Emotions Running High…

Nikita and I drove to work amidst the sound of chants & sirens, the smell of smoke and what might have been shots being fired.  You see, yesterday a group of angry residents of one of the local informal settlements decided to protest about the apparent lack of service delivery in the area.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you squat, you can’t expect to have services delivered because there is no damn infrastructure in place for said services to be delivered.

Look, it’s not that I am totally unfeeling towards the people – I too have things I am not happy about, but they are small in comparison to the conditions these people must live in daily.  I live in a fairly safe area, far removed from the blue lights, rubber bullets and tear gas, but I am not unaware, nor do I not comprehend that their issues need addressing.  I do feel though that if common sense is a flower that grows in your garden (which it clearly doesn’t with everyone), you would either wait for your state-funded-residence, as so many before you have, and you’d join the ranks of the rest of society that pays (regardless of the amount) for their services.

I am angry though.  Angry that they feel it is okay to damage public property with their tyre burning escapades and torching private dwellings.

Photos from Citizen.co.za and eNCA

Yes, you read right – these criminals razed other peoples’ homes to the ground because they’re not happy about the state of affairs at their own.  I wish I could find these cruel idiots and shake some sense into them, asking them how YOU would feel if someone did this to you, or someone you cared about?!  Where is the logic?  Just this morning we heard from a colleague that had to travel through the hot-zone that a minibus carrying innocent school children had a brick tossed through its window.  Sure, there is a visible police presence, but I think the laws of this country allow the criminals to rape, pillage and plunder while the police have to stand with their hands tied, trying to appear fierce and forceful.  I would even wager that down the line the community may take matters into their own hands because they are also starting to get gatvol.

During the drive, Nikita and I were talking mainly about the fact that we have a compassionate employer, one that empathises with the situation many of the staff find themselves in because of the barbaric acts taking place close to them.  I have a few friends, also employed by local business people and am totally disgusted how they are told “You will come to work or face disciplinary action” or “Fine, stay at home, but just remember, no work, no pay”.  Have these people no compassion whatsoever? Would a better approach to the situation not be “Yes, I know the situation is volatile, but let’s assess it in a few hours, maybe you can come in then?”

Their employees, people I know are often hardworking and sometimes exploited because they are desperate for the pittances they receive as remuneration are now in need, yet understanding from their employers is not forthcoming; these poor souls are not even heard out.  I find myself wondering how such business owners sleep at night.  Is their revenue for the day more important than the life of one of their employees?  In many instances, it appears so.

Again, yes, I get that this protest action is screwing with our already junk-status-economy but being a royal doos to your employees who actually want to be at work but can’t because they fear for their lives tells me you don’t have much wealth in the brain-, or compassion bank.  You should take a leaf out of Richard Branson’s book:

branson-twitter

House Hunting: A Nightmare in the Garden Route

I’m a member of various FB groups in our region – mostly to market my Herbalife sideline business, but also to stay in the loop as to what is happening in the area, because I live under a rock most of the time.  I don’t buy the local rag because it is more ads than news and with social media being reported in real time, by the time the paper makes the round on a Friday, most of the news is old already anyway.

One thing I have noticed on many of the groups is how many people are looking for accommodation, yet they can’t find because of limited availability and for those who do manage to find something available, the places come with ridiculous rentals and the owners are very particular about no pets.  Some even state “no children”, which I think is cruel – and this coming from someone who is not a parent.

House Hunting

NoKids.Pets

It’s the price of living in the Garden Route, I suppose, but it doesn’t seem fair.    It brings that Roger Miller tune, King of the Road to mind.

One member pointed out, “How am I supposed to afford a house with a rental of R8K when between my wife and I, we’re only bringing home R11K.  We have accounts that need paying, kids that need to be fed, clothed and schooled, and then some…”  Some replies were, “If you can get a house for R8K you should count yourself lucky” and “if you don’t want it, I’ll take it.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find accommodation here?”  These statements are true, but it doesn’t make the reality any easier to deal with for those who are struggling to make ends meet, because in many instances employers in this area are still pay their employees way-under-market-related-salaries.  Every morning I say a prayer of gratitude because I work for a company that not only remunerates its workers well, but also allows for both professional- and individual growth.  Add to that great colleagues, and it’s a recipe for success.

Besides the supply vs demand for accommodation in general, another topic came up for discussion: In December many people were left out in the cold as their landlords put them out to rent the places for the summer holiday at rents only the Northerners can afford.  There are two sides to the argument of course – as a tenant of a furnished flat, the first thing I did when signing the lease was to check that I wouldn’t have to vacate the property during the summer holiday, because my brain said, “where will I go?”  I wanted the assurance in writing that I would have a roof over my head during the busiest part of the year, and I got it.  I will say too, that the couple that owns my home, are amazing lessors.

So, the question begs, did these people that were displaced not know about the requirement to vacate, or did they merely not bother to procure alternative accommodation in time?  Or did the property owners merely shaft them?  It’s anyone’s guess.  The plight of the tenants left stranded has now been raised to the point where the legality of such rentals is going to be investigated.  A good thing, I believe because there is clearly exploitation of a loophole somewhere. Whether it is intentional or not is irrelevant.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the investigation is.  Guess we’ll have to just wait and see…

You Saw a WHAT?

I know I haven’t blogged in ages, and I apologise – work is keeping me extremely busy, but this is something I had to share.

 On my almost-empty stomach, this is what greeted me when I logged onto the internet this morning. 

“By SAPA, 2011/05/26

Capescientists find jumping cockroach

A Cape cockroach, that can jump, has been named as one of the world’s new top ten species, Beeld reported on Thursday.

The “leaproach”, which can grow up to one centimetre in length, was discovered in the Table MountainNational Park by scientists from the Universityof Cape Town.

“Its jump is powerful… it has very strong back legs,” said scientist Mike Picker of the zoology department.

It has been named Saltoblattella montistabularis. The “Montis Tabularis” refers to Table Mountain.”

I am not a creepy crawly person, I never have been, but I can’t help but wonder if this is some freak of nature – a flea cross cockroach perhaps?  With all the strange things happening in the world, nothing would surprise me.

 Now, I must get back to work, but first I’m going to get a can of bug killer out of the kitchen cupboard…just in case…

Emotional Day…

*Note that this post may contain some swearing*

I have only been awake 7 hours and already I have experienced a flood of emotions:

Anger

I seldom watch the news – there is inevitably something depressing to be heard, but I do follow certain columnists on the net, like my good friend Simon Williamson who is a freelance writer currently living in Hong Kong.  This morning when I was reading his latest column on News24.com I found a number of links on the same page pertaining to child abuse and/or rape.  Wanting to include something like this in my novel, I decided (against my better judgement) to read the articles (on an empty stomach).  Pardon my language, but WHAT THE FUCK is going on in this country, particularly in Kwa Zulu Natal?

The police shoot a man in the leg (again, WTF!?) after catching him in the act of raping a 7 year old little girl.  They should have shot the fucking piece of shit dead!  What kind of life is that little girl going to have.  She is going to be traumatized for life.  Therapy can only help so much.

Another story tells of a nanny who raped the 5-year old little boy in her care!  She has finally been sentenced to life imprisonment (which our taxes are paying for!) after she was arrested for this crime a year ago.

And the last one I could handle before I totally lost it was the story of a stepfather who is now on the run (fucking coward!) after being caught red-handed by his wife raping his 10 year old stepdaughter in the bed he and her mother share.

Satisfaction

Dinner last night was fabulous!  Despite it being a week night, my guests only left at a quarter to midnight! Everyone was very impressed with the food 🙂 which I was thrilled about (although I must admit that I nearly cremated the bruschetta!  Thank goodness I had enough French loaf left to make more).  There was quite a bit of chicken and couscous left over, so I have dinner for tonight too 🙂  The Italian kisses went down well, although I somehow managed to give Elizabeth only vanilla ones.  I don’t know how that happened.  Must have been all the wine I drank 😉

Sadness

It was Greg’s memorial service today, and while I only got to meet him briefly some years back, I went to the church service – Elizabeth was quite broken, but putting up a tough exterior.     Another friend of hers and Greg’s came all the way from Phalaborwa, along with a number of his military colleagues for the burial and the service.  Even though I didn’t know him that well, I got a huge lump in my throat when his colleagues did their eulogies.  Greg was only 40 and died of a heart attack.  The minister gave a comforting message, but even so, it is evident that he will be missed by many.  I can’t begin to imagine the heartache and pain his parents are going through.  The circle of life is meant to work that children bury their parents, not so?  Steph has also been dead for 7 months already 😦  Life is truly so short 😦

Regret

Jay has asked me not to blog about him or discussions between us, which I have not, out of respect for his wishes.  But I feel like a right royal doos – he sent me an email last night and I over-reacted to something he said and immediately sent back a bitchy, uncalled-for reply.  I don’t know what the hell came over me.  My conscience was still plaguing me way after midnight that I eventually got out of bed and mailed him an apology.  Fortunately Jay has accepted my apology, but it doesn’t make me feel any less of a doos.

Joy

On a happier note, it’s one of my closest friends, Kelly’s birthday today.  We have been friends since 1993 when we in Standard 6 together.  Even though we live in different parts of the country, we are still close and talk often.

Picture courtesy of http://lizandbeccabake.blogspot.com/

Kelly Darling, here is wishing you a wonderful day and a new life year that only offers the best of the best!  Remember that life is short, so savour every moment.   Remember the good, forget the bad and keep whatever makes your heart smile.  I love you lots!

Tonight I am going to Elizabeth – she asked me to come around; in actual fact she didn’t give me much of a choice:

“Are you coming to visit tonight?  Yes you are.  Okay, see you later…”

I think it is going to be another late night – the only real cure for a sad heart is your friends, wine and hope that tomorrow will hold better things.