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Oct '09

Day 80: Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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To watch Buddy and Me in real time click on the Bandit link on the right hand navigation pane, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter 0822549129 and password Buddy.

Both Buddy and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive to Springs this morning. It was a lovely crisp clear morning and even the fellow motorists appeared even more friendly than usual. Drivers were hooting and waiving and as usual many photos were taken of Buddy by passing motorists on their cell phones. I have no doubt in my mind that Buddy is undoubtedly the most photographed Beach Buggy if not motor vehicle in the world. At the Springs Beares store, ‘Buddy and Me’ met a large group of kids from a local school who were magnificently entertained by the giant bears who did a truly spectacular job in entertaining them, man could these bears dance. So to ‘Moses’, the bear in Primrose, my man, you have some really stiff competition from the bears in Springs.

The giant bears entertaining the kids

I also got to meet and chat to a large group of teachers and other guests about the research/child rape campaigns I have undertaken over the past few years and to get their input on the subject of child rape. When addressing a group of people and even when discussing the subject of child rape on a one on one basis with someone, I often ask “If you were made President tomorrow and your instructions from the public in South Africa was to Stop the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa within 24 months what would you do to accomplish this”. Invariably they laugh or giggle and after many mmm’s and aaaa’s the response is “I don’t think it can be stopped”, but mostly the response is “Bring back the death penalty for child rape”. When I give them my 6 step plan to bringing a halt to the raping and sexual abuse of children, they tend to look at me in wonder and say “Yes that will work, why hasn’t the Government implemented such a plan?”

I am not going to provide details of this plan at this stage because obviously with still another 8 months and about 35 000 kilometres to go on this project/campaign I still have a lot of people to talk to and to fine tune my plan. I certainly do not want to get into a situation we as South Africans are witnessing every day where someone in government comes up with a “plan” and it is implemented in a flash of inspiration only to be realised later that “Oh hell sorry we made a booboo” and after having wasted a fortune of the tax payers hard earned money, say “wooow stop the bus, lets change back again” – we have seen that happen far too often.

I have however made enquiries as to how I can have my plan presented to Government/Parliament on completion of this project/campaign or rather when I reach Cape Town at the end of March/begging of April 2010, and in this respect would appreciate any suggestions from people who have political affiliations and connections. I am not politically connected to any political party and from the outset of my campaign against child rape was adamant that this project would not become a political tool for any Party to use for political purposes, gains or brownie points, but obviously in order to get the attention of our Government and Parliament I need the assistance of someone who ‘knows the ropes’ and ‘knows which buttons to press’. So please guys help me out here.

<i>The group of kids, guests and staff of Beares Springs</i>

The group of kids, guests and staff of Beares Springs

From Springs Buddy and I had to find our way to the Tsakane Mall which, I was told, is situated in the heart of the Tsakane Township. Now I must tell you, up until I received the Beares list of stores, I had never heard of Tsakane never mind know where it was, so after having a few people give me directions, mostly all completely different, I decided “what the hell… I now have a general idea of where Tsakane is and I have a general idea of which direction to travel in”, so because I was scheduled to be at the Tsakane Beares store at 1pm I said my goodbyes to the large group outside the Springs Beares store at 10 past 12 and headed off into the blue yonder to locate Tsakane. I must say I don’t know if it was my directional skills or Buddy’s natural ability to find these strange places, but at 3 minutes to one we pulled up outside the Tsakane Beares store, and we only stopped to ask directions once at a garage which happened to be about 800 metres away from the centre in which the Beares store is situated, incredible! Well, I thought so anyway.

Here I met another group of tiny tots from a local crèche and nursery school called the ‘Thusanang Day Care Centre’ who performed another sketch named “My body, nobody must touch my body”. I saw this performed a few days ago, I think it was at the Benoni Beares store; the days are going so fast for me I can’t even remember where I was yesterday, but I am really impressed with it and believe this should be taught to all kids at crèche’s and nursery schools around the country.

<i>Kids doing the sketch on “My body, nobody must touch my body”</i>

Kids doing the sketch on “My body, nobody must touch my body”

Once again I had an interesting chat with the teachers from the crèche as well as the Beares staff and three police officers who popped in to chat. I was told of a child rape case which involved a small three year-old child from the crèche who was raped by its step father. The mother reported the case to the police and the guy was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail. Personally I don’t believe this was even remotely severe enough, because the guy was found to be HIV positive and he had infected both the mother and the child. Fortunately he died a few months ago but the mother unfortunately died recently as well. The child is now being cared for by its grandparents and aunt. Yet another tragic story added to the ‘Buddy and Me’ book of tragic stories relating to child rape.

The Captain from the police force who popped in to chat, told me that they are not receiving many cases involving child rape from the area, and that they have a competent “FCS” unit operating out of Brakpan which seems to have the situation in hand, but once again, does this unit actually, officially exist, or is it because the Station Commissioner has used his initiative and has established a cluster in the area and is making use of a “dedicated’ team to investigate child rape? Also I have come to question the statements made by police officials when they claim that the number of child rape cases taking place in their area is not too serious, because this is based on the number of cases reported to the police and not on the number of cases actually taking place and not being reported.

<i>The kids enjoying Buddy, together with the Beares Tsakane staff and police guests</i>

The kids enjoying Buddy, together with the Beares Tsakane staff and police guests

So that ended ‘Buddy and Me’s’ visits to Springs and Tsakane. It was a really nice day and fortunately I was shown the way out of Tsakane by one of the Beares staff. I can tell you I would probably have spent two days trying to find my way out of the area if I had had to travel the route we took on my own, but I reached the highway at the Carnival City Casino at 3:30 and arrived home a little before 5pm after stopping off at the Gem for a quick cold frosty and chat with Gaston.

So until next when ‘Buddy and Me’ hit the streets, which will be in Soweto on Thursday, we bid you goodbye for now, keep well, stay well and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 500.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

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