Sunday 6 November 2011

WT - Margate

Our arrival in Durban had been delayed because I had lost track of time while I enjoyed sharing time with Lucas, Rachelle and Cindy in Jo-burg. This was not a problem for us but did inconvenience my brother Guy who had travelled from Margate to pick us up from the airport, having insisted that we make his home our base whilst in Africa.

There to meet us with Guy was his partner Joey who we were meeting for the first time. We arrived at Guy's house at about 20:00 that night and it was the wee hours of Friday morning before any of us got to bed.

This is our 8th day in Margate as I write this and Guy, Joey and Ronnie are all slowly recovering from illness's that have plagued them all week. Guy and Joey have flu like symptoms, Guy has fluid on the left lung and Ronnie has her tummy bug again but all have medication and are recovering. During this week we have managed to help Dan to get a small pickup (Canadian & American)/ute (Australian)/bakkie (South African).

Just this little bit of running around and getting involved in everyday life here in South Africa has completely confirmed and I mean 100% confirmation that I did the right thing 30 years ago. I always had that niggling concern that I had deprived my children of growing up with their uncles, aunties, cousins and grandparents. There was in fact a time that I actually thought of moving the family to South Africa (thank God I didn't, it would have been beyond stupid and selfish) Almost every person I have met so far has been the victim of robbery with violence at least once.

I see the exact same signs here that I saw in Zimbabwe back in 1980 - this country is going to be as bad if not worse than Zimbabwe in 10 to 20 years, thank God my children and grandchildren are in Australia. It still amazes me that, as with Zimbabwe back in 1980 some people here actually think that this lifestyle is normal or that things will improve, that the world would not allow things to deteriorate to that degree - unbelievable naivety (I'm being polite).

I am not trying to discourage visitors by the way. As long as the visitors have holiday packages or guided by local friends or relatives and use common sense they are safe in this very beautiful land.... but do not go for a romantic stroll along the beach after dark. I have no idea what the true crime statistics are but it is quite apparent that a smaller percentage of crime is reported than not for fear of reprisal, corruption and/or incompetence.

I think that now may be the time to talk a little of my family, for those who are not familiar with our genealogy and history. Guy and I now look a lot alike, with the same mannerisms which is a bit weird because we were very different when growing up. Of all my family Guy was closest to me when growing up, being just short of two years younger than me. He was and still is the most generous of us with a heart of gold, would give you the shirt off his back. As a child he was very mild mannered (an introvert) but was changed quite dramatically by the army and his service during the war into a very angry young man which appears to have mellowed into stubbornness.

We were all born in Southern Rhodesia, third and fourth generation, my mother Catherina "Nellie" and us four brothers were all delivered by Doctor Wakeford at the Lady Rodwell maternity home in Bulawayo while Dad, Steve was born in Gatooma. I am the oldest of the four boys, followed by Guy, Shane and Dan "Danny" the youngest.

Dad was a devout "Jehovah's Wittness" until I was 12 and our upbringing was very strict and disciplined, not a bad thing. Mom and Dad were both Methodists when they married but Dad became involved with the JW's at about the time of my birth. Mom refused to become involved but would defer to my Dad's religious instruction for the children. I don't know why Dad "fell away from the truth" (a term used by the JW's) but he insisted that the children continue and I recall that Guy and I did for a while - I think Mom stepped in for Shane and Dan as they were young. Dad later returned to the sect along with Mom through Dan's persuasion (he had entered the sect after moving to South Africa) some time after Dad and Mom migrated to South Africa.

We had always been a very close family, particularly with my mothers side of the family. All of my mothers brothers and sisters continued to live in Bulawayo once married. I am currently putting together a family tree with photos and writing a little of the family history so I'll go into more detail at a later date. I have spent most of this week scanning photo's while waiting for Ronnie, Guy and Joey to recover. Tomorrow Guy will pick up Dad, can't wait to see him.

Nellie, Dan, Shane, Peter & Guy
Guy, Peter, Shane, Dad & Dan
Peter, Shane, Dan & Guy
Daniel Cornelius Hoffman (Mom's Dad)

Phoebe Hoffman nee Marriott (Mom's Mom)

Daniel, Nellie, Rita, Phoebe & Joe

Daniel & Phoebe with children left to right Danie, Ben, Nellie, Rita & Joe

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