Monday, June 23, 2008

Mass Action

There were about ten thousand people who came to protest over a number of matters. Some were unhappy with the changing street names while others believed that a new history book was not fair to one of their leaders. Carrying traditional weapons they were a formidable force. In their exitement and mad waving of sticks and whips I managed to receive a few sharp reminders to keep clear of their path. A number of windows in shop fronts were smashed en route to the city hall but by and large little damage was done considering the numbers. On arrival at Durbans City Hall they handed over a memorandium to the deputy mayor stating their grievences.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Life

It's early in the morning and doctors at St Agustines hospital in Durban are busy with a unique operation in South Africa... Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Rib surgery may be a mouthful but the results are remarkable.

Seven year old Londiwe Dlangamandla was the first to go under the knife. The titanium "ribs" will be adjusted every six months with a minor op and eventualy the patient will be able to walk upright. The "ribs" cost R24 000 each. The op took two hours and that morning three young patients were fitted out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fishy Tales

Each year this time for some unknown reason millions of little fish otherwise known as sardines make their way over a thousand kilometers up South Africa's east coast. Those that survive the sharks, dolphins and gannets have another hurdle to cross... Humans are waiting eagerly for them on the beaches of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Ski boats encircle them and drag them onto the beach in huge nets. Here other humans lose all control and grab as many as they can spilling from the licenced seine nets. Most are used for bait to catch more of our dwindling marine reserves with the rest devoured. Again and again the boats launch until the hapless fish are no more. They are carried away in crates still struggling to free themselves but to no avail. Ironically its called "The Greatest Shoal on Earth" Even this patroling dusky shark was caught by a game fishermen who posed for the camera then released the thrashing animal to cheers from the crowd.
Enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dog Day

Every dog has its day and today it was the turn of the mutts of Mafakathini a rural township near Howick in the Kwa Zulu- Natal Midlands. It was billed as dog show with a difference with all comers catered for.
The freezing cold and wet conditions were not going to deter over one hundred dogs and their owners from taking part in the fourth Hills Township dog show. From compact sporty types to sleek aristocrats they were all welcomed. Each dog was given a new lead and collar before undergoing a through examintaion by a team of vets. Rabies inoculations, deworming, pampering and powdering became the order of the day. The local schools classrooms were turned into lecture rooms for the bemused dogs and their keen owners.The show aims to encourage a sence of pride and appreciation of dogs and help reduce neglect, ignorance and cruelty.

SPCA officials confirmed that there has been a signigicant improvement in the welfare of animals where previous dog shows and clinics have been held in rural areas.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Needs a little TLC

This is Addington Primary school. It is located on Durban's famous Golden Mile. This week the kids marched from the Point Police station to the school to highlight crime and child abuse. There are about three hundred foreign kids at the school. Some stayed home during the recent zenophobic attacks. Chatting to the principle I discovered that their main problems are the neglect of the school buildings. Roofs leak, ceilings have collapsed and lice from birds nesting in the ceiling fall on the learners. They need to find 2 million to repair the roof. Most parents cannot afford the meagre school fees. In the background are new luxuary apartments with starting prices of 2 million. Alongside is the multi million rand uShaka theme park. The adjoining Point development is costing in excess of 1 billion rands. Next door kids continue to scratch the lice from their bodies. The Department of Education says the school should be thankful they have windows. (Update Oct 2008. Roof has been repaired)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Justice (Part One)

Jessica Foord a young girl from Hillcrest was gang raped by five men a few months ago. (See "Sad Day" blog) Yesterday she braved the TV cameras and told the world how she felt after the first conviction and sentencing. "I DON'T THINK JUSTICE CAN EVER BE SERVED, BUT I THINK THE SENTENCE HE GOT WAS OK, COULD HAVE BEEN LIFE PLUS FOREVER."

The judge said the accused showed no remorse for his action, but confessed only to save his own skin.The teenager was sentenced to ten years on the count of robbery, and 17 years for rape. The sentences will run concurrently. Eight years will be served at a juvenile rehabilitation centre.The judge commended Jessicca Ford for her bravery and courage.Foord says the sentence will give hope to other women, not to keep quiet about rape. The other four accused are due to appear at the Durban High Court later this Month.