Super Mom

South Africa

Covid-19 better known as Corona virus 🦠

When the virus broke out in Wuhan China, I didn’t think much of it. This was January 7, 2020. I found it interesting that some believed Dean Koontz predicted the virus in his book The eyes of Darkness.

Since it seemed that the virus would only stay in China I wasn’t worried too much. I would follow the news as always but it wasn’t the first article I would read.

Then the virus started to spread. first to Thailand, then the USA, Nepal, France, Australia. The spread was due to individuals traveling to those countries. Africa seemed pretty safe until tourists or South Africa came back from overseas trips.

Our epidemic started when 11 people returned from Italy. Eleven people and now we are on a 21 day lockdown.

Italy has pretty much given up. I have never seen such devastation in a man as when their prime minister said:”We have lost control”

Back to South Africa again. Our president did not take long to stand up and take control. Our lockdown is meant to last from 27 March until 16 April.

Will it be enough? We don’t know but we need to try. So far it looks as though it is flattening the curve however we don’t think our people living in locations are getting the treatment they need and therefore the country doesn’t have the correct figures. Maybe with the mobile clinics going out they will be diagnoses and get the treatment they need.

So how does this affect my family?

  • Luckily school is just the same for the homeschoolers.
  • Kyla gets her work from school via whatsapp and I think she has finally realized that homeschool is not for her 😉
  • Quintus misses his friends terribly.
  • Walter is with his brother and I am sure he is having a good time,
  • Me however, I’m constantly anxious. I have to tell myself to relax my jaws.
  • I am so worried about finances. I know I can work from home but if “my companies” aren’t working, I have no work to do. I have a lot of money outstanding but people aren’t paying and I am sure for a while they won’t.
  • I worry about our economy and if it can recover from this.
  • I worry because I could not go for my 6 month cancer check up. The big one. With scans and sonar and mri. I know it’s crazy but that is what cancer does to you.
  • I worry because Jason can’t have his operation. Chance of recovery must get worse every day. I mean he already has arthritis between the fibula and tabula.
  • I feel horrible that Zander worked so hard to achieve SA Level 2 and now it has been postponed and more likely cancelled. He also can’t practice at all now. Loosing all the hard work he had been putting in both in pool annd with the biogenetic trainer.
  • I have many other worries that is not corona related so I won’t mention them.

I’m going to repost something many people have posted on Facebook. Just so that I don’t forget how it was. How normal it felt to be lock inside our own homes.

Just so I NEVER forget

Gas prices at a record low.

School cancelled till April 17, but I think it may be longer.

Self-distancing measures on the rise.

Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers 2m (6ft) from each other.

Limited number of people inside stores, therefore lineups outside the store doors.

Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.

Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.

Entire sports seasons cancelled.

Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events – cancelled.

Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings – cancelled.

No masses, churches are closed.

No gatherings of 100 or more, then 50 or more.

Don’t socialize with anyone outside of your home.

Children’s outdoor play parks are closed.

We are to distance from each other.

Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.

Shortage of ventilators for the critically ill.

Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towels and no hand sanitizer.

Shelves are almost bare.

Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.

Government closes the border to all non-essential travel.

Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.

Daily updates on SA’s new cases, recoveries, and deaths.

Barely anyone in the street or on the roads.

People wearing masks and gloves outside.

Essential service workers are terrified to go to work.

Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.

This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic….. nations world wide go into lockdown to protect their people.

One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious. To not take the things we dearly love for granted.


Proteas – not the flower

Cricket has never been the same since Hansie.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved Hansie.  I still think he is one of the very best captains we ever had.  It’s just that now I always wonder.  Was the game lost or sold.

I was going to take Jason to watch the Protea / New Zealand game two weeks ago but very unplanned went away for the week.  I asked their back-up Dad to take him and his friend. It was hot.  It was a long day.

And we lost spectacularly.

In front of a fully packed stadium, the Proteas could not have played worse.

How do you win one, lose the next horribly and then win the third again.

How?

That is okay though.  I don’t mind spending close to a thousand rand on tickets and then watch them loose.  I don’t.

I do mind more though if they don’t give signatures or a second of the time to the children who are the reason we spend thousands of rands to watch the games.

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New Zealand actually spoke to the kids.  Gave out signatures.  Nice people that.

Proteas?  Maybe half of them were half proper.  They told the kids to wait until after the game, when they will come out again to talk them and give signatures.

Oh yes.  They did.  Not more than five of them.

I want to bring one thing under the attention of all professional sports players.  You earn as much money as you do because you have fans that are willing to spend money to watch you play.  Without those fans you will just be a club player, doing it for fun.

Don’t fool yourself. You are not above human. Take the time.  Thank the kids for coming out and supporting their heros.

Dale, you rock btw.


Goldilocks?

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Look…I don’t mind the names in all the Education Department school books.  Vusi, Tshepo, Ntabiseng.  I don’t mind. 

I do mind however when all of a sudden Goldilocks is a black girl?  This is not a racist issue.  This is just plain weird?  She is dark with blond hair?

Seriously?

This is taking it too far.  Nee wragtig.

Write a new story then if you want to.  A Rasta girl or whatever but to make Goldilocks black is just plain stupid.


Our country

Look, I know all countries have their own issues.  However, when news make you laugh, you must know something is not right.

We all know about the Gupta wedding scandal and them landing at Waterkloof Air force Base.  We all knew from the start that Zuma had something to do with it.  That is not what made me laugh.  What made me laugh is when they “admitted” that he was Number One.  The one who made the calls.  The one who authorized it all.  They said from the beginning that Number One gave the green flag.  Now they say that it is the code name for our president!  WTF?  Really?  Who would have thought lol Don’t they think anyone with more than one working brain cell could work that out?

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Then on a sad, horrible and disgusting note in the same paper, they talk about the mother and father who got 18 years in prison for raping and murdering their 10 month old baby girl.  They did not get life in prison because …. wait for it … the court feels their other children have the right to be raised by their biological parents!!!! huh?  They could get parole in 9 years if I’m correct?  This means their youngest child will be 10.  Is this really what they want? 

Some days I wonder why I read the news


This is sad

As we all know,  our Olympic cyclist died this week.  Doing what he loves most. 

So young.
So unfair.

Such an horrible loss for his family.
For the cycling community.
For south Africa.

As I went through my Facebook feed tonight I was shocked.  Too shocked to leave a comment.  Not wanting to give the individual any airtime.  Though I will here.  I will share my feelings here.

She said that so many black people lost their lives on the road this week.  Why focus on one white person.  Death is death.

Oh the racist card.

Many people lost their lives.  Horrible.  Tragic. 

But he was on Olympian. A winner of the Cape epic. Still young,  ready for bigger things.
To represent our country again and again.

He is not in the news because he is white.

He is in the news because he represented our country.

Such a pity that she lacks the intelligence to understand that.
Oh….. And that is not a black thing … Just in case you want to throw the racist card.


This is when you know

You know you live in South Africa when….

… Well picture this

Kids are playing in the house. You are sitting outside with friends. Your neighbour’s house alarm goes off and after a minute or two it is still going strong. So you phone your neighbour (who is on leave in the Cape) and he had yet to get a call from the security company. You tell him that while he calls them, you will walk around to check it out.

The men walk over to their house, the women still outside chatting. Men come back home and says that someone had broken into the neighbour’s home.

” is someone still in the house? Did they steal anything?” After a “no” and “it doesn’t look like it”, you just continue your conversion.

Men leave to wait for security company. Women, still outside chatting.

This is when you know you are desensitized. Pretty crime means nothing.

Less then 50 meters from where we sat, they broke in through the window. We would have been able to see them if we looked up.

Still, it is nothing to get worked up about. Obviously we didn’t phone the police. Just secured the home as much as we could. Reset the alarm.

Its sad when things like this is just an every day thing. Like watching someone skip the stop street. You barely register.


Teachers ….. or not

I have been appointed as the Accountant of a number of farm school in the past couple of years.  It is interesting to look at their income and expenditure.  Where the money goes to.  I think it’s a shame how the money we pay towards education (through tax) doesn’t get allocated like it should.

That’s not what this is about though. 

I spoke to one of the principals about their transport costs and how high it is in comparison to their other expenses.  Of course I understand why but still, we sat down and discussed it some.

The MEC of education holds many a meeting, that these short-staffed headmasters have to attend.   They discuss finances mostly and how to reduce expenses, when these schools hardly have any to spend.

That’s not what this is about either.

This is about one of her teachers.  Her Grade 6 class (same age as Quintus) will be writing “outside” exams, as she calls it.  So she went to their class to follow up on their progress and realized that only one of the two teachers has come to school lately!  They both teach Grade 6.  One teaches 5 subjects and the other 4.

When she contacted the teacher, he said that he was off sick.  (He didn’t let her know at all)  She contacted him again and he said that he was still sick.  This more than a week later.  After another week, he told her that he couldn’t come to school because she is the cause of his stress and he now has depression.

He went and complained to higher ranked officials and she was reprimanded because she doesn’t “support” him enough!!!  He has HIV and she should be more supportive of his needs.

Uhmmmm okay….. what about the kids that need to study.  THEY need to be supported! 

If he was physically ill from the HIV, then probably more understandable.  But he is now depressed?  And he doesn’t need a letter from a doctor, he can just stay away.  And she needs to support him.

Now, she is teaching the kids on Saturdays and Sundays, so that they are ready for their exams.

URGH….weird country we live in.


It’s not that important

Okay, I’ve been wondering if I should give this whole situation more airtime.  Since it’s been getting way too much airtime as it is.  However, I want to put my thoughts out there.

Right, so some artist drew our president as he thought his artistic right was to do.  Personally I don’t think you should have the right to do that, if it’s going to negatively affect the person you are drawing.  The artist obviously thought it was okay to let it hang out and on the walls.

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So I’ve said that I personally don’t think it was the right thing to do.  That one should not be allowed to whatever in the name of art. 

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Was it worth all the airtime it got? Was it worth all the news reports, all the marches? I don’t think so. You know what. So he was painted with his uhm…zip down. Yes, he might have felt it’s embarrassing. Do you know what is truly embarrassing? Being raped. THAT’s embarrassing. What you are truly stripped of our dignity in real life and not just on a painting.

Why isn’t there more news, more marches, more airtime spent on THAT!!!!

Stop it people. There’s stuff more important than a painting….

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We have something in common

I like to watch people.  a People watcher I am

When I sit at oncology every morning, I do the same.  I watch people.  I watch the interaction between the staff and all the patients.

I notice how every single person is friendly.  (Except for the b!tch at reception)

The staff is friendly because they want to create an environment where people feel more relaxed.  Where they try to turn something horrible into a situation that you can cope with.

The patients are all friendly as well.  Friendly with each other.  With the staff. 

The interesting thing is that it seems as though race and culture differences are left at the front door.  Black people and English are spoken to by Boere Afrikaans people as though they are their long lost family.  There is no “I got cancer thanks to apartheid”.  It cannot be blamed on someone else.  There is no looking down on another person.  It’s almost like one would like South Africa to be. Everyone treated equally.

Why would this be?  Because they all have cancer?  Maybe. I think that being vulnerable, being scared and unsure – that is what makes everyone equal. 

Fighting for and against the same thing.  That is what makes everyone equal.


SAVING THE WORLD ONE BIRD AT A TIME

I’m not normally one to post articles not written by my very own self.  However, since my dad and Jason are both bird-watchers and I love our nature and children, I had to post this.  Read it, it’s worth it.

 

Durban recently hosted  the  COP 17 International Environmental Conference which turned out to be a multi-million Rand Bean-feast. Delegates came from all over the world to tub-thump, grandstand, and make dire pronouncements about where the world was heading. But in the end, all that came out of it was enough hot air to increase Global Warming by several points.

Meanwhile, in little Van Reenen Village, one man was going quietly about his business and doing more for environmental protection than all the delegates to COP 17 put together.  His name is Bonginkosi Ndaba. He is a local man who runs the local chapter of  the Nakekela BirdLife Educational Programme sponsored by BirdLife South Africa. He was not tub-thumping or grandstanding. He has simply got a group of disadvantaged local school children together, called the “Nature Heroes”,  and he is teaching them about wild birds. These children are aged from 9  to 15, and at their rural schools all they are taught is how to speak rudimentary English and how to add simple figures. The great wide beautiful world outside their windows is known only to them as a frightening elemental entity, when a storm bursts on them while they are walking home  from school, or when it is freezing cold and they do not have enough clothes to stay warm.

But now they are learning about the different bird species: how to identify them by the shape of their beaks, by their colouring, by the way they fly, and the areas where they nest and forage. Where birds were once just shadows that flitted around out of reach and made a noise in the morning, now they are fascinating creatures, each with a unique character, lifestyle  and habitat. The children have realised that these birds are all over the place. They know the excitement of discovering a species new to them: of being the first in the group to sight and report it. They have become bird lovers.

At 9 to 15 years of age children are in their formative years. This is the time when their minds are open to all sorts of influences. Now is the time when they learn fastest and best. All too often these influences are the wrong ones,  and the lessons they learn teach them only to do bad things, or what is worse, to be totally indifferent to the world around them.  This is the time when  a naughty child, given no direction in life,  can become a teenage tsotsi and then an adult criminal. But these 34 Nature Heroes have a very good chance of becoming useful and productive members of their community and a credit to their country: all because they were given at an early age, an opportunity to develop an interest and  choose a direction in life.

It is only birds. A trivial pastime? Not at all. To be a bird lover you have to become a lover of the environment in  which they live, and a staunch advocate of its protection. These children are learning that   the habitat is everything: without habitat there will be no birds, no insects or wild plant seeds for them to feed on, no prey for the winged predators. They are learning that everything in Nature is linked to everything else, and we humans, supposedly right at the top of the pyramid of life, are as vulnerable  to environmental degradation as the lowliest sparrow.

But it has  gone beyond even bird watching and environmental awareness. These children battle with their English. In spite of being at school, most of them are functionally illiterate through no fault of their own. They would have gone through life being illiterate, but now they are insisting that they learn English so that they can decipher the complicated scientific names of the birds they discover in the bird books. So Bonginkosi is teaching them English, even though he is not an English teacher. The English that they learn is not going to be confined to scientific bird terminology, so they will become generally better able to communicate  in the universal language of commerce and communication.

Bonginkosi has been working for quite some time with the Nature Heroes, but his real breakthrough came only last week. Going home in the late afternoon after a hard day’s work, he was confronted by a group of Nature Heroes who insisted that he follow them to a local dam where they had spotted an unknown bird. An entourage of 34 children   led Bonginkosi  to the dam and pointed out the unknown bird.  Bonginkosi was able to identify it. Then he gave them a spontaneous test. He mis-identified another bird , and the children  immediately corrected him. He pointed out five water fowl : four had red crests, the fifth had none. The children told him correctly that the non-crested bird was a non-breeding juvenile. This proved to him that these children are now “hooked” on bird watching, and will expand their knowledge of birds, the environment, and their own place in it on their own accord, without being pushed by any adult. In  25 or 30  year’s time these children will be adults who will find it impossible to be indifferent to what goes on around them. Many of them will have gained the knowledge and wisdom to point the way to a more beautiful and cleaner world, without having to resort to the uninformed hysteria we are experiencing now  from many “Greenies.”

That is what Bonginkosi has achieved: he has changed the direction of 34 young lives for the better: one man on his own, working from day to day without fanfare and without much material reward.  It is this kind of person who should get the accolades, not the pseudo-scientists who travel, eat and sleep in  luxury  at public expense and shout meaningless rhetoric to crowds of thousands. And he lives and works right here in this district.

Bonginkosi could do with all the help you can offer. If you are an ornithologist, maybe you could go out with him and his Nature Heroes and offer your knowledge and experience to him and his group. If you are a teacher, maybe you could mentor a couple of these children and help them improve their English. Even half an hour a month will help. If you want to know more about this project, or if you want to offer your help, phone the Van Reenen Tourism office  on 082 560 6306

Submitted by David Short

P O Box 880 Harrismith 9880

infomontrose@harrismith.co.za

072 629 8694

Member Tourism Van Reenen


Almost like before

When I was a little girl, we used play outside. Even after dark.
We used to go to the neighbours and not lock our door.
We used to live without fear.
We could walk down the road and get home safe.

USED to.

Then I come to Stilbaai on holiday.

I walk AT NIGHT alone outside with Bella.
We leave for a morning and don’t lock the doors.
We play outside without looking over our shoulders.
The kids ride their J-boards in the street.

Best of all? They forgot their toy guns on the beach. The next morning THEY ARE STILL THERE!

Feels like my childhood years all over again.


Senseless

My heart is sore.
I am angry.
I feel helpless.

I cannot heal a broken, ripped-to-pieces heart.
I cannot turn back time.
I cannot bring back her son.

Last night they murdered him for his money and a cellphone.

They took his life. They took her son. They changed her world forever.

Last night they murdered my mom’s domestic worker’s son.
They stabbed him and left him to bleed to death.
They ripped a mother’s heart out and left it to bleed.

It is senseless.
Just another murder in our torn country.
It will be just another file on a policeman’s desk.

To her, it was her child. Her flesh and blood.

My heart is so sore for her.

I am so sorry Sophie.


Year end party

When I watched the movie Invictus, I realized how much rugby was a sport seen as a ‘white’ sport. 

Apparently poor black children would rather go without jerseys than wear a rugby jersey given to them.  The sport was seen as an apartheid sport.

Well, if you’ve seen the movie, you will realize how much the Rugby World Cup victory in 1995 meant to our country.  It united a country when it seemed impossible.

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A few weeks ago, my parents had a year-end party for the children of all the workers.  They came to my parent’s house, enjoyed the Christmas lights and some yummy pizza.

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The best though, was seeing the kids play rugby together.  They just picked up a rugby ball and played, like they would soccer, if they had a soccer ball.

None of that history of an apartheid game even crossed their minds.  They were just children.  Playing a game we love.


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Vuvuzela

If you follow me on Facebook, you will know that I’m not a fan of the Vuvuzela.   I appreciate the fact that it is South African.  I appreciate the fact that when you blow one, you will most probably somewhere, hear one reply.

I don’t appreciate the constant noise.  If they would use it when a goal was scored, I’d be all for it btw.

I do however feel very proudly South African at the moment.  I love seeing our flags everywhere.  On hats, cars, houses, clothes.  Everywhere.  I love it.

I love the way sport can bring people together. 

I thought that since this is such a big occasion and one that my boys will look back on when they are older, I’d let them blow the Vuvuzela …… (mostly for photographic purposes!!! hahhaha)

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I had to laugh when a black man walked by and saw Quintus blowing the Vuvuzela.  “Oh little white boy can do it!”  lol  I had to smile

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Go Bafana-Bafana….we are behind you!!!


Freedom Day

From Wikipedia

Freedom Day is a South African public holiday celebrated on April 27.

It celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994.

The elections were the first non-racial national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group including non-citizens were allowed to vote, no voters roll was used.

Previously, under the apartheid regime, non-whites had only limited rights to vote.

Today is Freedom Day.  I wish they had given it another day.  Maybe then I’d want to celebrate the day.  YES everyone deserves the right to vote.  To be treated equal.  Absolutely.  No doubt.  Goes without saying.

But Freedom day?  Could it not have been names Voters day.  Or even F.uck Apartheid day.

The word freedom, makes me think that my children can play where they want.  Free.

That I don’t have to lock my car doors as soon as I get in.  Free.

That I don’t have to get my husband to walk in first when we get home after dark.  Free.

That I don’t have to have burglar proofing right around my porch, making it look just like a jail cell.  Free.

That I don’t have to sit outside and braai, with pepper spray.  Free.

I wonder how free that little 1 year old girl feels, who were beat up so badly that she stopped breathing.  Three times.

I wonder how free that granny feels, that had to watch her husband being beat to death, while she was being raped by 5 men.  While they physically attached her very young granddaughter.

I wonder how free I should feel, with a sms going around on how whites should be killed today, on Freedom Day.  How free I should feel with M@lema singing, kill the boer.

Nee sorry.  I’m not feeling free.  Not one bit.  Neither does my housekeeper, gardener who gets attacked in the location.  No-one feels free.  Except for the criminals.

Anyway.  Like I said.  Maybe if it wasn’t called Freedom day, I would be happier.

Some groups and social movements celebrate a version of Freedom Day called UnFreedom Day in which they mourn the unfreedom still experienced by the poor.[1]


I’m petrified

I’m not a politician.  I don’t care about politics.

I’m a mom.  A woman.

From the very day my three little boys were born, I had a duty to protect them.  A duty to protect myself.  Every child needs a mother.

I feel I can’t do that any more.

I go to bed at night petrified.

I wake up thankful that I’m alive but petrified of what lies ahead.

I am afraid of being woken up at night, with someone standing next to my bed.

I’m afraid of my children having to see me get raped.

I’m afraid of my children – children who have nothing to do with apartheid – being murder.

When I watch news, I’m petrified.

When I see how our ruling party’s youth league leader speaks and acts, I’m petrified.

When I see his hate for white people, I’m petrified.

When I listen to the way he speaks to international press, I’m petrified.

When he says that land reform in Zimbabwe was a success and the militant way it was handled was correct, I’m petrified.

When young children get raped and murdered, I’m petrified.

When the first 3 pages of newspaper every single day are covered in articles of murder and rape, I’m petrified.

I am petrified.

I’m a mother and I am petrified.

I don’t want to be here.

I love this country.  I love all it’s good people.  I love the cultures.  I love our scenery.  I love our weather.  I love this country.  My country.

I don’t want to be here.


SO true!

YOU ARE PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN WHEN:

Ø You produce a R100 note instead of your driver’s licence when stopped by a traffic officer

Ø You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement

Ø You have to hire a security guard whenever you park your car

Ø You can count the national soccer team’s scores with no fingers

Ø To get free electricity you have to pay a connection fee of R750

Ø Hijacking cars is a profession

Ø You can pay your tuition fees by holding up a sign at a traffic light

Ø The petrol in your tank may be worth more than your car

Ø More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election

Ø People have the most wonderful names: Christmas, Goodwill, Pretty, Wednesday, Blessing, Brilliant, Gift, Patience, Precious, Innocence and Given

Ø “Now now” can mean anything from a minute to a month

Ø You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction

Ø Travelling at 120 km/h you’re the slowest vehicle on the highway

Ø You’re genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it

Ø A bullet train is being introduced, but we can’t fix potholes

Ø The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday

Ø You paint your car’s registration on the roof

Ø You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital

Ø You have to prove that you don’t need a loan to get one

Ø Prisoners go on strike

Ø You don’t stop at a red traffic light in case somebody hijacks your car

Ø You consider it a good month if you only get mugged once

Ø Rwandan refugees start leaving the country because the crime rate is too high

Ø When 2 Afrikaans TV programmes are separated by a Xhosa announcement of the following Afrikaans programme, and a Pedi ad

Ø The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are

Ø The SABC advertises and shows highlights of the programme you just
finished watching

Ø You get cold easily. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is Arctic weather

Ø You call a bathing suit a “swimming costume”

Ø You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you’ve never had any

Ø You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them

Ø You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Madela

Ø You go to “braais” (barbecues) regularly, where you eat boerewors
(long meaty sausage-type thing) and swim, sometimes simultaneously

Ø You know that there’s nothing to do in the Free State

Ø You can eat half dried meat and not be considered disgusting.

Ø Nothing is your fault, you can blame it all on apartheid.

Ø You get to buy a new car every 3 months and the insurance company even pays for it.

Ø You can experience kak service in eleven official languages.

Ø Where else can you get oranges with 45% alcohol content at rugby matches?

Ø You’re considered clumsy if you cannot: use a cell phone (without car kit), change CDs,
drink a beer, put on make-up, re ad the newspaper and smoke,
all at the same time while driving a car at 160 kph in a 60 kph zone.

Ø Great accent. (!!!)

Ø If you live in Johannesburg, you get to brag about living in the
most dangerous city in the world.

Ø Burglar bars become a feature , and a great selling point for your house.

Ø You can decorate your garden walls with barbed wire.

Ø The tow-trucks are the first on the scene for most major crimes, without being called.
The police you have to call about three times.

Ø Votes have to be recounted until the right party wins.

Ø Illegal immigrants leave the country because the crime rate is too high.

Ø The police ask you if they must follow up on the burglary you’ve just reported.

Ø A murderer gets a 6 month sentence and a pirate TV viewer 2 years.

Ø The prisoners strike and get to vote in elections!

Ø The police stations have panic buttons to call armed response when they are burgled

Ø Police cars are fitted with immobilisers and gearlocks!

Ø Condoms for free – shopping plastic bags for sale


Pink letters

I get home from work and notice a pink letter on my gate.  NOT good news, I think to myself.

Not good news in fact.  The municipality had a look at my account and according to them, I’m behind on my electricity payment.  No contact with me to find out if this is correct.  No, fuck you, they just cut my electricity.

It’s after 4 when I get home.  On the little pink notice, I see they close at 3:30.  Lovely.  I try anyway and after speaking to 5 uhm … employees (let’s be nice here), I actually find someone in the right department.  Or I think so…could have been a chimp too…lots of grunting en so.

I explain that my account is not in arrears, that I have not missed a payment even though the 33 % increase has caused a 100 % increase in my monthly account.

Sorry, she says but your account is in arrears.  Uhm…okay.  I tell her that I would send her proof of the payments if only I had electricity to do so.  Can’t because they cut my power!  Right.

So I load the kids back into the car and rush back to work. ( Jason mentioned that I passed a couple of fast flying birds.)

I got the proof from the internet and faxed it to said employee.  Phoned her to ask if she got it (thankfully got her direct number) and no, she has not.

I ask her to refresh her e-mail…is mos so fax to e-mail number.  She didn’t think it was funny, I think?  It might have just been a random grunt.  I think without doing that, she asked if I paid my account at Pick ‘n Pay.  I do not, I say, not quite seeing the relevance of the question.

Well, apparently there was some sense in her question.  They seem to have a problem reconciling the internet payments with the accounts, so yes, maybe I’m not behind in payments.

WTF!!!  You must be joking!  You cut my electricity and you know you aren’t 100 % reconciled!!!!!!!  Could she not ask this the first time I phoned!?

Hell no.  I was SO furious! 

My dad (for the gazillionth time) said that we must leave the country.  There is just no sense in how things work.  Actually things just mostly don’t.  Zander was with me when I had my little tantrum in the office I discussed this with my dad.

Back at home, while helping me with dinner, he turned to me and asked me to please not leave Africa.  He doesn’t want to stay behind by himself.  Oh my little boy. 


Appointments and traffic

Yesterday we had an appointment for Quintus at a podiatrist.  Shall post about that a bit later.  We had planned our trip so that we could go have coffee in Potchefstroom,  pay Tommie’s workers in another town and have more than enough time to make to Quintus’ appointment in Johannesburg.  More than enough time.

We forgot of course that you can’t plan in South Africa.  Here you have to add at least another 1,5 hours to any travelling plan you make.  This not due to traffic jams but due to the traffic department that actually causes traffic jams.  The same department that should be able to make sure that traffic flows easily, they are the ones causing pile-ups, unauthorized U-turns, people driving through the veld with brand-new smart cars.  Anything just to make it to their destination on time.

About 10 km’s outside of Potchefstroom, there was a road block.  Checking for drivers licenses, outstanding fines, stuff like that.  Oh btw, if you have a dead body in your trunk, a gun lying on your dashboard or drive with slick tyres that won’t be a problem, since it’s not on the list of things to check.

About 10 km before we even hit the road block, our car had to come to a standstill.  Along with hundreds of other cars and people on their way to work, appointments or random sex in the park.  Everyone in a hurry.  Except for the traffic officers of course.  Mini picnic next to the road for them.

We stood still (or moving at 3 km/h) for an HOUR.  Zander and I got out.  He wet the tar, so to speak.  Walked around a bit.  Entertained the people around us.  Still….no cars moving.  Some of the older cars were over-heating.  Still … no cars moving.  An hour!

About 10 cars before we were to make it to the front,  they realized that the cars were piled-up about 20 km’s back, so they decided to let some people through.

So much for planning a trip.  I do think they have another plan with this though.  Now you are so late, you HAVE to speed to make it to your destination on time.  More money for them.  Oh and I wonder how many accidents were on the N12 after that.  People in a hurry on a single lane road?  Come on…can’t they spend that time and money on finally fixing up that road?  How many accidents do they want between Johannesburg and Potchefstroom?


Dear Municipality

I would like to take this opportunity to offer my services as accountant.  Clearly the accountant / clerk / council member / town mayor has no idea how to calculate and increase in electricity rates.

Now, as it was, I had a small heart failure when I heard about the 33 % increase.  We had ample warning though, so I expected the increase and had a drink before I opened up my account.

Unfortunately the drink as not enough.  My account was more than double what it has been at it’s highest.  Now excuse me for asking a stupid question – how did you calculate that?

Oh wait……  I can’t ask that question because nobody at your offices will be able to answer it.  That is if they actually answer the phone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A man dies and goes to hell.  There he finds that there is a different hell for each country.  He decides he’ll pick the least painful to spend eternity.  He goes to the German Hell and asks, “What do they do here?”  He is told first they put you in an electric chair for an hour.  Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour.  Then the German devil comes in and whips you for the rest of your day.  The man does not like the sound of that at all so he moves on.

He checks out the USA hell as well as the Russian hell and many more.  He discovers that they are all similar to the German hell.

Then he comes to the South African hell and he finds that there is a long line of people waiting to get in.  Amazed, he asks, What do they do here?”  He is told first they put you in an electric chair for an hour.  Then they lay you on a bed of nails for another hour.  Then the South African devil comes in and whips you for the rest of your day.

“But that’s exactly the same as all the other hells.  Why are there so many people waiting to get in?” he asks.  “Because Eskom is struggling and is powerless, there is never any electricity, so the electric chair doesn’t work.  The nails were paid for but never supplied, so the bed is comfortable to sleep on.  And, on top of that, the South African devil is a government employee, he won’t come to work till he gets his 12% increase, which of course will never happen!


Taxes

I had an interesting argument discussion with a friend last week.  I mentioned how I’m not willing to help clients if they aren’t willing to declare all their income.

He looked at me with a are-you-serious!!?-face.  According to him, most people won’t.  He feels it is not right that one should declare all your hard earned income, pay your taxes and then have some corrupt government idiot steal the money….

Okay, I get where he is coming from.  Our roads are hazardous.  Our hospitals atrocious.  Crime shocking.  It’s true.  If it weren’t for corrupt government employees / departments, our country could be way better.  Maybe we could actually drive on our roads, instead of constantly trying to search for the tar between the pot holes.  Maybe it would be okay to let your child go to a government hospital.  Maybe the police would respond if you phoned.

True.  Totally true.  There is no reason, no excuse.  Our money should be used to better our country.  The country where we live and work.  Where we pay our taxes.

Does this give you the right NOT to pay?  Does the fact that your money may / may not be ‘stolen’, give you the right to withhold the tax?

No sorry.  I do not think so.

If you don’t pay your taxes, then you don’t have the right to demand better service.  If you don’t pay your taxes, don’t complain.  If you don’t pay your tax, don’t even vote.

For that matter, if you don’t pay your taxes, you are just as bad, if not worse than the government employee who steals it.  You are stealing.  You are stealing money that should be paid over to SARS. 

I’m sorry.  You can try to sugar-coat it as much as you want.  It can never be right not to declare all your income.


What should I do

I think I have mentioned before that my housekeeper is really sick.  She won’t get better.  Also she doesn’t get the necessary medication from our country that has promised to make it available to everyone who needs it (but that is another blog)

She has worked for us for almost 9 years.  Since Quintus was a baby boy and her daughter just over a year old.

Now she is too sick to work properly.  My house has never been in the condition it is in now.  She is just not doing what I pay her to do.  Financially it is not worth it for me to keep her.

Yet I know that she won’t be able to get another job.  If I let her go, there is no-one that will take care of her and her kids.

YES she should be able to go on disability pension but let’s face it…in our country?  That option is available to those who know someone on the inside.  We will try though.  We are going through to process.

I feel so sorry for her.  I do.  I also need someone to do a proper job though.


Fifteen years later

It’s fifteen years later but the words, the emotion, as though it happened yesterday.

Fourteen days before his tenth birthday a little boy was murdered.  Murdered for his bicycle.  He ran away in fear but the bastards they ran after him, hit him from behind on his neck and threw him into the river to drown.

They took the bicycle, sold it for R30 (less than $4) and used the money to buy booze.

They felt that a helpless 9 year old boy’s life was worth R30.

I saw his father today and maybe because Quintus is just 9, it hit me more but I cannot stop the tears.   I cannot.  I cannot stop putting myself in the dad’s shoes.  I cannot help thinking what I would do if it were MY son.

Fifteen years later and his dad is still a broken man.  That little boy still dead.  Those men free.