Archive for December, 2011

This posting is inspired by the PACT campaign…

December 14, 2011

My memories of childhood are often focused on the time we spent living in a little town called Secunda, which is set amidst the coalfields of what was the Eastern Transvaal, which is now the Mpumalanga province in South Africa.  We lived at number 12 Pannevis Street and I went to Highveld Ridge School. The years we spent there are probably some of my happiest memories of childhood and being a family together. Back then my brother and sister were my very best of friends and my father was home more than he was away and my mother was the centre of my world.

My father worked at the Sasol refinery (which is where most men in the town worked) and I remember at night it would glisten on the horizon all ablaze in light, it looked so magical.

Men drove bakkies (a van), we wore takkies (not trainers) and had a braai (BBQ) at the weekend.

We had a huge garden (well to a child it seemed huge) and playing outdoors was the norm. The Baker family lived close by, a Scottish family with four girls; I think my brother and I were both in love with the eldest Lisa (she and I became pen pals after we both moved away).

There was no cinema in the town back then but there was a Drive In which we used to go to occasionally. It would get cold in the evenings so us three kids would all huddle on the back seat under blankets and more often than not fall asleep before the movie ended.

There were some fields close to our house that we used to play in for hours with other kids and our dog Simba would love to role in the mud and dung of wild animals coming home pleased as punch and stinking up the whole house.

Life seemed simpler then and my adulthood so far away, now it’s my childhood that seems so far away and although life is a little less simple it is far richer for having had the experiences I did back then, and for that I thank my parents.

This post is part of a series inspired by the Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) campaign, hosted by Stepping Stones Nigeria. Please add your name to the PACT petition to prevent abuse of innocent children in the Niger Delta and visit the site to find out more:

Remembering Tania one year on…

December 2, 2011

December the 9th will be the first anniversary of the death of Tania Lienert, a very close friend of mine. She was a person that contributed so much to the LGBT community as well as her wider local community in Lismore and the Northern Rivers areas in which she lived and worked.

It seems odd to think that a whole year has gone by since she died, she was a bright light in many people’s lives and this past year has been a little darker without her in it.

Tania was a much respected intellectual and her achievements in both the academic and LGBT scenes were highly regarded. Many remember her for the good work she did with Aids Council of New South Wales (ACON) in the Northern Rivers area where she was manager. Tania’s last role was working with the University Department of Rural Health in Lismore where she was co-ordinating a primary health care research development programme. Tania always applied a great deal of passion to provide and improve services to the gay and lesbian community. She really did make a difference to people’s lives.

Earlier this year a number of community members and past colleagues of Tania’s along with Tania’s partner Deb established an annual memorial lecture in Tania’s honour, ‘The Dr Tania Lienert Memorial Lecture for Social Justice and Diversity’. The first lecture took place in June this year, with the renowned writer and human rights activist, Arnold Zable, delivering the lecture which had as it’s subject these as ‘The Healing Power of Story’.

About 300 people attended the lecture which is testament to the great affection she was held within the community at large.  Tania had an immense sense of compassion, understanding, respect and forgiveness for others and I thank her for the impact she has made on my life and  remember her fondly, she will forever be in my heart.