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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:
In spite of all the comforts of my accommodation at the Mamusa Guest House in Schweizer Reneke, and believe me it was comfortable, I had a pretty restless night, because May phoned me yesterday afternoon (Sunday) and told me that my Golden Cherry female Indian Ring-neck (miniature parrot), of which there are only reputed to be about five of in South Africa, had killed my white male Indian Ring-neck. The white male was a really beautiful bird and I had been hoping to breed a stunning set of babies from this pair of really stunning birds, but alas this is not to be. But I kept thinking of the female attacking the male and killing him in the manner in which these birds normally kill their adversaries and that is by clinging to their back and pecking the back of their head. I was really sorry for the male and so found myself waking every half hour or so with this on my mind.
But I managed to get some rest and woke at 5:15am to a beautiful and clear blue sky, not a cloud in sight. After a scrumptious breakfast, I made my way through the ‘bustling traffic’ right! – like traffic in Schweizer Reneke could ever reach a bustling stage – and was met by the friendly staff of the Beares store. I had no sooner introduced myself to all the staff and was settling down to enjoy a cup of coffee, when I was summonsed to the shop’s front door. On stepping out onto the pavement, my attention was attracted by two local guys who said “Aaieesh, this is a good thing you are doing with this funny little car and it’s so dirty we will wash it for you”. Buddy, I must admit, was not looking his best covered in mud from the last few day’s rains and the gravel road to Rafters in Lichtenburg had not helped matters. I asked what it would cost to clean Buddy and the trailer and the response was, “Aaaeeish, this is a good thing you’re doing we won’t charge you, you can just make a donation”. Right! But they did a good job and the R30-00 ‘donation’ was worth it.
Abraham, the store manager, had arranged for a cop from the local SAPS as well as a lady from the Department of Social Development to come to the store to meet and chat to me. Unfortunately the lady cop who is attached to the “CPU” unit (which officially does not exist) could not make it so another lady cop arrived, and the social worker from the Department of Social Development could not make it either because they are on strike! I was told that the strike is for more pay, which I find quite amazing because everywhere I have travelled I have been told by the social workers that the department has no money and so they cannot provide trauma victims with the proper support they need. In fact most, if not all of, the departments I have visited do not even have vehicles to transport trauma victims to hospitals or to visit them to provide counselling and support in the home and family structure, so what do they do, and now they want more pay??
The policewoman (she didn’t want me to identify her by name but insisted on being in the photo with the Beares staff) confirmed once again that the child rape situation in the nearby township as well as on the outer district farms is running rampant. She also confirmed that the Schweizer Reneke police station does not receive more than maybe three or four child rape cases a year. As a group we discussed the reluctance of the parents to report child rape cases to the police and everyone agreed that it is because they believe that the police do not have the necessary experienced and qualified investigative staff and techniques to investigate child rape cases and basically have lost all faith in the police force’s ability to provide them with the necessary support structure, and of course the necessary protection if the culprit is apprehended and then released on bail.
In many discussions around the country with police officers, it has been identified that in fact the problem is a ‘catch 22’ situation, in that the police say that if one considers the fact that the number of child rape cases the average police station receives on an annual basis is very low when compared to other crime such as robbery, murder, hi-jacking, house breaking etc, it is not worth their while to spend fortunes on training large numbers of specialised units to investigate cases of child rape. I can appreciate this reasoning, but the fact of the matter is that there are almost 600 cases of child rape occurring every day in South Africa and the mothers/parents cannot report it for a couple of reasons, these being that one, they don’t have faith in the police and justice department and two, that the majority of the perpetrators are fathers and uncles which creates a financial problem for the family if the father/husband is sent to prison. From my discussions I have come to believe that the problem related to the police and justice department is a very big hurdle and I personally believe that the police need to take the initiative and get their act together and regain the public’s faith in their abilities to police this country.
On this note, I watched what I can only describe as a horror movie last night on M-Net. In fact it was the Sunday night’s episode of Carte Blanche (for the benefit of the foreigners on my website – it’s a television show of some really top class investigative journalism) and the first story was about the rape of woman by members of the South African Police Service (I’m really glad I was a member of the South African Police Force and not the SA Police Service based on the contents of the Carte Blanche show) and I strongly encourage any foreigners reading this blog and in particular women who intend visiting South Africa to visit the www.mnet.co.za website and click onto the Carte Blanche site and check out Sunday the 22nd November 2009’s article – I’m pretty sure it will scare the hell out of you, as it did me.
I am scheduled to visit the Kuruman Beares store tomorrow morning and then continue through to Kathu in the afternoon, and so I needed accommodation in Kuruman or somewhere close to it for this evening. On checking the ARTSA (The Association of Round Tables of Southern Africa) booklet, I discovered that there is no Round Table in Kuruman and so contacted Denis Britz of the Vryburg Round Table where I would have to pass through on my way to Kuruman. When I explained my predicament to him he said, as I usually hear from the Tablers I have met so far, “No problem, stop off in Vryburg on your way through and we will make a plan” and make a plan they did. I met a group of Tablers at the Spur in Vryburg and then I was shown to a really magic place called The Molopo Travel Inn B&B where arrangements were made for me to stay over courtesy of the Round Tablers of Vryburg. And so now I am settled in, and based on my experience with Tablers; these guys do amazing work for charity, but boy can they party, I decided to start my blog early because the Tablers of RT 72 Vryburg are coming round to “chat” and from experience I know what happens at these “chats”. So until later when we have finished our “chat” I’m going to take a break and will relay exactly what was discussed at our “chat”.
So I’m back, and after a relatively short “chat” mainly because the guys were given very short notice of my arrival in Vryburg and coupled with the fact that it is, after all Monday, so most people are still suffering from a heavy weekend after the Bokke win. I am going to finish off so that Gail can hopefully get my blog (e-mail) posted to my website before she heads for bed and gets off early in the morning for work. But before I go, here are the photo’s of the guys from Round Table Vryburg RT 72. Also I just want to share a bit of info just to highlight the calibre of people I get to meet on this crusade of mine and Buddy’s and to express my gratitude for their generosity. Initially the arrangements for my accommodation here at the Molopo Travel Inn B&B was that the Vryburg Round Table guys were going to sponsor my stay, but after meeting ‘Buddy and Me’, the owners, Johan and Babsie Burger, insisted on providing my accommodation themselves, on the house. On being informed of this, the Tablers of RT 72 insisted on doing their share and provided me with a full tank of fuel, R320-00’s worth. So what can I say but only to re-iterate that there are amazing people in this country of ours? Thanks guys, to Johan and Babsie and all the amazing guys of Vryburg Round Table, you have Buddy and my heartfelt thanks for you friendship, hospitality and generosity.
And so ended the day for ‘Buddy and Me’, so tomorrow morning we head for Kuruman and then on to Kathu where we overnight. So until then, keep your feet on the ground but reach real high for the sky, and above all —- 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:
|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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