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Nov '09

Day 116: Wednesday, 25 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)

So having obtained what I consider to be some very interesting information yesterday while in Kuruman about the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC’c) which are reported to be Government established care centres for predominantly rape victims and which are, I am told, operating in various centres around South Africa, and after thanking Judy Bolweg for her kind hospitality and generosity for sponsoring my night’s accommodation in her Red Dune B&B in Kathu, Buddy and I headed for Kimberley. I have been told that there is a TCC based at the hospital in Kimberley, which is one of the centres which has been fully functional for a number of years and so I am looking forward to seeing how they are actually operating compared with the manner in which I was told they were originally designed 9 years ago to operate.

Although the day was a real scorcher, with the temperature reaching 29 degrees before 8:30am – it actually stuck around the 36-38 degree mark for the rest of the day – I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. For the third day in a row the countryside was absolutely flat with the landscape dotted with thorn trees, I think they are called ‘Kameeldoringbome’ (camel thorn trees). Apart from a few trucks and cars which passed me every fifteen minutes or so and the few people I saw when passing through the small towns of Postmasburg and Barkly West, I saw nobody on the road. When I stopped now and again to get some ice water out of my cooler box, the silence was, as I have heard the expression and never understood it but do now, deafening.

<i>This is typical of the areas I have been driving through for the last three days. These photos were taken about 80 kilometres from Kimberly. Let’s see if Gail can work her magic again and put these two photos together. She did it once before so come on Gail, do your thing</i>

This is typical of the areas I have been driving through for the last three days. These photos were taken about 80 kilometres from Kimberly. Let’s see if Gail can work her magic again and put these two photos together. She did it once before so come on Gail, do your thing

The 283 kilometres took ‘Buddy and Me’ almost five and a half hours to complete. We left Kathu at a quarter to eight in the morning and arrived in Kimberley at 10 past 1 in the afternoon and when I walked into the Beares store I was really hot and tired. Buddy does not like being driven in the morning without being warmed up first, but he also does not like getting too hot and when this occurs he tends to splutter a bit and his clutch for some reason starts to shudder a bit. So with this in mind I stopped every 45 minutes to have a drink of ice water and to cool Buddy down as well, usually I stop at roadside rests where there are trees to cool both Buddy and me down, but travelling through this area the tree are very few and far between.

<i>Crossing the ‘mighty’ Vaal River after passing through Barkly West. If you look carefully you can faintly see the town in the back ground in amongst the trees</i>

Crossing the ‘mighty’ Vaal River after passing through Barkly West. If you look carefully you can faintly see the town in the back ground in amongst the trees

<i>Looking up stream</i>

Looking up stream

Talking of these roadside rest areas, I must comment on the state and filthy condition of these areas. When these areas were established, litter bins were erected, mostly concrete, but I don’t think any of these litter bins have ever been emptied resulting in the area being littered with bottles, papers and the ever present condom wrappers and even used condoms. These I am told are usually from the truck drivers. The areas are disgusting and if the government expects tourists during the 2010 soccer world cup to travel through our country using our national road structure, they had better start focusing on cleaning these areas up and keeping them clean.

While on this topic, on leaving Kathu and because I knew it was going to be a very long and extremely hot trip to Kimberley, I decided to wear shorts and a T shirt rather than my usual jeans and golf shirt. When I was about 15 kilometres out of Kimberley, I stopped at one of these ‘roadside rest areas’ to change because I was going to be going straight to the Beares store on my arrival in Kimberley. I had no sooner changed and was sipping on a mug of ice water, when a taxi pulled up, the side door slid open and a large group jumped out. They stood around jabbering and proceeded to empty the taxi of a pile of garbage, KFC boxes, cool drink cans and all sorts of other plastic bags, wrappers and bottles. After a few minutes they all jumped back in and continued on towards Kimberley. I stood there staring at the pile of rubbish on the side of the road, there had not even been an attempt to throw the rubbish into the large concrete litter box which, on this occasion, was only half full, although if all the other rubbish lying around was put in it, it would probably have overflowed, and this, without the help of the newly deposited garbage.

I got a phone call from May soon after leaving Kathu and she told me of shocking case of child abuse which was reported in the news this morning. It involved a 5 year-old little girl who was found in a shack situated in an East Rand township in Gauteng who was found by the authorities tied to a table and chewing on a bone like a dog. The neighbour had heard strange noises coming from the shack and had reported it to the authorities and on entering the shack they discovered this barbaric scene. The child cannot talk and can only mutter strange animal type noises. No further comment from me, I get too worked up thinking of these savages who abuse children like this and who are living in our country, South Africa.

During a discussion recently, a man told me of a situation he and his wife are facing concerning their three year old daughter. After attending a braai get together, with some close friends and on returning home, the mother entered the room and found their three year-old daughter with her hand in her panties touching herself. Obviously the mother was shocked and tried desperately to handle the situation in a calm and gentle manner. She asked the daughter what she was doing and her daughter told her that the little boy (eight year old son of one of their friends who had attended the get together) had touched her there and had shown her his “tinkie” and had shown her how to touch it and proceeded to masturbate in front of her, all the time showing her how it’s done, the little girl demonstrated with her fingers how he had done it.

The father told me that he is “between a rock and a hard place’ because the parents of the boy are long time family friends and if he approaches the parents about what happened it will mean the end of their friendship because he “knows how the father will react to it”, and obviously the little boy will deny having done “anything like that”. I’m pretty sure I will have the support of child psychologists and counsellors around the world in what I told him must be done. I told him that compared with the damage that this little boy can do, breaking up their friendship is a drop in the ocean.

Secondly if the father of the little boy does not accept what has happened and does not provide his youngster with much needed psychological support which he obviously needs right now, his little boy could be, and probably is, a walking time bomb for other babies and little girls, and so the parents of this eight year old boy must be made aware of the problem right now before it escalates into a much worse situation. Our discussion ended when I told him that he must consider the fact that, should he choose not to confront the boy’s parents about what happened and this little boy rapes a young child or even a baby, they will have to live with the knowledge on their conscience that they could have prevented an innocent child being raped and possibly damaged for life. I certainly hope you do the right thing, this little boy desperately needs help, your help.

<i><b>‘Buddy and Me’s’</b> home for the next two nights – <b>The Horseshoe Inn</b></i>

‘Buddy and Me’s’ home for the next two nights – The Horseshoe Inn

Okay, so once again Round Table have come to my help and Brian Fisher, Jannie Schoeman and Riaan Van Rooyen of Round Table Kimberley, RT 5 arranged accommodation for me at the Horseshoe Inn in Kimberley where I am now settled in and once I have finished writing my blog will go and find something to eat because I’m famished. I was also extremely hot, but a cool shower followed by a cold Millers (MGD) soon sorted that out. So until tomorrow when I will be visiting the Thuthuzela Care Centre and get more facts and details on the organisation as well as facts from other organisations in Kimberley on the child rape situation in Kimberley, I will say good night, sleep well, and most importantly, keep all children safe, and remember, if you know of, or have been made aware of, any abuse of children, be it physical or sexual abuse, it is your duty, both civil and legal in-terms of the Sexual Offences A, act 32 of 2007, to report it. SO DO IT!

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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