Early in 1994 I took leave from East London teaching, flew to NZ and drove around on my look, see, decide trip. Christchurch looked a spacious city to settle in, as it didn't have the freeways and traffic jams Auckland had.
In SA, Bophuthatswana puppet homeland imploded in a mad frenzy of looting and killing, including 3 AWB manne shot by a cop. Three Iranian men including two doctors were shot at Mdantsane Bahai Church, near East London. In KwaZulu-Natal Buthelezi played hard -to-get with CODESA, but the elections would proceed with or without Buthelezi and Inkatha. They later joined the joll. Gnarly communists like Harry Gwala and his comrades, masquerading as democratic ANC, continued Zulu civil war, during a KZN State-of-Terror, affecting tens of thousands of lives.
ANC's Mkontho we Sizwe soldiers returned to SA, and were incorporated into the new SANDF and SANP. Jo' burg: 58 people died in a mad frenzy of shootings during the Shell House Massacre day, instigated by the ANC, pooping itself that Zulus on a "traditional weapons" peace march would attack Shell House.
Retired SADF generaal Viljoen brought conservative whiteys into the election, but bitter einde Afrikaner Resistance manne bombed Jo'burg, Germiston and Pretoria, killing 21 people.
Before SADF conscription had ended in August 1993, I noticed Selborne College boys I'd taught either did lengthy tertiary studies, or went on extensive overseas trips to avoid conscription, until conscription stopped. Call-ups for already trained SADF conscripts continued until the election.
27-29.04.94. South Africa's first democratic election: ANC won. Mandela became president. SA stayed violent for years, and black and white racists would trek for decades on the new donkey wagon.
13.06.94. My letter to Fraser's Durban curator: "Staff come and go at Town Hill. Controls seem to be slack. Fraser seems to be running rings around them...
Our experience: there's a Town Hill generated 'crisis' at least once a year..."
27.06.94. My letter to Town Hill superintendent Dr. Ross: "Today Fraser's curator phoned us, informing us that Fraser absconded from Town Hill. Fraser had spent some days on his own, in and around Durban. Fraser contacted his curator who discussed matters with him, transported him back to Town Hill, and had further discussions with Town Hill staff.
Town Hill has been remiss! This year, Town Hill has not contacted me about Fraser's absconding.
Another incident: Weeks ago, a SAP cop from Camperdown phoned us. He'd picked up Fraser while Fraser was on a Comrades training run. I asked SAP to return Fraser to Town Hill. [Fraser was running wild in KwaZulu-Natal while Zulu impis were murdering blacks in KwaZulu-Natal civil war].
Before this, a letter from Dr. Kaf asked me whether I'd second Fraser on training runs. I posted my reply to Dr. Kaf and you almost three months ago. I requested that I be kept posted on Fraser's progress. To date, I've received no reply. News I've received about Fraser this year is all negative. I trust Town Hill's making progress with Fraser and that he's not being allowed to 'do his own thing.'
Please reply, in writing, on Fraser's progress, or lack of it. With reference to Dr. Kaf's letter, please inform me of the precise programme which has been worked out for Fraser. Quote: 'Our Occupational Therapist has been asked to work out an individual programme for him [Fraser] and we will monitor his progress.'
The impression I gain is that things are not going well."
28.06.94. Another letter to Fraser's curator: "Your reaction to Town Hill was similar to mine. I don't like seeing Fraser hobnobbing it with sex deviants, drug addicts and their ilk. I'm happy you've taken the initiative to try to get Fraser into a Mental Health establishment, if possible.
After Fraser arrived at Town Hill, I explored every avenue I could find, attempting to get Fraser out of Town Hill, into an environment in which he would be happier. I drew blanks all round and came to the conclusion that, despite limitations, Town Hill was the best possible place for Fraser, all factors considered.
I've not recently followed up on my reams of placement correspondence.
My thoughts on alternative placement were that there would be great financial costs for Fraser, including medication, accommodation, hospitalization, transport, clothing, etc.
Maybe your initiative and influence will throw new light on the proposal that Fraser leaves Town Hill for a while.
During his time at Town Hill, Fraser's theme song has been ways and means of leaving Town Hill. On one of our holidays, he was keen to rejoin the army to use his SADF cook training. I drove him to Natal Command to make enquiries. Fraser ascertained that SADF contracted-in cooking services and no longer trained and employed SADF cooks.
Maybe Fraser could go to a halfway house, to let Fraser realize maybe Town Hill's not such a bad idea after all. There are obvious risks. We may also find a better place for Fraser in the process.
Concerning Leah's and my feelings regarding your intervention:
1. Our concern is that Fraser will not cope in the long term, outside a protected environment.
2. Fraser's obviously unhappy, but lacks insight about the care he receives at Town Hill and from you, and that he may be unable to survive in 'normal' society.
3. Fraser was unemployed for about two years before the '87 Verulam accident, and has since spent seven years in hospitals, which doesn't equip him for survival in society.
4. I'm afraid 'risks' which Town Hill warns about, will be a self-fulfilling prophesy, with possible injuries to Fraser, similar to his halfway house experience at the end of his Durban Addington Hospital stay. Therefore, as Town Hill has done little to equip Fraser for society, I feel Town Hill should spend some months preparing him to become independent - maybe next year. I'm against him immediately leaving Town Hill, as he must be taught coping skills.
5. Was Fraser on medication when he absconded for a week recently? If not, then I question the necessity for so much medication. On our annual holidays, he gulps down loads of pills three to five times daily - all neatly prescribed in little plastic packets.
6. If Fraser goes to another protected environment, will his curatorship account funds enable him to do so for the rest of his life?
7. If leave of absence from Town Hill is given, I feel:
- Fraser must be thoroughly prepared by Town Hill, because at the moment he's ill prepared by Town Hill.
- Absence must be for a limited period.
- Fraser must understand he will go back to Town Hill.
- If he succeeds, he'll be given more leave of absence.
- Fraser wants to get out of Town Hill, and has harped on it ever since he was certified. He should be given the chance to see for himself."
Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.
See The Great Bophuthatswana Donkey Massacre