Steve on Sunday

7 March 2021

Greetings my cheerful fellow oldies and not so oldies,

What a week for those of us who are still hanging on in the tourism and hospitality industry! Our borders have been opened and the tourists are once again allowed in. Dancing in the streets indeed, except the only airlines flying in to the RSA can be counted on one hand.

Most countries in Europe, the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, and others, are not allowing South African tourists in and many are not allowing their own citizens out. Those that do let them out have strict re-entry clauses that include isolation. If they can get an airline to get them back to their country of origin of course. So am I excited? That tourists can now come back in? I am afraid not as the tourists that utilise my “expertise” normally book a minimum of 12 months ahead. I have no bookings at this stage, not even from local South African visitors.

I visited the famous battlefield of Magersfontein twice this last week and was truly blessed in the varied and mass amount of antelope (and other creatures) seen doing their own thing with no tourists to bother them.

Sable, Roan, Kudu, Nyala, Springbok, Impala (how did they get here?) Also seen were buffalo, warthog, blesbok, waterbuck, and two leopard tortoises. Not bad for travelling 30 kms out of Kimberley on a gravel road, and all seen from the comfort of a vehicle. The bird life was amazing but Gavin was not with me so other than the PCGs and LBJs could not identify any. But there were many…

I am supposed to pen words in reference to history rather than comment on what’s happening in our beloved country and continent, but like the seven readers of this blog, I too am aware that what happened yesterday is indeed history!

While perusing the only daily English newspaper available to us worthies living on the fringe of the Kalahari yesterday, I did pick up on a few interesting stories that need or did need comment. Incidentally, the newspaper is The Citizen. I do not count The Star as a newspaper any more, it is more of a self promoting broadsheet filled with propaganda to suit the owners – how times have changed when it used to be the THE newspaper as did so many others in the former Argus Group. The local rag, the Diamond Fields Advertiser, used to be a daily but since 27 March last year is now a weekly. Did I spell that word correctly? Perhaps I meant weakly, because it is just that.

Anyway…I digress.

A story on page 5 of yesterday’s Citizen advised on ‘our’ obesity in the country. The reporter presumably got the facts from a Lawrence Mbalati, head of the Healthy Living Alliance, and was written specifically for Obesity Day. Whenever that was. As one who is about ten kilograms overweight and probably fits in to the obese category I found it fascinating to read that obesity rates in the RSA are the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. 40% of women and 11% of men are obese while 69% of women and 39% of men are overweight. Golly. Perhaps we should rather compete in sumo wrestling and other entertaining sports for larger than normal people.

These facts were enough for me to reach for my crisps, jelly babies, cold drink, and a couple of sandwiches. Felt better after that.

Another interesting story was the decommissioning of the 1000 bed field hospital at Nasrec in Joburg. Erected specifically for the plague. This closed at the end of February. The same authorities are also warning us of the third wave which is just around the corner and if it is anything like the winter wave in the northern hemisphere we are in for a nasty one. And they have closed the temporary hospital. What are they thinking?

Two game rangers were shot dead at a Durban municipal area game reserve, while those who like fishing in the Da Gama region of Mpumalanga should perhaps think again. A dam near Hazyview collapsed and released 150 crocodiles kept within, into the various rivers and streams and other dams. Only sixty have been recovered – so, need I say anything more about fishing?

What about this one? The World Health Organisation has scrapped the interim report on their recent probe to Wuhan in China. Interesting, yes? That’s all I’ll say on that subject in case I get banned once again by the social media police.

And of course, rugby. Oh dear. At this stage it does rather appear that the British and Irish Lions may not come to South Africa and that the Boks may just go to the UK to play. The non-arrival of some 30 000 rugby tourist will surely be the death knell for many small and medium tour operators. The one operator who I know quite well says he will be forced to shut down. He has already rid himself of half his fleet of coaches.

And then there is golf, or rather the daily stories about Tiger and his accident and will he play again. If it makes Tiger feel better I have not regretted stopping golf some forty years ago. I have never felt better but thereagain, I did not win any of the major tournaments either. In fact, I did not win any tournaments. To go even further down the golf pecking order, I do not think I even beat anyone at the game when I played.

Hard to believe that my very first book way back in 1988 was about golf…

On that note, and wishing Tiger a successful recovery, I thank you for taking the time to read these few words.

Have a good week.

By Editor