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.

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