Home-schoolers accuse government of steam-rolling new policy on home education

PHOTO: Oupa Nkosi, M&G

South African Homeschooling organisations have accused the government of steam-rolling through a new policy on home education and a home schooling advocate foresees significant legal battles ahead over alleged serious legal shortcomings associated with the policy, says the Pestalozzi Trust (PT) in a press release.

Despite a last-minute outcry by as many as 1 000 home-schooling parents last week, who the PT says wrote to the Department of Basic Education (DBE) asking for the new home education policy to be released to the public for study, the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) has approved the policy for promulgation by DBE Minister Angie Motshekga.

Parents requests called ‘spamming’
In a statement released on Monday the DBE says the DBE approval of the policy follows an “extensive and all-encompassing” consultation process that spanned four years. It adds that it “is aware that a small grouping is opposed to the policy and has been spamming departmental officials requesting that the policy not be promulgated”, and it is confident the policy ensures that every child has the right to basic education as enshrined in the constitution.

The DBE also says in its statement that it received a total of 740 submission in the consultation process and reviewed the home education policy after having considered “progressive inputs”.

The ACDP shares many of the concerns of the home education community, including that home education under the current act is treated as a form of independent education and that aspects of the draft policy are measures appropriate to public education, says the party in a press statement released yesterday.

ACDP Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley said that “the ACDP is of the opinion that the policy is unworkable in practice. Under-resourced provincial education departments will not be able to cope with the administrative burden of the policy, and significant additional costs will be placed on home educating families”.

She also said the DBE’s statement about having considered “progressive inputs” implies that any submission they decided was not “progressive” was not considered as part of the policy review.

Input disregarded
“This is exactly what the community most affected by this policy are saying — their input has been disregarded.” Dudley said.

The PT press statement reports that Bouwe van der Eems, chairperson of the trust, which is a legal defence fund for home and community education, says: “The Pestalozzi Trust
requested a copy of the final version of the policy in order to confirm that the DBE listened to the comments of the nearly 700 homeschooling families who had made submissions on the draft Policy.

“After multiple attempts over more than the last six months to engage with the DBE, the Trust was merely informed that all comments were analysed ‘in a fair, just and a
credible manner’ and will be submitted to Council for Education Ministers for approval. Members of the home education movement wanted to verify if their fundamental concerns were addressed”.

He also stressed that home-schoolers wanted to be aware of the contents of the policy to allow them an opportunity to engage with their elected representatives before the policy was finalised, says PT in its press release.

Not only was the DBE unwilling to release the final version of the policy to the public, it was not even willing to divulge to those parents who called in whether a CEM meeting would take place, or whether home education was on the agenda. Other parents struggled to get hold of officials, says the PT.

Emails deleted
A home educator, Mrs Anelle Burger, says: “I sent an email and tried to follow up with phone calls. Despite numerous tries my calls were never answered. Many fellow home educators reported that they received notification that their emails were deleted without having been read. I wonder if the same happened to my emails?”

This is not the first time that home educators have inundated the DBE with requests to be involved in the regulatory and legislative process. Despite learners engaged in home-based education being approximately 1% of the total number of learners in South Africa, submissions by home educators accounted for a significant portion of the comments received on the controversial Basic Education Law Amendments (BELA) Bill when the DBE called for public comment late last year.

Chairperson of the Association for Homeschooling, Shaun Green, says: “Throughout the flawed consultation process there has been an unprecedented response from the homeschooling community to both the policy and proposed amendments to the Act. Input from the people this affects most has been substantially ignored. It is amazing to witness policy-makers ignoring what the DBE Director General Mathanzima Mweli in November 2017 said ‘the word avalanche would not describe’. One can only assume that the DBE believes that their steamroller is bigger than an ‘indescribable avalanche’.”

Legal battles forseen
Advocate Megan Puchert of the Eastern Cape Home School Association sees significant legal battles ahead: “I place the legal validity of the Policy in question, as there are problems with the empowering provisions. This is very serious. It also seems as though the findings of the 2001 Constitutional Court case, Minister of Education v Harris, were never considered when this policy was drafted and approved. I foresee that the Minister of Education will now have to deal with these issues through very expensive, and unnecessary, litigation.”

She says: “It seems as though the cart was placed before the horse. Changes to the SA Schools Act are still being debated and discussed, whereas several of these
proposed changes have been incorporated into the policy through a back door.”

PT’s Van der Eems says: “A policy based on a flawed public participation process will merely increase conflict. A policy based on a law that does not yet exist will cause chaos. The correct way forward is that the drafting of the policy is postponed until the BELA Bill passes through parliament and an amended Schools Act is promulgated. Only the minister can stop the promulgation of a policy that will merely promote conflict and chaos and instead initiate a drafting process based on the rule of law and meaningful public participation.”

In its Monday statement in which it dismisses parents’ emails as spam, the DBE says it held its first consultation meeting with the home education community and other stakeholders in October 2014.

Consultation process
The DBE statement says: “The meeting was attended by representatives from home education associations, Pestalozzi Trust, independent curriculum providers,ISASA, Umalusi, South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute, South African Institute for Distance Education, Department of Higher Education and Training, and the Department of Basic Education (DBE). In this meeting home education stakeholders presented national and international research to the DBE. The home education community expressed appreciation for the opportunity as it was the first time ever that the state engaged them on the practice, whether pre- and/or post 1994.

“A second consultation meeting with stakeholders was held in July of the following year where a discussion document was presented and a working group was set up involving all stakeholders. Unfortunately some of the stakeholders resigned from this process citing disagreements with the document, and that they would not be seen as part of the DBE team to review the 1999 policy.

“The working Group however was able to continue with its work until the draft policy was gazetted in November 2017 for the public to make submissions within 21 days. The Department received numerous requests from the public to extend the submission date to which it obliged and the new closing date for submissions, 31 January 2018, was communicated to the public.

“A total of 740 submissions were received and DBE acknowledged receipt to all who submitted. Between February and July 2018, the working group captured submissions received, analysed them and reviewed the policy after having considered progressive inputs.

“The policy was presented to DBE management structures, and approved by Heads of Education Department Committee (HEDCOM) to be tabled at a CEM meeting for promulgation. The CEM of 19 July 2018 approved the policy. The Department is currently preparing a gazette for promulgation.”




God has a sweet tooth — Hannah Viviers

I can see you cringe at my heading — or maybe you’re chuckling — either way it’s going to be a fun article … I hope.

A while ago I asked our editor here at Gateway News, Andre Viljoen, if I could write articles around the nutrition/health connection.

So here goes…

Healthy eating ‘research’ confusing
Working in the health arena I come across tons of information regarding health. There’s a lot of contradiction from various sources which can make healthy eating confusing.

There are plenty ‘research papers’ and ‘studies’ on nutrition so it’s hard to know what to follow.

I put research in inverted commas because we now know that a lot of what is called ‘research’ is paid-for propaganda by various interests. Meaning, the ‘findings’ of many ‘research’ papers are not real results but rather what the funders of those ‘studies’ want us to believe.

I shared this with Andre who said: “Research keeps changing. But the Word of God never changes.”

This was liberating.

Since then whenever I had a question about information on nutrition I would refer to Scripture to find out what God has said.

Which brings me to my heading about God having a sweet tooth.

Is it in our DNA?
The primary way many folks satisfy their sweet tooth is with sugary foods and drinks.

We know sugar is one of the leading triggers for weight gain, disease, sleeping disorders and all sorts of other dysfunctions in our body.

Many of us have heard of the highly addictive nature of sugar. We’re told sugar is even more addictive than cocaine.

Why is it that many people, (yes, even Christians), are addicted to sugar?

Why does this one taste have such a pull on us?

This question led me to wondering if perhaps our draw to sweet tastes was part of our design.

What the Bible says
I remembered Andre’s advice and started combing my mind for what I could remember in the Bible about ‘sweet’ tastes.

I giggled as the many references to ‘sweet’ in the Bible came to me.

Tickled by the many references, I came to the conclusion that surely God must have a sweet tooth!

Being created in His image, was it possible that our seemingly irresistible connection with sweet tastes had been downloaded to us from our Dad in Heaven?

We know from Genesis 1:29 that fruit was one of the primary foods God gave Adam and Eve to eat in the garden.

Most fruit as we know it is incredibly sweet.

When God described the Promised Land He had purposed to give the Children of Israel, He spoke of a land flowing with milk and honey — honey, there’s that sweet element again.

While they were in the wilderness, God fed His people manna from Heaven, which the Bible tells us: …was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey — Exodus 16:31.

Talk about sweet!

There are many other mentions of sweet in the Bible, but I’ll leave it there.

We can all relate
I don’t believe God would’ve given us so many naturally sweet foods if He Himself didn’t have a sweet tooth.

I believe that the “sweet-tooth” most of us have is a direct gene from our Father.

When we look at the various diets, Ketogenic, Paleo, Vegan, GAPS, Raw etc what they all have in common is the obvious love for sweet tastes.

We may disagree on different tastes but when it comes to sweet many of us can absolutely correlate the taste of sweet with a sense of good and pleasure.

What better way for God to describe some wonderfully pleasurable concepts in His Word than tapping into a sense most of us can fully relate to?

So what’s the problem?
The problem we have with having a sweet tooth comes when we consume unnatural or heavily processed sugars.

These are sugars that are either extracts from the real thing, (like sugar from sugar cane), or various other toxic sweeteners (like Aspartame) that are a far cry from what God intended for our bodies to consume.

It’s no wonder our bodies react negatively to these sugars.

For some people the negative reactions become so severe all kinds of disease are triggered — because these are sugars our bodies were not designed to process.

Through my work as a Health and Body Detox Coach, I repeatedly see people’s health significantly improve by cutting out nasty sugars, and replacing them with highly beneficial, naturally sweet foods such as raw organic honey, sweet potato (which is amazing for our good gut bacteria), apples which are a powerful detoxifier and so many other naturally sweet foods.

Sweet is good. But it has to be the right kind of sweet, in the right amounts.




SA primed for great breakthrough, says Bill Johnson

“I feel like South Africa is so primed for one of the greatest breakthroughs the world has ever seen,” a visibly-moved Bill Johnson told a hushed gathering at the opening session of the Kingdom Come SA conference at Family Church International, Johannesburg last night.

“I burn with that conviction — I am not just saying it,” the Bethel Church leader said in a live telecast from his home in Redding, California.

It would be just like God to make South Africa, which is far away from the major developed nations of the world, central to a move that He was doing all across the earth, said Johnson, who was not able to join his son, Eric, pastor of Bethel Church, and Banning Liebscher, founder and leader of Jesus Culture, on a visit to SA for the conference, after his wife Benni had to undergo surgery last week.

Johnson appeared to be deeply emotional at times during his message which focused on lessons from the life of a great biblical revivalist and reformer, King Hezekiah, who ended badly after he lost his passion for God and his concern for the next generations (I Kings18- 21),

After the session, conference co-host John Crumpton, leader of Breakthru Life Church, said that Johnson, who was able to see his SA audience in the packed auditorium during the live telecast, had explained that while he had been speaking to the SA gathering, the presence of God that he experienced in Redding had been so powerful that he had felt overwhelmed.

At the start of his message he said he was touched by the hunger and humility that he sensed in the audience of believers from all over the country.

Johnson’s teaching included the amazing achievements of King Hezekiah over most of his kingsship — including restoring Israel to a place of worship not seen since the reign of King David — and his final mistakes which had a disastrous impact on succeeding generations.

Drawing on the biblical lessons and his conviction that God was about to move mightily in SA, he urged — and prayed for — South African believers to maintain an authentic hunger for God and tender hearts before Him that did not turn into entitlement as they experienced increased favour.

He called on South African Christians to model to the world hearts that continually burned for God and burned for leaving a legacy for their children and grandchildren.




Schools not appealing against OGOD judgment

FOR SA says schools should not be intimidated into not exercising their rights to practice faith, invite Christian ministries

Attorneys acting for the six public schools that were targeted by activist group OGOD over their religious practices have advised that they will not be appealing the judgment delivered by the Johannesburg High Court on June 27 2017, reports Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA).

In a commentary on the decision posted on its website FOR SA writes: “This means that the judgment stands, and that (in terms of the declaratory order made by the court) it is illegal for a public school:

  • to promote or allow its staff to promote that it, as a public school, adheres to only one or predominantly only one religion to the exclusion of others; and
  • to hold out that it promotes the interests of any one religion in favour of others.

“Since this judgment will affect all 24 000+ public schools in South Africa, it is important both for public schools and religious practitioners or ministries working into public schools, to understand the practical implications. In this regard, see a blog prepared by FOR SA.

“Since the judgment, OGOD’s Hans Pietersen has delivered letters of demand on 29 more public schools across South Africa, demanding compliance with (his interpretation of) the OGOD judgment. As a result, some schools are turning away Christian ministries who have been working with them for some time.

“However, neither this judgment nor the law prohibits religious observances per se. We therefore advise all public schools not to have a knee-jerk reaction based upon fear of non-compliance based upon what is typically a misunderstanding.

“FOR SA has prepared a guideline for schools and religious practitioners or ministries working into schools, to advise what the OGOD judgment practically means and how they can make sure their religious policy or rules fall within the boundaries of the law. For a copy of the guideline, please e-mail us at legal@forsa.org.za,”

In another post FOR SA reports it has been participating in a Department of Basic Education task team on drawing up and implementing a charter on rights and responsibilities for religious conduct in learning environments.

It says the department hopes to finalise the draft charter by mid-August whereafter it will be presented to the Minister for consideration. Once the minister is satisfied with the draft, it will be published for public comment and will be available on the FOR SA website.




ACDP wants women to have ultrascans before aborting

Ultrasound picture of baby. (PHOTO: istock via Times LIVE)

Originally published in Times LIVE

The African Christian Democratic Party is proposing a bill to amend the Termination of Pregnancy Act to ensure women receiving an abortion after 12 weeks must first receive an ultra-sound and counselling.

The ACDP’s Cheryllyn Dudley said a mandatory ultrasound would show the women visuals of their foetus to help ensure they know what they are doing.

“It is a huge decision and a decision about life and death. They need information.”

She also wants women considering abortion after 12 weeks to have counselling.

“We want to ensure that women who feel they don’t have any alternative can hear what options are available.

“The bill is to protect women at a very difficult time.

“We need to be society that provides a safety net to these women.”

She also said they needed to be told about adoption as an option.

“No child should ever ever be a child that deserves to die simply because its parents feel they can’t afford a child.”

The bill is open for public comment until August 11. It will then be presented to a parliamentary private bill committee and likely opened for public hearings.

Asked if the failing health system was able to offer every woman wanting to terminate pregnancy an ultrasound‚ Dudley said: “South Africa needs to get with 21st century. It is a simple technology.”




Lecrae shares his testimony in gripping ‘I am second’ video

Originally published in Charisma News

Lecrae is the biggest Christian rapper there is — but he wasn’t always a Christian. Once upon a time, Lecrae was a lost young man, hurt by abuse and his father’s abandonment. He looked to rappers as his role models — but then found the greatest role model of all.




Young PE entrepreneur nailing her goals in style

Nakhane “Rory” Dayile (PHOTO: Ntomboxolo Matiwane)

NMMU third year retail management student Nakhane “Rory” Dayile, 20, is unfolding herself as an innovative, enthusiastic and ambitious entrepreneur.

The young founder of Port Elizabeth nail salon Royal Nails PE says her love for doing nails started with her late mother buying her mini nail kits when she was a child.

As a student at NMMU she found she couldn’t afford to pay R200 or more for a set of nails, and so she decided to teach herself and offer quality nails at reasonable prices to students.

She started her business in her small bachelor flat in Summerstrand. At first she didn’t have a table but after four to five months she moved to a neighbouring house.

“Thank God there was a table and chairs” says Dayile.

She says she enjoys learning new skills and is very independent.

“DIY’s are one of the many things that brought me to this point in my nail career. I always tell myself there’s nothing I can’t do if I put my mind, body and soul into it”, she says.

Over time Dayile kept on adding new nail care supplies, and her business grew from there.

Successful experiences
“I’m not sure which experience I would say is the most successful because I feel that there are those small intimate moments I have with my clients where we can connect and have a great conversation while also satisfying their needs.

“Making my clients happy is always my most successful experience. Additionally, being on BayTv for Youth in Business and being nominated as ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’ by Enactus were unbelievable moments too.

“My only recipe for making my business a success is to always ‘rise and grind’.

“No matter what I’ve told myself this is what I want and I’m willing to fight for it. I always push myself to do better and always educate myself about the nail industry and what’s trending,” she says.

Dayile says she balances her business appointments with her university commitments, working very flexible hours.

Engagement in her business
She says her clients get to relax from their busy schedules and gain flawless nails at the same time.

“Also, I offer very unique nails aligned with the individual’s wants and needs, which will make them stand out from everyone and most importantly make them feel like a queen.

“Royal Nails PE is definitely going to expand in the near future. However, for now you can expect some collaborations, more treatments on the price list (full pedicures and massages) and also Royal Nails’ own bottle of cuticle oil.”

Gratitude
“God has been my guide, protector and  blesser. My business has grown because of the strength and love He has given me through my clients. I am grateful every day that I am able to wake up and do what I love and most importantly, love what I do. Thank you God of nails and of everything,” she says.

Looking further ahead, Dayile says: “I see RN being a global phenomenon, providing nail services to celebrities for red carpet events.

“The main objective is to open up a nail and beauty school where women and men from disadvantaged backgrounds can be taught this amazing skill. By teaching them, we can open doors for employment for them and/or they can even start up their own business.

“Empowering women and the youth in general and motivating them to reach their full potential is another goal. Lastly, having my own range of nail products (e.g. nail polish, gel polish, hand and body scrubs hand and nail creams, etc.), that are not harmful to the environment and to the individual.”

Word of encouragement
In a word of encouragement to young entrepreneurs, she says: “Never give up on your business or passion. I treat my business like a baby (who’s turning one year old in two weeks by the way), by nurturing my ideas, feeding my mind with new nail trends, information and then practicing in order to meet clients’ needs and wants. Another thing is to take care of yourself so that you can be able to take care and grow the business.

“Lastly, believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you, you can’t do anything.”

More information about Royal Nails PE is available on Facebook (Royal Nails PE), Instagram (@royalnailspe) and by emailing royalnailssa@gmail.com




The fight back — Sophie’s story (Chapter 1)

Sophie is a South African working mom who recently became a Christian. But her abusive, gangster ex-boyfriend continues to disrupt and endanger her life. She says her faith is helping her to fight back. But it is hard. This is her story. It’s a reality too many South African women face every day. Because Sophie shares her story at length, we are publishing it in three chapters. Names and places are changed for safety reasons.
It’s Friday the 13th…
While the world may be engulfed in superstition of what this day may bring, I was enjoying a nice, normal day.

Morning rituals done, productive day at work, en-route home…

My phone goes haywire in my handbag and when I saw his name full on my screen, I just got this weird feeling in my stomach. My ex is calling.

Usually I would not answer his calls – especially while travelling public transport – but seeing that our daughter is turning three one of these days, we are quite civil in the arrangements for her birthday party.

“Hi?” I hold my breath for a short while.

“Where are you now?”

“On my way home. Why?”

“I will get you halfway. Will pick you up, so I can give you the rest of the money.” Referring to the rest of the amount he promised for the party.

“Okay.” Deep down I knew it couldn’t be a good idea, but this time it is different. It’s just for my daughter. The first party she will ever have.

On the way to his house, we have a light conversation.

His brother and girlfriend are home and they greet and talk as if no time has passed between us all.

While in conversation, he asks for my phone. I unlock and give it to him, no questions asked.
A few moments later he starts to question me on photos I took not too long ago. Photos with my family members, I might add.

Seeing it as frivolous and trivial, I explain each setting as he goes through each one. One catches his eye and he hovers over it, then asks me in a louder voice this time: “And where is this?!”

I look at this picture we took at the beach. Me with a few girlfriends, posing in our bathing costumes underneath a cover-up dress. Still not understanding the frustration he so desperately tries to hide, I tell him who’s who and where we were.

Maybe it is because I don’t comprehend the gravity of his distress, or I’m too naïve to remember what this man is capable of… I do not know. But the next few moments change my view of him forever.

He starts shouting at me for exposing my body in such a manner and smacks me, right in front of the audience. I get upset, because what is he on about? And to top it all, it is to no concern to him as we are no longer together!

Yet, I keep my tone low to cool him down. “I was with my family, you saw them in the other pics? And I am wearing this thing over it. It covers my whole body…”

Yet, no words can quench the fire in his eyes…

He starts shoving me around and hits me over the head with my phone. The other two slowly and silently move out of the room and leave me alone with him. He goes outside and speedily returns with something in his hand. He lifts it high and bashes me with it. An iron bar.

I start to cover my face. The agony of each blow on my arms, shoots through my whole body. He strikes again, every time aiming for my head. I cannot shield myself with my arms any longer and he hits me over the head again. A stream of blood fountains to the floor.

“Stop!”

He does not listen…

“Please stop!”

It’s like no words hit his ears, as he continues to hit hard, blow after blow…

Suddenly silence… It’s dark all around me.

“Call out to The Lord” — a loud voice resounds in my ear. I pray in silence to God, to help me.

As if curtains opened, light break through and this man is hovering over me, with eyes wide in shock. That’s when I know I must have been unconscious. I do not know when or how I landed flat on my back, on the floor.

He stretches out his arm to help me get up. Blood still streaming all over my face and on my clothes, he realises what he has done. “Go upstairs and clean yourself up.”

He shoves me upstairs into the bathroom and he brings me a clean cloth and towel.

I clean myself up and in my mind I am getting ready to go home. My family did not even know where I went after work. It was just supposed to be a short visit.

He leads my out of the bathroom and shoves me into his room. He locks the door from the outside.
This time I knew, it may be over with me…

Before he used to get mad and hit me, but not as badly as today. He really was furious, slightly more than the other times…

With no phone close by, I just have to sit and wait to see what he decides my fate to be.

In his room there are screens linked to the cameras that are set up all around the house. The whole time I watch his every move. He fidgets in the garage, then he moves to the front of the house. Up and down, up and down. Then he disappears.

In the early morning hours I hear him coming up the stairs. I pretend that I am asleep. He swings open the door and I pray to God that he is calmed down now and will take me home.

“We have to go somewhere.” He mentions the place and I know it is close by, so maybe if he does what he has to there, he will take me home afterwards. I can only hope.

He idles the bakkie outside and comes back to fetch me.

All this time, his brother and girlfriend are nowhere to be seen.

He drags me into the vehicle by my hair, while cussing and clearly still mad.

We pass the place he said he had to be. Further and further away…

When we take the N7 turn-off, I know this could be the last time I ever see my hometown. He will kill me and dispose of my body.

I do not want to aggravate him by asking any questions, so I just internally pray as as we move along. I close my eyes a few times, so he may think I am sleeping, but I am actually praying in my mind and planning my escape.

But I do not know any place nearby. Will I get to someone who can help me in time? If I can get away from him and hide anywhere, how will I get home? I could jump out while he is driving, but what if I hurt myself and upset him even more? I have to fight my tears, silence and compliance are the only option.

Later, I gather all the courage I have left and ask him where we are going.

“I have to take care of something. I could not send you home, looking like this.”

He is referring to my swollen face. I look in the mirror in front of me and almost my whole left eye is swollen shut. It is as warm as coals when I touch it. On my forehead, the scar from which the blood streamed, is closed. And tiny. I could actually not believe so much blood came from such a small snit. My head is pounding.

Hours pass and all the way I think of my small children. They will be motherless. I greeted my family in the morning thinking we would see each other again, but it may never happen…

We stop at a garage and I consider running up to one of the employees and asking him to phone the police. Fear grips me when I remember how he used to hurt other people in front of me. That skinny guy at the till is no match for him. He could have a heavy weapon on him in any case, so he could hurt even more people than just me. I have to stay put.

I engage in normal conversation with him. To remind him of who I am. He used to love me, I was his girlfriend before. If he can only remember, he will not do anything to hurt me.

His temper has subsided by the time we reach our destination.

It is a room he booked at a hotel. He checks in while I stand in the background as ordered, to hide my face from anybody we may encounter. Once settled in, he leaves me again. “I have to be somewhere.”

I have this whole place to myself and I could run out any time, but fear keeps me locked up in the room. I do not know if he is just around the corner, or when he’ll be back. I have to play it safe, just for the slightest chance of survival.

I use the ice in the bucket in the room and roll it in a cloth to get the swelling down. It is so painful, but I force myself to keep it on my face. I take a R20 of his money lying around and hide it in my shoe. Just in case I will need it later.

Later I  become so tired from the whole ordeal, that somewhere during these early morning hours, I fall asleep…

He comes back after settling his business and I ask him to take me to hospital. By this time I can’t move my head. Every movement sends a sharp shot of pain through my spine. Amazingly he agrees and goes in with me to see a doctor.

I am sent for x-rays. By this time my stomach is also growling, so I reluctantly, yet courageously ask for something to eat. He probably feels the same, as he immediately agrees to go. I ordered all my favourites as I know this will take a while to gather and he knows in his heart he owes me at least that. He now leaves my phone with me. “Phone me when you are done.” I nod.

When he disappears around the corner, I immediately phone my sister. The worry in her voice overpowers her ability to clearly grasp what is really going on. “No you can’t phone the police! Just now they go to his house and his family lets him know they were there!”

She wants to come fetch me right there and then, but I know a few hours’ travel lies between us and by that time he would have the phone back. Where would they find me? “Just please, wait until I get home. I just wanted to let you know where I am.”

We say goodbye and I put the phone down, just in case he comes back. We continue chatting via WhatsApp and I explain every detail. As we chat, I delete our conversations.

He returns when the x-rays are done and I go to the doctor again with the results. As I enter his room I whisper to him: “He did this to me.” He nods in understanding.

The images show I had a concussion.

My ex comes to sit next to me and the words of this wise man in his profession just blow me away: “Why would you hit this girl?”

I experience that moment where your whole body just goes numb. I do not know how to salvage this situation. ”Doctor, I have to go back with this man!” I wanted to scream. My ex just looks at me as if to see if it was me who said anything and I just shrug my shoulders. I do not know where this doctor would get such an idea. Maybe the doc saw the tension between us, that he left the whole story? Only he would know.

The doctor makes more scribbles on his document and he writes out a prescription for me.

We go back to the hotel and I eat my meal in silence. What is this man’s plan?

“When you are done, we will leave.”

I can’t hide my smile and want to shout in joy. I am going home!!!

I send my sister a short message to let her know we are coming. I know she will not reply, but I still keep the phone on silent, just in case.

We get back in the vehicle; this time I get in willingly. On the way we talk about anything and everything. Me, not mentioning once what has happened. He gives lifts to those along the road with a few bucks in their hands. Back in town, he does not, however, take the turnoff to my house. We drive back to his…

Just a few hours left before another day will break. All this time I am wondering what my kids are thinking, why Mommy didn’t come home. But I wait it out. He knows I will have to go back to work the next day, so he will take me home soon.

I can’t sleep a wink. The brother and his girlfriend are still there, but they keep their distance.
They know not to intrude.

The next morning we are downstairs and he goes out for a smoke on the porch, in front of the house.
“Your mom’s here,” he whispers.

I can’t believe my ears! “Seriously?” Thank God, I am rescued!

“Yes.”

I want to step outside, but when I hear my mom and sister’s voices. I instinctively halt.

They ask about me, where I am. My daughter was apparently crying non-stop for me. I get up and walk closer to the front door. They act as if they never heard from me.

“She is not here. We argued and she left yesterday already.”

“Did she tell you where she was going?”, my sister asks.

“No. I don’t know where she is. I just got here myself.”

My mom this time: “So she is not here?”

“No. You can go in and have a look for yourself.”

I know what he is up to. If they don’t believe him and come into this house, they will face the same fate I am facing. I come forward, just enough for my sister to see me. She looks up at me and I can see the relief on her expression. I signal that she should keep quiet and rather go. I would rather face this nightmare alone, than drag the two of them into it.

She looks back at him and pretends she never saw me. “Maybe we should go look at Cousin’s place,” I hear her say. “Maybe she went there.”

My mom, still wanting to interrogate, stops mid-sentence.

“Come Mom.” She pulls her away. “If you talk to her before we do, please tell her we are looking for her.”
He agrees and they get in the car and leave.

I feel better for just seeing them at least.
I run back to my seat and await his verdict.

He finishes his smoke and joins me in the living room. He asks for my phone again. I unlock and give it back to him. He already went through all my pics; all my chats and call logs were deleted, so there is nothing incriminating left. Nothing to worry about.

But I have forgotten about Facebook.

He goes on my profile and scrolls down through all my updates. The most innocent photo catches his attention, because as fate so has it, a guy that I probably saw about 10 years ago, commented on it and that is the comment that still lingers underneath the photo. “You are still as beautiful as when I last saw you.”

“Who is this man?!”

“A friend from school. I don’t know when last I saw him.” Here we go again…

His fury flares up again and this time I know there is no calming him down. I have to escape!

I run to the kitchen and I grab a thick cast iron pan still on the stove – with sausage from the residents’ previous night’s meal still in it – and I take a swing at him.

“If you come any closer, I will HIT you with it!” Now I am the one that is angry. I have been obedient in this traumatic affair for long enough!

He ducks and I race backwards.

The usual clients and friends are quite settled in the garage. I pass them and they know not to comment or ask a thing.

“Where would you run? Put down the thing,”  he tries to calm me down. I know I cannot give in. I have to run like my life depends on it. That is the only way.

I still have the pan in my hand. He now gets irritated as I am embarrassing him in front of people that have to look up to him. Respect him. I d0 not care. They also know who he is and what he is capable of…

I get through the first iron gate that leads to the front of the house. I pull it closed. If he wants to come through it, he has to run into the house first, to get the key to unlock it. This may buy me some time.

Still gathering my thoughts on the way out, he makes a request again. “Come back inside.”

I know that pretentious composure. It cannot be trusted.

I step back through the second gate. “Where are you going with the pan?!” I look at it and throw it back at him, through the gate’s railings.

I turn and literally run for my life.

I hear him shout at his guys: “Catch her and kill her!”

I run down the long street and I turn to see if they are on their way yet. A few of his guys are standing on the corner, probably watching which turn I am about to take. I had to make a split-second decision: I could run to my cousins who stay only a few streets away, but those repercussions I would not be able to take on myself. He would kill them too.

I rather decide to take the road which leads to his mom’s new home. Maybe they will think I am running to her house. But I’m not.

I run relentlessly and reach the river and I pray to God to help me, to give me strength to continue. My lungs painful, as I deeply gasp for air. My body still sore, my legs could not carry me.

I stop. Maybe I should just give up. Surrender and let him kill me.

…But my kids! I never said goodbye to them. I pray again: “God, please give me strength!”

I start running again, and I see a taxi standing at the pavement, busy loading people. I run towards it and jump in. In my jacket’s pocket I still have R6 change. I hand it over and burst into silent tears. I know there are eyes fixed on me, but I don’t care what people think of me at that moment. They probably made their own assumptions when they saw the state I was in. I look through the windows to see if the guys are coming.

We leave and they are nowhere in sight yet. I remember the R20 in my shoe and turn to the driver. “Do you have a phone I may use please?” I give him the R20, but he shakes his head. He knows what is going on and he won’t take a cent for helping me.

I phone my sister. “I’m in a taxi. Get me at the corner by the school!” I know she will react immediately. We have watched many programs with ordeals like this before. We know what to do in situations like these.

Suddenly his car passes the taxi. At high speed. The car is loaded with guys, he is driving. I know they will wait for me where I am supposed to get off. I phone my sister again. Drive past! Get me on this corner! I am getting out now!”

I am hesitant to get out. What if the taxi drives on and they come back, catching me right here, exposed?
But then I see my Mom’s car and I shout out loud in pure delight! “Stop! Here!” They drive like animals and almost have an accident themselves. I run and get in the car.

I duck down on the backseat and my cry is spontaneous. “I can’t take it anymore!”

My sister shouts at my mom to take a different route. She turns towards me. “This time, we are taking you to the police station,” she says sternly. This time I do not argue.

We cannot go to the police station in our area, as we know the guys are roaming the streets at the moment, so we go to another one, they will never guess.

I open a case against this man that I earnestly loved for almost five years of my life. One that fathered my youngest child. All this time I couldn’t get myself to do it, because I was scared he would get out one day and kill me. But now I know he will kill me regardless…

Something had to be done!

The case and the interdict against him sound like the end to all this misery, but it was just an ignition of the terror that was to follow…

It was only the beginning of my fight… back.




Mr PE finalist hosting evening to honour fathers and mothers

 class=

Jean-Pierre Malgas (PHOTO: Google).

Mr PE UberMaNn 2017 finalist Jean-Pierre Malgas, 25, is hosting an evening to honour fathers and mothers in Port Elizabeth on Saturday May 27 2017.

The young chartered accountant says his successes in life so far are due to the impact of parent figures and his event was inspired by Malachi 4:6 — to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children; and the hearts of the children back to the fathers.

As a finalist in the Boardwalk MR PE UberMaNn competition Malgas is required to host a personal charity fundraising event.

The official beneficiaries for the 2017 charity fundraisers are APD, CANSA PE and a third beneficiary that will be determined by the competition winner who will be announced on the gala night on June 3  at the Boardwalk ICC.

Malgas says that in return for what he has gained from parent figures he has given back “by mentoring and walking with youths whose paths crossed with mine”.

He believes  his Evening of Honour will help bridge the gap between the younger generation of sons and daughters and the older generation of fathers and mothers in the city.

The event concept is for sons and daughters of the city to sow a seed of honour by sponsoring a three-course meal for parents of the city.

Guests will have time to mingle with a diverse group of other parents of the city. A band of sons and daughters led by Timothy Hartzenburg will set the tone with live music and Francisco Prins will render a couple of poetry pieces around the theme of honour, says Malgas. A 15-20 minute video production by sons and daughters honouring parents will be screened. Parents will have an opportunity to sow a seed of affirmation into the younger generation.

Event costs are R300 for one sponsorship, R500 for two sponsorships, R700 for three, etc. The Evening of Honour will be at Savages Fine Foods, Park Drive from 6.30pm for 7pm to 9pm on May 27.

Sons and daughters keen to support the Evening of Honour should contact Malgas at jeanpierre.malgas@gmail.com as soon as possible.




A legacy of love that inspires us — Neziswa Kanju

lifeinfullbloom

A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.

gogo2

Gateway News columnist Neziswa Kanju, right, enjoying special moments with her Gogo Malaza.

A beaming smile always greeted me every time we went to visit her. Sawubona makwaJedy (Hello Jedy’s mother. Jedy is my firstborn)

Gogo (grandmother) Malaza, a beautiful soul I was blessed with calling my grandmother. I met her when I married her grandson but I could not have loved her more if she was my very own biological grandmamma.

The feeling was mutual. In the last 15 years we spent most Christmases with gogo. In the beginning we would go to fetch her from Mpumalanga to come to our home in Pretoria but in the previous years we went to Mpumalanga because her health deteriorated, making it inadvisable to travel long distances.

For the past few years she had battled ill health — a fight she lost on the 26th of February this year.

She was blessed
This past Sunday this matriarch of our family was laid to rest and at 84 years old she was blessed to have seen her great great grandchildren. She gave birth to eight children and has 30 grandchildren, 38 great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren.

gogo 1

Gogo Malaza — a legacy of love.

With her sight lost in her eighties she still knew all of us by name and greeted us with a beaming smile and a hug.

You can’t miss love when you see it and gogo certainly radiated constant love. There has never been a time when I interacted with gogo Malaza that I felt that I was wasting her time or that she preferred to be doing something else.

With the news of her passing came years and years of memories to my mind of my time with this beloved lady.

While listening to speaker after speaker at her funeral it was clear to me that the treatment that she had towards me is the way that she was with everybody. Her own children sang her praises. There was not a dry eye in that place as speaker after speaker relived their time with her.

Her legacy of love is something that we have committed ourselves as a family to continue to live out in the world. Her life spoke volumes about love for people and was a testament to what love can do if properly lived.

She was not without daily visitors. Her children, grand children and great grand children all wanted to spend time with her because they knew that they were loved.

Funerals have a way of bringing one to reality. You are faced with the reality that life is not standing still and that you will leave this earth one day and account to your Maker one day.

At funerals it is not about all the material things you had but each speaker at your funeral will speak about how you lived your life. They will give glimpses about how they lived with you. Funerals ultimately are about relationships.

How do you relate with loved ones, with your neighbours, with church members and your colleagues? How do you want to be remembered? What would be your legacy? I was not a speaker at my gogo’s funeral but these are the things that I remember about her and these are lessons that we can all learn from…

Life lessons

1. Always greet your children with a smile when you see them. Psychologists and parenting experts advise parents to not be critical of their children when they see them but to always radiate and communicate “I am soo happy to see you. I have missed you.”

2. Always touch your loved ones. Gogo Malaza, once you extended your hand to say hello, she would take your hand in hers and kiss it. I don’t know how many kisses from gogo’s lips have been planted on my hand through the years. She had an ability of making everyone of her children know that they were loved.

3. It is possible to have a relationship with all members of your family. All her grandbabies and her great great babies knew her and were known by her. That is a legacy of love. She left us and the world a great gift, for is it not what our Master said that we must do — to love God with all our hearts mind and soul and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

4. She was a hard worker. Gogo lost her husband when she was very young. She married quite young and by the time her husband passed on she had eight young mouths to feed. Times were not easy back then. Poverty was constantly knocking at the door but just like the virtuous woman she woke up while it was dark and made sure that her family was taken care off.

5. She was visible in her children’s lives. Gogo never missed any of the important events in our lives. Our colleagues, churches and neighbours knew her constant presence at family events because she was there for her children.

6. She did not take herself too seriously.

7. She loved to laugh. When you went to visit gogo you were guaranteed two things — food and plenty of laughter. Who would not want to visit such a warm place?

8. She raised her children in the ways of the Lord. Her eldest child, my mother in law, is a pastor and has raised her own children in the faith because of gogo Malaza. She gave her family a heritage of faith. Her house was known as a house of prayer.

9. She was a mother to all — not just her biological children. This last Christmas we spent at her home in Badplaas. About 35 of us were there for her last Christmas. Towards the end of the afternoon of December 25 we sat in her sitting room to hear the matriarch talk to us. She kept on repeating it over and over and over again. She said “Bambananai”; “Bambanani” ; “Bambananai which means support one another, be united. There was an urgency in her voice as she kept on repeating, ”Bambanani.” This is a message that as families,  as married couples we can all implement in our lives sibambisane, to be united.

10. She believed in her children and was very proud of them. You would not finish a visit with her without hearing about her children’s great doings. To the listener what gogo was sharing might not be much but you could just see how very proud she was of her children.

She was many things to many people but one thing that we all knew about her was that we all loved her. I came away from Badplaas with one question ringing in my mind…”How am I living my life?” What seeds and actions should I start planting today to show more love to those around me? What do I want my life and legacy to be about? What would my children and those that I interact with say about me? What will they say about you?

Funerals have a tendency of also making people say such beautiful things about the deceased as we are advised not to speak ill of the dead.

What would your loved ones mean about you without sugar coating the truth? Gogo never had much in terms of material possessions but she had a gift that is not afforded to many and that many do not have …she was truly loved and she loved so beautifully.

Are we not called to the same assignment to love others as we love ourselves, to be there for our flesh and blood, to be of service to others?

When all is said and done what will be your legacy? We were certainly blessed and honoured to have had gogo Malaza in our family. She was a woman of great honour. What will my husband and children say about me…about you?

Are you a person of honour? Do your loved ones feel honoured to call you dad, mom; son or daughter? How are you living your life? These are questions that we should all ourselves.

Shalom!!!!