South Africa’s slow descent into chaos

  As an artist I think I’m quite in touch with my surroundings. I am acutely aware of what goes on around me, at least visually. During the past two years I have noticed many changes. Some of these changes are good but some are really bad. 

I’ve noticed a slow slide into chaos during the past two years. People are markedly more agitated and aggresive. Not just on our roads but in almost every interaction I sense real annoyance and almost despair. Yes, yes I know, these are anecdotal and subjective experiences. If you live in some one horse town with a mountain and two goats then move on. I’m talking about the big cities. And the one down there doesn’t count, it’s full of fucking foreigners. It’s not even South African anymore.

Up here, in the 35 degree heat people are getting really pissed off. I don’t know why but women stare you down like you’re a rapist and men have this “what-the-fuck-are-you-looking-at” stare that belongs in C-Max, not in an upmarket shopping mall. Almost every guy is acting like he’s going to be butt-fucked (by me?). Almost every women is acting as if they’re Beyoncé and all us dudes want to get in their pants. Reality check ladies. Most of you are dog ugly and the reason why I’m staring is because I can’t believe the doctor let you live when you were born. 

Recently I started paying attention to BMW drivers (yes, yes, I’ve ranted about them before). Anyway, the more I pay attention, the more I realize that it’s all true. They’re fucking assholes. We make jokes about their indicators not working but just today I drove behind not 2, but 3 bmw’s and none of them had indicators. What is up with that?

Now, since I’ve been paying attention to the cars more than usual I’ve noticed another trend. The VW Amarok drivers. These guys are the worst. Their trucks are so big. I mean very fucking big, but I think it’s in direct proportion to the size of their egos. Testosterone, small brains, big egos, small dicks. That’s them. They have no respect for anything or anyone. Roads mean nothing. Stop signs are in some foreign language. They bully their way through the traffic causing destruction in their wake. These people need to be shot on sight. 

Our country is slowly descending into chaos. People don’t stop at robots anymore. I see people throw plastic bottles out of their cars and just today I witnessed a guy do an illegal u-turn while there’s a traffic cop behind him! He didn’t give a shit. You know why? Because you can buy yourself out of any situation today. The law is for sale. In any event I think the traffic cop was too scared to pull the guy over because he might just get shot. That’s what happens in this city. It’s become the new Lagos of Africa. Cars pull over on the side of the road all time. What the fuck are they doing on the side of the road? Did they get lost? What the fuck is going on? 

We’re on our way to shit street in a speed train and no-one is noticing. Lawlessness, apathy, lethargy, anarchy is around every corner. We’re like the proverbial frog in the hot water. It’s nice and warm now, but by the time we notice we’re boiling it’ll be too late. 

We’re all fucked you know.

Why, why, why?

We all have THAT day. You know, when the world pisses you off so badly you actually search through Junkmail for a weapon of mass destruction. Here is my Why rant for the day.

Why, when you search on Google and select your region as South Africa does is show you search results from Pakistan and the rest of the word? Now that we’re all used to Google, its shortcomings are painfully obvious. Please Google, focus on delivering efficient, intelligent search before putting driverless cars on the roads. If you can’t even give me relevant search results, imagine the fuckup on the N1 you’re going to cause.

Why does iTunes think that Louis Armstrong is a different artist than Louis Armstrong? How fucking difficult can it be to sort your music library without needing to download 10 different apps?

Why does my iPhone not allow me to email more than 5 photos? Seriously Apple, we don’t have fucking dialup modems anymore.

Why can News24 not develop a proper, working mobile website? I mean they belong to Naspers, one of the largest technology investment companies in the world for fucks sakes. It’s real simple you nincompoops. Open your iPad and go to news24.com and see the clusterfuck for yourself.

Why must DSTV have a thousand series on catchup and only 10 movies? We don’t all want to see fucking low budget vampire shows.

Talking about DSTV. They launched their new self service website recently. Holy shit it’s bad. Who’s making these shitty websites anyway. The scary thing is DSTV actually paid for this digital septic tank.

Why all the ads on Jacaranda? Have you listened to Jacaranda lately? They should change the name to Ad Radio with a few songs in between. And the jokes! Please people. You’re not funny ok. Just play the fucking music and shut the fuck up. Please.

Woollies are really going to the dogs. The shelves are so empty that I feel like I’m somewhere in Zimbabwe. Eish! Is the response you get when asking the manager if the Ethiopians raided the store. What’s up Woolies? There’s more stock at the BP convenience shop. And they have better pies.

Firearm Murder in South Africa – the facts

There is so much misinformation out there with distorted facts and selective analysis about crimes committed with firearms in South Africa. The pro gun lobby would let us believe that if guns were outlawed only outlaws would have guns, and to support their claims they regularly cite the few cases where a legal gun owner either defended himself successfully with his firearm or prevented a crime from happening.

Here are some startling facts:

South Africa has one of the highest murder rates by firearm. 21.51 People out of every 100,000 die by the gun. In contrast to this incredibly high number Japan has fewer than 0.06 deaths by firearm. Even our neighbor, Zimbabwe has almost 200 times less deaths by firearm than South Africa, coming in at 0.12 deaths per 100,000.

Japan has managed to reduce its gun related crimes to almost zero by making it virutually impossible to own a gun. They have some of the most onerous gun ownership regimes in the world. In fact, in 2006 only two gun related murders occurred in Japan.

Although we don’t have accurate statistics about illegal gun ownership in South Africa, estimates vary from between 1 – 6 million. We are however not talking about unlicensed guns. In fact, the majority of these firearms are stolen from the legal gun owner and then used in a crime. In 2014 the police and defense force had around 2,000 firearms stolen and 5,500 stolen from private citizens. 

There is no logical argument in support of citizen gun ownership. We need a gun free society in order to become a crime free society.

Banks need to WAKE up and held accountable

PE Police are looking for the man in this photo who might help them in their investigation into the disappearance of PE teacher Jade Panayioutou. The police confirmed on Wednesday that her body had been found.

This is a terrible story but just one of many happening every week in our country. Have a look at the picture of the suspect at the ATM. Can you identify the man? No? Can the police identify the man? No. Why is it that ATM’s have such pathetic cameras? My CCTV security camera at home takes HD video and pictures. Why can the ATM’s not do the same?

Why are the banks not forced to implement proper security at the ATM’s? Countless lives could probably be saved if the banks spent a little more of their enormous profits to secure ATM’s and install high definition cameras. It’s absolutely unacceptable that they continue to ignore their responsibilities.

Come on banks. Do something positive for a change and invest in upgrading your outdated and antiquated technology. Take responsibility. Do something.


ACL Reconstructive Surgery – Be Prepared

imageAnterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL reconstruction) is a surgical tissue graft replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament, located in the knee, to restore its function after anterior cruciate ligament injury. The torn ligament is removed from the knee before the graft is inserted. The surgery is performed arthroscopically.

I tore my ACL during a skiing accident and had the operation 7 days ago. The purpose of this article to help others that are going to have the same surgery. There would be no need for this article if the medical profession had Communication as a subject in medical school. Unfortunately their ability to communicate and explain the procedures, reasons and what to expect during the operation and post-op is less than non-existent. It’s shocking that a surgeon can perform such an invasive procedure on a patient without carefully explaining everything.

I had my accident in France and walked around with a torn ACL and torn Medial Colateral Ligament (MCL) before flying back home. The day after arriving home I went to see the orthopedic surgeon. He looked at my knee and sent me for an MRI. Back in the consultation room he mused over the images of the scan and informed me that I need the operation – the next day.

I tried to ask some questions but it all happened quite fast. He answered them in the typical doctor tone. “It’s quick”. “You’ll be up in no time”. He gave me a brief overview of what he’s going to do in medical terms, of which I understood very little. “See you in the morning”, he said and rushed off to see another patient.

I sat there slightly dazed. Thinking, what the fuck just happened with a thousand questions going through my mind. How long will the recovery be? Will I be able to make my next international trip scheduled for 2 weeks? I was not prepared for what lay ahead mentally. Not in the slightest. In fact I had no fucking idea what was going to happen.

The next day I arrive at the hospital and get settled. At this point, one week after the accident I had very little pain. I was uncomfortable but could walk easily with the brace. The anesthetist comes in to explain that he is going to do Spinal anaesthesia, which basically means that my lower body will be paralyzed during the procedure. A few hours later I’m wheeled out to the theatre and the anesthetist proceeds to stick a needle, which feels more like a leather sewing awl into my spinal cord. It’s then that I have my first experience of what was to come. Excruciating pain shoots through your body as he moves this needle around to inject the liquid.

Within a few minutes my lower body is completely numb and the surgeon proceeds to butcher my leg. He cuts and drills and hammers and carries on like its a Dubai construction site. You don’t feel anything but it sounds horrific. The sound and vibration of the power drill is the worst because you lay there thinking, what the hell is this guy doing? And then you start thinking. It’s gonna hurt like a bitch when the anethesia wears off. It has to. The fucker is using a power drill to make fucking holes in your leg.

Back in the hospital ward your leg is put in a brace. You feel nothing and think to yourself, this isn’t so bad!

3 hours later the feeling comes back slowly. It starts in your feet. By the time you get the feeling back in your legs the pain hits. It hits you like a wrecking ball, and there’s no naked Miley Cirus sitting on it to distract you. It hits you hard.

5 hours in and you are buzzing the nurse to bring the pharmacy of mind numbing drugs. She injects you in your ass but that only helps for a few hours. Then the pain comes flooding back like a tsunami. You call the nurse again and she brings more tablets. The first night you have no sleep. Nada. I don’t care your religious conviction. I don’t care if you’re an atheist. You will pray. I prayed to every god possible hoping that one of the sons of bitches was listening. No, they weren’t listening. The fuckers were sleeping while you felt like finding a angle grinder to cut of the leg.

The next day they clean the bandages and remove the blood drain. The physiotherapist comes and starts explaining to you what you need to do for the next few days. Have to keep the brace on at all times, even in the shower. Do excersises in bed to activate your muscles. Ice packs to reduce swelling and they give you a little bag of pain killers to take home. I remember looking at the bag and asking the nurse where’s the big box. This is surely not enough.

You get home and immediately get in bed. You drink your pain killers but soon realize you can only drink the tablets every 6 hours but they only work for 4. Which means that for 2 hours you are gnarling your teeth and clenching your fists. The pain is excruciating.

The worst is the immobility. The muscles in your leg, especially the quads start cramping. The cramps turn into spasms that don’t go away no matter how much you massage them. You do your excersises as instructed but by god I was not prepared for this. Trying to sleep is impossible. I can’t sleep on my back so I try and turn on my side at night. Big mistake. Each attempt at turning wakes you up in a cold sweat. You can’t find a comfortable position because of the brace.

Day 2 it slowly starts getting better. At least you are not in pain 24 hours of the day. You have times when you feel ok. And then the constipation kicks in. Man oh man. The meds has fucked up your stomach and sitting on a toilet with a fully extended leg brace is not fun.

Showering is very difficult because you are putting all your weight on your good leg. It tires after a while. You have to wrap your leg in plastic because your bandages aren’t allowed to get wet. That in itself is a mammoth task if you don’t have any help.

Day 3 and you can start moving a little on the crutches without wanting to pass out. But you can’t remain on your feet too long or your leg swells up like the Hinderberg. Lots of ice packs reduce the swelling and help to manage the pain.

Day 7, and I am writing this blog. For the past 7 days I have slept a maximum of 3 hours a night. You can’t escape the pain and the discomfort. The cramps are excruciating and my heel is becoming extremely sensitive from carrying the weight of my leg. One forgets how easy it is with a normal leg to just bend it the moment you feel discomfort. With the brace on you can’t do that. It just remains straight and its rebelling.

At this point your muscles start deteriorating. You visibly lose muscle mass, no matter the excersises you do. Atrophy is a big concern because the more muscle you lose the longer it’s going to take to recover.

On day 10 I will be back a the doctor so that they can remove the bandages and adjust the brace for more flexion. I can’t wait to get back so that I can tell the surgeon just how bad his communication skills are.

Some people might be saying that I’m exaggerating or can’t handle pain. That’s bullshit. I can handle more pain than anyone I know. It’s also dangerous to listen to people that had the op a long time ago. They forget the early stages of recovery quickly and remember coming out of the recovery. My research indicates that what I am recounting here is the norm, not the exception.

So what is normal? What can you realistically expect?

You can expect:

  • Not just be down, but to be mind fuckingly depressed after this surgery
  • Not be able to do anything
  • Need someone around you for a while after the surgery. I don’t mean a few hours, I mean like a couple weeks.
  • Be in extraordinary pain
  • Be on so many drugs you can’t see or think
  • Be crying

Some tips that can help you through this:

  • Elevate your bed by placing books under the legs of the bed in front. Elevating the leg reduces swelling. Don’t put a cushion under you leg. That’s bad.
  • Ice, ice, ice and more ice. It helps the pain and reduces the swelling.
  • Make sure you have enough pain killers. You don’t want to run out on a weekend in the middle of the night.
  • Exercise your leg but don’t over exercise in the first 2 weeks. Exercise is critical to get extension and activate the muscles, but over exercise can cause bleeding and more severe cramps.
  • Be prepared to be in bed for the first 10 days.
  • Don’t worry about flexion. Focus on extension. Straighten you leg fully and flex your quads. Extension is more important than flexion.
  • Do lots of foot pumps to improve circulation
  • Use a cusion between your legs when you sleep. It allows your leg to rest on the cusion taking some strain of the leg.
  • Massage you leg muscles regularly. It will increase circulation and reduce cramping
  • Be prepared for a fairly long recovery. It will take 9 months for your leg to heal properly and even then most people only get their leg to 65%.
  • Think carefully about going back to sport. You can easily re injure the leg and will then have to go through all this again.
  • Watch you diet. Eat lots of fibre and drink lots of water. Take medication for constipation if it doesn’t clear up.

No matter what anyone says, even your doctor. You will have a bumb knee for the rest of your life. If you are one of the lucky ones that made a full recovery and got back to previous levels of activity you are the exception.

I hope this helps some unfortunate soul that has to go through the same procedure. Would I have gone through with the surgery had I known about all the above? Yes. But I wouldn’t have been trawling the Internet at 3am every morning trying to find out if there is something fundamentally fucked up with me. I would have expected it and would have been much more relaxed.

It gets better every day.

Good luck.

Marthinus

It’s a Sad Story

It’s a Sad Story

While I am sitting at home in the dark I am thinking about all my travels and the incredible places I have seen. Yes, I’m in the dark. Not because of load shedding but because the power went off during a storm. We had load shedding earlier in the day but the power goes off at the slightest whim. At least 6 times a week.

The guard is patrolling outside in the rain. I can see his flashlight beam bouncing off the trees and reflecting off the rain drops. There are flashes of lightning every few seconds. It’s almost 11:30pm. The dogs are lying close to me. It’s as if they can sense that when it rains like this it’s more dangerous than ever. The bad guys know that people think they won’t invade their homes in the rain. In fact, they love the rain because it masks the sound and it’s dark, especially when the power is off. It’s a dangerous time to be on a farm.

I check the electric fence again. Just to make sure the battery backups are all working. I check the doors again. I look through the window to see where the guard is. I call him on the two-way radio. He sounds nervous.

I check the cars outside through the window. Just a week or two ago the bastards stole the wheels off one of the cars and the wheels off the trailer. They managed to lift the car and put bricks underneath the chassis. It’s standing there, miserable, waiting for new set of wheels. They came back again a few days later, probably to get the wheels off the other cars as well. Luckily we saw them coming.

We’re a mere 12km from town but it’s pitch dark. The radio crackles. One of the workers report back that the power is off in the entire area. We have to make sure you see, because the bastards sometimes cut the power to the farm.

I worry about the irrigation pump that needs replacing. It’s the second one they have stolen in less than two months. The insurance company is refusing to pay for this last one. That’s more than R10,000 down the drain. The last time we welded the bloody thing onto two steel railway blocks. I wouldn’t be able to get the motor off with a tractor. They did. Fuck knows how.

I check the cellphone. Battery is ok. That’s important because we don’t have land lines. The cables were repeatedly stolen 10 years ago and Telkom refuses to replace them. No phones, no electricity. Thank god we have water.

I’ve been trying to sell this place. The home where my kids grew up. The home where mom and dad lived with us. I was made an offer about 7 years ago. Today I can’t sell it for 20% of what I was offered back then. We are economic prisoners.

So, I think about other places. Other countries. Countries where you have electricity all day, every day. Countries where the only people that have armed guards are politicians. Countries where there are phone lines and broadband everywhere. Countries where the marginal tax rate is a mere 15%.

I think about the places I have visited where you get into a load of trouble if you jaywalk. Where you receive a spot fine for littering and where urinating in the street will get you locked up for the night.

Yes, there are countries where basic services are actually delivered. Where municipalities actually function and where the police actually manage to uphold the law and protect their citizens. There are places out there where you can walk into a supermarket and buy absolutely anything and when you come out there are no car guards harassing you for R5. Where you don’t have to double check if your car is locked because someone might be jamming your remote.

There are many countries where the life expectancy is over 80. We are at number 159 on the list with a paltry life expectancy of 61. Yes, there are countries out there where you will actually live longer. I mean, The Sudanese have a higher life expectancy than us.

I think about my kids and in particular about my son. A white Afrikaner male. I think only the SS during the Second World War was more hated than white Afrikaner males in South Africa today. We are the oppressors, the occupiers, the colonists. We are viewed as the cause of all suffering and pain in this country. My son is too, even though apartheid was over by the time he was born. And for this reason he will probably struggle to find a job in the country. He is doomed like so many other young white men. Doomed by law. Doomed by Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative Action. A necessary correction at the expense of our youth.

I have deep roots here. My family has a rich and long history here. From arriving at the Cape of Good Hope in the 1680’s, to trekking across the Drakensberg mountains to fighting the British during the Anglo Boer War. The roots are deep.

But, it is time to go. It’s time to leave this god forsaken country and go on our own little Great Trek across the oceans. To start a new life and build a new future. I will no longer be part of this failed country. A country filled with criminals, murderers and corrupt politicians. I will not wait until I have to bury a child or a wife. I will not allow my children to get married and bear children in this place.

For years we have been told that we are not wanted here. So I will leave, with my taxes and my job creation, and my businesses and my skills. They can have this country. My ancestors have moved many times before and I will do the same. They can keep it. Destroy it. Take the farms. Pilage the stores. Make more labor laws to protect the incompetent. The country is burning while our president laughs.

Bullshit Everywhere

Bullshit Everywhere

The lies, pretence, fakeness is everywhere.

What’s happening to our society or has it always been like this? Everywhere you look you are confronted by smoke and mirrors, lies, distortions and bullshit. Let me give you a few examples. With the huge information overload that we are faced with today we spend countless hours trying to find relevant and true information. We spend more time dissecting information than actually reading anything.

Online it’s the worst. I wish someone would come up with credible research about the accuracy of information on the web. I will bet my best Cuban cigar that less than 5% of everything on the Internet is not utter and absolute bullshit. Even the largest news services are riddled with inaccuracies and even outright lies. Retailers are lying online all the time to flog their products and services to the unsuspecting (read stupid) public. Every product has some ridiculous claim that it can do something but once delivered you discover that it was an exaggeration or a outright lie. “This wifi router has a 50m range.” Bullshit. It’s range is 1 fucking meter. “This insurance product is the cheapest.” Rubbish. Read the fucking small print. After all the excess you pay, it’s twice as expensive as any other product!

Governments are using the Internet to lie to us all the time. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter is full of government propaganda. It’s so bad that you actually cannot believe anything you read or see anymore unless you spend a few hours researching at Snopes and other verification services.

On TV everyone is lying, all the time. “Watch this great movie! It’s the number one box office show!“. Don’t bother, it’s crap. “Read this great book! It’s a classic!“. Don’t bother, it’s the worst book ever written and the author should be publicly executed. You just have to walk through Dischem (local pharmacy) to be confronted by the world’s greatest collection of bullshit. Every shelf is filled with bullshit claims. This will make you better, that will help you lose weight, that will help you build muscle blah bullshit blah.

But it get worse, because the bullshit doesn’t stop at companies or people trying to sell you stuff. People themselves are full of bullshit. There is not a day when meeting with someone that my bullshit detector does not go absolutely fucking ballistic. The bullshit from people is sometimes off the chart. Friends, family, I don’t care, they are all full of bullshit. Why?

Why do people feel the need to lie and exaggerate and con? Why not just be yourself and be truthful, all the time? You’re not impressing anyone, because in fact everyone knows you’re talking bullshit. As a society we’re so used to it because the bullshit flowing through the air has contaminated everyone. We are literally all covered in shit.

Take off the mask and be yourself. Don’t support companies that lie and cheat to sell their products. Name and shame them. Tell your friends. But don’t lie to them ok?