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Jun '10

Day 247: Monday, 31 May 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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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:

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

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