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The Biltongmakers.Com Newsletter
June 2007

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In this Newsletter

From the editor


The information and contributions contained in this newsletter are received from various readers local and international. Views and opinions reflected in our newsletter are not necessarily those of Biltongmakers.Com and its team members.

June 2007

Hello everybody!

It is hot and sunny outside. In fact, we have not had any rain for I don't know how long. It is humid and sticky and I fancy a swim. But, no such luxury here unfortunately.

Outside in the street some children are playing hopscotch and there is the little boy with his peddle car again towing his friend in a trailer.

It's all very peaceful and quiet out there.

May was a month and a half with a couple of spit-braais and sometimes twice a week visits to the butcher to make boerewors.

It has not stopped.

The little town of La Roche in the Ardennen The new industrial biltong drying cabinet has not stopped either and is (with its mate) constantly working away at either biltong or droëwors. Then, once it is finished it is the cutting, packing etc. etc. No wonder it costs a fortune in the shops in South Africa to buy biltong and droëwors.
It is incredibly labour intensive! Try marinating, drying, hanging, testing, turning over and then, finally taking it all out and cutting and vacuum packing it!

But, the end result is great. I really believe that we have excellent droëwors and even better biltong.

In the middle of the month, June and I took a trip to La Roche in the Ardennen. The trip there alone was really worth it.
La Roche lies between the mountains right in the middle of Belgium.
It has the most beautifully preserved castle ruins I have ever seen. I had even a try at archery (all these people in period costumes pushing a bow and a bunch of arrows in your hand!;-).
Got a couple in the yellow bit in the middle as well! (Brownie point for that one!)

We walked around a lot, had a nice lunch and a couple of "pintjes" (of course) before making our way back home.

I first came across La Roche in February 2006. In the newsletter of that month I wrote about the history of the town. You can go back to that by clicking right here.

Het elfde gebod (The eleventh commandment) pub Towards the end of the month Ross and Lynette came over from the UK to spend a long weekend in Belgium. We had last seen them when they came to say goodbye to us at Jan Smuts (doesn't that sound good!) in 2001. We had loads of laughs and "pintjes" as well. I remember vaguely that the last pub we came out of was called "Het Elfde Gebod" (The eleventh commandment). Can anyone help me there? The pub was fascinating, full of statues and good beer of course. Click on the picture and you'll see what I mean.

On the Monday we daytripped to Antwerp where apart from visiting the cathedral many pubs had to be investigated. One of the most interesting ones can be seen below. Just click on it to see it big!

It was so good to see Nigel & Co again ... That Saturday we were doing the yearly spit-braai for the Antwerp Cricket club. It will probably be the last time because the club is moving to new grounds next year. It is always so great to do this catering.

The cricket club from London Transport comes over for two days of fun and play and it was great to see all the old faces again of Nigel and Co coming walking up the grassy walk to the club house.

It's been 6 years now that we have been feeding those tummies.

So, and that was May.

We'll talk again soon!

Please don't forget to send in your contributions to your newsletter. I can't do it alone! A big thank you for all who do send in monthly bits and pieces. It is, as always, very much appreciated and it certainly makes life a lot easier!

Till next month,


Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare
[Ed Asner]

Is in ithe na putóige atá an tástáil
(Can anyone help us here? -ED)

Stand still for a moment...

Ok, this poem hit a spot with me in many respects. Enjoy and think about it, I know I am guilty in all cases. It was written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital.

Slow Dance

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi"

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

Story of the month

Kabouters (Gnomes)

The other day I was driving along the E34 near Turnhout when I decided to get off the main road and have a look ....

Just down the off-ramp, close to the little town of Kasterlee you will find a windmill, right next to the Geelse baan.

......where the trees have toes! As you walk along, past a little chapel, the houses will disappear from your view and you will find yourself in between the huge pine trees of "Het Gestelsche Bos". As you follow the rabbit paths you will soon get to "Het Kabouter Bos" where all the trees stand on their toes.
That's how it looks anyway with those big roots looking like stilts.
It is very quiet in amongst the trees, almost like you are all alone in the world.

As you walk along, past little streams and looking out over the Nete Valley on your right, you can almost imagine the Kabouters playing there at night.

That's when I thought of looking up where these little creatures actually came from.

Who are they, and what do they do . . . . . .?

The word Gnome probably comes from the Greek word "gnosis", meaning knowledge. It was probably applied to these creatures because of their knowledge of finding and working with precious metals and stones.

But we will call them Kabouters because that's what they really are . . . . . . . .

Kabouters are dwarf fairies who appear to be quite old because they mature very early, though their average life span is around a thousand years. They reach maturity in about a hundred years, at which time they stand about 12 inches tall and look well past middle age.
They look like funny little old men, as they belong to a race coming from the beginning of times. Their feet are somewhat pigeon toed which gives them an extra edge on speed and agility through the wood and grass.

The male Kabouters wear small pointed hats of red, their clothing is mostly green or blue in colour, with either felt boots, birch shoes, or wooden clogs. Around his waist is a belt with a tool kit attached, holding a knife, hammer, etc.
They are fair of face, with rosy red cheeks. Long beards adorn their faces and turn grey far sooner than their hair. Their dimpled faces are merry and kind.
They like to wear rainbow-coloured stockings, which they weave themselves.

In general they are very smart and clever.

The female Kabouter wears grey or khaki clothing, consisting of a blouse and skirt (to ankles). She also has black-grey knee socks and high shoes or slippers.

Kabouters live deep in ancient forests (like the one I was in), and these tiny creatures build their homes under aging oak trees and in between the roots of pine trees.
It's said they live in three trees, the house itself, with a hidden entrance from another tree, and then a third is the supply room, with grains, beans, potatoes and everything else the Kabouters may need during the winter.
During the summer months they plant and harvest and store their food in this supply room.

They share their woodland homes with the animals they love and with whom they have a relationship of mutual trust and affection. They speak their language and protect them from danger.

Their principal occupation is the protection and healing of wildlife, and working the soil and tree roots, to which they grant power, though they may occasionally help a human along on his or her spiritual quest.

They only go out at night and their home is lively after sunset.
The best feasts are when the freezing winds and snow blow over the woods. Dancing and playing, they start to run and some prefer rain for their dances.

They have rather a "Gypsy" nature and gather festively at times in lovely hidden valleys covered with wildflowers and secret sunlit meadows. Most Kabouters are 7 times stronger than a man, can run at speeds of 50 kilometers per hour, and have better sight than a hawk.

These abilities help the Kabouters to do many things, such as find wounded, dying animals for which they feel they are responsible.
Because of their love for animals, all the animals of the forest are the Kabouter's friends and are willing to help him at any time. Many people say that Kabouters have elevated practical jokes to an art form.

But most especially they love gems and jewelry and are considered by many to be the best gem cutters and jewelers in existence.

It is said that you can only see Kabouters if you really believe in them. That's why so many people don't see them at all.

I saw lots of them that day.

Take care,


* * * * Advertisement - Advertisement - Advertisement - Advertisement - Advertisement * * * *

The South African Meat Industry Company,
Samic has very nice meat cutting charts.
Just click on the banner below for lots of interesting information.

Our Home Biltong Makers

Why are you not making your own Biltong yet?

Our Home Biltong makers have given many of our customers much joy and happiness and have brought many of them a little of "South Africa back in their homes.

It is so easy to make your own Biltong and it is ever so cost effective. In fact it only costs you just a fraction of the price you pay in the shop and, what is more important, you can make it just the way YOU like it.

Some recent comments ...........

    Hello Biltong Team

    Well everything went well and the biltong turned out excellent!
    I work with a South African bloke so he had a try and reckoned it was really good! Thanks again for sharing all your ideas and helping me.
    I'll keep you informed on how the next batch goes and how it tastes!

    Kind Regards
    Neil Webster
    Brisbane-Queensland, Australia (06-06-2007)

    Hi Guys,

    Just a quick e-mail to say thank you for designing such a wonderful, compact machine.
    Our biltong maker arrived on Monday and we are enjoying our first batch of biltong tonight and it is lekker!!
    I will be off to the butchers first thing in the am to get some meat to make my second batch.

    Hazel Lipsett
    Falkirk, Scotland (08-02-2007)

And so more and more people keep on telling us how fantastic it is to make your own biltong! Just read about what people are saying (we only started keeping records in 2001) on our customers comments page.

So, to all of you who have not tried it yet, now is the time!


The most popular Home Biltong Maker in the world! You too could be making your own Biltong in a very short space of time.
Have a look at our Home Biltong Makers and see how easy it is!!

Details on ROCKEY'S 5kg Home Biltong Maker can be found by clicking on this link.

It's as easy as 1-2-3 to make your own Biltong!

You can have a look at the BILTONG BUDDY here.

This month's specials

Despite the increase in prices last month you, our customers, have continued to support us incredibly well during May.
As a thank you, and also to give all of you another opportunity to get your own Biltong Maker at a good price we have a surprise for you!!


For a limited period during the month of June this is what you can get on "special"

    Free with all Biltong Maker orders placed

  • 10 special Biltong storage bags
  • A packet of our famous Nice 'n Spicy spices.
Click here to go to our on-line shop.

Tips of the month

How to recognize a stroke!

During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - at 6:00pm, Ingrid passed away.

She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ.

Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally!
He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Recognizing a stroke
Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
  • S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
  • T *Ask the person to TALK, to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently: It is sunny out today.)
  • R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
Note: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this:
Ask the person to 'stick' out their tongue... if the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call your local emergency number (such as 999 or 112) immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

Our spices are kosher

It will certainly interest our Jewish readers that our biltong spices are certified as being kosher by the Beth Din of Johannesburg. Anyone interested can mail us for a copy of the certification.

South African Meat Cutting Charts

Below you will find three excellent meat cutting charts.

These are displayed with the compliments of SAMIC.
(The South African Meat Industry Company).
SAMIC has a very interesting web site as well as a weekly newsletter about anything to do with the
Meat Industry in South Africa.
Now, don't think this is a totally boring web site (I thought so first) but it has some very interesting articles and statistics.

* * * * Advertisement - Advertisement - Advertisement - Advertisement - Advertisement * * * *

South African Musical and other Events in Europe

For all upcoming shows by South African artists please click on the South African events web site link below.
There are a host of South African artists coming to Europe in the next couple of weeks.

Amongst those are:
  • Johnny Clegg
  • Theuns Jordaan
  • Valiant Swart
  • Pieter Smith
  • Robbie Wessels
  • Anton Goosen
  • Bok van Blerk
  • To see all upcoming events please click on
    South African Events in Europe web site. There are loads of things happening!

    Questions and Answers

    Like every month, 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 @
    so we can help other people who might have the same questions in the future)


    Can you replace the animal fat with HOLSUM fat and if yes, how would you do it?
    Would you use the same ratio and the same method? (mincing the fat pieces whilst mincing the venison and beef)
    Please advise.

    Pieter Esterhuysen
    South Africa


    I am looking for a recipe for "chicken" biltong?

    Gary Gilmore
    Johannesburg, South Africa


    I am looking for a recipe for Biltongsoup. Can you help?

    Comien Visagie
    South Africa


    Ek kan nie glo dat vark nie algemeen gebruik word vir biltong nie , het iemand 'n resep daarvoor.
    Eskort se fabriek maak dit en is baie lekker.
    Sou daar enige rede wees dat vark nie algemeen gebruik word nie? Sal graag wil hoor wat ander daar van sê

    Johan Röntgen
    South Africa


    Thanks for the news letter always , wise words and informative.
    I wanted to ask you for some help. I want to start to make my own wors. However it is difficult to find the skin , and it would need to be synthetic due to local laws on pork etc.
    I also have not found a sausage machine yet , I will continue to look . Do you have any supply suggestions or tips on where I can locate these items?
    Look after yourself ,

    Liam Hamilton Potts
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates


    I was wondering if brisket would be suitable for make biltong?
    The reason why I'm asking is to make kosher biltong. I have been using beef shoulder which is delicious, but was wondering about brisket.
    How would it be for making droëwors? .

    Thanks once again,
    Isa Kahn

    Stoep Talk

    Consumers are getting a raw deal and no-one cares
    By James Clarke

    How callous and indifferent the world has become since the days when the Flower Children drifted around with their long hair serenely campaigning against the eating of live oysters. The most indifferent of all these days are officials. Even the public's consumer watchdogs no longer seem to really care.

    A reader has sent me an example from the land of whingers:

    The Gloucester Citizen has reported: "A sex line caller has complained to Trading Standards (a UK consumer watchdog organisation). After dialling an 0891 (sex line) number from an advertisement entitled "Hear Me Moan" the caller was played a tape of a woman nagging her husband for failing to do jobs around the house.

    "The consumer watchdog refused to look into the complaint saying: 'He got what he deserved.'"

    'He got what he deserved' Shame.

    I am not sure whether even magistrates still have any milk of human kindness left in their veins but one hopes that, in this case, the magistrate felt compassion for a woman shoplifter whose offence was reported in the Manchester Evening News:

    "Police say a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her knickers. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend."

    A few weeks ago I recorded a case where 100 or so Santa Clauses attended a party in the UK and got drunk and began a brawl, the sight of which left local kids bug-eyed. After this a reader sent me a report datelined Sydney:

    "One hundred and twenty men named Henry attacked each other during a 'My Name is Henry' convention.

    'I'm a Henry and always will be' "Henry Pantie of Canberra accused Henry Pap of Sydney of not being a Henry at all, but in fact an Angus.

    "It was a lie," explained Mr Pap, "I'm a Henry and always will be', whereupon Henry Pap attacked Henry Pantie, while two other Henrys - Jones and Dyer - attempted to pull them apart.

    "Several more Henrys became involved and soon the entire convention descended into a giant fist fight. The brawl was eventually broken up by riot police, led by a man named Shane."

    One of my favourite it-must-be-true-because-it-was-in-the-papers reports is from the conservative Daily Telegraph:

    The headline was, "Brussels Pays € 200 000 (about R2-million) to Save Prostitutes". A spokesperson explained "the money will be used to encourage them to lead a better life. We will be training them for new positions in hotels."

    And from the same newspaper:

    Commenting on a complaint from a Mr Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesperson for North West Gas said, "We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house."

    The Guardian once wrote about a sign in a police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand that read:

    "Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case."

    Much more down to earth was a notice in the Churchdown Parish Magazine in the UK:

    "Would the congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the church, labeled "For the Sick" is for monetary donations only.

    He asked for it

    While visiting a school, President Mugabe asks a boy: "Little Comrade, do you know where the capital of our great country is?"

    Little boy: "In a Swiss bank account."

    Potes corner

    Andrew Kelly of Malanshof is no pote but he nose a good pome when he sees one. He sent me one of his favourite verses by Ogden Nash:

    Reflection on ice-breaking ....


    Is dandy

    But liquor

    Is quicker.

    Our birthday Competition

    Recipe Corner

    More-ish Neck of Mutton Potjie

    If you intend to entertain with this recipe, be prepared - everyone will want to know how it's made and some will even come and ask for a third helping! Serve with a pot bread or rice. The recipe serves 6-8 people and we recommend a size 3 Potjiepot.

    Your shopping list
    • 60ml cooking oil
    • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
    • 500g rindles streaky bacon, cut into pieces
    • 2kg neck of mutton, cut into pieces
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 375ml water
    • 5ml dried thyme
    • 3ml dried parsley
    • 3ml lemon pepper
    • 3ml garlic salt
    • 375ml Late Harvest wine
    • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
    • 6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 500ml green beans, sliced
    • 125ml water
    • 1 packet mushroom soup powder
    What you do
    • Heat the oil in the pot and fry the onions until tender
    • Remove the onions and set aside
    • Fry the streaky bacon in the pot until light brown and set aside
    • Now fry the neck of mutton, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, until light brown
    • Add the water, herbs and spices
    • Cover and simmer gently for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour
    • Add the wine
    • Arrange the vegetables in layers on top of the meat in the order as listed
    • Lightly salt the vegetables
    • Cover and simmer for 1 hour without removing the lid.
    • Now add the streaky bacon and onions
    • Mix the water and soup powder well and pour over the Potjiekos
    • Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes
    • Carefully stir the Potjie through once and serve.

    Karen Swemmer

    That sounds absolutely delicious Karen. Thank you very much for an excellent recipe. I just wonder how you measure a solid item like thyme, lemon pepper, beans, garlic etc. in liquid milliliters? What would it be in grams? -Ed

    Stories from South Africa

    Strikers target private schools!

    June 6, 2007
    Empty parking lots, locked gates and dark classrooms were a common sight at schools round the province yesterday, as pupils were sent home early after receiving threatening letters from striking teachers.

    Many government schools had been closed since Friday and the strikers targeted private and Model C schools by picketing outside their gates.

    There had been reports of bomb scares, intimidation of non-striking teachers, pupils being threatened while traveling on public transport and of teachers being locked out of classrooms.

    Concerned parents have called for greater intervention before pupils or teachers were harmed.

    Police confirmed that there had been protests outside semi-private and private schools but said no violence had been reported.

    Capt Debbie O'Brien said eight schools in the Pinetown area had closed after receiving letters from the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

    "Problems were also experienced at Kloof High School as a group of about 20 protesters arrived in vehicles and demonstrated - they appeared to be intimidating others.

    "Parents were called in to pick up their children and they were let out through the back gates. It is believed that protest groups had split up to protest outside several Model C schools, which were forced to close," she said.

    Pupils at Port Natal Primary School in Umbilo left the premises after an anonymous caller said protesters were on their way to disrupt lessons.

    Police arrived and kept watch while teachers and pupils left the premises.

    Hillcrest High Principal Craig Girvin said he and other principals in the area had decided to close their schools and reopen on Monday.

    A woman said she had panicked after receiving a call to fetch her children from the Hillcrest High and Winston Park Primary schools.

    "The Department of Education was aware of the situation and they should not have allowed the protesters to picket in the manner that they did. The unions were out of hand and have resorted to demonstrating in a manner that is reminiscent of the late '80s," she said.

    Sandra van den Berg was on her way to drop her son off at New Forest High when she came across pupils from Mowat Park High being harassed by protesters.

    Van den Berg said the behaviour of the striking teachers was disturbing.

    New Forest High pupil Sandeepa Sewnandan said: "When I arrived at school yesterday, shortly after getting out of the car I was told to go back home. Protesters were arriving in cars and teachers were dispersing pupils," she said.

    The situation was repeated in Pietermaritzburg where aggressive strikers forced the closure of all public schools and other government buildings yesterday.

    Maritzburg College closed on Thursday and will remain so until Monday, after discussions between the strikers and the Principal, Ron Jury.

    An altercation took place between the strikers and parents who had been asked to fetch their sons.

    Reporters saw strikers rattling the main gate at the school with police in attendance, along with the school's security company. The strikers were initially aggressive towards journalists, but became conciliatory.

    KZN Parents' Association Chairman Sayed Rajack said he was concerned for the safety of children going to school.

    "The lack of communication between the Department of Education and parents is alarming," he said.

    The National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa condemned the unruly behaviour of some striking teachers.

    Around the World

    Bits and Bobs from people around the world

    University strips Mugabe of honorary degree

    Edinburgh University stripped Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday of his honorary degree after reviewing evidence of a tribal massacre soon after he took power.

    The decision by the university's senate comes after years of campaigning by students and Scottish lawmakers.

    Three senior professors recommended that the degree be revoked after reviewing evidence about Zimbabwe in the early 1980s, including the massacre of at least 20 000 people in Matabeleland, which the university says was not available when the degree was conferred.

    The Zimbabwe army's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade are accused of slaughtering the civilians, who were accused of harboring rebels of the minority Ndebele tribe loyal to former opposition leader Joshua Nkomo.

    Most Fifth Brigade soldiers were of Mugabe's majority Shona tribe.

    "The university has been acutely aware of ongoing developments in Zimbabwe," a spokesperson for the university said while speaking on condition of anonymity in line with the institution's policy. He described the move as "unprecedented."

    Mugabe, 83, will be told of the decision in writing and be requested to return the certificate he received for "services to education in Africa" in 1984.

    "When he was given this degree, the West thought he was a saint, but all the time his people knew he was a monster, a tyrant and a killer," said Jaison Matewu, organising secretary for the United Kingdom branch of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's opposition party.

    Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons earlier in that day that he "fully endorsed" the decision to revoke the degree.

    Mugabe, shame of Africa

    By Peter Thatia
    East African Standard

    Today, as Africa observes African Union Day, the omnipresent sense of hope and possibility ushered into the continent at the turn of the millennium continues to throb on. Most of the dictators of yesteryear are long gone and the overall economic growth hit a record last year with an average of over 6 per cent. These achievements will be put to the fore today across the continent.

    The greatest threat to the African dream today remains Zimbabwe, a country where deprivation is being measured in extremes. Indeed, statistics in Africa are being churned out in a pair, i.e. Africa scores this and that, and this and that without Zimbabwe.

    Zimbabwe has become a blotch in the conscience of Africa, its performance playing havoc with every statistical figure about Africa. And while Africa will be turning over a milestone, her failure to intervene in Zimbabwe will certainly be given a blackout.

    Flashback to the gloriously sunny Salisbury afternoon of April 18, 1980, when a surging crowd of unprecedented proportions on the continent of Africa roared in unison as the Union Jack and the flag of Rhodesia came down for the last time. Robert Gabriel Mugabe had finally arrived.

    Big tragedy

    If you asked any resident of Harare how it was during that time, he would probably smile, close his eyes and blow a kiss. If he has been there since, he would recount a tale that is a creation by sheer lack of forethought, misfortune, stupidity, and tragedy. In a world dominated by warped geopolitics where self-interest was the only moral, few saw it coming.

    In his
    personal website, launched in 2002 and recording over 300,000 hits so far, President Robert Mugabe makes an interesting statement about himself: "I know you love your leader as much as you love your country. I know you deserve to see what kind of a man I am. To those of you that already know me, this will simply be a joyous refresher of your cherished memories of me. To those with still unfulfilled desire to know me better, I welcome you into an intimate glimpse of Mugabe The Man."

    But just how much does Zimbabweans, and indeed the world, know about Mugabe? Just how much are they willing to know about the boy who was abandoned by his father, a man who went to make a life with another woman elsewhere, when the boy was only ten years old?

    Do they care about the genius who created the best education system in Africa (by 2000 Zimbabwe had the highest literacy rate in Africa at 85 per cent), or the devious schemer who went ahead to have two children with a lover 41 years his junior (whom he later married) while his wife Sally was dying with cancer?

    A proud man

    Robert Gabriel Mugabe is an extremely proud man. He doesn't suffer opposition gladly - whatever kind of opposition. He'd go to any lengths to wring competition at the neck - whatever the consequences. When Zimdaily.com recently ran a scoop on how he ordered the death of his younger brother Albert Mugabe in the mid-1980s because he had reportedly slept with his wife Sally and impregnated her, the most some Zimbabweans could do was just to yawn. Yet, indisputably, Robert Mugabe had a good dream for Zimbabwe, and for more than a decade he delivered.

    But the ruthlessness with which he destroyed the careers, lives and the families of the very men who introduced and helped him into the big league tells a profound story on where his own destruction started. The question of political legitimacy, though having won to become the prime minister in 1980, was always going to be a big shadow obscuring his own star. The liberation of Zimbabwe had been multi-pronged and too complicated an exercise for one man to claim Captainship. To do this would have been like committing a unilateral and covert act of war.

    The mega-crisis in Zimbabwe did not happen in a day. The elements had been taking place for decades in readiness for an explosion bound to wreak devastating consequences. In four and a half decades of blatant betrayal and cold-blooded scheming, it is only now that casual eyes are glaring up to the truth that that the rudimental scaffolding had the character and the person of Robert Gabriel Mugabe as its overbearing totem.

    The cunning Tribalist

    The struggle of the liberation of the then Southern Rhodesia has the inerasable image of five courageous men: Joshua Nkomo, Ndabaningi Sithole, Herbert Chitepo, Robert Mugabe and Canaan Banana, and in that order. Unlike the case in other African countries, it was the unlikely candidate and a late entrant, Robert Mugabe, who would receive the salute on the day of independence, culminating in two decades of successful power-wrestling mischief from the pioneers of the struggle

    The political stakes in the first all-race general elections in Zimbabwe were sky-high. Africa was failing big and the world awaited a new regeneration in Zimbabwe. Whoever was going to win would automatically be catapulted to the top of a brand new African agenda, a beacon of glitter amidst degradation.

    The grandeur of the symbolic prestige was tantalizing. The world awaited the man who would cut the last tentacle still linking the British Empire beyond the white cliffs of Dover.

    The world expected Joshua Nkomo to win the all-race general elections of February 1980. What they had failed to account for was Mugabe's own skills in flinging mud and pulling the strings over all eyes, something that the gentleman Nkomo was alien to. Indeed, Mugabe made it the main tool in his election machine to remind all Zimbabweans that Nkomo was actually a Ndebele and that Sithole had teamed up with Ian Smith during the last days of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). As for Canaan Banana, he was the son of a Ndebele mother and a Malawian father anyway.

    The tribal stakes thus set by the Mugabe election machine, Mugabe won a landslide victory against the combined forces of Nkomo, Sithole and Ian Smith. He would teach them a lesson, setting the stage for the undulating tremors that are gathering as the chicken troop back home to roost.

    Worst economy

    Today, Zimbabwe is the only place in the world where luxury flats are occupied by squatters, closed stores are boarded up and rats scurry through abandoned restaurants. Life expectancy has plummeted to the world's lowest, 34 years for women (69 years at independence) and 37 for men.

    Catholic archbishop for Bulawayo, the courageous Pius Ncube, says even the inflation rate, which the Central Bank governor Gideon Gono puts at 3000 per cent (the world's highest), is propped up by lies. He puts the figure at over 4000 per cent. Nurses no longer go to work because a trip to work would wipe out your earnings. The national health fabric has literally collapsed.

    Instructively, the Zimbabwean dollar was worth more that its American counterpart at independence. Today, the official cost of a loaf of bread is $Z875 but in reality it sells at $Z6000. In a speech delivered in Australia last month, Archbishop Ncube said that school fees in Bulawayo were $Z500,000 for the first term this year but when the students reported back for the second term the fees had doubled.

    Despite being ringed by two of Africa's greatest rivers, Limpopo and Zambezi, a biting water shortage has led to the use of water hosepipes being banned in the capital. Watering backyard gardens is an illegal offence that is punishable by a jail term.

    Sad paradox

    Zimbabweans are escaping from their homeland in droves. According to UN reports, 109,532 Zimbabweans were deported from South Africa last year alone. Botswana deported 32,264. Soldiers sent by the government to check the tide at River Limpopo are themselves peeling off their uniforms and abandoning their weapons at the banks of the crocodile-infested river and swimming across to a better life as casual farm labourers in South Africa.

    Not even in Somalia, a nation that holds the rare distinction as the only country in the world to have endured more than one and a half decades without a government, did the society collapse. Without a respite on the escalating political, social and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the country is rapidly teetering past the point of no return. That there is no war in Zimbabwe is a fact that mars poignantly intrinsic paradoxes in the whole modern tragedy.

    Mugabe made sure that every liberation struggle leader died an ignoble death.

    Those who filled the ideological vacuum these great men left behind were bound to ignite Zimbabwe in a way Mugabe was not going to countenance, and now it was complicated because the twin evils of colonialism and capitalism, against which Mugabe anchored his perceived morals, no longer rung any bell in the younger Zimbabwean populace.

    His latest bid to lock this generation out was his recent declaration that as a proof of residence on the day of voting you need to produce utility bills, something that the majority young population of Zimbabwe can't produce because they are jobless.

    Mugabe had suffered one of his biggest blows in 1997 when the new British government of Tony Blair unilaterally decided to stop funding his land reform programme on the basis that the initial Ł44m allocated by the Thatcher administration was used to purchase land for members of the ruling elite from Mugabe's own Zezeru clan. For this, Mugabe still refers to Blair as a "gay supremacist" on national TV.

    It is a paradox that even when Mugabe was murdering over 20,000 Ndebele people in the 1980s with the Korean-trained Fifth Brigade the world still referred to him as a statesman.

    It was easy for the world not to recognise the build-up, whose savagery exploded in 2000 after he lost the referendum, because the larger African spectrum was even worse. Before Mandela came into the scene, Mugabe was largely viewed as the last African hope and to a large extent acted the part. No one would have compared him to the reactionary sergeants, colonels and bandits who were running most of Africa in 1980.

    Writing on the wall

    The desperate maneuver to extend his tenure beyond the set 2008 to 2010 so as to coincide with the parliamentary elections has dealt Mugabe another blow. Recently Mbeki called him and put it to him that he was not going to agree to potentially nasty presidential general elections in neighbouring Zimbabwe in the year that he will be staging the World Cup in South Africa.

    Being the only people who care about him nowadays, Mugabe obliged. To the horror of the rest of the world, his old ANC friends still continue to support him in South Africa.

    Indeed, after South Africa stage-managed a press conference in Harare following the 2002 poll and declared the elections fair, all the local and international journalists who were present burst out laughing. Right now the MDC is laughing at Mbeki's quiet diplomacy. Just who will have the last laugh in next year's presidential poll remains to be seen but the writing is slowly emerging on the wall.

    (Many thanks for submitting this Ross -Ed)

    Something to smile about

    Dear Cats

    (To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height:)

    Dear Cats,

    The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food.
    Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

    The stairway was not designed by Formula 1 and is not a racetrack.
    Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

    I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this.

    Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort.
    Cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible.
    I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

    For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom.
    If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open.
    I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years-feline attendance is not required.

    The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

    To pacify you, my dear cats, I have posted the following message on our front door:

    To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit And Like to Complain About Our Cats:
    • They live here. You don't.
    • If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)
    • I like my cats a lot better than I like most people. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.
    Remember: Cats are better than kids because they:
    • Eat less
    • Don't ask for money all the time
    • Are easier to train
    • Normally come when called
    • Never ask to drive the car
    • Don't hang out with drug-using friends
    • Don't smoke or drink
    • Don't have to buy the latest fashions
    • Don't want to wear your clothes
    • Don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and...
    • If they get pregnant, you can sell their children

    Who is Jack Shitt?

    For some time many of us have wondered just who is Jack Schitt? We find ourselves at a loss when someone says, 'You don't know Jack Schitt!'

    Well, thanks to my genealogy efforts, you can now respond in an intellectual way.

    Jack Schitt is the only son of Awe Schitt. Awe Schitt, the fertilizer magnate, married O. Schitt, the owner of Needeep N. Schitt, Inc. They had one son, Jack.

    In turn, Jack Schitt married Noe Schitt. The deeply religious couple produced six children: Holie Schitt, Giva Schitt, Fulla Schitt, Bull Schitt, and the twins Deep Schitt and Dip Schitt.

    Despite her parents' objections, Deep Schitt married Dumb Schitt, a high school dropout. After being married 15 years, Jack and Noe Schitt divorced. Noe Schitt later married Ted Sherlock, and because her kids were living with them, she wanted to keep her previous name. She was then known as Noe Schitt Sherlock.

    Meanwhile, Dip Schitt married Loda Schitt, and they produced a son with a rather nervous disposition named Chicken Schitt. Two of the other six children, Fulla Schitt and Giva Schitt, were inseparable throughout childhood and subsequently married the Happens brothers in a dual ceremony. The wedding announcement in the newspaper announced the Schitt-Happens nuptials. The Schitt-Happens children were Dawg, Byrd, and Horse.

    Bull Schitt, the prodigal son, left home to tour the world. He recently returned from Italy with his new Italian bride, Pisa Schitt.

    Now when someone says, 'You don't know Jack Schitt,' you can correct them.

    Sport talk

    Snippets from the papers

    The plot to crown Luke Bok captain
    Will the plan to "Africanise" Springbok rugby succeed?
    Luke Watson will captain the Springboks in 2008 and Peter de Villiers will become the first black national rugby coach if a plan to "Africanise" Springbok rugby succeeds.
    Full Story ...

    Cape ahead on 2010 stadium work
    The City of Cape Town has granted the 2010 directorate leave to apply for a provisional authorisation to continue with construction of the World Cup stadium.
    Full Story ...

    Facelift for local stadiums
    The eThekwini Municipality is to spend more than R134-million revamping three of Durban's soccer stadiums to be used as practice facilities during the 2010 World Cup.
    Full Story ...

    10 Rugby stars set to desert Boks
    A leading rugby administrator has revealed that overseas agents have been chasing star players in South African rugby with offers they could hardly refuse.
    Full Story ...

    For the record: New Springbok milestones ...
    Springbok rugby set new records and reached milestones on the two-Test series against England which ended at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday (02-06-2007).
    Full Story ...

    Let's hear from you too!!

    Let's make the next issue a Bumper one!

    Our regular readers may have noticed that I have gone from a monthly issue to a bi-monthly one. The reason is simple. It is impossible to do a newsletter of this size on my own.

    We need regular input from our readers.

    You are probably sitting at the computer right now so how about it. Let our readers enjoy your story!
    It does not have to be about Biltong or such. We'd love to hear where you live and how you have adapted yourself to your new life style and surroundings.

    You might have a nice recipe to part with or perhaps a question to ask?
    Perhaps you have some advice to give?

    You never know how you could help somebody else with your own hints and tips.

    Share it with other people around the world!

    Click right
    here to start now or you can mail us at webmaster@biltongmakers.com

    Boerewors in Europe

    Boerewors (Europe only, sorry people!)

    We don't know what happened this year so far but we have not been out of the butcher's at all it seems! We can hardly keep up.
    It is disappearing faster than we can make it! Nevertheless, we have fresh stock available all the time.
    Boeries on the braai!
    So if you need Boerewors just email us or call. You can either collect or we can mail it to you.
    All our customers in Holland, Belgium and in fact, all over Europe are raving about the packing of and the condition in which the wors arrived at their doorsteps.

    Just imagine some "lekker" pap and wors with a nice tomato and onion sauce!

    Just give us a call on +32 (16) 53.96.25 or email us.

    Our Boerewors is vacuum packed in quantities of about 500 gram.
    The normal price is € 8.45 per kg but for the time being we will keep it at only € 7.95 per kg!!

    You can also place your order by simply clicking here.

    Droëwors for the UK and Europe!

    Droëwors ...... a typical South African delicacy all of its own!

    Droëwors, as it is known in South Africa, is as much part of the country's culinary culture as Biltong, Pap, Boerewors and Potjiekos.
    Real South African Droë Wors! The spices are of course imported especially from South Africa so you will get the "real" thing!

    Fresh droëwors AND BILTONG is available right now and we will normally have ample stock.

    The INTRODUCTORY price is € 28.00 per kg (loose) or € 3.50 per 100 gram packet.

    Droëwors and biltong travels well and posting is an ideal option.
    We can mail it to you in Europe and the UK via priority mail in minimum quantities of 500 gram.
    You can place your order now by going to www.boerewors.be

    Interested? Give us a call on +32 (16) 53.96.25 or email.

    Lamb on the Spit

    Lamb on the Spit ....... something special!

    Summer is here and we already have several spit braais under our belt this year.

    Lamb on the Spit is a way of entertaining as only known by very few mainly because it is thought to be very expensive ....... Not so!

    Click to see me big! We will do a lamb on the Spit for parties of between 30 and 50 people for just € 18.00 and € 15.00 a head respectively.

    Together with the lamb we will treat you to a big pot of curried potatoes, a tomato/salsa salad as well as a choice between a pasta salad or three-bean salad. Garlic or bread rolls are included as well.
    For venues more than 50 km from our home base in Keerbergen there is a small transport fee.

    Start planning now for those special occasions! Just keep in mind that quite a number of dates up to September are already booked!
    Remember that we are doing these functions only during weekends.

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

    (A Lamb on the Spit can only be done outside because we cook on coals!)

    Previous issues of our Newsletter

    You can click on the links below to view some of the previous issues of our newsletter.

    March 2006
    April 2006
    May 2006
    June 2006
    July 2006
    August 2006
    September 2006
    October 2006
    November 2006
    December 2006
    February 2007
    April 2007

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