My updated itinerary for Namibia and Botswana, to the end of the tour.
The Proposal to the President for your perusal.
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So after a hectic couple of weeks in Cape Town trying to get my proposal for a solution to stopping the rape of children in South Africa to the people that count, as in members of parliament and heads of not only our government, but the heads of the top official opposition parties, namely the DA, ID and COPE, I believe I achieved my goal 100%. The people I met and presented the proposal to have confirmed their support to the fight against child rape and have confirmed that they will ensure that my proposal and recommendations are put into the hands of the people who can make a difference, so thanks to all the wonderful politicians I met over the past couple of weeks, I believe with your help we can make a difference.
Saturday Linda and her daughter Elsie, who by the way also helped me tremendously with the printing and compiling of the proposals for parliament, went to see a music festival up on the West Coast which hosted almost all the top South African entertainers/singers/musicians, so Faan and I had some rugby/beer drinking/bonding time at home for my last day in Cape Town. (Yep the SHARKS won again – What a bunch of boytjies – Ag shame what happened to the Lions, again – Sorry Gail I couldn’t resist having a dig). Obviously I was appointed chef for the evening and Faan stood watching, taking tips, oh and photographing the ‘Not so naked chef’.
And so after having fulfilled all my dreams for my visit to Cape Town, it was with a very deeply saddened heart that on Sunday morning I had to bid my friends and amazing hosts for the duration of my stay in Cape Town, Captain Faan Fourie and his lovely wife Linda goodbye, or rather aurevouir, because I will definitely be back on my crusade to stop the rape of children which will obviously include Cape Town. They kindly gave me the use of their granny flat in Melkbos from where I operated during my stay in Cape Town.
I also had to say farewell to a few other people who had played a major role in making my life more pleasant during my stay in Cape Town and can only, once again, re-iterate on the fact that during my crusade I am blessed to get to meet so many absolutely amazing and wonderful people. Thanks to everyone who did so much to make my stay in Cape Town such a pleasant one, I will miss you all, but as the small plague on Buddy’s board above his windscreen says, “What is planted in the heart grows roots in the soul”.
So after having been told of some really terrible atrocities which are being committed in the Township of Atlantis, which is a short way out of Melkbos on the N7 West Coast road, and after Denise Robinson of the DA had confirmed that there is a really bad situation regarding the rape of children in this area and had told me that she had hoped to have a contingent of people from the DA meet me in Atlantis but unfortunately due to the short notice could not arrange it, I decided to stop in at Atlantis on my way out anyway. On pulling into a garage (For those Americans reading my website, that’s a filling station) to fill up was, as usually happens at filling stations and spaza’s etc I stop at, was approached by a large group of the local community who proceeded to confirm what I had already been told about the area regarding the rape of children.
I was told by a woman, who turned out to be the mother of a young girl, who I subsequently met, who was raped, badly, in a gang rape last year, by 6 local savages, at the time of the rape she was 14 years old. All 6 were released on bail. And so ended my visit to the Cape region!
When I was preparing to leave Faan and Linda’s house, I asked Faan to check that my trailer lights were working and when I pressed the brake pedal, the pedal sort of popped and went all the way to the floor. After having a mild cadenza, I checked around and discovered that a hole had materialised in the brake piping by the pedals at my feet, dramas!
After trying a few things and not getting any success I decided that I would face the road to Strandfontein (349 kilometres of it) not to mention the roads in the Township of Atlantis, with no brakes. I hope there are no traffic cops reading my blog? Fortunately Buddy’s hand brake is a mechanical one and is independent of the hydraulic foot brake pedal system. The only real problem was descending the mountain pass just before Citrusdal which created a problem, because I was preying all the way down, with a beach buggy with no brakes being pushed by a trailer, that there was not going to be any slow moving trucks in front of me, but fortunately all went well and ‘Buddy and Me’ arrived in Strandfontein in two pieces, him and me, after taking 7 hours to drive the 349 kilometres to Strandfontein.
I booked into the absolutely amazing Strandfontein Caravan Park, which I personally believe is one of the top 3, if not the best, caravan park in South Africa, where the Municipal Manager Mr. DGI O’Neil very kindly assisted me with sponsorship for my camping for two evenings from the Municipality of Matzikama, which includes the towns of Vredendal, Strandfontein and Doring Baai. So ‘Buddy and Me’ would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Municipality of Matzikama for their support to the project. Check out the photos of this incredible caravan park.
If you are into camping you have to visit this place, it’s a must!
Monday morning found me up early trying to sort out Buddy’s brake problem, but unfortunately in-spite of me cutting out the piece of copper pipe where the leak had sprung, and having the necessary rubber pipe to replace the leaking section, I did not have spare clamps to fit the rubber pipe. I tried using cable ties and a fellow camper, Benade Baird from Klerksdorp (Anglogold Ashanti), even tried a special technique with wire, but to no avail. Eventually he declared that we were not going to come right and drove me the 45 kilometres to Vredendal where we obtained the necessary clamps to do the job properly, and this did do the job properly. So once again I was blessed to have a problem sorted out by a Good Samaritan who just happened to be on hand.
With Buddy’s brake problem sorted out, I decided to visit the quaint little village of Doring Baai which is situated 7 kilometres south of Strandfontein and make sure that the repair job would withstand some rigorous pressure. Now for those who are saying that I have spelt the name wrong, well guess what, I have seen no less than 5 different ways to spell this villages name and these include the signs at the entrance to the village.
I have spoken of my friends in Tulisa Park before, Kevin and Jimmy who own the ‘Diversity Pub’ who have a friend by the name of Sherry who works for them and who has a sister named Charlene Wild and niece in Doring Baai, who have lived there for the past three years, and so I paid them a visit and was invited for a braai, genuine Namaqualand lamb nogal, and had a magic evening.
The one thing I learnt about Doring Baai, is that although it is a very small village, and that the rape of children by family members does not occur as frequently as it does in the rest of South Africa, rape is occurring due to the excessive use and abuse of alcohol and boredom on teenage girls and woman. And I am sorry to say it, but our Minister of police and Commissioner of police have to take a serious look at how the police in these small towns are operating, they appear to be on their own missions.
I was hoping to have an early start to Tuesday morning for my drive through to Upington because it entails a drive of some 600 kilometres and Buddy, being the slow work horse he is, would take some time to cover this distance, not to mention the fact that because of the heat I need to stop every hour to cool the engine (oil) down to prevent popping the main engine oil seal, which I did umpteen times on my African Odyssey trip. But although the days are really magic, warm with clear blue sky’s, the early mornings and late afternoons are pretty damn cold on the West Coast and so with this in mind I only surfaced at 6:30 and by the time I had packed my camping equipment and was ready to hit the road it was already a little after 8am.
The route ‘Buddy and Me’ took to Upington involved travelling via Vanrhyansdorp, Nieuwoudtville, Calvinia, Brandvlei, Kenhardt and Keimoes. The total distance ended up being 613 kilometres and took us 11 and half hours to cover. This was partly due to the fact that I stopped in each of these towns to fill up with petrol; and obviously Buddy attracted a huge amount of interest from the local community, after all that is why Buddy was chosen to join me on this project.
At all of these towns I was told by the local communities that flocked to the filling stations to have a ‘quack’ at Buddy, that child rape is “very bad there and the government needs to take a hard line with the punishments to stop it”.
I must say that in all my travels around Africa, I have never driven for such a long period of time through such flat, dry and boring landscape in all my life. I think ‘Buddy and Me’ must have driven at least 350 kilometres after passing through the Vanryhansdorp Pass (and the 50 kilometres before the pass) before I needed to turn the steering wheel. One kilometre from the top of the pass we crossed into the Northern Cape region and for about 5 kilometres it was like entering a different world with trees and signs of civilisation, but once passed Nieuwoudtville, the same old totally flat, dry bush-weed returned and was visible for kilometres in all directions. At one time I thought I could see next week approaching in the distance. You can see the road stretching out in the distance for kilometres, and as you go over a small rise in the road you can see the next section of road stretch out for kilometres in front of you again, a really depressing road to drive.
So having arrived in Upington, and after driving around to find somewhere to stay, I settled on a small quaint hotel called the ‘The River City Inn’ where the lady on duty gave me a reasonable discount, and because I was too exhausted to spend time trying to find a cheaper place to stay set down roots for the night.
Today, Wednesday, I visited the friendly staff of Beares Upington where I had a chance to chat to all the friendly staff and had a really good interview with the reporter from the ‘Gemsbok’ local newspaper, I look forward to reading her article.
The Beares staff in Upington
This afternoon (Wednesday the 28th April) ‘Buddy and Me’ will be leaving South Africa and heading into Namibia. I have no idea what the internet reception is like there, or how it works, so I will be going into that side of things blind, and knowing my computer skills and such likes it could prove interesting, so please bear with me. Another thing is that my cell phone number will be changing while ‘Buddy and Me’ will be in Namibia and Botswana, so should you wish to contact me via cell phone the only way I can think of is that I will provide Bev Wishart (Marketing Assistant) of Beares Head Office with my new cell numbers and you can contact her for my number. Sorry Bev for doing this to you but I can’t think of anything else. Bev’s contact details are: 031 – 7134700 and email:email@example.com
So Namibia and Botswana here we come. During the ‘African Odyssey’ project, I identified that these two countries had implemented some fantastic laws and systems to combat child rape in their respective countries and I am looking forward to seeing what has transpired from these laws and services during the past three years, so keep watching this space.
So all that’s left for me to do is to wish you all well, stay safe, God bless and above all, keep all children safe.
Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
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