10 February 2012
Vandalism, racism ... or both.
I received the letter below from Fleur in Jubileum street,
that she had sent to friends and students in Taiwan. I was
shocked to learn that someone would wantonly vandalize someone
else’s property because of an issue, that at it’s
core, is so blatantly racist. (Although quite long, I have
decided to include the entire letter as I believe it says
so much about our village and who we are).
“…an entire month of rest, SLEEP, sun, sea,
swimming, fun, travel, visiting, games, reading, watching
TV, Christmas, New Year.....no homework) and here in Africa,
Now, all the above, might be possible for many a South African
child, but certainly not all of them and most certainly
not for the children of the coloured community who live
here in this small rural village where I do.
They live in an area called: ' Nuwerus', an Afrikaans name
which means something like: ' Being able to Rest.' They
stay in very small homes which are build close together.
There are hardly any gardens to speak of as the properties
are small. The roads are gravel and dusty. Most people living
there today, don't have work. Here in South Africa the official
statistics are 40 people out of 100 do have a job. So, they
don't get to go away on holiday, travel, or go to the sea
much. They get pretty bored if they don't like reading as
there really is nothing much to do. Lucky kids...NO BUSHY
BAN or stacks of summer homework like the students get in
Taiwan. But it is really no fun at all. Sometimes an afternoon
activity is arranged for them...some cricket, organised
games, a movie they can go and watch in the school hall.
So they wonder around the village streets. Get into
trouble for throwing stones at the dogs that bark at them
and for scaling up a fruit tree to steal some fruit.
They also walk from home to home begging for food and here
we always try and keep enough bread so that they can get
a sandwich with peanut butter and syrup. I must admit that
I am pretty tired of making sandwiches.
What they also come to our home for is the dam, in
which we allow them to swim. This is the only dam in the
entire village where they may swim. At first there was only
a small group. But as the summer became hotter and dryer
and the holiday became longer, more and more kids came to
ask to swim. Now there were more than forty kids turning
up for a swim so that they could cool down.
Being the old witch and teacher that I am, we managed with
basic rules. Swimming times between 3pm to 5 pm, from Monday
to Saturday. Then I can watch and see that nobody gets hurt.
No more than 6 kids in the dam at a time. No nude swimming.
No diving or bombing, no matter how much fun that is, as
it breaks the dam wall. No urinating from the dam wall.
No swearing and a special appeal NOT to throw stones at
the dogs as they walk along the road, not to steal the fruit
and not to swear or disturb the peace of the neighbours
So...everything seemed to work quite well until a group
of about twenty children arrived when I wasn't home. They
plunged in...many with no swimming costumes or clothes,
they ran along the wall and dove in, bombing their friends....they
screamed and shouted, behaving really badly and upsetting
just about every one who saw them misbehaving.
This must have made someone, who didn't like the idea of
them coming to swim, so angry that this person threw a lot
of old black grease/OIL, into my dam sometime during the
quiet hours of the night.
Along the water's edge is a thick, black oily mark on the
inside of the dam wall. All the frogs in my dam have died,
(if they managed to survived the swimming kids), I found
two swallows carcasses in the water and as they skim the
water for a drink, I am sure that they fly away to die somewhere.
No children will be able to swim in my dam again.
We have tried to absorb as much of the oil as we could from
the surface of the water with straw, which we threw on top
of the water and then raked it off again.
There is still a film of oil on top of the dam and
when the rains finally come in the winter and the dam fills
up, there will be a 'backwash' into the irrigation furrow
which will take this oil to all the other people along our
road. It will get into their gardens and onto their vegetables.
It will flow into the water troughs where their horses drink,
it will finally flow down into a beautiful small valley
where there are lilies and swans and lots of water birds
and everything will be affected by the oil.
What had made me sad is that not only have the poor children
been deprived of one of the few pleasures they had this
holiday...but that the pollution which was caused is going
to affect so many more people, insects, birds and animals.
Today, a small group arrived again wanting to swim,
not knowing what had happened to the dam. But when they
saw the black oil mark above the water and understood what
it meant, they hoped to settle for the next best thing...a
peanut butter sandwich. As there was no bread available
today I also had to refuse that treat and when I jokingly
said: ' All I have are some raw potatoes.
A little girl said; ' I'll take the potato! '
How hungry she must have been.
So now you all know a little more about what life is like
Perhaps we could all ask ourselves where we stand on this
issue. Is the mentality of “us and them” still
very prevalent amongst some in our community. There are
people like Beverly and her team of wonderful helpers at
the Nuwerus Nasorg doing sterling work amongst the youth
in Nuwerus – but there are also those, it seems, who
have no boundaries or respect for the property of others
and will do anything, even if illegal, to protect ‘their
turf’ from what they perceive to be a threat by the
The Natter will be very interested in your comments and
thoughts on the issue.
On a lighter note ...
I received a few more lovely responses regarding the soapbox
issue relating to the ‘beautification’ of some
of the Napier buildings (Napier Natter 14 Jan 2012) which
I would like to include:
Patrick Seaton says: ”This is what I sommer enjoy
about Claus, things are never just as they appear to be,
there's always an interesting curve ahead and after 27 years
in this lekka little corner of God's Earth, Claus has certainly
earned the right to say how he sees it.
I wuz also a wee bit put out by the January 14 Napier
Natter but then when I looked again my eye caught the headline
... “The Soapbox”. I suppose that’s what
a “soapbox” is all about, although Mark may
just as well have been haranguing the Napier clan from the
turret of an Altay Main Battle Tank.
Yes, Mark, a bit harsh to threaten with ruthless "Orwellianism"
(thanks for prompting the word, Claus), "... and lean
heavily on those people who don’t or won’t bring
their side". What do you mean by “lean heavily”?
It is a term I would expect to hear from the Godfather as
in the late Marlon Brando movie. A reason why many came
to Napier was to shed the trappings of the larger centres.
I recall upon arriving in Napier I met Claus within the
first week or so of being here. I mean with a highly regarded
German name akin to Claus von Schirp, how can I possibly
forget? [- Just by the way, from 1813 to 1819 Franz Arnold
Alexander Freiherr von dem Bottlenberg gen. von Schirp,
was mayor of Kettwig the southernmost borough of the city
of Essen in western Germany.- with acknowledgement to Wikipedia]
Claus could never remember my name and when I asked him
why, he said: “I only remember the names of newcomers
to Napier once they have been here longer than three months,
many never even last that long!”
So, Mark, while I appreciate your take and I hear where
you are coming from, I side with Claus and like John Cleese
immortalized with these words in Fawlty Towers, “…DON’T
even mention the War!
From Dietrich Riek
Ave Marcus, Our nattering gains momentum. Felicitations.
Herr von Schirp deserves credit for honouring the essence
and spirit of Napier.
We have been around for some 17 years and share many of
his experiences, not least his mad and magnificent fires
and of course the great and equally nutty quiz evenings
at Ilse's Barn. They, and many other occasions, were particularly
essential and significant in that they served splendidly
to wipe out real and imagined barriers between many, if
not all classical subsets of our little community. It is
no small feat to get Afrikaaners to laugh with Engelse and
welcome inkomers such as French, Belgians, Scots, Greeks,
Hebrews, Indians and Germans, even. I mean, we have some
institutions here such as Oom Ben, Oom Attie (may he rest
in peace), Tante Marlene, Tante Lettie, Ove Scheuble, Koos
Perd and his clan, the list goes on. Yes Claus, we honour
It is lekker that we can be who we are and do our thing,
regardless whether it works or not. Also, everybody here
can find some other one to talk to.
The rest is, as always, detail and sometimes the devil does
get into it. Incidentally, Ulli's blue Kombi has been dubbed
And Claus, to the KGB we will say "Nasdarowje tovaritch";
the Russians, after all, used to be Vikings!
Salutations, Shalom, Salaam.....
... and finally, from Ulrich Riek
Greetings all. Firstly i would like to thank all participating
twitters, bøokfaces, 21st century bloggers, skinderbekke,
our ancestors from Europe and the obviously bored individuals
who find my car the subject to vent archaic blabberings.
Secondly, my car's name is Ruby,
she is paid for, forgiving and very proud to take me from
A to B. With regards to promoting new businesses, adapting
to uitlanders, accepting binnelanders, aanhangers and whoever
is streaming into Napier by their thousands, all Napariens
should be very grateful for the slow pace the town is evolving
compared to the goldrush attitude a town like Greyton experienced
some 25 years ago, which today is a place where people don’t
even know who their neigbours are. Finally, i would like
to thank all concerned cyber writers for the almost entertaining
subject matter, which at least proves people still have
a relatively good sense of humour! ps. If anybody has an
extra vehicle lying around, i will gladly accept the offer.
Kind regards , Ulrich, the owner of the OLDEST car in Napier.
Thank you all respondents for helping to make the Napier Natter
an interesting read!!
David from Bootup has this very important tip
Be aware. There is a scam that has been on-going where someone 'from Microsoft support' calls you to tell you that they need to check the PC to make sure it doesn't have a virus. This is a complete hoax and simply a way to install a key logger so they can get your personal info.
Neither Microsoft, nor any other major computer company, will EVER contact one over issues like this.
Change is a good as a holiday:
You might have noticed when driving past Riek Creative, that they are closed. No, they are not a victim of the economy, or taking an extended holiday, they are renovating. You are invited to join them for a glass of Champagne, a fresh new look, stunning snacks and live piano music performed by professional musician Soretha Vorster on Sunday 12 February at 18h00. Exciting new artists as well as old favourites will make up this new look for 2012. Not only are they celebrating a new look but also a very successful first year in Napier.
Ellies Wall Mounted TV Arm (for TV's up to 54cm)
Never been used and still in its box, with tilt and double swivel action. Black
R200. Please call Olwyn on 082 875 6473 / 028 423 3049
House to rent.
Cnr Herzog street. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, Large garden.
Contact Ilze on 028 423 3440
'My Skat" closed for February.
Due to Monique being in hospital for a foot operation, My Skat will be closed during the month of February.
St Patrick's in Napier
The Fox will be hosting their annual "St Partick's Day" party on the 17 March 2012. This is to be held at the Napier Bowling Club. Tickets cost R100 per head and includes a 3-course Irish meal and music by the "Irish" group "Splynta" Get a free Guinness glass with your first pint purchased. Booking absolutely essential as NO tickets will be available at the door on the night. Info: 028 423 3293
If anyone is interested in booking a stall for the upcoming Patatfees, please contact Sanet Stemmet on 082 896 2225 to get your application form or futher info.
Cost - R150.00 per stall (an area of 3 m x 3m will be allocated), and is payable before or on 10 June 2012. Power points are available at an additional cost of R50.00.
The origin of Valentine's Day
The romantic festival of Valentine's Day is said to have originated in pagan times in Rome when people celebrated annual fertility festival called Feast of Lupercalia in mid-February. A unique custom of the festival was the mating of young boys and girls for a year through a lottery system. Quite often the couple would fall in love and marry.
Strongly associated with the festival of Valentine's Day are the legends of three or more Saint Valentine of Rome. One of the most popular legends says, Valentine or Valentinus lived in Rome when the country was under the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It is said that Claudius engaged Rome in several unpopular and bloody campaigns. To maintain a strong army, Claudius continuously needed to recruit soldiers. But to his disappointment Claudius found that most men were unwilling to join army because of their strong attachment with their wives and their families. To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. A romantic at heart priest, Valentine, secretly arranged marriages of young boys and girls and defied this unjustified and callous order of Claudius. When the Emperor discovered this defiance, he put Valentine behind bars and he was finally executed on February 14, about 270 AD. For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.
By Middle Ages, Saint Valentine became the patron saint of love and lovers in England and France. In 498 AD, when Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to pagan celebration of Feast of Lupercalia, he declared that 14th February be celebrated as St Valentine's Day.
Some scholars however, say, romance was linked with Valentine's Day because of the popular belief in England and France during the Middle Ages that birds began to start looking for their mate from 14th February.
This day in history (14 February)
1849 - In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.
1894 - Venus is both a morning star & evening star
1895 - Oscar Wilde's "Importance of Being Earnest," opens in London
1896 - South Africa all out for 30 v England - their lowest ever
1900 - In South Africa, British Gen. Roberts invaded Orange Free State with 20,000 troops
1918 - The motion picture "Tarzan of the Apes" was released
1929 - St Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, 7 gangsters killed
1932 - South Africa all out for 36 in 1st innings v Australia (Ironmonger 5-6)
1967 - Aretha Franklin records "Respect"
1989 - Khomeini orders Moslems to murder "Satanic Verses" novelist Rushdie
1989 - The first satellite of the Global Positioning System (GPS) was placed into orbit around Earth
2005 - Lebanon's former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, is assassinated, prompting the country to fall into chaos
2011 - The 2011 Bahraini uprising commenced.
- "Forget love, I'd rather fall in chocolate."
- Source Unknown
- "All you need is love. But a little chocolate
now and then doesn't hurt"
- Charles M. Schulz
- "There is no love sincerer than the love of
- George Bernard Shaw