A Load of Shed!

(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce
8 years 4 months ill …

IMG_1014.JPG

The last two weeks have been difficult.

More deaths (Phillip Hughes, the cricketer in Aus; John Lynch, Old Greys ex President in PE; Pierre Corkie, ex-teacher from Grey Bloem in Yemen).

More load shedding in the country as we face an uncertain electrical future.

More problems with petrol supplies and telephone communications.

More health challenges for me including bronchitis and gout, and more quinine tablets for the increasing spasms.

The last two weeks have been exciting.

We spent the weekend at the Bathurst Country Affair Food and Wine festival with my sister Ingrid and her husband Anton.

Sean and Phillip headed for Plettenberg Bay.

Pera has gone to New Zealand to surprise visit her sister Bridget whom she hasn’t seen in the last fourteen years.

The last two weeks have been hectic.

Planning for Christmas, preparing for Cape Town, packing for trips, sorting out taxes, attending Christmas parties and consulting doctors.

The last two weeks have been emotional.

Deaths, cancer diagnoses, illness, more CBD cases, hellos and goodbyes.

The last two weeks have been just a typical period in the experience and journey that we call Life.

Mandela: Reporting His Death and the Search for the Truth

INTERESTING READ!

View the original article at  http://guardianlv.com/2013/10/mandela-reporting-his-death-and-the-search-for-the-truth/

Added by Graham Noble on October 5, 2013.
Saved under Editorial, Graham Noble, Nelson Mandela, South Africa
Tags: spot

The Las Vegas Guardian Express began reporting Nelson Mandela’s death June 26 and our search for the truth began immediately; not the truth of whether or not the former South African President was dead, for, of that report, we were already certain, but the truth behind why his death was being covered up. That search continues, but nothing we have uncovered leads us to suspect that Madiba still lives.

The timeline of how and why we reported the event has been recounted in several articles in this publication. In short; a text message was received by one of our South African correspondents, Laura Oneale, stating that Mandela had just died. According to the message, sent by an employee of the South African Broadcasting Company (SABC), the anti-Apartheid crusader had passed away sometime late in the day of June 25. During a hastily convened editorial meeting, it was decided that a select team of reporters and editors would begin to search for further information and work on one or more stories, reporting the man’s death and recounting his life.

In truth, the team was not completely of one mind, regarding how quickly we should release the news; erroneous media reports of Mandela’s death had been published in the past, followed by hasty retractions and apologies. Nevertheless, our source was exceptionally well-placed and there was no reason whatsoever to believe that this source would have even considered providing us with this information without being absolutely certain; the repercussions, after all, would have been too enormous. Within hours, therefore, we had published two articles announcing that Nelson Mandela had died.

Admittedly, we began second-guessing ourselves but came to the decision that to retract when we had found no evidence that Mandela was still alive ran counter to both our commitment to journalistic integrity and to our self-appointed mission of speaking the truth, no matter how unpleasant, unwanted or politically incorrect.

Las Vegas Guardian Express Editor Michael Smith outside Nelson Mandela’s Pretoria hospital
Having determined that our information was correct, we nevertheless embarked upon a search for the truth behind the cover-up of Mandela’s death. Our founder and publisher, DiMarkco Chandler, made the decision to send one of our top writer/editors to South Africa on a fact-finding mission. UK-Based Michael Smith travelled to South Africa on July 25 and, together with Laura Oneale, met with our original source and others in an attempt to piece together what was happening and why Madiba’s passing was being kept a secret. He returned with intriguing leads and an audio recording of a telephone conversation between a government security contractor and an officer of the South African Defense Force (SADF). Part of this audio was published here. The one statement in this recording which took us by surprise was the SADF officer’s assertion that Mandela had actually passed away on June 11; according to this source, Mandela had suffered total organ failure and was pronounced brain-dead – this came, apparently, from the chief doctor at the Pretoria hospital to which Mandela had been admitted June 8, to be treated for a recurring lung infection.

In the meantime, back in the United States, the Las Vegas Guardian Express website had been subjected to more than one cyber-attack. According to our IT expert, the ‘Denial of Service’ attack – which twice took down the site – had almost certainly originated in South Africa. This merely confirmed our suspicions that we were onto a story that many did not want told. It is only reasonable to assume that, had Nelson Mandela still been alive, our publication would have quickly found itself the recipient of a legal cease and desist order – almost certainly followed by a lawsuit – since, by this time, we had published additional articles that all contained the assertion that the South African icon was no longer with us. Rather than demand a retraction and apology, however, the South African authorities, it seems, attempted to prevent anyone from reading our reports. These incidents merely furthered our resolve; clearly, there was something to hide.

As we began to look into the activities of the Mandela family – particularly, their attempts to gain control of Madiba’s ZAR127 million (approximately $12.5 million) trust – we realized that his death may not have been announced because a dead man can’t be sued for his money. Our audio tape appeared to confirm this. Current South African President Jacob Zuma continued to put out statements that Mandela was “critical, but stable”. Even after it was revealed, by court documents, that Mandela’s doctors had declared him brain-dead and had advised the family to authorize the turning off of the life support machines, Zuma issued a statement denying this. It is very interesting to note that the doctors themselves made no statement; they were not allowed to speak with the media, in fact. Zuma said that the doctors denied saying Mandela was brain-dead. The world’s media reported this as the doctors themselves denying that they had made the prognosis, which was not actually true.

As the weeks went by, no-one other than Zuma and the Mandela family had access to the former leader. Even US President Barack Obama had not been able to see Mandela when he visited the country. Had Mandela still been responsive at that time, as family members had been saying, it is almost certain that the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth would have been granted an audience – however brief.

The Las Vegas Guardian Express became the target of many critics. Although our articles drew many comments from ordinary South Africans who obviously believed what we were reporting – or were at least prepared to accept that we were probably telling the truth – we received many more from people who were disgusted that we continued to report Mandela’s death. We, however, were on a search for the truth; our detractors, by contrast, were merely choosing to believe what the South African authorities were reporting and what was being said in the international media – and those media reports were, themselves, nothing more than reflections of the official statements.

Our publication has been accused of cynically reporting Mandela’s death merely to attract readers and, therefore, financial profit. Such claims are preposterous, since we had dispatched a senior editor to South Africa at a cost that equaled the revenue being generated by all of our Mandela articles combined; although the Las Vegas Guardian Express is a rapidly-rising star in the media universe, we do not yet command the volume of readership that would have enabled us to garner enormous profits from our reporting. Our publication is less than two years old and is a platform for citizen journalism; our decision to report Mandela’s passing – and maintain our position, refusing to retract – could have destroyed the reputation we are building. In short, it was a decision that could have snuffed out our fledgling media site. The risk we took – together with the financial expenses we incurred – far outweigh any profits we have seen from our reporting of this story.

Our South African correspondent, Laura Oneale – a lady who, clearly, cares deeply about her country and its future – was singled out for victimization in sections of the South African media. There are, however, no major media outlets in South Africa that report anything other than that which the authorities approve; South Africa may be, technically, a Democracy, but it is still ruled by those who are Communists at heart and exercise total control, where possible. Whilst it would be unfair to say that the South African media does not dare criticize Zuma or the ruling ANC, their reporting is not totally independent of official influence.

Following Mandela’s ‘discharge’ from hospital, Oneale became the target of scathing reports in South African publications; these reports were bordering on libelous and the publications in question should have been ashamed, particularly since they, themselves, did not have one shred of evidence that Mandela still lived. They were merely repeating the official story, that this 95-year-old man – who had suffered total organ failure and was pronounced brain-dead – was, more than three months later, still allegedly in “critical, but stable, condition” – something that defies almost every law of medical science.

It is, in fact, not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that Mandela was dead and buried sometime in June, although the Las Vegas Guardian Express does not claim to have any definite proof of this, beyond small pieces of circumstantial evidence. On June 26 – the day that the Las Vegas Guardian Express reported Mandela’s passing, the Mandela family and government officials reportedly gathered in Qunu, Mandela’s home. A new access road to the Mandela house was being hastily constructed and a digger was working on a grave. It seems beyond doubt that preparations had begun in earnest for the icon’s burial, but what actually transpired is not clear. It is worth noting that these events took place before the conclusion of the Mandela family court battle to relocate the remains of the deceased Mandela children, so the grave that was being prepared was not for any of them.

More than three months have now passed since we brought Nelson Mandela’s death to the world. In that time, not one media organization can claim to have irrefutable, first-hand proof that Mandela still lives; neither the Mandela family, nor the South African government, have provided any proof that he remains a living, functioning human being.

We have never attempted to disrespect Mandela’s name or legacy. We recognize his imperfections and acknowledge that there are those who liked neither the man nor his ideology. Regardless, we humbly submit that he achieved remarkable things. We have never presumed to pass judgement upon him, nor blindly worship him. We have merely reported what no-one else has dared to report: That he has passed away and that his family and government continue to pretend otherwise, for their own gain.

We, at this point, would still, obviously, be willing to retract our reports; our integrity means more to our team than suffering the embarrassment of admitting that we were wrong. That situation, however, will not come to pass. It is time for the South African government and the living relatives of Nelson Mandela to end this charade and announce the man’s passing. If they will not do that, it is time for them to provide media access to Mandela. We do not expect the man to suffer the indignity of being surrounded by a gaggle of reporters and photographers; a short, private audience with a member of our staff would suffice. No photographs, no questions; merely an opportunity for a trusted individual to say that they have seen Mandela with their own eyes and that he remains alive.

Without such a request being granted, we maintain that we reported his death accurately and we continue to search for the truth.

An editorial by Graham J Noble on behalf of the Las Vegas Guardian Express staff.

Piece/Peace of Paradise

1 August 2010: 3 years 11 months on …

From Port Elizabeth, the N2 heads westwards towards Cape Town, squeezed in between the coastline and the mountain ranges running parallel to the coast. The section from about Humansdorp to George and Mossel Bay is known as the Garden Route, and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country.

It’s easy to see why. Some of the most spectacular scenery is to be seen here: the Tsitikamma Mountains and Nature Reserve with its Big Tree; Storms River Gorge and Bridge, Blaauwkrantz River Bridge, Nature’s Valley and Otter Trail; Plettenberg Bay with its sweeping beaches, Keurbooms and Bitou River and Robberg Peninsula: Knysna with its forests, elephants, lagoon and The Heads where the lagoon empties into the Indian Ocean; Sedgefield and the Lakes; Wilderness, Leentjies Klip and the Kaaimans River mouth; George with its Outeniqua Mountains, Vic Bay and Herold’s Bay; and then finally, the sweeping expanse of  Hartenbos, Klein and Groot Brak, Tergniet, Eselsrus and Mossel Bay.

Almost 400 kilometres of absolute heaven is just here on our doorstep – a piece of Paradise. No wonder the municipality in this area is called the Eden Municipality. Adam and Eve must have swapped their Eden for a darn good apple! 

When you’re down and out – feeling small

When tears are in your eyes … 

–        This is the part of the world you should head to –

It will dry them all…

 

And so, on Friday afternoon, I headed off for Knysna. My destination was Oudtshoorn to attend Ina Scholtz’s memorial service on Saturday morning. The boys were playing rugby against Framesby (the annual not-so-nice recreation of the Anglo-Boer War!) on Saturday morning and Pera was staying to support them.

 

I can’t remember when last I have driven that far by myself, and so I was a bit apprehensive when I left, and decided to break the journey by sleeping over in Knysna. It’s just two and a half hours to get there. Physically, I can still drive and when I became ill, to make things easier for me, we bought an automatic car (a station wagon for space for that promised wheelchair!) The biggest challenge is concentration and tiredness.

But I got to Knysna with no problems – just admiring the scenery along the way – and making the obligatory stop at the Storms River Bridge for a cooldrink.

I stayed over with Sally and Hermann Kapp, an ex-colleague of mine from the business days. Hermann was the Regional Produce Buyer and I was the Regional Human Resources Manager.

I remember the day very clearly as if it were yesterday – but in fact almost ten years ago now – in October 2001 when Hermann came into my office to resign. It was the day that I had just returned to work after our family had returned from the USA.

Pera, the boys and I had left for the USA on a three-week holiday just two weeks after September 11 – the day the Twin Towers were attacked in New York City.

Planes had only just started flying again, and we had undertaken a marathon trip of over forty hours of flying, delays and searching from PE via Johannesburg, London and New York to Atlanta, Georgia. There we stayed with my exchange student days “brother” Kevin and Carol Whitley before flying on to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Mom and Dad Whitley at Table Rock Lake in Missouri.

Flying at the time was also like Paradise. Every one was too scared to fly, so in economy class, we were only some twenty people on the Boeing 777 flight from Londres Gatwick to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International. Not only rows of seats to ourselves, but whole blocks of seats, as we flew down the eastern seaboard of the US and over New York City’s Ground Zero, where I videoed the kilometres high plume of smoke that was still billowing up into the sky.

What a holiday that was! But on my first day back in the office, Hermann came to resign. He was going to open his own Fruit and Veg City store in Knysna. (The next day, I was mugged in Main Street and robbed of my leftover dollars that I was taking back to the bank!)   

And so, almost ten years later, Hermann now owns and runs not only Knysna F&V, but also Jeffrey’s Bay F&V and the Oudtshoorn and George Butcheries. They have worked really hard and done exceptionally well, and are such hospitable people. Their home, in Eastford Estate, Knysna, is so spectacular and inviting, and always open to guests.

When I arrived, Sally had not got home yet and I went and sat on the front deck of the house, which is in a country estate on the hills north of the town. From there, through the trees, one looks towards The Heads, over the cascading slip pool where the water appears to be running right into the Knysna Lagoon visible in the distance. The only sound was that of the soft wind whooshing in the trees and the melodic call of the Knysna Loeries. Truly, a piece of Paradise! 

I left early Saturday morning and headed via George and the Outeniqua Pass for Oudtshoorn.  I haven’t travelled that road for years, but used to do it so regularly in my red Toyota CG 18942 when I was at Infantry School in Oudtshoorn.

I recalled arriving there on the troop train, which had come over this very pass from The Castle in Cape Town in January of 1982. But I escaped Oudtshoorn as often as possible during those fifteen months that I was based there (until I was transferred to Youngsfield in Wynberg and later 1 SACC Battalion in Eerste Rivier.)

The escape route was either to the Scholtz’s at Keurbooms or to Dr Hendrik and Mrs Anna du Toit in George (the parents of Gretel (Du Toit) Wust, university friends of mine and whose home we had stayed in when we went down to Cape Town in June).

Now, I was headed away from the sea over the mountain and past the hop farms to Oudtshoorn to be with the Scholtz’s again. We were there just a month ago when returning from Cape Town to PE via the “back road”, Route 61, and I had not thought that I would be back there so soon, if at all! 

The minister of the Methodist Church spoke about the paradox of our Faith – sadness at losing a loved one, but the joy of knowing that they have moved on to a Better Place that knows neither sadness nor sickness – the Peace of Paradise.

Death seems to heal all wounds, feuds and fights. And people who avoid each other in life even seem to make time for each other in death. Even feuding politicians find time to attend the funerals of archenemies and then find some good words to say.   

The paradox of funerals, too, is that despite the sadness, they also provide great joy when meeting up with people that you haven’t seen for years. In a way, funerals are a sort of forced reunion of families and friends. Between all the tears, out come the memories, the laughs, the happy times, and – if you are dated like us – the photographs, the slides and the home movies!

And so for me, after so many years, it was so good to see again the whole Scholtz clan together: Uncle Piet and Anton and Ingrid (my sister), Leonie (Scholtz) and Jos Smith, Rael and Ruth, Gerhard and Martie, Pieter and Hanneke, and fifteen of the sixteen grandchildren who were there.

And taking the extended family of uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws etc, it became quite fun to work out who looked like who and who went with who!

Yet, it was quite surreal not to have Aunty Ina there – she had been central to this show for as long as I could remember – whether it was next to the pool at the house in Cradock, body-boarding in the surf at Keurbooms, drinking coffee below the Melkhout tree on the patio of their Spanish style beach house or savouring the exquisite view of the Plettenberg Bay and braaing on the balcony of the Tupperware House of Jos and Leonie up on the hill.

But, what is dying?

A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon

And someone at my side says

“She is gone.”

 

Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all.

She is just as large now as when I last saw her.

Her diminished size and total loss from sight is in me, not in her.

 

And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone,

there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon

and other voices take up a glad shout –

“There she comes!”

 

That is what dying is.

An horizon and just the limit of our sight.

 

Lift us up O Lord, that we may see further.

(Bishop Brent)

All to soon, it came to an end, and I had to head back to Port Elizabeth because we were having dinner with the Stapletons on Saturday evening. But first, I had coffee at the Mugg and Bean in George with Jan Hoogendyk, a preacher, singer and guitarist who works and teaches amongst the under-privileged children in that area.

Two weeks ago, Jan appeared in the Cape Town auditions of MNet’s Idols (South Africa) as Elvis Blue (an ex-pupil of his who died at the age of twelve from HIV/AIDS complications). Elvis brought Mara Louw, one of the judges, to tears with his singing of Bob Dylan’s To Make you Feel My Love and received his Golden Ticket to take him through to the next round at Sun City (and the next round ? … and the next round?) . . .

Those of us who knew her, all felt Ina Scholtz’s love. In Life, as some doors close, others open … thanks for all you do and good luck with your journey and your big dreams, Elvis!