This from Riverman in Zimbabwe
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?
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"!
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.
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!!
Zim$ 10.00 = US$ 0.00039
A bit frightening or what?