A beautiful written request for the release of Mandela

Yesterday evening we had a long FB-chat with somebody from the Americas. The news about Mandela over there seems to be confusing, as is here in SA; including family feuds, politics, etc. It’s so refreshing to read something written from the heart of a true South African! Thanks Fred Hatman.

 

Humiliation

Except for all the positive things about Stanford there is also a negative side to it all. That’s called local politics and municipal mismanagement. There is a local ‘rate payers society’ or whatever it may be called and except for protecting their own little ‘kingdoms’ the majority of the people of our village don’t have to expect anything from them so it’s useless to spend more words to that subject.

Don’t misunderstand us; we love this village deeply but the municipal management is quite a problem. Primary service delivery (like rubbish collection, water supply etc.) is excellent but there is a severe lack of vision and proper management. In fact there are no building regulations regarding esthetics (despite heritage committee, etc.) so if anybody wants to build a sky scraper … there is no regulation to stop you.

But to keep it closer to the daily life: recently the municipality has been tarring the parking lot of their offices which did not need any tarring at all and some months ago it also tarred a tarred road which was in a superb condition too. We and many other residents are living along gravel roads that are hardly maintained at all. Our road is the second busiest in the village with some heavy truck/trailer movements to and from farms further down the road and it’s full of potholes. We don’t want our road to become a tarred road; we like to keep it rural and well maintained (don’t we and all the others along gravel roads pay municipal rates and taxes?). And erecting a few road narrowings to slow down speedsters is cheaper than tarring a municipal parking lot of 300 square metres..

This morning two funeral limos with ‘human cargo’  tried to manoeuvre very slowly to avoid as many potholes as possible (see picture). The undertaker, seeing us making the pictures, stopped and just said: “This is so humiliating” …. When they drove further in slow cautious pace we could hear the caskets move every time (many times) the limos were unable to avoid a pothole…

_DSC6523_DSC6524

Honeymoon in Stanford

A promise is a promise! When we left Robertson last year we promised one of our than staff that if he would marry someday we would take care of his honeymoon. Xolile is a special guy and the first employee who gave us a written notice every time when he needed a day off and than also mentioning when he planned to work in his lost time. Xolile became an orphan at a young age and had to take care for his younger brother and sister and we admire him for the way he battled himself through bureaucratic ‘warzones’. It also meant that he had to queue (sometimes even for 2 days!!!) every now and than at governmental institutions for school- and other grants; dealing with lazy teachers and so on. Life in a location (‘township’) is not that easy. Thanks to him and to Joey (wire-artist) we also got some experience in ‘township life’ (most privileged South Africans have never been through such a ‘struggle’ but it would be very healthy for them) but more important is that we got to know the people and their daily life. Last Saturday Xolile married the love of his life and we attended his wedding amongst 200 (non-white) guests; many we knew from our ‘survival’ experiences. We thank all these wonderful people for their genuine hospitality during our 11 years in Robertson. After the wedding we took the couple to our new home in Stanford and showed them around. For the first time in their life they saw whales, the sea and experienced beach and terrace life ….. They deserved it!!! Xolile worked himself up to head gardener on our farm (he’s now engaged in the wine-industry nearby his home); hence the flower and cactus decoration in the picture.