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:
- Tips by ‘Rape Wise’ – ‘Eye on the child – A Safety and Protection Manual’ A MUST read by all parents – Blog 55
- 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
Monday morning (26th September) dawned an absolutely spectacularly beautiful day, in-spite of the fact that it had rained the entire night and proved to be a particularly devastating day for me personally. I woke early, did some washing, thinking that I would be able to hang it up to dry when I reached my ‘home’ at the Protea Mvubu Lodge that afternoon in Richards Bay, and hoped that all my problems I had experienced over the past 2 weeks were something of the passed; unfortunately that was not to be – for a few reasons – and was packed and ready to head out of St Lucia by 10:30am.
As I was driving out of St Lucia I was thinking that I had plenty of time to cover the 32 kilometres to Mtubatuba where I was scheduled to visit the Beares store at 1pm and so hoped to sit back and enjoy the drive through the lovely and tranquil bush lands adorning the road side between St Lucia and Mtubatuba, but unfortunately this was not to be.
About 15 kilometres out of St Lucia I suddenly heard a horrible grinding noise coming from Buddy’s rear left wheel, the wheel jammed up, the sound and effect on Buddy was mind blowing to me and I stopped Buddy and sat with my head in my hands repeating “Noooo what now??!!”
I eventually extracted myself from Buddy and after jacking up the rear left wheel and removing the wheel and wheel hub I discovered that the ‘guy’ who had done my breaks and had caused Buddy’s rear wheels to come off (Blog 53) by not tightening the wheel hub nuts tight enough and had failed to fit split pins on the castle nuts, had also failed to put a split pin into the lug which holds the rear handbrake components together and so the lug had pulled loose and the components for the handbrake had come apart and had jammed between the brake linings and the wheel hub!!
I removed the handbrake components completely, made an emergency clip to hold the springs for the brake-shoes in place, refitted the brake-shoes and was back in motion after about three quarters of an hour and still managed to arrive at the Mtubatuba Beares store half an hour early!
If I had thought the traffic and general chaos at the Pretoria Van der Walt Street Beares store had been bad, (Blog 53) well that seemed like ‘child’s play’ compared to the chaos and hectic bustle in Mtubatuba. I was worried about parking Buddy in the only available parking space I could find, which was about 1 kilometre away from the centre in which the Beares store is situated and so persevered through the chaos of the taxis and other vehicles which were double parked and triple parked in the ‘square’ in-which the Mtubatuba Beares store is situated and so I double parked in-front of the store, parking in four taxis in the process, which obviously was not well accepted and resulted in a very shortened visit to this store.
The chaos outside the store was so heavy we couldn’t even get a picture of the glamorous ladies of Beares Mtubatuba posing outside the store.
A visit to the local constabulary proved to be a major disappointment, because as usual, as has happened in most of the areas I have visited, I was met with indignant attitude by the police and it was obvious that they have no infrastructure to provide victims of rape and in particular child rape victims and mothers reporting this disgusting crime with any sort of a support structure to encourage them to report the crime.
Fortunately Buddy behaved himself during the drive through to Richards Bay where I was kindly hosted accommodation at the lovely Richards Bay Protea Mvubu Lodge
My visit to the Beares store in Richards Bay was, as usual with the ‘Buddy and Me’ project visit to this store, a really pleasant one.
Unfortunately Sandra Dekker the store manager was off sick but the stores credit manager; Rochinie Nagiah did a sterling job in making my visit a pleasant one in her absence.
From Richards Bay ‘Buddy and Me’ drove the short 20 kilometre drive to Empangeni where we first visited Fanie Nhleko and his friendly staff,
and after spending some time chatting to them about the project headed for the other Empangeni Beares store which I always enjoy visiting and which is situated in the Empangeni Plaza where Bongi Cele and his great bunch of staff made me feel right at home as usual.
For those who don’t know him, that’s Bongi standing right at the end on the right of the picture obviously thinking “Steve if you don’t get me looking good in this pic I’m going to sort you out” so ja Bongi you look good J
My next couple of night’s accommodation in the Richards Bay area was kindly hosted by the Round Table of Empangeni at the lovely ‘Zulu Lodge’.
The afternoon was spent visiting the police station in Richards Bay where I was, once again, very disappointed in the ‘system’ which is supposed to provide a support structure to encourage mothers and children to report the rape and sexual abuse of children but fails miserably.
Wednesday ‘Buddy and Me’ had a long, cold and wet drive through to Ulundi via Empangeni and Melmoth to the Beares store in the King Senzagakhona Centre in Ulundi.
After an enjoyable time with Dumsani Mthimkitulu, the store manager and his bevy of lovely ladies, I followed him to the offices of the ‘Department of Social Development’ where he had previously spoken to ‘someone’ in order to establish a meeting for me with a social worker. Unfortunately on arrival at the offices no social worker was available to talk to me, in-spite of there being 15 offices allocated to social workers with their names boldly printed on each door.
After walking the corridors for 20 minutes, Dumsani eventually attracted the attention of one ‘social worker’ who agreed to talk to me but soon after learning who I am and what I wanted to talk to her about she explained that she was ‘new’ and in training and did not know anything about the rape of children situation in the area and suggested I speak to another woman, more senior, but unfortunately this woman, a Miss P Hlabiso and her colleague Miss D.P. Mzila turned out to be very unfriendly, to put it mildly, and refused to discuss the situation of child rape or provide any information regarding the support structure for mothers and children reporting child rape in the area. I left the offices very perplexed and my perplexity deepened even further after making a stop at the local police station and was greeted with yet more negative attitude.
By the time I returned to the Zulu Lodge in Richards Bay it was a quarter to six in the evening and I had driven almost 300 kilometres for the day so I was pretty cold and tired and so welcomed a nice relaxing bath and an early night.
Thursday morning I was up early, showered, packed and after a hearty breakfast took the road out of Richards Bay (once again) and headed back to Empangeni (again) and then southwards to Gingindlovu and then inland to Eshowe. At the Beares store in Eshowe Susan Naidoo, the store manager did a sterling job in making my visit both a very pleasant one as well as a very interesting one by firstly arranging for three social workers,
to pop in and join me in a discussion and to provide me with details of what is happening with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children in the Eshowe and surrounding area.
One of the lady’s in my group of guests was a victim of child rape herself, and was raped by her father at the age of 9, and to this day, in-spite of the fact that it was reported to the police, nothing happened about it, when she and her mother made enquiries with the police all they were told was that “The case had been dropped”, and till this day no reason was given.
Unfortunately, as in the case of all the other areas I have visited recently, there is no support structure for victims of rape or domestic violence to talk about and after presenting them with what ‘I believe’ needs to be done, as in ‘a solution’, they were unanimous in their agreement that if applied it would make a huge impact on encouraging mothers and children to report the rape and sexual abuse of children. The ladies did confirm that child rape is occurring at a humungous rate in the area and in spite of having reported numerous cases to the police nothing ever happens.
One comment that was made, was the fact the it is believed that the police are now “making money out of cases being withdrawn (believed to be R500-00 per case)” and so actually encourage complainants, even in the case of child rape; which are ‘not supposed to be able to be withdrawn’ because the State is the complainant, to withdraw the case.
So to Susan; for those who don’t know that’s Susan second from the right of the picture with her friendly staff, many thanks for the really enjoyable and interesting day at your Eshowe Beares store.
Before leaving Eshowe I managed to squeeze in a rushed visit to meet Round Tabler Duncan Balmer and then headed a short way out of town to pay a visit on the Chairman of Round Table Eshowe (RT 24) Stefan Schoeman who together with his lovely wife Sally-Ann owns an incredibly lovely guest lodge called Fleurdale Guest Lodge’, so if you are ever visiting the Eshowe area staying over at Fleurdale Guest Lodge is a must: Telephone nr 035-474 2604, fax 086-622 3094 website: www.fleurdale.co.za email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From Eshowe ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for the Sundumbili Beares store, the small town of Sundumbili being situated close to the Tugela River near Mandini on the Kwa-Zulu Natal North Coast where Sipho Vilanculos the Beares manager and who is a character of note, together with his amazingly friendly staff made my visit to the store and area a really pleasant one.
My night’s accommodation was once again courtesy of Protea Hotels and this time it was at the magnificent Protea Umhlanga Ridge Hotel.
So meet the General Manager Tina Cattaneo – extreme left of picture, and her friendly front office staff.
Friday (30th Sept) ‘Buddy and Me’ travelled the 40 kilometres back northwards to Stanger, in drizzling rain. On entering the Beares store in Stanger I could not help thinking about my last visit to this store on the 12th of August 2009 which was soon after the start of ‘Buddy and Me – project 2’ two years and two months ago!! Incredible! It felt like it was 6 months ago. But what had happened was that Buddy had been performing fantastically well and when I had pulled up outside the Beares store in Stanger that morning had not shown any signs of any sort of problem, but when It was time to leave, Buddy’s battery was pop flat.
We started him with jumpers cables but every-time we disconnected the jumper cables he would cut out. A local ‘expert’ diagnosed the problem as a short and so Buddy was towed to an auto-electrical place and stayed overnight and was ready to return to work the next afternoon.
So meet the incredibly friendly people of Beares Stanger, and the amazing lady who keeps things together in the absence of the store manager Gonna Perumal is Reena Naidoo who is standing on the extreme right of the picture with the blue blouse.
From Stanger ‘Buddy and Me’ continued southwards to Phoenix where we visited Hazel Pilay the stores credit manager who was standing in for the store manager Goolam Rahiman who was unfortunately on leave, and the other friendly staff of Beares Phoenix.
It was still drizzling with rain and so because everyone insisted on having the picture taken with Buddy, everyone had to venture out into the miserable weather to have the picture taken.
After a lovely weekend in Pinetown being hosted by Nigel Lotz and Heidi Wood owners of the ‘Black Forest Tavern’,
meet Nigel and the Black Forest manager Janet Visser – Monday morning ‘Buddy and Me’ once again headed north, but this time not too far to the Beares store at the Bridge City Shopping Centre on the north coast in Kwa’Mashu.
Oh did I mention it poured with rain the whole day L
Tuesday morning the 4th October – a particularly devastating day for me personally – exactly one year to the day the ‘Buddy and Me – project 3’ had started in Jo’burg at the Beares head office, I paid a visit to the two final Beares stores on the ‘Buddy and Me – project 3’ project, these being firstly the Beares (1) store in West Street Durban;
and then this was followed with a visit to the Beares (2) store which is a short way away also in West Street:
I was privileged to be provided the opportunity to attended a very large Round Table meeting in Durban (Berea) and do a talk on the ‘Buddy and Me’ project on the 11th October which was attended by
from left; The Chairman for Round Table Berea Quintin Dreyer, Jeron Strydom the Area Chairman for the Round Table South Coast area, yours truly, and Tim Brautesneth DA Councillor for Durban and past President of Round Table Southern Africa. The meeting was also attended by
the Round Tablers of; Kloof (RT 190), Margate (RT46), Port Shepstone (RT 83), Westville (RT163), Watercrest (RT218) and of course the home Table Berea Dbn (RT 189).
June Porter, the amazing lady in my life, travelled down from Jo’burg and joined me for the completion of project 3, and while staying at the lovely Black Forest Tavern we met 2 incredibly lovely ladies, one being Janet Visser and the other Charmaine Stokes who provided me with some incredible information pertaining to her own experience of child molestation.
Charmaine told us of the fact that for many years she could not remember anything pertaining to her life prior to 5 years of age, from 5 years of age onwards everything that occurred in her childhood years was clear. After 30 years (her being 35 years of age) she was awaked by her husband one night because she was crying in her sleep and all the memories came flooding back. The ‘memories’ involved her being ‘taken for walks’ by her uncle and being sexually molested and the trauma she had experienced had blocked these memories from her mind.
I have been told of the extreme mental trauma associated with the rape and sexual abuse of children and this has been mind-boggling for me, and a document I read recently, provided by Janet Visser of the Black Forest in Pinetown clearly identifies the extremity of this trauma.
Rape at Home ~ AWAKE June 22 – 1982 (pg10)
Dr Judianne Densen-Gerber, director of Odyssey Institute in New York city says: “ In my own practice I have the hardest time imaginable treating these children who suffer from incest, even more than the kids who are battered, abused, set on fire, and whipped because at least those children don’t confuse what’s being done to them with love. The parent who sexually uses a child while telling him ‘I love you’, is raising a child who will be afraid to establish rapport, trust and engagement with anyone else in his life, even with the therapist, because unlike the beaten child, he doesn’t seek affection, he fears affection and becomes extremely isolated.”
On page 129 of the book The Death of Innocence, we read: “Among prostitutes the frequency of sexual molestation in childhood is 92%; 67% of them experienced some form of incestuous assault….At least 75% of the runaways, on the national average, are escaping incestuous abuse. The same figures apply to cases of adolescent drug addiction: About 70% are victims of incest”……
Another interesting comment that was made during a discussion (Mike Stokes) was the fact that “If a licensed owner of a firearm looses the firearm due to negligence or even if he or she is robbed of it, the individual will be prosecuted and will face a severe penalty of a fine and possibly imprisonment. Why then when a child is raped or abducted due to extreme negligence by the parent, is the parent or parents not charged and held accountable for negligence or neglect of the child?
During my extensive travels on the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, I have often seen small children in the 3-6 year-old age group wondering around streets and foot paths un-supervised and thought that the parents should be held responsible and accountable for the neglect of the child, particularly when these children end up getting raped and sexually abused or abducted.
Another interesting fact is, that in-order to obtain a drivers licence or firearm, one must under-go extensive courses and an examination in-order to establish whether one is competent to drive a motor vehicle or posses a firearm, but when it comes to children there are no requirements. Perhaps before one can have a child the parents should have to undergo parental courses and if an individual falls pregnant without having undergone such a course (such as one containing information contained in the ‘Rape Wise’ document reflected in my blog 55) there should be penalties, such as not being legible for child grants and that both parents be forced to perform community services in children’s homes etc.
And so on the 4th of October 2011 the ‘Buddy and Me – Project 3’ came to an end, one year to the day it started, and this after visiting 163 Beares and Lubners stores, met many Round Tablers and having interviewed hundreds of police and court officials as well as politicians, social workers, teachers and hundreds of mothers as well as many presentations and discussions at schools and visited many safe houses and ‘homes’ and ‘shelters’ for abused children and having met many children who are victims of the scourge of child rape and spent the majority of my time in townships.
Project ‘3’ has been particularly stressful on me and Buddy and we both look forward to a good rest over the next few months, well I’m not so sure about the ‘rest’ part because there is a lot of work to be done with regard to providing Buddy with a complete and total face, body, engine, suspension and electrical face lift and ‘make over’ to prepare him for ‘Buddy and Me – ‘The final chapter’ – Project 4’.
I am adamant that there will be a project 4 for the following reason:
- ‘Project 1’ was undertaken in order to establish ‘how’ bad the rape of children is in South Africa and continued through Africa to establish how the rape and sexual abuse of children in SA fits into the disgusting crime in Africa as a continent.
- ‘Project 2’ was undertaken to establish ‘why’ it is happening and what needs to be done to eradicate the scourge of child rape from our society.
- ‘Project 3’ was undertaken to present ‘my solution’, what ‘I believe’ needs to be done; based on my 6 years and 187 000 kilometres in Buddy research, to eradicate child rape from our society to the South Africa communities, police, court officials, social workers and mothers etc and to obtain their opinions on my proposed solution and to establish if they agree that if implemented would it encourage mothers and children to report cases of child rape and to get their opinions and comments on my proposed solution.
- ‘Project 4 – The final chapter’ will be focused on the media and to pressurise government into committing themselves to stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa and to live up to their frequent statements in which they claim that “children are our countries greatest assets” because anybody with a smallest grasp of business knows that if a companies assets are allowed to deteriorate, the company will very soon be in dire straits and will collapse. I firmly believe that unless our government commits themselves to stopping the destruction of our countries biggest assets – our children – in the form of rape and sexual abuse, our country is doomed.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Management and staff of Beares and Lubners for their dedicated and generous support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project throughout the last 6 years and to all the management and staff of the stores ‘Buddy and Me’ were privileged to visit and for making our visits in every case an absolutely incredible experience and hope that Beares will be involved in ‘Buddy and Me –project 4 – The Final Chapter’ next year.
I would also like to extend a sincere thanks to the management and staff of the Protea Hotel Group, in particular Phillip Meyers (Regional Director Protea Hotels – Johannesburg), Angela Agenbag (Office Manager Protea Hotels Johannesburg) and Cheryl Piha (Office Manager Protea Hotels Cape Town) and all the General Managers and staff of the many Protea Hotels I was privileged and honoured to be hosted at all over South Africa.
I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the management and staff of Cell C for their kind and generous support to the project in the form of airtime sponsorship without which my budget would have been depleted long before completion of the project.
Thanks also go to the management and staff of Translux who enabled me to leave Buddy to rest at various stages of the project and to travel in luxury to venues where I did talks and to meet up with individuals who provided me with crucial information pertaining to my research into the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.
Other assistance was in the form of a sponsorship from BlackBerry SA who provided me with an incredibly wonderful piece of technology in the form of a BlackBerry cell phone, which was unfortunately stolen near the end of the project which made me realise just how wonderful the technology of a BlackBerry is and which I miss immensely.
Other incredible support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project was from Spar and Pick n’ Pay without which would have resulted in my diet having been considerably different J
So to all of the supporters of the ‘Buddy and Me – Searching for a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children in South Africa’ – project 3’ you have mine and Buddy’s sincere thanks.
So all that’s left for me to say is that in-spite of this project having taken extreme toll in every aspect it could on both ‘Buddy and Me’, it has been an incredible experience and hopefully we will get our government to commit to eradicating the scourge of child rape from our society which based on the information I have learned during my extensive travels and interviews I am adamant that it can be eradicated, government must just WANT to do it, and stop using the “lack of money” as an excuse, after all a fortune is being spent on developing a very sophisticated traffic police system (see blog 2) and if our esteemed president can spend R400 million on a house upgrade I am sure this money could be better spent in developing a proper support structure to encourage mothers to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children.
So keep well and stay safe and above all; ‘Keep all children safe’
Caring regards from
‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)
Me’ (Steve Heath)
Please send your comments and opinions to: email@example.com
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.