Just another site

Archive for December 2011

Race and South Africa in numbers

with 6 comments

Before playing at the opening concert of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Orlando, I watched as people from all different ethnic groups poured out of the station together. Man that felt good. The apartheid government split us into groups, but if we are going to reconcile, we must first get out of denial and learn one another’s cultures, speak each other’s language. Until then we can’t pretend we’re a rainbow nation.

Hugh Masekela, ‘What I’ve learnt’ South African Sunday Times 30th October 2011 

My final post from the rainbow nation and in the wake of Basil d’Oliveira’s recent death has me reflecting: the patients that I saw in clinics were universally black or coloured; I worked in teams of black, coloured and white colleagues; I socialised exclusively with white people… I socialise with more black people in Eastbourne. It’s uncomfortable to write that but it was so. So much has been good here but I guess that it’s going to take more time to erode the racial hangovers from apartheid and the inequality that is its legacy. Race is a constant topic in the media and in conversation.

Sitting beside Elizabeth Race in Pretoria again, I’m waiting to talk to sixty delegates tomorrow on my flatteringly given topic, ‘Mentoring colleagues to achieve excellent results’ (David Cameron, the good) my thoughts have turned to home. Angela asked what I wanted to do once she has collected me at Heathrow: she thought that I was joking when I suggested going a little further around the M25 to watch Eastbourne Borough away at Bromley… Just as I looked forward to this South African assignment with excitement, I now find myself excitedly anticipating the return to the UK. I haven’t ever wanted the three months to go faster nor to pass more slowly – they were a fact, so is going home. And I’m going to enjoy that every bit as much as I’ve enjoyed being here.

To round things off in the style of the Guardian: South Africa in numbers, work then play:


1 case XDR (extremely drug resistant) TB encountered

2 occasions in 3 months on which I encountered a doctor in a primary care clinic

4 pills a-day (compared to 1 in the UK) for first line antiretroviral therapy

7 primary care clinics mentored

10.5% estimated prevalence of HIV

850 HIV-related deaths per day

1000 new HIV infections per day

8,400 expected number of people living with HIV in Graaff-Reinet (estimated population 80,000)

5000 HIV treatment centres compared to 400 in 2009

19 tons unused medicines including antiretrovirals destroyed in Eastern Cape, November 2011

69 percentage of patients at Ithemba HIV clinic who are female

107 km to Klipplaat clinic

189 km to Steytlerville clinic

222 people with HIV reached by 2 lay counsellors in six weeks

86 recalled patients attended clinics during those six weeks

86 recalled patients screened for TB

31 started TB preventive therapy

20 started antiretroviral therapy


1 motorbike ride, to Nieu Bethesda and back

2 weeks a gecko shared my room

3 nicknames for Port Elizabeth: ‘Windy City’, ‘Friendly City, ‘Sunshine Coast’

4 farewell gatherings

5 nights at The Willows Country Lodge, Pretoria

6 blue crane, my favourite birds, seen together beside the R75 at Wolwefontein as I turned right to Steytlerville

11 rugby world cup matches watched

12 novels read

24 blog posts

47 Australian second innings total in the Cape Town test match

85 nights at Aa’Qtansisi Guesthouse, Graaff-Reinet

90 hours brisk walking

109 blog comments, not counting emails

3621 blog visits

6196 km in the chevy

9531 km Eastbourne from Graaff-Reinet



Biking to Nieu Bethesda with Brian Jones; Nieu Bethesda brewery; blue crane; leaving Aa’Qtansisi Guesthouse, Graaff-Reinet (Shaun is beside me)


Written by martinjones183

December 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm