Posted by Julia
Categories: Buddy and Me
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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:
- To see the ‘Buddy and Me’ scheduled itinerary details for the period 30th August – 4th October 2011 see blog 50
- To read the shocking details of the Upington horror story – The Hynie Dick Story – regarding the ‘Upington savage pedophile’ see blog 35
- To read details of the ‘savage’ the police are looking for in connection with the rape of a 3 year little girl, see blog 39
- To read the heart breaking story by a mother (Cathy Kenney) of the rape of her 3 year-old daughter see blog 38
- To read the storey of Natasha who at 10 years-of age was brutally raped and murdered and after serving a very short portion of his sentence, the ‘State’ wants to release the savage who did it, from prison, see blog 10 (November 2010)
- To read ‘Birds’ story about her incredible courage to face her ‘step-father’ who she looked up to and loved as a ‘father’ who abused her and her love, as told by her mother – Elise – see blog 42
So the week started for ‘Buddy and Me’ by first thanking the General Manager of the Protea Winkler Hotel in White River, William Bruntnell for his kind and generous support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project by providing me with incredible accommodation for the weekend
William is the cool looking dude with the red jacket on – and then I headed for Nelspruit where ‘Buddy and Me’ visited the Beares store there.
At the Beares store I was introduced to an amazing lady by the name of Prudence Lephoto who runs the ‘SOS Children’s Village’ which is situated a short way outside of Nelspruit and I was taken to see this incredibly amazing initiative.
The ‘SOS Children’s Village’ – which is actually a ‘Safe House’ – was officially opened on the 6th October 2006 and consists of 10 houses all built in close proximity with each house being able to house 10 children. At present the ‘Village’ is providing shelter to 85 kids ranging from new born baby’s to 18 year-olds. All the children residing in the ‘Village’ are ‘vulnerable children’ who have been subjected to some sort of abuse or other and I was told that a large number are victims of rape and sexual abuse. Each house has a ‘house mother’ who resides in the house and the kids all partake in the duties to clean the house and to cook, even the guys.
So to Prudence and your wonderful group of ‘House Mothers’, thank you for giving me the privilege and honour of being able to visit your incredible ‘SOS Children’s Village’ and for the amazing work you are doing for the kids, you are all Angels, and to Thabo Vermulen (Beares store manager Nelspruit) and his really friendly staff, thanks very much for arranging for me to meet Prudence and be given the opportunity to visit this truly amazing initiative.
While in Nelspruit I also visited the GRIP offices (Greater Rape Intervention Programme) where I spent some time chatting to the management and staff and obtained a lot of information on what is happening with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children in the Greater Nelspruit area.
So meet the incredibly wonderful people of GRIP. The work that this organisation is doing in the Greater Nelspruit region, in my humble opinion, provides victims of child rape as well as victims of domestic violence in general with the best support structure in South Africa. So to the ladies and men who dedicate so much of their personal time to assisting victims of this despicable crime in the Greater Nelspruit area, you have the ‘Buddy and Me – Angels’ award. I have been provided with a document entitled “A Case Study – GRIP” which provides a mound of information on GRIP and so once I have had an opportunity to study it I will be posting a blog on it, so stay tuned to the www.buddyandme.co.za website for more info on this incredible organisation and the essential services they provide for child rape victims and victims of domestic violence.
The other important visit was to the R&R Workshops, where Thabo (Beares manager) arranged with his friend Ralton who owns R&R to weld a break in Buddy’s exhaust system,
so this is one of Ralton’s competent mechanics, Wayne, undertaking some surgery on Buddy’s exhaust system. So thanks guys Buddy is now once again purring like a Lion!
I checked into the Protea Nelspruit Hotel
and was soon settled in my lovely comfortable accommodation.
Obviously while in Nelspruit I met up with the Round Tablers of Nelspruit who have been amazing in providing ‘Buddy and Me’ with an incredible support structure, and after talking at a Round Table function in the evening I was presented with the Round Table banner (In this instance a very large one) by the Chairman of Round Table Nelspruit, Simon Harrison.
My next visit was to the Beares store in Malelane where I once again had a great time chatting to Lucky Shabalala, the Beares store Manager and his friendly staff.
I had a particularly interesting chat with one of the staff members, Sebenzile who told me that the rape and sexual abuse of children in the near-by township of Kamdnada is occurring at an horrendous rate and that it is very seldom reported because the community have lost complete faith in the justice system, as in the police, courts and prison services.
I get involved in many discussions of many diverse subjects during my travels and one ‘discussion’ I got involved in while in Malelane was concerning a news item broadcasted on SABC TV news on Wednesday night (17th August) concerning the fact that our esteemed government claims that they are going to create 5 million jobs, but on the SABC TV ‘Morning Live’ news bulletin on the morning of the 19th it was announced that the SABC (which is a kwazi-government institution) intends retrenching / laying off thousands of employees??? So once again it proves “talk is cheap”.
From Malelane ‘Buddy and Me’ headed further out towards the Swaziland and Mozambique borders to the Beares store in the Nkomazi Plaza. Here I was given the opportunity and privilege of addressing a large group of guests from various walks of life who are all involved in some way or another in providing support to child rape victims.
This is a small portion of the group, I was actually standing in the middle of them with people seated in the lovely comfortable lounge sweets all around me. So to Rudi Mocke, the Beares store manager thank you for arranging such a magic day for me. Also thanks for arranging the lady from the ‘Daily Sun’, they did a great article and in-fact I was pleasantly surprised when I was driving in Groblersdal on Monday 29th and a newspaper sales chap standing on the corner of an intersection ran up to me waving a copy of the paper saying “You must buy the paper, you are in it” and proceeded to show me a large photo and article in the paper, so many thanks for that.
So meet Rudi and his merry bunch of lady’s and the one happy chappy, thanks for a great day guys and girls.
The next morning ‘Buddy and Me’ bid farewell to the management and staff of the Protea Nelspruit Hotel
and drove out of Nelspruit and headed out on the incredibly beautiful and scenic drive through to the wonderful town called Barberton and here the Beares manager Elsabé Van Rooyen did a sterling job in arranging for me to meet some interesting people who provided me with contact details of a number of people in the area who are providing support to victims of child rape as well as victims of all forms of domestic violence, which is apparently happening at a humungous rate in the area.
One of the most amazing bits of information I learnt is the fact that the ‘Department of Social Development’ is under taking campaigns and handing out condoms at the schools to pupils in the area, including those in grades as low as grade 8 (standard 6) who are in the 12 – 13 year-old age group. According to the department, “too many school girls are requiring maternity leave”, mind boggling!!!
I visited the GRIP-VSR (Victim Support Room) at the police station as well as the GRIP-VSR at the Barberton hospital where I was once again totally impressed with the services provided by this organisation and I am convinced that because of GRIP the Greater Nelspruit region has undoubtedly the best support structure for victims of child rape as well as victims of domestic violence, well done ladies and gentlemen you are doing an incredibly wonderful job.
So to Elsabé and her energetic bunch of great people at Beares in Barberton, you have mine and Buddy’s grateful thanks for arranging such a magic day for our visit to Barberton.
After a great night with the Round Tablers of Barberton, the next morning ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for Belfast where I was hosted accommodation on a farm courtesy of friends of the Ermelo Round Table Chairman Stephan Mare, his friends being Stephen and Wilma Hugo and they live on a ‘Hadeco’ ‘bulb flower farm’ which is situated about 5 kilometres outside of Belfast.
The next morning I visited the Beares store in Belfast and here, apart from the interesting information I obtained from a member of the SAPS-FCS unit (Family and Child, sexual Offences unit); I was provided with devastating information on a recent case of child rape by Loudina Viviers the Beares store manager, the facts of which are mind boggling to put it mildly.
Her niece was 5 years old when it was identified that she had been molested and raped by her step-father. It took the case 5 years to get to court with the child being subjected to immense trauma each time the case was remanded and he was eventually acquitted because the child, who was by then almost 10 years old, could not remember specific details such as the clothes he had been wearing, where certain items of furniture were located in the room and other trivial details. And then ‘they’ want to tell me that the victims are not being let down by the pathetic system???
While in Belfast I also got to visit a ‘shelter’ for orphan kids who are living with grand parents and other family members who cannot afford nursery schools and crèches.
The ‘shelter’ which is named ‘Funda Children’s Safe House’ is owned and run by an amazing man by the name of David Ka-Nkosi and provides shelter for 43 children aged between 1 and 12 years of age. The reason I was particularly impressed with the ‘shelter’ is because in my blog 49 on my website I wrote about the fact that on my extensive travels around townships, I frequently see small children in the 2 – 6 year-old age group wandering around streets, pathways and desolate areas, alone, and commented that “no wonder there are so many small children being abducted and raped” and so David’s ‘safe house’ keeps these vulnerable children off the streets, so well done with what you are doing it is an incredible initiative.
When it came time to bid farewell to the Beares Belfast staff and take a photo,
I could not help having a photograph taken of me with what must be the best looking bear I have seen to date,
so meet ‘bear’ Jacque Davies.
The weekend was spent in a log cabin on a game farm owned by the Chairman of Round Table Loskop (Groblersdal) Carlo Fourie and his lovely wife Colene (other wise known to Carlo, as Angelica )
and it was a very busy weekend with me attending social functions at the Round Table club house as well as potjies
and being invited to attend a ‘Horing Fees’ in support of the ‘Save the Rhino’ campaign
and I got to speak to a lot of people including DJ Miguel Proenca of Jacaranda 94.2 Fm radio – Miguel is the cool dude with the red shirt on my right.
The Tablers of Round Table Loskop RT-233 made a generous contribution to Buddy’s very depleted petrol budget and also arranged for Buddy to have a service done at NTT Toyota Groblersdal, so to the Tablers of Loskop 233 you have mine and Buddy’s heartfelt thanks for your generosity, friendship and incredible hospitality.
Well that about covers the activities of ‘Buddy and Me’ for the week and so all that’s left for me to do is bid you farewell until I do my next blog, so keep well, stay safe and of course KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE!!
Caring regards from
‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)
Me’ (Steve Heath)
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Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website and blogs are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.