Thursday, February 7, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Fraser Esslemont and Curator Letters 2006-2008

< 2008. Fraser Esslemont sorting washers, Sunnyside Farm Workshop, KwaZulu-Natal. (Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society). "More than fantasy."

Fraser's May 2006 Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "Please forgive me for not writing sooner. It dawned on me you and your family have gone from SA for 11 years. Didn't you arrive in NZ in June 1995! Congratulations, you must have settled down well. It must have been difficult sometimes in a new land. [Yes].

This photograph was taken of me on 10.5.2006. Developing in Underberg took 1 day and I write on 11.5.2006. Im a bit surprised myself. I hope this photo reaches you in may 2006 before your 11th year anniversary. Do you still drink wine?... [Yes].

I hope to meet you in 2010 in Mauritius. I think you select a date when you can get away in 2010. Luke would have finished schooling by then. How will you spend your time? I suggest island hopping in the indian ocean. Until then..."

My July 2006 letter to Fraser's curator / administrator. "Thanks for Fraser's financial statement. I see accommodation costs have risen and interest rates have remained low. Ouch!...

ABs donnered Wallabies recently and Wallabies donnered the Boks last weekend. Looking forward to this weekend's ABs vs Boks clash."

Fraser's December 2006 Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "I have not written on your birthday card. I would have spoilt the card. [Over the years Fraser had posted me beautiful, home-made birthday and Xmas cards]. Please send it back to me next year. [Done]. You wrote of the big snow in August 2006. It would have been the worst in 30 years. Many thanks for the book on the snow. I appretiate very much the photos you send. Thank you.

You & your family will have a lot to talk about when we meet in 2010. The years have certainly passed quickly. I'm still undecided where the best place we can meet. Its either Durban or the NZ islands. Im sure I can get on board a ship to NZ. Rather than you & your family coming here to SA. I dont fancy the idea of flying over the seas. Do you agree on 2010? & which season is best?

We will meet again before we retire. Perhaps we can take the same world sea cruise together. Ill get the brochures all about it..."

In 2007, I received no dispatches from Fraser, who'd lived in KwaZulu-Natal madhouses for twenty years.

During the first 26 years of my life, I'd lived in mom's home at 22 Chelsea Drive, Durban North. During my conscript Commando service, I'd slept in barracks, tents and veld in the Cape and KwaZulu -Natal. During my trekking through Southern Africa and overseas, I slept in cars, trains, planes, ships, hostels, hotels, B&B's, motels and tents. During my married life in SA and overseas, our 10 houses, 9 flats, 2 barracks and 1 duplex were all empty when we arrived. We filled the empty houses with our belongings and lives, for short and long stays, then trekked onwards, leaving empty houses.

Our workplaces backdropped our houses. As migrants we left empty houses behind, and didn't return. Post-apartheid white teachers, living in empty houses, feared failure elsewhere, so didn't leave their white affirmative-action jobs, as the blackdrop of black affirmative- action jobs and black competition was too ghastly. Twelve years after I left Selborne College, SA teacher trainers weren't producing enough qualified teachers, so my chicken-white colleagues who'd stayed at Selborne had to train black "assistant teachers" on-the-job.

In 2001, a silly Indian social worker had encouraged Fraser's fantasy about travelling overseas to visit us. She naively suggested if Fraser's funds expired, he could apply for a state disability grant (hard to get and poorly administered). Nicole Itano's "No Place Left To Bury The Dead," Atria Books, New York, 2007, described SA corruption regarding state child support grants and state disability grants.

Years later, Fraser still mind-fixed about cruising to Mauritius, or Australia, or NZ, or the world to see us, never mind the costs. The silly Indian social worker was long gone, but her encouraging Fraser's poor financial judgement, and her sniffing out Fraser's estate from his lawyers still affected Fraser and me. The silly social worker had seeded an idea in Fraser which could harm Fraser and his family, and our relationships with the lawyer firm. In short, post apartheid social workers paid by the state to help patients and their families, by liaising with state Social Welfare offices, could do huge financial damage to patients and their families, by interfering in family dynamics, and touting bad financial advice.

During twelve years' apartheid and post apartheid, while brother Fraser was severely affected by the Mental Health Act 1973, I never heard any doctors, lawyers, medical and mental health care workers in SA objecting to the ravages of the Act on mad patients and their families. It would be nice to hear some doctors, lawyers, medical and mental health care workers speaking out against iniquities of the Mental Health Care Act 2001, as patients were still abused in institutions despite the "new" Act. After all, SA in 2008 did have freedom of speech and expression. Didn't it?

My experiences over 21 years of dealing with apartheid and post apartheid doctors, lawyers, medical and mental health care workers were that professionals rode the donkey wagon, led by donkeys, with few public comments or protests. After 21 years, I still waited to see or hear about decent rehabilitation for mental health patients like Fraser. It would've been nice to see computer and internet access for patients, and rehabilitated use of old literacy and numeracy skills, which Fraser still had. Not just "voluntary" Occupational Therapy, whereby businesses benefitted from free, captive labour by mental health patients.

If a mental health patient like Fraser had for years provided free Occupational Therapy or Industrial Therapy labour like gardening, sorting screws, washers, etc, for contracted business beneficiaries, then when the patient turned 65 years old, the patient should automatically get a state pension for the rest of his / her life, without means testing.

After all, Fraser paid taxes during the years he worked as a Standard Bank teller before brain damage, and was conscripted by the SADF which wasted two years of his life. In 1973, he'd volunteered a year of his life as a hospital orderly at Holy Cross Mission Hospital, Pondoland. Fraser was brain damaged by a Zulu sugarcane trucker in 1987 during a State-of -Terror, and suffered for years afterwards. He freely gave his labour, while certified and decertified, for years to state and NGO Occupational Therapy / Industrial Therapy schemes, so his retirement after age 65 should be rewarded with a state pension, without means testing. That's fair.

Even fairer, those businesses which for years had benefitted from Fraser's and other patients' free labour should front up and contribute to the state pension fund.

Carers loved reporting that Fraser was "stable" or "stabilized," meaning toxic neuroleptics, controlling Fraser's seizures, had stopped him being a danger to himself and others. Not once in 21 years did Fraser's carers ever say they were taking him off drugs. Over 10 years, Fraser paid over R100 000 resident fees to Maritzburg Mental Health, and Fraser's "rehabilitation" was rural institutionalization and anti-psychotic drug dependence, which dumbed him down and isolated Fraser from normal people. Never mind the stigma normal people attached to brain damaged Fraser.

Thirteen years after emigrating to NZ, I didn't have money to visit Fraser in SA. But the donkey wagon wheels slowly turned, and mom's old Maritzburg varsity song showed the way: "O Maritzburg, happy land, happy land, I'm going back to Maritzburg if I can..."

< 2008. Arabs dancing, Culture Galore, Ray Blank Park, Christchurch, NZ.

In early 2008, I wrote to Fraser's curator and Maritzburg Mental Health, inquiring about Fraser's health and poor correspondence. I posted Fraser batches of Xmas and family photos, and snaps of the annual Christchurch, Ray Blank Park, Culture Galore festival. At Culture Galore expats proudly showed their heritage. In 2008, there was singing, music and dancing, food and craft stalls, jumping castle, "rock climbing," and Beijing Olympics costumes. Some of the United Nations tribes I saw: Southern African, English, Scottish, Scandinavians, Indians, Russians, Chinese, Taiwanese, Koreans, Japanese, Niueans, Samoans, Fijians, Maori, French, Dutch, Hungarians, Greeks, Balkans, Serbs, Macedonians, Indonesians, Filipinos, Latin Americans, Nepalese, Afrikaners, Arabs, cops, security, garbage collectors, journalists.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

< 2008 Arab man with incense, Culture Galore, Ray Blank Park, Christchurch, NZ.

2008. Post Apartheid: Fraser Esslemont and Carer Letters 2005

My June 2005 letter to Fraser's Durban curator / administrator: "Thanks for the copy of Fraser's 17th Curatorship Estate Account received recently.

I appreciate what you have done for Fraser. It gives me peace of mind, as I am unable to help Fraser financially, nor even visit him, as our finances after ten years' residence in NZ are still precarious.

I'm alarmed by the negative balance in Fraser's account. As Fraser is a survivor, and as he has longevity history on both maternal and paternal sides of his family - relatives have lived to over 90 years old - I would appreciate your projections / planning of Fraser's finances to include Fraser outliving us all. Fraser could easily live to be 90 years old.

If you have not already done so, I would appreciate it very much if you would consider and expedite future higher rates of interest of Fraser's investments. The more interest earned on Fraser's investments the best for everyone concerned...

PS. Last Saturday the All Blacks gave the Lions a hiding in Christchurch. Foul weather helped."

Fraser Esslemont's September 2005 Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "Please forgive me for not writing sooner. I procrastinate with letter writing for months on end. Your birthday card I sent I dont want to deface with writing on it. From me a belated happy birthday and a voorspoedige nuwe jaar. You will have many more birthdays. [Et tu bro].

I received the photos you kindly sent on 20 March 2005. The 5 principals at Burnside High must have a big job controlling 2500 pupils. [Luke's new school]. Northlands High battled with 1000 pupils in 1972. Does Luke have a troublesome class? [No]. Jake's graphic design course would have been finished at varsity. Which Varsity? [Natcoll, local graphic design college]. Jake plays guitar and Luke plays piano. You and Leah must suffer with them practising, when they do practise. [Leah maybe. Me no: deaf].

Please inform me exactly how your pc works. It must help Jake and Luke with their graphic design course and high school studies. Congratulations on having lived 10 years in a new land. There must have been many ups and downs. [Yes].

Thank you for the jade pebble. [From Birdling Flats beach]. This will be a treasure on this farm. Ill handle it as a family heirloom. You will see it again. I wont have the jade carved. Possibly two rings made of it later. Could one make two earings from this pebble? [Yes, hard stone].

I did receive old photos and slides of my overseas trips. Thank you. Receiving your letters is a pleasure because I am somewhat isolated doing farming. Please let me know what happens with Jake's graphic design. It will be a difficult field to enter." True.

Fraser's Zulu social worker's letter September 2005: "Fraser Esslement [sic] is doing fine at Sunnyside Farm. He is a very responsible client [Client!] in the Workshop, he helps to pack the boxes of washers that are delivered to contract companies and he also works in the garden.

Mentally he is stable and he is taking medication properly. Fraser's behaviour is good, as I never received any incident report since I started in March this year. [So what? He's decertified]. He is getting on well with residents and also respects the Staff members. [Fraser was always sociable. Why couldn't Town Hill work that out over 9.5 years?]

We will inform you of any changes or new things that is happening. He posted a letter to you about two weeks ago. I hope you received that now. Sr... often encourages him to write, but I don't think it is something he likes to do!!!"

The Zulu social worker didn't last long.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See The Great South African Land Scandal by Dr. Philip du Toit.

2008. Post Apartheid: Fraser Esslemont's 2003-2004 Sunnyside Farm Dispatches

During the following years, I kept up with Fraser's carers by letters and emails. Fraser's curator / administrator paid Fraser's monthly accommodation fees to Maritzburg Mental Health. The fees slowly eroded Fraser's estate which Fraser's curator had built up over the years, derived from the sale of Fraser's (mom's) 22 Chelsea Drive, Durban North, three bedroom home. Although Fraser's curator had invested Fraser's estate for two decades, inflation and Sunnyside Farm fees caused Fraser to become poorer. By 2008, no way could Fraser's estate buy a three bedroom house again, or even a small flat in Durban North.

It was unfair that although Fraser was no longer certified, he paid accommodation fees, yet Maritzburg Mental Health carers used his free labour as a gardener, and his labour was also freely used in Occupational Therapy, which financially benefitted outside contractors. I doubt whether Fraser ever signed an employment contract for free or voluntary work he did at Durban's Addington Hospital, or Maritzburg's Town Hill Hospital, or Maritzburg Mental Health's Sunnyside.

Fraser's October 2003 Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "My apologies for the delay in writing. Tell me more of Jake's art design. I dont know much about it. Luke is really musically minded. Piano & drums. You must be proud of your sons. Things have changed a lot, since we were at school. My congratulations to Leah on lecturing teachers. I think she is doing very well now.

Do you and your family snow ski in the Alps? July must be the right time for skiing. You and Leah will be celebrating 50 years of marriage soon in 2018. Congratulations. [Fraser's time concept was elastic]. What type of camera do you take photos with. It takes very clear snaps. [Minolta SRT 100x].

I've got dad's silver ciggy case, book markers & photos you sent me. Thank you. How many Koreans does Leah teach? They must have dyslexia as well? [No, just holiday ESOL students from Seoul].

Your writing must be getting good for you to win awards. The magazine editor is letting you know. Keep on writing for Indaba. [It didn't last, as Afrikaner editors censored my articles]. Was it the "Blood on the Vine" article?

The gardening book you posted me was probably written by someone with a BSc. He is very well informed. I needed some form of inspiration at this stage, in my gardening career. The book is more than useful.

I think Jake should specialize in subjects in chch tech. Public Relations and advertising & performing arts seem enough to choose from. Not that I know that much about it. Technicon must be better than Varsity. [After school, Jake studied at a local computer graphic design college].

When did you get involved in grape harvesting and winerys? [Raised pocket-money to send Luke on a school exchange trip to Adelaide].

There must be ways of E mailing you. Durban post office would be able to do it for me. Soon Ill be taking leave in Durban. We could make plans for our meeting together in 2010. Its something im looking forward to."

Fraser's undated 2003 Xmas dispatch: "I thought you would like christmas greetings from me. Happy christmas and new year (2004). Ill be thinking of you 4.

Soon Ill be seeing my lawyer in Durban and wishing him merry christmas for 2004. This will be my first major attempt to see how things have changed in this democratic SA. They would have changed from apartheid days. [Fraser seemed to have forgotten his many post apartheid ramblings around Maritzburg and Durban, while certified at Maritzburg's Town Hill Hospital.]

Does the idea of a Mauritian holiday in 2010 appeal to you 4? Ive only [just] heard of the place. It might be the place to meet."

Fraser's mind was fixed on seeing me and my family overseas, without realizing the costs on his small invested estate.

Fraser's March 2003 Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "Im sorry about the subaru van 850cc dieing. You had the van a long time. I hope the Honda 1500cc lasts longer. Bryndwyr is the new district you live in, yet you write of Burnside? [Close suburbs]. Was the side of the hill burnt because of the building of the airport? I notice you had snow on the alps on 20/02/04. The drought must have been very bad.

Thank you for the snaps. You've kept me up to date with your stay in NZ with these photos. I appretaite them. Does Gee still work in a jewellery business in Joburg? If Luke is in std 6, why is he in primary school still?... [Many NZ primary schools include standard 6, year 8].

I hope Leah gets the permanent teaching post at Seabrook in her teaching dyslexic children. She has worked hard enough. [She did].

We must plan a trip to Mauritius as soon as possible. Perhaps 1.1.2010. I would travel by ship from SA. You would have to go to Australia first. Which connecting flight to Mauritius would you have to catch? I really dont know. Ask Al when you see him again. How many children has Al got?

You must use venison (buck meat) for your biltong. What kind of buck? [Red deer in NZ]. Did you work with Springbok, gemsbok & kudu here in SA? I suppose you work with beef also. Let me know your recipe for beef biltong. Here on this Sunnyside Farm, we dont make any biltong at all. When we meet in Mauritius in 1.1.2010 Id like to sample some of your biltong."

Fraser's August 2004 Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "Happy birthday on 8 September. Im sure this letter & birthday card [will] reach you in time, but I did cut it (time) too fine. I think speak to Jake about hotel management. [Jake was working part-time as a kitchen-hand at a Scenic Circles hotel, while studying computer graphic design]. You must be pleased you wont be dads taxi for Luke so much next year. [While living in Burnside, I was driving Luke across town to Oaklands School for Luke to finish primary school there].

2004 Protestors marching down Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch: "No To Racism Yes To Harmony" Rally

I think be careful of taking photos & writing articles on anti asian demonstrators. [Christchurch Asians' 'no to racism yes to harmony' protest along Worcester Boulevard to Christchurch Cathedral Square]. The whole situation in controlling demonstrators can get heated up. Police would have asked to be there. [True: keeping rednecks apart from others].

2004 Cops & Protestors, "No To Racism Yes To Harmony," Christchurch Cathedral Square

Please send me a photo of Seabrook Mckensie centre. The renovations would have been completed by now. [Leah's new classroom]. Leah must be happier about the place. She would have struggled to begin with.

Mark, what have you decided on Maurituous [sic] on 1.1.2010? Can you get away on that date? You live on a island. But Maurituous will be different. You and I will have a lot to talk about. I hope you can do windsurfing. I think I would have to practice windsurfing again."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Fifty Up, Town Hill Decertification

As Fraser's curator had sent me copies of Fraser's annual curatorship financial statements for the last fifteen years, I wrote to the curator: "Town Hill's Dr. Walker and Dr. King passed the buck to Maritzburg Mental Health, and washed their hands of Fraser. (Although 3 years ago, Sunnyside Farm management informed me that a Town Hill psychiatrist and nurses visited Sunnyside Farm monthly, to see patients and prescribe medicines).

This year, 2003, I've written several letters to Maritzburg Mental Health. (All unanswered). Judging from past experience, Sunnyside and Maritzburg Mental Health management seem to work on the principal that if my correspondence is ignored, or tardily answered after my promptings, then perhaps problems and my queries will vanish, or resolve miraculously. For months, both Town Hill doctors stonewalled my latest questions. Positively, some questions were eventually answered, with some reciprocity, better than the former superintendent Dr. Ross's refusal to communicate.

Upshot: Town Hill's Dr. Walker says Fraser is not certified.

I don't know how long Fraser has been decertified, where you fit in legally, and whether Town Hill has wasted your resources with you sending annual financial statements to the Supreme Court since Fraser's decertification.

Whatever happens, I'm still happy for you and your legal firm to continue administering Fraser's estate. [According to the Mental Health Act 2001, 'curator bonis' was called 'administrator.'] We are grateful for your interventions over the last 15 years, providing some stability for Fraser's precarious, unpredictable existence.

Let us know your decision regarding continued administration of Fraser's estate."

My September 2003 letter to the director, Maritzburg Mental Health:

"Please answer this letter and my four other 2003 letters. Please see the copy of Dr. Walker's recent letter, informing me my brother Fraser isn't certifed, and it's my responsibility together with Martitzburg Mental Health's to rehabilitate Fraser.

In the 9.5 years that Fraser was at Town Hill, Town Hill never formally asked me to rehabilitate Fraser. In the 5.5 years, so far, that Fraser has been at Sunnyside, Maritzburg / Sunnyside have never formally asked me to rehabilitate Fraser. In 1998, Town Hill didn't consult me when Town Hill secretly sent Fraser to Sunnyside. Nor had Maritzburg / Sunnyside ever told me of Fraser's decertification.

As Fraser recently had his fiftieth birthday, and as Fraser has been in Addington / Town Hill hospitals / Maritzburg MH care since 01.04.87, and as I'm older than Fraser, I'm concerned about his future. Fraser might outlive me, so I need to know his future is secure:


* Administered by his curator.
* Five year's excess pocket-money held by Maritzburg MH. What's Maritzburg MH doing to rectify the matter? (e.g. returning excess pocket-money to the curator for reinvestment in Fraser's estate).


* Policy / procedures re. Fraser communicating with me more. (e.g. letters, email, etc.)?
* Policy / procedures re. Maritzburg MH / Sunnyside timeously communicating with me when Fraser gets sick, destabilizes, absconds, side effects of neuroleptics, goes on holiday, dies, etc.? (Most of which has happened during Fraser's hospitalizations over the years).


* What rehabilitation is Fraser doing, and what is Maritzburg MH's rehabilitation plan for Fraser?
* Where do I as Fraser's nearest and only interested kin fit into Fraser's rehabilitation?


* As Fraser is decertified, and paying Maritzburg MH accommodation fees, and working in Sunnyside's gardens, will Fraser ultimately get a state pension (or other pension) for his years of labour and service to Maritzburg MH / Sunnyside?
* Please advise: e.g. projected number of year's service, pension amount, etc.
* If Fraser remains stable, will Fraser remain at Sunnyside / Maritzburg MH for the rest of his life?
* If Fraser destabilizes, will he be certified and returned to Town Hill again?...

PS. I knew Bulwer area reasonably well, as I lived in Durban for over 30 years. As a kid, I holidayed near Underberg. I once hiked up Sani Pass. Once, my wife and I holidayed in the hotel at the top of Sani Pass. It snowed, and the next morning our 4x4 Jeep slithered a long way down the pass.

Friends lived at Himeville. I once climbed Rhino Peak 'pass,' sprained my ankle, then staggered down another 'pass' to safety. As a teacher, I hiked with Glenwood HS boys in the Rhino Peak area. We camped in a cave.

Years later, I often filled my car with petrol at a Kokstad garage on our East London - Durban treks. My wife's family had many holidays near Bulwer."

October 2003. Maritzburg Mental Health director replied that Fraser spent all his pocket-money on cigarettes, tuck and toiletries; that Maritzburg Mental Health kept no excess funds; and that Fraser's curator sent Fraser's fees and pocket-money months in arrears. I was left wondering who to believe, Fraser or the director? The director enclosed a cost report itemizing Fraser's last five month's fees and pocket-money. The director ignored my contention that Maritzburg MH had saved five years' worth of Fraser's pocket-money. It was brain damaged Fraser's word against Maritzburg MH director's word. I let it pass and posted a copy of the directors' letter to Fraser's curator. I suspected the Indian social worker was remiss in enquiring about Fraser's funds from Fraser's curator, and that the Indian social worker needed a kick in the bum.

Regarding communications, the director said I could email Fraser via her email address. She'd send my emails to Fraser. The director said Sunnyside staff encouraged Fraser to write to me, but Fraser showed little interest in writing.

Fraser's "rehabilitation" was vague: including reading magazines, doing unpaid work in farm gardens, and walking around the farm, which was recently laagered by a security fence, preventing people like Fraser getting lost in the Berg.

Fraser was responding well to medications, and would only leave Sunnyside should he require frail-care at another institution. Should that happen I'd be timeously contacted. Should Fraser's funds run out, Maritzburg MH would help him apply for a state pension or grant.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Town Hill, Pecked In The Head

Dr. King's Town Hill response: "Your questions neither deserve nor warrant attention..."

Fraser wasn't the only Town Hill graduate gepik in die bol: pecked in the head. This "doctor" was completely inhumane. This apartheid throwback fobbed me off to Maritzburg Mental Health. Dr. Mengele would've been proud of him.

My July 2003 response: "By your own admittance, my brother Fraser was transferred from Town Hill to Sunnyside in 1998, without consulting me, or informing me timeously. Your words: 'Given the government's deinstitutionalization programme, once Fraser's position stabilized, it was the multidisciplinary team's decision that he be discharged.' [Apartheid mindset hadn't changed: hide in the 'team,' blame the law, and be irresponsible].

I've said it before: Fraser has no relatives in SA. I'm Fraser's only living relative interested in Fraser. I note you refuse to answer my previous eight reasonable questions. You don't have the professional integrity, courtesy, nor moral courage even to inform me whether Fraser is still certified, or not. Although Fraser resided in Town Hill for 9.5 years, and former superintendent Dr. Ross refused corresponding with me for years, you follow the same stonewalling pattern. You hide behind patient confidentiality, and pass the buck to Maritzburg Mental Health.

Given your heartless response, I know it would be too much to expect you to behave like a human being: To imagine what it was like in 1987, seeing the results of a brother bashed by a Zulu trucker [during a State-of-Terror]. To see a thick pool of brother's blood on Verulam Road. To see his pulped face; smashed head - coma; broken limbs. To later witness iatrogenic Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome at Addington Hospital. To see months of agonized recovery. To see his Achilles tendons surgically hacked, enabling him to hobble again. [To see him concussed after a Zulu nurse aide allowed him to fall from his wheel chair. To see his head stitched again, as Addington / Durban Mental Health Society didn't supervise his 'rehabilitation' properly at a Durban halfway house, so he drunkenly smashed his head again on a road]. To see him certified to Town Hill, after nearly two years at Addington.

To see Fraser detained in closed wards and the forensic security block for months at the discretion of Town Hill staff. Even placed in a seclusion room with bare walls and plastic potty for company, for piffling reasons by Town Hill. To see him zombied by neuroleptics, at the discretion of medical staff, [as well as suffering other neuroleptic side effects]. To see him locked up with felons, [having his liberty willfully deprived by Town Hill madhouse keepers]. After 9.5 years, to have Fraser shunted off to Maritzburg Mental Health, without Town Hill even bothering to contact me. I found out, belatedly, because Town Hill returned to NZ one of my letters to Fraser.

I wish you well, and hope you never have a member of your family brain damaged and placed in the care of people like yourself, contemptuous of patient's families, and their right to know what's going on with hospitalized relatives. I'm left wondering what you and your professional colleagues are hiding, as you refuse to answer my questions.

I trust you'll have a change of heart."

August 2003. My letter to Town Hill's Dr. Walker: "By now you'll've received a copy of my response letter to Dr. King. If you were in my position you'd find the situation oppressive and unacceptable. [This was after the reforming Mental Health Care Act 2001, and repeal of the notorious Mental Health Act 1973, and repeals of other apartheid, racist, homeland Mental Health Acts].

Imagine if you were the only concerned relative of a brain damaged brother whose carers refused to communicate with you. The carer team deinstitutionalizes your brother without the courtesy nor professional integrity to inform you. Years later, after your queries, psychiatrist Dr. King concludes that your reasonable questions neither deserve nor warrant attention, and fobs you off to Maritzburg Mental Health, where carers had sent your brother. Your brother's carers remain evasive and oppressively silent (hiding behind patient confidentiality and privacy), instead of decent communication with you.

That's my experience with Town Hill. This year, I've already posted query letters to Maritzburg Mental Health, but to date I've received no replies from Maritzburg Mental Health. Dr. King's fobbing off is therefore untenable.

Please specifically answer my July letter questions addressed to Dr. King, by return of post, as my questions pertain to Town Hill's responsibilities to my brother Fraser, and his nearest kin - me."

On Fraser's fiftieth birthday, eight months after my initial queries, Dr. Walker admitted that Fraser was not certified. The implications were that Fraser was no longer a danger to himself and others, had insight into his brain damaged condition, and his judgement had improved over the years. Dr. Walker stated that, by law, once a patient had stabilized, the patient had to be discharged. (Another gepik in die bol doctor hiding behind the new law). Dr. Walker praised former Town Hill staff's placement of Fraser at Sunnyside Farm, and blamed patient's families for not taking responsibility for finding patients' accommodation upon discharge.

There was nothing praiseworthy about doctors mindlessly following bad laws, then blaming a patient's family, who madhouse keepers hadn't bothered to contact for years, despite many query letters from the family.

During the time Fraser had existed at Town Hill, whenever the subject of finding alternative accommodation for Fraser arose, Town Hill did much, "I'm telling you..." rather than, "I'm asking you..." At various times passively-aggressive madhouse keepers told me that Fraser would have to go to Kimberley, or Komati at Queenstown, or Fort England at Grahamstown, or a Durban halfway house. Town Hill seemed to have no workable policy nor procedures to inspire or motivate a patient's family to cooperatively work with madhouse keepers to find the best possible accommodation for stabilized patients. Only once in 9.5 years did a social worker suggest I help her find accommodation for Fraser, when she was at her "wits end."

Dr. Walker fobbed me off to Maritzburg Mental Health, risibly suggesting I trek from NZ to SA to make personal enquiries, or send someone to enquire for me. Dr. Walker didn't apologise for Town Hill not informing me of Fraser's decertification and discharge over five years before.

My September 2003 reply to Dr. Walker:

"To your credit, over 5.5 years after Fraser was forced to leave Town Hill, you're the first carer to actually inform me, after my promptings, that Fraser is decertified. Maritzburg Mental Health haven't yet informed me that Fraser is decertified. That's taking privacy to risible extremes. Although Town Hill decertified Fraser and sent him to Maritzburg Mental Health, for which you praise Town Hill staff, you suggest I no longer communicate with you, and instead I must contact Maritzburg Mental Health. But Maritzburg Mental Health haven't answered my letters this year.

Your contention that, 'the family is primarily responsible together with other agencies e.g. Maritzburg Mental Health' for Fraser's rehabilitation, or lack of it, is evasive. Fraser had existed 9.5 years at Town Hill, with minimal rehabilitation, by Town Hill's own admittance, although Addington's Dr. Luiz had certified Fraser to Town Hill for rehabilitation in the first place. Town Hill never asked me to formally participate in Fraser's rehabilitation. Passing the rehabilitation buck to family and Maritzburg Mental Health after Fraser was forced out of Town Hill is tendentious. Fraser has existed at Sunnyside for 5.5 years. During that time no Maritzburg Mental Health staff have ever asked me to formally participate in Fraser's rehabilitation.

The awesome thing about Fraser's certified 'madness' and decertified sanity is that the tone, style, content of his letters to me during his 'mad' and sane years have remained unchanged."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society.

Monday, February 4, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Town Hill, Madmen Ran The Madhouse

My May 2003 reply to Town Hill's Dr. Walker: "I still don't know what rehabilitation my brother Fraser had during 9.5 years at Town Hill. Years ago I was told by Durban's Addington Hospital staff, that as rehabilitation had failed at Addington, they certified and sent Fraser to Maritzburg's Town Hill for rehabilitation. So far, for 16 years I've received nothing but evasions about Fraser's rehabilitation.

You propose sending me a psychiatric report, only if brain damaged Fraser gives permission. Although I asked what rehabilitation Fraser had at Town Hill, during his 9.5 years existence there, you ask me to query the rehabilitation which Maritzburg Mental Health may have recently done. [Never mind that Town Hill had mind-controlled Fraser with toxic drugs, and punished his happy wanderings in Maritzburg by often gaoling Fraser in closed wards and the forensic security block].

Regarding Fraser's 9.5 years at Town Hill:

1. What was Town Hill's rehabilitation programme for Fraser during the 9.5 years he resided in Town Hill, and how was Fraser's rehabilitation effected?

2. Why do Town Hill staff need permission for brain damaged Fraser to send a report to me, his only brother?

3. If Fraser declines permission for sending me reports, how do I get information / accountability from Town Hill regarding Fraser?

4. Why was Fraser discharged from Town Hill 5 years ago?

5. Who discharged Fraser from Town Hill?

Regarding Fraser's 5 years at Sunnyside Farm:

6. If I'm dissatisfied with Maritzburg Mental Health's rehabilitation of Fraser, how does Fraser get back to Town Hill?

In addition to your proposed report, I'd appreciate straight-forward answers to the above questions. At the end of the day, I'm left with Fraser after his carers have moved on."

Town Hill madhouse keepers were letting madmen run the madhouse. Hiding behind patient privacy and confidentiality, by asking me to get Fraser's permission for reports, madhouse keepers were obstructing my queries about apartheid abuses at Town Hill.

Three years before, when I'd queried Sunnyside Farm's management, they too said I could only get a psychiatric report from Fraser's carers, provided Fraser gave permission. So Fraser's carers needed permission from Fraser to provide me information about Fraser, despite the fact that Fraser was brain damaged, and lived in a sheltered, structured environment. I wondered who was madder - Fraser or his madhouse keepers?

It was the maddest rule I ever heard. It allowed madhouse keepers in apartheid and post apartheid SA to get away with abuses. There was no transparency. If madhouse keepers didn't want me to know Fraser's current condition, they said Fraser hadn't given permission for releasing a psychiatric report. Thus a madman, incapable of running his own affairs, had to give permission for his madhouse keepers to supply reports about the madman to his own family. Madmen definitely ran the madhouse, and the sane hid behind the insane.

My May 2003 letter to Maritzburg Mental Health: "At the time of Fraser's transfer from Town Hill to Sunnyside Farm, neither Town Hill, nor Maritzburg Mental Health, nor Sunnyside Farm informed me Fraser was sent to Sunnyside Farm, where he has resided for 5 years.


Over the years I've received little information from Sunnyside, as carers hide behind the ridiculous notion that brain damaged Fraser must give permission for me, Fraser's only interested relative, to receive information about Fraser.

I'm concerned Fraser's life is wasted at rural Sunnyside. Please refer to my February letter to Sunnyside Farm's principal, (unanswered), asking for Fraser to correspond with me more, and enquiring about Sunnyside Farm's reading, internet and email facilities?"

It was difficult for Fraser to make informed decisions if he was deprived of internet access.

Town Hill's Dr. King advised:

"- Fraser had privacy and confidentiality rights, preserving respect and dignity;
- Fraser's early rehabilitation at Town Hill was OT. (No longer offered). [Slave labour].
- Fraser attended daily workshop at Sunnyside Farm;
- Government and state subsidized rehabilitation facilities were not the best;
- Private sector rehabilitation facilities, funded by the patient's family were the best;
- Due to the government's deinstitutionalization programme, Town Hill multidisciplinary team had discharged stabilized Fraser to Sunnyside Farm;
- Should Fraser destabilize, he would be readmitted to Town Hill."

My July 2003 response: "When I lived in East London, Town Hill's superintendent Dr. Ross stopped replying to my query letters, and disallowed his staff replying to my letters. So, for about eight years, I had no reasonable contact from Town Hill's carers. In 1998, Town Hill didn't advise me that Fraser was being government deinstitutionalized, discharged, and force-moved to Sunnyside. [Dr. Ross had lied, telling me I would be informed]. I've received few letters from Fraser during his Sunnyside sojourn. I've no idea what happens to Fraser, who for doctor's privacy and confidentiality reasons must give permission for his carers to give information about himself to his family.

Over a year ago, a Sunnyside Indian social worker investigated Fraser's curatorship funds, then naively suggested Fraser waste his funds visiting me in NZ. There was no respect, dignity, confidentiality, nor privacy in her investigating Fraser's funds. Fraser's last letter informs me that Maritzburg Mental Health stores five year's worth of Fraser's accumulated pocket-money, which his curator regularly sends Fraser. There's no privacy, nor confidentiality in storage (and perhaps embezzlement?) of Fraser's pocket-money funds. Those funds would be better reinvested in Fraser's estate by his curator.

Privacy and confidentiality become murky when manipulated to obstruct communication with a patient's family. There was no respect, nor dignity for Fraser and me when former Town Hill superintendent Dr. Ross stopped communicating with me; when Town Hill detained Fraser in closed wards and the forensic security block for months, for piffling reasons; when Town Hill multidisciplinary team discharged and force-moved Fraser to Sunnyside, without informing me.

1. In 1998, why did Town Hill not inform me that Fraser was being government deinstitutionalized, discharged and force-moved to Sunnyside?

2. Is Fraser still certified? [In five years no one had bothered to tell me].

3. What institution is actually responsible for Fraser - Town Hill? or Maritzburg Mental Health? or Sunnyside? or District Health Services? or all four?

4. What individual(s) is (are) responsible for Fraser's rehabilitation, or lack of it?

5. Rehabilitation: What happens at Sunnyside daily workshop?

6. With confidentiality and privacy rights preventing effective communication, how do I get information about Fraser when no carer communicates with me? [Doctors misused Fraser's human rights to avoid my queries and to isolate Fraser from his family].

7. How do I get information about Fraser, if Fraser stops writing to me? (I'm deaf).

8. When Fraser destabilizes, or gets force-moved elsewhere, or gets terminally ill, or dies, who tells me?"

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Maritzburg Mental Health Queries

< 2003. Mackintosh Family Crest: 'Touch Not The Cat Bot A Glove.'

After I complained to Sunnyside Farm manager about Fraser's infrequent letters, Fraser replied on 08.02.03: "I send my condolenscences [sic] to you and Leah and your family on hearing of the death of Bebs. [Leah's sister]. It would have been a great shock to Leah.

Please let me have your representative agent's address. How can she ask you for money before finding you a publisher? [The Fullbright lesbian cheated me]. In a previous letter, you had mentioned you had written various articles. [Some published in SINZASA's Indaba journal, others not published in an incipient craft journal]. Please let me have some photocopies of the articles. Who do you send the articles to?

I appreciate the photocopied colour snaps. They fit nicely in the photo album you send [sic] me. Ive not much time reading that book you sent me. Just one weekend so far. I guess, if I read 30 pages a weekend, Id get through the book before April 2003. Hopefully.

Mark, you must appreciate the fact NZ publishers have to check quite a few paragraphs. Publishers would write to SA checking the authenticity of each story publishers wish to check. I think you should write fiction, basing your book on your & mine [sic] experiences in SA. Good Luck. I know you would have to change your whole way of thinking about writing books. [Viola Woza Mark. I found after sending query letters to publishers, after months I'd receive, if lucky, form-letter responses irrelevant to my queries. Even email responses from publishers were tardy].

Jake and Luke are doing very well in their schooling. Post matric and standard 5. They are a credit to you and Leah. My congratulations to both of your sons.

When did you start renting your house? Where do you live now? Let me know how much extra money you need every month to pay off your landlord. I have money saved with Maritzburg Mental Health director. Ive saved steadily for 59 months. I dont mind letting you have money to pay off this landlord of yours. I think, at this stage, rent your 40 Nottingham Avenue house for another 5 years in Christchurch.

Write to myself soon"

Fraser didn't realize I'd been renting for eight years in Oaklands. Fraser had lost the idea of the value of money, and had little idea of exchange rates, and any money sent to us in NZ would soon deplete his small estate. I was concerned Maritzburg Mental Health had kept Fraser's savings for 59 months. No way should they keep his money. I asked Fraser's curator to investigate the matter, as Maritzburg MH should've returned surplus money to him, so Fraser's money could be reinvested in Fraser's curatorship estate.

April Fool Day 2003. My letter to Town Hill's new superintendent Dr. Walker: "No reply, so far, to my Jan. letter enquiring about my brother Fraser's rehabilitation. Its exactly 16 years since Fraser had a brain damaging motor vehicle accident. He convalesced for nearly 2 years in Addington Hospital. He was certified by Addington, then resided for 9.5 years at Town Hill, then to date, about 5 years at Sunnyside Farm.

Town Hill sent Fraser to Sunnyside Farm without informing me. During the last 14 years, Fraser has existed at Town Hill urban concentration centre and Sunnyside rural concentration centre, surrounded by teams of professionals. Fraser had minimal contact with real communities. From Town Hill, when he tried to reach real communities, he was often punished for normal activities, like going for walks or jogs. [Called 'absconding' by Town Hill].

Fraser was born in Durban, grew up and worked in Durban, almost until he had the accident, so I fail to understand what rehabilitation Fraser will acquire in a small rural backwater, separated from cities in which he lived most of his life. While in Maritzburg, Fraser strove for normality by trying to mix with normal people. Town Hill separated Fraser from normal people by means of gate guards, concrete palisade wall, coercive rules, detention in closed wards, seclusion rooms and forensic security block, and mind-numbing, toxic neuroleptics.

So far, about 14 years of 'rehabilitation' seems to be neglect by hordes of professional team members who seem to have low expectations of Fraser, which demeans and rejects Fraser as a human being. I've never heard from Fraser's professional carers of any firm plans for his community social life, his religious life, nor any decent vocation. Over the years, Fraser has been directly controlled by Town Hill, and indirectly via Maritzburg Mental Health. Fraser's 'rehabilitation,' or lack of it seems to be strict separation from normal people and communities.

As Fraser's 'rehabilitation' seems to be neglected, I was concerned over a year ago, to receive a note from a Maritzburg Mental Health social worker suggesting Fraser visit me in NZ. (Funded by Fraser of course. Overseas travel would squander Fraser's curatorship estate). I declined the idea, as I had no certainties from professional carers that Fraser, a citizen on neuroleptics, would be capable of travelling alone to NZ.

As requested in my January letter:

1. Has Fraser recovered from his brain damage?
2. What is Town Hill's rehabilitation plan for Fraser and what rehabilitation is being effected?
Another question:
3. Will Town Hill keep Fraser at Sunyside Farm for the rest of his life?"

Conflict: Over the years, Fraser's professional carers, legally laagering Fraser, strove to separate Fraser from normal community life, while Fraser strove to return to normal community life. As a legally certified citizen, Fraser had no freedom. He was forcibly separated and was legally inferior to normal citizens, according to the Mental Health Act 1973.

In response to my two letters, Town Hill's Dr. Walker said he'd send me a psychiatric report on Fraser, if Fraser gave permission to do so. If I wanted information about Fraser's 'rehabilitation,' then I must contact Maritzburg Mental Health. The new Mental Health Care Act 2001, gave a new twist to madhouse keepers' clowning: I had to ask my madman brother for permission to receive information about him from his madhouse keepers. And the madhouse keepers passed the buck to Maritzburg MH, after Town Hill should have rehabilitated my madman brother during the 9.5 years he was certified and detained by Town Hill.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Friday, February 1, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid Madness

When Fraser turned fifty in September 2003, a third of his life had been in KwaZulu-Natal medical, psychiatric and mental health institutions. By 2008, Fraser had spent nearly 2 years in Durban's Addington Hospital, then 9.5 years in Pietermaritzburg's Town Hill state madhouse, then 9.5 years at Sunnyside Farm near Maritzburg, run by Maritzburg Metal Health Society. Sunnyside Farm was the best placement for Fraser since his 1987 brain damaging accident at Verulam, near Durban, perhaps because the new Mental Health Care Bill 2001 had threatened madhouse keepers with the abuses they'd perpetuated during apartheid, and Mental Health carers had to adapt to more enlightened care for mad patients.

Since April Fool Day 1987, when brother Fraser was smashed up by a sugarcane trucker, constants in Fraser's life were his family in NZ; his 1987 sold home at 22 Chelsea Drive, Durban North, where he'd lived for 33 apartheid years; his long term memories; brain damage; his Durban curator and legal team.

Variables were mad apartheid and madder post apartheid SA, with state medical and psychiatric professionals who served Fraser, often indifferent to his social sufferings. Fraser was just another citizen: cared for, recorded, manipulated with mind-control drugs and behaviour modification, and forgotten, when state professionals departed.

During apartheid, whenever I'd asked what was going on, state carers avoided me. If pressed, a rare fob-off, or manipulating letter, or phone call, or poppycock report was grudgingly supplied, or a physiotherapist, or mental health chief, or social worker or two, or a nurse or three would obscure or stonewall matters for me. At no stage during the time Fraser was at Addington Hospital and Town Hill, were state medical and psychiatric professionals considerate enough to carefully explain to me what was really happening to Fraser, without me repeatedly asking for information. I was treated with shiftiness, evasions, delayed replies to my letters, hostility, contempt, spite, as if state professionals had something to hide.

During apartheid, the Mental Health Act 1973 had allowed magistrates and psychiatrists to do what they liked, regarding certification, detention and treatment of Fraser, with collusion from doctors, and without checks from Fraser's family: me. Rehabilitation for Fraser during apartheid was a joke.

Fraser's move to Sunnyside Farm appeared to be good, as his carers and curator said Fraser was happy, but I had no way of verifying that, unless I trekked from NZ to SA to visit Fraser. I had to believe the rare professional letters I asked for, and the rare social worker notes or emails sometimes replying to my emails, and erratic letters and few photos I'd received from Fraser.

As management had changed at Town Hill, in January 2003 I wrote to Town Hill's new superintendent Dr. Walker: "After a Verulam motor vehicle accident on 01.04.1987, my brother Fraser Esslemont convalesced at Addington Hospital for 20 months. Addington tried rehabilitating Fraser by sending him to a Durban Mental Health halfway house. Addington's rehabilitation failed, so Fraser was certified, and at the beginning of 1989, Fraser was sent to Town Hill for further management and rehabilitation.

Over intervening years, Town Hill appeared to neglect Fraser's rehabilitation, but detained Fraser in closed wards and the forensic security block for months, for piffling infractions, mainly walking and jogging in Maritzburg. After years of mainly carbamazapine drug therapy, reducing him to a sedated zombie condition, at the beginning of April 1998, Town Hill secretly sent Fraser to Sunnyside Farm, where Town Hill still controls his medical and psychiatric treatment.

At Sunnyside Farm, Fraser spends his days gardening and walking. There appears to be little cognitive stimulation for Fraser at Sunnyside Farm. His infrequent letters mention he reads old magazines. He has no access to computer technology, computer games, nor simple word processing on a computer. He's still being fed carbamazapine.

Fraser's infrequent letters to me from Sunnyside Farm indicate he's retained his clerical and writing abilities, yet these skills aren't used by Sunnyside nor Town Hill. Years ago, I suggested to Town Hill's former superintendent Dr. Ross, that Town Hill uses Fraser's clerical skills. Fraser's long term memory is intact, and Fraser shows an alert mind, interested in things I say and send to him from NZ.

As I'm concerned that Fraser is vegetating, and providing much work for carers, without much rehabilitation for Fraser, let me know by return of post, the following:

1. Has Fraser recovered from his brain damage?
2. What is Town Hill's rehabilitation plan for Fraser, and what rehabilitation has been effected?

I asked Town Hill question 2 in various ways over the years. Town Hill's rare responses have been belittling medical and neuro-psychological jargon, which explains nothing I don't already know, and fails to explain Town Hill's rehabilitation of Fraser.

Many of my letters were ignored by Town Hill's former superintendent Dr. Ross.

Fraser has no living relatives in SA. I, as Fraser's only brother, am the only relative concerned about Fraser and his rehabilitation. Fraser has distant relatives in UK, who show no interest in Fraser."

No reply from Dr. Walker. In 1987, soon after Fraser's brain damage, Fraser's curator ad litem had reported: "Fraser appeared to have the mental capacity of a very young child." Fifteen years later, despite huge improvements in Fraser's mental capacity, it appeared Fraser's carers still wanted to manage him like a child.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

2008. Post Apartheid: Fraser Esslemont's 2001-2002 Sunnyside Farm Dispatches

< 2002. Fraser Esslemont & Zulu mates, Leisure Bay, Port Edward, KwaZulu-Natal. "A happiness that often madness hits on."

02.07.01 Fraser's Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "Please accept my humblest apologies for not writing sooner. For a long while, we have been snowed under with work on the farm. Only on 29.06.2001 did I feel myself and the rest of the gardening group were up to date. On 08.09.2001 you'll be 50. I've spoken to others who made 1/2 century & know its a great event. Congratulations & im sure you will make it a pleasant day for yourself & your family. It will be a Saturday & you could go for a drive to the Alps. The Underberg area is very cold and we are expecting snow in Sunnyside. Enjoy yourself & just know, Ill be especially thinking & wondering what Kiwis are getting up to on your 1/2 century birthday.

Let me know how you make your biltong. [Posted Fraser Leah's secret recipe. I make biltong during Canterbury's summery, dry, nor'wester weather]. Im keen to know your methods and ingredients & next time you send photos send me a few of your Alps. Mark, there seems to be very high peaks in your Alps. What is the highest? [Aoraki Mount Cook]. Can you ski? Like you did in Westerndorf, Austria. [Lost interest, too cold]. At the moment Im wondering what other type of farm work to do. But I never seem to get bored here with gardening. I guess its a matter of wait and see.

You wrote that your children are keen on music. Does Luke keep up with his piano lessons? [Later changed to tympani]. Both boys seem culturally inclined with arts and crafts. It must be Christchurch's influence. You and Leah must be proud of both of them. Let me have a copy of your book please. [Voila le blog. It will take a while to get Maritzburg Mental Health to allow Fraser to read this blog as they say Fraser has no access to computers]. I only read magazines here on the farm.

Perhaps Im a little backward, not only with books. Also socially. I think town people slightly mad, living in town. This seems to be a warning to farmers - Not to get backward. Esme Wolhuter spoke of this at Elandspruit, [New Hanover] when our family holidayed there.

We will meet again in 2010. Perhaps I'll go to Australia by ship. Then New Zealand. I've got quite a few plans after 2008. Seychelles & Comores Islands also in my plans."

24.03.02 Fraser's Sunnyside Farm dispatch: "Howzit!! Im interested how you compost weeds. Let me know please. [Told him my compost bossing]. I have a very big weed problem at the moment. I'd very much appreciate it if you'd give me as much information on making biltong as possible. This craft writing sounds interesting. [Boring]. I dont know enough about it. Let me know how you go about it. Would a photo help explain? I can see by your last lot of photos you and your family have settled down well in NZ. Congratulations. Im looking forward to visiting you in 2010.

Thank Luke for me for the key-ring. Its very useful on this farm. For Jake to be 16 in matric is very good. He is doing very nicely in NZ. Your school system is very different to South Africans. I wish both your sons well for the 21st century. You and Leah must be proud of both boys. All the best to you and Leah for 2002.

Please explain the system of e-mail. SA has it also. Im pretty much in the dark about a lot of new things. Pc & discs, I would not know how to use. I'm very much behind on the way things operate nowadays. [An indictment of 'rehabilitation'].

< 2002. Fraser Esslemont & mates, Leisure Bay, Port Edward, KZN. "Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason and draw you into madness."

Things at Sunnyside are very pleasing indeed. Recently we returned from a 5 day holiday at Leisure Bay near Port Edward. [Fraser had fished a lot at Port Edward before his Verulam road accident]. Swimming rejuvenated me. After gardening. It was just what the doctor ordered for another year on the farm 2002 to 2003. Unfortunately, I don't have time to write some more. This letter has to go with some photos that are being sent to you on 25.03.2002.

Au revoir

Fraser Esslemont

P.S. I will be coming, by ship, to NZ in 2010."

I received the above optimistic letter five months later. I wondered whose out-tray was clogged? The photos showed Fraser looking happy, accompanied by nine smiley, patient faces, including two women and three Zulu men. Fraser had trekked a long way since being a brain damaged, comatose patient fifteen years before in Durban.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.