Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Why always me

It is disturbing to learn that in 2012 the law still favors one race more than the other in South Africa. Why do white people successfully win cases in this country? Even the DA can find fault with any law and successfully challenge it any time? Is it because our Court rooms are still white? Or the law is based on European situations and therefore it makes it easy for white pople to understand and push its boundaries. This begs more questions, can a South African law adapt to South African situation base on African experiences all citizens? 

From a layman like me the criminal laws of this country favor the whites. I have lost count of cases where farm owners kill Africans and claim that they thought they were monkeys (how ironic because this is the same term associated with black people all over the world especially in Italy and Russia) and they got away with murder literally.

There was a sensational case in South Africa after the killing of an ANC connected businessman Brett Kebble. Everybody who was involved in his killing from the planning to his actual murder was pale with the exception of one Jackie Selebi who did not even take part in the killing. Guess who was arrested? The only African amongst the lot, guys who pulled the trigger left scot-free. From where I stand they were let free because they had the right color. maybe I am wrong, maybe I am racist.

Few weeks ago I was shocked when I heard that two Lotter siblings got lighter sentences for killing their parents. They claim that they were forced to kill their parents by a certain Mr. Moodley who got a stiff sentence compared to theirs. My bone of contention is that here white murderers kind of get away with murder again.
Rewind to few years earlier, Scot Crossly forced his employees to throw a human being in a lion’s den. Guess what the poor black workers did not receive any mercy from the magistrate, not that they deserve any, but murderers should all be treated as that.

Modimolle monster and his accomplices are waiting sentencing very soon for attempted murder of this monster’s wife and the killing of his stepchild.  I won’t be surprised if the worker get stiffer sentence compared to their master. Do you really think black people think there is justice in South Africa?  Here I go again asking questions that I don’t have answers too.

Friday, 10 February 2012

I remember my first week at High school.

I am now the husband and father of three boys, but I still remember so vividly my first week at high school at Moshesh Senior Secondary School in the shadows of Drakensburg mountains in Matatiele not far from the better and a popular Catholic school Mariazell.

I did not apply for admission so I had to go 2 days before the school opened. I was with my Brother Zolile (popularly known as Malombo because of his soccer exploits)
I had high expectations for the school and the type of football they played was what attracted me the most, I was a soccer player myself growing up in SOWETO and later Matatiele only soccer was our form of real recreation.

Arriving on a hot Afternoon in an old bus Called lesedi which took way more time than it was suppose to, the school did not reflect what I had in mind. There was no vibe; the whole buildings were hidden in long bushes of grass, untidy and down right ugly. As we enter the main gate, there was a garage for a School car a huge engine that produces electricity for the school. And there was a long empty building that the caretaker later told us it was a dining hall.

Another eye sore was the old building opposite dining hall, it was a burnt down building, which we were told it was burnt, buy students who were on strike in the early 80’s. We were told that we would have to come tomorrow because no late applications were processed on that day.

There was no transport back but we were told about our distant relatives who lived in the area, I never knew them my whole life until I was desperate. Speaking to some old student who came to collect their results I got a sense that the school was going to be beautiful within no time. But today we were going to sleep in the dormitories if we were accepted.  We came in ready with clothes a suitcase and almost everything that I might need in the first three months. Fortunately I was accepted, but not my brother. I made few friends, I remember my first friend who appeared to be a real friend was Stanley originally from Thokoza, but like me his father was originally from Matatiele. Stanley few weeks later died to what everyone believed was an initiation of  “Metjhoba”(new student”. I was not there when he died therefore I cannot confirm or deny this. I wanted to believe that they killed my friend.

Dormitories resembled deserted pigsties with few halls with bunk beds. The boarding master who seemed to be a nice guy showed us around. There were three building and we had a choice of staying anywhere because we came first.  We were put of by stories of rough guys who live in those dormitories. They all had names, some were so iffy I kind of wondered if they were official I don’t know who named them. I chose to live in New York. I was told normally new students live in New York, so I thought I could survive my first year easy there. Behind our building it another called Russia, commodores which was smaller could accommodate six people maximum and there was notorious SOWETO which Stanley did everything to convince me to go stay with him in. next to Soweto there was an SRC boarding house which used to be boarding master room.

By three in the afternoon I had my bed set ready for me to sleep on we exchanged our provisions steam bread chicken or sheep. I must say some of the food uneatable to say the least. The empty hall was beginning resemble a home.
Students were trickling in one by one drunk like adults and were told scary stories about the guys who will use the last bus. The bus come when it is become darker and students at that time are doing as they wish. I was afraid that day were going to be initiate us in what was called “ ho treater” all the old students were shouting at the loudest of their pitches “ Ha Nkaaaaaawu, ha Nkawu”.
This was a war cry to call new comers to join what was called a stitch, we followed each other and this kind of looked nice, but we were told sometimes it gets ugly.

All the scary stuff we were told about began to sound like urban legend, as I never experience it. Treatment was far and between and depended on who hates you the most. For some strange reason they did like guy from big cities because they thought we know it all. If you have gone to initian school you were better of as you socialise with big guys. I was lucky that I had gone initiation school hence the treatment began to sound like urban legend. And I did the Sesotho initiation, which was popular in the areas of kwaNkawu, Queens’s mercy Mpharane, Lehata Pontseng and all surrounding areas. It is still surprising me how we could easily adjust to such conditions especially in winter.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Metrorail is at it again.

Train from Thembisa stuck in the middle of nowhere

Four over three and half weeks metro rail passenger from Pretoria and Thembisa were subjected to the worse form of unreliability from Metrorail trains. Not that they are normally reliable, but this time it has reached the crises proportion, but PRASA is yet to acknowledge that.

In early January two Transformers near Kalfontein station were hit by lightning and for that week there were no trains between Kempton park and the northern parts of Gauteng including Pretoria. Passengers were left reeling after they hasd used their last monies to buy monthly tickets. All Metrorail could offer was apologies. No refunds, no alternatives transport. That was not the end but the beginning of  trouble for commuters. Three /four weeks later it has become normal to see passengers running along the rail because their train is stuck in the middle of nowhere.

I use a train called Tshwane business express this is supposedly the best alternative to driving. But unfortunately it is not immune to Metrorail’s foolhardiness. As we were going home on Wednesday the trains were all running late including ours? We saw hundreds of people walking along the rail and I new they must have disembark from a stuck train somewhere. Our train make announcement when there will be a delay, but this time they just kept quiet.

Their stupidity came to bear when we approached Pretoria just 5minutes away from the station we got stuck. 20 minutes later they decided we to go back and change tracks really did that had to take 20 minutes to think about? Especially if when there was no train coming out of Pretoria. I normally arrive at home around 18h30 but on Wednesday I arrived at 19h30 exactly an hour later.

I have my car to use as an alternative, but that will defeat the purpose of buying a monthly ticket. I will take this pain on my chin never to return in the coming months. Gautrain here I come.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Umtshato ka Webster

I am a married man, but I did not have a big wedding and my friends are just like me at least most of them. They all had small family and friends wedding, but last weekend I attended a big wedding of my last friend standing Mawethu. The last one in our group of four (Me Tlou, LBK and Webster). We left on a Saturday morning in a hired car. It took us six months  from the day I received a call from webster telling me that he was getting married. I remember the call one Sunday afternoon when Webster called me, initially I thought he was going to send me to some music store in Johannesburg to buy him old school and jazz music as he usually does. To my surprise he told me in a very soft voice “ndiyatshata nge 26 ka November” I’m getting married in November and I just kept quiet because this came as a shock.

I told my other two friends of what I have just heard they were still shocked. As a  merried man I had to speak to my wife about this and we had to agree that even though she knows Webster she won’t go. We immediately started working on logistics like hotels, means of transport, routes to take if we drive.
Initially we wanted to use our cars as we realised that flying to Umtata was a hustle. Using East London was going to be problematic if the “African time “(starting late) comes to effect we would have a problem. So we decided to hire a car. I used my credit card and my friends had to top it up in Pretoria, which is where I live. Tempest was the company of choice as it still offers unlimited mileage. Avis was our first choice because we always use them, but s they no longer offer unlimited km’s. I drove down to Johannesburg to pick up my friends. But then we were already running late as we expected to leave at 9h00, but now it was about 10h30 already. LBK suggested that we use Bloemfontein route. I had never travelled to Umtata using this rout before. I was excited that I was going to use a different route.

Lbk drove from JHB to a small town with the name starting with venter…something. I took over from there to Umtata/ Mthata these days. We had to fill up in Bloem Lbk told me about the closest garage ,but I missed the off ramp to the garage. And they scolded me for that but there was an Engen garage which for some strange reason Lbk and Tlou did not like. Even more surprising was that Tlou has never been to Bloem, Lbk has never used this garage before. They just did not like it for no reason or maybe is because I missed their beloved Shell ultra city. We refilled both the car and our stomachs. We bought refreshments and moved on. We were so careful not to get traffic fines that I was encouraged to drive at 100 Km/H in a 120 speed zone. We turned into N6 to Aliwal north the route did not seem to be busy there was a Quantum taxi with EC registration number which was going at a freighting speed. I assumed that there were no speed traps and started to increase the speed but within the confines of 120.
Before we got into Aliwalnorth there was a stop and go of 20-30 minutes and Lbk informed us that there are four more stop and go’s ahead of us. 

AliwalNorth has a feel of the old Matatiele(a small town south of Kwazulu Natal where the three of us as friends originate from) about it, but first we crossed the huge bridge over the Orange River. The bridge is long  and old, but tough the river is so scary I wish I could see it when it when it is full. It must be one of the scariest rivers in the world, but it looked so spectacular now that is was empty.
I did not know there was a town called Jamestown in South Africa, it is so small we had passed it in four minutes driving at 60.  It was around 17h30 and people there look like they are from Southern cape (mostly coloured/colored what ever) The small town was clean though.

We arrived in Queenstown around 18h50. There were a lot of road works in the main road, but we had no choice, as we did not know other alternative routes. There was less or no signage at all to help us through. I protested that I was tired, but Lbk insisted that we were almost 30 minutes away from Umtata so I continued. As we drove out towards Ezibeleni (an old Queenstown township) Tlou told me in confidence that it cannot be 30 minutes to Umtata he had driven on that route before. Bad signage problem continued as we saw a road sign board that indicated that we would have to turn right if we go to Cofimvaba and Umtata and we immediately had to turn. I had a problem stopping I past it a little but fortunately it was not a one way so I turned around and went to join R67 to Umtata. The route goes over the rout we were using as to why they did not just build an off ramp to the left I have no idea. To me it looks cheaper and less time-consuming, but who am I to question the eastern cape engineers. Tlu also mentioned that we were going to turn left into Transkei road, which was confusing when I saw that we should turn to the right. By now it was becoming darker and the roads were becoming iffy by a kilometre as we drove. Cars were becoming more and more old on the road.  Now even the road signs that warn against stray animals were plenty.

We arrived in Umtata at around 21h00 thanks to dodgy roads, dodgy cars and even rain. I missed another turn but this time my friends were more forgiving.
 “No we will use the Fort gale entrance it is okay,” said Lbk. By that time I had given my phone to Tlou to look for the number of the B&B we were going to use. He could not find it; we stopped at Myezo Sasol Garage so that I can check it myself. I could not find it, “aketsebe ke e seyivile ka mang number ena” I said. We asked at the garage if they know a place called Hlalanathi Myezo lodge. The petrol attended did not look self assured, but told us to use the back rout as there are several B&B along that street.
We went up the street and down without any luck. We saw three girls and a guy leaving another house we stopped to ask they told us to go up again. By now I was the bigest joke in the car, but guys were tired I understood. Lbk called a friend who gave us better directions we went further up and and we saw the B&B. behind us there was an Audi car following us. As we approach the lodge I indicated my intention to enter, the car behind did the same.  We stopped at this huge gate pressing buttons but no response. Occupants of the other car came out two women and 2 guys. I said to my friend “these guys came prepared”, he just looked at me he was tired very tired I am not sure who was supposed to be more tired the one who was driving (me ) or my passengers.

The occupants of Audi said they had the mobile number of someone inside but they don’t have airtime. I gave them my phone and eventually someone came out. We enterd this huge mansion turned into a B&B. Every one from all the occupants of the Audi and the lady who easy opening the gate for  us was drunk. We were sharing 2 the rooms with my friends and it was one of those few moments where we could talk about our issues with LBK. It is amazing how our life styles stifles open conversation amongst friends, I mean the staff that you can to BBM or Wattsapp or even over a telephone conversation. We slept very late that night.

We were having a breakfast when one of our hostess came to have a conversation with us. Later she asked if we were going to pay by credit card of cash. “Cash why” I asked.  “ you can  save some money if you play along” she said. She later explained to me that she does not earn much but today they are alone as hostesses they want to share at least money for a room. I did not like the sound of it but I was assured that I won’t be part of it. We shared to room, this lady wrote that we shared one room between the three of us. It was a cold morning with drizzle we drove to Ncise a village just outside of Umtata.

I was not expecting to see the Groom who is my friend. I don’t know much about these big weddings, but there he was waiting for us at the gate very happy that we drove all the way from Jozi. He led us into a dinning room and told his sister to take care of us and he disappeared into one of the rooms. The first thing his sister who introduced herself as Sibabalwe did was to introduced us to the MC for the day from East London. Before we knew it there was a heap of home made bread, meat and drinks in front of us.

Later we were put on a nicely prepared table in the main Tent with some Mawethu’s colleagues. It was a good day until I was called by Sibabalwe to lead a toast. I have never done it I don’t really do these sort of things ,but this was for my friend I agreed. I called my wife who does a lot of these to give me some tips. By the time I went to the stage I was armed. Then we had to leave later, but first we were put in his bed room so that we can change those suit and into comfortable clothes for us to drive long distance. But not before Sibabalwe staffed take away boxes with meat and more drinks. We left for Johannesburg leaving festivities continuing. Now it was raining so we made sure that we don’t leave late the the roads would be very tricky for us. We wished them well and left.