In 2016, she said that, if #disabled people voted for the DA, the DA might consider looking into accessibility issues at Cape Town Station. This, after CoCT closed the ramp from Strand Street Concours leading up to Cape Town Station. At the same time, the escalators owned by Golden Acre and Old Mutual have been out of order for months, if not years. Same ad the ones in the Grand Parade, serving the Post Office.

Because of lack of co-operation from Patricia de Lille, Helen Zille was politely requested to use her influence. She responded in an arrogant way, became a cyber bully, supported by an evil group of supporters. When a letter was presented to set the matter straight, she simply refused to apologise.

It is a disgrace that a premier takes such a stance, unsolicited and uncalled-for. One would have expected at least a little bit of empathy but was met with arrogance and ridicule.

If only she was lady enough to apologise….I took the mattervto the DA but was ignored. Do the DA serve our disabled vote?! I really doubt that. They were quick to act when race came into play but didn’t care a hoot when the disabled were brusquely trampled underfoot.

Are disabled people such a burden that their constitutional rights get taken away from them? Is it fair to respond to statements about colonialism yet be content with mistreating and ridiculing the disabled?

This was worse yet nobody cared. Insulting the disabled of Cape Town was no sin? Did she apologise when proven wrong, then? No! Did the DA care? No! Did it bother society? No! Yet over perceived racial comments, all hell breaks loose. I see double standards, different rules for different folks. Our society is rotten to the core for being such hypocrites. As long as disabled people get treated like worthless dung, trampled underfoot, oppressed, there is nothing good about society. A nation’s integrity is measured by how they care for the elderly, frail, disabled, needy. Zille was given a golden opportunity to bring about positive change but responded with sheer arrogance, bullied the person. O, that didn’t cause an outcry? Instead, her team of bitches joined the frenzy of beating an indigent disabled into the mud. Until he proved them wrong. Did Zille or anyone else apologise? No! Of course not! Sorry, I lost my respect for your unrepentant idol. The DA sinned in not even responding when the matter was taken to them. The message is clear: Zille & the DA have no love for or loyalty towards people with #disability.

That is scandalous.

Finally, an indigent person living with disability effected the change. Who has shown commitment, leadership? Who saw it through successfully? The person who was called "clueless." That’s who!


Tom McClean, the former SAS paratrooper who solitarily rowed across the Atlantic, went to live at Ardintigh, North Morar, Scotland. He later married a Yorkshire lass, Jill.

It was Jill who made his house a home, where they lived on a remote spot. A life lived in a most basic way, much of it in discomfort. It was Jill who had opened Tom’s eyes to the natural beauty, making him aware of so many aspects of wild nature surrounding their croft. He was a functional, logical and practical man It was Jill who opened his different eyes to his world; he tamed it, she civilized it.

As I took my wife to the oasis of Steenbokkie game reserve, we left the lush, green gardens and hiked up the almost barren hills. Karen soon saw so much life in the desert. Peculiar little plants, spiders and insects, also different types of quartz. White, emerald or rose quartz. The white was used as flintstone by ancient people. As I stood watching her, from fifty yards away, I could see how the Karoo’s less obvious treasures had her spellbound.

Before long, Karen saw natural life from a different perspective than mine. I can follow spoor and do very basic tracking, navigate, identify wildlife but she sees the beauty in an almost spiritual way.

When we return to Steenbokkie one day, I will be sure to take the love of my life with me, on every walk.

A man has to be womanised in a different way to have his existence given meaning to afresh.

These wonderful, resilient creatures have an unfathomable depth, a spirituality that is in angled in a plane no man can measure.

Southern Line – Albertyn Road Delays

Metrorail commuters are all by now aware of delays caused by damage to signals equipment at Albertyn Road level crossing at Muizenberg. This has affected train operations significantly as only one train at a time can be allowed to operate on that line, for your safety. A single authorisation is given to the singular train, which will travel all the way to Fish Hoek, where it will terminate (alternatively to Simon’s Town if there isn’t sand on the tracks). Once there, the train will return to Retreat where it had originated from.

This means that the rail service is limited yet functional. We as commuters are also being inconvenienced and this is so because the driver of a vehicle was mischievous in causing so much damage that equipment needed to be imported from abroad, a time-consuming exercise.

So much more reason for people to adhere to safety regulations and not take stupid risks.

Look for trains!

Disclaimer: I am an independent travel blogger and neither paid or employed by any railway company.

The Train Always Wins

There are upward of 7,500 level crossings in South Africa. No country has the money to replace all of these with road bridges.

We grew up with level crossings and respected them with an acute reverence. That was fifty, sixty years ago.

The level crossings are still there, of necessity. To many, this is their only access route between home and the big world out there, even if your world doesn’t go beyond Rondomverskrik or Regtigverdwaal.

Relatives of my late grandmother’s were always very careful. In darkness, worsened by a thick fog, once looked left, then right, left again and slowly drove forward, straight into a stationary train! It remained a family joke, to repeat their conversation every time we encountered a railway crossing.

People are less careful nowadays. If one visits any of these level crossings, it is almost scary to see that most vehicles don’t even reduce speed, let alone STOP when the sign indicates so. Rules are there to protect and mischief leads to disaster.

The day before the accident, shown in the picture, had happened, a car hit an oncoming train at a level crossing in Cape Town. A week prior to the one depicted here, the very same train driver was part of a team raising awareness for road & rail safety at this very same level crossing. A month prior, I was a passenger on this very same train and saw, at this level crossing 1,100km away from home, how a father with his young children on board, sped towards the crossing to try and beat the train to it. Sheer arrogance, recklessness, to place one’s loved ones at such an unnecessary risk. The train is roughly five hundred metres long and moves at around 60km/h, so anyone needs only to wait a few seconds for it to pass. Why risk lives by trying to cross the railway line before the train does?

At the time of this accident, I was a passenger on another train and saw where a train had hit a stray pedestrian. The train did not swerve, as trains can’t – they are directed by the railway lines. As these rail tracks are meant for trains, best advice is to give them a wide berth. Two serious accidents in one day, caused by people disrespecting the rules of society. There is an adage that “rules are there to be broken” but this is false dogma and it can be fatal. As the stray pedestrian discovered much to his own destruction. As his body lay between the railway tracks, I could not but help to wonder how their loved ones would react to the sad news.

I told a friend about my experience earlier this morning and he then told me that his sister had died this way.

Lots is being said on social media about the Police needing to be more strict – why do we adults need cops to turn us into good citizens? If only we lived according to the official rules of society, this world would have been a better place. Why is it always someone else’s fault, never just our own?

Dice with death and your gamble may fail. I hope that your Last Will & Testament is in place and that your passwords are where your next-of-kin can find it.

Look for trains! Trains always win!

Short Trains, Shorter Tempers!

So many commuter trains had been gutted by arsonists and vandals – I call it sabotage – that some train service have been cancelled altogether while the remaining ones are now making use of shorter trains, to even the spread. Train sets typically consisted of thirteen bogey sets but the average number now is eight.

Of course, the number of daily commuters have remained the same and this is leading to a bit of chaos. Trains now are so overladen that it is even very difficult to disembark halfway, or even to board, as door passages are crammed to the hilt.

People rant & rave and are angry, tempers flaring up and much is being said on social media.

It will take many years to repair or replace the train carriages that were destroyed, some which are motor carriages meaning that they have electric engines. These are very expensive to replace. The older 5M train sets were produced from 1962 and the newer 10M3’s date from around 1989 – I stand corrected on this – and then there are a few 8M train sets being brought back into service. Even the 1962-built ones could have served us well, had it not been for people who set trains alight, or slash seats, stealing upholstery material, etc.

As long as our national government does not properly fund and protect (why are our soldiers not protecting our trains?) the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa – PRASA for short – we will endure major discomfort. Plan accordingly.

I am Pete, an independent travel blogger and I do not represent any railway service, nor I am paid by anyone.

Metrorail Manual Train Authorization

Like ships and aircraft are controlled by traffic regulators working from control towers, such as the ones at Table Bay Harbour or Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town’s trains are controlled from Windermere near Century City.

Metrorail’s automated systems have been sabotaged through vandalism and crime. It now means that train movements are authorized manually to comply with requirements set by the independent Rail Safety Regulator or RSR.

A driver approaching a signal that is not functioning, has to stop the train. He will then phone the Authorizations office at Windermere to get clearance to proceed. This takes time. Only once authorized, he may proceed, many times with a 30km/h or even 15km/h restriction. Cable theft, malicious damage to property and acts of sabotage or vandalism all complicate our lives and frustrate us. The important thing to remember is that decisions are made with your safety in mind. Rather safe than sorry, late than never.

Disclaimer: author does not work for any railway company, is not paid to write and opinions are his own.

Choosing the right Camera – Travel & Wildlife

Doing a bit of travel blogging and promoting tourism quickly taught me to go prepared. I always stand amazed at how quickly an opportunity arises, albeit rather unexpected. Perhaps, the old adage rings true: ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

There is a place called Dyer Island more or less two thirds of the way between Cape Town and the southernmost tip of Africa, Agulhas, where Indian and Atlantic oceans do meet. Dyer Island is where Jacques Cousteau used to spend much time, researching sharks, from his vessel Nautilus. I happened to have spent a fair share of my fifty-odd years in that neck of the woods and personally know some of the shark ticklers. I also know two of the first ever shark spotters. On April 9, 2017, the unthinkable happened in the least expected of places – St James, Cape Town. Twice on that Sunday afternoon did we see a shark breach the surface between 600-800m offshore. Don’t ask me for photo’s as I only had a little compact with me, not capable of capturing such action instantly at that range.

Some time ago, I had stalked fallow deer and came quite close to them, same as gnu (wildebeest.) As I visited a dusty region, I did not want to switch lenses at all, lest there would be dust ingress. A DSLR camera isn’t designed to transport the land you are treading upon. Fitted with a Canon EF 18-55mm lens, I was hopelessly under equipped for my task. Video of the fallow deer reminds of twelve mice jumping a fence.

If you are a frequent traveler in Africa or similar environments, best advice is to invest in a decent camera which is sealed, by design and manufacture, against weather and the environment. Extensive research brought me to a great solution in the form of Canon’s EOS 80D combined with a Canon 28-300mm L EF IS lens, offering weather and environment sealing, same as the camera. It allows for close-up shots as well as reaching far enough to capture most of the wildlife. Of course, a teleconverter aka lens doubler can be added, with a Polaroid filter to complete the package. This setup will afford the photographer a perfect solution for at least 95% of the time, with much of the remainder an agreeable compromise. Using a decent tripod is strongly recommended for super zoom shots and cinematography.

Said 80D also is an excellent video camera, at entry professional level for the cinematographer. Being weather sealed and of greater performance, it beats its nearest competition by a fair margin. It can also shoot up to around 960 still images on one battery charge, Its only downside is its use of an APS-C sensor, not a full frame. Then again, it has NFC & WiFi, making it ideal as it can also be controlled via a smartphone or tablet.

There is a much cheaper solution, as this bundle can easily set you back around R60k. A Canon Powershot SX60 will cost around R6k and offer super zoom of 18-1265mm, offering fantastic wide angle capability while that faraway little springbok can be turned into eyebiltong with ease, yet there is a catch! Also weather sealed and therefore won’t melt if a few raindrops comes in contact with it.

You get what you pay for – compact cameras sport small sensor chips, same as smartphones. Trouble starts the moment that you venture beyond Instagram and want to print, especially for publishing purposes. You will soon find that no camera can even come close to the quality a good DSLR offers.

My lay advice would be to buy the camera body that suits your needs the best, but invest in the best glass that you can buy. Canon’s L-series lenses are known to be especially crisp and effective even in low light conditions. They have an alternative to the 28-300mm, the 100-400mm which has a wider scope at zoom but then you will need to live with a more restricted short end.

Non-branded lenses may be okay but they lose some functionality in live mode.

Finally, I own a Canon Powershot A810 compact, basically a toy, yet it packs a lot of punch. It is utterly reliable and almost unbelievably tough, in that it had fallen twice now and was soaked by the frisky waves of the Atlantic ocean. I bought it used at R450 (about USD35) and fitted my own Sandisk 16GB SD card. It even takes reasonable video at FHD resolution.

Happy clicking!