Heritage Day.

’twas not much of a day as far as holidays go, so this will not be much of a post, as posts done over lunch time tend to be. Ilse and I both worked all day on different jobs sites all day, not even being able to enjoy each others company. I did manage to slip away for an hour to join the Neighborhood Watch people for a quick beer but the fires had only just started, so no wors roll for me. It has been a difficult month with my late dad’s birthday, reminding me of his absence in my life, and still so much to share. The work has been piling up as the quotes are steadily being approved ( yay!!) but the weather not allowing me to do much of it (shit!!!) Customers are being patient but as soon as the is a sunny day they all want my attention at the same time. (frustrating) I did think about my heritage though and wonder if it will be my destiny to die on a job site with a hammer in one hand, a screw driver in the other and a paint brush up my arse.
The day did come to peaceful end and we were able to braai a bit of chicken and enjoy one or two cold ones.

 

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My Story 23/02/2013

Up at the Shellhole last night we listened to a talk on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by a psychologist/ theologist type chap who said part of the healing process was to tell our story about the army days.  Well  for what it’s worth , here’s mine.

During the late seventies and early eighties in Port Elizabeth jobs had become very scarce.  Two motor companies had closed down and scaled back drastically causing a ripple effect through out the coastal city.  My dad joked it was easier to get rid of herpes than sell your house in PE in order to move to another city.  1981 was my matric year and I heard the SA Navy was hiring, so I went down to the recruitment offices in town and signed up.  After a few tests I was accepted with the proviso I had pass matric and provide the Navy with my results before final acceptance. 

I scraped through standard 10 but the pass was good enough for the Navy guys. I received my Letter of Acceptance with in a few days.  I got my self a job at a clothing store in town whilst I waited for my call up.  Imagine my shock when a few weeks into December I received a telegram from the Army to go to Bethlehem, Orange Free State, for basic training in the Engineers.  I hurried down to the recruitment office with the telegram only to be told that I should report for Army basics as instructed, my call up to Navy would not be very much longer now. 

Basics out in Bethlehem at Piet’s se Gat was terrible.  It was an evil torture I could barely withstand.  I thought the army was trying to kill me, never mind make me into a soldier.  Little food, little sleep, dragging around a rifle that weighed almost as much as I did, in clothes, a horrible brown overall that was three sizes too big.  The crotch of which hung down past my knees. With corporals and sergeants screaming at me in Afrikaans because I was a “soutpiel engelsman” to slow to translate the commands in to action quick enough for their liking.  All this time with the thought in the back of my head that I should not be here, I was accepted into the Navy after all.  I even carried my letter of acceptance with me, neatly folded up in a plastic packet in my wallet. I never showed it to anyone in fear it would be confiscated.

Towards the end of March 1982 we were told we had passed basic training and things changed somewhat for the better.  The food improved and so did our sleeping hours. We handed back our oversized overalls in exchange for some neat bush pants and shirts and a beret.  These clothes were called browns, no prizes for guessing the colour. We were told we were now “blou gatte”  no longer roofies.  Something that could be lost in translation but directly meaning we were no longer scabs but blue arsed baboons.  After the first payday in March we were allowed to buy two beers each from the canteen, except for me, said the Sergeant Major, I had not yet turned 18, the legal drinking age.

We were standing around on the parade ground one day when the Officer Commanding (OC) a major asked if any of wanted to be transferred to other units and if so why.  I think our numbers were to big or something.  Amongst others I put up my hand and stepped forward.  When my turn came to speak to the major I pulled from my wallet my carefully stowed plastic packet with my letter of acceptance from the SA Navy and handed it over to the OC.  As he read it his eyes got bigger and bigger and his face more red by the second.  Just as I though he was going to knock my head off he burst into raucous laughter nearly falling over. Tears streaming down his face as he looked at me and then doubled up again.  All the while I stood at attention, waiting for his answer.  He could not speak but motioned over the RSM and few corporals and showed them the letter.  When they had stopped falling about giggling like a pack of hyenas I was told that I should have never reported for basic training but should have waited in Civvie street for my Navy call up which was due any day now.  Navy basics started in April….

These bastards knew full well what they had put us through and with hindsight much of it was unnecessary vindictive cruelty. Therefore their amusement at my expense. Small minded men, placed in positions of authority with a very skewed  perception of how to make boys into men and soldiers.  Adding to that they had in them a hatred for English speaking people that I only started to understand well into my thirties.  They were in charge and I could do nothing about it.  I picked up my bag, climbed onto the back of a Bedford truck and went off to start my first 7 day pass….

To be continued…. Chapter two.  The Airforce Days.

The wheel turns.

Recently things have again been in turmoil within the Neighbourhood Watch.  To the level that I wanted to resign as coordinator and only maintain my patrols.  Management in a volunteer organisation can be volatile in spite of members having a common goal and very often egos get in the way of common sense.

The recent chapter of unrest started in April and will end early in November. 

Earlier in the year I was convinced of a major communication gap between the Watch and a Community Policing Organisation who assist us keeping crime levels low in our town.  This non-profit organisation charges it’s members a low monthly sum to proactively patrol the streets.  It also provides armed backup with canine units to the Watch when and where needed. For free! No charge! Mahala!

Together with best crime fighting people I know, I compiled an communication document called the “The Aim of the Neighbourhood Watch”  It documented easy to understand procedures for the non-professional whilst out on pro-active patrols to effectively communicate with the professionals. In so doing everybody would be reading from the page, resulting in very effective team work between the two organisations.  It covered a multitude of different scenarios one could encounter on a patrol and what effective procedures to follow.

The Aim was subjected to close scrutiny by all the  people who had had input into the draft, required changes were made and it finally passed muster by the management teams of both organisations in April. Alike most documents of volume and content it was quickly adopted as “gospel”by parts of the Watch, whilst others let it gather the dust of ignorance.  Some people even forgot it existed.

To be continued……….

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Something copied from my inbox.

So very true…………..

image0011

This was a reply to an article, in the Mercury
(last week), where the previously disadvantaged
(Blacks) stated that it’s not too late for the
previously advantaged (including whites, Indians
and Coloureds) to apologize for apartheid. Check
out the reply. Just too hot and so true.

This was in the SA paper last week (Mercury). The main headline stated the following:
It’s not too late for whites to say sorry for Apartheid………….
Check the email that went around responding to
the headline. It’s a kick ass response. The guy that wrote it has got it!!!
THE REPLY………
‘To the Previously Disadvantaged’
We are sorry that our ancestors were intelligent, advanced and
daring enough to explore the wild oceans to discover new countries
and develop them.

We are sorry that those who came before us took you out of the
bush and taught you that there was more to life than beating drums,
killing each other and chasing animals with sticks and stones.

We are sorry that they planned, funded and developed roads,
towns, mines, factories, airports and harbours, all of which you now
claim to be your long deprived inheritance giving you every right to
change and rename these at your discretion.

We are sorry that our parents taught us the value of small but
strong families, to not breed like rabbits and end up as underfed,
diseased, illiterate shack dwellers living in poverty.

We are sorry that when the evil apartheid government provided
you with schools, you decided they’d look better without windows
or in piles of ashes.

We happily gave up those bad days of getting spanked in our all
white Schools for doing something wrong, and much prefer these
days of freedom where problems can be resolved with knives and guns.

We are sorry that it is hard to shake off the bitterness of the
past when you keep on raping, torturing and killing our friends and
family members, and then hide behind the fence of ‘human rights’
with smiles on your faces.

We are sorry that we do not trust the government… We have no
reason to be so suspicious because none of these poor "hard working
intellectuals" have ever been involved in any form of "corruption or
irregularities".

We are sorry that we do not trust the police force and, even
though they have openly admitted that they have lost the war against crime
and criminals, we should not be negative and just ignore their
corruption and carry on hoping for the best.

We are sorry that it is more important to you to have players of
colour in our national teams than winning games and promoting
patriotism.
We know that sponsorship doesn’t depend on a team’s success.

We are sorry that our border posts have been flung open and now
left you competing for jobs against illegal immigrants from our
beautiful neighbouring countries.
All of them countries that have grown into economic powerhouses
after kicking out the ‘settlers’.

We are sorry that we don’t believe in witchcraft, beet root and
garlic cures, urinating on street corners, virginity testing, slaughtering
of bulls in our back yards, trading women for cattle and other
barbaric practices.
Maybe we just grew up differently.

We are sorry that your medical care, water supplies, roads,
railways and electricity supplies are going down the toilet because
skilled people who could have planned for and resolved these issues
had to be thrown away because they were of the wrong ethnic
background and now have to work in foreign countries where their
skills are highly appreciated.

We are so sorry that we’d like this country to fulfil its potential so
we can once again be proud South Africans.
From The Previously Advantaged

Just my opinion.

QUOTE OF THE CENTURY, MAYBE EVEN THE MILLENIUM (not)

Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way you can understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out.
"The danger to South Africa is not Jacob Zuma but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of a Zuma presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Zuma, who is a mere symptom of what ails South Africa. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Jacob Zuma, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their President."

A footnote by Rob Harding

What the rest of the world forgets is the fact that we do not have a true democracy and do not vote for a president but a party. Then 4500 deluded delegates nominate and vote for the president of their party. Without a true democracy we are prostituting away our right to vote for some person better than a fool.
We deserve the public servants we vote for. However, the fools in this debate are those that handed power over to a citizenry incapable to the larger degree of rational thought and educated decision making. They have handed the keys to reserve banks to a collective of thieves, turned the country’s bread basket over to the gaggle of gluttons who do not know of a tomorrow, and left the parliament to be run by clowns.

But that is just my opinion.

MY life right now, chapter two.

If you have read the previous chapter and are still with me, thank you.

In a nutshell, I was railroaded. Tarred and feathered. Kangaroo court se Moses.

I was found guilty after a grievance was laid against me by a group of un-known people, without any process of substantial or procedural fairness. Then demoted without any disciplinary hearing.

It sits like a treble hook in my throat, I can’t swallow it, I can’t cough it up.  It eats at me, it feeds my anger, silently the pressure builds.

On top this my father is gravely ill. He has almost reached the end of his battle with the cancer. We have been trying to scrape together enough money to travel from Somerset West to Port Elizabeth to see him.

This weekend we did it, Tokko and I closed our eyes to the consequences and made the trip. It was bitter sweet. Good and bad. To see him again was good, to what condition he was in was bad, very bad. We visited him a few times in hospital over the weekend and spent time with him. He had some very good lucid moments but many other vacant ones. He can barely talk, no dentures, no breath to push out the words, his mind struggling to comprehend what is going around him all the time.

This reminds me that we are all a sum of our choices. He has made many, some good, some bad, as we all have.

My life right now.

Recently I have been through what I would deem to be one of the toughest times in my life. I would really only like to live through this experience and come out the other side a wiser more experienced person. but this one is a bitter pill to swallow. To think I was wrong so long about so much and about so many people is hard for me to accept. I know if I can’t accept it, I can’t learn from it.

It all started when I volunteered to join our local Neighbourhood watch. I enjoy volunteer work and I throw all my spare time and energy into these things when I join. A long time back I was a Reserve Policeman. I loved it and enjoyed helping my community. I got more job satisfaction from it than my actual job, which at the time was a furniture retail store manager. Promotions ate into my spare time and I had to leave the Reserve Force.

Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) is a little different but has many similarities. Once again I put my heart into it and when the co-coordinator from our suburb resigned I stepped into her place. I took my duties seriously and went about increasing our numbers through a ongoing recruitment drive. I aligned myself with with the town’s NPO crime fighting company and it’s service provider, an upmarket professional security company. I support them, they support me.

The NHW is made up of a group of individuals from different suburbs forming a town or city. A large town in our case.  They/we then act as the eyes and ears of police and other crime fighting units. We are fed crime statistics, hot spot areas, where crime is likely to take place. We in return do pro-active patrols in our suburbs and streets, listening and watching for criminal activity and reporting it back to the authorities. In our town we have a very effective 2 way radio network system which is the backbone of our communications system.

A few months after joining NHW I was asked to join the Steering committee as an operations coordinator for the sector of the the town I lived in. I agreed and put in a lot of time and energy. Together with a few other experienced people I compiled a document to guide patrollers in various procedures used in the NHW. I thought things were going well as our numbers steadily increased and reported crime decreased.

However I was going to be proven wrong, very wrong.