Back to the Books…

This week blogging might be a bit slow in my life.

I am back at the books… we need to do continued training in our profession, and it is a very good thing!

This morning we started with a basic 4 day Trauma Incident Reduction (TIR) Workshop. In South Africa I really need the tools that this course provide. You might have noticed the Oscar Pistorius murder trail the past few weeks on international television like BBC or CNN.  The one thing that stands out: we live in one of the world’s most violent countries. People live in fear around here.

There are just so many bad things happening to normal people every day. If you drive at night, and get a flat tyre in some (most?) regions, your chance to get attacked and killed while changing the tyre is quite high.  Incidents like my daughter getting assaulted by a man to try and rob her of a mobile phone. LAst week. The second attack on her in a year’s time. Old ladies get tortured by employees for hours. South Africa is a beautiful country. But it is also a very dangerous place to live, with a population shockingly used to murder and violence in every newspaper and on every television news show.

We live here. And some people get hurt every day.  We do not have regular natural disasters, It is people hating and hurting other people,.

So- when the opportunity arrived to get some tools to help heal hurting people, I jumped at it.

BUT, even if it is a basic course, it is very challenging to me. We have to do some role plays, that is quite hard for me to do. You see, I am comfortable behind my keyboard. It is much harder being in someone elses’ personal space, listening to their deepest hurts.

But I can see this course will really help me a lot!  Up till Thursday it will be very intense, with long days of working through theory, a lot of practical sessions, and with a lot of homework every evening.

I want to do this, to be better equipped to make a positive impact on society, I want to be part of the solution, not part of the multitude of problems we as a nation faces.

So- I am hitting the books, hard. What makes it so much more difficult, we have “load shedding”- or some electrical maintenance- we had no electricity from 06h00- 18h00 yesterday, and from 06h00- 20h00 today.  That is being enlightened in the dark!






And how quickly a heart hardens again in South Africa…


You should see what I wrote, and deleted.

I am able to kill somebody. I discovered that yesterday.

I had an extremely long night on the bus from Cape Town to Pretoria. My wife and daughter met me at the station to pick me up. We dropped my daughter off at her home, I went to take a shower and a coffee at my mother’s house. Then, as it being my 24 th wedding anniversary. took my wife to a dinner before driving the last 130 km home.

In the time we sat at dinner, I received a Whatsapp message from my daughter, just enquiring if we were still in Pretoria.  She just said she was longing for our company a little, but she was ok.  I should have picked up something major was wrong.  But we didn’t. When we arrived home, my mother called. My daughter was at her home.

Just after we dropped her off yesterday afternoon, she decided to go for a walk in a guarded suburb of Pretoria.  A man approached her from behind, and hit her with the fist, a huge blow to the eye. He then discovered that she didn’t have her mobile phone with her, and ran off.  My daughter is traumatized again, after being attacked again… She was showered with broken glass in a smash & grab attack behind Menlyn centre last year. Those guys selling all the shit at the traffic lights… This is life in South Africa.  We are in a position where your child gets beat up, and you are just so happy that she wasn’t killed or raped.  It does not help to report it to police, nothing happens anyway, just another statistic that gets kept silent, when our police minister tells us crime rates  is coming down…

I do not want to publish the photo of my daughter’s face. But  I want to say this: people outside South Africa wonder why there are vagrant people being beaten up when they are where they don’t belong. (Waterkloof 4) . This is the reason.

Why do people live in fear, and shoot without seeing who they are shooting at, like maybe what happened to Oscar? “How could he”- all the civilized people of the world are asking. How can there be so much gun violence in South Africa?

Because we are afraid. Because we get beaten up and murdered, and not 10% of crimes are solved.  They will find you if you do not pay at the hated etoll gates in Gauteng province. But you have a 90% chance to get away with murder.

I live in a very peaceful little town. The local newspaper greeted me yesterday with this story:

In a very secure residential area with 50 houses, a lady of 86 years old was attacked by her gardener, who worked for her for 5 years. All the people in this security estate knows the gardener as a friendly, reliable chap. Well, he asked the lady for R3000  (about $300) after working hours. When she did not have that amount, he started hitting her, and torturing her from 17h00 till MIDNIGHT.  Being a lot of elderly people living there, nobody heard her screaming! Finally, as he got hold of a bank card, he went to withdraw some money. She got loose and fired of a few shots with her personal weapon. Then the neighbours heard her. The attacker came back,  and she screamed his name. He ran away and the police is looking for him…  Why did he need R 3000 so suddenly? To pay for training for being a witchdoctor (Sangoma!)

Why do we have weapons? Because we die if we don’t have them. Because you can call our emergency number, something like 911, in our country 10111, and the phone can ring for hours. When you get to the police station, all the officers on duty will be laying asleep around a barrel of KFC. When you wake them, they will say there is only 1  vehicle working, and probably it is off stealing sheep somewhere.

I know- our town’s police is not like that, they were really soon on the scene when the old lady got hurt. I have some very dedicated police officers in our church.   But our newspapers are full of stories where people gets murdered, and the police don’t even investigate. Murder dossiers gets misplaced for R100. If you are not Oscar Pistorius, forensic evidence can take up to 2 YEARS to get processed.

My daughter got beat up. The old lady in our town got tortured. And we are just so happy they are alive.

We have a beautiful word: GATVOL-  When you are extremely fed up with a situation you can’t change.

I am totally GATVOL this evening, and  I really wish I sent my daughter to karate classes from the age of 3, that she could really hurt assholes like that.  And if I have came upon this scene, with ANYONE’s daughter being hit in the face by some illegal immigrant, I would have tried my best to really hurt that asshole.

I usually get into a lot of trouble when I use “Asshole” and “Bullshit” in my blog. That is our kind of society, people frown upon rough words. But we are getting immune to violence and murder.  I hate living like this. I hate worrying every evening if my daughter is ok in the city.

Sorry that you have to see this side of me. I really tried to be a part of the solution of South Africa’s problems. I failed.  TIA.


The end of beauty- taken at a Stop & Go on the way down to Cape Town on my motorbike…

PS- If you really want to see what a loveable “Gardener” can do in South Africa- look at this photo, not for sensitive viewers.





One of my worst fears just happened…

The old saying is that most of the things we fear in life, do not come to pass.

Well, this time “they” were wrong.

Fortunately I was not called in front of the Church Board and fired. No, it is much worse than that.

May I use this space to confess: there is a huge amount of fear in me. I tremble when I speak it’s name…


My doctor ordered some blood tests. No need to worry- it is just a normal physical needed after being on high blood pressure pills for so long, and living with a huge amount of stress at the moment.

But the worst fear remains: The NEEDLE!

And I just have survived it!