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The Biltongmakers.Com Newsletter
October 2005

You are receiving this newsletter because you have previously placed an order with Biltongmakers or made an enquiry about Biltong, Boerewors or Potjie Pots or someone has submitted your name to us thinking that you might be interested.
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In this Newsletter

What did you drag across the world?

From the editor

Keerbergen
Belgium
October 2005

The Hoeilaart Festival Venue It has been a busy two months since our last issue.
The general idea was for us to take a break but, apart from spending a couple of days in Paris, it was work as usual.
Summer was still here and there were quite a couple of functions to take care of. Apart from a number of lambs on the spit we had to keep up with the demand for Boerewors and even had a stand at the Hoeilaart Wine Festival. (See the picture on the right)

One of the lambs on the spit was for the Belgian Cricket Association who celebrated the 100 year aniversary of the internationals between Holland and Belgium.

Perhaps we'll get a chance to go away for a week or so a bit later when things are not so hectic.

Paris was lovely as usual and, together with Penny and Skye (June's friend and her daughter from South Africa) we did lots of things.

For me the most amazing was our visit to the Moulin Rouge. I always wanted to see the show there and this time we did! The Moulin Rouge in Paris

The only damper on the evening was our taxi driver.

Once we were ready to go we called a taxi to take us from the hotel to the Moulin Rouge. Now I must say that everybody always talks bad about the Paris taxi drivers. How dangerously reckless they are etc. etc. But, over the years June and I have taken many taxis in Paris and have always found them great!
Except.... this time.
This French "lady" arrived in a "clapped out" car and proceeded to attack the traffic with a vengeance. She was determined to disobey every single traffic rule and causing a couple of heart attacks on the way including ours (almost!).

It was the most grueling journey I have ever had in a car. Crossing over three lanes in peak hour traffic at almost full speed was nothing for this "lady". She seldom kept her eyes on the road and once she knew that we were going to the Moulin Rouge started to sing the "Can-Can" at the top of her voice but sadly much like someone who had "lost" it a bit.

Now you must know that June does not like me driving in Paris so once we arrived at the hotel we parked the car and took taxis everywhere.

I bet she wished that I had driven that evening!!

We did arrive eventually, a bit shaken but otherwise in good spirit. The food was great and the champagne even better but the show topped it all. Complete with horses on the stage and girls playing with pythons in a swimming pool. The dancers with their coloured feathers (as you see them on the pictures) were almost as in a fairy tale.

Certainly worth going to!!

Sadly there was no time to go to the Catacombs underneath Paris. That we'll have to do some other time.
Before we went to Paris we spent a day (and a night) in Reims in the north of France. Reims, apart from being famous for its beautiful Cathedral, is right in the middle of the province of Champagne.

It's only three hours and a bit from home so quite "do-able" in even a day. The afternoon we arrived we had booked a tour through the cellars of "Pommery". One of the most famous and oldest Champagne cellars in France.
In front of the Pommery gates There were 168 steps down into the cellars.

These cellars are enormous cavities underneath Reims, which were dug out by the Romans who mined there thousands of years ago. Madame de Pommery took these cavities and had them joined by passages in which you will find literary millions of bottles of Champagne!!
Have a read through the main story this month. I found it quite fascinating to hear about the history of Champagne!

Once out of there we drove to the village of Verzenay, just South of Reims. This village is right in the middle of the vineyards and as you drive along you see the markers where they grow the grapes for famous Champagnes such as Moët et Chandon and Dom Perignon.
The entire village consists of people making Champagne. There are a couple of "larger" enterprises but most are small farmers who probably only make anywhere from a couple of hundred bottles to a couple of thousand a year or so.

The actual Champagne area is very small but certainly worth seeing!

For the rest of the time we were at home or helping the children with the new homes they have acquired.

So, the end of the year is drawing to a close and in the Southern parts of the world the summer is on its way. Here we are looking forward to the autumn and the winter.

Long walks through the autumn forests with all the beautiful colours and nice log fires at night with a glass of red wine or a nice cognac!

Till the next time

Take care



Lo




With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person which almost went unnoticed last week.
Larry La Prise, the man who wrote the 'Hokey Kokey' died peacefully at age 93.
The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.
They put his left leg in, and then the trouble started......


Food for thought

Quickly let go!

The energy you devote to being annoyed brings you nothing of value in return. So choose to quickly let go of your need to be annoyed.
The time and energy you put into being offended adds nothing positive to your life. So decide to quickly let go of your need to be offended.
Winning petty arguments will do nothing to enhance your relationships. So find a way to quickly let go of the need to prove that you're right.
There are many things that can hold you back. But they'll hold you back only as long as you continue to hold on to them.
Each day is filled with plenty of valid reasons to be angry, resentful, jealous, frustrated, offended and annoyed. All that negativity can stop you cold if you allow it to take up long-term residence in your life.

So make the choice to quickly let it go. And free yourself to soar above it all.

-- Ralph Marston --


Story of the month

Champagne

Cool!!
Did you realize that throughout the entire world, the only beverage that can rightfully be called "champagne" is made from grapes that are grown on just 30,000 hectares of vineyards, all located in the Champagne region of France?

Every vineyard here is classified, based on a number of criteria, soil quality and sun exposure being the most important.
The very best vineyards score 100%.
The villages that obtain this highest score are admitted into the very exclusive circle of Grand Cru villages.

What's more, only three varieties of grape can be grown in the Champagne region: Pinot Meunier, a black grape with white juice, planted along the Marne Valley , Pinot Noir a black grape with white juice, cultivated on the Reims Mountain, and Chardonnay, a white grape with white juice, grown on the Côte des Blancs.

And nestled in the very heart of the Champagne vineyards, is Pommery, shining by its excellence.
Pommery stands out by its size, with some 741 acres (300 hectares or 10% of the total) - it is the biggest vineyard in the Champagne region - and by its exceptionally high percentage of "Grand Cru" villages, it numbers no fewer than seven : Aÿ, Bouzy, Verzenay, Mailly-en-Champagne and Sillery, which produce Pinot Noir grapes, and Avize and Cramant, which produce grapes of the Chardonnay variety.

If you wake at dawn during the months of September and October in the Champagne region, you may catch a glimpse of the grape harvesters setting to work. The Pommery Vineyard alone mobilizes over 1,000 workers. Armed with pruning shears, they cut each bunch by hand, to preserve the wholeness of the grapes, which thanks to careful tending, day after day, season after season, are at last fully ripe.

The grapes are transported directly to the traditional wine presses located in the Pommery Vineyard. And at last comes the magical moment of transformation, when 4,000 kilos of grapes will be used to produce 2,550 liters of precious grape juice - and not a drop more!
The vineyards at Versenay The restrained richness of champagne wines owes a lot to the cold climate of northern France. Over time the region's wine makers have created their own techniques to overcome the cold winters and short growing seasons.
The fact that the grapes ripen very slowly has its benefit too, as the grapes have time to pick up important flavouring components. But when the grapes are harvested, they are rarely ripe enough to make table wine without the addition of inordinate amounts of sugar. The producers have gotten around this by making a wine low in alcohol and then putting it through a second bottle fermentation to raise the alcohol and add the bubbles. The bubbles in champagne are a natural phenomenon that is today a managed affair. The second fermentation in the bottle causes the bubbles. When the cork is removed, the result is upwardly mobile bubbles of carbon dioxide making their escape.

Three grape varieties are used in Champagne — Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pinot Meunier dominates the vineyards, growing on about 40% of the total acreage It is easier to grow and is less prone to frost damage. This grape makes up the base wine for all but the very finest champagnes and is grown only in Champagne. Pinot Noir is second with about 35%. It is responsible for the depth of fruit and longevity of the wine. Chardonnay accounts for the remaining 25% and adds lightness, elegance and breeding to the blend. The lack color in most champagne is the result of a gentle pressing, so as to extract the juice but not the color of the black grape skins.

Champagne we saw in the Pommery cellars in Reims The chief difference between the various Champagne brands or houses, is in the making of the cuvée, or the blend, as introduced by Dom Pérignon. A house builds a reputation based on the particular style of blend of its nonvintage wines. So each year the wine must be consistent. The large houses store millions of gallons of wine from various vineyards and grapes for blending purposes. It is reasonable to assume that once you find a house style you like, it will be available year after year as long as that house exists.
The theory of producing a great champagne is to blend together the best qualities from each of the best grapes grown in the region. The blending of the still wines before the second fermentation called the assemblage and the wine and sugar that is added after the second fermentation and aging called the dosage, are the two most important steps in the determination of the house style.

In especially good years, some vintage champagne is produced. Some feel that the extra depth in taste is well worth the extra cost of these wines. Eighty percent of the contents of vintage champagne must contain grapes from the declared year. Not all of the grapes from a declared year go into vintage champagne. Twenty percent are held back to be used for blending purposes.



Now here is something I certainly did not know before we visited the Pommery cellars in August and which was explained to us in very broken English by our French guide.

Champagne is bottled in 10 different sizes:

  • Quarter bottle – 18.7 cl or 6.3 fluid ozs
  • Half bottle – 37.5 cl or 12.7 fluid ozs
  • Bottle – 75 cl or 25.4 fluid ozs
  • Magnum (two bottles)– 1.5 litres or 50.8 fluid ozs
  • Jeroboam (four bottles) – 3 litres or 101.6 fluid ozs
  • Rehoboam (six bottles) – 4.5 litres or 147 fluid ozs
  • Methuselah (eight bottles) – 6 litres or 196 fluid ozs
  • Salmanazar (12 bottles) – 9 litres or 304.8 fluid ozs
  • Balthazar (16 bottles) – 12 litres or 406.4 fluid ozs
  • Nebuchadnezzar (20 bottles) – 15 litres / 508 fluid ozs
Only the half-bottle, bottle and magnum are always released in the bottle in which they underwent the second fermentation. For this reason and because it is the largest of the three, the magnum is the preferred size. The three largest sizes are rarely made today.

Lastly something that June would certainly agree with:

"Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it"


What did you drag accross the world?

All those things we took with us....

Did we not want to take everything, thinking that if we got rid of something we might not be able to replace it wherever we went to?
Then, once on "the other side", we either realized how lucky we were to have taken all those "special" things or how stupid it really was.

I for one remember that is was very difficult to part with all the things we had gathered over so many years.

But some of the things .......really!!

I can just think of the SEVEN braais we took! There was our Cadac gas braai (with every conceivable attachment!), our Weber, spitbraai, large cast iron braai, another (smaller) Weber, our gas bottle with the large cast iron top......just to mention some!
All we have used in the end has been perhaps one or two of them. The rest stands in the garage collecting dust!
And those are just some of the many things we could have left behind.

In this part of our newsletter we are inviting you to write in telling us what YOU took with you when you left.
These may be things you really need right now or things that you could have left behind and were really totally unnecessary to have taken along.

We will have a small Competition to see who writes in with the most unusual item that they dragged with them across the world!

We will be running this competition until the end of the year so submit your entries as soon as possible.

The person with the most unusual item (and we will want to see a picture of it!) will get one of Rockey's 5kg Home Biltong Makers!

So, here we go!



This one is from Nico Botha in Australia
We bought a very old antique French bed, in France, then packed it all up moved with it to South Africa, and that with my inheritance furniture is now here in Australia.
I have three braai dromme, a smoker, a 4x4 Camper Trailer,about 20 fishing rods from RSA a few cast nets, enough ander kakkas for camping and even our Venter Trailer the 6 ft Venter Camel here in Australia!
If I have to list all Skippy's kakkas, the newsletter will be just a bit too small to list everything!



From Lorraine and Derek Austin in Brisbane
We emigrated and wondered what to take with us to Brisbane Australia, so we took everything with us, plus two new fridge/freezers.
When we got here, one fridge packed up, so we thought we would make it into a tool cabinet, and it even has a built in lock so when the second fridge packed up just at the end of last year, we did the same with it.
Now in the shed we have two lovely KIC fridges that no longer work but are our two lock up tool cabinets. The neighbour asked us one day why we have a fridge in the shed so we joked with him and told him to keep the beers cold. So that's what happens to lockable fridges from South Africa!



From Paddy Johnson in Australia
Great newsletter !!!
I have been in Aussie for 8 yrs. now and whilst unpacking an old tool box the other day came across this most unusual " BRINGALONG".
Just in case not everybody knows, this "deadly" piece of weaponry is a pair of BIDIZZOS!
They are for castrating young bulls and turning them into oxen.
My partner (Aussie-City girl) thinks that this little operation she wants to perform comes a little too late. I have twin sons (22 year olds).
They came for the ride as we stopped farming in South Africa 33 yrs ago. I am 50 now and my Dad had these before I was born. I guess they are just part of the family.



From Kerry Booysen-Finch in Holland
The strangest thing I "HAD TO" bring with when we left SA in 1999 (and I will be surprised if anyone has anything stranger) is approximately 1 kg of dried rose petals which came from the garden of the first home we ever owned.
I had them in a bowl on the coffee table in SA for 6 years before leaving and now they proudly (and a little faded) sit in the same bowl on a different coffee table in The Netherlands (and NO I am not smoking some good stuff)!!
Let's see if anyone can beat that!!



From Tanja Köhn in Dushanbe, Tajikistan
As for the strangest item that we took: Bruce is absolutely boat mad and had started building boats in Cape Town. He always collected bits and bobs for boats for future use, so in our driveway in Hout Bay we had this massive 7 m square wooden mast lying around.
He promised me to get rid of it before the movers would arrive, but when they stood in the door and he looked at the container, he decided to take it along, because it fitted in!
I was not amused, and I am still not - it is now lying around in our driveway of the little oriental townhouse we are renting here in Dushanbe!
Tajikistan is an inland country with no sailing boats in a 500 km radius! - I already considered cutting it up and using it as braai wood... Maybe we should put it up as a flagpole though and fly the South African flag high above the roofs of Dushanbe!



From John and Mel Berry from Loxahatchee, Florida, USA
We first moved from Johannesburg to Virginia 3 years ago before moving down to Florida at the beginning of this year.
We have some items that have made it all the way to Loxahatchee with us. We used to go off-road in our 4x4 in SA, so guess what came with us?
The hi-rise jack!
I'm not quite sure what John plans to do with it and it lives with our gardening tools, our gun safe, all our "Get Away" magazines and of course our Staffie dog Angel.



Come on all you SAers out there let's see some more entries?




Our Home Biltong Makers

Some recent comments

First attempts not bad. Simple option of marinating the meat in Balsamic vinegar and the spice that you provided with the Biltong Maker. Next attempt will be a little more creative.
First attempt was a mad rush to get biltong made asap. Next task is to find a cheaper butcher.
Thanks very much, you have made a happy family even happier.

Regards
Nic Hobbs
Dubai, United Arab Emirates



I purchased a Home Biltong Maker in 2000 and have used it with great success about 25 times a year since then. All our friends and family know where the biltong is kept in the fridge and help themselves! Even our USA born and bred children love it!
I have also received impeccable service on the one small item that needed to be replaced after all that use.

Roger Cole
Boca Raton, Florida, USA



I finally recieved my "Biltong Maker" and I can tell you this the wait was definitely worth it. We made our first batch of biltong and what a surprise ...!!
I love biltong so much it's the best buy I made in years!
We are already making the 2nd batch in the same week (my local French butcher is very happy)

Kind regards
Maryke Patouillard
Marolles en Brie, France



I just love this website and the monthly newsletter. I look so forward to every new month and all what is has to offer especially the stories. And it is lovely to read what other people have been through, what they left behind and how we all long for the South African way of eating and living.
Thanks for such a great way to take the homesickness away from us all, especially us "soutpiels", keep it up guys.
We always say we live in Australia, but our hearts are still in South Africa, we miss the family, parents and friends, but not the country as such.
This website puts back what we all lost. We will continue to recommend this website to our friends here who feel lost.

Lorraine Austin
Runcorn, Queensland, Australia

You too could be making your own Biltong in a very short space of time.
Have a look at what they are all about and how easy it is!!




You can have a look at the Biltong Buddy
here.
Details on Rockey's machine can be found by clicking on this link.



This month's special offer

Rockey's 5kg Home Biltong maker at a give-away price!

During October you will be able to get Rockey's 5kg Home Biltong Maker at only R 695.00.
That is almost R 200.00 below the normal retail price!
Make use of this opportunity because we expect a price increase from the factory before the end of the year.
As an added bonus we will give you a free packet of our famous Plaas Boerewors Spice with every order placed for one of our Home Biltong Makers.

Click
here to go to our on-line shop.



It was brought to our notice that a little gremlin crept into our computer and was charging shipping costs for the Nice 'n Spicy spices we had on special last month.
We got rid of the gremlin.
Because of this problem last month we will repeat the special pricing for the Nice 'n Spicy spices and recipes mentioned below.

Each packet will cost only R 25.00 and that includes the mailing of it!

The only spices available at the special price are:

Name of Spice 
Quantity
Biriyani 
14
Bobotie 
20
Saucy Seafood Curry
31
Tandoori Chicken
11
Vindaloo
15
Venison Potjie
22
Roasted Vegetable Curry 
21
Spiced Lamb Potjie 
25
Chilli-con-Carne 
43
Balti Chicken Curry 
25
Nasi Goreng 
44

But, be quick! They will be gone very quickly and, once finished, the system will show a "No stock available" notice and the price will revert back to normal once new stock arrives.
Click here to have a look at the different spices and what they mean.


Tip of the month

What vinegar to use?

A lot of people cannot get the brown vinegar recommended for making Biltong.
Here is a tip from one of our readers how he solved the problem:



Although we do get brown vinegar in the United Arab Emirates I have sometimes used the following substitution and it gives the biltong a great flavour.
I use about 75% of the quantity required of brown vinegar made up of
1/3 balsamic vinegar
2/3 white vinegar

Best Regards

Martin Le Roux
Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Questions and Answers

Here is our regular section on the many questions we receive from our readers all over the world.
If we have not given an answer and you can help these people could you please mail them?
(Please copy us in on your mails @
info@biltongmakers.com
so we can help other people who might have the same questions in the future)



QUESTION

I very excitedly bought the 5kg machine a couple of months ago but have been very disappointed with the results of my 2 batches so far as I have been plagued with mould. The first batch I managed to nurture through the last few days by cleaning off the mould with vinegar every morning and night. The second batch I threw away as I got quite sick and did not have the energy to go through this cleaning process again!

I followed all your instructions meticulously and am therefore very hesitant to try another batch as I do not know how to prevent it from happening again.

I must explain that I live in the coastal village of Kommetjie in Cape Town where we get winter rainfall, fog and mist and I am convinced the biltong maker can not cope with the damp conditions. My suspicions are supported by the length of time (10 days) the first batch took to dry. I must add I prefer my biltong moist inside so its not that I was waiting for it to dry all the way through!

It has therefore been a very trying and expensive experience so far. Do you have any suggestions, is there something I can do to reduce the drying time - perhaps a hotter bulb, what about installing a small fan to improve the air circulation, must I store the machine away for winter and only use it in summer?

Regards
Gary Godley
Kommetjie, Cape Town, South Africa
ggodley@oldmutual.com



QUESTION

I have just started my first batch of biltong and have a question I hope you can help me with.
When marinading the meat can it be left in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours or does it have to be at room temperature?
I know it might be the wrong time of the year in the UK to start making Biltong but keeping the flies away, especially fruit flies, is very difficult during the marinading process so I thought why not marinade in the fridge and eliminate the fly problem during that process.
So my question basically is; can the the meat be left to marinade in the fridge and will it alter the taste?

Many thanks
Mike Hawkins
England
Spliffed333@aol.com



QUESTION

I want to start a business making droëwors for dogs. This is something I have never done before.
Normal droëwors is quite spicy and rich.
Is there another recipe or a preservative you can suggest that will make it less spicy?
I would like to keep it as bland as possible.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards
Nadia McCracken
New Zealand
nmccracken@tubepack.co.nz



QUESTION

My name is Johan and I have been living in New Zealand for four years now. I made my own Biltong Drying Cabinet. It is 1.8 meters high, 560 wide and 600 deep. It has an extraction fan at the top and a 75 Watt globe at the bottom.
For some reason my biltong takes very long to dry, or when it is very dry outside it is still too wet inside. I made a special little cover to fit over the globe to prevent the drippings to pop the globe.
Do you have any advice for me?
Maybe I am making my mix wrong or maybe the light is too weak. I don't know what the desired temperature inside the cabinet must be.
I remember in South Africa the biltong just hung in the garage with a fan blowing on it and we could eat biltong after about 5 to 8 days. Over here the biltong is still wet after 10 days but gets too hard outside to dry any further.
Would appreciate some help.

Cheers
Johan Botha
New Zealand
johanbotha@xtra.co.nz


(Please email a copy of your replies to the editor at info@biltongmakers.com)


Our Forum and Bulletin Board

An excellent way to find old friends and keep in touch!

Why is this so exciting?

Here are a couple of reasons:
  • You can now put your questions to an audience of over 18000 people who receive this newsletter every month. Add to that the number of additional people who read it and you could reach very close to 30000 people!
  • How about trying to contact somebody? Perhaps a long lost friend or someone who has changed email address?
  • Perhaps you are looking for a Cadac gas connection like Marian Cooke, our reader from Canada.
  • Or you have something you might want to sell!
  • And then the incredible opportunity to be able to discuss matters of importance to you with any of our readers.
The possibilities are endless!!


GOOD LUCK!!


Recipe corner

Monkey Gland Steak

In reply to the request by Yvonne last month for a recipe for Monkey Gland Sauce we received the following from Lois Sinclair in Ireland. Lois writes: This is purely my own concoction through trial and error, so you have only me to blame if it tastes kakkas, but my family have always eaten this with hums of enjoyment.

For 4 steaks (sirloin, striploin, rib, whatever you fancy)

Ingredients
  • 2 Medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 Green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 Red pepper, diced
  • 1 Small red chilli, deseeded and chopped (substitute with chilli powder or cayenne pepper if preferred)
  • Sliced button mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Apricot jam
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tablespoon Tomato ketchup
Method
  • Fry onions in a mixture of olive oil and butter until golden brown
  • Add the garlic, chilli and peppers (and the mushrooms if using them) and fry on a gentle heat for a further 5-10 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients and bring to the boil
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes and leave on the heat until steaks are ready.
  • Thickness can be adjusted by adding gravy powder if too watery or water if too thick
Kind regards,

Lois Sinclair
Ireland



Around the World

Bits and Bobs from people around the world

This from Riverman in Zimbabwe

Supreme Sacrifice

Let me tell you a tale .......
My mate and I went shooting and fishing on a friends game ranch. We had a great time and the manager (lets call him Koos) was most helpful.
One thing that kept me drooling was the strings of tong he had in the Lapa outside. Great amounts and according to Koos all types such as Zebra, Eland, Kudu and the like. He had them all on separate strands of wire so he could differentiate, but no colour coded hooks or such.

During our trip I tried some of each and extolled the various finer points and critisisms to which he replied; "Ja Ja" in an offhand manner.
I tried to get him interested in the many differences.

When we left he bundled up great armfuls of each and plonked them all in plastic crates (all totally mixed) with the request for us to deliver them to the ranch owners home in Harare. His parting quip was; "Ja man make sure Wendy gets de tong quick.... she really loves de tong!"

Isn't ignorance bliss?
This buffoon really couldn't have cared less about the little things that count like knowing which tong was which.
His attitude was one of; meat is meat and man must eat.
I really didn't bother to try and educate him but shook my head and drove off into the sunset. What bugs me to this day though is why he had them all neatly separated out on the drying strings in the first place?

Keep well,
Riverman
Harare, Zimbabwe
satmark@zol.co.zw



This mail was received from Hans Busscher in South Africa

I would like to pose a question!

I see adverts for Biltong Makers, South African recipes, talk of braais and all sorts of things South African in your newsletter!

Surely when you move to another country you adopt the customs and foodstuffs of that country? You can't keep hankering after Mrs Ball's Chutney, Castle Lager and Potjiekos forever? ;-)

My family and I came here (to South Africa) from the Netherlands in the late 1930's and we embraced this great land with open arms. We adored its food and customs and have done so ever since.
Sort of "When in Rome do as the ...........etc"!

It must have been difficult for many South Africans to leave this wonderful land, so perhaps a bit of nostalgia is to be allowed!

Regards to all South Africans where ever they may be.
"Hou die blink kant bo"!
Hans Busscher



The following was submitted by Theo Truter from Johannesburg

No amount of money will turn Zim around
Reesha Chibba and Sapa Johannesburg, South Africa

"I still hear the sounds of people being beaten in prison. I will never forget it. It's terrible" said opposition MP Roy Bennett.
He was addressing the Johannesburg Press Club on Thursday afternoon en route home from a two-month visit to Britain where he spent time recovering from eight months in Zimbabwean prisons.

Bennett, a member of the Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was in 2004 sentenced to a year's imprisonment by the country's Parliament for pushing Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa to the floor, after the minister accused Bennett's ancestors of being thieves.

He told the Mail & Guardian Online on Thursday that the "worst part of being in prison was hearing the screams of people being beaten in prison. You hear kids screaming, but this was a different sound."
Two of his security guards were murdered during the MDC's national two-day strike against worsening social conditions in Zimbabwe's in 2003, and his farm workers, including women and children, were assaulted by army troops when his farm was raided, in the same year.

Speaking at the Johannesburg Press Club, an emotional Bennett gave a detailed account of his experiences in jail and what he witnessed.
"I witnessed on a daily basis the beatings of prisoners" he said.

Referring to the prisoners, he said: "When are they going to take matters into their own hands? Their integrity has been broken. It is very difficult to stand up as people and fight it when there is no assistance.
"The people I met in prison represent a microcosm of the rest of the country, and they deserve a fair chance. Their average age was 25 years, and all that they wanted one day was a job."

Most were imprisoned in the first place because petty theft was their only means of survival.

I witnessed people getting beaten. They were taken into a cell, told to lie down on their stomachs and had the bottom of their feet beaten.
The beatings happened regularly. Prisoners were ordered "to strip naked and do star jumps".

He said he avoided the beatings by telling guards, "If you want to beat me, then you beat me where I am standing," and refusing to go into the cell where the beatings took place.

"I know my rights. I have access to legal representatives. I have access to you," said Bennett, pointing to those attending the press club gathering.

"I've reported the loss of my property and I've reported what happened to me and my wife," he added. "Those people have access to nobody. Ninety percent of prisoners in there don't have visits. A visit means the world to a prisoner."
Food and sexual favours  The food in Zimbabwean prisons is rationed. In the morning, he said, a prisoner only gets a cup of porridge.
"If you're lucky, you will get beans, which is weevil infected," said Bennett. Not often would there be meat. "Sometimes you would go three months without meat. Prison food is absolutely terrible."
In prison it is a privilege to work in the kitchens. Kitchen workers are in a position to steal food and bribe other prisoners, or make deals with the wardens. "Because of the poverty in Zimbabwe, they are plundering the prison's food. Prisoners don't get what they are supposed to get."
Prisoners agree to "sexual favours" in exchange for food, soap and cigarettes, "to survive and stay healthy".

When he was transferred to the Chikurubi farm prison without notice, Bennett witnessed the treatment of guards "by their own government. It was absolutely brutal."
Guards who fell asleep were doused with water and "forced to roll on the floor, carry logs and roll tractor tyres in front of other guards".

Zimbabweans live in fear of victimisation for having anything to do with opposition politics.

"The whole system is communist and dehumanising. The whole thing is political. The police are there on a political basis" he said. "Whatever the prisoners are suffering, the guards are going through the same oppression. All they want is something, anything. They will do anything to make a life for themselves."

Bennett became emotional when he spoke of his wife and said that she was his "big hero" through his ordeal.
"Without her, I would never have survived."
He began to cry when he said that his ordeal has affected his whole family. He has lost touch with his son.
"We have all suffered," he said tearfully.
How it all began Bennett said his story "goes way back". He had been privileged in every way and "was riding around in the best of cars", but around him he saw poverty. "It's very difficult to explain all the problems in Zimbabwe," said Bennett.
Comparing President Robert Mugabe now to what he was in the past, "there's absolutely no comparison", he said. When he was younger, he had "wonderful hopes" for Mugabe, but now "the world sees Mugabe as the person who slapped the white man in the face".

"Zimbabwe is an incredibly friendly country. The people are friendly. Now they are destitute and have no hope. Back then, everybody was able to make a living and move around."
There is only fear and hopelessness now, he said.

When asked at the press club gathering whether he expects trouble when he returns to Zimbabwe on Monday, Bennett said: "We'll face those problems when we meet them."
One of his homes was visited on Tuesday by the police, who are always looking for his wife and himself, he said.
"We always check that we not being followed. We've been searched and harassed on a daily basis."
What about the South African loan? Bennett told the press club the government in Zimbabwe "has reduced a thriving economy to an absolute basket case".
The South African government is willing to loan Zimbabwe money to prevent its possible expulsion from the International Monetary Fund. 
Regarding the loan agreement, Bennett feels "no amount of money will turn that situation around. I don't see how the loan is going to stop the suffering."
"If the money was to assist people who are suffering, it would be very welcome. Personally, I think that by propping up the regime you are subjecting people to longer poverty and suffering."

If the money does not go to help the people, "you might as well put the money in a pile and burn it".

"South Africa has huge problems on their doorstep that are about to unfold. I will never understand the stand that President [Thabo] Mbeki and the African National Congress have taken against Zimbabwe."

South Africa will experience huge problems as a result of Zimbabwe's meltdown, said Bennett.

"They could have done something about the situation five years ago, but now it's too late. There will be massive starvation in Zimbabwe, with people leaving to try to find somewhere to eat, live and survive."

He said about 1 500 people a day are leaving the country, mostly headed for South Africa.

Bennett said he is out of the loop concerning the MDC's strategies due to his recent absence. He, however, proposes that the MDC should carry out a plan of passive resistance.

"But my personal view is that the MDC must stop buying into Mugabe's agenda and start calling the shots.

"We need not attend Parliament, nor [ruling party] Zanu-PF functions. We do not need to legitimise the government."



This came in from Carole James from Worthing, England

Happy in Zim, even though .........

  • A Vienna sausage costs more that a three bedroom house cost 25 years ago
  • Fuel has increased by 59000% in the last 18 months
  • If you want fuel you have to buy foreign currency on the black market (illegal) drive 120 kms, smuggle your cash through an international border, and fill a container. On return you have to pay duty in Zim $ on the fuel you have purchased but you are not allowed to take out sufficient Zim $ to pay the duty anyway
  • In August you are advised of the new minimum wages for July
  • Kariba Bream now costs $1,200,000.00 (US$ 46.15) per kg which is double the price of imported Hake
  • Fees in Government schools are increased by 1000% retrospective for 6 months, whilst private schools are restricted from increasing their fees at all
  • Colgate toothpaste in supermarkets is kept locked in a glass display cabinet otherwise it will be stolen
  • Reserve Bank officials enforce laws on illegal currency deals, yet the Bank uses illegally obtained currency to pay satellite television subscriptions
  • New Zealand butter is half the price of Zimbabwe butter
  • Water rationing is introduced four months after the end of the rains when the dams are already almost empty
  • A $10 note is still in circulation and is worth 0,04 (4/100 or 1/25th) of one US cent
  • A $10 note costs over $3000 to print
  • Toilet paper costs more than $10 a sheet - so it's cheaper to use the notes
  • Banks charge 300% interest on overdraft but pay 0,001% interest on current account balances
  • It is cheaper to hand deliver mail than to use the postal system
  • Government knocks down houses when there is a housing shortage
  • It can take up to a year to renew a firearms licence which is only valid for three years
  • A replacement drivers' licence can take up to three years
  • Electricity Supply Commission is unable to send out monthly accounts, so estimates the usage - a previous average usage of $250,000.00 p.m. is estimated at $24 million
  • A monthly government pension of $135.00 will buy one small sip of Coke. But this is not an issue because you can't buy cokes anyway. Pensioners living outside our borders would receive half one US cent per month
  • An ordinary washer costs 20 to 30 dollars. If you are lucky enough to find a coin drill a hole in it! Our largest coin is $ 5.00 If you can find a 1 cent coin you can really "coin" it. It is even made of copper.


Ed's comment:
I used the currency converter on the biltongmakers.com web site and had a look what the exchange rate was between the US$ and the Zim$. The result was staggering; US$ 1.00 = Zim$ 26002.00!!
or
Zim$ 10.00 = US$ 0.00039

A bit frightening or what?



Lastly this one from Nico in Australia

Zimbabwe doctor

An Israeli doctor says: "Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him looking for work in six weeks."

A British doctor says: "That is nothing, we can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks.

A Canadian doctor says: "In my country, medicine is so advanced that we can take half a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have them both looking for work in two weeks."

A Zimbabwean doctor, not to be outdone, says: "You guys are way behind, we just took a man with no brain - made him President, and now the whole country is looking for work.

(Looking at all the entries this has really been "Zim month!!" -Ed)



Something to smile about

Justice!

We received this from John Richardson in Johannesburg. Take time to read this and please don't mind some of the language!
John writes; Please read this. It is brilliantly written and I think this guy should be knighted, whoever he is!!!
More drivers need to fight the scourge of the lawless taxi drivers.
The author deserves an award for this!
His name calling talent is truly inspiring and we have all been a party to the experience ............



This morning, yours truly, decided to sneak in a pinch of top-secret and highly professional canoe training at Emmerentia dam, before the first farts of the sparrows could escape their imprisoning sphincters, and even before the glories-of-mornings of most non-gay South African men could rise to view the possible prospects of "before work" swims.

Yep, I was up and onto that little patch of water before sunrise, tearing around it at record-breaking pace, sneaking in a wee bit of pre-Duzi training in order to wrestle the crown away from the well slow and soft Martin Dreyer (present Duzi champion, for those of you not in the intellectual canoe mix) next time around.
Anyway, the details of my incredible canoe talent are not up for discussion here, but rather what happened on my drive home after the session, in rush hour traffic and, in particular, on Jan Smuts Avenue near to the Old Parktonian sports club around 8am.

I was happily chilling in my car, cruising along at about 60kph, in pretty much bumper-to-bumper traffic, with nobody going anywhere any faster, it was simply not an option.
Well, not an option for anyone with a brain, with an ounce of logic within their crania, with a drop of sense inside the membranes of their cerebral hemispheres. You'd think that a creature without a brain would equate to a fly or less, a category that includes mosquitoes, stones, anvils and......taxi drivers.

Yep,enter Sipho "I'm a d_ckhead without a brain cell" Ndlovo, driver of a Toyota Hi-Ace with 4 wheels, 1 brake pad, no lights, half a steering wheel, about 30 people inside and 3 masking-taped windows, yep, standard issue for a South African taxi driver.

He had more than likely participated in the demonstration march last month with hundreds of other taxi driver idiots protesting about having had their 'vehicles' impounded for not being roadworthy. The rocket-scientists couldn't understand what wasn't roadworthy about a taxi with a bobejaan spanner for a steering wheel, or one without brakes (they reckon a handbrake is just as good as the foot brake pedal). Anyway, my mate Sipho decided things weren't flowing fast enough for him so started weaving in and out of the traffic, arm hanging out of his window like a baboon's tail hanging from its ring piece.

I heard this aeronautical engineer-like taxi driver coming from about 5 cars back, because everyone was hooting and slamming on brakes to avoid the accident that he was trying his damnest to cause. After he narrowly missed the back of my canoe as he swerved in behind me I made a stubborn little vow that he definetily wouldn't be cutting in front of me like that, and so began the fun and games.

The bum-wart first tried the standard tactic of intimidation, just gradually cutting me off, in the typical "you'd better slow down and let me in, or I'll crash into you" method. Well, I used the typical "F_ck you faeces-brain" tactic, with one hand on the hooter, the other pointing straight at him, with my foot firmly on the accelerator, until he backed down like Mike Catt had done in 1995 when Jonah Lomu ran straight over him.

This had a snowball effect, which had me chuckling the whole way back to my humble abode.
Syphilis-face then decided to put all his well acquired driving skill to the test and adopted the smartest technique of them all, the "Eish, I weel ovah-take on the wrong side" method, one that sadly has caused numerous accidents in the past, including the untimely death of one of our awesome mates, Mike Short, a year ago.

This made old Maccatini madder than a spitting cobra with a red hot cactus lodged up its rectum. No skin off the f_cking taxi drivers nose, he just accelerated more, and tried to cut in front of the double-cab in front of me, this after he had hooted at me and showed me a middle finger accompanied with a few swearwords, something that made me want to beat him harder than Campbell hit the gay boy who stabbed him repeatedly with a pen all those years ago!

Well, the fella in front of me had obviously also been observing the proceedings, and likewise refused to let Sipho Dickdribble Ndhlovo in so the acceleration by the monkey continued, while he tried his hardest to outstare the double-cab driver.
Sadly for the nuclear physicist the emergency lane was shortly going to end, with a solid stone pavement to mark its ending. More sadly for him was the fact that he, and his 30-odd passengers were all trying their damnest to "intimidate by staring" myself and the double-cab man, instead of watching the road ahead something that most brain-owners do when driving.

I saw it coming, and was smiling my full-tusk smile even before they hit!!

Anal-bum-wart hit that pavement at about 70kph, 31 passengers bumped their heads on the roof of the Hi-Ace in poetic unison, adding an extra 31 dents to the already-f_cked minibus, and the two front wheels were ripped off the chassis as the bus slid to a delightful halt.

Thankfully no passengers were hurt, which made it the most fantastic thing to witness. Sadly though, Sipho, arm still hanging out of the window,was also unscathed. However, his car was more f_cked than that prostitute at PE harbour named Deloris, and his mood was somewhat down-trodden.

I hooted and made sure he got the full-frontal of my biggest-ever super smile, as did the driver of the double-cab, and then to my absolute joy, looked in my mirror to see every driver behind me doing exactly the same!

The brain-cell-lacker had received his well-earned treatment! I was happier than Hudders when he passed his board, or at least as happy!!

So folks, what a peachy morning it has been so far. The sun is shining, it's Friday, I've done my training, Long Tom Roodt is back in the country, there will be a lot of thirst quenched this weekend, and Sipho, Faeces-face Ndlovo is one mini-bus short of a taxi!

Now that is justice....!


Sport talk

Links to the sport pages

How did Van Rooyen survive?
With SA Rugby's administration smouldering under dictator Brian van Rooyen it seemed almost a fait-accompli that the supremo would be ousted last week.
With nine provinces out of 14 primed to kick him into touch, the president pulled off a Houdini-act at the President's Council meeting in Johannesburg.
Full story...

We can beat anyone, says Arthur
Proteas coach Mickey Arthur believes South Africa are capable of winning any series it plays in.
Full Story...

Kallis hardly ever running on empty
Jacques Kallis's public image is that of a perfect batting technique, solidity, courage and intensity; all the characteristics that mark him as one of the great players this country.
Full Story...


The monthly competition

The winner of the August/September Competition!

The winner of the August/September competition is:
Joyce Nel from Santiago, the capital of Chile!
Congratulations to you Joyce!
Your barbecue/braai utensil kit has been posted to you and we hope that you will get much use out of it!



Remember the following:
  • The monthly draw or competition is totally free to everyone at the moment.
  • You can enter as many times as you like.
  • You can only enter via the Competition link on our home page or by clicking here
  • All prizes are sent to the winners free of charge.


  • The prize for the October Competition
    The prize for this competition is a marvelous MP3 Player!
    This player has features such as:
    • 10 hour super long time recording
    • 128M
    • Vox recording
    • Variety preset EQ
    • A-B replay
    • It shows the title of the song playing and
    • Supports MP3 and WMA format
    Click here to see a picture of it on the competition page!

    To enter the competition all you have to do is to visit our home page at www.biltongmakers.com and click on one of the two competition links.
    The winners of all competitions are notified by email.

    Some of the other prizes for the year
  • Biltongmakers
  • Biltong spices
  • Boerewors spices
  • Braai tool sets
  • Potjie Pots
  • Barbecues
  • Digital cameras
  • Cadac Skottel Braais and .......... much, much more!!!


  • So, don't wait!

    You can enter right now by clicking on the competition link on our home page.


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    Boerewors in the Benelux

    Boerewors

    During the summer months we are available to cater for Boerewors rolls for parties and functions from 50 persons and more. Boeries on the braai!
    Boerewors rolls are a "must" for any South African gathering and it is an inexpensive way to entertain.
    Our Boerewors rolls are priced at only €3.00 each for parties up to 500 people and € 2.00 for larger gatherings.
    Everything is supplied from the Boerewors and the rolls to the condiments and the serviettes.

    You can contact us on +32 (16) 53.96.25 or mail us at Boerewors-Benelux.
    But book early because the summer months are busy months!

    (Fresh Boerewors is also available @ € 7.95 per kg)

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    Potjiekos

    Click to see me biggerPotjiekos ...... a fun way to entertain!

    As with our Boerewors rolls, we are also available to do a "Potjiekos" for a minimum of 50 and up to 100 people.

    We make our "Potjie" in our size 25 Pot (see left) and you can have a choice between Beef, Chicken and Lamb.

    The Chicken "Potjie" is the most popular because it is a really inexpensive way to entertain.
    A Chicken "Potjie" costs only € 6.50 per head and this includes everything from the "Potjie" itself to the plates and eating utensils.
    For an extra € 2.00 we even make the Pap!

    Booking early is essential and you can do so on
    +32 (16) 53.96.25


    (Please note that our "Potjiekos" can only be done outside because we cook on gas or coals!)

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    Lamb on the Spit

    Lamb on the spit ....... something special!

    Lamb on the spit is a way of entertaining as only known by very few mainly because it is thought to be very expensive.

    Click to see me big! Not so!
    We will do a lamb on the Spit for parties of a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 40 people for just € 15.00 and € 12.00 a head respectively.

    Together with the lamb we will treat you to a big pot of curried potatoes as well as a choice between a pasta salad or three bean salad.
    Bread rolls are included as well.
    For venues more than 50km from our home base in Keerbergen there is a small charge of 25c per km.

    Once again booking early is essential and you can do so on
    +32 (16) 53.96.25


    (As with our "Potjiekos" a Lamb on the Spit can only be done outside because we cook on coals!)

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