ead>

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



Log in


Sun
27
Jun '10

PROJECT CONCLUSION

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


So now down to the facts I have learnt about the rape and sexual abuse of children during my latest crusade around South Africa, Namibia and Botswana and what desperate steps need to be put into action in order to bring a stop to this scourge sweeping across our country, and how I intend making every effort in order to achieve this on my next crusade/project.

After hundreds, in fact more like thousands of discussions with mothers and other individuals in the form of NGO’s etc, it is blatantly obvious that in spite of tremendous laws having been promulgated and no matter what punishments are handed down by our courts, we will never stop the rape and sexual abuse of children if the mothers do not report the rape of their children. Secondly there is a desperate need for a proper and professionally managed and trained support structure for the victim and her/his mother and the family in order to encourage them to report the rape particularly in instances where the rapist is the father, step-father, uncle etc. The statistics provided to me by NGO’s and social workers around South Africa prove that at least 90% of child rape cases, and by “child rape cases” I am referring to children below the age of 12 years of age are, perpetrated by direct family members in the form of biological fathers, step-fathers, uncles and even grandfathers.

The ‘Sexual Offences Act-32 of 2007’ includes a section which states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused and fails to report it, is guilty of an offence”. I believe this is a tremendous piece of legislation, however, unfortunately my discussions with police officials as well as court officials all over South Africa reveals that not one single person has ever been charged, not to mention convicted, under this section since its inception in November 2007, in spite of the fact that South Africa is currently experiencing, on average, 580 ‘child’ rape cases on a daily basis with only an estimated 15-18% of them being reported.

In my ‘Proposal to the President’ on what I believe needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children, which can be seen on the link on this website, I identified six factors which need to be properly applied in order to stop the rape of children and identified how these six factors need to function in order to achieve it, and I am more than confident that the starting point of stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children lies in the formation and proper establishment of ‘factor one’, which is the immediate establishment of ‘One-Stop-Shop’ care centres providing the essential ‘on site’ services need by child rape victims.

‘One-Stop-Shop’ support facility
And so based on these facts, my focus on the next project will be on what I believe needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children and how I believe the “One-Stop-Shop” support facility should be functioning with regard to the services they provide and where they should be established.

During the many lonely hours while driving Buddy around Africa, I formulated in my mind what I came to regard as the “One-Stop-Shop” facility for providing victims of child rape, as well as victims of domestic violence, with a support structure which would be provided at a facility all under one roof. I was amazed, to put it mildly, when on visiting Kuruman I was introduced to the Thuthuzela Care Centre based at the provincial hospital there and realised that this is, or rather could be, the “One-Stop-Shop” support facility which I had been formulating in my mind over the past couple of years.

I have subsequently come to establish that the Thuthuzela initiative was started way back in 2000 and was the brain child of the NPA (National prosecuting Authority) with stakeholders including the Department of Health, South African Police Services, and the Department of Social Development. Funding of the centres as far as I have been able to establish, is via the stake holders I have mentioned as well as assistance from UNICEF and USAID and private fund raising. The word “Thuthuzela” is a Xhosa word meaning “Comfort”.

I commend the NPA and the South African Government for their initiative in coming up with the concept of the Thuthuzela Care Centres and I believe that the Thuthuzela initiative is an absolutely fantastic one and if it was implemented and the services mentioned in the brochures and other documentation provided as they claims it is, it would be a major step in the right direction to eradicating child rape from our society.

The problems currently being experienced by mothers wanting to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children is the fact that the child has to be taken to a police station where the mother and child must wait amongst other complainants and be subjected to secondary trauma and humiliation in the form of a ‘male’ police officer (a member of the same species that has just destroyed her life and subjected her to pain and suffering) taking her statement.

My discussions with police officials appointed to take these statements have revealed that in almost every instance the policeman or woman are sadly lacking the qualifications and or experience needed to extract the necessary and vital information from the child in order to secure an arrest and conviction of the culprit. This statement has been verified by many court officials in the form of prosecutors I have met during my travels around the country, and they have confirmed that it is this very fact which has led to the totally unacceptably low conviction rate of 4%.

Secondly, the child is from the police station to a hospital for the necessary J88 examination form to be completed by a doctor. It has been told to me by many social workers in various parts of South Africa, that victims are usually transported to hospitals by way of a police van and this in itself is a form of secondary trauma with the child victim believing that she/he is the guilty party.

In many areas I have visited, following my visit to a Thuthuzela Care Centre, I have asked woman/mothers in the community if they know of the Thuthuzela Care Centre and have been shocked to be told that they have never heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre in-spite of it having been ‘established’ in the area for a few years.

In almost every instance during discussions with police officials the response to my question of “What is the biggest factor attributed to the pathetically low 4% conviction rate our country is experiencing?” is “The qualifications and experience of the prosecutors allocated to the case is very low compared to the qualifications and experience of the defence council appointed and paid for by the State in the majority of cases”.

After posing the same question to the prosecutors in the courts, the response has been, “If you look at the pathetic statement obtained at the time of the report of the rape by inexperienced police officials and the total lack of evidence, and this is basic evidence in the form of the child’s panties and other items of clothing, you will appreciate why our conviction rate is so low”.

It is for these reasons that I believe that it is essential that Thuthuzela Care Centres are established on the following basis:

  • They must be established at every provincial hospital around South Africa

Every centre must have the following personal based at the centre:

  • A qualified policewoman dressed in civilian clothes, trained in the art of; child psychology, the taking of statements and evidence gathering.
  • A doctor
  • A forensic nurse
  • Social workers
  • Welfare officer
  • Psychologist
  • Support in the form of a prosecutor to train the police in the art of statement taking and evidence gathering as well as being available to assist the investigating officer (FCS unit) in the investigation of the case and to keep the victim (survivor) up to date with regard to the progress of the case.
  • Human resources (To be discussed in this document in depth later)

The brochures I have been provided with from the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC) I have visited, states that the following services are provided at the centres, unfortunately not one of the centres I have visited provides the essential services listed in the brochure:

  • A nurse in the examination room (Not provided at any TCC)
  • An ‘explanation’ of how the medical examination will be conducted and what clothing might be taken for evidence
  • A consent form to be signed, that allows the doctor to conduct the medical examination
  • A bath or shower at the centre after the medical examination
  • An investigating officer will interview the survivor and take her/his statement (Not provided at any TCC)
  • A social worker or nurse will offer counselling (Only in one instance was a social worker based at the Centre)
  • A nurse arranges for follow-up visits, treatment and medication for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), HIV and AIDS. (Not provided at anyTCC)
  • A referral letter or appointment will be made for long-term, counselling
  • The survivor is offered transportation home by an ambulance or the investigating officer (I was informed by a senior official of EMS that the ambulance service ‘EMS’ are not permitted/allowed to transport rape victims in an ambulance)
  • Arrangements will be made for the survivor to go to a place of safety if necessary (This is contrary to the ‘Sexual offences Act 32-2007)
  • Consultations with a specialist prosecutor before the case goes to court (Not provided at any TCC)
  • An explanation of the trial process (Not provided at any TCC)
  • Access to information on the case (Not available at any TCC)

You will note that no mention is made of a doctor performing the crucial examination of the victim at the centre

Unfortunately not one of the centres I have visited around South Africa has a police official, doctor, nurse or social worker based at the centre. In all instances in-spite of the fact that the centre is based on the hospital premises it can still take hours for a doctor to be summonsed and released from his duties in the hospital to attend to a rape victim and the same goes for the police. In this regard I have been told by many staff members based in the Thuthuzela Centres I have visited, that it can take hours for a police official to arrive at a centre after being summonsed by the staff of a centre.

The primary reason for mothers failing to report the rape of their children

Based on the fact that it is believed that 90% of child rape in South Africa is being perpetrated by fathers, step-fathers and uncles, discussions with women/mothers in the townships and rural areas where the far majority of child rape cases are being perpetrated, reveals that the main reason for them not reporting the rape of their children is due to the financial factor. They openly confirm that due to the financial implications the family is faced with should a father/husband, the “bread winner” be sent to jail, they, the mothers, will not report the rape of the child.

However when asked “If there was a department that would ensure that you have food on the table and your kids are clothed and can continue with their education and you can continue to maintain the same standard of living, AND there is a department or person who will assist you in obtaining employment to ensure that you can provide for your own family, what then?” and the response has always been, “Then he must go to jail” or “Then he must die”. So this then leads to my inclusion and the necessity of an HR person at all Thuthuzela Centres.

During my travels and discussions on child rape around South Africa, I have had the privilege of meeting some very high powered businessmen and women in all forms of business; these include large, medium and small business’s and after providing them with what I believe is a solution to encouraging mothers to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children by fathers, step-fathers and uncles, they have all confirmed that they would gladly commit their business’s to the initiative in order to encourage mothers to report the rape of their children and to ensure that the culprits face the full extent of the law and justice system.

My proposal is based on an HR person being included in the personal appointed to all Thuthuzela Centres. This individuals function would be, to be in constant contact with all businesses in the area covered by the Thuthuzela Care Centre and to maintain a record of all businesses committed to the initiative and immediately on being presented with a situation where a father or uncle etc has been arrested for the rape or sexual abuse of a child, ensure that the mother obtains employment as fast as possible.

However it is imperative that while securing employment for the mother, the welfare officer must ensure that the family is fed and clothed and this can similarly be achieved by securing the support of other business’s in the area in the form of supermarket outlets and large chain stores who I am confident through my discussions with such businesses will fully support such an initiative in order to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children.

In conclusion, I must re-iterate the fact that no matter what laws are promulgated and what punishments are implemented, we will never stop the rape and sexual abuse of children if the mothers do not do the right thing and report the matter to the authorities and allow the law and justice system to take it’s course.

However it is, I believe, the duty of the government to ensure that everything is done to encourage mothers to report the rape of their children and this can only be achieved by providing them and the victims with a professionally managed support structure in the form of the Thuthuzela Care Centres which must provide the services and staff as I have outlined in this document.

Further more, it is imperative that should these support structures be in place, individuals failing to report the rape and sexual abuse of children, and this includes mothers, must be taken to task and face the full extent of the law as well, other wise there is no point in spending the millions of Rands in promulgating the law in the first place.

These then are the main points I will be raising and making the public aware of in my next project, and of course another devastating aspect of this disgusting and unforgivable crime which I will be focusing on is to make the mothers aware of the extreme mental stress associated with toddler and child rape. I was made aware of this aspect of child and toddle rape by a psychologist who informed me that he believes that up to 80% of, in particular woman, who are institutionalised in the centres for mentally handicapped people in South Africa were not born that way, but are creations of the severe mental stress related to child and toddler rape.

I was told that in cases where a child is forced by the mother/parents to keep quiet about the fact that he or she was raped and is forced to live with the stress associated with this despicable crime, will at some later stage suffer the effects of it and when this occurs and the individual is institutionalised, the reason is initially put down to the stress’s associated with ‘peer pressure’, ‘hectic life styles’ and stress associated with work pressure etc. However after being institutionalised, it becomes apparent to the psychologist that the cause of the breakdown is directly and actually related to the rape or sexual abuse the individual was exposed to many years previously.

After being provided with this shocking information I have since visited a number of institutions around South Africa and this fact has been confirmed to me by many psychologists. In one case I met a lady who although was not herself sexually abused but had walked in on her husband while he was in the process of raping their 4 year old daughter and due to the severe mental stress related with this was institutionalised.

So there is still much work for ‘Buddy and Me’ to do and I will be using whatever means are at my disposal to ensure that the Thuthuzela Care Centres are implemented and provide the victims of child rape with the best possible support and that mother are encouraged to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children.

So until we meet again, keep well, stay safe and please KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE, it’s their right, and it’s our duty!

Please support the organisations identified on my website that provide essential support to victims of child rape, namely:The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)

By clicking on their link which provides details of the organisation and clicking on ‘donations’. They and the victims of this horrible and despicable crime desperately need your support, for this they thank you.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za


Sun
13
Jun '10

Day 254-256: Monday to Wednesday, 7 -9 June 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

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)

Monday morning found ‘Buddy and Me’ heading out of Gaborone and travelling west out to Molepolole. This place had made quite an impact on my life way back in 1994 when I spent 7 months working on an American/French air force bases close to the town. In fact I can safely say that Molepolole turned my life around and up side down, but I won’t go into those details now.

The Beares staff at Molepolole decided that there was something missing on Buddy and soon produced the missing object, a vuvuzela, and blue nogal with a small blue and white soccer ball attached, and so now Buddy is ready for his reappearance into South Africa and the World Cup fiasco.

<i>Buddy now complete with his own vuvuzela</i>

Buddy now complete with his own vuvuzela

<i>The <b>Beares</b> staff of Molepolole</i>

The Beares staff of Molepolole

The Molepolole Beares staff were a particularly friendly bunch of people and they were amazed at the comments and well wishes made by the other Beares stores staff, and after spending sometime reading the ‘Beares book’ immediately got to work creating their own page, and so thanks guys your well wishes and comments, they are much appreciated by ‘Buddy and Me’.

<i>The ladies of <b>Beares</b> Molepolole studying the <b>‘Beares book’</b> and others busy working on their page for the book</i>

The ladies of Beares Molepolole studying the ‘Beares book’ and others busy working on their page for the book

From Molepolole we headed for Kanye where we made a right turn and continued through to Jwaneng where once again I had a wonderful time chatting to the Beares staff and met and chattered to a few members of the local community.

<i>Meet the energetic staff of <b>Beares</b> Jwaneng</i>

Meet the energetic staff of Beares Jwaneng

Yame had arranged accommodation for me in Kanye and so ‘Buddy and Me’ drove the 80 odd kilometres back to Kanye where I was escorted by the Credit Manager and acting Beares store manager, Sekai Leteemane to my accommodation at the ‘Motse Lodge and Cultural Village’. This is a really tremendous place to stay if you are ever passing through Kanye on your way through to Windhoek on the Trans-Kalahari highway. I got to meet the managing Director of the establishment, Mrs. Matshediso Hansen who is a really friendly lady and who invited ‘Buddy and Me’ to pop in to stay anytime we are in the vicinity, So Matshediso we just might take you up on that offer when we visit Kanye on our next project. The Motse Lodge contact details are; Web site: www.motselodge.com email: motselodge@botsnet.bw.

<i>The Motse Lodge and Cultural Village</i>

The Motse Lodge and Cultural Village

When I entered the dinning room for breakfast, a man approached me and asked if I was the man driving “That very interesting little car parked outside”, and when I confirmed that I was that crazy individual, he introduced himself as Lesly Kofe a senior manager in the Botswana Roads Department. He explained that they were having a meeting in the Lodges conference room and that the meeting was regarding the HIV/Aids problem the country is facing and that this meeting was a lead-up to a national meeting which was going to be held the following day in Gaborone. He asked if I would mind addressing the meeting as he believed that there is a definite similarity between my project and the subject of their meeting. I of course, never to give up an opportunity to talk, immediately agreed, because there is a definite similarity and connection between the two subjects.

My talk ended up taking almost an hour and when I eventually apologised for having taken up so much of their meetings time, they started asking questions which ended up taking up a further half hour. Of course the similarity and connection between the two subjects is mainly attributed to the fact that there is a large number of unscrupulous individuals in the form of Sangoma’s inhabiting our country who insist on corrupting the minds of those who can’t think further than their nose and believe the ridiculous rumours these unscrupulous individuals are spreading regarding having sex with a virgin in order to cure Aids and the ridiculous statement that the younger the victim the stronger the cure, which is resulting in thousands of young children and babies being raped.

<i>The caring people of the Botswana Roads Department</i>

The caring people of the Botswana Roads Department

Then came my visit with the Beares staff in Kanye and these guys really made me feel at home, a really tremendous group of people and I spent another hour chatting to them about the project and the similarities between the problem we are experiencing in South Africa and those being experienced in Botswana with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children. Every time a potential client entered the store one of the sales ladies would rush off and on returning asked me to please repeat what I had said while she was away.

<i>Meet the staff of <b>Beares</b> Kanye, these guys are really interested in the subject of stopping child rape and really want to get involved in the project</i>

Meet the staff of Beares Kanye, these guys are really interested in the subject of stopping child rape and really want to get involved in the project

From Kanye ‘Buddy and Me’ made a dash for Lobatse to visit the Beares staff there and I was hoping to be able to cross the border and at least reach Zeerust and spend the night there, but I was told that things at the border are somewhat hectic with the tourists who have been visiting Botswana who are now leaving to head for South Africa for the 2010 World Cup Soccer fiasco as well as the hundreds/thousands of Botswana and Namibian’s who are travelling to South Africa for the soccer and that I would probably end up having to either return to Lobatse or sleep over night on the road side in a long cue at the border because the border post closes at 7pm.

So with this in mind I phoned a friend I met on my last visit to Lobatse, Rotarian Erwin Happel and asked if I could stay over with him and his son, Robert for the evening and so after my chat with the Beares staff of Lobatse, that is where I headed.

<i>The <b>Beares</b> staff of Lobatse</i>

The Beares staff of Lobatse

After a restful evening, this morning, Wednesday the 9th June my official last day on this project, I bid farewell to Botswana and headed for the border at Pioneer gate on the Botswana side and Schilpadhek on the South African side and believe me the suggestion to stay over for the evening in Lobatse had been a good one. I arrived at the border post at 10am and after standing in a queue for over an hour and then parked in a longer queue while the border police searched every vehicle from bumper to bumper; I crossed over into South Africa just after 1:30 in the afternoon. Then it was the drive through to Zeerust and on through Swartruggens by way of the biggest daylight robbery in the form of a R65-00 toll fee which has to be paid for a road which is in a shocking condition, patched so many times it’s ridiculous, and is in fact a single lane not even a dual road, a total rip off, to Rustenburg.

Soon after passing through Swartruggens the fact that I was back in South Africa and reasonably close to Jo’burg struck home by the fact that the temperature plummeted to a point where I stopped to first put on my project blue jacket and half an hour later changed this to my heavy duty jacket and changed my cut off gloves for warm solid ones. I was pretty tired and cold and decided that I would end the project by stopping off and camping at that lovely camping facility ‘Buddy and Me’ had stayed over at, what seems like years ago but in fact was 8 months ago in October, ‘Roos se Oord’ which is situated on the Crocodile river where it leads into Hartebeespoort Dam.

Right now it’s freezing cold and I am sitting outside with a fire burning, wrapped up in so many layers of clothes that I look the size of a Springbok front row rugby player. Supper consisted of a very hot beef curry and rice and alongside me I have a delicious cup of coffee, laced with a good dose of Klippies brandy, for medicinal purposes of course. ‘Buddy and Me’ are the only ones occupying the resort and so it is blissfully quiet, and peaceful, although freezing cold, and I am really happy that I decided to end the project here where I can reminisce on the past 11 months which seems to have flown past and all the amazing people I have met and places I have visited, before returning to Jo’burg to the chaos and hype of the 2010 World Cup Soccer fiasco.

So all that’s left for me to do is to thank all those amazing people who have made this project possible, and there are so many I could not start to name all of them, but if you have been reading my blogs over the past 256 days, you will have read about them, but I must mention a few and these include:

Firstly and foremost to:

The Management and staff of BEARES, and this is not just for the fact that they have definitely lived up to their motto of “Beares really cares” but because they do really care. To Tony von Blerk, and Andrea Bell in particular, thank you for your incredible support to the project and your personal support of the fight against the rape and sexual abuse of children, as well as your friendship and constant concern for my safety and goodwill. To say I appreciate it is an absolute understatement, but thank you, and I wish you both well for what lays ahead of you as in the changes which will be taking affect in both your business lives as well as the impact of that on your personal lives. Stay well and stay safe from ‘Buddy and Me’.

To the great people of Round Table South Africa, which consists of so many people and their families who supported the ‘Buddy and Me’ project in the form of assisting us with accommodation in areas all over South Africa and who showered both ‘Buddy and Me’ with friendship and hospitality second to none, a warm thank you to all of you.

To two very important people who without their friendship and support, not to mention the incredible amount of personal time they spent helping me with my website and blog’s, and if you knew how bad my computer skills are you would fully appreciate how much I needed their help, Rory Albertyn of ‘Radiant Networks’ www.radiantnet.co.za who did the original design and generously hosted the ‘Buddy and Me’ website, and Gail Vyvyan-Day. Gail generously offered, after establishing just how bad my computer skills really are, to post my blog’s from my email form to the website, although I don’t think she really realised how much work this would involve and just how much of her personal time would be taken up undertaking this massive task. But she has done an outstanding job and to both Rory and Gail my heartfelt thanks go out to you both.

Of course a very special thanks goes to Mandy, owner of the Gem Bar in Lambton Germiston for her and her patrons undying and loyal support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project. Mandy you have no idea how much your help and support has meant to me and I will be forever grateful. I look forward to seeing you all again at the Gem Bar where I will finally end this project tomorrow, the 10th June at around 3pm. It seems like years ago when I left there on that rainy, cold day on the 1st of August last year and I just hope the weather will be kinder to me for my return.

To May who has been looking after the dogs and birds back home and had to face the really sad situation of having to find Buster, our Boer Bull ‘Lion’ of a dog, dead in his kennel and have the sad task of having to tell me, (See my blog of 17th May day 233), thank you for everything you have done for me to make this project possible.

To the management and staff of the Protea Hotels and many other places I have mentioned in my blog’s where I was kindly hosted accommodation, thank you, without your assistance and support my budget would have been eaten up long before the project was completed.

And so ends this project of searching for a solution to the rape and sexual abuse of children. I sincerely I hope I will be able to commence with another project very soon, as I believe that in order to achieve my goal of stopping the rape of children, we have to keep the pressure on the powers that be and get them to listen and do whatever is necessary to stop this evil scourge sweeping across our beautiful country. And so I will be placing one more blog on this site in a few days to summarise what I have learnt about the subject of child rape and what I believe needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa, so stay tuned for the final episode, on this project that is.

With that, ‘Buddy and Me’ will say farewell for now, keep well, stay safe and above all KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE, it’s our duty as parents and adults, they are our countries future!! Mr President you better believe it!

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions will always be welcome and appreciated at: steve@buddyandme.co.za

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
13
Jun '10

Day 251-253: Friday to Sunday, 4 – 6 June 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

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)

Friday (4th June) proved to be something of a very busy day for ‘Buddy and Me’. We had three Beares stores to visit, one at the Station, where Yame’s office is situated, one at the Game Centre in Kgale Hill, and one in Broadhurst, and on top of this a lot of talking with a lot of people.

So with all of this in mind, ‘Buddy and Me’ set off immediately after breakfast and headed for the Beares store at the Station area. Here we were met a tremendous bunch of people in the form of the Beares staff as well as the ‘notorious’ Yame! I had a lengthy chat with everyone and this included a number of the members of the public who were sucked in by Buddy’s charisma and charm and who popped in and gave me their views on the subject of child rape, which I will mention later in this blog because there were so many throughout the day, and of course a lot of it is repetitive, and so I will rather raise all of these later.

<i><b>Beares</b> Gaborone Station staff</i>

Beares Gaborone Station staff

<i>And now, <b>eventually</b>, you get to meet, the one and only <b>YAME Kgarie, Beares</b> Operations Executive / Regional Director / character of note – for Botswana region, practising sitting in Buddy’s passenger seat for the next project</i>

And now, eventually, you get to meet, the one and only YAME Kgarie, Beares Operations Executive / Regional Director / character of note – for Botswana region, practising sitting in Buddy’s passenger seat for the next project

My next visit was to the Game City Beares store in the Kgale Hill region. Here once again I met a lot of people, this shopping centre being extremely busy and was once again involved in many discussions.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Gaborone Game City/ Kgale Hill</i>

Beares staff Gaborone Game City/ Kgale Hill

From Kgale Hill ‘Buddy and Me’ set forth for the Broadhurst area, and this place was really busy. By the end of the day I had spoken so much my voice was hoarse and Buddy was struggling to keep up.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff from the Broadhurst store</b>

Beares staff from the Broadhurst store

The lady in the middle with the blue and white stripped blouse Phodisa, holding the ‘Buddy and Me’ flyer, and if you look carefully is also holding a green, what’s it called, the thing you attach your keys or cell phone to and hang it around your neck, donated this particular one to me. It is the first one with the Beares logo on it I have seen, so thanks Phodisa I will treasure it and put it to good use.

The driver from the Game City store, Duncan, had kindly driven with me to the Broadhurst store to show me the way, and so I returned to the Game City store to drop him off and then returned to the Station store to meet up with some other interesting people from the prison department. After dropping Duncan off and on the way to the Station store I kind of took a wrong turning and got slightly lost and was forced to take a couple of back roads and in the process of trying to avoid being wiped off the face of the earth by one oncoming truck and another one which was overtaking me and forced me off the narrow road in order to avoid the oncoming one as well which was halfway into our lane, I hit a massive pothole which shook Buddy to his roots.

By the time I reached the Station store, and for the rest of the afternoon I was detecting a strong petrol smell. I checked the engine compartment as well as the tank cap but could not find any trace of leaking petrol. I finished my discussions at a little after 5:30 and returned to my ‘Riverside Lodge’ lodgings and began settled down for the evening.

Saturday morning when I approached Buddy, he smelt like a petrol pump and the lodge’s security guard came up and commented on it. I checked underneath Buddy’s front left fender and got the shock of my life. The ground below Buddy’s tank was saturated in petrol and petrol was leaking at a mean rate from a hole in the tank. Fortunately my spare 20 litre jerry can was still empty after having used the petrol at ‘Elephant Sands’, but unfortunately I had filled up the tank after leaving the Broadhurst Beares store on Friday, so the tank had, had 38 litres in it, or close to it, when I had parked Buddy Friday night.

After siphoning out as much petrol as I could and then hurriedly ripping off Buddy’s bonnet to get to the tank and undoing the bolt holding the petrol pipe fitting below the tank, all this taking time, and catching as much petrol as I could through the exit hole, I managed to salvage twenty litres in the jerry can and a further 4 litres in a 5 litre plastic water bottle. After removing the tank, I discovered that when I had hit the pothole on Friday the tank had hit the steering bar thingy–ma–bob and had made a small hole as well as a crack in the tank.

The only stuff I had to fix the problem with was a tin of epoxy fibreglass resin, so after cleaning the damaged area, I applied a generous coating of the fibreglass resin hoping that this would bind and seal both the crack and hole. But alas after having left it for the rest of the day and night to harden, Sunday morning after trying it out I discovered that it had not worked, the fibreglass resin had cracked and peeled off. So I had dramas on my hands and the fact that it was now Sunday in Gaborone was not going to make matters any easier.

I managed to get a lift with a fellow guest at the lodge, also Steve, to the Riverside Walk shopping centre praying that I could find a shop which sold some sort of metal epoxy glue, and low and behold after cruising the isles of the Pick ʼn Pay found a two pack mix of metal epoxy glue by Pattex, and according to the container this stuff will stick anything metal, so walla this must solve my problem. I walked the three kilometres back to the lodge, all the while praying that it would work, and after applying it, it definitely appeared to have done the job.

<i>In this photo you can see where the tank hit the steering rod thingy-ma-bob</i>

In this photo you can see where the tank hit the steering rod thingy-ma-bob

<i>Mmmmm Mr. Mechanic himself, becoming quite the pro</i>

Mmmmm Mr. Mechanic himself, becoming quite the pro

<i>Not only did I have to fix Buddy’s problem, but I had the usual washing chores to attend to as well, note the washing in the background</i>

Not only did I have to fix Buddy’s problem, but I had the usual washing chores to attend to as well, note the washing in the background

Fortunately the wonder epoxy metal glue worked like a charm and the tank was back in by two thirty and there was not a leak insight. Soon after having arrived at my accommodation on Friday night, a friend in the form of a young cat arrived at my front door. After flattening a tin of Portuguese sardines we were pretty good buddies and he stuck around my room for the remainder of my stay, although initially he would not come into the room, but by the time Saturday came and he had flattened another two tins of sardines he ventured in.

<i>Meet ‘Puddy’ as in ‘Puddy Tat’, enjoying a tin of sardines</i>

Meet ‘Puddy’ as in ‘Puddy Tat’, enjoying a tin of sardines

<i>He also took a keen interest in the work I was undertaking on Buddy and every now and then gave off a “Meow” after closing inspecting the job, I took it as a meow of confidence</i>

He also took a keen interest in the work I was undertaking on Buddy and every now and then gave off a “Meow” after closing inspecting the job, I took it as a meow of confidence

<i>Meet ‘Puddy’ close up</i>

Meet ‘Puddy’ close up

And so with Buddy back in one piece, and the leaking tank problem solved, I celebrated the job well done with a chicken curry and cold beer.

<i>Buddy looking like himself again and ready to tackle the final stage of this project</i>

Buddy looking like himself again and ready to tackle the final stage of this project

So now down to the comments and opinions I was given by the many individuals I have spoken to since arriving in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. The best news I received is the fact that the prison department, unlike our South African ‘Correctional Services’, here they still refer to it as a “prison”, does not take nonsense and the sentences which are being passed down and the manner in which they are carried out, is as was told to me by the Senior Superintendent in Selebi Phikwe the other day. (See my blog for 1st June day 248)

It was confirmed that the sentences for rapists passed down by the courts on being convicted are based on their HIV/Aids status and the sentences and early release requirements I mentioned in my blog on the 1st of June, day 248 are being applied. So that is good news.

While on the point of convicted prisoners, a comment was made regarding the South African governments decision to provide ‘in-mates’ as in convicted villains with television sets in all the ‘Correctional Services’ facilities. I personally did not hear of this ridiculous decision due to the fact that I have been out of touch with the news in South Africa for the past couple of months.

This I find really mind boggling due to the fact that they – our South African government – in their ‘wisdom’, elected to close all the schools during the 2010 World Cup Soccer fiasco and this after having spent millions of Rands on seminars around South Africa warning the public and in particular, parents of the massive threat of human trafficking which is expected to take pace during this six week period. By closing the schools they have placed two and a half millions children on our streets, un-supervised, because no parent will be able to get six weeks leave to look after their kids.

Perhaps it would have been wiser to provide the schools with all the television sets and have kept the children in school and allowed them the opportunity of watching the soccer, and rather deprive the convicted criminals of their ability to watch the soccer; after all they have committed crimes against society and should be deprived of their normal civilian rights.

The other comments made by many individuals was the fact that child rape is happening on a pretty large scale here in Botswana and that it is not, as is occurring in South Africa, being reported due to the fact that the far majority of perpetrators are family members as in fathers, step-fathers, uncles and grandfathers, and due to the economic/financial implications the mothers are not reporting it.

Over the past few weeks my mind has been working overtime planning what I intend focussing on in my next project, and I now know exactly what I will be doing in order to achieve my ultimate goal, which is to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.

But I still have four days to complete on this project and so will be fine tuning my plans for the next project and so will write about these plans before finally signing off in four days time, so stay tuned.

For now, ‘Buddy and Me’ are going to wish you farewell, and so until next I get to sit down and write about our daily escapades, we will say good night, God bless, stay safe and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

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
13
Jun '10

Day 249-250: Wednesday and Thursday, 2-3 June 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

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)

This morning (Wednesday the 2nd June) was a bit of an early rise and rush to have breakfast, stop off at the Beares store to say farewell to the Beares staff and head out of Selebi Phikwe at a rush at 7:45am so that ‘Buddy and Me’ could drive the 188 kilometres to Serowe in order to make our 10am appointment to visit the Beares staff there. Fortunately the sky was clear but in-spite of the blue skies it was very chilly and even with my gloves on my hands were frozen, not to mention the rest of my body.

At Palapye we made a right turn and covered the last 48 kilometres in record time and actually arrived at the Serowe store dead on time. Buddy thoroughly enjoyed the cool weather because he hates being driven cold and also hates being driven hot, so the reasonably quick drive in the cool weather suited him perfectly and on arriving and after a few minutes time to rest, my check revealed that he had not lost a drop of oil, really impressive Buddy, I hope the rest of the journey is going to produce the same results, although I would preferably drive slower in warm weather.

I had a great time chatting to the staff of Beares in Serowe and they produced some really great opinions and comments on both the child rape situation in Botswana as well as opinions on the project. From all the comments that have been made by various individuals, it is apparent that child rape in Botswana is definitely occurring at an increasing rate, and not like a few officials like to believe that teenage and adult rape is occurring on a much larger basis. Also there is no professionally trained support structure anywhere in the country for child rape victims.

I think the comments made by the ladies of Beares Serowe say it all, and for the second time in this project after visiting 190 Beares and Lubners stores on this project since the 3rd of August 2009, the Beares ladies of Serowe specifically asked if I would photograph their comments page they made in my Beares staff/management comments book and show it on my blog, so ladies your wish is granted. Not only that, I think it is worth including it in my blog, so this is what the ladies of Beares Serowe had to say:

We personally feel that it is very traumatising to have a child, 12 years and below raped! We think that every country should definitely have a zero tolerance for such barbaric and uncouth bizarre behaviour. We strongly feel that Beares/Lubners should set up structures to fully take care of such victims and the government should make it a point that such unbecoming practices are completely scorned and such culprits be taken to book. We strongly believe that such people should be treated like out-casts and do not deserve to live within the community.

Compiled on behalf of the staff of Beares Serowe by: Pina Mothowabarwa

<i>Meet the ladies of <b>Beares</b> Serowe</i>

Meet the ladies of Beares Serowe

<i>And ladies your wish is granted</i>

And ladies your wish is granted

<i>The main street of Serowe Botswana</i>

The main street of Serowe Botswana

From Serowe ‘Buddy and Me’ headed back to Palapye where I had a really magic time with the Beares staff there and got to attend a meeting with the Board Members of the ‘House of Hope’, which is an NGO that provides support to a total of some 800 children in various projects mainly consisting of orphans due to the huge HIV/Aids epidemic as well as other challenged kids.

All my discussions so far have revealed the fact that here in Botswana there are many NGO and government organisations providing tremendous support to orphaned children due to the fact that this is a major problem facing the country in the face of the massive HIV/Aids epidemic here. But in spite of the fact that it is well known and acknowledged that the rape and sexual abuse of children is occurring at a really high rate, and particularly, as it is occurring in South Africa, by immediate family members as in fathers and uncles etc, I have not found one single NGO or government organisation that provides the necessary support to child rape victims. The general attitude is, ‘Well that will have to wait until we sort out the HIV/Aids problem first before we tackle that problem” and a blind eye is being turned. The problem of course is that the HIV/Aids problem will be around for many, many years to come, and in the mean time because the barbarians raping the children are getting away with it, due to the mothers not reporting it, due to the fact that they have no support structure, they will continue to do so.

Based on the information I have been given, particularly over the last few days here in Botswana, although tremendous legislation has been promulgated, and the punishments are being dealt out correctly, and the prisons are doing their bit, the problem will continue to escalate at the same rate as it is occurring in South Africa if the Botswana government does not implement the same Care Centres and support structures for the mothers to encourage them to report the rape of their children, as I have identified in my proposal to the president on what needs to be done to eradicate the rape of children from our societies immediately. (Click on the link for the ‘Proposal to the president’ on this website)

<i>Meet the friendly <b>Beares</b> staff Palapye</i>

Meet the friendly Beares staff Palapye

<i>The main street of Palapye</i>

The main street of Palapye

From Palapye ‘Buddy and Me’ once again took to the road and drove through to Mahalapye where we arrived at 4:20pm and where once again that amazing man Yame Kgarie, the Beares Operations Executive, (Regional Director) for Botswana had arranged for some comfortable accommodation for ‘Buddy and Me’ in the form of the ‘Oasis lodge’, I can’t wait to get to Gaborone tomorrow evening and finally actually meet up with the man again.

This morning (Thursday 3rd June) both ‘Buddy and Me’ woke refreshed from a good nights sleep and visited the staff of the Beares Mahalapye store. On our way to the store I thought I should rather first stop and fill up Buddy’s tank, again! A never ending function, and so pulled into the Engine filling station where as usual Buddy caused quite a stir with his entrance. Usually when ‘Buddy and Me’ pull in to fill up with petrol we create quite a stir and have everyone come around making comments about this crazy little car and on discovering how far Buddy has travelled are quite amazed.

But this morning when ‘Buddy and Me’ pulled into the Mahalapye Engine garage, we almost caused a riot with all the petrol attendants calling for me to drive to their pump. After I had made the final decision on a pump and pulled up alongside the pump, everyone wanted to serve me and the pump jockey appointed to that specific pump had to fight off about 6 other pump jockeys to be able to help me.

<i>Probably the craziest bunch of petrol attendants I have encountered on this project to date</i>

Probably the craziest bunch of petrol attendants I have encountered on this project to date

<i>And it didn’t stop there, when I asked to have the tires pumped, I had a whole bunch of guys wanting to do the job</i>

And it didn’t stop there, when I asked to have the tires pumped, I had a whole bunch of guys wanting to do the job

The Beares staff of Mahalapye turned out to be yet another really great bunch and I once again had a wonderful time chatting to them and getting their opinions on child rape and Beares involvement in the project.

I was hoping to be given the opportunity to meet the local prison staff as I did on my last visit to Mahalapye on the ‘African odyssey’, project back in 2006, but unfortunately due to the fact that I had a 200 kilometre drive to Gaborone where I had to meet up with Yame and find out where I would be staying for the evening, I was restricted by time and so could not make the 3pm appointment, much to my dismay. But what a wonderful bunch of people the Beares staff of Mahalapye are and led by the amazing lady, Shinny Moyo.

<i>Meet the great people of <b>Beares</b> Mahalapye, Shinny, the store manager is the stunning lady in the middle with the pink blouse showing</i>

Meet the great people of Beares Mahalapye, Shinny, the store manager is the stunning lady in the middle with the pink blouse showing

<i>The ‘main Street’ of Mahalapye</i>

The ‘main Street’ of Mahalapye

After bidding everyone farewell, until next we meet, ‘Buddy and Me’ once again took to the road and drove the 200 kilometres to Gaborone. About 50 kilometres outside of Mahalapye, we once again crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, and to ‘Buddy and Me’ we were starting to feel like we were back on the ‘African Odyssey’ project again when our zig zagging through Africa had caused us to cross the Equator about 9 times, I think we have crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, on this project alone, four times.

<i>The tropic of Capricorn</i>

The tropic of Capricorn

Once again I was reminded of that great South Africa adventurer, Kingsley Holgate, who I one day hope to meet, who circumnavigated the earth following the Tropic of Capricorn, and whose adventures together with his family can be read in his book “Capricorn, the invisible line’.

On the small plaque identifying the exact line of Capricorn is the following notice:

“This point is on the Tropic of Capricorn, which is the most southerly latitude reached by the sun. Here the sun will be at the zenith each year on Midsummer Day at midday local apparent time which is on the 22nd December at approximately 12 minutes past twelve o’clock noon. At this time the sun will shine directly down the tube above this notice”.

<i>This picture shows the plaque and the ‘tube’ mentioned in the notice</i>

This picture shows the plaque and the ‘tube’ mentioned in the notice

The 200 kilometre drive to Gaborone took ‘Buddy and Me’ four and a half hours to complete and so we arrived at Yame’s office at a little after 2:30 in the afternoon, and after being pointed in the direction of the lodge ‘Buddy and Me’ are staying in, ‘The Riverside lodge’, we did not hesitate in finding it and getting settled in.

Tomorrow, Friday, I hope to meet up with some intriguing people in the form of local authorities and NGO’s who can further enlighten me on what is occurring in Botswana with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children in Botswana and what the authorities are doing to eradicate this scourge from their society.

So until next I get a chance to write up my blog, and get some kind person to help me to email it to Gail in Jo’burg so that she can get the blog’s up to date, which believe me is a daunting job, ‘Buddy and Me’ will wish you well, stay safe and of course keep all children safe, it’s their right as the future of our countries.

So, until then?
Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions are welcome at: steve@buddyandme.co.za

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
6
Jun '10

Day 248: Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

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)

This morning I woke to a miserable and cloudy, rainy day. Buddy had spent the night below my room window looking very forlorn and I was not particularly looking forward to the drive of 160 kilometres in the rain and cold to Selebi Phikwe, but the crusade must go on, so off we went.

<i>Buddy where he ‘slept’ under my window, my room being on the first floor above the trailer, curtain slightly open, this to wake me up when the sun came up, which didn’t occur this morning</i>

Buddy where he ‘slept’ under my window, my room being on the first floor above the trailer, curtain slightly open, this to wake me up when the sun came up, which didn’t occur this morning

Before heading out I had to replace the emergency made (80) sign on the rear of the trailer and to attach Buddy’s new licence disc which was due at midnight last night. So now ‘Buddy and Me’ are totally legal, although the red T is not the official one but I hunted high and low in Francis Town to get one but to no avail, so my emergency made one will just have to do.

<i>My emergency (80)</i> and

My emergency (80) and

<i>The official (80) sticker, personally I think mine stands out better, but then again I’m probably biased</i>

The official (80) sticker, personally I think mine stands out better, but then again I’m probably biased

I have often mentioned the fact that I am drawn into many discussions regarding topics which are not related to my crusade on child rape in anyway, and one such discussion took place last night with a couple of local gentlemen while discussing the atrocious condition of the, in particular, Nata – Kazangula road. This section of road, as I remarked on in my last blog, is extremely dangerous with long grass growing right on the edge of the road with not even so much as a metre of shoulder on the road and with animals, including elephant and other wild animals in the form of very large ‘buck’, stepping out of the long grass directly into the road in front of oncoming traffic.

This discussion inspired additional in-put on the fact that “our” governments implement and enforce laws such as the use of safety belts and the compulsory wearing of helmets for motor cyclists, which do not prevent accidents but only ensure the safety of the user after an accident has already occurred. There is no law against an individual attempting to commit suicide and so therefore it was unanimously agreed in the discussion panel, how can they, as in “our” governments, enforce an individual to wear a safety belt or helmet if it is only that individuals life at stake, surely it should be the individuals choice as to whether or not he or she desires to wear a safety belt or helmet?

Continuing on this subject, it was unanimously agreed that the terrible condition of our roads, as in the enormous pot holes and surface conditions through continuous patching, causes more accidents and deaths than accidents caused by the failure of the wearing of safety belts and helmets. In fact the failure of using these devises has never caused an accident, and so we decided that ‘our’ governments should be held to task and ‘fined’ as in pay compensation, like we as road users have to pay fines for not wearing safety belts and helmets, for causing accidents and deaths on our roads through the terrible state of our roads. The comment from the group was, “Steve, tell them to use it, or don’t use it”, just a thought.

But now back to today, fortunately within half an hour of leaving Francis Town, the rain stopped and it began to clear, and by the time I arrived in Selebi Phikwe it was reasonably clear but still cold. I had a great time with the Beares staff and once again that amazing man, the Regional Director of Beares Botswana, Yame, had arranged accommodation for me in a nice little B&B in town called ‘Traveller’s Rest House”. So thanks again to Yame and Le Roux, the store manager for Beares Selebi Phikwe, real gentlemen proving again that ‘Beares do really care’.

<i>The Beares staff at Selebi Phikwe<i>

The Beares staff at Selebi Phikwe

The afternoon was spent visiting the police, where I had a great chat with a really friendly Senior Superintendent Ga Pule who corrected the statement I made in yesterdays blog regarding the sentences handed down by the Botswana courts with regard to the HIV status of convicted rapists.

He confirmed that the sentences are in fact as follows:
HIV negative: Minimum 10 years, escalating to 45 years life and can include the death penalty depending on the age of the victim and the severity of the injuries sustained.
HIV positive: Minimum 15 years, escalating to 45 years life and can include the death penalty depending on the age of the victim and the severity of the injuries sustained.

No person convicted of rape, according to the Senior Superintendent, can be released earlier than the stipulated minimum number of years (10 &15) and as a rule do not get released earlier than two years prior to the sentence passed by the court having expired. In other words, if a HIV positive rapist is sentenced to 25 years, the norm is that he will stay in prison for at least 23 years but could be released in extenuating circumstances after having served 15 years, but according to the Senior Superintendent, this very seldom occurs. I like this system, a lot!

But this wasn’t the end of it. The good Senior Superintendent went on to explain that, the law clearly states that “No person charged for the crime of rape will get bail”, but unfortunately a High Court ruling a few years ago established a precedent by releasing a rapist under extenuating circumstances and so bail can now be obtained by special application to the High Court, but in the far majority of rape cases no bail is granted, damn I love this Botswana system!

But the good news does not end here. It is believed by the police that the failure of the majority of rapists to get bail has resulted in the country experiencing an unbelievable conviction rate of 60 +% and when compared to South Africa’s miserable 4%, this is mind boggling. So the message to our South African justice Department is: Please, Wake up and stop granting bail to rapists, in particular CHILD RAPISTS!

And now for the other incredible information. Up until a few years ago, Botswana was making use of South Africa’s forensic facilities for the testing of DNA in rape cases etc. Since making use of their own forensic facilities, this has reduced the time taken to get a rape case to trial from an average of three years to an amazing three months, and this according to the police is also a contributing factor related to their amazing conviction rate. Need I say anymore, read my ‘Presentation to the President’ on what needs to be done to stop the rape of children, available as a link on this website?

Following my visit and chat with the friendly Senior Superintendent, I then tried to locate any sort of facility which provides a support structure for child rape victims in Selebi Phikwe, and unfortunately this is where the country is sadly lacking. After having visited a few organisations, as in NGO’s only to be told that they only provide support for HIV/Aids victims I realised that there is, after all, one large factor missing in Botswana’s fight against the rape of children, they do not have a proper, if any, support structure.

Aids is by far the largest problem facing Botswana, and I was told that it is even worse than the unemployment rate. The figures given to me by government officials, is that unemployment currently stands at around 60% and HIV/Aids positive victims stands at a staggering 70%, this is devastating.

Another intriguing fact about Botswana, well one that I have particularly noticed but might it might change when I arrive in the countries capital Gaborone, is that when compared to all the other towns and cities I have visited in Africa, and in particular South Africa, there are no street kids to be seen in the towns and cities here in Botswana. I raised this point with the Senior Superintendent as well as a senior official I had a discussion with who is with the ‘Department of Woman Affairs’, and both claimed that this is because of the “High regard for social responsibility the Botswana people have”.
According to them, if a man or woman sees a child begging in the street, they will take him/her home, feed them, and try to establish why the child is in such a state. If it turns out that the child is an orphan, due to aids etc, they will take the necessary steps to either adopt the child or make the necessary arrangements to have the child taken in by a foster family. Whatever it is they are doing, it is definitely working because for the first time in a very long time of travelling around Africa, it is the first time I have not been accosted by a horde of street kids begging.

My discussions today with a number of people in various organisations confirmed that, child rape is definitely occurring here in Botswana and for the same reasons as those we are experiencing in South Africa it is not being reported. This therefore proves my point that in-spite of all the laws, and for that matter, the punishments being legislated by our government, we will never stop the rape of children unless the support is provided to the mothers and victims first, thereby encouraging them to report the rape of children, and only then can harsh punishments be handed down.

I believe that if our government is incapable of stopping the rape of the children then they must, instead of spending hundreds of millions of Rands on making the barbarian rapists life better and providing him with counselling and education while in the States ‘Correctional Services facility’, give the support to the victims in the form of a professionally managed support structure in compensation for the governments failure to be able to protect the child. Once again, read my proposal to the president (The link on this website) on how the Thuthuzela Care Centres at every provincial hospital in South Africa should be structured.

So that brings an end to yet another day in the life of ‘Buddy and Me’ here in Selebi Phikwe Botswana, so until tomorrow, we will say cheers for now, stay safe and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

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
6
Jun '10

Day 247: Monday, 31 May 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

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 not having experienced any rain, since I think it was January while in the Witbank area, and the light shower through the night while I was at Elephant Sands, last night and today made up for it. As I said in yesterday’s blog, the drive to Francis Town was a cold and cloudy one for the entire day and during the night it started raining and has not stopped since.

I spent the day driving around town visiting the three Beares stores here in Francis Town and believe me driving in this town/city is difficult enough without the crazy drivers becoming total lunatics when it rains. But this is a phenomenon that occurs all over this continent, especially in Jo’burg, because for some unknown reason whenever it rains motorists seem to increase speed and drive like demons. Here in Francis Town, there is a large traffic circle at the one end of the main street and drivers entering this circle will not stop or wait for anyone, they just go, if you hesitate you are in major trouble, the traffic around this traffic circle is chaotic all day, and in the rain its pure bedlam.

So having said all of that, my visits to the Beares stores started at 10:15am at the store situated in the Pick ʼn Pay Centre and this was followed by a visit to the store at the station region and then finally at 3:00 I finished at the store in Haskin Road. I had a really great time chatting to all the staff and filling them in on the travels undertaken by ‘Buddy and Me’ as well as the purpose behind the project and Beares involvement. The comments made by the managers and staff in my Beares visit book makes for some really interesting reading and I must tell you that on a few occasions when I have felt ‘down’, I have been truly motivated by their comments.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff in the Pick ʼn pay Centre</i>

Beares staff in the Pick ʼn pay Centre

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Station area</i>

Beares staff Station area

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Haskin Street</i>

Beares staff Haskin Street

From the Beares stores I made a stop at the police station where I met a really friendly police officer who although was a little nervous about talking to me on the subject of child rape, confirmed that although child rape is occurring in the area, it is, like it is in Namibia, occurring more with girls in their mid teens and young woman. This he explained is because they are out drinking and partying and in most cases “instigating the rape”.

On my last visit to Botswana, I was given information by many different individuals, these being people associated with the police force, the courts, social workers and prison authorities, which pointed to the fact that Botswana does not mess around when it comes to their fight on crime and child rape in particular. I was told that on conviction the rapists HIV/Aids status is taken into account and that the following sentences are applicable:

  • HIV/Aids status negative – Minimum of 7 years imprisonment increasing to 45 years life and including the death penalty depending on the age of the victim and the severity of the rape.
  • HIV/Aids status positive – Minimum of 17 years imprisonment increasing to 45 years life and including the death penalty depending on the age of the victim and severity of the rape.

I was hoping to get to talk to someone from the justice department to obtain confirmation of this but unfortunately this was not possible as the only official who is permitted to talk to me on the subject was busy in court, although I did get a message to say that I could meet with him tomorrow after 10am, but unfortunately I will be in Selebi Phikwe at that time tomorrow, but they do have regional courts there and I am hoping to get to meet up with someone from the court there. The second disappointment came when I was told that there were no social workers available to talk to me. This is the one area I desperately want to get some clarification on with regard to the support structures available for child rape victims here in Botswana. So once again I will hold thumbs for a positive response from the department over the next few days.

I will be completing this project on my visit to the last Beares store in Lobatse on the 9th June and will then be returning home. Over the last few weeks I have been giving serious consideration to the huge amount of publicity this project has obtained during the past year, with thousands of people spreading the word around the world about ‘Buddy and Me’. The website has been extremely busy and I have also received an immense amount of support from some very influential politicians and other influential people and believe that I must continue on my crusade, and so hope to commence with the next project as soon as possible.

After studying the proposal I compiled to the President regarding the 6 factors which I believe needs to be focused on in order to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa, I believe that the most important and immediate factors which needs to be focused on are the first three factors identified in my proposal to the President, namely:

1) The establishment of Thuthuzela Care Centres – properly established offering the services described in my proposal. (This can be seen by clicking on the link on the front page of this website)
2) The support to mothers reporting the rape of their children by the Department of Social Development and Welfare Services.
3) The establishment of an HR service within the Department of Social Development based at the Thuthuzela Care Centres to assist mothers reporting the rape of their children in obtaining employment, particularly in the cases where the father, uncle etc is the culprit. I have discussed this theory with many businessmen and woman in both large business and small businesses around South Africa and have had fantastic responses in support of such an initiative.

These are the specific areas I hope to be focussing my next project on, and so watch out government, I’m going to be bringing out the big stick on this one, and you will be hearing from me, because I am adamant that the rape and sexual abuse of children can, must, be stopped.

So that’s all for now, but stay tuned for the next episode in the lives of ‘Buddy and Me’ when we continue heading South in Botswana and will be visiting the towns of:

  • Selebi Phikwe
  • Palapye
  • Serowe
  • Mahalapye
  • Gaborone
  • Molopolole
  • Jwaneng
  • Kanye
  • Lobatse

So keep well, stay safe and ya you know it, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

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
6
Jun '10

Day 243-246: Thursday to Sunday, 27-30 May 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

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)

Thursday the 27th May was spent catching up on the usual chores of washing and trying to sort out computer problems. As everyone who knows me, knows, I am a complete computer idiot, and that is why I have Gail back in Jo’burg sorting out my e-mailed blog’s so she can post them on my website and help me with any other computer problems I encounter.

So when I first plugged in my mouse, which is now referred to by me as a “RAT” because after plugging it in nothing happened, and I discovered that the cable leading into the “RAT” was broken, and Mandy, the co-owner of ‘Touch of Africa’ with her husband Franz, kindly gave me a spare mouse she had, I plugged in my camera to down load the pictures to my lap-top and nothing happened, again! I then went into a flat spin, but after a while of stomping around and sitting with my head in my hands, spluttering things like “Oh sh-zx/xxt what has happened now” Mandy came to my rescue once again and after plugging my camera into her lap-top discovered that the lead/cable from my camera to my lap-top was also broken, ’somewhere’, what next?

She then came up with yet another solution and put my camera’s memory card into her camera and connected that to my lap-top and down loaded the pictures to my lap-top, Walla! Problem solved. So Mandy thank you for your genius-ness, (if there is such a word) without your help I would have been sunk. So if you ever find yourself travelling between Francis Town and Kaserne and in the Pandamatenga district there is a really lovely lodge you can stay over in and it’s called ‘Touch of Africa’ and Mandy and Franz will make you feel right at home. Contact details are, Website: www.touchofafrica.tv e-mail: touchofafrica@botsnet.bw Telephone: (00267)71656340.

Another problem I was experiencing was the fact that due to the fact that there was no petrol available in Kaserne; and this I was told was because of yet another strike in South Africa, so the people here in Botswana are not too happy with South Africa. Buddy’s fuel gauge, the only one that works at this point, showed that he was on about a half tank and I hoped to be able to fill up in Pandematenga, but when I arrived in Pandamatenga I was told “Sorry we have no petrol”, and so when I left Pandamatenga, destination Nata 200 kilometres away, I must admit I was just a little nervous. But I am carrying a jerry can with 18 litres of petrol which gives me about 180 kilometres driving, and fortunately to date I have not needed to use it, but I had that sinking feeling that today I would need it.

About thirty kilometres after passing through Pandamatenga I passed two guys sitting/lying resting on the side of the road with two bicycles lying close by. I of course cannot pass by individuals on the road that appear to be crazier than me and from the look of the pannion bags attached to the sides of the bicycles they were obviously nut cases undertaking a monstrous cycle tour of some kind. On stopping and making a U turn I discoverer that they were two ‘pommies’ from the UK, in fact London, Duncan Hills and Dickon Broadhurst who were cycling from Cairo to Cape Town and in fact are on their way to South Africa to watch the 2010 World Cup Soccer. You can check them out on their website: www.cycletotheworldcup.co.uk and can contact them via e-mail: hills.duncan@gmail.com.

<i>Meet the two intrepid nut case cyclists from London – Duncan standing on Buddy and Dickon cool and collected</i>

Meet the two intrepid nut case cyclists from London – Duncan standing on Buddy and Dickon cool and collected

During our chat they told me that they were intending to camp over at ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’ which according to their ‘book’ and GPS, is situated about 60 kilometres before Nata. I was intending to camp over at the Nata lodge, but on second thought decided to change to ‘Elephant Sands’ and boy was I happy I did.

On arriving at the lodge I was met by the Manager, Jaco van Wyk who on hearing my sad story about my dwinderling budget etc offered me camping facilities in the lovely lodge. Soon after setting up camp I wandered over to the bar to indulge in a cold frosty and within minutes a herd of elephants appeared at the watering hole which is a matter of metres away from where we were standing.

<i>My campsite at ‘Elephant Sands’</i>

My campsite at ‘Elephant Sands’

<i>What an incredible sight, wild elephants only a matter of metres from where we were standing</i>

What an incredible sight, wild elephants only a matter of metres from where we were standing

<i>They even come right up to the camp and drink the swimming pool water</i>

They even come right up to the camp and drink the swimming pool water

Of course Saturday (29th May) was spent watching the ‘Super 14’ rugby final between the Bulls and the Stormers and so to all my Bulls supporter friends and family, in particular, Michaela – my grand-daughter, son in-law Zak, Gaston at the Gem Bar in Lambton Germiston, and of course Karen Venske who has just recently moved back to SA from Malawi with my good buddy Edwin her husband, well done guys, the Bulls definitely deserved it, they were undoubtedly the best team in the Super 14 this season, but enjoy your victory while it lasts, the Sharks are going to kick butt next year.

Other functions which took up my time on Saturday was obviously the never ending chore of washing, transferring the 18 litres of petrol from the jerry can to Buddy’s tank which was almost bone dry, and with the help of a fellow guest, Daryl who provided me with red insulation tape, manufactured a red T and (80) sign to keep the cops off my back.

<i>Hopefully this will keep the cops at bay until I can get my hands on the proper thing</i>

Hopefully this will keep the cops at bay until I can get my hands on the proper thing

<i>The ‘guys’ toasting the Bulls supporters on their victory – from left: Duncan, Jaco (Manager of the Elephant Sands Lodge) Dickon and yours-truly, by the way the toast was executed with Jagermeisters</i>

The ‘guys’ toasting the Bulls supporters on their victory – from left: Duncan, Jaco (Manager of the Elephant Sands Lodge) Dickon and yours-truly, by the way the toast was executed with Jagermeisters

There were a lot of foreign guests at the lodge and I got to discuss the project and the child rape situation with a number of them. Just to mention a few of the amazing people I met during my two night stay at ‘Elephant Sands’ included, Jacques and Hillary, unfortunately for the life of me I cannot remember their surname and did not write it down, Noel and Rika who are also travelling through Africa: www.nomad-adventure.com ; Andon Van der Merwe (and by the way that is how his name is spelt) who is travelling from Pretoria to Egypt on his motor cycle: www.2wherever.com : andonvdm@yahoo.com and of course the guy who fly’s guests around the area Bruce, the man in his amazing flying machine, and of course the two crazy pommies on their bicycles, Duncan and Dickon. These are just to mention a few.

<i>Duncan, Dickon and yours-truly enjoying the elephants after a really hard game of rugby, in which the Bulls won</i>

Duncan, Dickon and yours-truly enjoying the elephants after a really hard game of rugby, in which the Bulls won

One of the other important facts that occurred on Saturday was that, while sitting studying my lap-top while doing my blog, I happened to notice a small ‘hole’ type thing in the front of the computer which looked the size of the memory card from my camera and wondered if it was not possibly a place where I could put my camera memory card in to down load my pictures in-leu of the fact that my cable was broken. I asked Jacques if he thought this would work, after all I wasn’t going to create bigger problems for myself by forcing the memory card in somewhere where it wasn’t supposed to go, and he confirmed that it was. So walla, my picture downloading problem was solved. Damn I’m getting good at this computer storey; I’m even starting to scare myself.

It rained right through the night which obviously brought the temperature plummeting and so it was a pretty cool night, but not as cold as I have been hearing it is in Jo’burg, but I’ll be nearing the freezer chest soon, so I will enjoy the warm weather while it lasts.

Sunday morning, (this morning the 30th May 2010) fortunately the rain had stopped at around 5am and gave the tent a chance to dry out, and so I was up, packed, showered and saying farewell to all my newly acquired intrepid traveller friends and thanking Jaco for his kind hospitality and asking him to pass on my thanks and good wishes to the owner of the ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’ Ben Moller who unfortunately was not around, and heading out of the lodge at 10:30am, destination Francis Town 240 kilometres south.

<i>Farewell to Jaco van Wyk, at the entrance to ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’</i>

Farewell to Jaco van Wyk, at the entrance to ‘Elephant Sands Lodge’

<i>All the hooligans trying to emulate the Bulls scrum I think, from the left: Dickon, Jaco, Andon, Bruce in the rear, Hillary and Jacques, Una the bar lady is right at the back</i>

All the hooligans trying to emulate the Bulls scrum I think, from the left: Dickon, Jaco, Andon, Bruce in the rear, Hillary and Jacques, Una the bar lady is right at the back

<i>And of course I cannot end without showing you this one!</i>

And of course I cannot end without showing you this one!

So if you are ever travelling through the region between Nata and Kaserne, and in fact are 60 kilometres north of nata and need somewhere really neat to stay over, or in fact if you want to get away for a few days and visit a place where the elephants rule and you can get to see them really close up, contact Jaco at ‘Elephant Sands’ on: Email bookings@elephantsandsbotswana.com and check out their website on: www.elephantsandsbotswana.com you won’t be sorry. ( GPS co-ordinates are: S19°44.943′ E26°04.280′)

It was a very cold drive through to Nata and onwards to Francis Town and the sky remained very cloudy for the entire journey and it took ‘Buddy and Me’ five and a half hours to drive the 240 kilometres. The road from Kaserne to Nata is a really bad one with some real nasty pot holes and sections that have been patched so many times the road is almost one big patch.

Also what makes this section extremely dangerous is the fact that the long and dense grass which borders on the edge of the road, there is not even a half a metre of shoulder, makes one feel like you are driving through a tunnel, and when animals, and there are plenty of them in the form of elephants, Kudu and numerous other species, step out of the grass into the road, the driver does not stand a chance of avoiding hitting them, especially if you are travelling at the speed the trucks and other motorists travel at.

About 50 kilometres out of Francis Town I came across another group of three cyclists and of course I had to stop and find out who they were and where they were travelling from and to where. It turned out that they are Mariusz, Ryszaed and Maciej and are also cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. So the African roads are really busy with cyclists riding from Cairo to Cape Town.


Meet yet another bunch of crazy guys cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. Check them out on their website: www.welocypedy.pl and www.roweremprezezafryke.blox.pl : e-mail: czopel@wp.pl

While driving to Francis Town, I received a call from that character of note Yame Kgarie, and if you read my blog for the 18th and 19th of August 2009, hell that feels like years ago, you will see that when we had last met at the Beares conference in Dundee and him and I had shared a room, I had had quite an experience with him, read it and see what I’m talking about, and the purpose of his call was to inform me that he had made arrangements for my accommodation in Francis Town. So Yame, thank you, and I forgive you for locking me out of my room in Dundee and having to smash the window to get access to my bed for the night. Oh by the way, Yame has also been promoted from Regional Manager for Beares for the Botswana South Region, to Regional Director for the Botswana Region, so well done Yame, you totally deserve it and I know you will make Beares rock in Botswana.

So with that I will bid you all good night, I am looking forward to getting to meet some interesting people in Francis Town tomorrow and getting some up dated information on what is happening with the child rape situation in Botswana. Apart from the discussions I have been having with people along my route, I have not been able to learn much more and the information has been pretty repetitive, so hopefully tomorrow I can learn something new, or at least learn that Botswana is at least still on the right track as it was when last I visited the country for years ago.

Before I sign off I want to make a desperate appeal to everyone reading my blog’s. Please people, the four organisations linked to my website, namely: The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobby Bear, TygerBear and GRIP, desperately need help, as in bucks to provide the much needed and necessary support to child rape victims, so Pleeeeez support them by clicking on their link and making a donation to one of them or preferably all of them. Your support and help will be gratefully appreciated by them and the kids who will benefit from your support.

So cheers for now, stay well, stay safe and of course keep all children safe.

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

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
6
Jun '10

Day 240-242: Monday to Wednesday, 24-26 May 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.

The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.

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 this morning, Monday the 24th May, I woke another year older, the weather blessed me with yet another beautiful day in Africa for my birthday, wow and the big one at that. There are not too many people who get to celebrate the year they were born in with the same number of years they have lived, as in I was born in 1955 and today I turned 55 years old, neat hey.

So after breakfast and a chat with Peter and Norma Barclay before they headed out on their merry way (See the photo of them in my last blog), I headed for the Beares store where due to the fact that ‘the larnies’ as in Willie Steyn the Operations Executive for Namibia and the Regional Manager Boete losper were putting the staff through their paces, things were somewhat hectic. So after meeting everyone and a brief chat about the project I got out of their way and headed for the police station and department of gender equality and Child welfare.

The main street of Katima Mulilo taken from the same point in front of the Beares store in opposite directions

Unfortunately once again I was unsuccessful in securing a meeting with any one of any significance in the police force, due to the fact that I “did not have the necessary letter of authority from the chief of police to discuss ‘this sensitive matter’. I did however meet a really friendly cop as I was leaving the police station that was standing outside admiring Buddy who spoke to me briefly about the situation in Katima Mulilo and Namibia in general. So Buddy came to my rescue once again by doing his job and attracting the attention of the people I want to talk to, so Buddy has convinced me that he was definitely a good choice as my mode of transport.

The discussion I had with this friendly policeman mainly confirmed the information I have already been given by the police who were brave enough to talk to me in Swakopmund and one or two other areas as well as the social worker in Grootfontein, and that is that the justice system appears to be going backwards by following the route South Africa has taken in implementing the rehabilitation system, providing counselling to child rapists but not to the victims, releasing convicted felons long before their sentence has been completed, releasing suspects on bail resulting in a very low conviction rate, cases taking anything up to four and five years to get to trial, and I could go on for ages.

After my chat I hunted down the residence of the infamous Doug Wegener who apart from numerous other business’s in town, owns a camping resort which is situated about 30 kilometres out of town on the Ngoma road called Kalambeza. While I was in Port St Johns, the owners of the lodge I had stayed in, John and Sherol ‘Ferrari’ Ferreira (Mountain View Inn) had told me about Doug and had contacted him to make arrangements for me to camp at Kalambeza when I arrived in Katima Mulilo. Unfortunately his resort was wiped out in the recent floods and so I could not take him up on his kind offer of a campsite for my stay in Katima Mulilo.

I found Dougs ‘town house’ and ended up spending the afternoon with him and his friend Henk Coetzer who also happens to be the father of Marcel Coetzer – the General Manager of the Protea Hotel- who had so kindly assisted me by providing me with accommodation in a luxury room on my arrival in Katima Mulilo and then three nights camping. While helping Doug reduce his stocks of Tafel Lager, we were joined by another friend of Doug’s, Harry. While reducing Doug’s beer stocks at a pace, arrangements were made to visit Doug’s resort so that I could hopefully catch that elusive monster Tiger Fish and he could ascertain the extent of the damage caused by the floods. So after a good evening, I retired to bed and dreamt of that monster Tiger Fish.

Because of the damage done to the gravel road section to the Kalabeza resort, Doug decided that we should rather load the ‘goodies’, as in Fishing rods, tackle, meat for the braai, braai wood and of course not to forget the beers and ice, into his lovely 18 foot boat and do the trip by river, of course this was a bonus for me because I got to see the countryside from the river.

The damage to the resort is humungous, and I my heart really went out to Doug for having to have sustained this amount of damage to his lovely resort for two years in a row. Last year the river rose even higher than it did this year and one has to see the photos of both the Rundu and Katima Mulilo areas and see the marks left by the river to appreciate the level the rivers rose to and the damage that was left in its wake. But Doug is an amazing character and he appears to take the knock in his stride, although he did mention that the strain and stress of running the resort is starting to get to him, mmmmm maybe there is an opportunity knocking for me, but first ‘Buddy and Me’ must complete our crusade on fighting the rape and sexual abuse of children.

<i>Meet the ‘guys’. From the left; Henk, Harry, Doug and Tom ‘Cruise’. You can see where the level of the water was on the side of the building in the background</i>

Meet the ‘guys’. From the left; Henk, Harry, Doug and Tom ‘Cruise’. You can see where the level of the water was on the side of the building in the background

<i>And because it was my birthday yesterday and today’s outing was in-lue-of that, I had to have my picture taken with that character of note and our host, Doug</i>

And because it was my birthday yesterday and today’s outing was in-lue-of that, I had to have my picture taken with that character of note and our host, Doug

<i>The water mark on the side of this rondavel clearly shows how high the water level was, and the level in this picture is still <b>four metres</b> higher than its normal level. Where Harry is standing fishing the edge of the water is at his toes and there is a sheer drop of about two and a half metres still under water and then a gradual slope of another one and a half metres to the rivers normal level</i>

The water mark on the side of this rondavel clearly shows how high the water level was, and the level in this picture is still four metres higher than its normal level. Where Harry is standing fishing the edge of the water is at his toes and there is a sheer drop of about two and a half metres still under water and then a gradual slope of another one and a half metres to the rivers normal level

After a tremendous day, in-spite of the fact that my elusive monster Tiger Fish remains elusive, we hopped on board and headed for base in the fast setting sun.

<i>Nothing like climbing over people and sliding belly down along the front deck of a speeding boat to get the ‘perfect shot’</i>

Nothing like climbing over people and sliding belly down along the front deck of a speeding boat to get the ‘perfect shot’

<i>And the beauty of the sun set made all Doug’s stress of the water damage to his resort evaporate, for the moment anyway</i>

And the beauty of the sun set made all Doug’s stress of the water damage to his resort evaporate, for the moment anyway

<i>And this photo proves it. Doug and Harry ‘parking off’ enjoying a whiskey in front of my tent after dropping me off</i>

And this photo proves it. Doug and Harry ‘parking off’ enjoying a whiskey in front of my tent after dropping me off

This morning, Wednesday, I was up at 6am and spent a leisurely two hours packing, showering and thanking Marcel, the General Manager of the Katima Mulilo Protea Hotel, for his wonderful friendship and hospitality in providing ‘Buddy and Me’ with terrific accommodation, firstly on the night of my arrival in the luxury suite, and then three nights camping in the lovely camping facilities.

<i>Marcel and me with Buddy of course, in the front entrance of the Katima Mulilo <b>Protea Hotel</b></i>

Marcel and me with Buddy of course, in the front entrance of the Katima Mulilo Protea Hotel

After stopping off to say goodbye to the Beares staff and to thank Doug and the guys for their tremendous friendship during my stay in Katima Mulilo, it was time to head out of Namibia, destination Botswana via Ngoma border post.

<i>The bridge crossing the <b>Chobe River</b> between the Namibia and Botswana border posts</i>

The bridge crossing the Chobe River between the Namibia and Botswana border posts

<i>Looking right of the bridge at the <b>Chobe River</b>. If you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, and look carefully you can see the Botswana border post up on the hill side</i>

Looking right of the bridge at the Chobe River. If you enlarge the picture by clicking on it, and look carefully you can see the Botswana border post up on the hill side

Yesterday morning I had bought a small pack of meat, intending to make a curry last night, but because of the amount of meat I ate at the braai with the guys, I decided against cooking it and left it in my cooler box with ice. I clean forgot it there and on arriving at the Botswana border post, one has to pass through an animal disease control point where you have to get out and stand on a cloth containing anti- whatever to disinfect your shoes and drive the vehicle “slowly” through a dip. But prior to this, they search the vehicle and trailer to ensure that you are not conveying meat or other produce over the border. I had forgotten all about the meat and it was only when the lady inspector opened my cooler box and extracted the small pack of meat did I remember it. Of course she and her family enjoyed the meat for dinner.

My problems started soon after passing through the Chobe Reserve where normally one sees plenty of animals in the form of Elephant, Zebra, and a wide range of ‘buck’, and where all I saw was a lot of elephant dung, which I presumed, due to the size of it, to be elephant, I didn’t actually stop to do the big game hunter thing of sticking my finger in it, smelling and tasting it to determine it’s sex, age, how long ago it was dropped etc, my excuse being that I was in a bit of a hurry.

The reason for my being in a hurry was because prior to entering Namibia, I had drawn sufficient cash to carry me through Namibia, but when had I tried to draw cash at the First National Bank, my bank, my request at the ATM was declined, and so I wanted to get to Botswana to see if I could draw there and if not have sufficient time before the bank closed to find out what the problem was. At the ATM at the First National bank in Kaserne, my attempt at drawing cash was once again denied.

At the bank I was assisted by a really friendly guy by the name of Godfrey Matengu, who really went beyond the call of duty to help me by phoning my First National Bank branch in Lambton Germiston – Jo’burg, a few times and eventually got the help of another very friendly lady there, by the name of Suzette, who spent an hour trying to locate and solve the problem which turned out to be the fact that my debit card had not been loaded on the Visa international system. But walla, between these two magic friendly individuals the problem was corrected and I was able to draw from my ever depleting budget. But I must say I sweated for awhile wondering what I was going to do without a cent in my wallet and sitting up on the Botswana/Zambia/Zimbabwe border. So to Godfrey and Suzette in Lambton Germiston FNB, you guys have my heartfelt thanks.

But my troubles never ended there, because soon after leaving Kaserne and about 20 kilometres out on the Kaserne – Nata – Francis Town road on my way to where I was hoping to spend the night at a place called ‘A Touch of Africa’ a short way before the village of Pandamatenga, I was stopped by a cop who definitely gets my award for being the most arrogant individual I have ever had the displeasure of meeting, actually no, I don’t think he’s quite as bad as officer Rautenbach in Hazeyview.

After stopping me and refusing to shake my offered extended hand, he pointed out that my trailer did not have the required red T and sticker reflecting (80) as in 80 kilometres an hour. I was then told that he was issuing me with a 500 Pula fine for not having the red T (approximately R600-00) and 300 Pula (R360-00) fine for not having the (80) sign. I asked for leniency as I did know of the requirement and promised that I would obtain the two stickers at the first auto spares shop I reached. His response to this was, “It’s not good enough, I am going to fine you”. I shrugged as there was nothing I could do and then I was told that because I am a South African, it is a spot fine and if I don’t pay it there and then I was going to be arrested.

After explaining that I did not have that amount on me, I was asked “how much do you have, maybe we can make a plan and he won’t issue me with a ticket”. I told him that how much I have on me has nothing to do with him and that I refused to pay anything unless an official receipt was issued. We were obviously on a collision course and his partner realised it, because he walked away and stood a distance off. After a couple of threats of locking me up etc, his partner called to him and after a short chat, the partner came over and said that if I put a T and 80 on with tape, they will let me go with a warning. Fortunately I had insulation tape and so ended up with a white T and white (80), the parting shout from Mr. arrogant was “If I catch you again I will lock you up”.

I arrived at Touch of Africa as the sun was setting and after being greeted by Franz and Mandy Hőbarth the owners who had accommodated me on my last trip through the area and indulged in a cold St Louis Export I set up camp and now having eaten a nice curry beef, having replaced my meat donated to the animal disease inspector at the border, when I passed through Kaserne, I am going to bed for a good nights rest. As I stopped outside the entrance of the resort Mandy called out, “Are you still driving around Africa in that Buggy”. So I will leave you with this picture of my campsite in the bush in the Touch of Africa in the area of Pandamatenga northern Botswana.

<i>My camp for the next 2 nights here at <b>‘Touch of Africa’</b></i>

My camp for the next 2 nights here at ‘Touch of Africa’

So cheers for now, stay well and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

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