December 28, 2005


For the first time in 18 months of blogging, somebody tagged me. Thank you, Xoloitzquintle. It is an honor to be tagged.

I already was egotistical enough to write 100 things about myself, so this should be a piece of cake:

Seven things I plan to do before I die:
1. Indulge in my urge to reproduce and have a baby
2. Live at least 2 years on every continent (North America and Africa being already taken care of, that leaves Europe, Asia, the Latin Americas and Australia.)
3. Have a UN passport
4. Write one good article relating to international current events that will be published by a serious newspaper
5. Make a difference for one child in the world
6. Show Dave that I love him, and if possible, live with him for a good long while (whether N.1 is fulfilled or not)
7. Spend time to get to know my friends again.

Seven things I can do:
1. Read Zola in French
2. Write blog comments in very bad Spanish
3. Speak Woloff (ok, just a little bit. How much Woloff do you know anyway?)
4. Count to 100 in German
5. Play Beethoven (but on a real-size piano)
6. Sing Scarlatti
7. Set up a home based network

Seven things I can't do:
1. change a spare tire
2. bungie jump, or stand at the edge of a cliff, or anywhere that's very high for that matter
3. run for more than 5 minutes
4. eat raw meat
5. touch snakes (or even stay in their vicinity for that matter)
6. listen to racist or hateful discourse and stay silent
7. prepare a full course meal only for myself

Seven things that attract me to another person:
1. honesty.
2. curiosity (for ex.: how was it in South Africa? How are the people, and the food, and they culture?)
3. intelligence
4. culture (for ex.: to know what Apartheid is)
5. humility (for ex.: to be willing to learn)
6. generosity (for ex.: to dedicate time to help people struggling with HIV-AIDS )
7. sense of humor (though awful things are going on in the world, we should take a moment and laugh about how ridiculous we can be.)

Seven things I say most often:
1. Crap ! (as in Crap! I forgot to...)
2. Oh well...
3. Anyway...
4. What ever!
5. Hmfff (or Arrf, grmmf, or any other unintelligible sound a beaver makes in the morning)
6. I miss you (my mum, my friends, my boyfriend)
7. I love you (several times a day to the same blessed individual)

Seven people to do this little blogger game:
1. Liquidplastic
2. 007 in africa
3. Siti
4. Anya
5. Salt Water
6. Saurkraut
7. Qalamana

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

December 26, 2005


The most successful wireless provider in Montreal, Fido, owes its success to its smart use of dogs as advertisement icons.

Since then, Telus followed and has been using all sorts of animals, with their most recent addition being the HIPPO!!!

But now, beavers are invading Montreal's scene.... The new Bell Canada campaign uses .... the Beaver :)

I have finally been heard !!!

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

December 23, 2005

Season's greetings / Voeux saisonniers

Isn't he cute? He probably feels as lost as I do. Cricketina, Library Bitch and007 in Africapointed it out quite well: in this day and age, it's a real problem to figure out what to wish at large during the holiday season.

I feel pretty much the same way as this dog: what mess am I getting myself into by posting holiday greeting ? So here it is:

May this time of year bring you joy, love, hope, wealth and health. May you spend this special day (every day is special) with you loved ones.

N'est-ce pas qu'il est mignon? Il se sent probablement aussi perdu que moi. Cricketina, Library Bitch et 007 in Africa l'ont bien dit: a l'ere du politiquement correct, c'est tout un probleme de determiner quel souhait on peut dire a un public pendant la saison des fetes.

Je m'identifie donc au chien: dans quoi est-ce que je vais m'empetrer en publiant des voeux saisonniers? Enfin, les voila :

Que cette periode de l'annee vous apporte joie, amour, espoir, richesses et sante. Je vous souhaite de passer cette journee speciale (toutes les journees sont speciales) avec vos proches.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

You pay peanuts, you get monkeys!

Thanks to Xoloitzquintle for this amusing idea :)

You are Rerun!
Take this quiz!

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

December 22, 2005

Alive and buried under 5 feet of snow / Vivante et enterree sous 5 pieds de neige

(Version francaise a venir).

Je realise que je n'ai pas mis mon blog a jour depuis mon depart du Lesotho... desolee tout le monde.
I realize I havent updated my blog at all since I left Lesotho... Sorry guys.

A mon retour a Jo-Burg, Ze Big Boss etait la pour assister a la conference de sortie, ainsi que plein d'Autrez Big Bossez, et ca m'a tenue pas mal occupee. La conference de sortie a duree 4 jours intenses. Heureusement, a la fin, tout le monde a trouve un terrain d'entente. Pas besoin de le mentionner, c'etait audela de toute fatigue. (Nouveaux lecteurs, voyez l'entree concernant le boulot de Castor).
Upon my return to Jo-Burg, Ze Big Boss was there to attend the exit conference and so were plenty of Ozer Big Bossez, so that kept me pretty busy. The exit conference lasted 4 intense days. Luckily, in the end, everybody came to an agreement. No need to mention, it was BEYOND exhausting. (New readers, see the Beaver Job post).

Enfin, apres 4 jours de negociations intenses, mon Chef est rentre chez lui. Le lendemain, mes collegues et Ze Big Boss sont partis aussi, me laissant seule a m'ennuyer de mon cheu nous et de mes amis, juste quelques jours avant le conge de Noel.
Anyway, after 4 days of intense negociations, my Coach left for home. The next day, my colleagues and Ze Big Boss left too, so I was left alone to miss home and friends, just a few days from Christmas break.

Vendredi dernier, j'ai donc pris l'avion de Jo-burg a Paris et suis arrivee a Paris a 6 HEURES LE MATIN. Heureusement, j'ai reussi a dormir dans l'avion pendant le vol de 11 heures, et j'etais toute eveillee a mon arrivee a Paris. Ma tante et mon oncle sont venus me chercher a l'aeroport et j'ai eu la chance de prendre une douche (ahhhh), de dejeuner et meme de faire une petite sceance de magasinage avec ma tante avant de repartir encore, le meme jour, sur Montreal. Dommage que je n'ai pas eu la chance de passer un weekend a Paris comme la derniere fois.
Last Friday, I flew from Jo-Burg to Paris and landed there a 6 IN THE MORNING. Luckily, I slept in the plane during the 11 hour flight, and was wide awake upon my arrival in Paris. My aunt and uncle picked me up at the airport and I got the chance to take a shower (ahhhh - releif), have lunch and a quick shopping session with my auntie before I flew out again, the same day, to Montreal. Too bad that I didn't have a chance to spend a weekend in Paris like last time.

Le vol sur Montreal s'est bien passe, malgre le fait que mon ecran personnel ne fonctionnait pas. Alors j'ai passer 7 heures a lire, parler avec mon voision (coincidence, c'est un travailleur de l'humanitaire qui rentre chez lui de Guinee). The flight to Montreal was ok, though my personnal screen did not work. So I spent 7 hours reading, talking with my neighbour (who, coincidentally, was also a humanitarian worker flying home from Guinea).

A 6h le soir, Samedi, ma maman m'attendait a l'aeroport, avec un beau grand sourire, un calin chaleureux, et.... des bottes et un manteau d'hiver. (Arf - la perfection n'est pas de ce monde, n'est-pas?) At 6PM, on Saturday, my mum was waiting for me at the airport, with a big smile, a warm hug, and... some boots and winter coat. (Arf - nothing is ever perfect, is it?)

Je me suis installee chez ma maman et on a passe la soiree a jaser. J'aurais du voir Dave (voyez aussi ceci) ce soir la, mais j'etair AU DELA d'epuisee et on a remis ca au le lendemain. I settled down at my mum's place and spent the evening chatting and catching up. I should have seen that Dave (also see this) that night, but I was BEYOND exhausted and managed to reschedule for the next day.

Alors Dimanche, je suis allee voir Dave et je l'ai trouve plus beau, plus chaleureux, plus sexy que jamais. Pendant mon absence, il ne s'est pas coupe les cheuveux du tout, et maintenant il a l'allure d'un poete du 19eme. Apparemment, c'est suffisant pour qu'il s'attire des commentaire de son patron come "beaucoup de vent aujkourdh'hui, hein?" So on Sunday I went over to Dave's and found his handsomer, warmer, sexier than ever. While I was gone, he did not cut his hair at all, and he now looks like a 19th century poet. Apparently, that's enough for him to receive comments from his coach such as "lots of wind today, huh?"

Alors en ce moment, je partage mon temps entre Dave et ma maman. Techniquement, je suis installee chez ma mere pour ce qui est des bagages, mais je parasite l'appart de Dave depuis 4 jours. J'ai appele mes amis, et j'en ai vu certains. J'ai attrape un rhume(duh). So I'm now sharing my time between Dave and my mum. I'm technically settled at my mum's for luggage (remember Big Ben?) but have been squatting Dave's place for the last 4 days. I called my friends and saw some of them. I caught a cold (duh).

Je pense que maintenant, je suis vraiment de retour a la maison !!!
I guess I'm truely home now!!!

The Beaver

Thanks, Anya, for dropping by !!! Look forward to reading you again!!!

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

December 21, 2005

My heart is in South Africa

Wonderful, beautiful, mixed up South Africa…

Zulus as sweet, strong, courageous people.
The young generation of Afrikaans is adapting to the new mind set of the country.
The indians bring color and fantasy to the Rainbow Nation.

Sandton city is insanely luxurious.
Soweto is full of hope.
Baphutastswana reminds us that the country has a long long way to go.

Wonderful, diverse, striking South Africa!!!

December 04, 2005

Youpi au/in Maseru (Lesotho)

Youpi a pris le temps de s'eloigner de ses obligations professionnelles pour m'accompagner au Lesotho, un petit pays enclave au coeur de l'Afrique du Sud.

Youpi took the time to leave his professionnal obligations to join me in Lesotho, a small enclaved country at the heart of South Africa.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Lesotho, The Mountain Kingdom / Royaume des Montagnes

Quelques details historiques sur le Lesotho, un petit pays que je visite brievement cette semaine.

- XVIème siècle : arrivée des Sotho dans cette partie de l'Afrique alors peuplée de quelques autres ethnies avec qui ils se mélangèrent.
- début XIXème siècle : Arrivée des premiers commerçants blancs dans la région (appelée désormais Basutoland).
- 1820 : le roi Moshoeshoe, afin de lutter contre les raids zoulou, unifie les tribus sotho.
- 1840-68 : lutte des Sotho contre les Boers (colons d'origine néerlandaise d'Afrique du Sud) qui veulent s'approprier leurs terres.
- 1868 : afin de se protéger des Boers, Moshoeshoe demande l'aide des Anglais qui établissent un protectorat sur le territoire.
- 1899-1902 : guerre des Boers et victoire anglaise en Afrique du Sud.
- début-mi XXème siècle : malgré la création de l'Union Sud-Africaine en 1910 et de la république d'Afrique du Sud en 1961, le Basutoland (Lesotho) demeure à part sous contrôle britannique.
- 1966 : le pays devient indépendant dans le cadre du Commonwealth sous le nom de Lesotho.
- 1970 : perte du pouvoir par le roi qui de fait n'occupe plus qu'un poste honorifique au profit de son Premier ministre.
- 1986 : coup d'état militaire qui redonne ses pouvoirs au roi.
- 1993 : après une période mouvementée, retour des civils à la tête du pays.
- 1998 : début de guerre civile suite à des élections contestées et intervention de l'Afrique du Sud qui rétablit plus ou moins le calme.

Courtoisie de Africa On Web

Some historical detail about Lesotho, the small country I am briefly visiting this week.

San (Bushmen), who were the region's earliest known inhabitants, were supplanted several centuries prior to colonization by various Bantu-speaking peoples, including those that came to be the Sotho and the Zulu. The Sotho are made up of remnants of ethnic groups that were scattered during the disturbances accompanying the rise of the Zulu (1816-30).

They were rallied c.1820 by Moshoeshoe , a commoner who founded a dynasty in what is now Lesotho. Moshoeshoe not only defended his people from Zulu raids but preserved their independence against Boer and British interlopers. He also welcomed Catholic and Protestant missionaries.

Following wars with the Boer-ruled Orange Free State in 1858 and 1865, Moshoeshoe put the Sotho under British protection (1868), establishing the protectorate of Basutoland. The protectorate was annexed to Cape Colony in 1871 without Sotho consent, but in 1884 it was placed under the direct control of Britain.

When the Union of South Africa was forged in 1910, Basutoland came under the jurisdiction of the British High Commissioner in South Africa. Provisions were made for the eventual incorporation of the territory into the union, but Sotho opposition, especially after the rise of the Nationalist party with its apartheid policy, prevented annexation.

In 1960 the British granted Basutoland a new constitution that paved the way to internal self-government. On Oct. 4, 1966, Basutoland became independent as Lesotho. Following general elections in early 1970, which the opposition Basutoland Congress party (later the Basotho Congress party; BCP) apparently won, Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution.

King Moshoeshoe II went into exile but returned at the end of the year, thereafter serving largely as a figurehead. In 1973 an interim assembly began work on a new constitution, but the BCP, led by Ntsu Mokhehle, refused to participate. In Jan., 1974, Jonathan accused the BCP of attempting to stage a coup; the party was outlawed and hundreds of its members reportedly killed.

Armed clashes between the Lesotho Liberation Army (the militarized segment of the BCP) and the government were common throughout the 1970s and 80s. In the late 1970s, Jonathan exploited growing popular resentment of South Africa and its policies of apartheid. South Africa responded by organizing economic blockades and military raids against Lesotho. Maj. Gen. Justinus Lekhanya led a coup in 1986 that installed King Moshoeshoe II as head of state. After prolonged disputes with Lekhanya over power, the king went into exile.

In 1990, Moshoeshe II's son, Letsie III, became king but was reduced to a purely ceremonial role. Lekhanya was overthrown (1991) in a bloodless coup, and Col. Elias Tutsoane Ramaena came to power as chairman of a six-member military council. A free election in 1993, the first in 23 years, resulted in a BCP landslide, and Ntsu Mokhehle became prime minister. In 1994 fighting between two rival army factions unsettled the young democracy; the king ousted Mokhehle but was pressured by other S African nations to reinstate him.

In Jan., 1995, Letsie abdicated in favor of his father, Moshoeshoe II. After Moshoeshoe was killed in an automobile accident in Jan., 1996, Letsie was restored to the throne. In 1997, Mokhehle remained prime minister as he broke from the BCP and founded the Lesotho Congress for Democracy party (LCD), reducing the BCP to the opposition. Mokhehle died in Jan., 1998; new elections were called in May, and Pakalitha Mosisili of the LCD secured the prime ministership. Demonstrators charging election fraud staged violent protests in Maseru, causing severe damage.

In Sept., 1998, South Africa and Botswana sent troops into the country to restore order, and in Oct. the government and the opposition agreed to form a transitional body to organize new elections within 18 months. Elections were held in May, 2002, under a revamped electoral system designed to increase opposition representation in the parliament. The LCD again won the elections. The effects of a three-year drought led Prime Minister Mosisili to appeal for international food aid in early 2004.

Courtosy of

December 03, 2005

Experiment gone wrong / Experience ratee

I was trying to test out the new comment moderation feature, and inadvertantly sent the wrong message. Let me reiterate to ALL my readers that I enjoy receiving comments and am always happy to answer questions. Unfortunately, time and connectivity don't always allow for timely replys... Please forgive me...

About posting pictures: I do what I can to post some pics, but I spend a lot of time in the office and the hotel - I felt that they were not really interesting subjects. I hope y'all can forgive the scarceness of my pictures.

A link to the side will take you to my FLICKR account, where more pics are available. I post pics on this blog as an ad to show that a new series has been added to FLICKR.

J'essayais de tester un nouvel outil de gestion des commentaire, et par malheur j'ai envoye le mauvais message. Je tiens a reaffirmer a TOUS mes lecteurs que j'aime recevoir vos commentaires et je suis toujours heureuse de repondre a vos questions. Malheureusement, j'ai parfois moins de temps pour repondre a tous les commentaires. Pardonnez-moi...

A propos des photos: je fais mon possible pour afficher des photos, mais je passe beaucoup de temps a l'hotel et au bureau, et ca ne me semble pas bien digne de prises de photos. J'espere que vous me pardonnerez le peu de photos presentes.

Un lien sur la barre de cote vous menera a mon compte FLICKR sur lequel plus de photos sont disponibles. La presence de nouvelles photos sur mon blog annonce une mise a jour de FLICKR.

The Beaver

Salt Water, please keep commenting and asking questions. I will very soon address all of them in one development oriented post. I appreciate your comments, no matter how lengthy they are. Be safe on the road and take good care of Mother Helen! (Give a big hug for SW2 for me).

Zim Wizdom / Zagesse Zim

I dedicate this to Cricketina, and to anyone who has suffered from gossiping.
Je dedie ceci a Cricketina et a tous ceux qui ont soufferts de commerage.

Some wisdom from Zimbabwe :
Un peu de sagesse du Zimbabwe :

3 guys went out on a fishing weekend. Sitting aroung a pot of beer and some chips, they agreed to confess their worst sins.
3 types vont se pecher une fin de semaine. Assis avec de la biere et des chips, ils conviennent de se raconter leurs pires peches.

The first one, a marriage counselor, says:
- Guys, I'm in crap over my head : I cheat on my wife every wednesday at noon with my secretary.
Le premier, un conseiller conjugal, dit:
- Les gars, je suis dans la m.... par dessus la tete : je trompe ma femme tous les mercredi midis avec ma secretaire.

The second one, an administrator of a large entreprise, says:
- Man, that's bad, but it's nothing, I'm in serious trouble. I steal money from the petty cash at my job.
Le second, un administrateur d'entreprise, dit:
- Man, c'est grave ca, mais c'est rien, moi je suis vraiment dans de beaux draps. Je vole l'argent de la caisse de mon travail.

The last one, a shrink, starts shaking pretty bad.
Le dernier, un psy, se met a trembler tres fort.

The other two get worried and start trying to prye it out of him. Eventually, he admits:
- I have a problem, a bad problem. I love gossipping, can't help it. And now I have to go tell someone.
Les deux autres s'inquietent et commencent a essayer de lui tirer les vers du nez. Eventuellement, il admet:
- J'ai un probleme, un probleme grave. Je suis une commere, c'est plus fort que moi. Et maintenant, il faut que j'aille raconter tout ca a quelqu'un.

Bottom line is, gossipping is irresistible. Ugly, but irresistible.
La morale de cette histoire, c'est que le commerage, c'est irresistible. Laid, mais irresistible.
The Beaver

Travelling Beaver Advice / Conseils du Castor Voyageur

Pour les nouveaux lecteurs, je dois clarifier que je ne vis pas en Afrique du Sud. Je travaille comme Auditeur Interne (on nous appelle la "Paper Police") pour une agence de developpement internationale. Dans le cadre de mon travail je suis appeler a voyager 100% du temps, des missions de 6 a 8 semaines bout a bout. Je suis en ce moment en train d'auditer notre programme en Afrique du Sud, mais je quitte le 16 decembre pour les fetes a Mtl. Je ne retourne pas en Afrique du Sud en Janvier.

For new readers, I must clarify that I do not live in South Africa. I am an Internal Auditor (some call us “the Paper Police”) for an international development agency. For my work, I have to travel 100% of the time, which involves missions lasting 6 to 8 weeks. I am presently auditing our South-African activities, but I will leave on December 16th to go spend the holidays in Montreal. I am not returning to South Africa in January.

Toutefois, si j'avais quelque conseil a donner aux voyageurs curieux de visiter l’Afrique du Sud, je dirai:

However, if I had any advice to give travelers interested in South Africa, I would say :

- Prevoyez de passer une journee complete a Soweto: entre la maison de Nelson Mandela, l'Eglise Regina Mundi, et le Hector Peterson Memorial, il y a assez a voir et a faire pour combler une journee commencant a 7h le matin.

- Plan for a whole day in Soweto: with Nelson Mandela’s house, Regina Mundi church, and the Hector Peterson Memorial, there is enough to see and do to fill a day starting a 7AM.

- Si vous restez a Johannesburg, Sandton reste l'endroit le plus securitaire. Le taux de criminalite est tres haut, et les femmes sont particulierement la cible de viols a Jo-Burg. Si on combine ce riqsque au taux de prevalence du VIH-SIDA (presque 30%), ca fait peur.

- If you stay in Jo-Burg, Sandton remains the safest area. The crime rate is very high, and women particularly are the target of rape in Jo-Burg. This, combined to the HIV-AIDS prevalence rate (almost 30%) is very scary.

- Ne marchez pas seul après le coucher du Soleil.

- Do not walk outside alone after sunset.

- Donnez-vous une journee pour visiter l'Apartheid Museum.

- Do plan a day to visit the Apartheid Museum.

- Prevoyez une journee pour l'Africa Museum. Ce musee est situe a Newtown, il ya en face un resto tres sympa ou on joue du Jazz Live le samedi soir. La soiree Jazz, c’est a faire absolument, c'est vraiment tres tres sympa. L'Africa Musem est gratuit et absolument immense. Arrivez tot pour ne pas etre frustres de partir. Il y a aussi juste a cote les theatres ou on joue des comedies musicales sud-africaines (noires). Je n'ai pas eu l'occasion d'y aller mais c'est tres bien parait-il.

- Plan a day to visit the Africa Museum. This museum is in Newtown, and right across the street is a fun restaurant where live Jazz is played on Saturday nights. The Jazz evening is a must, it’s a lot of fun. The Africa Museum is free and absolutely huge. Get there early to avoid being frustrated from leaving. Right next door, there are the Theaters where South-African musicals are presented. I didn’t have the chance of going, but I’m told it’s worth it.

- Il serait une bonne idee de passer votre permis international avant de partir. A Jo-Burg, les distances sont longues et les taxis coutent plus cher que de louer une voiture. Par contre, il ne faut pas oublier : en SA, on conduit du cote croche de la route (et non du cote droit) !

- It’s a good idea to have an international permit. In Jo-Burg, distances are long and taxis are more costly then car rentals. Don't forget that people here drive on the wrong side of the road (on not on the right one) !

- Si vous avez des appareils electriques, prevoyez un transfo ou un adapteur comme pour la France. Les prises sont a trois trous mais on peut facilement trouver un adapteur sur place.

- If you have electrical appliances, do plan to have a transformator or adaptor as you would for France. Plugs have 3 pins here, but one can easily find an adaptor for French pins.

- C'est une bonne idee d'apprendre un minimum de langue africaine - le Zulu, Xhosa, Shona et Sutu sont repandus. Ca nous permet de bien nous integrer au Sud-Af noirs.

- It’s a good idea to learn a minimum of African idiom – Zulu, Xhosa, Shona and Sutu are common. This allows us to integrate well with the local black south-africans.

Zulu (J-Burg):
Sawubona = bonjour/Good morning ;
Kunjanie = Ca va?/How are you ;
Njaiapila = ca va bien / I’m doing well ;
Guiabanga = Merci / Thank you.

Sotho (Lesotho):
Me = Madame / Madam
Mtate = Monsieur / Sir
Quialeboa = Merci / Thank you
Ahholo = beaucoup / a lot of.

Afrikaans (Afrikaner):
Danki = merci / Thank you
Plaisir = bienvenue / Welcome.

- En Afrique du Sud, on peut trouver a peu pres n'importe quoi. Pas la peine de s'encombrer de shampoings, etc.

- In SA, one can find about anything. No need to cumber oneself with shampoo etc.

Si vous avez le temps, prevoyez quelques jours au Lesotho (100$ d'avion de Jo-Burg et pas de visa requis pour les ressortissants du Commonwealth ou les Americains). Le paysage est a couper le souffle et les attractions sont plutot hors de l'ordinaire (traces de dinosaures et peintures rupestres entre autres).

If you have time, plan a few days in Lesotho (100USD for an airplane from Jo-Burg, and no visa needed for Commonwealth or American citizens). The landscap is breath taking, and the attractions are out of the ordinary (dinosaur footsteps and cave paintings, amongst others).

The Beaver

Thanks, Kingston Girl,for giving me a link!

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

November 29, 2005

Orphelins.... Orphans....

Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

These kids performing the traditionnal Zulu dance, have been orphanned by HIV Aids and live in difficult conditions. Thanks to community projects, though, they manage to be in foster homes, and to have the support necessary to keep on striving... and dancing. The need, however, is much greater than the available resources.

Ces jeunes qui dansent la danse traditionnelle Zoulou, sont des orphelins du SIDA et vivent dans des conditions tres difficiles. Grace a des projets communautaires, ils sont (parfois) accueillis dans des foyers et obtiennent le support necessaire pour continuer a lutter... et a danser. Le besoin, par ailleurs, reste beaucoup superieur aux ressources disponibles.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !


Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

C'est l'ete austral, ca??? Avec la grele qui nous tombait dessus, je suis un peu perdue !

Was that austral summer??? With all the hale raining on us, I'm a bit lost !

p.s. Merci Phil, d'avoir mis ta tite pinne sur ma grande carte du monde !

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

November 24, 2005

Suburbia in Durban

Suburbia in Durban2005-11-22
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

This, can you beleive it, is the view for our HIV-AIDS clinic. Obviously, the owners of these houses are not very wealthy. Iniquity is defenitely a common thing in SA.

Breathtaking view, though, isn't it?

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Unwanted guest in Durban (Nov.23rd)

Unwanted guest in Durban (Nov.23rd)
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

Can you beleive it? I walked right by this guy, in the middle of NGO premises... Snakes are considered to deadly in South Africa, so we had quite a fright.

It was a big scare on the job. Apparently, the people working in that area have the habit of making lots of noise in the morning, to scare off any unwanted houseguests.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Surfin' in Durban

Indian Ocean in Durban2005-11-22_06-36-14
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

I took this picture from my room, just before going downstairs for breakfast.

Durban is a tourist hub, as the Indian Ocean attracts surfers, beachers, and other vacationners.

Can you see the surfers? Apparently, Durban waters are famous for the white sharks. (brrrrrrrr)

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Inside Regina Mundi Church

Inside Regina Mundi Church
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

I finally went back to Soweto last weekend... and visited Regina Mundi Church.

This place of worship was key to the political awareness of Sowetans, as it provided cover for "illegal" political gatherings during apartheid. During the renovations some years ago, a non-detonated bomb was found in the roof of the chuch, as an ancient testimony to the temple's potential role in the fall of Apartheid.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

November 18, 2005

Homeland: Still thriving....

Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

Remember my topo about South Africa and the homelands...

Well, 10 years later, they still exist. This is a picture of a shaq built by farm workers who were evicted. (See below post).

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Yet, Apartheid lives !

Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

Click on this picture for more images and topos on the conditions of the farm workers, in the country side. This subject has been the inspiration for this photographic exposition, in the Africa Museum of Johannesburg. Guess what I did last weekend !

The below article sums up pretty well the situation...

South Africa: nearly one million farmworkers evicted since 1993

By Patrick O’Keeffe, 24 October 2005

A recently released survey revealed that evictions from South African farms have accelerated under the African National Congress (ANC) government. Between 1993 and 2004 a total of 942,303 people were evicted, whereas under the apartheid regime, from 1984 to 1993, 737,114 people were evicted.

The survey prepared by the Nkuzi Development Association and Social Surveys Africa finds that the brunt of evictions is borne mainly by women and children, who make up 77 percent of evictees. This is due to the fact that landowners treat women and children as secondary occupiers—that is, their security of tenure is linked to the continued employment of a male member of the household. Even when the women and children also worked on the farm this did not protect them from eviction. Approximately 47,000 of the evicted children were involved in child labour while still living on the farm.

Evictees, according to the report, are “vulnerable members of our society, typically having low levels of education and low incomes even when working.”

The survey revealed that 37 percent of evictees have no education, whilst a further 39 percent have between one and seven years of schooling. Only 8 percent have completed their schooling. Women working on farms generally earn substantially lower incomes than men. In the most recent period, between 2001 and 2004, men and women respectively were earning average incomes of R529.00 ($82.00) and R332.00 ($52.00) per month.

Peaks in the numbers of evictions were related mainly to droughts in the pre-1993 era, but thereafter the impact of new legislation sparked increases in the numbers of evictions. The response of landowners to the Labour Relations Act, the Labour Tenants Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Extension of Security of Tenure Act and the implementation of a minimum wage was to evict farmworkers rather than meet the legal requirements.

Evictees received little or no assistance after eviction, with 83 percent of evictees not even knowing where to go for assistance. A large proportion (30 percent) of evictees end up in informal settlements on the periphery of urban areas, while a further 14 percent end up in the former Bantustans. Of the 48 percent that end up in formal townships, the majority are found in the poorer sections. The researchers note, “There is currently no provision or planning for the proper accommodation of people from farms.”

The ANC government has a land reform programme, but it has had a negligible effect on evictions. More people have been evicted than have been given their own land.

In the period between 1994 and 2004, while a total of 164,185 households obtained land or tenure rights, this was exceeded by the total of 199,611 households evicted from commercial farms. Tenure security for farm workers has fared poorly, with only 7,543 farm worker households obtaining secure tenure rights.

The survey concludes that “[d]ispossession of black South Africans has continued unabated in post-Apartheid South Africa” and that “Evictions have effectively cancelled out the limited gains of land reform and have contributed to a concentration of property in fewer and fewer hands.”

There is no effective programme in place to limit evictions or to provide support for those evicted from farms.

Behind the evictions

The ANC’s approach to agrarian reform has been twofold: firstly, the deregulation of the agricultural sector and the implementation of a free-market approach to agricultural production—a process which commenced under the National Party government—and secondly a series of limited reforms in the countryside to ameliorate the social pressure created by the implementation of free-market policies.

The ANC’s approach became manifest in the early 1990s. Under the aegis of the Land and Agricultural Policy Centre, set up by the ANC in collaboration with the World Bank, a new land policy was developed. Complete deregulation and liberalisation, the abolition of subsidies and minimum government involvement was advocated. All of these measures were eventually adopted by the ANC government.

The maintenance of stability in the countryside, and especially the commercial farming areas, appears to be the keystone of ANC policy. While the deregulation of the agricultural sector has deepened inequality, a series of measures have been put in place to divert the social tensions created by the defence of agribusinesses. The most significant of these is the government’s land reform policy.

Land reform in South Africa is based upon a capitalist policy. In essence, the state provides grants to black South Africans to enable them to purchase land on the market. Its “flagship” is the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development programme. Applicants can obtain grants only if they put forward a proportion of the investment themselves. This means that in practice wealthier applicants are able to obtain substantial grants, which are also combined with loans from commercial institutions. Operating commercial farms are often purchased by these wealthier applicants. Farm workers, a severely impoverished section of the population, are unlikely to be able to raise a sufficient contribution to acquire anything beyond a “food-security” garden.

The Extension of Security of Tenure Act, 1997, was intended to alleviate the plight of farm workers. The legislation provides a legal process whereby a landowner may obtain an eviction order. The Act further provides for the prosecution of landowners who illegally evict occupiers from their land. Even the extremely limited protection offered by this legislation is not available to the vast majority of farm workers, as evidenced by the National Evictions Survey’s finding that only 1 percent of evictions followed a legal process.

The gains that were supposed to flow from the ANC’s implementation of free-market measures in the countryside have not been realized. Terms of trade continue to remain unfavourable and overall investment in the agricultural sector has declined. Although the government has indicated its preparedness to expropriate land for land reform purposes, this is purely window dressing. Indeed the South African constitution contains a clause guaranteeing the right to property and the state is compelled to pay market-based compensation for any expropriation.

Evictions are the logical outcome of the free market policies being pursued by the South African government. The further consolidation of land under the control of a few will continue unabated, but with a sprinkling of a small number of black farmers. Farmworkers, as the most vulnerable and marginal category of workers in the country, have born the brunt of these policies."


The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

On the Top of Africa

Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

Top of Africa is the tallest building on the continent (50 stories high) and towers over Johannesburg.

Click on picture for a larger version and for other views from the top !

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

November 16, 2005

HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

HIV/AIDS is so prevalent in SA that condoms are offered for free in public bathrooms.

The HIV/AIDS situation in southern Africa is an emergency that has immediate and long-term repercussions for the development of the region and for the lives of its people.

South Africa has an estimated five million people living with HIV/AIDS. There are more people infected with HIV/AIDS in South Africa than in any other country in the world. The disease affects all segments of society, but has particularly ravaged historically disadvantaged communities, such as the rural poor, urban marginalized and migrant workers.

The effects of AIDS on children are devastating. Children, particularly girls, are often pulled out of school to care for a sick parent. After the trauma of watching a parent die, these children face the additional burden of adjusting to a new home and experiencing increased economic hardship and uncertainty. One of the most troubling effects of HIV/AIDS is the growth of child-headed households - households where children, once again, usually girls, are left alone to care for their younger siblings. There are about 660,000 children under age 15 in South Africa who have been orphaned because of AIDS and many more who have suffered from the effects of the disease (Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, July 2002. UNAIDS).

Home care services are crucial in communities where most people cannot afford even the most basic medication and have little access to formal health care. Community volunteers-often poor themselves—are the heart of home—care programs and are at the forefront of our battle against the pandemic.

South Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the ten largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. However, growth has not been strong enough to cut into high unemployment, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially the problems of poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. Other problems are crime, corruption, and HIV/AIDS.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

November 14, 2005

Hommage to Hector Pieterson

Hommage to Hector Pieterson
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

Click on it for a larger version. This explains the June 76 uprisings against the imposition of Afrikaans in school.

The Beaver
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Nelson Mandela Square

Nelson Mandela Square
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

View of the gigantic statue of Nelson Mandela in the heart of the "white" district.

The Beaver
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Nelson Mandela Square

Nelson Mandela Square
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

in the heart of Sandton, an expensive commercial complex with beautiful (expensive) restaurants.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

View of Soweto

View of Soweto
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

Soweto is a "black" township around Johannesburg, and was the theater of many uprisings prior to the fall of the Apartheid.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

View of Soweto

View of Soweto
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Youpi in SA

Youpi in SA
Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.

Here we are, First pic of Youpi (the now departed Montreal Expo baseball team mascot.) Youpi now works for me as a photo model.

View from my room, in Jo-Burg.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !