Please forgive us Tata


Dear Mr Mandela                                                                                 23 June 2012

I hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits. My name is René and I was born in our beautiful country in December 1977. I grew up in, what was then a small mining town called Witbank. Being raised in a liberal home in the 80s and 90s proved to be very challenging for a young girl in an Afrikaans family.

In hindsight, growing up I made a lot of enemies due to my and my family’s political views. I must add that we were relatively sheltered against what was going on outside politically. We were not aware of historic incidents such as Sharpeville and Hector Pieterson or what our government was currently doing to the future of South Africa. All I knew was that we were pretty much on our own. What with an Afrikaans father who very quickly became seriously involved with the then Democratic Party together with, Zach de Beer, Denis Worrall and Wynand Malan. We had no chance!

But the purpose of this letter is not about my childhood or what I “endured”. The purpose of this letter is to get my feelings across to you. As you are to me, and to the rest of the world, an icon. A hero. Someone who was put on this earth to change the world as we know it. And you did just that.

Today I am 34 years old. I have 2 beautiful young children and a wonderful husband. I am still Afrikaans, still white and still trying my best to look at what is happening around me in a liberal way. The latter proving to be harder each day after I listen to the news…

I feel compelled to apologise to you for what is happening in South Africa. The one cause you were willing to give your life to. 27 years you spent behind bars. And each day you forgave yet another person who was responsible for putting you on Robben Island. Where you found the strength from God alone knows. But you carried on. And I truly believe you did that because you had hope for a new South Africa. Somewhere amongst all the racial chaos taking place, you had a dream. A dream that will one day change everything.

I remember your release day so clearly. Maybe it was because we were few and far between in celebrating in our small town! But maybe it’s because I will never forget the image of a free man walking, side-by-side to his wife, waving and smiling. Exuberating kindness through eyes that should’ve been filled with revenge. Instead I saw a leader. A man who forgave. I remember the guilt I felt as a white African. Barely 12 years old and I suddenly realized that all of this was wrong. I realize now that this could’ve been the start of my rebellious political streak amongst my fellow Afrikaans pupils in a very Afrikaans school? Or maybe politics really do run in the genes?

Tata, our country is crying. When I think about South Africa I see fire. I see fighting and warfare. I see bank notes being pulled and ripped. I see hatred. I feel hatred. I see an ever-growing infliction of racism that, I believe, will never die down. I feel fear for my children. I am anxious. I sometimes find myself looking at other countries and I long for freedom. But then I realize freedom comes with a price tag…

Weeks before your 94th birthday I would like to send you a personal heart felt message to apologise about the state of our country. I feel ashamed to live under a government who cannot provide education to our learners. I feel helpless when yet another murder or rape statistic is released; knowing the families of the victims will possibly never find closure. My heart aches when youth leaders publicly release statements proclaiming that warfare is needed for land claims. When a mentally handicapped child is raped and exposed in the media and the perpetrators run free. Poverty amongst the very same people who voted for the leaders who are not protecting them. Murderers become celebrities. Drug dealers start operating at the age of 10.

I believe that there is no future for South Africa if the youth in our country is denied the basic right to education. 5 year old learners sit under a tree through rain and sun. Teachers have to fight their way through the voices of 80+ pupils in a room…but I guess you know all of this.

My heart aches. South Africa my country. I do not want to leave you. We have so much to offer to this wonderful place.  May God guide us in retaining hope and never losing faith.

I wish you a wonderful 94th birthday Madiba. Through all the wrong Africa has done we must have done something right to be honoured with your presence.

Thank you for believing in a nation who let you down. Thank you for always smiling. Thank you for forgiving. I will never stop praying for our land.

Yours sincerely,

René Pienaar

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Through the eyes of a child

Wow. I haven’t blogged in years. I think about it often. Often conjuring up wonderful topics with witty funny anecdotes but I never put it on my blog. Why? Surely the first answer is TIME. Or lack of it – or maybe that should read time management. I guess time is a legit excuse. As I get older and our kids become more “time consuming” I have tried to prioritise my projects. Whether it be family time, school time, me time, friend time or gym time, I have come to the realisation that in today’s rat race time is a precious commodity. Something we will never have enough of. Something we wish away so often. Something we can’t wrap as a gift. Something we can never stop. Something we steal so often. And most importantly, something we do not own to begin with…

Friday 06h20. The harp alarm on my iPhone softly strings on volume 4 next to my bed. I snooze it. 10 minutes. Miraculously I fall asleep again. 06h30. I “slide to cancel” and get up. We have half an hour before we leave to school. I wake my youngest with a “morning my girl, you have to get up and get dressed otherwise we’ll be late, we’ve half an hour. Would you like Bfast?”. I go next door and wake my son “morning angel, come it’s 6h30 we don’t have time to waste this morning. All bran or Pronutro?”. They get dressed in record time – we are blessed, I realise that! Downstairs at 6h39, both of them shoes and socks in hand – they are creatures of habit. Still half asleep they shove over crowded spoons full of cereal in their mouths. I make cappuccino and organise school bags. Pack lunch boxes (which I make the night before to gain an extra 7 minutes) and fill water bottles. Then I start rushing them. Eat up, socks and shoes, brush your teeth, fetch a hair brush. Back up for hair fasteners. Teeth check. Water-comb my boys’ hair, sometimes wiping his toothpaste stained mouth with the kitchen cloth. Library books check, soccer kit check, show and tell … dam it! Take this pepper grinder, look it’s got Himalayan rock salt, tell the kids (they’re 5 for goodness sake!) dad got it when he went to the Himalayas and it’s magic! Show and tell check 🙂 R8 for baking check, Echinae force drops, Multi vitamins check. Right! With 2 “I love yous” and have funs I guide them out the door to their awaiting lift. It’s 7am and I need to sit and have a well deserved break with a luke warm cappuccino…

I am sure you’re not as interested in my day-to-day activities as I might well believe anyone would be so I won’t continue at 12h30: first pick up at school starts. At 18h30 we at last return home from cricket…

I will cut to the chase and make my point: Our children are born into a world where time will never stand still. And time used to stand still. Hardly 30 years ago. I remember because I was there. And my time often stood still.

Witbank 1985. I was in Gr2 and 7 years old. It’s 13h15 and I’m waiting for Mom at the school gate under the tree with the glue on its bark. It has big old roots where we tunnel and make roads for our tree town. I eat the glue. Only the really hard bits not the soft runny clumps. The hard bits sometimes glue my upper and lower teeth together so severely that when I eventually undo them I have to check if I didn’t loose a tooth. But I never stop doing that. There’s glue all over my uniform, mom will get upset with me again. Every day she tells me to stop getting the glue on my uniform. But I don’t listen. I’m a kid. I’m hungry, my lunch box empty by first break already. My knees are stained from crawling around in the sand, my school shoes hopelessly scuffed. But I am happy. Having so much fun digging and tunneling. And of course eating the glue! Boomgom I called it. Stuffing some clumps into my pocket just before Mom arrives. I’ve been playing for about 7 minutes but it felt like hours. My time stood still.

LIfe was so much slower. I can’t remember ever really rushing. I guess living 3 blocks from school and living in an era where children walked or cycled to school from the age of 6 made a difference. The only form of advanced communication being a Telkom landline. Or a hand written letter. We all lived within a few hundred meters from each other. The only rush being the lunchtime sandwich shoved into our mouths in 3 bites to get out the house! On the bikes, down 2 roads and into the veld. Tying long grass together in the pathways for innocent passers to trip over 🙂 Climbing trees and endless tunneling under roots, in hardened building sand, shooting clap guns, scraping R2 together for a cream doughnut and some gum. Not in the least aware of that thing called time. All we had was time. And life was good. Uncomplicated. Or so it seemed for a 7 year old girl with only boy friends digging, climbing, boxing, shooting, cycling, falling, creating, planning. How wonderful life was!

I realise now that we are the creators of our own worst fears. We are the masters of our destiny. My life has made a full 360. I am the pupil and I learn from the masters, my children. They teach me invaluable life lessons every day. Laugh more, rush less. Dance more, plan less. Do less, do more. Plant, paint, dig, roll, eat, wrestle, draw. 

To you my children, I will forever be in debt. Thank you for teaching me what I do not know. For the mistakes I make are mere lessons which I did not learn as a child. I am a master in the making and one day when you are a pupil again I hope that I can teach you as much as you taught me. I love you more. Image


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SpeakZA – Bloggers for a free press


Bloggers For a Free Press

Last week, shocking revelations concerning the activities of the ANC Youth

League spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu came to the fore. According to a

letter published in various news outlets, a complaint was laid by 19 political

journalists with the Secretary General of the ANC, against Shivambu. This

complaint letter detailed attempts by Shivambu to leak a dossier to certain

journalists, purporting to expose the money laundering practices of Dumisani

Lubisi, a journalist at the City Press. The letter also detailed the intimidation

that followed when these journalists refused to publish these revelations.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprisals against journalists by

Shivambu. His actions constitute a blatant attack on media freedom and a

grave infringement on Constitutional rights. It is a disturbing step towards

dictatorial rule in South Africa.

We call on the ANC and the ANC Youth League to distance themselves from the

actions of Shivambu. The media have, time and again, been a vital democratic

safeguard by exposing the actions of individuals who have abused their

positions of power for personal and political gain.

The press have played a vital role in the liberation struggle, operating under

difficult and often dangerous conditions to document some of the most crucial

moments in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore distressing to note

that certain people within the ruling party are willing to maliciously target

journalists by invading their privacy and threatening their colleagues in a bid to

silence them in their legitimate work.

We also note the breathtaking hubris displayed by Shivambu and the ANC

Youth League President Julius Malema in their response to the letter of

complaint. Shivambu and Malema clearly have no respect for the media and

the rights afforded to the media by the Constitution of South Africa. Such a

response serves only to reinforce the position that the motive for leaking the

so-called dossier was not a legitimate concern, but a insolent effort to

intimidate and bully a journalist who had exposed embarrassing information

about the Youth League President.

We urge the ANC as a whole to reaffirm its commitment to media freedom and

other Constitutional rights we enjoy as a country.

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A bit of blank about blank

I don’t like thinking of a topic for my blog. Sometimes in the middle of the night I think of a great topic but the next day I’d forgotten it. Hate that. Then when I open this blog and read through some of my previous posts I SO wish that I can just start typing about some arb thing and it all turns out ok…so that is what I’m going to do today. No topic. Just stuff.

So what’s hot in my life, you ask? Let me put my last 3 months in a nutshell for those who are interested:

In January of this year my dear husband had a freak accident at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon. Thank the Germans for Volvo. The car was written off but miraciously my precious husband was ok. Apart from some whiplash, bruising stiffness. He was ok. On that same day his uncle died. 2 Days later my sister and her family went back to Australia. A dreadful week indeed.

Just as the dust settled in Feb, one Friday evening my dear husband started complaining about a toothache. He’d had an abscess in August last year that almost sent him into the looney bin (or jail, not sure if he was going to loose his mind or murder someone…). So he knew the signs…it was the start of 2 veeeery long weeks. Needless to say the dreaded abscess was back and there was nothing, ziltch, squat, nada the doctor could do for him except give antibiotics, pain medication and send him home. It was a nightmare. He couldn’t eat, sleep, talk, walk, stand, lie. Pretty much nothing was accomplished. In his defense, he is a wonderful patient. Purely, I think, cause I’m not such a wonderful caregiver-of-adults…I think? Oh well.

The tooth eventually cleared up. He’d lost about 4 kgs (I know, I was hoping  tooth abcesses were contagious….) but he looked and felt like a human being again! We were all happy, Yeah! But I started feeling a bit ummm, tired?

Meanwhile I had to go on anti biotics twice in 2 months for a recurring cold. Which in turn prevented me from going boxing. Which in turn meant that I had a lot of surpressed energy that went nowhere. And that, I of course had to keep all to myself as another surprise was hiding behind the corner..

On 11 March my husband had to have a small growth removed from inside his eye. He’s had it removed once before many years ago but it grew back. I am not sure why he thought that this was a good time to have it done. Anywho….

He had someone drop him at the eye hospital as we had arranged that I will pick him up at 1pm and then fetch his car from the office sometime this past weekend. In a mad rush to get to the hospital in peak lunch time traffic (which I had NO idea as to it’s location) 8 kms ended up taking me 50 mins to cover. I seriously had a map sent to us by the doctor which I think his 6 year old daughter drew. Nowhere on that map did it even say where my husband was being operated on…yes yes I should have maybe taken the time to communicate with him WHERE the op was being done but alas…I did not include all the in betweens in this post leading up to this op, so HEAR me out!!

He got out of theatre at 3h15….Thank Apple for iPhone. Did some surfing, chatted to my sister in Aus, read e-mail, played copious amounts of mind numbing games and changed all my settings about 4 times.

Yeah the op was done and a success! So I see that he ate his sandwiches and drank his coffee and I hord him into the car. Let’s go, let’s go let’s go! Time is few and traffic is a nightmare!! Get in get IN GET IN!!

Day 2 of the op and the eye is really not feeling great. Pain medication not really working. He can’t lift anything heavy or bend down. Can’t drive. Can’t really move very fast. Can’t seem to concentrate for too long. Eye is becoming a small issue in my life. Volvo. Tooth. Eye. And eye for a tooth and a volvo for a …..whateva. Thought I’d be clever.

In the meantime I’m feeling something brewing. Aches, pains, headaches general miffness. On Friday afternoon when I got an sms from him warning me that there are many many people at our house I just replied “Not coming home until amount of people have halved”. Sweet darling accepted that reply and indeed sms’d me when they halved (although the remaining half all stayed over…).

Cooked, cleaned, entertained, served, chatted to! Tried my best to be sweet! If you know me very well I am GREAT at what I know I’m good at but I absolotely suck at what I don’t WANT to do and try….so I guessed I sucked.

Saturday morning off to the big interior shop to choose my well deserved new gas stove for our new house!! Whoopwhoop! Been waiting ages for this day! Get there, saw it, decided on it. Let’s go he says. And I think, uhm No? Go home now? To do what? For me to cook again? Serve again? Entertain again? Hell. No. So we did go. And I threw a tantrum – not a fabulous one as I was driving due to sore eye so I had to concentrate and tantrum and that sucks.

And I was very rude. And I felt better after being that rude, but I also felt very bad. Because in hindsight it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t choose to have any of these things happen to him and in turn to me. All he wanted was to be healthy and happy and not in pain. And all I did was internalise all this frustration. I couldn’t take a break. I couldn’t just sit down. I couldn’t refuse the visitors. I couldn’t take it out on anyone else but him. So I did. And I was truly sorry for doing it that way. No I haven’t apologised personally. Although after 15 years we have our own way of dealing with things. I got the message across. He listened. Didn’t agree with any of it. But listened.

And after this whole experience we’re stronger! Sometimes my pride comes in the way of asking: “Please help?”. I’d rather risk losing a limb than asking for help. And I have no-one else to blame but myself. An early inheritance from my mother 🙂

And never ever will I find another understanding more loving wonderful thoughtful sensitive amazing funny clever loyal gorgeous complimenting successful man in the world. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for our love and for our children.

I love you.


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So today my mind is small. So what.

Yes yes I know. This place might as well close shop. I did find some cobwebs and something else growing on this page when I opened it this morning….felt bad that I’ve neglected it a bit. But now I’m here 🙂

So the talk of the town is the Joost skandaal. Well it was really big news back in July when our favourite newspaper (read trash) had a LARGER than life article on the front page with pictures of holy underwear and Pringle socks (which weren’t his as he’s never heard of Pringle…) spread across it. As they do, he vehemently denied all rumours the following day, declaring that his heart belongs to God and that he loves his troph….I mean wife, tsk, and that he would never ever never ever cheat on her – a bit like Lola from Charlie and Lola who will never ever ever never eat a tomato…or oyster or something 🙂

I knew then that it was him. It was confirmed by various sources in the know. The drugs situation surprised me a bit but the “sexual relations”, him.

We’ve all heard the different opinions about the events of this past weekend. The sudden acknowledgement, the crying a lot and some more, the Please forgive my I am not worthy, the I used to think I was invincible. Blah blah blah. And the wonderfully chance occurence of releasing a tell-all (whateva that may mean, as if we care) biography over the SAME weekend and asking for forgiveness and again not answering interviewer’s questions after accepting interviews from various radio stations (at a fee I pressume) and generally talking around the topic. Again. Running circles around enquiries about previous affairs: “I can like to only have been cheating one time”. You know what, if you have laid your cards on the table and have come clean with your wife and yourself about any other previous incidents, then be a freaking man and say so publicly.  My question is simple: Why would a respectable public figure like Charmaine Weavers admit to having an affair with you when it is not true? Why would she put her entire future on the line, when she had nothing to gain by coming clean in public? It’s not like it would be an achievement to have an affair with him? She didn’t manage to seduce someone like Matt Damon or any other good looking stable husband and boast about her achievements in public? She actually did it to make peace with herself? I think. Not sure why she did it really….embarassing.

His loyal followers have forgiven him. They’ve obviously forgiven him because they never believed that it could be him in that video. Isn’t that when you forgive? So you don’t have to forgive if you haven’t really believed in someone or loved someone or felt that someone has betrayed you or taken away something from you or disappointed you? My point is, I don’t have anything to forgive him for. I don’t feel the need to forgive him for what he did. I feel nothing for his actions. I have sympathy for his wife and his family who DID believe in him. Whom he DID disappoint and embarass. She is just a wife who loved her husband. Sure she has made mistakes of her own. Sure she has rumours floating around about her 🙂 Rumours I say, tsk. But when is enough enough? How do you pick up from this and carry on? How do you even start about thinking of a normal happy future with all this baggage hanging on your shoulders? I commend her for still standing upright. She is just a woman fighting for her marriage and for the father of her children…

I don’t forgive him. I have nothing to forgive. He must plot on. He has been an adult for the last 20 years of his life. I have no empathy because I have never lead a life of wealth and fame and talent and booze and drugs and sex and available women/men at the age of 20. And I can’t say that I would have made exactly the same choices as I have to date with all of the above. But what I will say is that I have a moral responsibility to 1. Myself 2. God 3. My husband and children and 4. My family. I have been tried and tested many times in my life. I have failed a few times – more silly decisions than ethically wrong really – but I have always kept my selfrespect. Yes we’re all different. Yes I am critical and have high standards and forget that not everyone think the same way. Yes I accept that not all the deicions I make are the right ones. But are morals and ethics not a universal trait? Is the difference between wrong and right not generally black or white? Very few grey areas there….unless you choose to see grey obviously. That changes everything.

Joost, I can honestly say I don’t like your actions. I don’t like your decisions, I don’t like what you’ve done to those people around you. I have never supported you (purely because we are the biggest anti-bulls-supporters :)) and I would never want to win An unforgettable evening out with Joost van der Westhuizen, for instance. But most of all, I don’t like you for the sleasiest most shocking and easiest cop-out that you made: “I have never cheated on my wife because my heart belongs to God”. When I play that statement in my head I feel as if you blamed this all on God. And you put a nation of followers on a guilt trip. You lead them to believe that …..”all our fellow Afrikaans Christians, you should know and believe me because I mentioned God in my denial”.  And that makes it so much easier for me to just forget you. Nothing to forgive. Just forget.

Get on with your life. You only have one. Be a man. Grow some balls. Tell the truth. Make it right.

But remember to ask Him to forgive you for passing the buck. If you can forgive yourself, great. Then make the best of what you have left of your life.

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People in glass houses shouldn’t leave magnifying lenses lying around…or something.

I went to Sandton City today. Not an everyday occurance. But the kids are visiting their grandparents so I have ample time to endure traffic and have some me-time. Not that Sandton City is my IDEAL me-time outing. Despite the distance and traffic, another reason I don’t go there is the general uhm, what’s that word….snotty(?) feeling I get when I walk in there.  To make matters worse, a lot of private schools are still on holiday at the moment so inevitably a place like Sandton City would be crawling with kids. Wow I’m getting old.  Save your comments for when I’m done, don’t start swearing at me halfway through this post….but my GENERAL feeling is that MAJORITY OF people who hang out at SC as well as Hyde Park Shopping Centre is a breed on their own.  Man. It’s so strange. I don’t get intimidated easily. And when I do, I pretend that I’m not. I play the intimidator role right back if I have to. But THAT place!

I got the feeling in more than 1 store that one gets checked out immediately as you step inside the door of the shop. I am sure they distinctively place checker-outers throughout the shop. Like field workers almost. Some dressed in “shop” uniform; others under cover. They have a secret sign language. Flick of hair towards left = cool chick. Drop of wrist downwards, palm up = not interested chick. And obvious shake of the head = poor chick. I suspect I fell into the poor chick category more than once.  You know that feeling you get when you get checked out to SUCH an extent that you start feeling GUILTY for some obscure freaking reason?!?!?! All you did was walk into the store and you got a quick once-over and then the guilt begins….do I LOOK ok? Why do they stare at me and when I look at them they smile VERY WIDELY? Why are they following me EVERYWHERE??  Now I’m pissed. Now I will have an attitude with them. Remember, this is all just going on in MY head….

I scan for the most expensive looking  jacket. I spot it. It’s long, it’s real fur (grrrr) and it seems so expensive it hasa halo sitting above it? I ask to see it. She (reminds me of Cruella de Ville….) gives a TOTALLY plastic, botox smile, walks towards to hanger and takes it down. She says, “Zis won ees pricee”. I say oh, well it’s totally worth it, ’cause I see it’s fox and rabbit…? I made that up, but it turned out to be correct! Rene 1, She 0. She drapes it over my shoulders.       Oh. My. Word. It fits like a freaking glove! A genuine fur coat that LOOKS nice, feels like silk, as light as a feather and hanging over MY shoulders! I love it. I should hate it, but I LOVE it! I want it. Which is a problem ’cause I picked it for it’s expensive look, not because I ever thought that I would Like it, let alone LOVE it! But i LOVE it. She brings me the belt and we turn it into an evening coat. Oh. My. Word. It is breathtakingly beautiful!!! It was made for me. She comes floating towards me and whispers (well she spoke but it was all a haze…) “it ees also reversable…”. Before I could think I say “stoppit!!!”. And she says, “Reaaally”. And we flip it and it is just as beautiful on the inside!! All brown and soft and fluffy around the neck and wrists…and i LOOOOVE it. And i finally ask, “this was how much again…?”. She whispers (bellows) “R16, 352….”.  I say (whisper) “O yes, but it’s SOOOO worth it….”, without blinking, swallowing, blushing or peeing my pants. Just poker-faced comeback. Then I hug it, and stroke it and say “I will bring my husband here later…thanks for your time, see you later”. I leave with a headache and buy the Sarie at CNA.

These shopping centres are a flipping scream! I am able to sit and have coffee for hours, literally cup after cup – ok maybe not JUST coffee, say 2 coffees and then some water – but just sit and sip and watch them. The mall-trawlers. The kugels. The business men. The mutton-dressed-as-lamb. The 13-year old girls with minis, mobiles, tart-heels and make-up. The mothers of the tart-upped 13 year olds. They fascinate me. And I wonder. I wonder what on earth is the meaning of all of this? All this earthly stuff? The designer heels on sale for R2,500. The fur jacket for a bond payment. The painfully skinny girls.  The 5 year old throwing a tantrum and getting his way.  Am I missing the point? Or are THEY missing it?

And when I breathe a sigh of relief when I finally leave through Entrance 14 I realise that I am not missing the point. I am who I am. But I may not be judgemental towards how others choose to live their lives. They might look at MY life and have the same opinion I have over theirs (just completely different, if you get my point?).  But we all choose different things in life. My life is different right now because of me, my circumstances and my decisions. Someone elses life is completely the opposite due their own plans and choices. And that is all OK. In the GREEEAAAATER scheme of things it is all OK.

I want to leave you with something from The Shack: “Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being” .

Go well.


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Skrywenswaardige artikel – ek like hierdie ou!

Soos ek vanoggend op News24 gaan om die artikels te lees, sonder om die fotos te sien van bejaarde mense wat aangerand word en verkoolde lyke in Australie ala Beeld…..lees ek hierdie ou se artikel raak. Ongelukkig gaan ek myself in baie van sy kategoriee moet sit want (en ek se hierdie UITSLUITELIK om myself beter te laat voel) ek is menslik. Maar goeie artikel. Publiseerwaardig hier op die Mielie stronk 🙂

Margaret Atwood once wrote, apropos of the Holocaust and the common human condition of evil, “The trouble some people have being German? I have being human.”

Well, the problem some people have being scum-sucking bottom-feeders, I have being a journalist. Sometimes.

Is exposing Joost van der Westhuizen‘s private life in the public interest?

The Mail & Guardian staff broke one of their fantastic exposes last week, revealing ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus as a fraudster, effectively ruining his life. Well, at least until he gets rehabilitated in the Allan Boesak Church of the Second Chance.

Is exposing Carl Niehaus in the public interest? Most would say yes – he’s the spin doctor for the ruling party, a party that’s plagued by corruption allegations. The public needed to know how peculiarly well-qualified for that job he was.

But Joost van der Westhuizen? Exposing him seems to be more about an interested public than public interest. Of what possible relevance is it to me that an ex-Springbok is allegedly a hypocrite, a drug-taker, and a user of prostitutes? I never thought sportsmen were anything less than human, and I hope that, after Hansie Cronje, we’re all beyond thinking they’re anything more.

The South African Beckhams

I’m busy reading Steve Hofmeyr‘s intriguing autobiography, Mense van my Asem, and although I hold no brief for celebrities who whine when the hand they feed bites them, hearing the story from the other side does give you pause for thought. He describes Joost and Amor as “the South African Beckhams”, which becomes even more apt given current circumstances.

Now the customary argument here is, if you want to be a celebrity, you shouldn’t complain when the media hounds you. And that’s a fine argument, if what you’re arguing about is whether celebrities have the right to object to certain kinds of coverage.

It’s not an unassailable argument, of course. Tabloids and gossip magazines seem to feel that the fact that they and celebrities are involved in a symbiotic relationship of publicity and sales, means that the celebrity has sold his soul to the devil, and it’s the job of all vigilant tabloid saints to take every opportunity to burn him at the stake.

This can come back to bite them, as with the News of the World and Max Mosley, where the paper ended up paying £60 000 in damages, and £850 000 in costs.

But I’m not a celebrity, and neither are you. We’re readers, and the question we should be asking is, why do we want to read stories exposing celebrities as frauds and/or hypocrites?

Voyeuristic vampires

The only possible answer must be – because we’re childish wankers, voyeuristic vampires whose lives are empty and meaningless without the constant fort-da of erecting tinpot gods and then tearing them down, erecting them and tearing them down.

Carl Niehaus I can understand. There’s a certain kind of schadenfraud in it (like schadenfreude, but more particularly, the pleasure corrupt politicians experience when one of their own gets bust for fraud – and they don’t). There’s also a certain righteousness in that Niehaus is, in a sense, a servant of the people.

Hansie Cronje I can understand, Jacob Zuma and the Arms Deal I can understand. But a man who has no bearing on anything that I do, that my country does, and on anything that matters a damn – why take him down so viciously?

Sure, he’s a Blue Bulls supporter, but jeez – even that’s no reason. Some people will say that he claims to be a Christian and a family man, so he needs to be exposed as a hypocrite. Well, last time I checked, Heat magazine wasn’t exactly a magazine that had “pushing Christianity” and “building better families” as two of its editorial pillars.


Let me make this clear – I’m not riding a holier than thou hobbyhorse here. I’m not querying the editorial decision to publish a Joost expose. If you asked me baldly, would I, as an editor, have made the Joost video available for my readers, the answer would, unhappily, be yes. When the Joost video becomes freely viewable on the net, will I take a look? Unhappily, yes.

In both cases, I could propose mitigating circumstances. The video will inevitably be available everywhere anyhow, so I might as well be the first to show it to my readers. And I’m a writer, so I need to watch it so as to comment on it.

But in both those cases, I’d be lying to make myself feel better. I’d show it because I want to beat the competition. I’d watch it because of prurient interest.

There are more ramifications to this tabloid culture than just inconvenienced celebrities. In the UK, 27-year-old “reality TV star” Jade Goody has just been told that her cervical cancer is winning the battle with chemotherapy, and she has just weeks to live.

Comment around this includes people saying she doesn’t deserve sympathy, that her imminent death is in some way a punishment for being exposed as a racist on Big Brother, and that they’re looking forward to seeing her death on tv.

People seem to feel she isn’t human. She’s a celebrity, a reality tv star, a creature created by the media. She’s fair game.

We’ve stopped believing that celebrities are human, it seems. And for every celebrity we dehumanise, we lose a bit of our own humanity.


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My huis.

Goeiedag liewe bloggers. Hier skryf ek mos net as ek iets skryfenswaardigs (nuwe woord vir HAT) het. En vandag het iets baie nostalgies in my lewe gebeur. Ek is vandag Witbank toe om die kinders te gaan oplaai wat vir die naweek by ouma en oupa was. My ouers is op die oomblik besig om te trek na ‘n ander huis in Witbank en vanoggend het ek besef dat vandag die laaste dag sal wees wat ek in my ouerhuis sal wees. Ek is daar gebore en het vir 18 jaar daar gebly. Ek dink my ouers bly al 32 jaar daar? My eerste 18 jaar van my lewe…

Die huis was alreeds opgepak toe ek daar aankom. My ma (seen haar) het al die kaste in bokse gepak.  Al drie haar dogters se lewens wat ons daar gelos het vir ons opgepak. Oor die jare het ek elke nou en dan ‘n tassie met briewe of blikkies of vrybriewe van haar af gekry, maar die boks wat ek vandag gaan oplaai het het dinge in gehad wat ek gemaak het toe ek 3 jaar oud was…die briewe, die skool klere, kunswerke, blikkies, fotos, jaarblaaie. Maar meeste van als, die kinder boeke. Kinder bybels, Saartjie boeke, Afrikaanse Disney boeke, kinder ensiklopediee, Casper comics! Ongelooflik. En soos ek deur die boeke blaai is ek terug in my bed, 5 jaar oud en ek sien daai prentjies. Heidi en Peter op die slee. Die slee gaan te vinnig teen die bult af en hulle tref ‘n groot klip. Peter vlieg af en stamp sy kop teen die klip…hy word nie wakker nie. Heidi hardloop teen die bult af en gaan roep haar oupa….die storie gaan aan en aan – gelukkig is daar ‘n gelukkige einde! Maar die gevoel wat ek kry wanneer ek daai boekie sien. Dis een wat ek nie kan beskryf nie. Ek wens dit toe vir almal. So ‘n gevoel van nostalgia. Goeie herinneringe. Daai kinderlike vrees oor arme Peter. Onskuld. Hoe ek gesukkel het met die Engelse boekies. Bybels wat my 2 susters vir my gegee het vir my verjaarsdag. My eerste posters teen my mure – Bono van U2. Gelukkig het die ander meer embarassing prente nie hulle plek in die boks gemaak nie – die van die ander “helde” toe ek jonk was *bloos*. Baie embarassing! Dankie ma 🙂

Ek kan eintlik nie glo die huis is nou sonder sy mense nie? Alhoewel ek al 13 jaar uit die huis is sal dit altyd my huis bly. Ons gesin se huis waar ons nou is is obviously my huis, maar daai huis…daai huis is waar ek groot geword het. Die boom wat ek geklim het. Die sand paaie vir my karre. Pierre wat af in die pad bly. Jaco net agter hom. Die dag toe ek ‘n bottel amonia in die motorhuis gekry het en in die bottel gesnuif het – note to self MOET DIT NOOIT WEER DOEN NIE!!! Die asbes pophuis met die rooi dak. Die teestelle in daai pophuis. Die dak het naderhand begin verweer. Eendag toe merk ek en Pierre ‘n groot gat in die dak en die reen kom in…ons moet ‘n plan maak?!?! Ons vat toe stukke hout en …… ooo! Onthou ek nou net! Sement! ‘n Sak sement wat daar rondgele het. Meng sommer die sement net so reguit uit die sak met water…met ons hande. Stukke hou bo-oor gat met sement bo-oor hout. Sement val tussen hout deur, deur gat in dak in pophuis…maar die meeste reen is uitgehou. Ons handjies was rou van daai sement maar ten minste kon ons weer speel sonder om nat te reen.

Die boom in die erf agter was my klim boom. Ek het hom so baie geklim dat ek sweer die takke ‘n tipe  “lounger” gevorm het vir my. Daai boom het die beste boomgom gehad in die straat! Ek was ‘n boomgom junkie 🙂 Soos ek insekte, klippe en blare geeet het, het ek ook boomgom geeet…die vet weet, dat ek nie vandag ‘n vegetarier is nie is ‘n freaking wonderwerk!

Ons het ‘n yster swaai gehad. Een van daai met twee sitplekke wat na mekaar toe kyk met die voet-rus in die middel onder, tussen ‘n yster raam. My ouers was slim, hulle het geweet daai tipe swaai het net een persoon nodig om hom te swaai so niemand het ooit gekla dat die ander een haar hoef te swaai nie! Slim gedink. Party dae was ek te wild op daai ding. Ek het die een swaai afgehaak, saam met die voetrus en myself so hoog geswaai dat die swaai in die lug afgekom het en ek getrek het….seer.

Aan die kant van die huis waar die swembad was, was daar ‘n tipe patio – dit was eintlik voor die swembad gebou was, so daar was net die patio en die grasperk. Daar het ek, my susters en 2 of 3 maatjies “kinders kinders hoe laat is dit” gespeel. Onthou julle dit!! Daai adrenalien rush as jy die kind is en die wolf gaat NOU enige tyd omdraai!! Ooo my tone het gekrul van die vrees! Daar was ‘n ander game ook – aftrekkertjie. Hoe hy werk is die aftrekker staan onder op die gras en die spelers bo op die boonste trappie. Dan trek die afterkker jou af en soos jy land moet jy vries. Die aftrekker moet dan raai wat is jy…nou die van julle wat my ken sal weet dat ek hierdie game gelove het! Soos ek land het ek skielik geval en soos ‘n tafel gaan staan…of soos ‘n hond wat slaap. Ek dink al die ander deelnemers het actually gevries soos hulle geval het, met die gevolg hulle aksies wat bitter onverbeeldingryk…teen myne in elkgeval!

Daai selfde stoep het leiklip op gehad. Partykeer wanneer die leiklip afkom (soos elke middag, miraculously het die klip sommer net “afgekom” wanneer ek daar verby geloop het…) was daar onder die klip so ‘n sagte oranje ander klip. Dan kap ek daai sagte klip uit en sit en verlustig my aan daai sagte klip wat soos bordkryt smaak…ja ok, as ek dit hier skryf klink dit BAIE erger as wat dit toe was, maar hier is ek eerlik!! Die consistency was soos bordkryt maar die smaak soos grond. Net skoner. Of iets. Of iets.

Die akkerboom langs die swembad. Met die gladde klein akkertjies. Dit het ek ook geeet. Ek se mos, probeer alles in die tuin en dit wat jou lighoofdig maak of jou mond doodmaak, don’t try that one again! En toe eindig ek wel op by Hotel Skool! Haha! Ek het die akker se doppie afgetrek en die sagte, liggeel akkertjie uitgehaal. As jy dan die akkertjie in die helfte breek is daar so ‘n klein stingeltjie in die akker vleis. Daai stingeltjie het ek eerste geeet en dan die res van vleis. Dit was nogal sleg onthou ek, maar ek het dit geeet. Vir die wat dalk hieroor wonder, ja daar was kos in die huis 🙂

Soos jy kan sien, ek raak meegevoer met hierdie onderwerp. Dis 10pm en ek kan hier sit en stories vertel tot more oggend toe. Maar ek gaan nou afsluit. Ek gaan hierdie onderwerp oophou en wanneer ek weer hier is gaan ek dit hervat. Al is dit net vir my. Want ek is nostalgies. Ek is hartseer en my trane sit vlak. Ek gaan jou mis ou huis. Die huis waar ek gevorm is. Grootgemaak is. Lief gewees was. Lief was. Gelag het, gehuil het. Van my eerste dag by my huis tot my laaste dag in matriek. My liewe ma, my liewe pa. My 2 kosbare susters. Hel, ons het mekaar MAL gehad in daai huis! 3 Susters! Oudste probeer vry en die 2 kleintjies irriteer die rook uit haar uit! Wow. Soveel ongelooflike herinneringe. Dankie Pa en Ma. Dankie vir ons huis. Dankie dat julle ons daar veilig gehou het. Dankie vir julle beskerming en liefde. Dankie vir julle ondersteuning. Dankie vir lekker verjaarsdae en kersfees. Dankie Pa vir toast met bacon en gesmelte kaas vir ontbyt. Dankie ma vir warm drukkies en ma wat soos handeroom ruik. Ma het “uitgaan parfuum” gehad. So lekker soos wat dit geruik het, kan ek onthou dat daai reuk my altyd hartseer gemaak het. Want dan weet ek ma en pa gaan uit en ek gaan hulle mis. Pa in sy pikkewyn soot en ma in haar mooi aandrok. Ai, die knop in my keel is weg want my trane vloei.

Ek bid dat my kinders hulle kinderhuis altyd sal onthou soos ek dit onthou. ‘n Avontuur. Liefde, geluk, warmte, sekuriteit, my beskerming.

Dankie Pa en Ma.


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Ek is terug! Van Zanzibar, met ‘n huppel in my stap :)

Hier is ek. Was nog nooit eintlik weg nie. MIA miskien. Maar hier. Dol, aan die gang, stil en rustig op dieselfde tyd. Ek het al ‘n paar keer ‘n post begin hier voor die rekenaar. Maar dit elke keer uitgevee “due to lack of substance”. Want, soos ek al voorheen gese het, ek gaan niks hier sit as ek nie regtig iets het om te se nie? En, ongelukkig, kan ‘n mens nie altyd presies hier se se wat jy WIL of VOEL nie…

MAAR!!! Ek is nou hier, en vandag het ek BAIE om te se!

Ons het gister teruggekeer van Zanzibar, Tanzanie. Ek en my man was daar van verlede Sondag tot gister. Dit is my vyfde Afrika land buite SA waar ek al was. En, obviously, die mooiste mooiste eiland waar ek myself nog ooit bevind het!!! Dit was hemels. Alles van die plek was hemels. Ok, wanneer ek se alles, bedoel ek, soos meeste ander eiland oorde alles binne die oord. Die oomblik wanneer jy uit die hek ry dan tref die realiteit van Zanzibar jou. Ek, met my “joodse skuldgevoelens”, voel skuldig wanneer ek by die hek uitry en sien wat daar buite aangaan. Sien waar die mense woon, waar hulle probeer woon. Wat hulle eet, of nie eet nie. Maar, soos enige Suid Afrikaner was een van ons eerste vra natuurlik, wat is die “crime stats” hier? En dit is amper nul. Toe die gids se “about 2 years ago…” toe kon ek nie help om te lag nie! 2 Jaar terug!?!? Het daar iets gebeur maar die situasie is vinnig stopgesit en tot dusver (waarvan hulle weet) was daar nog niks. Geen geweld nie. Geen misdaad. Absurd? Ongelooflik. Irriterend ongelooflik, want so iets mag nie ongelooflik wees nie. Maar dit is. Anyway, hierdie post gaan oor son, see, rus en eet! Al die wonderlike dinge in die lewe wat net so elke nou en dan gebeur.

Ons het in ‘n oord gebly, La Gemma d’ell Est – sover my Italiaans gaan dink ek dit beteken Jewel of the East? Ons het Sondagaand daar aangekom en dadelik iets gaan eet. Die kos was voortreflik! Ek het disse hierdie week geeet wat ek 1. nog nie van gehoor het nie en 2. nooit gedink ek sou eers probeer nie! Maar, when in Rome…! Daar was okra, blou marlyn, kerries, krewe, yams (yuk yuk yuk!!) mangostines, jack fruit, rooi piesangs, kremetart pit-sweets, gekookte groen piesangs, cocktails vir ‘n eerste plek, pasta met krap sous (voooortreflik!) en bielie prawns! Rooi vleis is baie duur in Zanzibar, hulle moet alles invoer vanaf Tanzanie. Die regering in Zan verhoed enige uitvoere (behalwe speserye) dus moet hulle dinge soos vrugtesap invoer vanaf Suid Afrika. Dis amper onheilig want die vrugtebome groei soos bossies in Zan. Daar is pynappel- pawpaw- en piesangbome net waar jy kyk. Die kremetart bome is hemels. Die plantegroei laat my dink aan Nelspruit Tzaneen area – net 100 keer meet ruig! Ons het plante gesien wat onbeskryflik is. Bougainvillas in rooi, pers, oranje en wit. Bome wat groei soos sambrele in lae tot bo. ‘n Mens sukkel om die volle prentjie oor te dra want dit is unbelievable.

Die strande is soos poeier. Die sand is spierwit en die seewater is deurskynend sover jou oe kan sien van die strande af. Ons was een dag uit op ‘n dhow – dis ‘n plaaslike vervoer bootjie wat die zanzi’s gebruik. Ons het uitgery tot op ‘n sandbank in die middel van die see. Toe ons daar aankom was dit 10am en omtrent 28oC! Daar was nie ‘n palm of skaduwee in sig nie maar daar was skadunette opgerig met ‘n strand braai en ‘n porta potty – ‘n tent met ‘n emmer en ‘n houtplank 🙂 teen die tyd wat ons vertrek het (omtrent 14h30) was die temp naby aan 37oC!! Dit was die warmste plek waar ek nog was! Die seewater was so warm ons kon nie afkoel nie. Soos jy in die see inloop het daar wit en silwer vissies om my voete geswem. Die skulpe het op die strand gele, onaagereaak, in perfekte toestand. ‘n Plaaslike Masai groep het gesorg vir die musiek. Die kos, weereens voortreflik. ‘n Perfekte dag.

Lewe terug by die oord was, in ‘n neutedop, slaap, eet, swem, cocktails, tan, eet, visvang, cocktails, mark ekskursies en eet! Ek kan nie ‘n tyd onthou wanneer ek so gerus het nie. Niksdoen niksdoen niksdoen. Dit was wonderlik.

Natuurlik het ons die kinders baie gemis, maar ons het geweet dit was tydelik en hulle was bederf en gelukkig by die huis by ouma en oupa. Met ons terugkoms by die huis was die kinders in ekstase! Ek was lanklaas so bly om twee bekende lyfies vas te hou, te soen en te druk. Vir die res van die dag was my skaduwee ‘n klein 2-jarige dogtertjie. Sy wou nie die risiko vat om my weer te laat gaan nie! Hulle soen ons nog steeds op. Maar na hulle hul weggaan-presentjies gekry het, was hulle somme stukke beter!

En nou, is ons terug in die werklikheid. En dis nodig. Maar dis ook lekker om elke nou en dan vir ‘n week nie ‘n horlosie te dra nie en nie oral selfoon opvangs te he nie. Nie om te gee of dit 10am of 5pm is nie. Nie weet as jy eers 9pm aandete eet nie. Jouself trommeldik te eet, koffie te drink, tv te kyk in die bed en aan die slaap te raak onder ‘n muskiet net. En al wat jy hoor is die golwe wat breek en besies wat sing in die hitte buite jou kamer.

Ek’s verlief op daai eiland. Die mense. Hulle sal ons weer sien, dis verseker!

Ons praat weer,



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Rocky VII…..

Vanoggend is ek 6uur wakker. Dit is BAIE vroeg vir my. Ek was nog nooit een van daai mense wat 5am elke dag opstaan en dinge begin doen nie. Nee. Ek staan so laat moontlik op (7uur is my laterig, 8am ‘n bonus!!). So toe is ek 6am op. Ek dog eers dis omtrent 4am toe sussie my roep. Maar toe ek die dummy gaan insit en sy draai om en se “hello mamma” toe weet ek – sy’t klaar geslaap! Ek’t toe maar die matrassie uitgetrek, haar uit die kot getel en by my gesit met ‘n klein kombersie op ons – bitter koud. Sy wou niks weet van verder slaap nie. Ek kon werklik nog nie my oe oopkry nie. So, toe ek uit my semi-koma toestand wakker geruk word met “I love you, you love me” toe dag ek, Barney, jou simpel skewe pers dinosaur!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ek en Barney het ‘n love-hate verhouding. As hy my kinders besig hou op die kassie dan kan ek hom stomach, maar as hy soos vanoggend, sy freaking irriterende politiese korekte liedjie in my oor kom sing dan haat ek die ding. Ai. Elk geval, toe’s ek wakker.

Dis toe dat ek ewe skielik die besluit maak dat as ek nie VANDAG begin met gym nie, gaan ek nooit nie. My verskoning verlede maand was dat ek nie halfpad deur die maand wil begin nie want dan betaal ek vir ‘n hele maand en blah blah blah. So, vandag was die dag. Ek kry my gym-gear aan, manlief vat vir boeta skool toe, en daar gaat ek. Ek’s so ‘n paar minute vroeg en die boks instrukteur verstik amper in sy oats toe hy my sien!! Ja toe toe, se ek, dis regtig ek. Laat ek probeer. Ek was meer as ‘n jaar laas by daai plek. Het skoon vergeet waar om die handbande op te rol. Om nie eers te noem dat ek nie my EIE bande eers kan opdraai nie – vra toe maar vir die instrukteur – ek sien hy wil lag en dink seker “Hehe, vandag skyt hierdie girl!!”.

10 minute touspring…het JY al ooit vir 10 MINUTE tou gespring????? Dis soos japanese torture! Jou longe brand. Jou bene willie. Jou arms wil self afskroef. Jou kop draai. En ek kan wragtig nie soos daai boksers sulke klein een-voet sprongetjies gee nie! Maar spring sal ek spring. Vir 10 minute lank…TIME!!! Skree die ou. Kry julle bokse. Bokse? Bokse. Ons gaan nou op en af bokse spring. Heen en weer. Oor. Sylangs. Voor na agter. Ek wil vrek. Die hele plek is vol spieels en daar is net 6 girls in die klas…so dis nie asof jy erens kan MAAK of jy oefen nie, jy moet oefen! TIME! Handskoene aan, sakke toe. Ek’s finished. Maar aangaan, sal ek aangaan. my hare is die wereld vol. My bene willie meer nie. Ek stap sakke toe.

“Combo 2 3 5 3!!!” Huh? Hy wys my. Linker reguit, regter reguit, Linker upper, regter haak. 1 Minuut. Ek doen dit. Liewe moer. Maar ek sallie stop nie. Vir 15 minute slaan ons sakke. Ek vang naderhand op wat beteken, 2 5 3 3 6 1 3 4 en so meer. Maar ek pyn. Daai sak voel vir my BAIE hard en die klub se handskoene is geskeur binne en ek gril my dood vir waar daai handskoene al was – *note to self, koop vandag eie handskoene.

Klaar met sakke, terug na die mat. Oppie rug, sit ups. Nog. Nog. Push-ups. Nog. Fietsry op die rug. Nog. Sit ups. VOL ARMY SIT UPS!!! Ek kan nie. Strek. Ek wil vrek.

Ek trek die handskoene uit en albei hande se kneukels bloei. O hel. Ek wys hom, sy oe rek! Watter sak was ek op, vra hy? Die laaste een. Ja, daai een is baie hard…maar hoe hard het ek geslaan? Hard se ek. Hy sien, se hy. Anger issues, vra hy? I suppose, se ek! Hy lag. Ek try maar tot my mondhoeke pyn. Maar ek dra my letsels met trots vandag! Terug by die gym! Ek moes net die stap gevat het vanoggend om fisies in die motor te klim, daarnatoe te ry en die wit waks uit iets gaan slaan het! En dit voel GREAT!!!!! Daar’s Woensdag weer ‘n klas, ek gaan my bes probeer om more uit die bed te kom. Ek voel alreeds hoe begin die suur in my spiere protesteer! Maar ek gaan dit doen. Ek voel regtig goed.

Hierdie maand is ‘n goeie maand. My ander “quest” waaroor ek tob al vir amper ‘n jaar gaan hierdie maand realiseer. Ek begin met drama klasse. Ek het die “acting class tutor” opgespoor. Ek moet 2 monoloe, een engels een afrikaans, vir hom gaan “Act”. Oefen dit, bel my dan praat ons weer se hy. Ek het ‘n engelse een, maar weet nie eers waar om te begin met die afrikaans nie??? Any takers? Niks op Google, Youtube, Aardvark…nerens! Raad asseblief!

Ciao for now,

Ek voel goed. Oor my onmiddelike situasie. Oor die land? Ek lees of luister nie meer nie. Ek kyk gisteraand ‘n fliek en iemand het ‘n t-hemp aan wat se Buck fUSH…I can do a lot with that…maak dit jou eie 🙂



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