Wild Greens

Plant Abundance

Wild Greens are wonderful things. Jam packed with nutrients, often far surpassing that of more commonly eaten leafy greens like Swiss Chard and cabbage. Around here we call them imifino. In other places around South Africa, marog is the common word to describe all manner of leafy greens.

Across the globe, many communities seek out the new growth of wild greens in Spring and Summer. In Italy and Greece there is a frenzy on the hillsides as folk flock to pick the tastiest new leaves. In South Africa it doesn’t have quite the same ‘foodie status’ (yet). I recall a teacher at a rural school in  desolate area, where kids were obviously hungry saying, when I pointed out that they should be harvesting the weeds to include in the school dinner, “That is squatter camp food.”  I felt really sad that she thought an old cabbage from the supermarket was superior to this dark green…

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Dreamland, the Power of Lucid Dreaming

Have you ever had the experience of wondering if what was happening to you was a dream or real? If so, you’ve likely experienced a lucid dream.

A lucid dream is a dream in which you know you are dreaming. During lucid dreaming, you can control the characters, the environment, the narrative, and the outcome of the dream.

Is it really a thing? It is. I have experienced a lucid dream, though, I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I didn’t realize I could lucid dream until I did some research as to what lucid dreaming was all about.

In my dream, I was snow skiing down a mountain, which was weird because I don’t know how to snow ski. I was great at it too! I was skiing side to side, jumping over obstacles and landing perfectly. As I skied down this hill I noticed that the trail suddenly disappeared ahead. I was headed off the edge of a cliff! I tried to stop but I didn’t know how.  

At this point, I felt like I was awake, and I knew I needed to do something. I made myself fall into the snow thinking that would stop me, but it didn’t. I continued sliding towards the edge of the cliff and I could feel my heart racing as it came closer. I ended up going off the edge and it was a long way down. Below me was a parking lot filled with cars and I was heading straight down onto the roof of a light blue Volvo. I would have died if I had hit it. Instead, I pushed at the air like I was swimming to propel myself past the car and onto the hill on the other side of it. Perfect landing.

I skied to the bottom and as the hill gradually flattened out, I slowly came to a stop. I didn’t dream that happened, I made that happen while I was in the dream because I didn’t like where it was headed.

I had also read somewhere that if you die when you are in a dream then you really die. I have no idea if that is true, but I didn’t want to find out.

What is Lucid Dreaming?

Lucid dreaming is the ability to become self-aware during your dream and then manipulate it.

Most people are not aware of their dreams at all until they awaken and remember them. While in the dreaming state you cannot actively think about things or make your own decisions. You are not in control.

When you have a lucid dream, you become aware that you are dreaming. This realization pushes your mind into a conscious state within the dream. This then enables you to thoroughly explore your dream world. You can experience everything in this world as though it were reality.

Is it Really a ‘Thing’?

Thousands of years ago, Tibetan monks practiced lucid dreaming and it has slowly grown to be something that is both studied and practiced by people around the world.

In a 2009 study published in the journal SLEEP, researchers discovered that some features of REM sleep and some features of waking consciousness are seen in the frontal and frontolateral regions of the brain during a lucid dream. This is similar to the waking state except that in waking there is also a strong response in the occipital part of the brain.  This part of the brain is responsible for making sense of visual information, so we are able to understand it.

Their data enabled them to report an increased awareness during lucid dreaming compared to REM sleep. Hobson reported, “In order to move from non-lucid REM sleep dreaming to lucid REM sleep dreaming, there must be a shift in brain activity in the direction of waking.” The person must come to an active state while dreaming to exert control over their dream.

Another study looked at people’s ability to make conscious decisions in waking life as well as during non-lucid and lucid dreams. It found an overlap between a person’s ability to exert their will when they are awake and when they are having

a lucid dream. Interestingly, the ability to plan was considerably worse in lucid dreams compared to wakefulness.

What Can You Get Out of It?

If it’s true that when you die in a dream you really die, then what I got out of it is another chance at life. That is probably a bit dramatic, however, I was impressed at my ability to change the outcome of my dream.

People report amazing experiences through lucid dreaming as well as benefits such as practicing for a speech or facing fears, phobias, and anxieties. For example, if you are afraid of heights like I am, you could visit the top of the empire state building and dance tiptoeing around the edge. Feeling the freedom without the fear of falling. You can revisit past traumas and set them right or tune into your creative self and compose music or paint a masterpiece.

It is a virtual world that is open to your imagination and allows you to discover things you would never know. You could meet your hero, time travel, bungee jump, have amazing dream sex, fly across the ocean, or all the above.

How do you do it?

Many people who have lucid dreams say it isn’t hard to lucid dream, but it does take a little practice.

There are dozens and dozens of tips, tricks, tools, and suggestions as to how you should learn to lucid dream. It is a very individual process and what works for one person may work for another.

Here are some of the most common methods and techniques for lucid dreaming. Try them out and find one or two that work for you. It could take a week, or it could be up to a month before you have your first lucid dream. Don’t give up. Keep practicing and it will happen.

  1. Keep a dream journal – Keeping a notebook next to your bed at night so you can write down your dreams as soon as you wake will train you to remember more of your dreams. You could also use a recording device if you don’t want to turn on the light to write.
  2. Focus on lucid dreaming – Take some time and gather information on lucid dreaming. Read about it, talk about it, think about it. Imagine where you will go and what you will do. Will you see anyone? What will the weather be? How will it smell? Perhaps flowery or maybe woodsy like a forest.
  3. Perform reality checks often on a daily basis – The purpose of a reality check is to determine whether you are asleep or awake. Often when you are lucid dreaming, the experience is so real you aren’t sure if you are actually dreaming.
  • Holding your hand out in front of you, palm facing you, try pushing your other finger through your palm. In a dream, it will go through your palm. When it doesn’t, say to yourself, “I am awake.”
  • In a dreaming state, this will be an action you perform and when the finger does go through your palm you will know you are dreaming. This realization means your dream is lucid.
  • Check the time. In a dream, every time you look at the clock the time will be very different whereas in reality, it will be the same or hardly move.
  • Read some text. In a dream making out words is very difficult. If the writing is clear and easy to read, you are awake. If it shifts around the page or is blurry you are in a dream state.
  1. Set an alarm – Set your alarm to wake up about 2 hours before your normal wake time. Keep it close enough that you don’t have to get up to turn it off.
  2. Wake up but keep your eyes closed – When the alarm goes off, reach over and turn it off but keep your eyes closed. You want to wake up briefly and then go right back to sleep. This allows you do activate your brain as you go back to sleep. When you fall back into a dream state your active mind will make you lucid. Perform a reality check to see if what is happening is real or a dream.
  3. Relax and drift as you focus – As you lie there, eyes closed, mind awake, relax and look around you. See the colors, people, scenery and listen to the sounds. It may seem at first like you are creating these things, but as you relax you will soon be in a sleep state. Look around. What do you see? Where do you want to go? Explore your surroundings. You are lucid dreaming.

Sleep to Wake

Lucid dreaming is fun and exciting, but it is a skill you must practice. It doesn’t happen instantly, so be patient and know it will come.

Don’t try too hard. The harder you try the less you relax and the more awake your mind and body become. You cannot lucid dream in this awake, agitated state. Relax and let it happen. If it doesn’t happen the first or fifth or fifteenth night, just keep going. You will only get better at relaxing and closer to letting it happen every time.

REPOST from Source https://psych2go.net/dreamland-power-lucid-dreaming/

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Women: Casual Sex is Not what We were Built to Do

“Our bodies talk to us, ya know.”

My gynecologist stares back at me. She can tell I’m hiding something. Here I am for the second time in a month, the bottom half of me is exposed, and I’m about to start my fifth round of treatment for a reoccurring yeast infection. I never get yeast infections. Something is definitely off, although it is not only in my body, it is in my heart.

I start to sob. I’ve been holding all this in for so long. I have so much shame, so much self-judgment. I have not been honest with myself, and it is literally making me sick.

Through my tears, I tell her I know why it keeps happening—and it is far from physical. I know it’s because I am not honoring myself through the current sexual relationship I am having and, as a result, my body has shown me who is boss. As I spill my guts about my confusion, pain, and discomfort, she holds a beautiful space for me to grieve.

And then she says something that makes me feel better: “You are not alone.”

As a heterosexual woman, I have been dealt a complicated hand. Men and women have very different evolutionary musculature, which when not understood, creates a lot of hurt feelings and confusion. These evolutionary differences must be respected by both sexes.

A woman’s main evolutionary road map is all about nesting and having babies, with the main goal being to keep the species going and cared for. I like to think of it as “creating the hearth.” Even if a woman does not consciously desire these things when she chooses a sexual partner, it doesn’t matter. Her body has thousands and thousands of years of evolutionary coding built in.

A man’s main evolutionary road map is also to keep the species going, but in a very different way—by spreading his seed. Even if a man has no desire to have children with multiple women, it doesn’t matter. His wiring is in control.

When a woman has sex, she releases oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone.” Her body does not know if her partner is a casual fling or the love of her life. Men produce this as well, just not as much of it. Because the cuddle hormone lowers our defenses and creates bonding, a woman is more likely to
attach after sex—this is not because she is needy or crazy, it is because her evolutionary makeup is at work.

When a man has sex, he also releases oxytocin, but he releases more of the pleasure hormone, dopamine. Dopamine is addictive.

Furthermore, women have limited time to have a baby. Men do not.

The free love movement of the 1960s was necessary to free women from lots and lots of sexual repression. We have been told for thousands of years that our bodies are the property of men and that we should be so lucky to have a shot at our own sexual needs, desires, and expressions. To add insult to injury, men have made billions off our bodies in all forms.

The free love movement made a fatal error though. We gave the power of sex back to women, but we forgot a big part of the equation: the sacredness and weight of sex was forgotten.

I believe that women should be able to explore their bodies and sexuality in any way they choose. But I think we also have to start being honest with ourselves—that casualizing sex hurts us. Even when we don’t want it to, it hurts us. Even when we don’t mean it to, it hurts us. It hurts us because women have to compartmentalize the most sacred parts of ourselves if we choose a casual partner.

There is no way around our biology—which is what I am discovering. It is arrogant for women to think they can separate it—they can’t and they shouldn’t. We have been told to think and act like men for so long, we have forgotten ourselves.

Women are not men. We need to stop thinking that how we feel about these things is wrong. It isn’t. It is our makeup. It is who we are. And who we are is beautiful.

I am not a stupid person. I know these things. But a lot of times, what we know goes out the window when someone we are uncontrollably attracted to (and we know is uncontrollably attracted to us) is standing right in front of us, usually telling us something we long to hear. Our mind says, “Run!” but our body says, “Stay.”

I thought I was such a forward-thinking woman. I thought this because I believed that locking away parts of myself to have casual sex was a strong and modern thing to do. It isn’t. I know this because it feels like absolute sh*t. And feelings don’t lie.

This is not a judgment on casual sex—rather it is an opening for women to re-examine why we are doing it and what we think we are going to get out of it. Women long for companionship and closeness. It is how we are built—it is not wrong or weak. Humans are a tribal people. We seek togetherness.

I have asked my body for forgiveness because I failed it. That is the part that hurts the most. I gave away my sacredness, my strength, and on a level, my soul. I didn’t cherish myself. I feel I not only turned against my own body, I turned against my womanhood—the very thing that makes me powerful, beautiful, strong, and gentle. I will never do that again.

There is another reason why this is all so heavy—in not honoring myself, I didn’t honor how I do wish to experience a man—as a partner, best friend, confidant, and lover. For me, my thinking that casual sex was all I deserved blocked me from seeing how much I do want to love and connect with a good man.

If that is my lesson, then it was worth it.


Author: Elizabeth Gordon
Image: The National Archives UK/Flickr 
Editor: Catherine Monkman

REPOST from Source https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/10/women-casual-sex-is-not-what-we-were-built-to-do/

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From a dumpsite to a vegetable garden

Pietermaritzburg gardeners offer free vegetables to the elderly

By Nompendulo Ngubane
26 September 2017

Photo of vegetable garden
A vegetable garden project in Pietermaritzburg offers free food to those who cannot afford to pay. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Five residents of France location in Pietermaritzburg have turned a dump site into a vegetable garden, selling and donating vegetables to the community .

Mduduzi Hlongwane, 51, Nkosingiphile Chule, 22, Khethiwe Zulu, 29, Xolile Chule, 23 and Sindisile Stephanis, 24, are the brains behind the garden, which has become a much-needed source of food for elderly residents.

Hlongwane said the initiative was prompted by the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the area, and the increasing use of drugs by young people.

He said he had started the garden in February, with the four others. They had raised R200 for seeds and manure. “I don’t have much experience in agriculture but I was prepared to share the little knowledge I have.”

They grow spinach, onions, tomatoes, carrot, beetroot and lettuce.

“Little did we know that the garden would benefit the community. Some buy, but we donate most of our veggies to the needy without money. We can’t make them pay R10 for spinach which they don’t have. The elderly come to us or send children to ask and we can’t say no. You can’t refuse when a person is asking for food.”

​He said the group had made a small dam and he had spent R1,500 of his savings on a pump to water the vegetables. “No one taught us. It was through brainstorming that we came up with that idea,” said Hlongwane.

“To us this is not just a garden anymore. It has become more of an agricultural course. We have learnt a lot and we are still learning,” said Nkosingiphile.

Nkosingiphile said he had passed matric but his parents did not have money for further education and he had no job. Like other young people in the area he would “wake up and do nothing”.

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Which are the best principles for effective risk management?

Source: Which are the best principles for effective risk management?

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To fully reconcile The Boer War is to fully understand the ‘BLACK’ Concentration Camps

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Two different current Narratives

To many Afrikaans speaking white people in South Africa the narrative of what in South Africa is called ‘The 2nd Anglo Boer War’ (or just shortened to ‘The Boer War’) is one of a struggle of the Boer nations for independence, the backdrop set against one of British greed for gold in The South African Republic (Transvaal) and colonial expansion by the subjugation of independent nations. The Boer’s boldly fighting against the odds against a British Imperialist invasion and then having to endure the indignity of a systematic eradication of the Boer nation and culture by means of a punitive genocide initiated by what some now regard as a Nazi styled system of British ‘concentration camps’ which murdered their women and children in their tens of thousands. An indignity and outrage which now calls for an apology and war repatriation from the British.

To many of the British, the story is somewhat different. The British call the war ‘The South African War’ and it is one of a struggle of British migrant miners fighting against oppression and for citizen rights in The South African Republic (Transvaal). Followed by brave pockets of British garrison troops in border towns in the Cape Colony and Natal fighting off an invasion by the Boers of their colonies, the siege of their towns initiated by the Boer’s declaration of war on the British, and by besieging their towns subjecting British women and children to starvation and indiscriminate shelling by surrounding Boer guns – calling for a national outrage in the UK and a ‘call to arms’ of the biggest expeditionary force seen to date to ‘get their cities back’ and save the civilians. Then after winning the conventional war the British felt forced to depopulate large swathes of land bordering their supply routes to Pretoria. This was done to prevent constant attack on their supplies and the supply of Boer commandos (now with governments ‘in the field’ instead of their capital cities), by their own kin on their farmsteads. Their reaction, wherever there was an attack, just put all the surrounding farmstead folk into ‘refugee camps’ (their term for the camps) and burn the farmsteads supplying the Boer forces to the ground. All because some renegade Boer commandos didn’t ‘play by the rules’ of a conventional surrender and embarked on an unconventional phase of the war instead (guerrilla war) which threw the generally accepted rules of engagement out the window.

Nasty, very nasty history this war was, and these two different views on the subject are to a degree both ‘politically’ motivated, both conveniently serving to underpin ‘Nationalist’ ideologies and in so supporting political agendas – whether it is a Boer or British one.

A third dimension

So, somewhere between the two vastly different narratives lies the truth, but there’s a third part of the war neither of the above two narratives even begins to properly consider, and it’s a part of the Boer/South African War which fundamentally shifts all previous narratives on the war, moving it away from a war between two white tribes to a more holistic one involving all South Africans. Ground breaking research is now been done on the ‘Black’ involvement in the war and the impact to the Black community. New understanding is coming about and it is shaking the traditional British and Boer narratives and historical accounts to the core.

At the very centre of understanding this previously overlooked aspect of the war is the unveiling of the history of the ‘Black’ concentration camps of the Boer War. Their impact to the Black community, almost no different to the impact to the Boer community. The only difference is the politically driven race politics post the Boer War, and especially during the Apartheid period, which simply brushed it aside as something less relevant with a brutal degree of apathy, leaving us all now with a ‘perception’ of the war rather than a truth.

In an odd sense, it is only by understanding this aspect of the war that full account and truths are established, that anything by way of ‘apologies’ or ‘reparations’ in our modern context can even be possible.

The Black History of the Boer War

So, if you are unfamiliar with the ‘Black’ part of the Boer War here it is. South Africa’s ‘Black’ tribal population also took part in the war, on a scale most people are unaware of.

In the case of the Boer forces, very often Black farm workers took on the role of ‘agterryers’ (rear rider) in fighting Commandos, their job was a combination of military ‘supply’ and one of a military ‘aide-de-camp’ (assistant) to one or more of the Boer fighters. These ‘agterryers’ ferried ammunition, weapons, supplies and food to the Boer combatants, they arranged feed for horses and in some cases, they were even armed.

Boer officer and his agterryer

It was not only Black men in support, but Black women too, they supported the Boer women in providing food and feed to frontline commandos and when the concentration camp systems started they (with their children) were also swept up and in many cases also accompanied and lived in the tents with the Boer families interned in the ‘white’ concentration camps themselves, primarily looking after the children (black and white), sourcing food and water as well as cooking and washing. They too were exposed to the same ravages of war in the camps as the white folk, mainly the water-borne diseases which so decimated the women and children in these camps.

A Black women in a Boer Concentration Camp

The British were no different, they quickly employed the local Black population as ‘scouts’ and numerous examples exist of these ‘scouts’ conducting surveillance of Boer positions and intelligence on Boer movements as well as guiding the British through the unforgiving South African terrain.

British officers with a Black African ‘Scout’ observing terrain

The British also sought manpower from the local Black population in cargo loading and supply haulage. These people were as much a part of moving British military columns as any military person involved in logistics and supply and to a degree they were also exposed to hazards of war.

brass arm
Black Africans in British Service, the brass armband signifies military service

The British would also ‘commandeer’ entire Black tribal villages for the use of setting up forward bases, h2 points and defences – putting entire village populations at risk and literally bringing them into their ‘war effort’.

native stronghold
Black African village taken over by the British for a h2-hold position

There is even a recorded event when Black South Africans took a more direct role in the war. On 16 May 1902, Chief Sikobobo waBaqulusi, and a Zulu impi marched on Vryheid and attacked a Boer commando at dawn with losses on both sides.

Context behind the Concentration Camp policy

However, the biggest and most deadly impact to the Black African nations in the Boer War, came in their own earmarked British concentration camps. So how did that come about? To understand why the concentration camps initially came about and their purpose we need to put both the white and black concentration camps into context.

To the British, the war should have ended when they marched into Pretoria in September 1900, having now relieved the Boer sieges of their towns of Ladysmith in their Natal Colony, Mafeking and Kimberley in their Cape Colony, and having already taken The Orange Free State’s capital. The war was over, ‘officially’ they had annexed both republics and they even called for a post war ‘khaki election’ back in the UK to reshuffle Westminster to post war governance.

Not for the Boer forces it wasn’t. The British in marching into Pretoria found themselves stretched deep into ‘hostile’ territory with extended and vulnerable supply lines stretching over hundreds of kilometres. Boer strategy was to move their government ‘into the field’, abandon the edicts of Conventional Warfare and embark on ‘Guerrilla Warfare’ tactics instead, to disrupt supply and isolate the British into pockets. To do this they would need food, ammunition and feed supplied directly from their own farmsteads surrounding their chosen targets. Isolated British garrisons came under attack with some initial Boer successes, their forces then melting away into the country. Easy targets were also trains and train lines, and after many a locomotive steamed into Pretoria riddled with bullet holes or didn’t make it all, Lord Kitchener got fed up at the arrogance of it all and acted decisively.

Kitchener concentrated on restricting the freedom of movement of the Boer commandos and depriving them of local support. The railway lines and supply routes were critical, so he established 8000 fortified blockhouses along them and subdivided the land surrounding each of them into a protective radius. Short of troops to man all these h2 points (he needed 50 000 troops) and control the protective areas, Kitchener also turned to the local Black African population and used over 16 000 of them as armed guards and to patrol the adjacent areas.

Wherever and whenever an attack took place, or where sufficient threat existed to this system, Kitchener took to the policy of depopulating the radius area, burning down the farmsteads, killing the livestock and moving all the people – both Black and White (it mattered not to the British what colour they were) into what was termed a ‘refugee camp’ by the British, these camps however were in reality a concentration camp of civilian deportees forcibly removed from their homes.

Two systems of concentration camps existed, one for Blacks and one for Whites. Both were run very differently. Victorian sentiment at the time was very racially guided.

The Boer Concentration Camps

The ‘White’ camps were tented and the ‘refugees’ (more accurately forced removed and displaced civilians) were given rations of food and water. The British could also not afford the resources to ‘guard’ and administrate these camps, and herein lies the problem. It was due to the lack of ability to manage the camps that some camps were managed well and others simply were not, some fell under British military command others were ‘outsourced’ to local contractors manage, and both British and quite often Afrikaner entrepreneurs were brought in to administrate the camps. In most instances these camps were very isolated, and by isolation it simply meant the people in them had nowhere else to go (there were no Nazi styled ‘wire’ fences with prisoners shot trying to escape), the camps were in fact relatively porous with regard the movement of people in them.

Bloemfontein Boer Concentration Camp

Some camps were well run, orderly with demarcated tent lines and health policies implemented based on running a normal military camp (tents and bedding were regularly aired out) and ablutions correctly located with drainage. Other camps were not well run at all, the administrators allowing the Boer families to ‘clump’ their tents together with no proper ablution planning or health policy. Policies on food rationing also differed from camp to camp. In some camps, sadistic camp administrators took to punitive measures to ‘punish’ the Boer families whose menfolk were still fighting in the field to get them to surrender, literally starving these people to the point that just enough food was given to keep the alive.

It follows that in these camps, especially the poorly administrated ones, that social disease would take root, and it came in all sorts forms ranging from poor nutrition to exposure, but it mainly came in the form of waterborne diseases from poor sanitation. Here again, some camps were medically geared to deal with it, others not. The net result of all of this is a tragedy on an epic level.

The official figure of the death toll to white Boer women and children in the camps is 26 370, a staggering figure when you consider that only an estimated 6000 Boer combatants in the field died in the war. Another tragedy (lesser so than life) was the loss of family heirlooms and family records to the relocation and scorched earth policies, this served to erase the inherent culture and history of the Boer peoples. The combination of both the systematic erosion of Boer culture and the astronomical rise in death rates of the ‘fountain’ of Boer race – their women and children, has left a deep scar of hatred and loss which still openly exists to this day, and for good reason.

The Black Concentration Camps

The ‘Black’ concentration camps were a different matter entirely. On the 21st December 1900, Lord Kitchener made no bones about his new concentration camp policy at the inaugural meeting of the Burgher Peace Committee held in Pretoria, where he remarked that in addition to the Boer families, both ‘stock’ and ‘Blacks’ would also be brought in.

As said, Victorian sentiment was very racially guided, and where the ‘white’ concentration camps were at least given some semblance of tents for shelter, food, aid workers, water rationing and some medical aid albeit entirely inadequate, the ‘Black’ concentration camps had very little of that.

Black concentration camps, were also earmarked to isolated areas bordering railway lines so they could be supplied – with both deportees and supplies. The isolation also became the means of containment. However no ‘tented’ constructs were provided in most instances and these Black civilians were simply left on arid land to build whatever shelters they could scourge for. They were also not given food rations on a system resembling anything near the system provided ‘white’ camps, in the white camps the food rations were basically free of charge, in the black camps they had to pay for it.

black women on way to concentration camp
Black women on their way to a concentration camp in the Transvaal

In all an estimated 130 000 black civilians (mainly farm labourers on Boer farms) were displaced and put into this type of concentration camp, 66 camps in total (with more still been identified, some sources say as many as 80 camps), all based primarily on the British fear that these Black people would assist the Boers during the war.

During early 1901, the black concentration camps were initially set up to accommodate white refugees. However, by June 1901, the British government established a Native Refugee Department in the Transvaal under the command of Major G.F. de Lotbinier, a Canadian officer serving with the Royal Engineers. He took over the black deportees in the Orange Free State in August that year and a separate department for blacks was created.

Medical inspection inside a Black concentration camp as administered by the Native Refugee Department. Orange Free State, 1901. Note the black mourning band worn by the RAMC Doctor and the armed African wearing a British army tunic top. Children with distended stomachs inspected, including the toddler with a ruptured umbilical – starvation. In the background to right of the Doctor a child bites its fingers while witnessing this inspection. Note the shelters. No tents – caption and research by Dr. Garth Benneyworth.

Entire townships and even mission stations were transferred into concentration camps. The Black camps differed from the Boers in that they contained large a number of males. This meant the camps were located by railway lines where the men could provide a ready supply of local labour. Work was however paid, and it was via this economy that the Black deportees could properly sustain themselves in the camps. In this respect to better understand what these camps were, the concept of a ‘forced labour camp’ would be a better definition.

Of the Black concentration camps, 24 were in the old Orange Free State Republic, 4 in the Cape Colony and 36 in the old South African (Transvaal) Republic. There was a single concentration camp in Natal at Witzieshoek, and more camps are identified to this very day . Some of the camps were for permanent habitation and others were of a temporary nature intended for transit. Their stories speak volumes for the way they were treated.

On the 22 of January 1902, At the Boschhoek Black concentration camp the deportees held a protest meeting. Stating that when they have been brought into the camps they have been promised that they will be paid for all their stock taken by the British, for all grain destroyed and that they will be fed and looked after, none of which had not been forthcoming. They were also unhappy because “… they receive no rations while the Boers who are the cause of the war are fed in the refugee camps free of charge … they who are the ‘Children of the Government’ are made to pay’.

23 January 1902 records that two Black deportees of the Heuningspruit concentration camp for Blacks, Daniel Marome and G.J. Oliphant, complained to Goold-Adams: “We have to work hard all day long but the only food we can get is mealies and mealie meal, and this is not supplied to us free, but we have to purchase same with our own money. “We humbly request Your Honour to do something for us otherwise we will all perish of hunger for we have no money to keep on buying food.”

The ‘official’ rations were meagre at best and had to be purchased, for ‘Natives’ over 12 years of age: Daily: 1½ lbs either mealies, K/corn, unsifted meal or mealie meal; ¼ oz salt; Weekly: 1 lb fresh or tinned meat; ½ coffee; 2 oz sugar – all but the corn was to cost the Black deportee receiving it 4½d per ration.

Black women in a Black concentration camp in Klerksdorp, note the lack of infrastructure and shelter

By 1902 18 January, Major De Lorbiniere, writes that supplying workers to the army
‘formed the basis on which our system was founded’. The department’s mobilisation of Black labour was very successful – however really this is not surprising at all considering the incentives offered. Those in service of the British and their families could buy mealies at a halfpence per lb, or 7/6 a bag, while those who do not accept employment had to pay double, or 1d per lb and 18/- or more per bag.

The camps, usually situated in an open veld, they were overcrowded, the tents and huts were placed too close together and did not provide adequate protection from the harsh African weather. They were extremely hot in summer and ice cold in winter. Materials for roofing were scarce, also no coal was provided for warmth. In addition to this misery there was a severe shortage of both food and water (mainly fresh vegetables, milk and meat) .

Water supplies were often contaminated by disease and any form of medical attention was rare to non-existent. Abhorrent sub-human conditions meant that water-borne diseases like dysentery, typhoid and diarrhoea spread with ease and the death rate climbed drastically.

The horrific conditions these deportees subjected to were superseded only by even more abhorrent treatment, the same social diseases, exposure and nutrition problems sprung up in these camps as they did in the ‘White’ Boer camps, with the same horrific result.

Most of the deaths in the concentration camps were caused by disease, and it took root with the most vulnerable, mainly children. By this stage in the war, the death rates in the Black concentration were climbing to unacceptable levels. An aid worker, Mr H.R. Fox, the Secretary of the Aborigines Protection Society, was made aware by Emily Hobhouse that the Ladies Commission (the Fawcett Commission – looking into the problems and death rates in the concentration camps) had focussed solely on the ‘White” concentration camps and completely ignored the plight of Blacks in their concentration camps. So, he promptly wrote to Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, requesting an inquiry be instituted by the British government “as should secure for the natives who are detained no less care and humanity than are now prescribed for the Boer refugees”.

On this request Sir Montagu Ommaney, the permanent under-secretary at the Colonial Office, responded that it seems undesirable “to trouble Lord Milner … merely to satisfy this busybody”. With that swift apathy to the plight of the Black deportees came another tragedy on an epic level.

By the beginning of 1902, conditions in black camps were however improved somewhat in order to reduce the death rate. More nutrients were introduced (tinned milk, Bovril and corn flour) and shops were opened that allowed black people to buy some produce and equipment, mainly items like flour, sugar, coffee, tea, syrup, candles, tobacco, clothes and blankets.

The total Black deaths in camps are officially calculated at a minimum of 14 154 (about 1 in 10). However recent work by Dr. Garth Benneyworth estimates it as at least 20 000, this after examining actual graveyards and factoring that burials had also taken place away from the camps themselves. Dr. Benneyworth notes that the British records are incomplete and in many cases non-existent and the fact that many civilians died outside of the camps in labour or transit or were buried in shared graves, this caused the final death toll to be much higher. The high rate of child death in the Victorian period aside, a staggering 81% of the fatalities in the Black concentration camps were children.

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In Conclusion

Compare that to the Boer concentration camps, where the deaths are recorded are around the 26 000 mark and it becomes clear that the Black population of South Africa suffered the same as the White population during the Boer war. However, the fact is that historical research into the Black involvement in the war is sorely missing from the general narrative. Post the Boer war and during Apartheid a lot of research around the Boer concentration camps was done, even monuments and museums were erected to them. It served Nationalist political agenda at the time in establishing Afrikaner identity along a separate race line, so almost nothing by way of research was done on the Black concentration camps, no monuments, museums or even a solid historical account exist of them at all. The Black history of the Boer war most certainly did not make it into mainstream ‘National Christian’ government education curriculum at the time. As a result the Boer war is simply just not properly understood to this day.

If you add to this the glossed over South African Black History behind their contributions and sacrifices in WW1 and WW2, you can see that Race Politics in South Africa has simply not taken the Black history and their sacrifice along with the mainstream historical account, especially the history prior to the implementation of Apartheid in 1948. What this alienation of critical parts of our history from the overall historical record has done, has reinforced the narrative that black lives were somehow of a lesser consequence to white lives. So, there is no surprise that most modern South Africans (mainly youth) simply can’t be bothered with properly understanding South African history prior to 1994.

There is still a very long way to go to fully understanding the war – but the future in reconciling the true effect of this war and redressing it as a nation – is to understand that the Boer War was not only a ‘white’ man’s war, nor the concentration camps strictly about Afrikaner women and children, a much bigger story exists and its one which needs to be reconciled with – and that is the suffering of South Africa’s black population and the extraordinary losses they experienced in these concentration camps too.

The redress for white Afrikaners in South Africa as to any form of global awareness and world condemnation of this tragedy to their nation lies in the reconciliation of the history with the previously unwritten and misunderstood black history behind The Boer War. Only if his tragedy is seen as a national issue, with a common cause and reconciliatory national healing process behind it to deal properly with it, only then can amends and long awaited apologies from the British be found.

Written and Researched by Peter Dickens with references and extracts from the Military History Journal Vol 11 No 3/4 – October 1999 Black involvement in the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902 by Nosipho Nkuna, also references from Dr Garth Benneyworth and ‘Erasure of black suffering in Anglo-Boer War’ By Ntando PZ Mbatha. Photo copyrights – The Imperial War Museum and Dawie Fourie.


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How to Do A SWOT Analysis on Yourself (And Why You Need One)

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One of the most basic lessons you learn in first year business school is the SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And it’s a great framework to apply to your business to understand what you do well, what you can improve on, and where the greatest threats to your company lie.

But how about a SWOT analysis on ourselves? Where are your blind spots? What do you struggle with? Here’s a simple framework to give it a go:

Strengths: What are your strengths as an entrepreneur? What do you do particularly well? Or what, in the words of Chris Sacca, what’s your “unfair advantage?”

Perhaps you’re great with product design. Or perhaps your distinguishing characteristic is your ability to sell. Or maybe you can work a room like nobody’s business. Knowing your strengths tells you what added value you can uniquely bring to your business.

Weaknesses: You might be a terrible planner. Or you might procrastinate like nobody’s business. Or you might dread making sales. But you might also feel uncomfortable admitting it or talking about your weaknesses. But unacknowledged weaknesses are business killers. They slowly eat away at the core of your business, with little hope of ever changing the situation. So pay particular attention to weaknesses as you do your personal SWOT – and be as honest as possible with yourself as you do.

Opportunities: Opportunities can be chances to build on your strengths and rectify your weaknesses – either through self-improvement or by adding additional members to the team with complimentary skills. But of course, opportunities can only be leveraged if weaknesses are recognized and acknowledged – yet another reason that honesty is so essential in the process of conducting your personal SWOT.

Threats: Finally, threats can come from multiple places. Your skills may no longer fit the needs of the business you’re in. You might face competition from others who do have these skills – and if you’re unable to acknowledge (and work on) your weaknesses – while at the same time, leveraging and accentuating your strengths, you could find yourself in a precarious professional position. And along these lines is the threat that you as the leader might lack the self-awareness or courage to look yourself in the mirror and conduct a honest, self-reflective SWOT analysis in the first place.

Doing an honest, self-reflective personal SWOT analysis is useful for anyone at any stage of their career. But it’s especially useful for entrepreneurs, who need such a wide-ranging set of skills to achieve their goals and find success in their business. Have you conducted a personal SWOT analysis? If not, what’s holding you back?

Visit here to receive my free guide to 10 cultural codes from around the world, and here for my very best tips on stepping outside your comfort zone at work.

Andy Molinsky is the author of Reach and Global Dexterity.

Originally published at Inc.com.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-do-swot-analysis-yourself-why-you-need-one-andy-molinsky

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