Monday, January 21, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid, 1995, Fraser's Freedom, Town Hill

At the end of 1994 we heard we had NZ residence visas. We sold our house, and while I finished my last term at Selborne College, we wrapped up our affairs, packed up, camped a week at Gonubie, left East London with few regrets, trekked across dusty, littered, shantied Transkei to Durban, where we holidayed with Leah's folks.

May 1995. I trekked to Town Hill madhouse for my last holiday with Fraser. Indian Dr. Nar ambushed me in Impala forensic ward office, obviously ordered by Dr. Ross. Dr. Nar's face showed no compassion, just anger and hate. It was the first time in six years any doctor had deigned to speak to me at Town Hill: rather late, as I was emigrating.

Dr. Nar sat uncomfortably behind a metal desk, muscley, white male-uniforms hovering, while I signed Fraser's indemnity form. Playing Pig Dog I laughed in Dr. Nar's face when he unctuously tried to chat about Fraser in Fraser's presence, like 42 year old Fraser was inhuman, without feelings. I declined to discuss Fraser with him and his obvious witnesses. Dr. Nar had had weeks to make an appointment with me. The fact that after six years at Town Hill Fraser was still being locked up in Impala forensic ward, and the fact that I still had to sign indemnity for Fraser while he was away from Town Hill was an indictment of Town Hill's "rehabilitation."

Fraser and I walked past the seclusion room through a corridor, while a white uniform unlocked the steel door, then the foyer wooden door, then the glass door. Freedom...

Fraser and I trekked to Lake Saint Lucia, where we camped. We walked game paths on the shore and evaded hippos grunting in pools. A barking bush-buck startled us. One night an nyala ram snuffled around my Golf GTS, trying to hustle food. Thieving vervet monkeys looted our food bag, while we fished from the lake shore.

I drove to Elandspruit farm near New Hanover, where we spoke to farmer Peter. Uncle Chum and aunty Esme, moms friends had died, and left Elandspruit to their son Peter. His sons helped him farm. Peter's farmhouse was surrounded by a high-powered electric fence, as Natal farmers were being murdered in the new SA. I drove down to Elandspruit below Sugar Loaf hill. Fraser watched Natal Kingfishers diving for frogs from the same sweet-thorn branch we'd fished under forty years before. Fraser's kingfisher-blue eyes shone.

I drove Fraser back to Town Hill, wondering whether I'd ever see him again.

08.05.95. My letter to Town Hill superintendent Dr. Ross. "Fraser's not a criminal! Despite your stating Town Hill was not a prison, Fraser was recently incarcerated in Impala forensic ward, with its locked doors, narrow vertical windows and seclusion rooms for eight months. He's still there. His 'crimes:'

1. Your contention he was found with Town Hill laundry, which he was trying to sell in Maritzburg. I understand theft's prevalent amongst patients, given their deprived conditions.

2. Climbing trees and picking fruit - part of OT.

3. Absconding without informing staff. (Fraser informed me he reported his absence to you by phone, and you told him to phone O ward.) [Either Fraser or Dr. Ross lied].

4. 'Holidaying' in Durban, without permission for a week, then reporting to his curator.

5. Looking at kids in a Town Hill creche. [Only morons ran a creche in a madhouse].

6. Getting fit by jogging.

I understand that in Impala forensic ward Fraser mixes with murderers, child molesters, sex perverts, rapists, psychotics, addicts, kleptomaniacs and others. At times, he's been put into a seclusion room with plastic potty and bare walls to control his absconding.

I note his clothes and shoes are still disreputable, despite my 1994 complaints and suggestions.

Fraser has had no OT during his time in Impala forensic ward.

I'm not averse to Fraser's medical care. I object to Fraser's extreme physical, intellectual, emotional, social and religious deprivation.

Your previous correspondence made it clear you didn't want your medical officers to answer my reasonable questions. Therefore please answer the following:

1. Is the above the best you can do for Fraser?

2. How do you justify Fraser's deprivation?

3. What is your management plan for Fraser?

4. Do you intend incarcerating Fraser in Impala forensic ward for the rest of his life?

I'm emigrating to NZ on 13.05.95."

No reply. Fraser's six year "rehabilitation" at Town Hill was a farce played by clowns.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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