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Ladysmith - Natal
I am in Ladysmith - a rural town in Natal, and the start of the band
Ladysmith Black Mambazo .. I am camping in a superb campground
in town, very cheap, with mostly poor white trash as my neighbours.
Some are out of prison, all are afrikaners, I buy dinner, they cook ..
There is always the acknowledgement that whites and blacks will have
to work together to find a solution, because they need each other.
My first experience of being robbed - not serious - I was playing pool
in a local bar, and when leaving noticed that my gloves were missing from
helmet. The black barman told me that some white folks that had just left
taken them - I ran out, stopped them, and the driver (whom I had been
in the bar) was very suprised. However, between him and the barman they
my gloves off one of his passengers ...
Ladysmith is white for two downtown streets, and then turns completely
for the next few streets. I am typing this from the local Internet service
who runs linux (administered from Jo'burg) as a black box, actually a
box in the closet with a fan pointing at it. They get service through
an international player in telecom, I think the BT/MCI thing or AT&T ??
I visited an indian disco in another part of town with some visiting
who had been asked to leave the bar because it was now a 'private club' -
the new way to keep undesirables out the bar. I had not been told to leave
but I did, with them. Ho Hum. I also visited the MOTH club, a club for
RSA ex-servicemen (Member of the worshipful Order of Tin Hats) which
was full of crusty old folks. I was signed in as a guest, as I was wearing
a collar and socks this time (in the PM, while waiting for my bike
to be repaired ($40.00) I was told the dress code).
The british barman took me aside and told me that, yes, many of the
were living in the past. However, many black people, and indians, also saw
as payback time. After all, he said, the white man came here and treated
blacks as oxen .. but white people are lazy now. They are used to the
doing the work. I visited Manpower, the government emplyment office, to
the exact rules regarding 'affirmative action'. It turns out that there is
regarding affirmative action currently written into law. However, there has
a green paper, a policy document that has yet to be written into law, that
suggests interviews with companies regarding employment policies, and
also suggests spot fines for 'infractions'. On closer questioning as to
an infraction might be, it seems that if you were colorblind during
and truly hired according to qualifications, you would be in the clear.
However, many companies are hiring black people (after all, that is what
are talking about) in positions like personnel, training, etc. to show an
Lots of battlefields around here, from both the Boer war and the Zulu
I am heading to the eastern Drakensburgs for the scenery and hiking, down
then to Pietermaritzberg, through the Transkei, but in two weeks there is
a Southern Africa telcom conference outside Jo'burg called TEL.COM '97,
that looks as though I should be there. So, schedule, as ever, is
PS. It seems my report on music at the Rustlers festival got lost. Bummer.