The Sounds of Silence

It is often the tasks that we think will go smoothly which end up being the most trying and those situations where we anticipate drama that end up being the easiest to achieve.

Today Norm and I had a few errands to run which we had expected to be very quick. We both nipped out in our ‘house clothes’ (which they call leisure wear in the US and pajamas in some countries). After all, who might we see at the police station or at the Computicket ticket kiosk? I showered but did not bother with makeup as we expected to be back home in no time.

First we stopped at the Police station as we both needed affidavits signed. I have lost my drivers license and I need the affidavit to collect a new one and Norm needed one signed for business reasons. We had printed all the paperwork we needed, had our passports for ID, a proof of residence and even a pen so we were very prepared.

We arrived and there was one lone guy working the front desk. He spent ages filling in forms of some sort for a previous ‘client’ and after about 20 minutes he drifted over to help us. Eventually after more than half an hour we finished and we were off to Checkers to collect our tickets for Sam Smith whom we are seeing perform this week.

We queued for ages at the Computicket kiosk even though we were very well prepared for this adventure as well, we had a print out of the transaction email, my ID and my debit card and when we got to the desk I handed all of this over. The woman entered my card number and nothing came up. I then realized that I have had my cards renewed since I had bought the concert tickets over 6 months ago so that is why it would not come up on her screen. She tried the booking reference but that did not work either. Eventually she called over a manager who repeated all of the same steps with no success so they ended up having to phone Computicket but the phone rang foreverrr before someone eventually answered. The manager kept asking me to ‘show her the email on my phone’ despite the email being printed out and lying on the counter in front of her. It was rather exasperating but eventually they managed to find my tickets on the system and print them.

We spent well over an hour on these tasks which we thought would be quick sticks.

By this time we were starving as we had not had breakfast so we decided to pop into Allegria Cafe for brunch. Enroute we ran into several people we know, we couldn’t get away with looking a mess and seeing no one of course!

We both ordered a coffee and Eggs Benedict with bacon.

The eggs were soft and the bacon crispy. It was perfection. 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After brunch we came home and Norm had a nap.

We had been kept awake until almost 2am last night by our hard partying, Beatles loving, jacuzzi shagging, profanity belting neighbours. They had a Beatles album on loop for 10 hours or more as they were partying when we got home from lunch. It takes a lot of effort to make the Beatles obnoxious but the volume was so loud we could barely hear our own telly over the noise from their music even after we closed all of our doors.

We eventually ended up calling the police, once at 12.30 and again after 1am. The police just hung up on me three times but I kept phoning back. FFS that volume of music is so thoughtless.

One of the people we ran into at the shops was our other neighbour whose house is even closer to Miss Beatles and she said she was kept awake until 3am. We had eventually went to bed and drowned the bulk of the noise out with our fan.

It might be time to start using some special powers to get Miss Beatles to move on.

Other than the noise drama this weekend things were pretty uneventful this week.

Last Monday Norm picked up dinner for us from Posticino in Hout Bay.

The chicken schnitzel was nice but the pasta was light on sauce and a bit dry, I’ll give it 4 Kitten Stars overall ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

On Tuesday Norm had a meeting after I got in from work so I cooked dinner. He had shopped so I didn’t have to plan.

I made chicken breasts wrapped in Richard Bosman prosciutto and served it with Woolworths sweet potatoes stuffed with a creamy leek sauce and steamed asparagus.

The chicken was delicious but I wasn’t overly keen on the sweet potatoes dish as I’m not a huge fan of leeks. But if you like leeks it is a quick and easy side dish, you just chuck the tray into the oven and bake for half an hour.

Speaking of Woolworths, this week they announced a new make up collaboration with Sir John who is known for being the man behind the faces of celebrities such as Beyoncé, Priyanka Chopra and Kim Kardashian West.

These are one of the few 100% vegan and Beauty Without Cruelty-endorsed products in South Africa. I am keen to check them out but my makeup routine is pretty basic, I don’t wear eyeshadow and use high street products.

As it is almost election time in South Africa the current party governing SA are busy bribing voters and making promises they won’t deliver on (and I use governing in the loosest sense possible). They trotted out some shiny new trains to gawk at, promising they will be up and running soon. PRASA later clarified that the trains will not be fully operational until late 2020 at the earliest.

However the launch did not go as smoothly as Ramaphosa probably hoped.

The entire country has had multiple protests over various things this week. Some groups have been protesting crime, some protesting drugs and education challenges and some protesting service delivery.

A report by the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice found that three South African cities are among the top 50 most violent places on earth based on murder rates per 100,000 people. Cape Town’s murder rate has steadily increased since 2009/10, up by almost 70% between 2009/10 and 2017/18, despite plateauing over three years.

“The increase in the murder rate in Cape Town is presumably driven by gang violence, which has been exacerbated by the supply of thousands of illegal firearms to criminal gangs in Cape Town,” the report I found said.

The ANC have made a mess of governing this country.

I had a few days of intense sushi-ness this week. On Thursday for lunch I had a takeaway from Nuri.

I ordered salmon roses and double prawn rolls. They were both very tasty but very awkward to eat from the takeaway box without mutilating them. The box is great for transporting them however as it stops them rolling about!

One of the young lads on our team, Mawande has just got a new job working for Oracle which is such a brilliant opportunity for him. He will gain so much experience. I am sad to see him go as he is a very nice lad and is always so helpful to me.

The team went for a coffee to say cheerio and to wish him well. He was flying to Johannesburg today, they have their head office there. He is starting work tomorrow. He had never flown or stayed in a hotel and I gave him a bit of advice about everything from avoiding the costly mini bar in his room, to being early for his flight and being on his best behavior while on training as this is the time when they will be assessing him. He was a bag of nerves but I think he will do just fine.

For lunch on Friday I went for sushi again. I had a major craving all week.

After work I went to my chiropractor Kevin for my regular 5 week adjustment.

I had sushi from K1 for dinner that night. I had salmon roses, prawn and cucumber roses, prawn nigiri and crab salad. It was all delicious.

Norm and I finally finished his favorite series, Ray Donovan and we started watching The OA this weekend.

We finished the first series and I really loved it! I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It was bizarre but it was right up my alley!

We were up early on Saturday as Norm had to take Pixie to the Chiro in Noordhoek. I stayed in bed until he got back home as it was a bit drizzly and dreary weather out.

We had plans to collect my friend Jenny for lunch. As she is visiting from the UK I had planned to take her to a Constantia wine farm with a lovely view but the weather was not very cooperative and we ended up going to Peddlar’s instead. We had not been there in a while as the last time we went it wasn’t very nice. But they seem to have upped their game.

We got a nice bright table inside rather than risk the on and off drizzle outside on the patio.

We all opted for one of their Burgers. Norm and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar burger which came with fries and gorgeous onion rings.

Norm ordered the Cheesecake for dessert. It looked very appealing.

Proof that looks cannot be relied on when it comes to food, Norm said it wasn’t great and only rated it 2.5 Kitten Stars.

I also ordered dessert and in a similar vein, my creme brûlée looked lovely.

However when I cracked open the perfectly formed crisp topping, underneath it was a very soupy consistency. It did not even have a very tasty filling.

I was very disappointed in my dessert and give it 2 Kitten Stars but my burger was delicious and gets a full 5 Stars. The meat was good quality, the patty nice and thick, it was juicy and perfectly cooked.

Jenny was very virtuous and avoided the bun, the chips and dessert.

It was lovely to see Jenny, we first met in George well over 25 years ago as our ex-husbands were work colleagues. We lost touch for ages but reconnected when I moved back to SA. Ironically she moved to the UK after I came back here! Jen is a very kind, no nonsense sort of woman, it is always lovely to catch up with her.

We left late afternoon and took her back to her daughter Vicky’s house and we headed home. Norm walked the dogs and we settled in for a quiet evening at home, however our eejit neighbour put paid to that plan!

Later last night we got a bit hungry so Norm popped out to Massimo’s and I had the chicken milanese which is chicken breaded in Parmesan and fried, it came with mash and roast veg. It was delicious.

Tonight we had a takeaway from Cassarechio, Norm had ravioli and I had half of a Mexicana pizza.

This week I was added to a Facebook group page for planning our 40th high school reunion. Things like reunions and lunches with old friends make you realise just how quickly your life has hurtled past. I would love to attend but we just don’t have the funds to go to the US just 9 months after our recent visit.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Sam Smith in concert this week. I hope you all have a lovely week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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Basic Rights for Humanity

Norman had a meeting in the city on Wednesday last week and so he came through to meet me and take me for lunch. There is a Kauai just behind my client’s offices and so we met there.

Norm had the Tropical chicken wrap for R59: free range chicken, pineapple, carrot, greens, with thai peanut dressing.

I had the Salsa Quesadilla wrap for R49: white cheddar, red pepper, salsa, jalapeno,
spring onion, coriander.

It was OK, I would have preferred it toasted longer to crisp it up and make it a bit more golden but it was acceptable. I give it 3.5 Kitten Stars.

Thursday was Human Rights Day which is a public holiday in South Africa and is historically linked with the date 21 March, 1960 and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights.

It was also World Water Day on Friday. This day is to highlight the importance of access to fresh water which is a basic human right. Many people would argue that access to electricity is also a basic human right.

The irony is that both of these precious commodities are scarce in South Africa.

South Africa is suffering from a drought across the majority of the country. Cape Town is no longer in a critical state but many other areas are still desperate for help.

On the flip side of that we have the recent cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi & Zimbabwe resulting in a large portion of areas in those countries being submerged by flood waters and causing hundreds of deaths.

 

Both sides of this coin are due to climate change.

The load shedding has continued with the electricity being turned off for anywhere from 2 to 8 hours in a 24 hour period across rotating areas of the country. There is not much you can do to amuse yourself in the dark. Well maybe if you are young and full of energy, but not when old and tired from working all day. Us oldies just want to watch Netflix and eat chocolate at night. Our goals are usually achievable with minimal effort.

Norm came up with the idea to play Scrabble during the evening’s load shedding.

He forgot that I am a word junky and I kicked his ass. However it kept us occupied and meant that we interacted rather than just grumpily staring at our phones or squinting at a book (I struggle to read even in the light these days).

The shambles around public transport in SA has continued unabated despite the efforts and successes by the new rail enforcement unit. Recent stats on their new unit’s work was that they have conducted about 588 stop-and-searches, 84 hot spots searched and fines to the value of R8300 were issued. What levels of success they have achieved in stopping the theft of the cables I have no idea.

The ANC-led government manifesto states that it will “invest in rail infrastructure to ensure it is safe, reliable and integrated with other modes of public transport. Rail must be the backbone of our public transport system” however the ANC has had the duty to deliver this promise for the last 25 years. Decades of mismanagement, corruption and a lack of care has directly led to the breakdown of South Africa’s rail system.

Since 2010, 3,642 have died and 15,634 people have been injured on our railways. Between 2015 and 2018, R213,744 million was paid out to victims while a total of R503,552 million has been lost due to vandalism and derailments. Behind the shocking statistics are truly horrifying stories of how the ANC and by extension Prasa has failed both their employees and the commuters.

You can read the full report from Thuli Madonsela who was the previous public protector here.

New trains have been promised to the long suffering commuters which have endured poor service, poorly maintained filthy and dangerous trains as well as risk of attack from arsonists and thieves. Many people lose their jobs due to the inability to get to work on time despite arriving at the station hours before they are due at work. Our train services are a nightmare as was witnessed directly by President Ramaphosa when he took a journey last week which resulted in the train being stuck for 3 hours.

This week a dummy of the new train design arrived in Cape Town. However until they deal with the cable theft and security issues it is just a bandage over a gaping and bleeding wound.

Sometimes I despair at the future of this country and sometimes I revel in the beauty around us and the wonderful people of South Africa. I bounce between these opposing dichotomies often.

For example, it was lovely having Thursday off of work for the public holiday however we spent most of it in the dark rather than doing whatever we wanted.

We decided on Thursday that rather than struggle with trying to prepare food without electricity to just indulge ourselves and eat out. We first went to Tasha’s in Constantia but there was a huge queue for a table so we walked across the car park to the other mall and went to Mugg and Bean. We got the last table there. I ordered my food and the waitress then told us that the fryer is not working due to the electricity shut down so I re-examined the menu and quickly choose the Rancheros Omelette, cheesy chili & M&B salsa-filled omelette topped with chorizo, fresh avocado, baby potato, charred corn & cherry tomatoes, drizzled with sriracha mayo & sour cream served on the side.

I did not read the ingredients that carefully as I was rushing to choose something that came without the elusive fries or hash-browns and did not notice that the omelette contained chorizo which I only like if it is sliced thin and fried til crispy, I also forgot about my stomach issues and the prospects of pain from eating chili. I do love chili but it is not my friend at the moment. I chucked the chorizo onto Norm’s plate. However I will not let my own shortcomings contaminate the rating of the food and I will give it a good 4 Kitten stars as it was very tasty, just spicy AF.

Norm had the California Omelette: omelette filled with cheddar, mozzarella & fresh basil. Loosely topped with fresh avocado, back bacon & Danish-style feta, drizzled with a basil pesto mayo & served with pan-fried rosemary cherry tomatoes. He enjoyed it.

After we finished eating we walked back across to the main building and had a wander around the shops. Norm needed to buy a data dongle as he is struggling to work without access to the WiFi during the power outages. We tried to buy another lantern but the shops were all sold out as expected.

We then headed back home and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

Pixie has been so tolerant of her cone of shame and has even mastered being able to use the cone to scoop up her ball to get it into her mouth. She is a clever wee thing. She needs to have someone scratch her face for her though as she is unable to manage that.

Her little leg is all healed now and so we took the cone off of her yesterday and she is not chewing herself so I think she is A-OK now thank goodness. I love that little ball of fluff, and cannot bear the idea of her being in pain or unhappy.

On Thursday night we went out for dinner during the second period of electricity shut down and we chose to go to Papino’s in Hout Bay. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the owner brought out large silver candelabras for each of the tables which gave us enough light to see. I wanted something easy to manage in the dim light which was also not too spicy or heavy for my constantly sore tummy and so I chose the Flammenkuchen which is a German variation on a pizza. I had never eaten one at Papino’s but I have tried them at various German restaurants and had expected something similar to those thin and crispy styles, but this version was more like a tomato-less cheesy pizza. It was good but it was a bit heavy and salty for my tastes. I do love Papino’s pizza bases though and next time will stick to a traditional pizza.

Norm chose his favourite dish from Papino’s, the Hollandse Beifstuk which is a pan fried steak with a brandy butter mushroom sauce. He was told in advance that they were not serving any starch dishes so it came only with the vegetables.

Apologies for the standard of my pics but they were taken by candlelight so please cut me some slack. The electricity came back on just as we were leaving so we were able to pay our bill and we headed home to enjoy some rare TV time and relax before bed as I had work the next day.

On Friday the load shedding was from 6pm to 8pm and so Norm nipped out to get us take aways for dinner and I chose to have sushi from K1. They do a 2 for 1 special for the same ‘colour plates’ as their dishes are classified by plate colour. I chose the prawn salad which was minimal prawn, chopped cucumber and avocado and topped with sesame seeds.  The other dish in this bracket was the salmon sashimi. It was nice and fresh but cut a bit thick for my liking. I also had cucumber prawn roses & salmon roses as my other 2 dishes. It was R129 for all 4 dishes and I was pleased with my choices but probably will not order the prawn salad again.

On Saturday I had plans to meet my friends Bronwyn and Melody for breakfast at 10 am at Hout Bay Manor. I arrived first and the waiter sat me in a shady spot by the fountain.

I tried to take a group selfy of the 3 of us once the ladies arrived but I failed miserably. I did get Bronwyn and Mel in it though!

I ordered the El Pixo for R75: sweetcorn fritters made with feta, chili & spring onions, served with slices of avocado, streaky bacon, 2 poached eggs, grilled baby tomatoes, fresh coriander, chili, olive oil, lemon zest & a wedge of lemon. I asked for soft eggs and crispy bacon and the chef delivered on both points. It was delicious but I forgot I am supposed to be avoiding chili and ended up suffering a bit after and trying to drown the burn in gallons of water. However I cannot blame the venue for my stomach issues and I give this dish 5 Kitten stars as it was delicious.

The girls both ordered the Dippy Eggs and Buttered Soldiers for R65: 2 soft boiled eggs, 2 slices of buttered toast, blanched asparagus with hollandaise & tarragon, sea salt & black pepper.

They asked that the chef make sure that the eggs were soft as you cannot dip your soldiers into hard eggs. The food arrived but the eggs were too hard and both orders were sent back. The second time was much better.

We stayed so long that we ended up ordering cake and another round of coffees. Bronwyn had the orange cake and I had the chocolate cake which was rich and divine.

Our ‘breakfast’ ended up lasting until 4pm! We had not even noticed how long we were there as we were chatting up a storm. It was all so effortless to communicate with these ladies, there were no awkward silences or talking over each other, the conversation all just flowed smoothly. I love these ladies, I feel like I do not have to put up defenses or false pretenses, I can just be me. That is not something that happens often in Cape Town, there are a lot of false and superficial women who only care about what car you drive, where you live, what gym you attend, how much money your husband makes and where you get your botox injections. I make my own money and do not inject that shite into my body so it can make small talk with some women quite challenging as what matters to them quite often matters not at all to me. It is so refreshing to find women whose views are more aligned to mine despite the vast differences in where and how we were raised.

Bron and Mel shared with me what it was like growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era, something which many of us westerners cannot even begin to comprehend, especially those of us who are white. Friends and families were torn apart due to the Immorality Act. Whites were not allowed to have a relationship with anyone who was not also white. Non-whites were not allowed to go into restaurants or public spaces, even onto the beaches. People of colour were not allowed into any ‘white’ residential areas unless they had a ‘Pass’ which gave them permission to enter an area due to their employment.  The girls told me about the police driving around in large vehicles called a Casspir or a Black Maria. The police would search for non-whites and arrest any who did not have a pass authorising them to be there and would throw them in the back of the van. Unfortunately this mentality has remained with some white people in SA, they phone the police as soon as they see a person of colour walking along the road minding his own business. It can take generations for the damages of the past to heal.

However the current ANC government is doing little to better the lives of the people who were damaged so badly by the apartheid government. Corruption is rife and I see so little progress in creating better living conditions for most people.

I had a conversation with Caitlin last week after I gave an African man on the street some coins. She said to me ‘he will just spend it on drink’ and I said she should not be so quick to judge someone based purely on their physical appearance. He was shaking and yes that could be from DTs due to needing a drink, it could also be due to Parkinson’s or other neurological condition. There is no way to know that without having a conversation with him. Even if he does have a drinking problem, we have no idea what demons he may be living with which drive him to use drink to numb his pain or trauma. He was an elderly man and so he would have been victim to the atrocities of apartheid and we cannot imagine what damage or abuse he may have been subjected to. We may all be just one trauma away from a similar state of poverty ourselves. If I lost my job I am but a few months salary away from financial trouble. I am lucky to have a house, but there is no guarantee I would be able to sell that house in a timely manner to support my lack of income. We do at least have pensions and some savings, however minimal. Some people do not even know where their next meal is coming from. I do not pretend to be able to understand the challenges the poor have to endure.

I am not suggesting that we are obligated to give money to everyone we encounter who extend their hands, there are so many desperate and needy people in South Africa that it would be an impossible goal. I limit the money I give to the elderly or to women as I know that they often suffer the most indignities and are the most vulnerable.

After our hours of chat at the manor, setting the world to rights and discussing our retirement options we realised the time and we wandered off home to our husbands. It was a very hot day but it was lovely in the shade by the pool at the manor. I found a cool corner in my house and relaxed as Norm was busy working.

Later that night we had load shedding again and so we decided to go to Massimo’s for dinner. We managed to nab the last table outside on the balcony.

I had a lovely view of both my darling hubby and an amazing pink sky as the sun was setting.

I wanted to avoid anything acidic or spicy. I chose the Granchio pasta dish: real flaked white crab meat, prawns, mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. The chili is so minuscule that it cause me no harm. It was light and creamy and the prawns were beautifully cooked. This is my favourite of their pasta dishes. It gets 5 Kitten Stars.

Norm chose a dish from their specials menu, the Pork and Beef Meatloaf for R135. It was meatloaf topped with a creamy mushroom sauce, served with oven roasted potatoes and seasonal veg. I was impressed they managed to conjure up potatoes as none of the other restaurants have had a back up plan for potatoes as even with a generator the fryers use too much electricity. This dish looked yummy. I love the roast veg that Massimo’s serves as it always includes roast beetroot.

Today we are having a lazy day, Norm made us a late brunch of eggs, preservative free Richard Bosman bacon and avocado. We will go for dinner at the pub later on.

I have an appointment to go to a gastroenterologist on Tuesday about my stomach pains. I am really struggling to cope, the occasional heartburn is now pretty much constant and the added dull ache has me a bit worried. I wanted to wait til after my current client contract ended but it has been extended a month so I cannot wait any longer, particularly if I do have an ulcer as I suspect I may have. Wish me luck please!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

Shutting Down

We have had a bit of on and off rain this week with more water to fill our dams. However after our weekend last week of sunny gorgeous weather it was a bit disorientating to have some days of cold weather interspersed with the warm sunny days. Do I wear boots? Do I wear flip flops? Those are predominately the only foot wear I wear and the weather in South Africa can change from one extreme to the other as it has done all week. We have not had a fire in the evenings all week so that tells you the temperature has been manageable by just wearing a warm sweater and wrapping up in furry blankets. Then again today was 27 degrees Celsius and it was a glorious day (that is about 78 in F for my American readers who can’t be arsed to google and covert).

We had one morning this week where it was pouring with rain and on my way in to work I spotted a huge bird of prey sitting on a road sign. The bird was as tall as the road sign and really fat with fluffy brown and white feathers. I wish I could have snapped a pic as he looked so majestic but trying to shoot a one handed photo while hurtling along a curvy road in the dark while it is pouring with rain is maybe not the safest so I chose to rather not risk it. I love it when we spot random animals just going about our daily lives, there are a few little bucks which have been spotted in our suburb lately as well, I would have thought it could be due to the drought except our streams are full again.

On Tuesday night Norm cooked dinner for us. He chopped up chicken breasts and mushrooms and fried them, then added baby broccoli and made a sauce out of cream, chicken stock, fromage frais, and a wee squizz of tomato paste.

It was low carb and very tasty and it was nice to try something different as it is easy to get into a menu rut, especially when trying to eat low carb. One can only create so many different types of salad or make cauliflower into so many different potato or rice substitutes.

Tuesday afternoon after work I had to stop for petrol. The South African petrol price had a monstrous hike of a Rand a liter on Wednesday. This puts our petrol up to almost R17 a liter. If my math and metric conversion skills are correct, this translates to $4.50 (USD) per gallon. As everyone was trying to fill up before the midnight price change I had to visit 2 different petrol stations to fill my tank up completely as the first station ran out of petrol in the middle of filling my car. The hike is being blamed on the poor rand value, however the poor rand value can be blamed on the cluster feck of our government and the fact that most of the government’s funds have been embezzled in the State Capture fiasco. So the root cause is the government’s lack of proper governing without the ability to avoid sticking their hands in the taxpayers pockets. I was curious about how our petrol prices rank against the rest of the world and I found this info which tells me we are not the most expensive globally. However this link is NOT considering the average salary in that country so there is very little perspective on the impact of the price to drivers. If the cost of petrol is high as are salaries then the effect is negligible, however South African salaries are not very high and this will really impact all of us. No road trips in my future for a while and this will probably mean my kids cannot pop down for the weekend as often.

Later on Tuesday night I had a dig through our family dress up box. We are having our annual Halloween party on the 27th of October. I am still not even 100% sure of what I am going as but I found a dress which I wore before I met Norman. I was unable to fit into it for decades, but as it is such a lovely funky dress I kept it, if only for Halloween options.

I was so pleased to see that it fit me again! I will possibly use this as the basis of my outfit and just tweak it. It is velvet and I love velvet. I am on the hunt for a crinoline and then I will be able to create the exact look I am after.

Meanwhile, we have had plenty of turmoil in South Africa with multiple different protests occurring across the country. (Much like the US where many women are protesting the potential Supreme Court appointment of the petulant man child Brett Kavanaugh.)

I received a demonstration alert from the US Embassy notifying us that there was a protest planned in the city on the 2nd October under the Western Cape Total Shutdown banner. However I later saw an article saying that this was fake news so I am not sure whether the Cape Town demo went ahead on the 2nd or not?!

The Western Cape Total Shutdown concept was implemented to protest gangster-ism, violence, unemployment and crime in the suburbs around Cape Town. But I am struggling to find any details other than this link.

A march had taken place on the 29th of August where scores of Kensington residents shut down a large part of Voortrekker Road as they peacefully demonstrated with placards and posters. A similar demonstration occurred in Bonteheuwel a few weeks later on the 25th of September when there was another protest held about the crime in the Cape Town suburbs. Residents in areas including Kensington, Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg, Kraaifontein and Hanover Park took to the streets to highlight an increase in gang violence in their communities. A total of 13 protesters were arrested in Bonteheuwel and the police shot rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds.

On Thursday in the Bonteheuwel area a man was murdered by a known gangster. This issue with gangs is part of the basis for much of the protests. the gangs rule these areas. The victim was not associated to a gang so the reason for his murder is so far unknown or at least not yet publicised.

Today the Total Shutdown protests continued, this time in the north of SA near Johannesburg. The coloured communities are protesting over the killing of a woman during alleged gang violence.

They also highlighted their dissatisfaction with what they believe is the lack of prioritisation of people who identify as coloured. The term of ‘coloured’ is not a racial slur, this is a term used in SA to designate a particular distinct group of people. The term may have originated during the apartheid era, however now it is part of every day terminology here and is used by the coloured community themselves.

Another protest which occurred this week is regarding the ongoing issues with the Train Services in the Western Cape which I have blogged about previously. The rail service has been targeted for attack with many fires being set and many instances of robbery due to lack of proper security on the trains. This protest was under the banner of #UniteBehind. We have had at least one death from the arson attacks and at least one death from the robberies. In July alone 32 coaches were damaged as a result of arson. The damage caused to trains and infrastructure came to a total of more than R50m.

#UniteBehind launched #DelayRepay, a campaign to demand better rail service and compensation in cases of continued delays on Thursday. The coalition of civil society movements held a rally at the Cape Town Train Station.

The #DelayRepay campaign is a response to the “disastrous” deterioration of the Metrorail service. The rail service, the organisation said, “robs commuters and the public of money and human dignity”. People have lost their jobs due to this issue when they were late on a recurring basis. Some people spend up to 5 hours commuting every day due to delays and cancellations.

On Thursday there was a collision between 2 trains in the northern part of SA and 320 people were injured.

The first train was stationary due to technical problems when it was rear-ended by the second train. Metrorail’s spokesperson said they were investigating how the second train driver was allowed into a section where the existence of a stationary train had been reported to the depot. They were using the controversial manual authorisation system at the time. Metrorail has said previously it is forced to use this method because of severe cable theft and infrastructure damage that has crippled electronic communication to the signalling network.

Yet another issue due to lack of policing and non-adherence to safety processes in our rail system.

I am so grateful to have a car and to be independent of this drama (and to have a valid license albeit a temporary one.)

Another huge challenge in SA is unemployment where the unemployed rate is over 26% and is as high as 30% for the unemployed youth. This equates to over 6 million people without employment according to stats from the last quarter. The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.7% in the first quarter from 36.3% in the previous quarter. The cycle of poverty can lead to an increase in drug abuse and crime. I am so blessed that my children are all employed.

Thursday night Norm and I cooked dinner together. We did a Mexican themed dinner of spicy mince and beans.

We just served the mince like a salad, on a bed of lettuce and topped with cheese, salsa, fromage frais and home made guacamole. It was really yummy and the best thing is it is so fast to prepare when there are two of you to chop and prep.

This weekend I have to take Pixie to the chiro for her 5 week adjustment. Navajo had a visit this week, Norm took him on Thursday. He is such a curious alert dog.

He is getting better about going to the chiro, he was a raging nightmare the first visit but he has gotten used to it now and still remains alert, but is more relaxed.

As for the rest of the weekend, it is open to possibilities. I hope you enjoy yours.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox