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International Homeless Day

Homeless

In a world where Social media has taken over and made communities more accessible, it is fitting then to know that the debate revolving around the plight of the homeless started online between people across the world that were trying to respond to the various issues of homelessness.
As a matter of fact, it was on this day in 2010 that the inaugural World Homeless Day took place and since its founding, World Homeless Day has been observed on every continent except Antarctica, in several dozen countries.
Why do we acknowledge World Homeless Day? Traditionally it was started to draw attention to the needs of those people that find themselves in the position of being homeless and to provide opportunities for community stakeholders to get involved in finding solutions and assisting.
Today is a significant day for me as a person, not as a politician, not as a person that is involved in assisting those most in need through my various charities and not because I happen to be the portfolio councillor for community and Social development, but because the word Homeless is a word that is closer to me than most people can imagine.
For 20 odd years I was a salesman in the motor vehicle industry and in that field I learnt many important lessons, the most important one being that unless you have experienced something for yourself, do not criticize or judge and we always said to our customers that bums in seats sell cars. Meaning, if you have felt it, touched it, driven it and smelt it, you could make an informed decision and discuss it with authority.
I would like to share with you some of my realities regarding homelessness if I may.
Since 1982 when I left my family behind in a different country, I have been faced with numerous challenges in my life. Unlike the perception of a lot of people I was forced to become a grown up due to circumstances beyond my control. My parents were divorced by the time I was 5, and when my mother met my stepfather, they sent both my sister and I to public boarding school which is where I spent most of my school life.
My father and I only connected again with each other after I left school and I had joined the Airforce. I was not financially able to study after school and therefore opted to join the military in order to learn a trade. The best decision I ever made, not because I wanted to be a soldier but because I learnt about self-discipline, determination and mostly I learnt that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. Something that I would only fully appreciate later in life.
You may be asking yourselves what this has to do with me understanding homelessness. Absolutely nothing except that between 1991 and 2008 I was retrenched and could not find a job for more than 6 months, I had a wife and 2 children to support, I recovered and bought a house through the bank only to lose it a few years later due to hospital bills that were for my son that was born with a heart defect and needed open heart surgery 36 hours after he was born and again when he was 6 months old.
I walked out of an abusive marriage after 16 years with a suitcase and a set of Golf Clubs my father had given me as a birthday present. I picked myself up again only to be broken mentally by the death of my youngest son in 2004 and then 2 years later by my second wife which I divorced in 2007 after a huge disappointment.
Again, you ask what has this got to do with Homelessness and understanding the plight of these people? Again, I say nothing but, it does go to show that you can pick yourself up through self determination and belief in one’s self.

Up to this point in my life I had met a few people that I thought were homeless and found them begging in the streets and I used to give money when I had it until one day whilst I was working in a dealership, a woman that I saw everyday standing begging at an intersection walked in to the dealership and bought a vehicle on HP and put down a deposit. That shocked me to my core, could not believe that through all the times I found myself without a job or that my income was so low that I sometimes worked 2 or three different jobs just to put food on the table, this woman had the nerve to stand and ask people like myself that were struggling for hand outs and that she was doing so well that she could afford to buy a car, something I could not do myself until 3 years ago.
Then in 2008, my life changed completely in more ways than one. I was involved in a motor vehicle accident which left me without the use of my right arm. My medical aid was depleted before I even came out of the coma and to top it all, the person I was living with at the time, gave away my dogs and kicked my belongings out of the house and told my sister to fetch them and all my other things only 5 days after I was admitted and still in a coma.
After being discharged from the hospital, my sister and her husband gave me a place to stay where I would be looked after baring in mind that I was now disabled and suffering tremendous pain and mental anxiety. I had a home that I had tenants in and that was covering my bond, but I knew it was only a matter of time before all my other debts would come back and haunt me.
I then realised that whilst I was under the care of my sister and hr husband that my last possessions were being sold off and that I needed to move back into my own place before I had nothing left. I tried going back to work after 4 months but still had not healed mentally yet and so after meeting my current wife who was from the UK and starting to try and pick up my life I was offered a position by a friend as his marketing manager at a lodge in Kosi Bay.
It took only 4 months to realise that both my wife and I were taken and mislead into a false sense of comfort and shortly after that we ended up literally living in a reed hut with no hot running water and no electricity and no income.
“Just like having a roof over your head cannot determine your future wellbeing, being homeless should not define you as being indefinitely poor”
I can say that I know what it is like not knowing where your next meal is going to come from. I know what it is like to lose everything that you have worked so hard for and to have it ripped away through no fault of your own necessarily but I also know how difficult it can be to have to rely on family and not get the support you need.
I know what it is like to be exploited by people because of your vulnerability and because of your desperation.
If we are going to fight for a better life for everybody and to succeed in the fight against homelessness, we are going to need to start by involving the communities and the families of those that are currently living on the streets. However, more importantly, those people living on the streets are going to have to do there bit as well.
The fight against homelessness starts with every individual. Every person regardless of whether you are the one living on the streets or wanting to help with assisting in the combat against homelessness, EVERYONE needs to look in ward and ask WHY you are doing what you are doing, WHY are you not finding help, WHY did you end up in this situation and this list goes on.
Mother Teresa once said “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
Families and communities have the power to change the situation regarding homelessness but only if those that are affected agree that they need to be helped of this infection they find themselves in.

Youth Day 2019

Youth Day

It is with mixed feelings I stand before you today! A day in history on which South African lives were reported to have changed, a day on which we as citizens of this country are calling for the celebration of our youth but instead should be commemorating the lives lost during that tragic event in 1976. Lives that were lost in a fight for the opportunity for a better education system in which all students could achieve the best standard of learning in a language they could understand.

Reports of that time vary and figures of between 10000 and 20000 students stood up and raised their voices against the substandard education of the time. Young people of that time who’s names we have grown to know but also names that we seldom hear any more.

It saddens me to think that in 43 years, where young people insisted on receiving a better education, the government that was elected to lead a racially fair South Africa in 1994, a government which was and is made up of a number of those very students of the time, has concentrated on increasing the number of students passing annually in all grades at the cost of the quality of the bench mark of a minimum pass level.

Young people have a perception that by having a matric certificate they are entitled to receiving a job, that they are entitled to a high salary in that job and that they have “ARRIVED”.

Without wanting to put a damper on the proceedings, I believe it is time to tell you the truth.

There are 100’s of 1000s of students leaving school every year with a standard Matric certificate, a certificate which says passed all subjects or passed adequate subjects in order to move on and to “Start life as an Adult.” Guess what? It is not good enough! How many General Assistants do you think any company can employ? How many Tea makers, general cleaners or messengers or drivers do you believe are needed in a society that is becoming increasingly technological? A world where machines make the perfect coffee and robots can clean better than humans?

If you were to require surgery and the doctor doing the operation was instructed by law to show you his qualifications with the marks received for his exams do you think that anybody would accept anything below the highest internationally recognized percentage? Do you think that you would board an aircraft if you knew that a pilot had no experience other than playing video games and a matric certificate?

Then why should a company employ you over the other thousands of young people, all just looking for a position?

Now here is the truth you have been waiting for,

“LIFE OWES YOU NOTHING!”

“LIFE IS WHAT YOU DECIDE TO MAKE OF IT, IF YOU DON’T LEARN YOU CANNOT EXPECT TO EARN.”

Here is another very interesting fact that you might want to think about, if you want what I have there is only one way to go about it, work for it. I have often said to people and to my children, A thief that steals your money or your belongings will possibly be able feed his family for a night or a short period of time until the money runs out but will have learnt nothing and will always remain a thief, how will he survive when there is nothing more to steal? But a person that takes Knowledge and transforms that into an income will always be able to take care of his family and will be able to adapt to changing circumstances.

The message that I would like to give the youth of today is the following:- Hastings Ndlovu and Hector Pietersen, who were the first of the children to have been shot in 1976, sacrificed their lives and  DIED because they were part of a generation that wanted to be able achieve their dreams through improved education. What is your generation going to be known for? That choice is yours and if you accept mediocrity you can not expect excellence.

Find the answers to your own WHY before trying to solve the WHAT and HOW for others. Nobody can make up your mind or change your life for you, you need to make that choice for your self and change only occurs when the NEED to change is greater than the WANT to Change.

George Good Citizens Award

Good Citizen Award

Nominations and discussions about making George better and setting an example for our youth.

 

Rules for the nominations sent via inbox or email are as follows:-
1. Full Names of Nominee.
2. Contact and address details of the nominee
3. A detailed description of why you believe this person should be nominated.

Criteria for nominations:-
The person being nominated must be a resident of George that shows a dedication towards the town by being an example to others. A person that through their actions is creating a safer, cleaner or better town for all without compensation or reward but that is driven by a passion to do the right thing. A person that through his/her actions is an example to our youth of Good Citizenship.
Nominations should come from people that witness these acts and when nominating, a disclosure of the relationship must be made in order to maintain transparency.
Nominations will close on the 25th each Candidates nomination will be posted in the files section in PDF format as one document which can be downloaded for information regarding the nominees.
ALL nominations will be posted as a poll on the page so that YOU as the public will vote for the winner. This is believed to be the most transparent and fair way to achieve our objective.

 

 

Please click  on  Nomination for Good Citizens Awards George , complete but feel free to share the link with others living in George. Any suggestions on improving this would also be welcome