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Nov '09

Day 111: Friday, 20 November 2009

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

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)

I suppose I don’t need to tell you that it rained all night and I woke to yet more rain this morning, because from what I have seen on the TV in my chalet it appears that it’s raining almost everywhere in South Africa, the only exception being the Cape region. It’s unbelievable, but I heard that there was even a snowfall somewhere in the Drakensburg Mountains, incredible, with all these changes in the climate soon we might even have a white Christmas in Jo’burg, who knows maybe even Durban!

<i>The view from the front of my chalet at the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre</i>

The view from the front of my chalet at the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre

<i>The view from the opposite direction</i>

The view from the opposite direction

Anyway after showering and packing – I’m going to need to dry out all the stuff in my trailer soon because every time I open the trailer lid in the rain to pack everything gets sopping wet – I headed out of the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre and arrived at the Beares store dead on time at 9:15am. Dirk Kleynhans, the store manager was already dressed up in his bear suit and after Ronél Hefer (a social worker from the Department of Social Development) arrived we drove off for our first of three visits to schools in the Lichtenburg area. I of course followed in Buddy, fortunately the rain had eased to a slight drizzle and so I wasn’t too wet when we arrived at the first school where we met up with two magic ladies from the Lichtenburg police department. One being Inspector Carina Fourie,who is head of the communications department and is involved with the schools and all the kids know her well. The other, Inspector Hanlie van Wyk is employed, here we go again, with the ‘FCS’ unit. I spoke to her about the confusion which reigns over whether or not this unit actually exists and is officially operational and she confirmed that there is definitely a lot of confusion over this but she is adamant that “In this area it is fully operational and successful”, so that was good news.

I also asked if there are a lot of incidents of child rape taking place in the area and she confirmed that there are, but that they actually receive very few reports of child rape. Of course this is not unique to this police station, but that domestic violence in the area, as in the physical abuse of woman, takes up most of their time. Now while on this topic, I would like to raise an issue which, because of the forthcoming 16 days of activism against woman and child abuse, has been discussed with me at great lengths. As I have already said on my blog, the abuse of woman in particular has had a huge amount of publicity over the last few years. I have also said previously on my blog, that I get really annoyed when men say that they blame the mothers for the rape and sexual abuse of their children for leaving the kids with sisters, etc which gives uncles and grandfathers the opportunity to rape and sexually abuse the children (hell if we can’t trust our own family members with the safekeeping of our kids, who can we trust?) But this situation does unfortunately occur due to the economic situation which forces mothers to have to work and the fact that they can’t afford a crèche or nursery school and so they don’t have a choice. I must however add that unfortunately the children and babies are even being raped and sexually abused in the crèches and nursery schools around South Africa. The other day I was told of a case involving a husband and wife who own a crèche/nursery school who have been charged with the sexual abuse of 6 young girls and boys aged between 3 and 5 years of age, so where is it safe to leave the kids? But I am sorry to say, I do blame them for the abuse on themselves, and the fact that eighty percent of the time they are not supporting their children and the fight to stop the rape and sexual abuse of their children by reporting it and ensuring that the law takes its course.

The reason I say this is, having been a cop myself for eight years, I saw many cases of physical abuse of woman being reported to the police only to have the charges withdrawn within 24 hours of having been reported and this is still being practised today. I have been told by many policemen and women all over South Africa that women are still, either not reporting the incidents of abuse, or when they do, soon after reporting it they contact the investigating officer and withdraw the case. Recently we saw such a case in the media which involved a celebrity rugby player, Percy Montgomery who was charged, arrested and detained for beating up his wife only to have his wife withdraw the charges within 48 hours of having laid them. So my message to the women of South Africa is, “If you want the public sympathy and support against the abuse of woman, you must show that you yourselves want it to stop, and report the incidents to the police and allow the law to take its course. The same goes for the raping and sexual abuse of your children, if you want it to stop you are the ones who can make it happen; by keeping quiet about the assaults on yourselves and the raping and sexual abuse of your children you are not supporting the fight to stop either of them. So Ladies please wake up and get with the programme – there are a lot of people out here supporting the fight to stop the abuse of woman and children and you are the only ones who can do something about it! TALK OUT ABOUT THE ATROCITIES BEING COMMITTED AGAINST YOURSELVES AND CHILDREN – DO THE RIGHT THING!

Okay so having gotten that off my chest I will go on with today’s activities. We arrived at the first of the three schools and we met a lot of kids and we were all given an opportunity to address the kids and all contributed to providing them with information pertaining to ways in which the rape and sexual abuse of children can be combated. Ronél, Carina and Hanlie focused a lot on the various other forms of child abuse and got the kids singing to another song about “no one is allowed to touch their bodies and who they must report it to”. These songs I have been hearing all over the place are really effective.

<i>The kids really loved Mr. Bear (Dirk) with nappy and all</i>

The kids really loved Mr. Bear (Dirk) with nappy and all

<i>Me addressing the kids and Ronél with her back to the camera</i>

Me addressing the kids and Ronél with her back to the camera

<i>The ladies leading the kids in song – Carina on the left of picture, Ronél centre and Hanlie on the right and four teachers</i>

The ladies leading the kids in song – Carina on the left of picture, Ronél centre and Hanlie on the right and four teachers

Then it was off to the second and third schools where once again we addressed a whole bunch of kids.

<i>2nd school</i>

2nd school

<i>My back up team</i>

My back up team


The 3rd school, where the Head Mistress interpreted for me

After we finished with the schools we headed back to the Beares store where a steaming cup of coffee went down like pure magic.

Now I have to tell you, working at the Beares store is a lady of absolute note, and she is Carol Ann. She was at the store on my previous project and is, I’m sure, now legible to be claimed as a fixed asset for tax purposes by Beares. Carol Ann had made the arrangements for me to stay over at the Lichtenburg Game Breeding Centre, and because it was still raining this morning, decided that I was not going to set up camp and camp at the Boat Club on the dam as I had intended doing for the weekend, and so took it upon herself to arrange accommodation for me in a caravan at a lovely tranquil caravan park situated about 6 kilometres out of town which is owned by Vicky and Garth Homan.

So without any further ado I said my goodbyes to the staff of the Beares store in Lichtenburg and headed for my new/latest ‘home’.

<i>My ‘home’ for the weekend</i>

My ‘home’ for the weekend

And so ended my Friday in Lichtenburg, and it’s still raining, so until Sunday when I will tell you about the rest of the weekend’s activities in this lovely little town, ‘Buddy and Me’ will wish you well and hope you have a great weekend, in-spite of the rain! And please ladies, don’t forget what I said, do the right thing and report and nail the savages who abuse you and your children and in doing so keep all children safe”.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 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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