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Jan '10

Day 143 – 146: Thursday to Sunday, 28-31 January 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

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 with Thursday being a ‘day off’ for ‘Buddy and Me’ the day was spent doing some tender loving care and medical services to Buddy in the form of a service. So now we are ready for the challenge of heading forever south via the Kwa-Zulu Natal midlands, Durban and the coast route to Cape Town on the next leg of our crusade in our attempt to find a solution and to stop the rape of children in South Africa. From Cape Town ‘Buddy and Me’ will travel back up north along the West Coast into Namibia and then after reaching the Angolan border travel to the Zimbabwe / Botswana border via the Caprivi Strip and enter Botswana at the countries most Northern point and then head south again through Botswana to the countries most Southern point before re-entering South Africa.

I have been asked by Round Table to attend their ‘ARTSA’ conference which is being held in Hartenbos (that’s in, I believe, the George area) on the weekend of the 16th April. This means that I will have to reschedule the Namibian and Botswana legs of the project because at present my itinerary indicates that I will be in the Swakopmund / Walvis Bay area on that weekend, but I will confirm whether or not a change will be made to the schedule once I have had the opportunity to discuss the matter with the Beares management next weekend – I’m sure they will agree that the opportunity to address 4000 people at one time would be well worth the problems related to changing the schedule/itinerary. So keep watching the itinerary on this website for any possible changes to the ‘Buddy and Me’ schedule.

So after the ‘rest’ day on Thursday, (usually on rest days I finish the day more tired than I am on normal days) Friday morning ‘Buddy and Me’ left Germiston in overcast but nice driving weather for Standerton where we received a friendly welcome by Susan Smith the Beares store manager and her really friendly staff.

Susan had already established an appointment with a few ladies of the Standerton area two of whom (Hanlie Brits and Wini Ross) head up an amazing organisation called ‘SAVF’ (Suid-Afrikaanse Vrouefederasie – South African Woman’s Federation). This organisation was founded 104 years ago and provides an incredible number of services to destitute woman and children who find themselves victims of domestic violence and rape. To find out more about the organisation, who have facilities in most of the provinces around South Africa, or to provide whatever assistance you might be able to help them with, you can contact them on email address: savfstd@adept.co.za

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Standerton</i>

Beares staff Standerton

There were also two ladies from different news papers in the Standerton area as well as a young lady from the Regional Court. At this point I think it is only right that I write about an interesting phone call I received on Thursday morning. Whenever I receive a call on my cell phone, I always check to see if the caller’s number is identified or if the caller is someone identified on my phone listing, as in a family member or friend. On checking I noticed that the phone number of the caller was not identified, usually I don’t like receiving calls from callers who refuse to identify the number but I have learnt that this is becoming a frequent practise by callers.

The caller identified herself as being a senior person in the local government and told me that she had been made aware of the fact that I had, over the past few months, conducted interviews with members of the Department of Community Development, Social Welfare as well as police officials, Court Officials and staff of the Thuthuzela Care Centres. I confirmed this to be true and she went on to tell me that my interviews were undertaken without official approval and were frowned upon by senior people in these departments.

I explained that I do not expect anyone to make ‘official statements’ and that I am fully aware of the fact that individuals interviewed are not allowed to provide official details of statistics etc but that they are merely asked for their personal comments and opinions on what ‘they’ believe needs to be done to stop child rape and what ‘they’ believe needs to be done with regard to the department in which they operate which would assist in stopping the rape of children.

Although she was very friendly, she made sure that I understood that I am being ‘watched’ and ‘monitored’ and that ‘they’ will not tolerate me discussing this sensitive issue with staff of the previously mentioned departments without first obtaining ‘authority’. I pointed out that obtaining prior ‘authority’ involves weeks if not months of bureaucratic red tape, and based on the number of kids being raped on a daily basis, we don’t have time for all that red tape. So based on this I will not be identifying individuals I talk to, especially those connected to the departments I have mentioned, nor will I be taking photos of them unless they agree to their names being mentioned or photos being taken, although in most cases in the past this permission has been granted by the individuals.

One of the things I heard on the TV news over the weekend was the fact that the celebrations surrounding the ‘National Police Day’, was a great success with thousands of police from all over South Africa celebrating the auspicious occasion. It was also announced by the police department that this will in the future become an annual event. So in the future, criminals can pick the day on which to run amok committing crime because they will be advised in advance on which day the police will not be available to respond to crime around the country, yet another master piece of craziness implemented by our esteemed government.

The other master piece of craziness which I believe takes the cake, is the fact that they have instructed that all the schools in South Africa will close for the six weeks period during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Great, so this means that there will be hundreds of thousand of school kids running around the streets and townships unsupervised, and this in light of the fact that we are being told by our government that parents must be aware of the fact that the human trafficking, of particularly children, is expected to escalate at a formidable rate during the 2010 Soccer World Cup tournament. Absolute geniuses!

My discussion with the lady from the court revealed that she believes that the low conviction rate of between 4 and 6% being experienced in South Africa, is definitely due to the fact hat the police officials taking the initial report and statement do not have a clue of what they are doing and that my proposal that the ‘FCS’ unit must be re-implemented immediately and ‘officially’ and that a sub-unit within the ‘FCS’ unit, as in a ‘Child Protection Unit’ be formed to specialise in the initial reporting and investigation of child rape cases. After I had provided the group with what I believe needs to be done to stop the raping of children in South Africa she got all exited and said “That is exactly what we need”. So it appears so far that my proposal for what needs to be done to stop the raping of children could be the solution to stopping this scourge sweeping across our country. So soon I will be placing the full proposal on this website, so keep watching this space.

A devastating thing happened to me on Wednesday after visiting the Beares and Lubners stores in Randfontein. At the time of starting this project, I started a book in which the Beares and Lubners store managers have been writing messages to ‘Buddy and Me’. I maintained the same book on my first project during 2005 and 2006 and the comments and messages provided me with many hours of fascinating and inspiring reading. The book I started on this project, soon after starting took on a whole new dimension when the Lubners store manager in Brakpan, Theresa Scholtz stuck a small heart and flower into the book where she had written her comments/message. From thereon the book literally grew in size with all the flowers and other items of love which were attached to the messages. The book has truly helped me on ‘bad’ days when for one reason or another, my life has been affected by what I have seen or heard or problems I have encountered.

On arriving at the Beares store in Nigel, I discovered that ‘The book’ was not in my shoulder bag where it has been for the past 6 months and after searching frantically through my ‘office’ (Buddy’s boot) I had to accept the fact that it was missing. The last time I had seen it was when Tracy, the manager of the Beares store in Randfontein and Suzie, the stand-in manager of the Lubners store in Randfontein, had written in it. A phone call to both these ladies revealed that ‘The Book’ was not there, later I searched at home hoping that I had left it there, but alas ‘The Book’ has gone.

On arriving at the Beares store in Standerton on Friday and explaining the predicament I was in to the store manager Susan Smith, while I was attending my discussion with my group of guests at the ‘SAVF’ she arranged to buy a new book and started it once again. Her inscription on the cover reads “This book is dedicated to ‘Buddy and Me’ by Susan Smith – Beares Standerton 5174 – Love U (20-01-2010) and of course the message she wrote in the book was truly inspiring. I of course had to return to both the Beares store in Nigel and Heidelberg to get those managers to write in the new book, and so I can only hope and pray that the first book surfaces soon. To the staff of Lubners in Randfontein, where I saw the book for the last time, “Guys please don’t give up; I am positive ‘The Book’ is somewhere in your store” possibly put into someone’s draw by mistake, so pleeeeeze don’t give up the search”.

Saturday was spent relaxing with May and her son Richard and his girl friend Lee-Anne at the Witbank Dam fishing? Richard caught a 2.6 Kg Carp, me as usual, nothing, but my time will come! Sunday was spent cleaning out the trailer, everything was very damp from all the rain we have been experiencing and so after emptying the trailer I repacked it after fitting new carpeting, and so all is now ready for the trip south.

So Monday morning early ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading for Beares in Volksrust and then on to Beares in Newcastle in the afternoon and the town in which I will be hosted accommodation by what I can only describe as, from my phone call with him anyway, an absolute character of note, Round Tabler Jai Singh, and so Monday night should be yet another experience of note with the Tablers of Newcastle.

So with that in mind and my weekend finished all that’s left for ‘Buddy and Me’ to do is bid you farewell until tomorrow, so keep well and above all, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)

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