Super Mom

South Africa

Get away with murder

I had tears in my eyes as I read the letter.

He has lost his freedom.  Sitting next to the river.  Watching out over a mountain.  Hearing the waves break on the beach.

He has lost his twin daughters.  He has lost everything.  Not his life.

He didn’t murder anyone.  He didn’t rape anyone.  He didn’t abuse or high-jack.

He evaded tax.  He stole from the state.   He changed his books so that he didn’t have to pay tax.  He had a small business, so we aren’t talking millions here either.

Was it wrong?  HELL YES!  Was it bad enough for him to sit 15 years?  FIFTEEN YEARS!? I don’t know about that.

In another jail sits another man.  A murderer.  He took someone’s life.  Something he could never repay.  By murdering another human, not only did he murder and destroy so many lives but he too stole from the state since the victim would most probably have been a tax payer.

He got 5 years.  FIVE.

How is that right?  How is that fair?


Voters coffee

Today was Elections Day in our country.

I lost my ID document about 3 years ago and just never bothered to get a new one.   I have a certified copy of that one, so I’ve been getting along fine without it.  To vote however, you need a proper bar-coded ID.

With tax season that’s been way too hectic, I never got around to getting a new ID book.  After tax season, I knew there was not enough time for me to apply for my ID book and then actually get it in time to vote, so I didn’t bother either.

I felt SO bad though.  SO bad.  One has to vote.  Yesterday afternoon, just before Quintus’ rugby match, I heard that you could vote with a temporary ID!!!  (Thanks so much Radio OFM for letting the general public know!)

I didn’t even stop to congratulate Quintus’ team on their amazing win.  When that final whistle blew I ran to the car.  I made it to the Department of Home Affairs just in time.

I had THE MOST horrible photos taken for my ID book (imagine someone who hasn’t slept, who has horrible flu and was standing outside in howling wind next to a rugby field) BUT I got my temporary ID.

This morning, together with all other proper South Africans, I stood in the cold to vote and get that horrible black ink that runs all along my fingernail

22042009686 copy

I also took Wimpy up on their offer to give every South African who voted a free cup of coffee.

22042009689

What I wouldn’t do for Wimpy coffee


Animal cruelty for protection?

I have written before about my mom’s garden boy who was stabbed last year.  The poor guy was innocently walking in the street when he was stabbed in the back, twice.  He bled a lot, stayed over in hospital for quite some time.  They drained fluid from his lungs etc etc

Yesterday he went to my mom and asked her for R900.  Apparently his elders told him to buy a sheep.  A sheep!, my mom asked?  Why on earth?

Apparently he needs to buy a sheep from the place where he was born.  This sheep needs to be brought to his home here and slaughtered by him.  He will then be covered with the blood of the intestines by the elders and will have to walk like that all weekend.

The reason for this is that according to them, the blood didn’t all come out with the stabbing (based on the fact that they had to drain fluids from his lungs) and if he doesn’t cover himself in this blood, he won’t be protected from being a stabbed again.

O K A Y.

Firstly, I don’t understand the reasoning behind why he needs to do this.  I mean honestly, this guy nearly bled himself to death.  How do they feel he didn’t bleed enough?

Secondly, does he really believe that covering himself in the blood of a sheep will protect him from being stabbed (when even the police can’t do so?)

My mom of course said no.  She is not going to give him money to support his animal cruelty project.


Build the country

Stay in South Africa and help build the country, they say.

What if they don’t want us to help build the country?

Tommie has a contract where he uses his machinery to rebuild roads, make soccer fields, clear up the dumping grounds or open up areas for the water department to fix water pipes….  Stuff like that.  Stuff that makes our lives as citizens run more smoothly.  He has a contract with our local government who often doesn’t pay on time.

As it may be when you operate big machinery, you can’t take them back to your yard at night.  During the week they mostly stay wherever you are busy working.  Normally this is on municipal grounds with security.

In the past week they have stolen every pipe they could see, the caps of diesel tanks….anything that could be stolen.  Last night they tried to take the radiator off and then since they could not, they just broke it.  They took screwdrivers and punched holes everywhere.

You cannot help build a country if the people of the country doesn’t want it to be.


Just because

I hate the crime in our country. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

Last night my mom’s gardenboy was stabbed for no proper reason.
He was walking home from his sister’s house (who works for me) to his own, when some random fuckwit decided he looks like a good victim.

Apparently some words were exchanged and when John walked away, this fuckwit decided to take out his knife and stab him. Twice.

Did the ambulance come when they were phoned? No.
Has the police been there? No.
Did they help him immediately in the ER. No.

He is so badly injured that they needed to put a tube in to drain blood and fluid from his lungs but they let him sit in the ER for hours before helping him.

Now he is in one of our horrible state hospitals. We can only hope and pray that he doesn’t get an infection while he is there.

I took this on Tuesday.

img_3893-medium


Don’t give in

I must not give in.  Never.  Not again!

I do many things for my kids.  Sometimes things that I just don’t feel like but I’ll do it and I’ll enjoy it.  I don’t do Games Arcades though.  It’s not me.  The noise, the flashing lights, the heat.  I don’t do arcades.  I’m like a mother duck on red bull, looking for her ducks in a pond full of crocodiles. I just don’t do arcades.

For some very insane reason, I told the boys they could go for a very short while this afternoon.  Why oh why do I go against my own better judgement? 

There I was, screaming looking for the other three boys constantly, all the while standing by Zander.  One of the BIG reasons I don’t like these arcades are the fact that other people just do not understand personal space.  EVER.  Zander was playing a game where he throws balls into a hoop.  I stand there to pass him the balls and within split seconds of starting the game we had more spectators than I needed.  They actually pushed between me and Zander on more than one occasion.  They were alternating between passing him the ball and throwing some themselves.  All the time.  I kept on asking them to move away.  We moved on to another game and the same happened.

The one time they pushed between us, I took a photo on my cellphone.  This doesn’t do the situation justice though.  I didn’t get the whole group behind these guys in. 

98-3651

I ended up telling Zander that we had no more coins, just so that we could stop playing.  It freaks me out.

I’m sorry but I honestly just don’t do arcades.  Not a proper place that.


African sun

Something you will often hear me say:  “Go play outside.  It’s a lovely sunny day”

This in the heat of summer could change though.

The boys were out playing from 9 – 10.  I filled the small pool with water.  Next to the house.  In the shade.  All three now sport a lovely sunburnt back.

Today I had to say:  “No you can’t play outside.  It is way too hot.  You’ll have to wait to 3 pm,”  lol

Oh the joy of summer and our African sun that I love so very much.


Overweight

Children in our diverse, beautiful, crime-ridden country doesn’t have the freedom that kids have in most other countries.  There’s no riding outside on your bicycle until sunset.  Playing ball at a park with your friends. 

I think in a way this must contribute to weight gain over all.  My boys take part in sport but that’s only from about March to September.  The rugby and cricket seasons.  The rest of the time there’s no structured activity.  Which leaves the possibility of gaining weight.

YES many kids won’t go out cycling anyway or prefer to sit in front of the TV and computer.  Thankfully my kids can easily be limited.  They don’t complain too much when I tell them to rather go outside and play.   However 10 metres is just not enough for a proper rugby game and boy is it ever easy to run them out in cricket!

It’s actually kinda sad if you think about it.  Hopefully summer pool time will give them enough exercise 😛


Sheep in the backyard

I don’t even know how to word this.  And let me make clear this is not a race issue!  Purely a cultural difference that I have huge issues with.

Last night parent’s neighbour phoned them, completely freaked out.  My parents live in a predominantly so-called white area.  Two houses from them lives a black couple with their children.  I think the wife is an attorney.  We don’t see much of them but they seemed nice enough the times we have met.

They have been keeping sheep in their back yard!! (Now please, these are normal size houses and yards.  Not a plot or farm!)  Their neighbour heard a noise and thought that maybe they had forgotten to give the sheep water before they left and she looked over the wall to check.

To her horror she saw them slaughtering the sheep.  Right there.  In their back yard.  By themselves.  Just like that.  In a normal neighbourhood.  Those poor poor animals.  There’s just so many things wrong here!

Yes, in some black cultures it is completely acceptable and actually something that is often done.  I’m sorry.  Even there in the dust in Botswana or the mountains of Lesotho, I still think it’s not right.  I don’t think one should slaughter an animal like that.  Especially not here in town.  Here where you don’t have to do it that way.  Where you should not do it that way.  One where I hope one may not. 

She did phone the animal protection services.  Still waiting to hear from them.

I’m just shocked.  It’s just sick.


Where’s the crisis?

I try to stay clear of politics on my blog.  I’m not that much into it anyway.  As long as people are treated with respect, I’m happy. 

I have however thought of blogging about Mr. Zum@ often.  See…this guy scares me.  There’s a very big possibility that he could become our next president.  When he speaks in public he reminds me of a grade 2 child at Christmas time with his cousins.  “Uit sy kassie”  He doesn’t stand there and talk with poise, dignity and respect.  He doesn’t answer questions.  He laughs and dances.  This, the man that must lead our country?  That must sit around a table with world leaders?  That man scares me.

Then our justice system fails all charges of corruption are dropped against him.   Our president gets fired resigns and our country freaks out.  Especially after so many other ministers resigned too.  The world watched us with hawk eyes.  The South African rand fell.  Faith in our country and democracy fell.

What was Zuma’s reaction to people being worried?  Screaming and dancing Asking “Where’s the crisis?  Where’s the crisis?  The crisis is in their heads!?”

That guy scares me.

I shall leave you with this.

Translated:  I wish the people of South Africa would stop being so negative.  The government is still going to turn this country into paradise …. we will all still walk out naked.


What a day

Starting with me almost losing the extension of my arm my cellphone.  Not too bad.  Found it in the shop again.

Me feeling ‘uncomfortable’ for the first time ever, when I drank my epilepsy medication and a client asked what it’s for.  Just felt very uncomfortable…almost looked down upon when she asked.  I suppose as though she felt sorry for me.  Thought less of me.

Then the biggest shock…11 ministers resign.  Including my all time favourite Minister of Finance.  I heart that guy.  I truly believe that he is the reason why our country has gone from major debt crisis to where we are now.  I got the News Alert e-mailed and stopped breathing for a few seconds.  Already planning where I’m going to go.  Which country will I start looking at.  Apparently it may NOT be that bad and they may be reappointed by the new president.  In this country though….who knows.

Then as I leave work with more work in my car to do at home, I make the error of shouting at reprimanding my kids and reversing at the same time.  I reverse way too closely to a client’s car and scrape the side of both our cars.  Now I have a little bit of his maroon paint on my car and he some white of mine.  Now if only we really liked each other one could say our cars merged.


Strike …

Trade unionists in South Africa are holding a one-day strike in protest against the high cost of living.

Ooookkkkkaaaaayyyy….no problem if you want to strike.  Our constitution gives you the right to do so, so go ahead and make your point.  Peacefully.  Willingly.

Typically though, it’s hardly ever peaceful or willingly.  Just this morning taxi’s had stones thrown at them, should they dare to transport passengers.  People trying to leave the location via bicycle was also attacked and stopped.  Threats warnings were giving that houses will be burnt down if workers went to work.

So much for a peaceful strike.  I personally think most of them don’t even know what the strike is about.  I don’t think those who receive the memorandum even reads it or give any attention to it.

Don’t argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.


Sagole Big Tree

We normally try to show the boys something different when we go away. I want them to experience as many different things as possible. The only true way to gain general knowledge is by seeing and doing and reading.

The boys recently asked me what the biggest tree in our country is. Now as with most things in life, this is a big dispute but it is said that this tree – the Baobab tree – in Limpopo is the biggest. It is over 3 000 years old or not depending on the source

We decided to take the boys there this past weekend while visiting my brother and his family. It was a long drive, especially back when I wanted to kill my brother and husband for the way they were driving.

It was so worth the trip. This tree is huge. I took loads of photos (just check my flickr). There’s a cave inside big enough to be a dining room….I mean you could fit a table and chairs….big.

The drive to the tree and back was over 300 km. A trip I didn’t plan on doing anytime soon until Jason asked if we could go again. My immediate reply was no because we have now seen it. But then he said that we do need to see it in summer too.

How do you say no to that kind of logic.


Change

I had a meeting with SARS (Steal All Resources for Self) (South African Receiver of Service)

 

Ive obviously been working very closely with them for years.  So has my dad for many more years.

They have always treated everyone like criminals.  Acting as though they are doing you a HUGE service by taking your money.  They had no smile in their voices and even less so on their faces.

 

Recentlyvery slowlythey have been changing their attitudes.  Wow.  It was almost a pleasure to contact them.

 

Yesterday during the meeting, they actually admitted to treating everyone as criminals.  Even those who they worked closely with.  Accountants they knew were being honest.

 

Im amazed that they could admit to that.  I see hope that they will actually change their attitudes and work WITH us and not AGAINST us

 

“People have been known to achieve more as a result of working with others than against them – Dr. Allan Fromme”


Alarm

I lie there, trying to day dream myself into sleep.  No seriously.  These days I don’t just fall asleep.  I have to ‘day dream’ before hopefully falling asleep.  Horrible feeling that.  Being worried that just maybe you won’t fall asleep.

Finally my dream takes over reality and I drift off to the land of the Sandman.  Just.  Then the house alarm goes off.  There is NOTHING that gets your heart rate up so quickly as being woken up from deep sleep to your home alarm going off in South Africa.

Withing milliseconds I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to protect the kids, when I realize Tommie is up and walking through the house already.  I grab my cellphone, with my finger right on the emergency button…just in case. 

In the end we figure out it’s the main bedroom that set off the alarm and all is fine and well in our room.  I keep the phone with me as the security company should be phoning to hear if everything is okay.  I lie there…phone on my chest…waiting for the call.  Nothing.  I’m almost asleep – this time without the help of day dreaming – when I realize I still have the phone on my chest.  No call.  15 Minutes later.  I put the phone on silent (and vibrating) in case they phone, since I don’t want it to wake up Zander or Tommie.

No call.

It’s now 12 : 19 pm.  It’s the next day already and I’m still waiting for the call.

Much help they are.


African

This question has been asked many times this past week:  Do you see yourself as an African?  What is the definition of an African?

My answer, without even giving it a thought is “Hell yes!”  Of course I am.  I was born in this country.  On this continent.  I am a South African.  African. 

Do you need to be black to be an African?  No.  Does being a black person, regardless of where you live make you an African.  No.  Although some people interviewed on Morning Live actually said that to be true.  I so disagree with that.  Am I a European because I’m white?  Am I a German because my grandmother was.  Hell no.  I’m an African.  I was born here.  This is home. 

What did come as a shock to me is how many of my friends, clients and my husband too did not see themselves as being African.  They could give me no real reason as to why not though.  They just don’t.

I am African.


Loadshedding homework

Dear Eskom

RE: Loadshedding

I would like to fix your attention to the photo attached. This is my 7 year old son trying to do his homework. In the dark.

We pay our electricity account on time and in full every month. We have done so ever since we have personally become liable for paying our accounts, which would be when we left our parent’s homes.

Thanks to bad management on your part we are now sitting without electricity and my son has to do his homework by the single light we are able to switch on thanks to a very loud generator we have running.

Due to the lack of light, I try to just get him to finish his homework as quickly as possible (worrying about the impact of the bad light on his eyes). I do not give him extra work. I just point out mistakes instead of giving him more time to learn and practise. I do not expect him to read additional books.

Thank you. You are directly making school even more difficult than what it currently is for my child. Also, I’m ticking off my neighbours due to the loud generator running next to my house.

So once again, I thank you Eskom. Thank you for giving our country’s electricity to other countries when we don’t have enough for our own consumption. Thank you for your bad management that is the direct cause of our current problems.

I wish you luck with the winter (and extra strain on demand) that lies ahead….oh no wait. I wish all of us good luck. It’s going to be one dark winter.

Like the current joke going around – Let’s change our National Anthem to “Hallo darkness my old friend”

Regards
Melany


Soapbox

This pisses me off upsets me.  Okay yeah…there’s a power problem in South Africa.  Yes it is cold all of a sudden. And apparently it is unpredicted and never happens since Eishkom did not prepare themselves for it?

Okay let’s accept that we have to have power cuts and load shedding and all of that crap BUT CAN THEY NOT WARN US!!!!  Fuck Just give me time to sort out food for the kids then.  Make sure homework is done. 

I was just at the doctor earlier this afternoon when I heard about a c-section scheduled for 18h00.  The power went out at 18h05.  I don’t want to be that mom-to-be.  Yes they have back-up generators but goodness, I don’t want an op under those circumstances.

Little Bear has tonsillitis.  As I suspected.  I walked in and told the doctor that I’m pretty confident he has tonsillitis, so all he needs to do is check his throat and give me antibiotics.  He just laughed and asked how I knew.  Well, after three kids and countless infections, I’m pretty much a pro on that one.

Thankfully I gave him the Voltaren suppository before the power was cut


My country

I think after my post about our country, I must clear something up.

I love South Africa.  I love the non-criminals people.  I love love love our cultures and how we seem to co-exist perfectly in such vastly different ones. 

This is where I can hear the cry of the African Fish Eagle.  Where we have amazing sunrises and the sun sets on the country I know. 

This is where the people dare to dance on Sarie Maree.  Where we can sokkie and gooi mielies.  My heart lies with my country.  Here.  Where I’m accepted and ‘everyone knows my name’.  

Where we will talk about Paula and Oom Septimus van Zyl as though they are family.  Where we have koeksisters, melktert and souskluitjies.  Where sunshine, rugby and braaivleis goes together like nowhere else on earth.  Not even in the little ‘south african suburbs’ of Australia.

Where you don’t have to travels days to get to the other side of the country but can experience mountains, the nothing of the Karoo, the heat of Upington and the ice-cold of Sutherland. 

This is where I have gone hiking and listened to the endless noise of the sun beetle.  Where my children were born and where my heart lies.

I don’t want to leave my country.  I don’t.  I just don’t want my country taken away from me.


Open discussion

For my South African friends.  Please share your point of view with me.  I am totally of the opinion that we all have the right to our own view without being judged.  I want to know how some of you stay so positive about our country.  Maybe I’m missing something.  Focusing on the wrong things.

See.  I’m seriously worried about our country and where it is heading to. 

Crime is sky-rocketing.  It is brutal and without reason.  Yes.  There has always been crime and there is crime in all the countries but here it is everyday.  All the time.  In your face.  There is no respect for the lives of others.  Just trigger-happy criminals.

Corruption. Yes…again, it has always been there.   However, why is it that a criminal might become our next president?  That our chief of police are charged with corruption.  Our local municipal manager has been served court papers.  Seriously the list is endless.  If one messes up he just gets moved to another department.  I feel those in high positions are just totally unequipped for their jobs.  Come on – showers to prevent aids?  Sleep earlier to save electricity?  I just don’t know.  Very much 5th grade answers on how to run a country.

The fact that we have such a huge electricity problem that could have been prevented is a big issue for me.

You know.  I work my butt of and pay every single cent of tax I have to.  As an accountant I make sure that all my clients pay what they have to.  I make sure that all new clients are well aware of the fact that I’m not willing to save them any more than they legally can.

I do this cause I want my money to be used for schooling, medical services, infrastructure.  To be protected from criminals.  For the police to take me seriously. I want a government that knows how to govern that money.

I see similarities between our country and other African countries that went okay … then slowly started going downhill until the decent became too strong to stop.

I don’t know…these are just some of the things that worries me.

So pls…show my why I’m wrong.  Just share your vies with me.


Intimidated

I share so easily.  Good or bad.  I open up my world to the world.  Not just an open window but big open sliding doors.  Yet I feel I cannot share my current situation.  Not all of it.

What I can say is that I feel intimidated.  I feel scared.  I feel violated.  I am hugely upset yet I have realized that I am not capable of showing that emotion.  I can be so proper on the outside.  I think admitting to that makes me feel vulnerable (that’s for another post though)

I am totally unsure as to how to handle this situation as it seems that once again our Police isn’t willing to step up and do anything.

Don’t worry.  Nothing has happened – yet.  I have just been ‘threatened’.  Uggles uggles words and a bit of a threat.


Taxi mom

When I took that very first pregnancy test … hoping, hoping for a postive test, I thought of a baby. Beautiful tiny little baby child. I read many many magizines. I joined message boards on the internet. I googled every single possible detail. I felt completely prepared by the time my first son was born. And I was. I wasn’t the typical first time mom. I was totally prepared.

The baby magazines only go till the age of 3 though. When they take that first big move out of home and to pre-school. This is when I realized that no matter how much you prepare yourself for baby and toddler time..those go by real quick. Real quick.

Now I find myself bored endlessly sitting in the car. A lot. No one…not one magazine, not the doctor who handled the birth or the lactation consultant bothered to tell me that in the end…eventually…I will be the taxi mom. Not one of them!

If they had I would have prepared myself. Done research. Saved more for fuel. Worked out time schedules ahead of time. Figured out which snacks can last in the car for longer than 2 days. How to get the trash out of the car in record time.

I spend a lot of time in that car. Waiting for my kids. I even do homework with Quintus there, when Jason has golf lessons.

I used to roll my eyes at the ‘mom’ cars when I was in school. Especially when it had the “Mom’s taxi” sticker on it. Who knew. Now I’m just a taxi mom too.

Then this happens: (more…)


Speed up your time is running out

Oh to live in Africa.

Tonight I finally dragged my ever growing ass own self back to the gym.  Nothing like having an emotional build-up to get me into the gym.  Exercise is like a drug to me.  I’m not dependent on it but when I need it, it sure knows where to hit the spot.

I ran 3km (not bad considering the last time I ran was in April last year) before the gym was informed that we might be without power within the next 10 minutes.  I wanted to speed up so that I could run further however I feared serious injury and got off the treadmill.  I figured cycling when the power goes out, must be safer.  Thank goodness I did, cause it wasn’t long after that our plug was pulled. 

It’s so interesting to see how this has become part of our lives now.  There was no real reaction by the other members at the gym…well me neither since I just kept on cycling lol People were either cycling in the dark or just putting back the weights and walking out.  No problem.  Just another part of our daily lives that we are getting used to.

This cannot be right.


When we were young

You know how the older folk always say “When we were young …”  I was thinking about that tonight as we were once again blessed with being the chosen ones to go without power.  

(Which I must say is driving me nuts, since they seem to “save power” exactly when it’s time to make lunch / dinner. When people are on their way home and traffic lights are kinda important to keep the traffic flowing.)

My folks used to say “When we were young there was no electricity

Now we will get to say to our kids:  “When we were young we always had electricity

Sad that, don’t you think?