Good morning, friends and fans!
Welcome to another “Peek Into My Week”, a behind the scenes look into the (I hope) interesting events occurring in my daily life!
July 19, 2021.
For the most part, my weeks are the usual ensemble of dreary routine events – work, book marketing, finding time to write, highlights, lowlights, tinkering on Dolly (my 1962 Beetle and daily transport), arguing with my wife about dinner, tripping over cats, or rearranging the furniture – but just occasionally something interesting happens, interesting enough to want to tell someone about!
Here then, for your enjoyment, is my recollection of noteworthy events in my past week!
What extraordinary times we live in… riots, public violence, roving mobs looting and setting fire to shopping malls and people’s homes… fortunately this madness hasn’t reached my city yet… mayhap it never does. On this extraordinary note, on with the show…
Again, I Awake To A Country In Flames
This past weekend saw a drastic increase in rioting, looting and burning of private property across South Africa, mostly in KZN and in other parts of the country – where depraved criminal elements in society came together under the pretext to demand the release of Jacob Zuma, former president, traitor and public enemy number one, who just two weeks ago was taken into custody to start his 15 month jail sentence for contempt of court. What I find so astonishing is that these rioters who’re burning busses and businesses are mostly poor people – whom Zuma defrauded. He blatantly took the food out of the mouths of the poor, bankrupted the country with his corruption, self-enrichment and treasonous state capture antics while president of South Africa – and yet despite all that malice, these people are so willing to violently show support for that monster. It’s sick, it’s twisted and utterly contemptable! I can’t even begin to understand the level of depraved self-loathing stupidity that could lie behind such behavior. And yet it goes on to manifest itself, time and again in this country. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
On top of all this, my colleagues and I were warned that afternoon (and not for the first time) to be careful when coming to work the next day, since there had been threats of violence in PE as well, that the main roads would be barricaded. Arrangements were made in respect of what to do in case we couldn’t make it through to work! How nice it is to be able to live in a country your entire life, where you’re never certain of anything – least of all being able to get to your place of work, or to buy essentials – or go home again, unmolested or alive.
Fear & Loathing In Port Elizabeth
Tuesday morning I left for work a little earlier than usual in order to avoid running across any likely road blocks on my route to work. I’m not about to lay down my life just to get to work in spite of violent rioting after all! Fortunately I didn’t see any sign of trouble – which was probably largely due to the weather, which was freezing thanks to approaching polar weather and it started pissing down as well. It seems that even rioting, looting criminal scum seem to not like getting wet or cold, which was a good thing for the rest of us.
The news reports I’ve seen during this period are pretty unbelievable… mobs looting and plundering shops and malls, torching vehicles and houses… rubbish covering the streets… cities shut down, jobs and businesses lost… police have run out of ammunition, the army has been called in to Gauteng and KZN. How delightful. Some immature hysterics have been venting their inane hysteria on social media, calling this ‘civil war’. Civil war? Like in Rwanda perhaps? Or Somalia? Oh, please! It’s obvious that none of these
children spoilt brats even knows what civil war really looks like!
Besides, these looters aren’t actually fighting for any actual cause like freedom or justice or human rights – they’re nothing more than opportunistic thugs using the call to release a criminal from prison as a cover to loot, burn and plunder shops, and steal liquor, TV’s, fridges and bathtubs! Some have taken to blaming this on unemployment resulting from the COVID Lockdown – fair enough, people are poor, “they’re hungry” people are saying… but tell me, how does an 18 inch LED TV taste? A stove? R1000 trainers? This isn’t about being hungry, it’s plain criminal, pure and simple! There’s nothing political about that – what could be seen as political is an effort to make the country ungovernable. Then in the news it became apparent that one of Zuma’s former bodyguards, a former intelligence operative, is suspected of being behind these riots – to force the judiciary and ANC government into releasing Zuma and scuppering what’s left of SA’s judicial process and constitutionalism! All this misery and destruction brought about because of a criminal rightfully chucked in jail where he belongs! It’s sickening! (1, 2)
We went to bed Tuesday night, wondering what we would be waking up to the next morning. The weather would be clear, and that meant a possibility of trouble.
A Little Web Maintenance
I managed to get some work done on my website during the day. I replaced the “About Me” page with some more appropriate and suitable material. I also modified the Contact page, and create an Events page. Have a look and let me know what you think!
Fortunately it seemed PE had been spared the spread of riots another day. With the world around us still wrapped up in uncertainty, I did some more work on my website between work items, and rebuilt the FAQ page with what is called ‘accordion menus’. Lovely things those, you click on the question header, and it expands (without making any music) to show the answer! Wonderful!
With work closed early due to scheduled vaccinations, I headed home through eerily quiet streets – which were more eerily quiet than the height of our lockdown last year… these were quiet and tense as people checked their phones for news on a possible declaration of a state of emergency because of the rioting. Rumors of attacks on the malls in Uitenhage and in PE, at Pier 14 and Greenacres circulated, were dismissed and explained… the local taxi associations had encircled these malls in order to protect them in the event any rioters turned up! (1, 2, 3, 4) The same arrangements had been made in other parts of the country as well, with news reaching us during the night that this has been highly effective… taxis working with the police and army for a change… keeping the malls safe from attack. Elsewhere in SA, local residents have banded together to protect their neighborhoods, mounting armed patrols and roadblocks, and in some cases, bolstering police and army roadblocks. It should go without saying that this is, in my experience, wholly unprecedented.
A Few New Additions To My Tintin Collection!
On Wednesday afternoon on the way home from work I stopped at the post office to pick up some things from Wish. In this consignment, I received two Tintin posters and a set of six different Tintin figurines! They’re the six in the front in the picture below.
Thursday being the first of my days off for me, I slept half an hour later and rose with Kay when her alarm went off to get her up for work. In catching up to the local news, I saw that during the night, the taxis blockading a mall at Vosloorust had fired on approaching rioters and repelled them [1, 2, 3]. The army is also reportedly gearing up to send 25,000 soldiers into Gauteng and KZN to restore law and order and end the riots.
In case you’re sitting in a first world country somewhere and wondering if this is about poor people being sacrificed to protect the interests of the rich, this isn’t about protecting capitalism or big business… it’s about protecting people’s jobs, which are all too scarce in our present economic climate, their livelihoods and of course, food supplies. In Durban area for example – and in Howick (where my new publisher is situated: thinking of you Clair!) there are simply no shops of any kind left – they have literally ALL been destroyed by the mobs!
A Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Something good and positive I’ve seen in the midst of all this – if indeed anything good and positive could come from something as awful as this is – is the realization that South African people of all colors and creeds are stepping forward, helping each other, spontaneously, unbidden… putting to rest the myth that the majority of South Africans are racist or radically divided along lines wealth or poverty… what truly divides South Africans – regardless of social standing or status or wealth or color, is whether or not they are law abiding or criminal. Sadly, there are and have been far too many criminals in positions of political power pursuing self-enrichment and power itself, of late. If we could ever sort that out, there would be no holding SA back. I hope the people of this country finally begin to realize that, and stop falling for all the racially divisive tripe being peddled by many politicians today.
A Little DIY
On Thursday I did some work on Dolly, by upgrading her rear suspension to make her more stable and improve road holding. The good thing I can report about this is, that it worked! The car now handles much better! It’s a major improvement and so simple and cheap I’m surprised Volkswagen never thought of doing it themselves on Beetles when they were new!
Fortunately, thanks to the cooperation of the taxi associations with the police and army, the riots didn’t spread to our area. In fact, it seems that something good came from this dreadful business – the realization that in spite of what the politicians want people to think, South Africans of all races and creeds really know how to stand together and help each other out in times of need. I hope this isn’t forgotten once “normality” is restored and the political trolls set about spreading divisiveness again – after all, it’s their daily bread. If only it could be laced with something that would shut them up.
In the morning I wrote an article for Innovation DIY about the upgrades I did on Dolly, my 1962 Beetle. You can read it here. After that, I went out to do the monthly grocery shopping and combined it with a road-trip with my friend Morne’ Condon, who’s a local freelance motoring journalist.
The Fourth Plug
Saturday started out nice enough, and then devolved into a fuck-fest of note! It started when I returned from a trip to Builder’s and the local Spar to get a few things, when I decided to replace Dolly’s spark plugs… and one of the plug hole threads stripped out. Lovely. This meant removing the cylinder head and either replacing it (if I had one) or having it sent off to fit a heli-coil to the hole. Both of these options meant I would be stuck for transport in the meantime, which is something unacceptable to me! It’s shit like this that makes me hate a car, and no mistake! After trying everything I could think of to fix it, and nearly working myself into a stroke in the process, I quit for the day and went inside to mull over the problem. I had to report in to work on Monday morning, and that would be a little difficult without a car!
While pondering over the issue that night, I resolved to try again on Sunday morning. I looked on Facebook marketplace for good used 1200cc cylinder heads, and found one guy who said he had and would look for me in the morning, and another who said he had and I could get one on Monday. Neither gave prices for their cylinder heads as yet, but I figured if I could get the fourth plug to just stay in – by any means necessary, I could probably get to work and back on Monday without having to ask anyone for a lift in the morning – and having to hike home at ten.
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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2021.