’, who was arrested and charged for the ‘rape’ and murder, is a cop with the Qwaqwa South African Police Services! He appeared in court today.

Today was a really enlightening day for me because I was given so many really interesting opinions by the community and one really rang bells for me. It was a comment made by a lady, a resident of Qwaqwa who has lived there all her life, who said that “No laws should be passed by government unless the community or people of South Africa have first approved them”. She went on to say that politicians are voted into power by the people for the people and that they seem to forget that they are public servants and that by being in office does not give them the right to make and change laws as they deem fit, in my eyes “A lady of vision”.

Another amazing lady I met was Nombeko Tlaka of the Leratong Children’s Home. This is a home which provides safe keeping for up to 120 children who are suffering from “Uncontrolled anti-social behaviour”. Children are referred to the home by the Department of Social Development and Welfare Services, but once again we have a situation where government departments refer kids to them but the funding provided by the State is a far cry from being adequate to feed, clothe and care for the children.

From the children’s home, Natasja and Lucy, one of Natasja’s sales ladies, took me on an excursion of the area which included a drive to the top of the Drakensburg Mountain range to the Lesotho border post. The drive involved a hair-raising drive, mainly because the driver was a woman who, believe me, does not drive like a woman but rather like a rally driver, up a steep gravel mountain road with a sheer drop off on the one side. Lucy who was born and raised in the area had never been up the pass to the border repeatedly said, “See-ree-us this is amazing, I have never been here”.

<i>Natasja on the right and Lucy on the left and the Lesotho border in the back ground</i>

Natasja on the right and Lucy on the left and the Lesotho border in the back ground

<i>An amazing view of Qwaqwa from the top of the mountain at the border post</i>

An amazing view of Qwaqwa from the top of the mountain at the border post

<i>There is a see-ree-us steep drop off to the right of the picture and with the ‘rally driver’ we had, Lucy and I were “See-reeas-ly” worried, but Natasja did a good job and we arrived back at the <b>Beares</b> store in one piece</i>

There is a see-ree-us steep drop off to the right of the picture and with the ‘rally driver’ we had, Lucy and I were “See-reeas-ly” worried, but Natasja did a good job and we arrived back at the Beares store in one piece

<i><b>Beares</b> Qwaqwa Setsing Centre staff. Notice there are only ladies, okay so is this a case of being sexist?</i>

Beares Qwaqwa Setsing Centre staff. Notice there are only ladies, okay so is this a case of being sexist?

Then it was off to Bethlehem and once again ‘Buddy and Me’ thoroughly enjoyed the countryside and drive in spite of the fact that the road is a nightmare of potholes. Chris Bam the Beares store manager had secured an appointment for me with someone who I can only describe as probably the most amazing individual I have had the pleasure of meeting on the project to date. He is Advocate Roy Naude, what a guy; he is the Control Prosecutor for the regional Court of Bethlehem. This court covers a very large area and he and his staff of prosecutors do an amazing job under extremely difficult conditions and this country of ours definitely needs more people like him.

According to Roy Naude, probably the biggest contributing factor to the ridiculously low conviction rate of child rapists, other than the fact that the initial statements and investigation of the cases is being done by inexperienced and incompetent policemen and woman resulting in the lack of crucial evidence being gathered from the scene at the time of the reporting of the rape, is the fact that it is taking a ridiculously long time for DNA results to be received from the forensic laboratories. He also confirmed that there has been an incredible increase in the amount of child offenders and this can be attributed to the fact that children are not being held accountable and responsible for their actions.

I mentioned the fact that police officials often claim that the low conviction rate is attributed to the fact that the prosecutors in our Regional Courts where all child rape cases are heard, are not as experienced and qualified as the defence council appointed by the State is. His response, and I personally fully agree with him, is that if the statement taken at the initial time of the report was done properly, by experienced police officials, and the incriminating evidence available at the scene, which includes basic evidence such as the victims panties, was collected at the time of the report, even a basic law student could secure a conviction and therefore the experience of the prosecutors is not in question.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Bethlehem, a really great bunch of people<i/>

Beares staff Bethlehem, a really great bunch of people

The evening was rounded off with me attending the Round Table of Bethlehem’s meeting where I was given the opportunity to tell all the Tablers present exactly what my crusade is about and why I am undertaking this mammoth task of trying to establish what needs to be done to stop the raping of our children in South Africa.

<i>Me being pinned with what muct be the most beautiful Round table pin I have been pinned with to date and being presented with the Round Table of Bethlehem’s banner by Andrew Wheatley, Chairman of RT 60</i>

Me being pinned with what must be the most beautiful Round table pin I have been pinned with to date and being presented with the Round Table of Bethlehem’s banner by Andrew Wheatley, Chairman of RT 60

<i>You must agree, what an incredibly beautiful pin</i>

You must agree, what an incredibly beautiful pin

One of the characters of the Table is a guy by the name of ‘Ernesto – The Pora’. He arrived late due to having to attend a family function of some kind, but check out his ‘larney’ outfit, short pants penguin suite nogal, but best of all check out the shoes! I am dieing to see if he is going to where it to the ARTSA conference in Hartenbos on the 16th of April this year.

<i>Ernesto – The Pora</i>

Ernesto – The Pora

We eventually got home, home being where I lay my head at night and tonight being the home of Andrew and Janine Wheatley and their two kids, Angela and Ethan.

<i>The Wheatley clan</i>

The Wheatley clan

I, being a Newcastle soccer fan, as opposed to Lloyd my son being an Arsenal fan, could not miss the opportunity of having my picture taken with a Newcastle flag in the back ground and a much sort after (I think) Finland Table hat, perched on my head.

And so ended day 150 of the project ‘Buddy and Me – Searching for a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children in South Africa’. I have just about completed my presentation I intend giving to our President and his Cabinet on what needs to be done to stopping the scourge sweeping across our beautiful country and will be placing it on this website for comments from the public so keep watching this space.

So all that’s left for me to say is stay well and keep all children safe. Oh yes and on that note, to all those people who have been asking about my grandson’s health, it was identified that he has a virus which has been eating up the iron content in his system. He has been put on a drip and oxygen and a heavy dosage of anti-biotic’s and is reacting well to the medication and will hopefully be back to his perky self and be home again soon. So keep praying for him, it’s definitely working.

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

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Thu
4
Feb '10

Day 149: Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

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:

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

I woke to a beautiful clear sky and knew immediately that ‘Buddy and Me’ were in for another scorcher of a day, but rather the heat than the rain. After thanking Greg for his kind hospitality and friendship, I drove out of Dundee on the road to Ladysmith and once again thoroughly enjoyed the drive through the lush green rolling hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

At the Beares store in Ladysmith I was greeted by a large group of individuals from the police and other local organisations as well as interested community members. Our discussion went on for almost 2 hours and comments made by the police and other community members clearly confirm that I am on the right track with regard to my proposal for a solution to child rape.

The two senior officers present, a Lady Superintendent Ntembu and Captain Amil Ramdini (a guy) once again convinced me that there are at least a few dedicated and professional police officers in the South African Police Services. The good Captain confirmed that rape in general is in creasing at a rapid rate and that the ‘powers that be’ in the police force desperately need to re-instate the FCS unit with a specialised child protection unit attached.

One of the topics which was discussed, was the topic of discussion I had with the two ladies from the Dundee Adult Centre – Home for the Intellectually Disabled yesterday and which I said in yesterdays blog I would write about today.

This is with regard to the fact that a major campaign needs to be undertaken to educate mothers about the severe trauma associated with child and toddler/baby rape. While on the first project, I was contacted by a psychologist who invited me to meet “two ladies who had been subjected to the trauma of toddler rape and were at the time of contacting me aged 25 and 28 years of age”. He told me that he had been counselling them for a number of years and that he was sure I would be interested in the cases.

Quite honestly the trauma I personally suffered at being introduced to the two “young ladies” affected me for quite sometime afterwards and I still find myself asking professionals I meet along my route if this is in fact possible, and that is exactly what I did with Annetjie and Chrissie yesterday at the Dundee Adult Centre for the Intellectually Disabled. The two “young ladies” I was introduced to were in mind and body no more than two or maybe two and a half years old. The psychologist explained to me that the trauma associated with the rape of both babies was so severe that the mind/brain had snapped and both remained “babies’ from then on.

He went on to explain that he was adamant that as high as 85% of the, particularly woman but there are many men as well, who are in our institutions for the mentally impaired, were not born that way but were trauma victims of baby/toddler and child rape. He further explained that in some cases, such as the ‘two young Ladies” I met, the effects of the mental trauma is immediate, however sometimes this can take a ‘while’ to surface which results in the cause being blamed on other social factors.

Annetjie and Chrissie confirmed that this is definitely the case and that they in fact have a few residents who were victims of child rape and who have suffered severe mental trauma as a result of it. They also confirmed that one resident, an adult lady (mother), had walked in on her husband raping their young daughter and the severe trauma associated with that resulted in her being admitted to the institution.

When we consider the facts of the report released in the press by Solidarity in July 2009 which reflected that South Africa is currently experiencing around 580 child rape cases on a daily basis, and coupled with the fact that only 15 – 18% of these are being reported, which computes to the fact that almost 500 children who are being raped on a daily basis are being forced to live with the trauma and are being deprived of the vital support and counselling needed to help them through the ordeal. In fact it equates to almost 500 walking time bombs being created in South Africa on a daily basis.

Based on this equation, Government has one of two vital decisions to make. Based on the fact that Government promulgated an Act of law in the form the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32 of 2007’ which states that “Any person who is aware of, or is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused and who fails to report it to the authorities, shall be guilty of an offence and punishable by law”, the State must, either:

Ensure that when the mothers report the rape of their children by fathers and other family members, are provided with full support in the form of food and clothing for the family, education for the children, and assistance with regard to finding her employment to ensure that she, as soon as possible, is in a financial situation to look after the family herself

OR

Start enforcing the law to the letter in which case they might be looked upon by the South Africa communities, woman in particular, as being “baddies”

But the one thing that is perfectly clear, is the fact that they have to do something very fast.

I was asked to give a message to the woman of South Africa during the 16 days of activism by a newspaper reporter, and when I said I did not think I should because woman around South Africa might not like what I had to say to them, but she insisted and I received a few nasty comments following my message, but this is what it was:

To the ladies of South Africa. Ladies I am afraid I have no sympathy for the fact that you are being abused by husbands and boyfriends. The reason for my saying this is the fact that you don’t have any sympathy for your own children not to mention yourselves. You are not reporting the rape and abuse of your children and yourselves and are, in so doing, allowing these savages to escape unscathed. It is time YOU did something about it and stop merely looking for sympathy. It’s only you who can bring a stop to the rape and abuse of our countries children and the abuse of yourselves. If you don’t report it and allow the police and justice department to do their jobs this madness will never be stopped. When you make a stance every man in the country will support you, so make a stance NOW!

So ladies please, before you start sending me nasty emails, please read my message again, carefully.

<i>The really friendly bunch of <b>Beares</b> staff and guests in Ladysmith<i>

The really friendly bunch of Beares staff and guests in Ladysmith

Then it was off to Harrismith and although it was only 73 kilometres away it took ‘Buddy and Me’ 1 hour and 50 minutes to cover the distance. The main reason for this, apart from the fact that we don’t usually travel much faster than around 80 kilometres an hour, we had the mighty ‘Van Reenan’s Pass’ to contend with as well as a number of other steep inclines associated with the Drakensburg Mountain Range to contend with. But we arrived at the Beares store in Harrismith on time and had time to have a brief chat with the staff before I was bustled off to the local Detective offices to have a really interesting chat with a senior officer who I don’t think I will identify for reasons associated with the telephone call I received last Thursday.

According to him, one of the biggest problems related to the pathetically low conviction rates is definitely the fact that the prosecutors are not adequately experienced and trained to take on the defence councils appointed and paid for by the State. Evidently the norm at the Harrismith court is that 3 out of 4 prosecutors are temps with very little experience. The other major gripe is the fact that once the court role hits 200 to 250 cases, cases are withdrawn for pathetic reasons.

I was also told that rape cases, as in all ages, are on a massive increase, although many cases involving particularly teenagers and young prostitutes make a mockery of the statistics, these being cases where young girls don’t get paid for their ‘services’ and then scream rape.

I was told that the police force, sorry police services, is in an absolute shambles, this being due to continues restructuring and closing of departments and opening of others with no consideration being given to the consequences of the changes. This has resulted in the moral of the police service plummeting to a very low level. It was also confirmed in our discussion that the cases involving child offenders in all aspects of crime is climbing at an alarming rate and this is attributed to the fact that kids are literally getting away with murder and not being held accountable and responsible for their actions.

And then the biggest gripe of all, the fact that even after a police officer has told the court that the suspect is wanted for serious crimes in three other areas he is granted bail which then results in four police stations once again starting their hunt for the culprit!

My interview with this particular police officer revealed that things are really bad in our police services and that something needs to be done extremely fast to restore the moral of the members of the service if they hope to maintain law and order during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

At five o’clock it was time to bid the great guys and girls of Beares Harrismith farewell and follow Round Tabler De Wet Van Deventer to the local pub for a relaxing frosty and then go on to the Round Table club house where I got to meet a few of the other Tablers of RT 140

<i>Harrismith <b>Beares</b> staff</i>

Harrismith Beares staff

At the club house the guys and ladies of RT 140 were busy planning the forthcoming stage show called “Memories’ which is due to take to the stage, as in the Harrismith Town hall, I think in March, but I will get confirmation of that and put it in tomorrows blog.

<i>Round Table Harrismith Production group in action</i>

Round Table Harrismith Production group in action

<i>Check out the concentration of being pinned by De Wet van Deventer with the RT 140 pin</i>

Check out the concentration of being pinned by De Wet van Deventer with the RT 140 pin

<i>And then of course we have to have a photo of the whole hard working group of Round Table RT 140 Harrismith</i>

And then of course we have to have a photo of the whole hard working group of Round Table RT 140 Harrismith

My hosts for the night are a lovely couple, Anton and Liezl De Vos and when we arrived ‘home’ (for me home being where I lay my head at night) Anton insisted on pinning me with yet another pin, this time a highly sort after pin of which there are only 20 in South Africa, and this is a Round Table Harrismith ‘Fishing Bonanza’ pin.

<i>This pin was given a special place on my jacket of honour</i>

This pin was given a special place on my jacket of honour

<i>My hosts Anton and Liezl. Note the Millers on the bar counter</i>

My hosts Anton and Liezl. Note the Millers on the bar counter

And so ended my day in Harrismith, I must admit that I really appreciated the “early night, it’s now, can you believe it, 10:35 and I have finished my blog, although I must admit that I started it while in the beares store waiting for De Wet and managed to get about 80 % of it finished, but I’m really going to enjoy a good nights sleep tonight.

So from ‘Buddy and Me’ I will wish you a good night, and keep all children safe. Oh by the way my grandson Dain is still in hospital, he has been moved to the ‘High Care’ unit but they have at least diagnosed the problem, which is a virus which is eating up the iron in his system at a terrible rate. The iron levels in his body is supposed to be between 17 and 25 and his is 1.3, but hopefully now the medication will start rectifying the problem and I will be praying that there is a significant improvement in him by tomorrow morning.

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

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Thu
4
Feb '10

Day 148: Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

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:

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

So after a really terrific evening of great food and good conversation with the Singh family and guests, I eventually retired to bed at a little before 2am after having spent from 11:15 till 1:40am writing my blog. But I didn’t feel too bad because while I was doing my blog, Jai was sitting at the same table with his laptop doing Round Table business and when I went to bed he continued for about another hour. So this morning after showering, dressing and packing I bid the Singh family farewell and took to the road, destination Vryheid about 126 kilometres away.

<i>Meet the Singh family – Mihir and Sonal in front. Mihir means “Ruler of the elements” in Hindi and Sonal means “Golden girl”. I’m sure I don’t need to point out which one is Jai and which one is Kamini, especially after telling you in yesterday’s blog that Kamini in Hindi means “Beautiful woman”. Oh and by the way, they are standing next to Jai’s infamous <b>‘Nightrider’</b> car</i>

Meet the Singh family – Mihir and Sonal in front. Mihir means “Ruler of the elements” in Hindi and Sonal means “Golden girl”. I’m sure I don’t need to point out which one is Jai and which one is Kamini, especially after telling you in yesterday’s blog that Kamini in Hindi means “Beautiful woman”. Oh and by the way, they are standing next to Jai’s infamous ‘Nightrider’ car

I thoroughly enjoyed the drive through to Vryheid, the weather was terrific, it was obviously going to be a very hot day, and the landscape was beautiful. The countryside was flat and I could see for kilometres in all directions. I could not remember ever visiting the town of Utrecht and when I passed the entrance to the small town I couldn’t help stopping to photograph the entrance and to go in and fill up Buddy’s tank.

The town is situated inside a game farm, incredible

While driving to Vryheid, three SAPS cars went flying passed me, and I mean flying with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring. A short while later when I reached the T junction of the Vryheid – Dundee road I came across eleven cop cars on the side of the road all surrounding a white bakkie, but I wasn’t going to stop to find out what was going on, it looked like serious police business. Soon after turning left onto the Vryheid road, I approached a section of road where construction work was being undertaken, fixing potholes. The road was narrowed down to one lane with traffic being stopped at each end to allow only one lane of traffic through at a time. This section of road construction stretched for about 800 metres and inside this section were 9 police vehicles. When I drove through I saw a white car which had obviously rolled and was lying smashed up about 50 metres from the road side surrounded by about 20 cops.

About 2 kilometres further on I came across another scene which appeared to be two cop cars which had collided at high speed and had gone careering off the road into the bush and had come to a stop about 100 metres from the edge of the road.

Later after telling the staff and guests at the Beares store about this crazy scene I had witnessed, a guest police officer, Inspector Charles Ramoikatso told us that a car had been stolen/hi-jacked in Newcastle and was spotted in Vryheid and after a chase the police had shot the driver, I later learned that another vehicle was involved and that was the one I had seen surrounded by cops at the T junction.

On the subject of child rape, two of my guests, Carol Ellenberger and Thambile Sangweni of the NGO Child Welfare, a private organisation providing a support structure for victims of rape and domestic violence, confirmed that although they do not receive many ‘Child’ rape cases, they believe that it is happening on a very large scale and that something drastic needs to be done to ensure that mothers report the rape of their children and allow the law to take it’s course. They agreed with me that the only manner in which this can be accomplished is by ensuring that the Department of Community Development and Social Welfare are sufficiently funded in order to provide support to the family’s affected by child rape and situations where fathers rape their children and are arrested, convicted and sent to prison.

<i><b>Beares</b> Vryheid staff</i>

Beares Vryheid staff

From Vryheid I headed for Dundee which is about 73 kilometres south of Vryheid. I always enjoy driving in this area because I am fascinated by history and the area is steeped in history in the form of Battlefields from the Anglo – Boer war as well as the Zulu war, and one place in particular which has always fascinated me is the battle of Rorke’s Drift in which about thirty British soldiers fought off over a thousand Zulu warriors on the 22nd January 1879.

The building from which the British soldiers fought off the Zulus and inside the building dummies showing how the soldiers broke through a wall to escape from one room to another.

The mass grave site of the British soldiers who died at Rorke’s Drift

When I arrived at the Beares store in Dundee I was met by a large group of people who when I stopped started clapping and cheering, what a reception!

<i>My reception committee at <b>Beares</b> Dundee</i>

My reception committee at Beares Dundee

After chatting to a large group of guests, a lady using a walker, started shouting and performing a short way from the entrance to the Beares store. The store manager, Reggie Govender and I went over to her and found out that her name is Mrs. TI Zulu and that she heads up an organisation called The Enhlanhleni Care Centre for street kids. She was performing over the fact that according to her, there are many street kids living in the area around the Checkers Centre in Dundee who are frequently being raped and sexually abused and that when they report the abuse to the police and Social Development, they are chased away and nothing is done about it.

I took the matter up with two police officers who were present as well as a senior staff member of the Department of Social Development attached to the Regional Court in Dundee, Mr CM Xaba. All three pointed out that they had on a number of occasions asked Mrs. Zulu to attend the regions Community Police Forum and to raise any objections she has with the organisation so that the matter can be dealt with properly, but she has always refused to attend the meetings. They believe her allegations are groundless and that according to their information no charges of rape or sexual abuse have been reported by the street kids. Mmmmm

<i>Mrs. Zulu ranting and raving in the street</i>

Mrs. Zulu ranting and raving in the street

While on the subject of street kids, while on my trip through Africa, I encountered many organisations, all foreigners mostly from the UK who provide support to street kids and I have mixed feelings as to whether or not these organisations are helping the situation or whether they making the situation worse. I witnessed many instances and was told by many members of the local communities in the villagers and towns in the countries I visited, that kids, on seeing that their friends are benefiting from better facilities, such as good food, TV to watch, sporting facilities such as soccer teams etc they leave home where their parents are doing their best to look after them under the circumstances, and hit the streets where they are rounded up by the NGO’s and removed to the ‘places of safety’ and provided with a better life than that which their parents were providing them with in the township/village. I would appreciate any comments on this subject as I personally am stumped as to whether or not these NGO’s are performing a community service or making the matter worse.

I visited the ‘Dundee Adult Centre’ which is a home for the ‘Intellectually Disabled’ where I had a really interesting chat with two ladies by the names of Annetjie Enslin and Chrissie Van der walt. Unfortunately it’s now pretty late and as I still have to write about my meeting with the Round Table in Dundee I’m going to leave the information about our chat until tomorrow.

<i><b>Beares</b> Dundee staff</i>

Beares Dundee staff

I was met at the Beares store by Greg Van Blomestein and after dropping Buddy off at his house we met up with a group of Tablers from Dundee Round Table RT 94 at a local joint where we indulged in some good conversation as well as a few more than a couple of frosty’s. I was pinned with the Tables pin as usual and presented with th Tables banner. Once again the Tablers proved to be great guys and a magic evening was had by all.

<i>Me being pinned and presented with the RT 94 banner by Greg in the brown shirt</i>

Me being pinned and presented with the RT 94 banner by Greg in the brown shirt

<i>The Tablers of Dundee enjoying an eveing of good conversation and cold beer</i>

The Tablers of Dundee enjoying an eveing of good conversation and cold beer

So now it’s 1:15am and I am going to sign off and hit the sack. So until tomorrow when ‘Buddy and Me’ head for Ladysmith and then on to Harrismith where we will be spending the evening once again with Round Table, ‘Buddy and Me’ will bid you good night, and remember to keep all children safe.

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

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Tue
2
Feb '10

Day 147: Monday, 1 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

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:

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

To be honest I did not expect to be driving out of Germiston this morning heading for Volksrust. Yesterday, Sunday, at about 6pm I received a phone call from my son in-law in Pinetown Zak, who gave me the devastating news that my 17 months old grandson Dain, had fallen seriously ill and had been admitted to the Crompton Street Hospital in Pinetown. He was suffering from periodic, in fact frequent bouts of extremely high fever and vomiting. Carey, my daughter, had not left his bed side for 24 hours and the prognosis was not good. Blood tests and other tests had been done but the results would not be known for up to 72 hours.

I waited anxiously for word on his condition and after speaking to Carey at 8pm I decided that I must go down to Pinetown. I hastily completed my packing, fortunately most of my stuff was already packed because I was intending to leave for Volksrust at 6am this morning, and after saying goodbye to May I headed for the garage to fill up with petrol. While the attendant was filling Buddy’s tank, I once again spoke to Zak who confirmed that Dain was resting and had fallen asleep and when he heard of my intention to drive through the night to Pinetown he said that he did not think it was a good idea. I phoned Carey who was still at the hospital and on hearing my intentions also agreed that it was not a good idea and that I should rather wait until the morning.

I decided that perhaps I should wait until morning because it would involve cancelling 124 Beares and Lubners store visits which would involve an enormous amount of rescheduling and which would obviously create problems in many people’s lives. The prognosis this morning was that he had, apart from suffering with a high fever and vomiting at 2am, had a reasonably restful night and so at 6am ‘Buddy and Me’ headed out of Germiston in the direction of Volksrust where I arrived at 10:20am with a bright blue sky over head and the day turning out to be one of the hottest I have experienced on the project to date, no rain absolutely amazing!

At the Beares store I got involved in a discussion with a large group of ladies from various organisations as well a couple of members of the local police force and the Senior Public Prosecutor. One particularly interesting lady I met was a lady by the name of Nadeane Robertson from the Volksrust SAVF – The Suid – Afrikaanse VroueFederasie, the organisation I was introduced to in Standerton on Friday and mentioned in the Friday blog.

One of the comments she made was about the fact that the RDP – low-cost housing being erected by the government is in fact contributing to the high rate of child rape. This comment has been made on a number of occasions by people during my travels around South Africa and this includes, particularly, woman in the rural areas where these house are being built. The belief is that the houses only have one bedroom which means that mom and dad sleeps in the same room as the kids who get to watch and hear all that goes on, according to her she had heard of incidents where after completing his love making with his wife, or after being refused sex by the wife, fathers/husbands turn to the young daughters for satisfaction.

Today, after Nadeane had mentioned this fact, a woman came up to me and said that what Nadeane had said was perfectly true and that she personally is aware of situations of this nature. She then went on to tell me that she has been married to her present husband for 4 years and that she knows that for the past few years, since her daughter was 8 years of age, she’s now 11, he frequently leaves their bed and goes to her daughters room where he rapes her (They obviously don’t live an RDP house). I asked why she allows it to happen and the answer, as expected was “He earns a very good salary and I could not afford to keep my children in the same standard of living if he was taken away”. In my humble opinion she does not deserve to be called a mother and should be charged as an accomplice to child rape and locked away. I think from the look I gave her she knew exactly how I felt about it and did not stay too long with the discussion group.

Part of the group of guests included a group of kids from the ‘Little Gems Day Care Centre’ and although a lot of them had a problem with the Beares giant bear, they all loved Buddy and would not leave until their picture had been taken with him.

<i>The kids and <b>Beares</b> staff of Volksrust with Buddy</i>

The kids and Beares staff of Volksrust with Buddy

From Volksrust I headed for Newcastle, by now it was really hot with the temperature hovering in the 32-33 degree mark. The drive to Newcastle involved driving through the Majuba Pass which because of the lovely landscape made the steaming hot drive a little more pleasant.

After a relatively quiet afternoon with the Beares staff in Newcastle, actually it was quite a blessing to be able to spend the afternoon chatting to the friendly Beares staff and do a lengthy but detailed interview with a local newspaper reporter named Bruce, I can’t wait to read his article I think it’s going to be a humdinger, I contacted Jai Singh the Round Tabler who together with his lovely wife Kamini, have hosted me accommodation for tonight. Just as a matter of interest Kamini’s name in Hindi means “Beautiful Woman” and believe me whoever named her that knew exactly what he or she was doing.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Newcastle</i>

Beares staff Newcastle

After a superb supper, obviously one of the dishes was a delicious lamb curry, along with a few other delicious dishes, I was pinned with the Ncandu RT86 Round Table pin and presented with the Jai Singh National IRO banner, for those who don’t know, the IRO stands for the International Relations Officer.

<i>Now <b><u>I</u></b> thought I have collected a lot of Round Table pins, but check out Jai’s collection, I have a long way to go to catch up to him</i>

Now I thought I have collected a lot of Round Table pins, but check out Jai’s collection, I have a long way to go to catch up to him

<i>Me being presented with the Round Table banner</i>

Me being presented with the Round Table banner

<i>Jai pinning me with the much sort after “Nightrider” pin. This pin has quite a story behind it, and refers to the fact that Jai always makes his appointments on time, this mainly being atributed to the car he drives namely a Mercedes Benz CLK 500 Cabriolet, a black one nogal, need I say anymore</i>

Jai pinning me with the much sort after “Nightrider” pin. This pin has quite a story behind it, and refers to the fact that Jai always makes his appointments on time, this mainly being atributed to the car he drives namely a Mercedes Benz CLK 500 Cabriolet, a black one nogal, need I say anymore

So tomorrow morning ‘Buddy and Me’ head for Vryheid and then continue on to Dundee where I will spend the evening with Round Tabler Greg Van Blomenstein. So until then I am going to wish you all a good night, keep all children safe, and please spare a prayer for my grandson Dain. I pray that he gets better soon so that when I get down to Pinetown on the weekend he will be his usual bubbly self. Hang in there Carey, Zak and Michaela, my thoughts and prays are with you and Dain, I love you.

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

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