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Feb '10

Day 148: Tuesday, 2 February 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 after a really terrific evening of great food and good conversation with the Singh family and guests, I eventually retired to bed at a little before 2am after having spent from 11:15 till 1:40am writing my blog. But I didn’t feel too bad because while I was doing my blog, Jai was sitting at the same table with his laptop doing Round Table business and when I went to bed he continued for about another hour. So this morning after showering, dressing and packing I bid the Singh family farewell and took to the road, destination Vryheid about 126 kilometres away.

<i>Meet the Singh family – Mihir and Sonal in front. Mihir means “Ruler of the elements” in Hindi and Sonal means “Golden girl”. I’m sure I don’t need to point out which one is Jai and which one is Kamini, especially after telling you in yesterday’s blog that Kamini in Hindi means “Beautiful woman”. Oh and by the way, they are standing next to Jai’s infamous <b>‘Nightrider’</b> car</i>

Meet the Singh family – Mihir and Sonal in front. Mihir means “Ruler of the elements” in Hindi and Sonal means “Golden girl”. I’m sure I don’t need to point out which one is Jai and which one is Kamini, especially after telling you in yesterday’s blog that Kamini in Hindi means “Beautiful woman”. Oh and by the way, they are standing next to Jai’s infamous ‘Nightrider’ car

I thoroughly enjoyed the drive through to Vryheid, the weather was terrific, it was obviously going to be a very hot day, and the landscape was beautiful. The countryside was flat and I could see for kilometres in all directions. I could not remember ever visiting the town of Utrecht and when I passed the entrance to the small town I couldn’t help stopping to photograph the entrance and to go in and fill up Buddy’s tank.

The town is situated inside a game farm, incredible

While driving to Vryheid, three SAPS cars went flying passed me, and I mean flying with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring. A short while later when I reached the T junction of the Vryheid – Dundee road I came across eleven cop cars on the side of the road all surrounding a white bakkie, but I wasn’t going to stop to find out what was going on, it looked like serious police business. Soon after turning left onto the Vryheid road, I approached a section of road where construction work was being undertaken, fixing potholes. The road was narrowed down to one lane with traffic being stopped at each end to allow only one lane of traffic through at a time. This section of road construction stretched for about 800 metres and inside this section were 9 police vehicles. When I drove through I saw a white car which had obviously rolled and was lying smashed up about 50 metres from the road side surrounded by about 20 cops.

About 2 kilometres further on I came across another scene which appeared to be two cop cars which had collided at high speed and had gone careering off the road into the bush and had come to a stop about 100 metres from the edge of the road.

Later after telling the staff and guests at the Beares store about this crazy scene I had witnessed, a guest police officer, Inspector Charles Ramoikatso told us that a car had been stolen/hi-jacked in Newcastle and was spotted in Vryheid and after a chase the police had shot the driver, I later learned that another vehicle was involved and that was the one I had seen surrounded by cops at the T junction.

On the subject of child rape, two of my guests, Carol Ellenberger and Thambile Sangweni of the NGO Child Welfare, a private organisation providing a support structure for victims of rape and domestic violence, confirmed that although they do not receive many ‘Child’ rape cases, they believe that it is happening on a very large scale and that something drastic needs to be done to ensure that mothers report the rape of their children and allow the law to take it’s course. They agreed with me that the only manner in which this can be accomplished is by ensuring that the Department of Community Development and Social Welfare are sufficiently funded in order to provide support to the family’s affected by child rape and situations where fathers rape their children and are arrested, convicted and sent to prison.

<i><b>Beares</b> Vryheid staff</i>

Beares Vryheid staff

From Vryheid I headed for Dundee which is about 73 kilometres south of Vryheid. I always enjoy driving in this area because I am fascinated by history and the area is steeped in history in the form of Battlefields from the Anglo – Boer war as well as the Zulu war, and one place in particular which has always fascinated me is the battle of Rorke’s Drift in which about thirty British soldiers fought off over a thousand Zulu warriors on the 22nd January 1879.

The building from which the British soldiers fought off the Zulus and inside the building dummies showing how the soldiers broke through a wall to escape from one room to another.

The mass grave site of the British soldiers who died at Rorke’s Drift

When I arrived at the Beares store in Dundee I was met by a large group of people who when I stopped started clapping and cheering, what a reception!

<i>My reception committee at <b>Beares</b> Dundee</i>

My reception committee at Beares Dundee

After chatting to a large group of guests, a lady using a walker, started shouting and performing a short way from the entrance to the Beares store. The store manager, Reggie Govender and I went over to her and found out that her name is Mrs. TI Zulu and that she heads up an organisation called The Enhlanhleni Care Centre for street kids. She was performing over the fact that according to her, there are many street kids living in the area around the Checkers Centre in Dundee who are frequently being raped and sexually abused and that when they report the abuse to the police and Social Development, they are chased away and nothing is done about it.

I took the matter up with two police officers who were present as well as a senior staff member of the Department of Social Development attached to the Regional Court in Dundee, Mr CM Xaba. All three pointed out that they had on a number of occasions asked Mrs. Zulu to attend the regions Community Police Forum and to raise any objections she has with the organisation so that the matter can be dealt with properly, but she has always refused to attend the meetings. They believe her allegations are groundless and that according to their information no charges of rape or sexual abuse have been reported by the street kids. Mmmmm

<i>Mrs. Zulu ranting and raving in the street</i>

Mrs. Zulu ranting and raving in the street

While on the subject of street kids, while on my trip through Africa, I encountered many organisations, all foreigners mostly from the UK who provide support to street kids and I have mixed feelings as to whether or not these organisations are helping the situation or whether they making the situation worse. I witnessed many instances and was told by many members of the local communities in the villagers and towns in the countries I visited, that kids, on seeing that their friends are benefiting from better facilities, such as good food, TV to watch, sporting facilities such as soccer teams etc they leave home where their parents are doing their best to look after them under the circumstances, and hit the streets where they are rounded up by the NGO’s and removed to the ‘places of safety’ and provided with a better life than that which their parents were providing them with in the township/village. I would appreciate any comments on this subject as I personally am stumped as to whether or not these NGO’s are performing a community service or making the matter worse.

I visited the ‘Dundee Adult Centre’ which is a home for the ‘Intellectually Disabled’ where I had a really interesting chat with two ladies by the names of Annetjie Enslin and Chrissie Van der walt. Unfortunately it’s now pretty late and as I still have to write about my meeting with the Round Table in Dundee I’m going to leave the information about our chat until tomorrow.

<i><b>Beares</b> Dundee staff</i>

Beares Dundee staff

I was met at the Beares store by Greg Van Blomestein and after dropping Buddy off at his house we met up with a group of Tablers from Dundee Round Table RT 94 at a local joint where we indulged in some good conversation as well as a few more than a couple of frosty’s. I was pinned with the Tables pin as usual and presented with th Tables banner. Once again the Tablers proved to be great guys and a magic evening was had by all.

<i>Me being pinned and presented with the RT 94 banner by Greg in the brown shirt</i>

Me being pinned and presented with the RT 94 banner by Greg in the brown shirt

<i>The Tablers of Dundee enjoying an eveing of good conversation and cold beer</i>

The Tablers of Dundee enjoying an eveing of good conversation and cold beer

So now it’s 1:15am and I am going to sign off and hit the sack. So until tomorrow when ‘Buddy and Me’ head for Ladysmith and then on to Harrismith where we will be spending the evening once again with Round Table, ‘Buddy and Me’ will bid you good night, and remember to keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)

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