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Mon
21
Sep '09

Day 48: Friday, 18 September 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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This morning, after saying good bye and thanking Ronél for her kind hospitality and friendship, I followed Jaco to the Beares store where I caught up with e-mails and other ‘admin’ functions, I was sitting at ’my’ desk busy typing away on my computer when a guy approached me and introduced himself as Bernie Cameron. He asked if that was my buggy parked outside and when I said yes he first asked if I perhaps had a spare engine for him and then went on to explain that he had a buggy which has a 1400 Nissan engine in it which has been giving him endless trouble because of the heat in Musina. I have been told by many people that I should let Buddy undergo a heart transplant and change it to a Nissan 1400, but Bernie convinced me not to and says that as soon as I drive in hot conditions, unless I have a really good cooling system, I will experience overheating problems. So Buddy, rest at ease my friend, you will not be undergoing major surgery in the near future, especially of a heart transplant nature. While he was looking over Buddy, I mentioned the problem I was experiencing with the rattling noise coming from the engine covering and generator fan. He pulled out some spanners from his bakkie and re-adjusted the metal belt around the generator and the noise went away. I told him what Gavin had said about the fan blade possibly being possibly and he said he did not think this was the problem and that if I fitted washers onto the screws which hold the generator to the engine cowling this would move the fan off the cowling and solve the problem. So guess what I will be doing this week-end? Then it was time to say goodbye to the friendly Beares staff in Musina.

Beares staff, Musina. Jaco on extreme left

Beares staff, Musina. Jaco on extreme left

The drive from Musina back to Louis Trichardt or Makhado or whatever you want to call it, all 100 kilometres of it, was a really hot one with the road coursing its way through hilly countryside. As I crested the Soutpansberg mountain range, you know that ‘mountain’ that Jerry of the Round Table in Louis Trichardt always referred to, the temperature dropped suddenly from 34.2 degrees C to 25.6 degrees C and this was over a distance of about 150 metres. But soon after passing through Louis Trichardt the temperature picked up again and it returned to hang around the 34/35 degree mark all the way to Polokwane. From Louis Trichardt to Polokwane which is a distance of 100 kilometres, the countryside is flat and one can see for kilometres in all directions.

I turned off and took the short drive (about 800 meters off the N1) to the site of the monument that marks the latitude of the Tropic of Capricorn. I must say that although attempts have been made to make the site interesting by erecting buildings which house, I presume, information on the site – I say presume because it was all locked up – the actual site on which the pillar is built is in a terrible state and if they want to attract tourists to this site I think serious consideration must be made to cleaning the site up. While looking at it I couldn’t help but think of the journey which that amazing ‘old’ South African adventurer Kingsley Holgate made with his family when they circumnavigated the earth while travelling along the Tropic of Capricorn and if you haven’t read his book on the journey you should seriously consider getting a copy and reading it.

Tropic of Capricorn site marker

Tropic of Capricorn site marker

I entered the town/city of Polokwane (or Pietersburg as the inhabitants of the place still insist on calling it (I think it will take a complete generation before the name change is accepted), and located the Beares store. The store manager, Pieter Du Preez had arranged for a Captain from the local police, Captain Mailumula and Reverend Justice Ramoba from the community church in Polokwane to come and talk to me about the child rape situation in Polokwane. This proved to be an interesting interview and I learnt that these two gentlemen are involved in setting up an organisation which will provide victims of rape with care centres pretty much like GRIP are doing in Mpumalanga and the greater Nelspruit area. It’s really encouraging to see that individuals like these two men have identified the fact that this type of facility is urgently needed in the Polokwane area. They both confirmed that child rape is rife in the area and that something drastic needs to be done to stop it. When asked what the Captain thought was needed to stop it, his immediate reaction was, “The penalty for raping a child should be the minimum of 50 years imprisonment without the option of parole or release for whatever reason”. Captain, my sentiments exactly! The Reverend Ramoba also agreed and added that he believes that “Our democracy is far too lenient on criminals and child rapists in particular”, and added that “The parole board is to blame and that the term of imprisonment should be as stipulated by the court, because if the parole board is going to over-rule the court and determine the period, the convicted felon is going to stay in court. Why are the magistrates and judges paid such high salaries to pass down sentences if the parole board is going to determine how long the prisoner stays in prison?” This was music to my ears, a very good question! The Reverend also believes that a national referendum should be held in order to establish what the people think or should be done to stop child rape. He explained that a national referendum was the major influencing factor in the changing of the status quo with the previous government so why shouldn’t the people decide whether the death penalty should be returned for child rapists or 45 years without parole should be applied. I really like this man.

My two guests

My two guests

The staff and kids from a ‘Polokwane Home for Abused and Abandoned Children’ arrived at the store soon after my arrival and I was given the opportunity to chat to them, a really wonderful bunch of kids and their house mothers.

Kids and house mothers in the store and with Buddy

Kids and house mothers in the store and with Buddy

Beares staff Polokwane

Beares staff Polokwane

Then Tim Baber of Polokwane Round Table – Impala 157 club – arrived to take me to his ‘bachelor’ pad where I spent the evening. We were later joined by his lovely girlfriend Jess who arrived in the country a month ago from England and was specially imported by Tim who, when she had left to return to England three years ago after a visit to South Africa, was told by Tim “I’m going to marry you” so this wasn’t a proposal, it was a statement of fact! We were also joined by Tabler Danny Melenas and his character of note wife, Nadia. Between Tim’s culinary expertises with the ‘cob’ I think it’s called and Jess’s pure magic touch with food, they produced an outstanding meal, so thanks guys, your friendship and hospitality is really appreciated.

Me being ‘pinned’ by Danny, notice the new jacket with all my past Round Table lapel pins

Me being ‘pinned’ by Danny, notice the new jacket with all my past Round Table lapel pins

Round Table Impala 157 representatives from left Tim, Jess, Nadia and Danny

Round Table Impala 157 representatives from left Tim, Jess, Nadia and Danny

And so ended my night with Tim and his friends. Thanks guys it was a great evening.
So tomorrow I will be heading for the Polokwane Game Reserve where I will be camping and catching up with some work such as returning e-mails, which I am being slated for not doing, and hopefully get Buddy’s generator clanking sound sorted out. So until Monday when I will be heading for Mokopane or Potgietersrus as it is formerly known, keep well, keep the e-mails coming in, it’s always good to hear from everyone on their opinions of what should be done to stop child rape, or general comments on the subject.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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