At a loss for words

This week I have been struggling to think about what I will write, and for me that is unusual, so here it is and in no particular order.

Last week had Steven Segal visit Friends Restaurant and Wolverine has photographic evidence to prove it (Stephen is me and the ladies name is Sigal). Do you like the standard Segal pose with the left hand over the right forearm?

On Tuesday night Kelvin from friends suggested a Braai there so a few of us got together and just chilled, it was nice and the first Braai of the season. Wolverine was on top form and while we Love Kelvin to bits we do soooooooooooooo enjoy giving him carrots at every opportunity so when he was telling us about how he had been to a special school we decided to nickname hi “Rain man. Yes I know we are good mates, Wolverine was actually sharp for a change because Kel….. sorry Rain man said he wanted to have games evenings at the resturant and as quick as a flash Wolverine said what “Special Olympics, ok I suppose you had to be there, but it was funny. Actually Kelvin and another good friend Jeanelle both broke up with loved ones the last few days, so they are not in a great place at the moment, but both know that they have mates they can call on if they need to. So Rain man I have only one Question ‘who’s’ on first”?

So the Boks winning streak carries on with a 32 to 25 win against Australia, hopefully we will not get to cocky and win the Tri nations this year. As usual Friends was packed with a number of regulars and guests in the Clarens Ruby supporters club section, I don’t know if you have heard of a Jaeger Bomb? (It’s a shot of Jagermeister in a shot glass, placed in a whisky tumbler and filled up with an energy drink of your choice, you tip te glass to drink and the two mix) well this weekend we went one further with a number of people ordering carpet bombs, that’s 22 of them poured at the same time and passed around to all and sundry, then chanting “BOKKE BOKKE BOKKE” all down there drink, hence the carpet bombing. Perhaps if the allied forces in Iraq had used this method of carpet bombing there would have been a lot less hate and lot more LOVE J

I don’t know about you but I was willing to give Caster the benefit of the doubt that was until she opened her mouth on TV “ITS A MAN”. No ways is that a chick, “cannot be”, perhaps Pieter de Villiers and Caster could swop voices then she will sound like a woman and he like a man, “just a suggestion”

Last week told you about my mate in the states and his trip, sent me a few photos just to rub it in a little more. Here is one of them on that trip.

I have started studying again so when I get to PE I have a chance of finding a job and not relying on sticking shells together and selling them to tourists. The course is Health and safety and I must say I did not enjoy studying at school and the feeling has not changed much. So wish me luck and hold thumbs that I pass the exam when I write it sometime early next year.

Rolf Schlub a local visited Clarens Switzerland recently and is trying to link the two villages together (if I know Ralph, its something that he will get right) Ralph tells me that area is stunning and also sent me some photos.

Did you see the cops shooting the crap out of the SANDF members on TV, sometimes I cringe when I see scenes like that with the very people entrusted to safeguard the country and its peoples leopard crawling and acting like idiots on the lawns of the Union buildings, I will say one thing for them they sure know how to sing and dance, perhaps if we are ever invaded we could have a concert to decide who wins. I have to say I was impressed at the way the new minister of defence handled the situation and seems she is going to brook no nonsense from these people who basically mutinied. I suppose SANDF could now stand for Sing And Now Dance Forever. Since when does an army have a union, you do what your told in the army, while the army are there to usually defend a democracy, the armed forces themselves are a dictatorship. So SAP 1 / SANDF 0

I was asked by de Villiers from Clarens Protea to arrange a team to play a football match against them. I presume we will be called the Village Idiots, we will need a number of players as I can see the substitutes coming fast and furious.

Have a riddle for you: why don’t women pass wind? Because they don’t keep quiet long enough for the pressure to build up.

Wolverine and I have decided that we will enter the Captain Morgan Extreme photo competition. The Prize is a trip to Vegas for 4 people we have an awesome idea, just to get the picture/s we need may be a little tricky.

Some information from a friend of mine, its important to remember these men as it is because of their sacrifices that we can enjoy what we have today. I would also like to remember Daniel Roxo, Robbie Ribeiro, Little Robbie, Ponciano and all those brave men and women of Portuguese heritage that fought and died for this country “ we salute you”

30th Anniversary of the Loss of Puma 164

Sunday 06 September marks the 30th anniversary of the loss of Puma 164 during Op Uric/Bootlace, the attack on Mapai in the Gaza Province of Mozambique.
On this day two brave ladies will be traveling to the crash site, in order to pay their respects to their fallen brothers, and to the men who died with them on 06 September 1979.
The ladies are Delia Forbes, sister of LeRoy Duberly, and Sue Wentzel, sister of Peter Fox.
They will be accompanied and supported by their husbands on this difficult and emotional pilgrimage.
Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers next Sunday, and perhaps take a moment to remember the brave men at whose graveside they will be standing:

Capt Paul Velleman SAAF
Lt Nigel Osborne SAAF
Flt Sgt Dick Retief SAAF
Capt Joe du Plooy RLI
Capt Charlie Small RhEng
2Lt Bruce Burns RhEng
Sgt Michael Jones RhEng
Cpl LeRoy Duberly RhEng
L/Cpl Peter Fox RhEng
Cpl Gordon Fry RLI
Tpr Jacobus Briel RLI
Tpr Aiden Colman RLI
Tpr Mark Jeremy Crow RLI
Tpr Brian Enslin RLI
Tpr Steven King RLI
Tpr Colin Neasham RLI
Tpr David Rex Prosser RLI

"With thanksgiving, let us remember those who sacrificed their lives so that we may live on in peace.
Help us to keep them in our thoughts, and to never forget what they gave for us."

Graveside prayer read by Bob Manser and Rick van Malsen at the four crash sites which they located in Mozambique.

Spare a thought also for the families and friends of those brave men, who had to wait 30 years for their men to be finally laid to rest by their comrades-in-arms.

May they at last Rest in Peace.

Sad this week as have heard Tania Malan, the GM of the Clarens Protea Hotel is leaving and moving to the quiet hamlet of Gauteng. Tania will be a huge loss as she is such a asset to the village. I am sure however that Tania will visit from time to time and say Hi to Leanne who is the Lady taking over and hope that she will fit in and become a part of the village like Tania has.

Quote for this week comes from Jeannelle: The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits”

Have a great week ahead
The Village Idiot

Whats in a word

Journalists and Authors could not do there jobs without using words or an expression, have you ever read a book or article and wondered about the meaning of a word or where a certain expression originated? I do, so I thought I would Google up a few and here they are

1) Pass the Buck: “Blame someone else; avoid accepting responsibility”

Origin: The original Buck was a buckhorn knife passed around the table in certain card games. It was placed in front of the player whose turn it was to deal the cards and see that the stakes for all the players were placed in the pool. Someone who passed the buck, literally passed the responsibility to the person next to him

2) A bitter pill to swallow: “An experience that’s difficult or painful to accept’

Origin: Refers to taking medicine in the time before doctors had any way to make pills more palatable. The bark of a New World tree, the cinchona was effective in fighting malaria. But the quinine it contains is extremely bitter. Widely employed in the era before medications where coated, cinchona pellets caused any disagreeable thing to be termed a bitter pill to swallow”

3) He’s tied to her apron strings: “A man is dominated by his wife”

Origin: “In England several hundred years ago , if a man married a woman with property, he didn’t get title to it, but could use it while she was alive. This was popularly called apron-string tenure. A man tied to his wife’s apron strings was in no position to argue; hence the phrase came to stand for any abnormal submission to a wife or mother”

4) To give someone the cold shoulder: “Reject or act unfriendly toward someone”

Origin: Actually refers to food. In England a welcome or important visitor would be served a delicious or hot meal. “A guest who had outstayed his welcome, or an ordinary traveller” would get a cold shoulder of mutton.

5) The naked truth: “The absolute truth”

Origin: Comes from this old fable: “Truth and falsehood went swimming. Falsehood stole the clothes that Truth had left on the river bank, but Truth refuse to wear Falsehoods clothes and went naked”

Back to the future

Was watching my daughter playing with marbles the other day and it took me back to a time in my life that, while I hated going to school I enjoyed the interaction with my mates and the sports. I remember vividly that cricket, rugby and soccer had its set seasons but then so did games like marbles, tops, yoyo’s and dingbats.

Other than those games we also had different companies coming to the school, like Outspan oranges who at the beginning of every season would come to the school, we would all either sit in the hall or the quad and they would tell us about oranges and then each pupil would get a orange and a plastic thingy that you would push In to your orange after you had sufficiently softened it up (using whatever method was “cool” at the time) then from the funnel section sticking out of the orange like a straw suck out the sweet juice, this was a clear promotional ploy from Outspan, they visited all the schools in the area and handed out the promotional toy, this then in turn had the kids rushing home and bugging mom to buy oranges so you could suck out the juice with the “straw”

When it was Yoyo and Dingbat season, we would get demonstrations from people that were really really good and could do “walk the dog” as well as the “baby sleeping in the cradle” this in turn would have us practising at every opportunity and you just had to have the latest “professional” yoyo. Local Cafes would hold competitions to find the best yoyoer? And they in turn would do battle with other Cafes champions who in turn went on to compete provincially and then nationally

Dingbats were popular but not as in demand as Yoyo’s, for those not in the know a dingbat was a plastic paddle with an elastic attached to the paddle and then a rubber ball on the end of the elastic, the trick was to see how many times and from what positions you could bounce the ball on the bat, again competitions were held and demonstrations at school given, always sending the kids in to a frenzy of “we want a dingbat”

I was never good at spinning tops, but the kids who were good held competitions, that were keenly contested to see who were the best in the school and who had the champion top, this was achieved by drawing a circle in the sand and then throwing the top on to the ground, sort of like a WWE king of the ring jol, only with wooden tops.

Marbles was a huge sport during breaks and after school with your status in school being measured by the size of your marble bag and how many goons you had. Metal Goons were the most sought after and were only sacrificed if you were very sure that you may in fact win the other persons. Kites and Claylat were also popular at primary school.

High school we dropped the kiddies games and started to play pinball and space invaders, Skate boarding and CB radios were also big when I was in Std 8, the Rubik’s cube made its appearance as did some 3D snake, but I was never good at that and left it to the Geeks (who are now rich computer analysts and business owners, “Who knew”?)

Ok well that’s enough of Nostalgia what has been happening in the village this week. Well I have been behaving myself and not insulting anyone of late. So all is good. Must say new Caledon News and Speckled bean are out and while I have not read the new SB the Caledon news is bigger and not looking to bad (probably because there is a small piece on school sports written by non other than “me myself I” in it, (thanks Julia)

Wolverine has been single this week, with Kathy away in the Cape, He has sort of been behaving himself, and ok he has been a choirboy. Wolverine wants to be an investigative journalist/photographer and this week he was in position to get that all important photo of a local serial killer, as you can see the photo is of a local Cereal killer, I don’t think his 2 brain cells snap, crackle or pop.

His Excellency the Honourable Jacob “Mashini wam” Zuma has accepted an invitation to pay out humble village a visit, so everything is in ‘rep and roer” to ensure that protocols etc etc are met, I think it will be a good thing for Clarens and will be the second Prime Minister/State President to officially visit Clarens, the first being CR Swart in 1962 and 1968. Perhaps we can get Mr Zuma to unveil the Naauwepoort monument again? Talking about the square we had a giant mole infestation on it this week, seriously check the photo. Ok so there top soiling!!!!

This whole Caster Semenya controversy gives a whole new meaning to “Wys jou muis”. So what do you all think about the South African who won the women’s 800m final in Berlin?? Is it a lady or a man, who knows but in the meantime lets celebrate the fact we won a Gold medal and I will give him the benefit of the doubt until they have finished counting the Y and X chromosomes, I have a feeling its going to be a close call. My question is where did this person come from, I have never heard of Caster before, ok I must admit athletics is not high on my list of must watch sports, its sort of down there with curling and underwater hockey. One thing is for sure any dude who has gone out with Caster and it turns out the verdict is she is a man there will be a run on Sanpic to clean the mouth out.

Australia vs NZ was as usual a close and very physical game with only one point in it and The Kiwi’s sneaking in a win at the end again (19 to 18), not the result that we wanted, points table is as follows

1) SA on 12 points
2) NZ on 8 points
3) Aussies on 2 points

Aussies and SA have 3 games left and the Kiwi’s 2. It’s going to be a tough leg over there, but believe the boys will do it.

Tino and Lana are good friends over in America and in 1995 we had the pleasure of meeting them in the States and journeyed to Sturgis wity them to the Black Hills Rally. Tino sent me this e-mail a couple of days back that had me green with envy

Hi Stephen/Tania
how are you all doing, me and Lana just got back from vacation. We (our friends Gene / Pam ) shipped our Harley's to Portland ,Or. then we took a plane there picked up our bikes at the Harley store in Portland . We rode to Seattle ,Washington , down to Portland again, thru Oregon on to California, San Francisco, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Sturgis S. Dakota, Minn. Iowa, Illinois, In. Over 4500 miles me and Lana rode on the Roadking, we had a great time and it rained only twice, but in Oregon it was 120 on the road, the temp. in the air was 108 .It was a great trip and made it ok. When we were in Sturgis, I sure remember the good times when you and Tania were there we would talk to Gene and Pam about it over dinner.
Tino and Lana

One day I will write a Blog about how we met and the trip Tania and I took to the States in 1995 those were really good times J

One of may favourite people in the village are leaving soon and while she has not been here that long she has made a huge impact in the village, I am talking about Tania Malan, the GM of the Clarens Protea Hotel, Tania has been promoted and is moving to Midrand “not that I would consider that a promotion”. I know Tania loves Clarens and was a tough decision to make. Tania we wish you well in the new job and know that you will always have a soft spot for Clarens.

Clarens has a very active Village Fire Association, this being set up after last years fires that nearly saw the village go up and smoke, if it had not been for the local farmers then I think the damage would have been immense. The association under Rodney Wainright have really been active this season, burning firebreaks and putting out smaller fires tat could easily turn in to serious ones, So gents Thanks for all your efforts it is appreciated. (last years hassles, now have own fire fighters)

Last photo for this week was in a hotel room that I stayed in this week, now I ask if you are blind how are you supposed to read it ??

Quote for the week: “Live well, Love often and Laugh much”

Have a great week

The Village Idiot

Darwin awards

At Afri Ski last weekend we saw a gent that was trying to get in to the Darwin awards or at least get a honourable mention. (See photo) yes he was holding the ski poles with the sharp ends pointing toward his stomach with a large person leaning towards him, on skis on very slippery snow and the lady was obviously a beginner.

No International rugby this weekend, so we had to make do with that and Currie Cup rugby (that is like watching paint dry compared to Tri Nations action) however the Cheetahs beat the under 6 leopards team by nearly 60 points, the Griquas was robbed by thr ref and lost 25 – 24 to the Bulls (yes Player 24 we know you are happy) and the Sharks made a meal out of the Lions 30 – 17. Next week is Tri nations and I will have to swallow my pride and shout for the Aussies as we need them to balance out the Kiwis win against them in the opening match

Jannie de Beer ex Springbok Flyhalf and drop goal record holder was in the village this week as was John Smit, I got to meet Jannie, but not John. Jannie is a really nice guy and came to bear witness to his love of the Lord, must say I thought he was going to be chating about his rugby career, but never the less I enjoyed his talk and especially him saying that we as parents need to bless our children and tell them we love them and that we are there for them, something we don’t always do, Kobus is the owner of Mont d Or and they sponsored his accommodation and Dominee Sakkie was also there (right to left Kobus, Jannie, Sakkie).

I was thinking about my daughter Gabriella this week after the talk by Jannie and how blessed I am to have her and now she is becoming a teenager and a woman. There was a time when I never thought I would be a dad and to be honest it did not really faze me that much, but thanks to Tania who really wanted to become a mom we persevered and we now have a wonderful daughter. The road however was long and frustrating, especially for Tania who to be honest bore the brunt of the disappointment and frustration The main reason we could not have kids seemed to be that for some reason my sperm would not swim and if they did manage to get to the designated sperm spot Tania’s eggs would decide that they where either not good looking enough or where just not interested. SO it was off to the fertility clinic and this again was a frustrating and difficult time for not just us, but our families as well and while we had some tough times during this part of our lives there where also lighter moments along the way . (several sentences have been censored from this by my wife....!!)

Spring is peeking its head around the corner and it seems the last leg of winter is here, however in Clarens we always get a last kick in the butt, its nice however to see the willows going green and blossoms on the fruit trees. In Larola where we live we seem to get winter 2 weeks before everyone else and Spring arrives also about 2 weeks after it has already been in the village.

Thanks to all of those that have sent in SMS votes for Clarens I am happier to tell you that we are now 5th on the list, however we still needs da votes, so for one last time send the following Volksblad dorp, Clarens, your name, your cell number and SMS to 34115 (SMS cost R2.00) Thanks Ryan know you have sent few from PE, “Lekker like a Krekker.”

Wolverine took a photo of the biggest Kwas I have ever seen in my life, that thing was so big I think you could have painted a whole barn door in one go, anyone else ever seen a Kwas this big before? Also wolverine wanted to share with you his expert advise on how to get a girl in the sack and allow you to take photos. “ First find a girl, then get the drummer to take the big drum out of its bag, then ask girl to get in the bag, then zip the bag up and there you have it a girl in the sack” He is not a well puppy my mate Wolverine. Last week did not have the photo of the T-t smoking so here it is this week, “not for the faint hearted”

Rupa and Nicky our neighbours had there fisrs bike ride this weekend, Rupa's brother came up from Durban and took them both for a ride, "they had fun"

Quote for the week: “ He brings a lot of joy when he leaves the room”

Have a great week.

The Village Idiot.

Steelwings Ladies

The roar of Harley Davidson Motorbike engines is audible even though I can just see the first outline of the pack on the near horizon. Heavy steel, heavy metal, leather and chrome. As they come into view – the thud of engines sends leaves hurtling, dogs barking, and people clearing. Menacing, mean – this is a gang one doesn’t want to mess with. The pack of strong armed, gloved hands stop - just near me - and one after the other prepare to dismount their metal machines, kicking their side stands like flick knives with boots and a velocity that would startle any critter nearby. I am in awe and speechless as I wait… the leader of the pack!!

Imagine my surprise when the helmets’ get lifted and long hair, curls, bangs and bobs is revealed. These are ladies!! The biker ladies of the Motorcycle Club, STEELWINGS. With manicured nails, lipstick and leather. Biker chicks one and all. Riding their machines for… what? I’m about to find out…

There are about 400 members in all of Steelwings nationwide. Of that 110 are biker chicks. At least a quarter!!

They are a well-organised club with Chapters in different regions of South Africa like – Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Nelspruit, Zululand, Kimberley, Rustenburg, Thabazimbi, Klerksdorp and Hartebeespoort. To be a member of Steelwings, you have to own and ride your own Harley. A committee runs each Chapter – and on each committee at least one or two women have office, with one woman, Lizette Freeman being the President of her Chapter in Nelspruit. I am impressed as this seems to be real women’s empowerment – holding office and riding as an equal to men, In what traditionally is perceived as a very macho male dominated past time.

“ Hi “ says one lady “ I am Natalie Dinath and I am the secretary of the Hartebeespoort Chapter – and one of the few that can openly admit that I sleep with the President” she laughs. Natalie’s husband is the President of the Chapter. “ I am 43 years old and have been riding now for 3 years. When I hit my forties I decided I needed a drastic change of life. So I got some very lady like tattoos and my first Harley…. a Sportster.”

“ I never in my wildest dreams thought that at this age this what I would be doing. My work background took me all over the world, as I worked in the airline industry for 15 years, riding the wings of a plane, but now I ride the wings of my Harley. My first passion is family. I am a mother of 4 – my youngest being 4 and my oldest 17 years old. My next passion is my Harley, where I find my sanity riding long and winding roads.”

So I got talking to the rest of the “crew”. From Private Bankers, Accountants, Business Owners, Marketing Managers, IT Specialists, Interior Decorators and even Farmers these ladies are something to reckon with. What struck me is their independence, multi tasking between work and home and their love of freedom, doing what they love best – riding their bikes. What also impressed me was the tight bond the ladies from the different regions all had with each other.

“It’ a Harley thing” explained Heloise Smith, who works for a cellular company arranging funding for its subsidiaries across Africa and the Middle East. “ I started going to rally’s with my sister in 2003, but being the control freak that I am, I quickly got tired of riding pillion and depending on others for a ride, so I bought my own bike and all the gear and for the next few months I would dress up and sit on my bike in the garage! Then I joined Steelwings and encouraged by the other biker chicks my riding days started. I now own three bikes – a Fatboy, De Luxe and Night Rod. I’m a lady after all – you know, a shop-a holic” she chides.

“Wherever you are in the world, if you wear a Harley T shirt or any recognisable Harley logo – another biker – male or female – will come up to you and bond with you. It’s almost like a cult. Like minded people doing like minded things” mentions Liz Beetge who looks just the part in her leather cowboy boots, brassiere type top and thick hipster Harley belt.

As I chat to the ladies one theme seems to be constant with all of them and that is thankfulness at how much they all have been blessed with and the will to give back in the form of charity to others less fortunate. Joanne Raphael-Katz mentions how she started and ran Red Nose Day – a charity that raised over R10 million for Child Welfare and became A National Day, which she is bringing back next year in 2010. Mishka Moller also tells how she is involved with Journey of Hope a breast cancer ride on Harley Davidson’s that aims to raise awareness and funds for under-privileged women to have reconstructive surgery. These ladies are all heart!!

“ My Harley is my best friend” says Anusha Padayachee, a Corporate Governance Consultant from Kimberley. “ I live life to the fullest. My Harley has connected me to so many people who have become not only riders but FRIENDS. “ Sharing a passion for Harley’s is a great way of getting people together, the sum of which creates a bigger group who put themselves out there for the less fortunate” enthuses Amanda van Jaarsveld Events Captain of the Nelspruit Chapter.

With linked arms this feisty and glamorous group of women all agree that when Harley Davidson created these powerful machines many years ago, little did they know that powerful women with a zest for life would ride together, wind in their faces, sun behind them, having the time of their lives while fulfilling their mission of a better nation for all.

Joanne Raphael-Katz
Media Officer
Steelwings National Council

Bram Fischer

Many of us grew up in the day of Nationalist politics and viewed the so-called Freedom Fighters with skepatsicm. I believe it always depends on what side of the fence you sit, as someone’s Terrorist is someone else’s Freedom Fighter and Visa versa. I came across a book on Bram Fischer and out of curiosity I read it. Must say pretty interesting, here is what I learnt about the man, many love but many love to hate.

Born Abraham Fischer on 23 April 1908 on his parent’s farm in the Orange Free State, which in those days was a Republic. His family were a prominent and well-respected Afrikaans family, his Grandfather was President of the Free State Republic, and his father was a well-respected judge and law lecturer.

Abram was the eldest of four sons and 1 daughter, he spent his childhood on the farm, playing and hunting with the farm labourer’s children. He was lucky that his parents took him to interesting places and he was encouraged to talk about topics that interested him. Even when his family were away they would write letters telling the children about the interesting places they had been and the people that they had met.

Abram went to Grey College in Bloemfontein and was an exceptional student as well as a good sportsman and became the Free State junior tennis champion. In 1926 he then enrolled at the university of Cape Town to study law. On his 21st birthday Mrs Steyn (widow of president Martinhus Steyn sent him a letter. The Steyns and Fischers were family friends and Ouma Steyn as she was known to family and friends liked Abram very much and predicted that one day he would play an important part in South Africa’s history. She was right, but it would not be in the way she expected.

While studying Abram would earn pocket money at harvest time by picking apples, here he saw the exploitation of coloured children, it was also during this period that he taught black adults to read and write. In 1931 after obtaining his degree he won a scholarship to Oxford in England to further his studies, during this period of hi life he travelled to Austria and Russia and he compared Austria’s capitalist system to Russia’s communistic outlook, he then compared them both to South Africa where only the whites had power and began to believe that a government based on race alone was not right.

In 1934 he returned to South Africa and worked as a lawyer in Johannesburg, in 1937 he married Molly Krige and they had three children, Ruth, Ilse and Paul. In 1941 both Molly and Bram joined the CPSA (Communist party of South Africa) it attracted members from all races and religions and fought for a country in which all people would be equal. During the miners strike o 1946 Bram and a number of his comrades were arrested and fined for supporting the strike.

In 1948 the National party under the leadership of DF Malan came to power and brought in segregation laws that were to become known as Apartheid and to ensure that the races did not mingle laws such as the Population registration act, the Group areas act, the Separate amenities act and the Influx control act were passed. In 1950 the CPSA was banned and its member had to either flee the country or work underground, members of the CPSA could now be jailed for up to ten years. The CSAP disbanded to avoid members being imprisoned, but secretly reformed as the SACP (South African Communist Party) Bram and his comrades now had to work in secret. Bram also became friends with members of the ANC (African National Congress) and decided that he wanted to work with them to end Apartheid. In 1953 the ANC called upon white South Africans to work with them to fight for freedom, Bram and other whites formed SACOD (South African Congress of Democrats). That same year the government put Bram on the banned list, this meant he could no longer belong to SACOD or attend political meetings, but he met his comrades in secret, even with members of the Special Branch following him.

In June 1955 thousands of people mat in Kliptown (near Johannesburg) for the congress of the people, at this meeting the ANC ant its alliance partners came up with the Freedom charter, while Bram could not be there because he was banned, he watched proceedings from a nearby hill with his family. In 1956 156 members of the congress alliance were arrested and charged with treason for planning to overthrow the government and if found guilty would be sentenced to death.

Bram became a member of the defence team and both Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu were happy to have him defending them. The trail lasted 4 years (1957 – 1961) all 156 were granted bail but many lost their jobs and Bram started a fund to raise money for the accused and their families. After the 156 were found not guilty, happy crowds of supporters carried Bram shoulder high from the court for his hard work in defending his comrades.

The ANC in 1961 decided to stray from their non-violent doctrine and learnt how to make bombs and formed MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe), Zulu for “Spear of the Nation” In December 1961 MK blew up railway lines and electricity pylons. For months the police hunted for the bombers, Mandela was arrested at a roadblock in Howick and in July 1963 Lilieslief farm in Rivonia was raided and here Sisulu and Mbeki as well as many others were arrested.

The now famous Rivonia trial began in Pretoria in October 1963 with many ANC members being charged with using violence and trying to overthrow the government. Bram was chosen to lead the defence team and worked night and day to fight the case in court, but despite his best efforts on 12 June 1964 all of the men on trial were sentenced to life in prison. A day after the verdict his wife Molly was killed in a car accident while driving down to Cape Town. In September he was arrested and charged with bombing government property. Bram sent a letter to the court saying he would not stand trial but rather go into hiding to continue his fight for the freedom of all South Africans. Now he was on the run and he disguised himself by dyeing his hair and growing a beard. He called himself Max Black.

The Police put on a manhunt for him and offered a large reward for information that would lead to his arrest, he was eventually caught in November 1965 and sentenced to life in prison on 9 may 1966. In 1974 he was taken to hospital to be treated for cancer and his family pleaded with the government to release him because of this illness, initially ignoring there pleas in March 1975 he was allowed to go and stay with his brother, Paul, officially he was still a prisoner, however a mere two months later on 8 may he died.

Behind every man

You know the old saying behind every great man there is an exceptional woman, well due to Sunday having being National Woman’s Day and August being woman’s month I thought that I would dedicate this Blog (well most of it) to all those women out there that have been an inspiration to friends, family, countries and nations. We as men do not give you enough credit for all the contributions that women have made or have achieved in the sport, political and business world.

I know that I am guilty of not always telling my wife how proud I am of her, especially with regards to the setting up of her internet company, “Crafty Stuff” that has over the last year shown tremendous growth and I know will one day be a huge success. Tania had a stall on Saturday on the square and she did very well with both selling and sourcing contacts for the business.

I also received a nice story from Steelwings that will go into a local paper about lady bikers and Harley riders in particular (Steelwings are coming again in November and we are really stoked that they have again chosen Clarens as the venue for their National rally) anyway with the articles where a few photos of lady bikers, now I don’t know about you other gents, but there is nothing sexier than a lady on a bike and if she happens to ride it herself, that’s even better. Yes that is probably a sexist utterance/statement but to me a lady in tight “leffers” or a “jeanpant” is just soooo much nicer than some dude.

Women have also become huge sports fans, when in the old days at stadiums and pubs you would only see the “ouens” shouting and screaming for their favourite sportsman, these days many seats are filled with the fairer sex who are just as if not more knowledgeable about the players and rules than the men. Friends as you may be aware is the place for locals to hang out and watch the rugby and of the usual 20 or more people that turn up for the games almost half are ladies of the village.

Talking about Rugby the Aussies played well but the Boks just seem to be on another level at the moment, long may it continue, watched the rugby at Friends ‘as usual” and the usual suspects where present, with a few new faces joining us this week. Perhaps it was because we had arrange Friends world famous chicken strips for snacks It was nice to see Garth join use as well as Eve and Bernie, Glen and a gent who had watched a game a while back with us who joined in the fun. Mark is going to start a facebook group called “the Clarens rugby supporters club” we where saying from humble beginnings, Mark and I we now have at least 20 –25 people joining us or the rugby, we have even had to start bringing in our own fold up chairs. So if you are in the vicinity and there is a good rugby game on, give us a shout and pop in to say hi. OH Yeah we have one thing to say to Player 24 (Cheetahs 25 , Bulls 15 J)

I bath every day, as do most people, but I have to admit it never ceases to amaze me how much fluff can gather in your belly button, on Friday as I was driving to a meeting in Bethlehem and I was scratching my tummy “as one does when driving to the “holy city” and I pulled out a lump of fluff that I could have re-carpeted my house with. So I have to ask where does it come from, I mean do the fluff bunnies visit at night and load up the belly button with all the lint they can find lying around the house ??. I suppose we will never know as its in the same league as the washing machine “two socks go in, but only one comes out”

You may remember last weeks Blog that had Super Bok wanting you to vote for Clarens, so I have to ask “did you”? The reason I am asking is that I received an e-mail on Thursday to say the Zastron is still first but Marquad (population 7) is now second with Ladybrand and Vrede battling it out for 3rd place. Clarens is not even in the top 10, I am to scared to ask what other villages are on the list, surely there must be a mistake, I sent the e-mail out to hundreds, Eish electronic newsletter and Clarens connection newsletter also sent out an appeal yet we are not even on the list never mind in the top 3. So Please SMS Village dorps, your name, Clarens, your cell number and send to 34115. VOTE FOR CLARENS “YOU CAN DO IT”

Took a trip to Afri Ski on Sunday with the family, Mark and his sister, unfortunately Kathy could not come as the shop was to busy. Had a bit of a kak start when the vehicle we where going to use decided to die, but after that things looked up. There was a lot of snow at Afri ski and plenty or people as well, but we had a good tine freezing our feet and asses off. After a few hours though “enough is enough” and a piece of advice if your going to play in the snow wear the right shoes, otherwise your feet feel like they are going to fall off, mostly we bum boarded with Gabby, Mark and I also trying or hand at snowboarding, “its not as easy as it looks” I got caught in a snowdrift and luckily had a SPATULA to dig myself out.

This week the Village Idiot is eating Humble Pie, after weeks of giving a local gent, his staff and the publications they represent stick, it was decided after a very amicable meeting were all parties were present that enough is enough and instead of butting heads and making life unpleasant for all involved that we should put the past behind us and look towards the future. I must say that this is something that my wife has been pestering me to do for a while now, but Pride is as they say “one of the seven deadly sins”

“So ladies and gents please accept my sincere apologies for any discomfort or embarrassment that I may have caused yourselves or the publication that you present and I look forward to a new era of co-operation between us.”

I think Wolverine is losing it, I asked him to find me proof of someone smoking TIC (the drug that is so popular in the Cape Flats, but apparently making its way in to the more affluent of areas). I am not sure if he has a hearing problem, or is just DOF but he came back with photographic evidence of a T-T smoking. “Talk about keeping abreast of a situation” (photo was not available at time of this Blog going out)

I also caught Graeme the owner of Clarens Rocks shop air guitaring outside of his shop "ok it was posed" but Clarens does "Rock"

A couple of quotes from Jeanelle to end off this week’s Blog

“Normal is a setting on a washing machine”

“Ah the patter of little feet around the house. There’s nothing like having a midget for a butler.”

Have a great week and remember if you have had an argument with someone don’t let it get out of hand, ‘leave pride at the door” and sort the problem out, you will feel better.

The Village Idiot.

Vote for Clarens


“WE NEED YOU” was an iconic poster with a star spangled bannered Uncle Sam pointing his finger in your direction used during the first world war to drum up support for the war effort as well as tempt youngsters in their prime to train as a soldier travel to foreign climes, meet foreign and interesting people and “SHOOT THEM”. Well this next two weeks “CLARENS NEEDS YOU” and this time the finger pointing person to drive you into a Clarens voting frenzy is non other than “SUPERBOK” he wants you to vote for Clarens to win the best village in the OFS and North West Province competition. At present we languish 10th (Yes 10th) with ZASTRON “The Free state capital of BORING and DULL in first place” and Vrede in second place. The e-mail that I sent to locals is below, please read, please vote, vote, vote and PLEASE tell others to do the same. (See photos of those wanting to help)

Had a chat with Jaapie and he was telling me that the Volksblad have a competition going were you have to vote for the best town or village in the OFS and northern Cape (the top 3 villages have to send representatives to then put on a presentation and the best village wins) there are prizes to be won for those who SMS and the village also stands to win prizes.

Clarens is at the moment number 10 with Zastron 1st, Ladybrand second and Vrede 3rd (now i don’t know about you, but i think that is just sad)

Lets SMS and get Clarens at the top or at least in the top 3, here are procedures for sending SMS (cost a mere R2.00, "so send a few" I have sent 10 already)

1) Must SMS (can send as many as you like)
2) Must SMS the following info to 34115
Volksblad dorp, your name, name of village and cell or telephone number

EG: Volksblad dorp, Stephen Dunkley, Clarens 071 599 4013

You should get a confirmation that your info has been received

Please forward this to as many people as possible, we only have 2 weeks left to vote

Stephen and the Clarens Connection team

Still cold here but not as bad as last week, when it was cold enough to freeze the acorns off a squirrel. We had a light dusting of snow on Saturday morning but not anything great, the surrounding mountains had more snow and Lesotho definitely had a lot as people where unable to get to Afriski and other places in that country. A few of us are going to AFRISKI in Lesouthou (that’s the Natalian coming out in me) next Sunday to do a little bum boarding and check out the stunning scenery, its truly magnificent and a must do trip for those who enjoy taking photos, smelly goat hands or are scared of heights. (Will tell you about it when we get back)
Enough with Michael Jackson, now I believe that his doctor killed him, shades of Elvis Presley perhaps? So what does that mean, are they going to dig him up again? With everyone trying to make a buck out of his demise I can see the headlines now “Michael on Comeback tour, with supporting act The Grateful Dead”

The Municipal strike this week hit Clarens as well and on Tuesday they decided to trash around the square and with the assistance of many residents the place was cleaned up, much to the singers and dancers dismay, Wednesday was a regrouping day for the trashers (strikers) and the cleaners (residents), all the promises of further disruption came to nought. Many people need to be thanked but perhaps the person that got everyone geared up was Johann Lehman with his wife Anel also phoning people and the local electronic newsletter asking people to assist. To all those that helped a Big thanks from all in the village.

On Morning live this week was an insert about Clarens and poverty in the village, it was correct in some ways but also very one sided as it did not show the good that the community also does, I have sent a e-mail to SABC asking them to send a team to see what different people and organizations actually do for the community, hopefully they will accept the offer. Poverty is all around and is made worse in winter, especially here when it can drop to –8 and below in winter. Spare a thought for those who are less fortunate and perhaps this week go and buy a blanket or a jersey and hand it in to a welfare organization that you know is assisting those in need.

Tania received via Face book a photo of here and I at Tania’s matric farewell from a classmate that lives overseas. ‘I had hair” Tania reminded me that I had been so cocky about having a double whirl of hair and I would never go bald. My mom told me that when I was born (and remember I was born 3 months premature) that I had hair down to my shoulders, I suppose I should be grateful that I did not go the full term otherwise I would have come out looking like Chewbacca the Wookie from Star wars. I was telling Kathy the other day about when I was at school and how we used to get jacked for having hair over the collar, but I digress, my mom would give me money to go to the hairdresser to get a cut, however I would always look for the trainee as you would get the cut for half price and if you were lucky and got the clippers caught in your earlobe “For Free”, yes it was a little painful and it did bleed like a stuck pig, but R3 or R5 was big money when I was 16 and would be spent on beer and cigarettes “for my friends of course” I wonder how many of you did te same thing, surely I could not have been the only person to think of this ??

The one time my mom bought one of those all in one comb/scissors/razor contraptions, I think the advertising slogan was something like “battle tested during the inquisition” Anyway mom decided that we would save the R5 and that she would “style” my hair. I just had a feeling that it was not going to turn out right and was I right “Yes I was” I looked like I had been attacked by the whole cast of Alfred Hitchcoks “The birds”. After I had finished crying I persuaded my mom to let me go to a hairdresser so she could fix it up. With these words ringing in my ears I left the house ‘tell the hairdresser I cut it and I will kill you”. The woman of course asked me who had raped my head and I told her it was my sister who at the time was probably 8 (she would have done a better job). The lady basically shaved my head, so the “style I got” was the Belsen/Auschwitz look, as I gave the lady the R5 she said to me if you promise not to tell anyone that I cut your hair you can keep the money, “as bad as my hair was the R5 was better.”

So Schummie is coming back to Ferrari and Formula 1, I for one cannot wait and look forward to the 23rd August when he starts his first race, its going to be interesting as there will be a lot of pressure on him to do well. All I know is that he is a Winner and has a competitive streak second to none and has not come back for money, he does not need it, so lets see what he can do the last few races of the year.

Old Stone Bottle Store had its Party on Tuesday night, and it was pretty good, even if I say so myself. A good number of locals attended and they even had a Dutch couple that happened to be walking past pop in and decided to join the party. Tania and I left early but believe a couple of people may have spent their “get out of the house free” coupons for a few months. The Bottle store is looking great and is hard to believe that a mere couple of months ago it was a dark and dingy hole with a few beers in the fridge and arbitrary liquor lying around. Also we may not have Capt Morgan living in Clarens but we have his sister Kathy, see pictures

We had friends over to watch the game between Cheetahs and the Sharks on Friday night. The game was crap but the company Lekker, there is something about having a number of friends over with the fire is crackling and everyone seems content and is chatting, it’s a real nice vibe, one that I am (sorry we) are sure to miss when we leave the village. We also tried our own version of “crouch, touch, pause, engage”

Bokke game as usual we watched at Friends “Where everybody knows your name” and what a Jol, I am serious when I say there is no better venue to watch than here, the people are great, the atmosphere brilliant and the people that we watch with are Lekker people and from humble beginnings of 3 people we now take over the one side of the restaurant and have to bring in folding chairs to seat everyone, what a game, Morne Steyn 31, All Blacks 19. Oh we also had Kilkenny from “South Park” come and watch the game as well

Wolverine sort of came through with the crack photo, while his instruction was to get a photo of someone smoking crack he got a photo of a crack smoking, its not nice but I decided to post it anyway and to all you kids out there “JUST SAY NO”

It seems that even the recession is hitting the biker community, as you will see from the photo, this gent has had to downgrade to a less expensive mode of transport.

I don’t now if its just me but the weeks just seem to blend in to each other, Sunday I send out the Blog and then its Monday, you blink its Wednesday and then it’s the weekend, maybe the older we get the faster time goes? The adage “time flies” is very relevant the older we get.

I have asked Jeanelle to give me a quote each week and here is her first of I hope many: Quotes for the week

"24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day, coincidence? I think not."

“Your slower than a herd of turtles running through peanut butter”

Well that’s about it for this week so have a good one and remember to be nice to someone this week. And “VOTE FOR CLARENS”J
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