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Thu
27
Jan '11

Blog 16 – Buddy and Me – Project 3 (21st – 23rd January 2011)

Posted by Julia

Categories: Buddy and Me

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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)

Hi from ‘Buddy and Me’, all is going well with both of us and we have had a really tremendously interesting few days since last I up-dated my blog. As I said in blog 15, ‘Buddy and Me’ left King Williams Town in weather that looked like we were going to be soaked by the time we reached Gonubie, but that super star Guardian Angel shone down on us and the rain held off until we reached the safety of Gonubie, then it poured.

I had emailed the Round Table guys in Gonubie RT 182, East London RT 1 and Nahoon RT 160 a week before my intended arrival in Gonubie and asked for assistance with camping facilities in Gonubie and while sitting in the Gonubie Hotel I couldn’t help dreading the thought of having to set up camp in the poring rain, but once again my Guardian Angel shone down on me and Dave Krynauw, the owner of the Gonubie Hotel, offered me complementary accommodation in his lovely hotel.

The Gonubie Hotel which is situated a mere few metres from the beach, an absolutely lovely hotel.

Then an additional bonus was slapped into my lap – boy is that Guardian Angel of mine working overtime – Coyla, of Coyla’s Place fame, the B&B I had stayed at in Mthatha, called and gave me the fantastic news that her brother, who was out from America, had vacated the garden cottage in the ‘holiday home’ her and her husband Rod have in Gonubie, which by the way is situated a mere 120 metres from the Gonubie Hotel, and so I would not have to camp in the pending foul weather which was expected to hit the East London coast over the weekend.

After a relaxing and comfortable night, Friday morning found ‘Buddy and Me’ heading back out on the King Williams Town road to the second biggest township in South Africa, Mndantsane, second only to Soweto. I spent some quality time chatting to the Beares staff in the Mndantsane shopping mall and had some spontaneous chats with members of the local community in the shopping centre as I usually do, especially if there is a Thuthuzela Care Centre in the area, and in the case of Mndantsane there is one at the Cecelia Makiwane Hospital, which is about one and a half kilometres from the mall.

I stopped and chattered briefly to 23 individuals (19 women and 4 men) and asked if they new of the Thuthuzela Care Centre and all I got back was a confused look, a shake of the head and the response “No what is that place”. I must admit that for once I was given a boost of confidence when I popped into the police station which is based in the shopping mall and asked the policeman on duty where the Thuthuzela Care Centre is, and although he had to think for a minute replied “I think it is at the Cecelia Makiwane Hospital”.

I bid farewell to the Beares staff and headed for the Cecelia Makiwane Hospital and hoped that someone would talk to me about the centre, because to date everyone at the centres I had visited seemed too scared to talk to me, for whatever reason?

Meet the really friendly glamorous ladies of Beares in the Mndantsane Shopping Mall.

My visit to the Thuthuzela Care Centre proved to be one of the best and friendliest I have had to date. I was introduced to the lady who heads up the centre, Ms. Nosisi Nangu who is a gem of a lady, very friendly and who, like me, believes that “If “ the Thuthuzela care Centres are established and manned properly, would play a major role in stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa. After presenting her with the details of my report which I intend presenting to the South African parliament in March this year which contains information on how I believe the Thuthuzela Care Centres should be established and manned, she agreed fully that my proposal is the solution to stopping the rape of children by encouraging mothers to report the crime. (If anyone would like a copy of this report, please email me and I will forward it to you)

Unfortunately the same old issues I have with the centres I have visited reared their ugly head again and by this I mean that:

  • Although at least the security people at the gate new that the Thuthuzela Care Centre existed and direct me to the centre by saying “go to the main entrance and ask for directions” but at the main entrance there was no sign indicating where the centre was. I passed a few people dressed in nursing uniforms and asked for directions and on the third attempt got the attention of what I presumed was a senior nursing sister because she had a uniform on with many shinny goodies on her shoulders and she took me to the centre, which by the way was close to the entrance of the casualty section.
  • There is a police ‘liaison’ office at the entrance to the hospital but no trained policemen or women specialising in child rape cases are based there and they do not in fact get involved in cases reported to the Thuthuzela Care Centre involving child rape, in fact I could not ascertain what their function at the hospital was exactly.
  • When a mother arrives at the centre with her daughter/son who has been raped, the centre phones the local police station and they ‘send’ someone out. As usual this could take hours.
  • A doctor is not based at the centre and it can take hours to have one released from his/her duties to undertake an examination.
  • Counselling is undertaken by outside sources and I was told that the nurses in the hospital are trained in social work functions?

 

But I must say, the centre is very clean and the staff are all exceptionally friendly.

 

Before leaving the store the Beares store manager, Patty Ndawule gave me a bag of small Beares Teddy Bear’s to give to the Thuthuzela Care Centre for the kids who are provided with support by the centre, so here the staff of the centre is displaying the Teddy Bear’s. Nosis Nangu is on the right of the photo.

Friday night was spent enjoying a braai and social evening with the Round Tablers of Gonubie, East London and Nahoon where as usual I was given the opportunity to chat to them about the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and to be given information on projects undertaken by the Tablers which have benefitted the local community. One of the projects involved a group of 6 Tablers who drove motorised scooters, sponsored by Honda East London, approximately 4 500 kilometres around South Africa over a period of one week, raising funds and awareness to the ‘Ben Bikes’ project. This is a project which involves putting bikes into the underprivileged communities and includes the training of individuals to undertake maintenance and repairs to the bikes. Information on the project can be obtained from the website: www.benbikes.org.za

 

Unfortunately with all the chatting and ‘partying’ going on by the time I woke up and wanted to take a photo, most of the Tablers and their wives had left, mmmm party too good.

Because of the down pour, which by the way was quite a mean storm, when it came time for me to leave, Buddy decided that because I had left him out in the pouring rain he would punish me by not starting. So after trying to push start Buddy, the Tablers who were involved in the pushing decided it would be better to tow Buddy ‘home’ and sort out the problem in the morning, a good decision under the circumstances.

Unfortunately the next morning, in-spite of my attempts to dry out the distributor and plug leads, Buddy would still not start. Fortunately help was a mere phone call away and so a desperate call was made to Tabler (41er) Les Fenn who arrived in minutes and we discovered that the lead from the coil to the distributor was in a rather bad way. This was mainly due to the lead being covered in a thick green moss caused by all the rain and dampness ‘Buddy and Me’ had been exposed to over the last few months. But alas even after obtaining a new coil lead which involved a drive into East London city, Buddy would still not start. So it was time to call in more ‘big guns’!

Here are the ‘big guns’ mostly all watching the master mechanic at work – Kobus, kneeling. On my left is Jan Alberts who arranged for Kobus to come and help, leaning on the pole and looking like Mr Cool on the right of the picture is Duane Hedger, the Table Chairman for Gonubie RT 182 and Mr. Smooth himself Less Finn with the black T shirt. Of course the ‘other dude’ in the photo is yours truly, trying to play the role of consulting engineer.

Kobus did some magic, which according to him entailed drying the leads and ‘a wire’ in the distributor and within a couple of minutes Buddy was soon purring like a mountain Lion.

 

I thought I would show you exactly where I was staying while in Gonubie, this is Coyla’s (of Coyla’s Place B&B in Mthatha) lovely garden cottage she very kindly lent me for my weekends stay in Gonubie. So to Coyla, once again my sincere thanks for your kind help, without which I probably would have been as water logged as Buddy and probably wouldn’t have started on Saturday morning either.

I always keep an eye out for articles appearing in local and national newspapers regarding child rape cases, not that too many are ever written about, and because of this habit I often see articles which are unrelated to child rape which grab my attention, and two articles, one being directly related to child rape, the other not directly, really got my attention, and goat up.

 

The first article headed “Family Raped in Front of Dad” covered the story of a man who was tied up and beaten by a gang of thugs/savages who broke into the family home during the night. After beating him and tying him to a chair they forced him to watch while they took turns raping his wife and 17 year old daughter. When he closed his eyes, he was slapped to ensure that he watched the gruesome and savage raping of his wife and daughter. Later they shot his 23 years old son in the face, for no apparent reason.

The part that really makes this act of savagery even worse is the fact that the break in was not poverty related in that the thugs/savages did not break in to steal for financial gain, all they took was a cell phone, a laptop and helped themselves to food out of the refrigerator. So what was the reason for the break-in and savage attack??

Then we come to article 2 which is headed “Ex-convicts deserve a second chance”. This article was written by a man named Kopano Ramashala of Shoshanguve. In this article he writes that for some time he has observed how ex-convicts are being “victimised by companies and Government”. He goes on to say that it is disgusting and regrettable that companies and government deprive “qualified” people of opportunities for employment because of their criminal records.

To this individual I have the following response. Firstly, if these criminals have the necessary “qualifications” to make a living, why did they partake in criminal activities? Secondly why must individuals, who have spent their lives living an honest and peaceful life as law abiding citizens, be deprived of jobs to give an individual who has harmed the life of a law abiding citizen a job. Thirdly, he says that deserving criminals who are not “habitual criminals” must be given a second chance and helped with employment. To this my question is, how do we, as citizens and employers, know if an individual who has already been convicted of a crime, is a ‘habitual criminal” or not?

My final response to this article is, if we were all allowed a second chance, in other words we can all partake in criminal activities and reap the pleasures and benefits of the crime until, or if, we are caught, this country would be in a bigger mess than it already is. So why should some individuals be allowed to reap the benefits of crime and then be allowed to return to society as if nothing happened. The punishment of partaking in crime should be a deterrent and not an encouragement for individuals to partake in criminal activities of any form.

My final question to Mr. Ramashala is, “So when, or if, the savages who committed the atrocities mentioned in the first article are apprehended, convicted and imprisoned, when they are released, are you suggesting that they must be accepted back into society as if nothing had happened. The fact that they have destroyed an entire family’s life is beside the point. Dream on. My recommendation to you is to visit Botswana where the incarceration of convicts is a deterrent punishment and not an encouragement as it has become in South Africa. We wish we could have the crime levels experienced in Botswana because of their approach to dealing with criminals.

So having gotten that off my chest, I’m going to finish this blog with some information of a lighter kind. I often get stopped while driving Buddy around the country on my mission by fellow motorists to chat about the project, give me their opinions and comments and to photograph Buddy, and sometimes me. I also get many emails from people from all over South Africa as well as other parts of the world and so I thought I would share an email with the readers of the ‘Buddy and Me’ website which I received from a lady by the name of Charmaine Kinsey-Ahlers of Munster on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast.

Hi Steve

On our trip down to Hole in the Wall, we saw you and Buddy on the R61 shortly before Lusikisiki on Wednesday, 12 Jan 2011 and being the happy snappi curious person that I am, took a pic with every intention of emailing it to you since I figured there would be an address on the website, as advertised on Buddy.

The Transkei is such an interestingly breathtaking, shocking and curious place all at once to those of us who live in our little cosy environments within this interesting (and harsh) land, SA. Amongst other things, I must say I wondered about child rape stats in this part of the world as we drove through, especially observing living conditions and the large amount of children & people ‘on the loose’ everywhere, many with seemingly no agenda at hand (perceptions can be deceiving though).

I was not surprised at your story about being robbed, (exasperated rather…I like your wish about the fleas and camels hehe) but it is a sad reality and I’m sorry you became a victim…I am generally fiercely vigilant and perhaps a little paranoid, no matter where we are…especially about my camera and children) It must be a challenge though in an open air buggy!

Well, hope you like the pic. All the very best of success to you and your venture. May it make all the difference.

Kind regards and safe travels

Mrs Charmaine Kinsey-Ahlers

Munster, Kzn South Coast

Many thanks for that Charmaine, and I hope you stay tuned to the ‘Buddy and Me’ website in the future, and pass on the details of the website to your friends and family.

 

To finally finish off, Sunday afternoon was spent enjoying a couple of cold frosties with Round Tabler Jason McDowell and his wife Lindi and a chap named Morné who walked up to me while I was fishing on the rocks and identified himself as “the guy you met at the Gonubie Hotel in February 2010 on my last visit to the area (Project 2), in February 2010, and who still remembered me, I must have made a hell of an impression.

Another good time had by all

I was going to include details of my visit to Port Alfred and Port Elizabeth into this blog, Port Alfred being where I had an amazing meeting with a lady Colonel in the police who provided me with some really interesting and shocking information on the outcome of the horrible case of three savages (kids) who brutally raped and badly beat a 5 year old little boy to death, but I think this blog is long enough so I will end now and include that as well as my visit to Port Elizabeth in the next blog, so stay tuned for some really interesting information.

So until then I bid you farewell, stay well and stay safe and above all keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)

Please send your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the project.

 

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