If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

first_imgBy Garth Rose and Karyl WalkerSince elected Mayor of Miramar in 2015, Wayne Messam has led a commission that created a booming business environment and improved infrastructure. While he is not up for re-election until 2019, Messam is, surprisingly, not supporting two of his senior commissioners who are up for reelection in the March 14 Municipal Elections.Yvette Colbourne…boasts exemplary public service recordMessam, An American of Jamaican descent, insists that with a more dynamic commission, he can achieve bigger things in a city with a strong Caribbean populace. Next week, voters will decide whether to retain or replace three incumbents. Veteran Winston Barnes, a Jamaican-American, who has served the commission since 2003, is seeking re-election in Seat 3. Yvette Colbourne, a Panamanian-American of Jamaican descent, who has served since 2013, seeks reelection in Seat 2. Maxwell Chambers, also Jamaican-American, elected to the commission in 2014, seeks reelection in Seat 1.Miramar is the only city in Florida with an all-Caribbean-American commission. In addition to Barnes, Chambers and Colbourne, Darlene Riggs is Haitian-American. Two Jamaican-Americans, Attorney Norman Hemmings, and chiropractor Dr. Venessa Walker, are challenging for Seats 1 and 2, respectively. Barnes is being challenged by Haitian-American Dalton Jall’s Bonheur and African-American James R. Hepburn. Colbourne  who served as a member of a county executive team that successful manage a $600 million budget with up 2,000 employees in Miami-Dade County is surprised at Messam’s stance, considering the commission supports most of his proposals. According to Colbourne, she voted 99% of the time to support the mayor’s initiatives. She did vote against his pitch to increase property taxes in 2016.Winston Barnes,,,my record speaks for itselfThe 30-year veteran of public service who also has a masters degree in Public Administration, said any budget gap could have been realized by improving efficiencies in the city’s management.“We successfully met this gap, without raising taxes. At the end of 2016, there was a balance of $6 million in the city’s funds, carried forward to supplement 2017 expenditure,” said Colbourne.And while Messam himself has wide-scale backing, an unofficial CNW poll in the community suggests residents are happy with the current commission. The general consensus is that Miramar’s business climate is a sound source of jobs for residents and commends Messam and the commissioners for doing a splendid job.According to one individual, Miramar is an aviation hub which provides economic spin-offs to many businesses that supply services to that industry, There is also a growing complement of Fortune 500 companies. Significantly, Miramar has managed to stem the outsourcing of U.S jobs to countries like China.In his 2015 State of the City address, Messam said there were 1,800 residential units planned for the city, valued at $191 million. He noted that during the recession of 2009, Miramar continued to expand.  He also mentioned several infrastructural improvements in the eastern section, including new drainage. The Pembroke Road overpass is completed and has resulted in a significant ease on traffic congestion. He pointed to getting the commission to approve a $60 million revenue bond for funding park development, and the Miramar amphitheater (under construction) as other high points of his administration.Barnes, a broadcaster by profession, has been on the commission for almost 14 years. He listed his achievements which include: creating a scholarship fund from a raise he received in his commissioner’s salary; voting for funding both Miramar high schools annually; and providing funds to help residents with home repairs to meet city codes, and paying utility bills.He anticipates another term.“I should be re-elected to keep integrity, experience and decorum on the Commission. My record speaks for itself,” Barnes said.Chambers seeks re-election to enhance the financial health of the city without increasing taxes, and ensuring that property values in East Miramar are not compromised by developers who are bent on turning homes into rental property.If elected Dr. Walker’s mission is to make it possible for more residents to own businesses; enhance public safety, keep taxes low, push the city’s econ development and be a transparent representative.Hemmings, making his second bid for the seat, says his mission if elected is to hold down property taxes, and mobilize strong anti-crime strategies.last_img read more


Executive Committee of NSBiH Will Prohibit Departure of Fans at Away Games

first_imgThe Executive Committee of the B&H Football Association (IO NSBiH) will soon adopt a decision on the prohibition of the departure of fans to guest matches of its clubs in the Premiere League B&H.The first vice-president of NSBiH and member of IO NSBiH Darko Ljubojević confirmed that members of IO NSBiH had telephone consultations regarding the proposal of the Competition and Commission for Security of NSBiH on the prohibition of the departure of visiting fans during the spring part of the Premiere League and B&H Cup.‘’Such a decision can be expected in the next few days. The reason is the current security situation that is not at a good level’’, said Ljubojević.He said that he is not a fan of such decisions, but for now there are real reasons for this decision.This decision would not be a precedent when the Premiere League of B&H is in question. Three years ago, the Committee for normalization at that time decided to prohibit fans at away games.The continuation of the Championship begins on 1 March.(Soure: klix.ba)last_img read more


Florida Deploys 3 Field Hospitals, Medical Supplies to Fight COVID-19

first_imgFlorida health officials have announced they are deploying three field hospitals across the state in order to fight the coronavirus.Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said Tuesday night via email that one field hospital is currently being staged in Orlando, while the other two are being sent to Broward County and Ocala.The news comes as the number of people infected with COVID-19 in Florida rises to 314 cases, with six deaths reported.The third field hospital will be set up in Ocala, north of Orlando, and moved elsewhere as needed.Mobile COVID-19 testing is also being implemented in Broward, and the National Guard has been deployed to assist there.Moskowitz added that he is working with federal officials to determine whether the state can add U.S. Navy Mercy-class hospital ships at Florida’s ports.State officials also said they are responding quickly to cases being reported at assisted living communities in an attempt to prevent an outbreak similar to one that occurred at a Seattle-area nursing home, which has been linked to more than two dozen COVID-19 deaths.“If a cluster of confirmed cases were to be discovered in Florida, the department would move quickly to engage with and isolate any infected individuals to prevent further spread,” said Alberto Moscoso, the state health department’s spokesman.last_img read more


“Water of Love” to flow at Saint Martin’s annual Lu’au

first_imgLACEY, Wash. –   The beauty and richness of Hawaiian culture will fill Marcus Pavilion this Saturday, April 6, at Saint Martin’s annual, student-planned Lu’au, hosted on the University’s Lacey campus.Sponsored by the Saint Martin’s University Hui `O Hawai`i Club, the celebration features an authentic lu’au feast, musical performances and entertainment from several South Seas cultures. Much anticipated in the South Sound, the Lu’au is a popular tradition for the Saint Martin’s community and a destination event for hundreds of area residents.This year’s Lu’au theme is “Wai ‘O Pilialoha,” or, “Water of Love,” according to Saint Martin’s student Christina Atonio, president of Hui `O Hawai`i. “It is a simple theme – it’s about how love flows as easily as water,” she explains.“The annual Lu’au is important because it brings together not only the University students, faculty and staff but members of our surrounding community as well,” says Atonio. “Families and friends come from all over to join in on one of the biggest events on campus, and that is a beautiful thing!”Vocalists and musicians will entertain guests during the Lu’au dinner, with scheduled performances by: Raven Atonio; Taylor Yoro and Darold Yoro; Dan Caviness; Tracy Lentz, and Teilissa Tua. Colorful, choreographed student performances will follow the dinner. The Keiki Booth will serve as the headquarters for a variety of children’s activities, including the crafting of flower necklaces. In addition, a Country Store will offer local Hawaiian items, such as jewelry and autographed CDs, for sale. A raffle booth will be stocked with prizes donated by Washington- and Hawaii-based businesses.Doors will open April 6 at 5 p.m., and the Lu’au dinner will be served at approximately 6:15 p.m. Performances will follow at about 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 for the dinner and the show, $10 with a Saint Martin’s ID. “Show-only” tickets (no food included; tickets purchased at the door) are $5. Children 5 years old and under attend for free. Those wishing to reserve a table must purchase eight tickets.This event sells out each year, attracting about 650 attendees. For tickets or for more information, please email [email protected] Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 23 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu. Facebook0Tweet0Pin0last_img

Summer Play Can Lead To Increased Dental Trauma

first_imgFacebook9Tweet0Pin0 Submitted Dr. Benjamin D. Ruder, DDS for Small To Tall Pediatric DentistryAs the sunny days make their return to the Pacific Northwest, kids of all ages figuratively and literally dive headfirst into their favorite outdoor activities: baseball, bike riding, swimming, swinging, and everything else under the sun.  Unfortunately, with this increase in outdoor exuberance comes a rise in dental trauma and injury to the oral soft tissues.  No one ever intends to fall and break a tooth or split a lip; but when it happens, timely and appropriate attention is key to minimizing adverse effects and maximizing a successful outcome.Dental trauma is one of the most common results of head and neck injuries. Approximately 30% of all preschool children suffer from a dental injury to the primary dentition (baby teeth), while approximately 20% of adolescents and young adults sustain dental injury to the permanent teeth. The early stages of developing motor coordination (climbing, walking) are the primary reason for falls and consequent dental injury in preschool-aged children, while damage to the permanent teeth in adolescents and young adults is primarily related to falls, traffic accidents, violence, and sports.Given this frequent nature of dental trauma in the early years of life, pediatric dentists receive extensive specialized training in the treatment and management of oral injuries.  Determining proper treatment means not just looking at the type of trauma, but also the age of the child, status of tooth development, and extent of tooth, pulp or gum involvement.  Along those lines, treatment for children with injury to primary teeth differs significantly from that of those with trauma to permanent teeth.Oral injuries can vary considerably in severity and level of involvement, and the severity is not always immediately evident.  Parents and patients should realize that the oral environment is a very vascular region.  Minor lip, tongue, cheek, or gingival lacerations can produce considerable bleeding; once controlled and managed, a more accurate assessment of the trauma can be made. Fortunately the oral soft tissues heal very quickly and successfully, and while the initial injury may appear alarming at first, the end-result is oftentimes unnoticeable.  However, should an oral injury cause a deep laceration or uncontrollable bleeding, a consultation should be sought for appropriate management and attention.In any one incident, teeth can be bumped, fractured, displaced, knocked out (avulsed), or a combination of the aforementioned.  Each type of injury is managed differently, and timely follow-up with a dental professional is usually recommended in order to determine severity and specific treatment.  The injuries that require the most immediate attention are those in which:A tooth fracture exposes the nerve.The tooth is noticeably displaced.A tooth is avulsed (knocked out).Should you suspect the injury falls into any of these three scenarios, do not hesitate to contact your dental provider immediately.   Most studies suggest that treatment provided within 60 minutes from the time of injury results in the most successful outcome.  Delay in urgent treatment could potentially lead to the need for root canal therapy, or in worst case scenario could result in the unsuccessful rehabilitation of the tooth and eventual removal.The Academy of Dental Traumatology recently developed a useful online guide to aid both patients and providers to manage each specific type of dental trauma.  While this guide is particularly informative, it should not be considered an alternative to a comprehensive exam provided by a dental professional.  And certainly, if a head injury resulting in unconsciousness is ever witnessed or suspected, consultation with a medical physician is always recommended prior to addressing any dental issues.Accidents and dental trauma are never planned, but can oftentimes be prevented in the case of sporting activities with the use of athletic mouthguards.  Studies have shown that the risk for dental injury nearly doubles when a protective mouthguard is not worn during certain sporting activities.  Store-bought athletic mouthguards provide adequate protection, and are most useful for the growing child in which the dental status is actively changing.  But for more ideal protection of permanent teeth in young adults, improved comfort, and unique color design, custom-fit mouthguards can be easily fabricated by your dental provider.As much as we wish we could protect our children from accidents and injury, they are oftentimes a fact of life despite all best intentions.  When dental trauma does occur, the way in which the situation is managed can make all the difference.  Sometimes the treatment is simple, and sometimes a more complex approach is required.  No matter the case, quick diagnosis and treatment is always best.  For any questions regarding dental trauma or your child’s dental health, please feel free to contact Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry.References:Andersson, Lars. Epidemiology of traumatic dental injuries. Pediatric Dentistry. 2013; 35(2): 102-5.American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Guideline on Management of Acute Dental Trauma. AAPD Reference Manual. 2012-2013; 34(6): 230-238.http://www.dentaltraumaguide.orglast_img read more


Center to Offer Help to SB Residents, Businesses

first_imgSEA BRIGHT ­– Sea Bright Rising has hit a significant milestone and now is offering even more help from professionals in various fields to those impacted by Super Storm Sandy.The organizers for the recovery organization, working to assist residents and businesses struck hard by Sandy, have raised more than $1 million.“I think it’s a huge accomplishment, no doubt about it,” said Chris Wood, co-owner of Woody’s restaurant and bar in the borough, who, with his business partner, Peter Forlenza, established the organization.So far, Sea Bright Rising has distributed roughly $470,000 of the funds raised to about 160 families and four local businesses, said Ilene Winters, a member of the organization’s board.The organization has obtained a $250,000 grant from the Robin Hood Foundation, which was the recipient of funds raised during the 12.12.12 concert in Madison Square Garden for Sandy Relief. Sea Bright Rising also has been given a $100,000 donation from an anonymous donor, another $100,000 from Fairmont Specialty, a local insurance brokerage agency, and individual donations, according to Winters.While the fundraising and dispersing of money will continue, the organization is working on “the next phase of this,” Wood said.“Obviously, there is still a great need” for those impacted by Sandy, he said, including obtaining information and direction on how to move forward with rebuilding.To that end the organization has established the Sea Bright Solution Center, which will open for the first time at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16 in borough hall.The center will be staffed with volunteers from a variety of fields who will offer advice and counseling to the public. “We have so many who have lined up to offer their services,” including lawyers, insurance specialists, building and computer experts and others, Wood said.The center will be open the second Saturday morning and third Wednesday evening of the month, as demand requires, according to Winters.The Sea Bright Solution Center initially was set to open Feb. 9 but the opening was postponed because of the winter storm.“Whatever we can do to help has been well-received so far and we’ll look to continue it,” Wood said.Wood, along with his business partner Forlenza, started out by providing hot food and beverages for the National Guard members and other emergency workers on site, as well as for those who began to return to their homes and property in the days after the late October storm.From there, Wood said, their efforts morphed into what has become Sea Bright Rising and includes on its board Wood, Forlenza, Winters and Robert Long, husband of Mayor Dina Long.The organization’s mission is to primarily help the approximately 1,400 borough residents rebuild their lives, because, as Wood said, “everyone lost something.”The organization has been offering assistance with rent and security deposits for those who were displaced and down payments for cars for those who lost their vehicles in the storm, Winters said.The second leg of the group’s mission is to assist businesses in reopening and revitalizing the community. “If the businesses don’t come back there isn’t going to be a town,” Winters said. To a lesser degree, the group will work on restoring the community’s infrastructure, Wood said.As the need to assist residents eventually winds down, possibly in the next few months, Sea Bright Rising may find itself concentrating more on working with the business community, Winters said.“We’re eternally grateful to the people who have donated already. Everyone has been exceptionally generous with their time and with their financial resources,” Winters said.That appreciation also goes for those who have received donations, Winters said, displaying a note the organization recently recei­ved. The handwritten note, from a recipient who Winters declined to identify, said, “Like the first warm breeze of spring after a cold, grey winter, your gift was a ray of hope when we were most discouraged. Rest assured your kindness will be remembered.” By John Burtonlast_img read more


Nelson Neptunes BCSSA Results

first_imgKallie Badry 100m Individual Medley,14th 50m Butterfly, 19th 50m Backstroke, 12th 50m Breaststroke, 20thKeira Badry 50m Backstroke, 23rd 100m Freestyle, 24thImogen Cowan 100m Individual Medley, 21st 50m Freestyle, 21st 50m Backstroke, 17thElla Chouinard 100IM,  22nd 50m Backstroke, 21st 100m Freestyle, 23rdEvan Chouinard 50m Freestyle, 23rd 50m Breaststroke, 22nd 100m Freestyle, 22ndElissa Centrone 200m Individual Medley, 24th 50m Freestyle, 23rd 100m Breaststroke, 24thOlivia Cowan 200m Individual Medley, 9th 50m Freestyle, 11th 100m Backstroke, 8th 100m Freestyle, 11thCynthia Pfeiffer 200m Individual Medley, 10th 50m Freestyle, 10th 100m Backstroke, bronze medalLachlan Bibby-Fox 100m Individual Medley, bronze medal 50m Butterfly, 6th 50m Backstroke, 6th 50m Breaststroke, silver medalEnna Cowan 50m Butterfly, 24thMorgan Robterson-Weir 50m Butterfly, 22nd 50m Breaststroke, 23rdJoanna Blishen 100m Butterfly, 24th 100m Breaststroke, 24thJaylen Rushton 100m Individual Medley, 2nd 50m Freestyle, bronze medal 50m Butterfly, bronze medal 50m Breaststroke, 4thRELAYS:4x50m Medley Relay Division 3 Girls, 12th (Ella Chouinard, Morgan Robertson-Weir, Imogen Cowan, Enna Cowan)4x50m Medley Relay Division 8 Girls, 8th (Cynthia Pfeiffer, Jaylen Rushton, Olivia Cowan, Joanna Blishen) 4x50m Freestyle Relay Division 3 Girls, 13th (Ella Chouinard, Morgan Robertson-Weir, Imogen Cowan, Enna Cowan)4x50m Freestyle Relay Division 6 Girls, 12th (Olivia Cowan, Elissa Centrone, Joanna Blishen, Jaylen Rushton)4x50m Freestyle Relay Division 8 Girls, 12th (Cynthia Pfeiffer, Elissa Centrone, Kallie Badry, Keira Badry) The Nelson Neptunes took a core group of swimmers to the BC Summer Swim Association Championships this past weekend in Coquitlam.Here is a capsule look at the Neptune Results:INDIVIDUAL RESULTS:last_img read more


Fire at the various dumpsites is dangerous

first_imgDear Editor,I don’t know if anyone has noticed but of recent, there have been many fires and many are of known/unknown origin. Recently one businessman was blamed for dumping used tires and lighting them. Time and time again he keeps doing that.According to the various media, people complain over and over but sometimes were verbally abused by the businessman. Because lack of proper attention was given to the complaints, financial damages were caused on properties nearby. Will the culprit be forced to properly compensate the owner?There are strict laws regarding the lighting of bush/wildfire or at the dumpsites/garbage heaps but for some reason, people keep lighting the fires causing discomfort to people and sometimes financial losses and they are not being penalised.Editor, of recent, the fire engine sirens could be heard blaring almost every day and it’s mostly for wildfire or fires being lit at roadside dumps and now seemingly being a hot season, irresponsible persons, and it should be a cause of concern to those in authorities.Around the area where I reside, many fires are being lit daily and in most cases, it causes great concern to many people/babies/animals and in some cases, the guilty person would be pointed out and no action would be taken against him/her.Those in authority should enlighten the public about the dangers and its effect, enlighten them of their rights, protection should be provided when persons report anyone lighting or dumping garbage and charges being laid against those caught. This nonsense has been happening too long and it’s time it stops, don’t wait until it’s too late because the fires at the various dumpsites are dangerous.Sincerely,Sahadeo Bateslast_img read more


LOST PROPERTY: LADIES HANDBAG FOUND WITH SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF MONEY IN IT

first_imgLOST PROPERTY: A ladies handbag has been handed into a local filling station in Donegal.The item was found in the ladies toilet in Laghey Service Station earlier this afternoon.Unfortunately there was no ID in the handbag but a number of personal belongings and a SUBSTANTIAL amount of money was in the handbag. The Good Samaritan handed the bag into the owner of the filling station and has asked Donegal Daily to spread the word in the hope of alerting the owner as to where her bag is located.The bag was described as a formal type of bag and it could have been someone heading to a wedding as a wedding party had stopped at the filling station shortly before the bag was discovered. LOST PROPERTY: LADIES HANDBAG FOUND WITH SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF MONEY IN IT was last modified: April 26th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:alerthandbaglostLost PropertynewsOwnerservice stationlast_img read more


Constitution Hill is a window on a brutal past

first_img“The Hill, as it is fondly known, is an engine of growth and transformation for downtown Johannesburg and a place where residents and visitors can interact in a space that takes the country’s history forward in a respectful but progressive manner,” explains Petal Thring, the chief executive officer of Constitution Hill. (Image: www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com) Melissa Jane Cook• Petal ThringCEOConstitution Hill+27 11 381 [email protected]• ConHill is preferred heritage destination • Experts unpack meaning of human rights memorial • Gandhi’s memory lingers in South Africa• Values, heritage can be learnt here • ConCourt art tells South Africa’s storyConstitution Hill is home to the Constitutional Court, the foundation of all that is democratic in South Africa. It is a reminder to all who visit that dignity, democracy, freedom and equality are entrenched in the Constitution.For decades, South Africa was an international pariah, notorious for its apartheid policies. Today, Constitution Hill, in Braamfontein has undergone a phenomenal transformation, a microcosm of the changes the country as a whole has undergone. Once a place of inhumanity and brutality, it is now a place of justice and learning. A commanding presence, Constitution Hill overlooks Johannesburg and provides a unique perspective on the City of Gold and its rich history. This site is home to the Constitutional Court, Women’s Gaol museum, Number Four museum, and the Old Fort museum.“The Hill, as it is fondly known, is an engine of growth and transformation for downtown Johannesburg and a place where residents and visitors can interact in a space that takes the country’s history forward in a respectful but progressive manner,” explains Petal Thring, the chief executive officer of Constitution Hill.A living museumIt is a living legacy of a very complex, tumultuous past going back to 1892, when the Old Fort was built by the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR), under president Paul Kruger. It was built as a prison, but for a brief period during the South African War, or Anglo Boer War, of 1899 to 1902, it served as a military defence post.In the late 1800s and early 20th century, new buildings were added to the fort-like prison. These included the Natives’ Section and isolation cells known as sections Four and Five, where black male prisoners were held, a Women’s Goal in 1907, and an Awaiting Trial building in the 1920s.Collectively, these buildings were known as the Fort, infamous for its brutal treatment of prisoners. Common criminals and ordinary men and women who had contravened colonial and apartheid legislation were imprisoned here in abhorrent conditions.Old FortBefore it took on its role as apartheid prison, the Old Fort was used to defend the ZAR capital, Pretoria. Kruger’s soldiers walked its ramparts in the war, until the British marched into town in 1900, and took over the structure.The ramparts were built to protect the ZAR from British invasion, as well as intimidate migrant miners and keep an eye on them as they crowded into the village in search of gold. Reverting to a prison after the war, initially only white male prisoners were held here, except for Nelson Mandela, who, before the Rivonia Trial in 1962, was given a bed in the hospital section.It is a living legacy of a very complex, tumultuous past going back to 1892, when the Old Fort was built by the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR), under president Paul Kruger. It was built as a prison, but for a brief period during the South African War, or Anglo Boer War, of 1899 to 1902, it served as a military defence post. (Image: www.constitutionhill.org.za)Women’s JailThe Women’s Jail was a charming, Victorian brick building. A space of such grace, yet it humiliated and brutalised its female prisoners, which included criminals and murderers, as well as anti-apartheid activists. The infamous murderess Daisy de Melker was held here, as were prominent political stalwarts such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Albertina Sisulu and Fatima Meer. The women were particularly vulnerable. An information board in the museum today quotes political activist Barbara Hogan: “I could hear a doctor screaming at her saying, ‘You say your baby is sick, but if you cared about your baby, you would carry a pass.’”Number FourThe sign above the entrance to the Natives’ section, Number Four, is a quote from Mandela: “It is said that no one really knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.”Built to house 997 prisoners, it housed 2 200. Here, thousands of black men were imprisoned and brutalised; yet many survived and defied their jailors. Walking down a dark corridor on to a concrete courtyard on a drizzly, gloomy day gave a minute glimmer into what the prisoners must have felt when they arrived at the frightening Number Four. For many, this was their last journey. During the apartheid era, police would arrive numerous times a day with prisoners, who were given a prisoner number; this number was how they were identified.Detainees were strip-searched and hosed down, in summer or winter, and forced to perform the dehumanising “tausa”. This was a diabolical movement that allowed the prison warders to check whether the inmates were smuggling any weapons or contraband up their rectums. Political prisoner Indres Naidoo describes it: “When performing ‘tausa’ the naked person would leap in the air, spinning around and opening the legs wide while clapping his hands overhead and then in the same moment coming down, making clicking sounds with the mouth and bending his body forward so as to expose his open rectum to the warders’ inspection.”Bob Gosani, a photojournalist, secretly managed to photograph the “tausa” from the top floor of a nurses’ home overlooking the prison.Living conditions at Number Four were excruciating and barbaric. In the food area, where prisoners collected their food from trolleys before moving off to eat in the yard or cells, today food drums display the ghastly prisoners’ menus. African National Congress stalwart Joe Slovo describes the drums in his unfinished autobiography: “The first drum, marked ‘Congress One’, contained cooked chunks of beef or pork for white accused. The ‘Congress Two’ drum, for coloureds and Indian prisoners, contained either porridge or boiled vegetables on top of which floated a few pieces of fatty meat that were most probably from the discarded cut-offs from ‘Congress One’ drum. The ‘Congress Three’ drum (for black prisoners) was always meatless and the contents alternated between a plastic-textured porridge and a mixture of boiled mealies and beans.”There were only eight, eastern style toilets that offered no privacy and were in close proximity to the food area. Writer and political prisoner Alex La Guma wrote: “One of the reasons for my disease [typhoid] is found in this jail. Filth. The mats are filthy, the blankets are filthy, the latrines are filthy, the food is filthy, the utensils are filthy, and the convicts’ clothes are filthy. The latrines overflow and make a stench.”Showers were allowed once a week, but prisoners were often denied a wash for months. The allocated shower time was 30 minutes for the 2 000 prisoners, and the gang members took most of this time. The inmates would then be forced to use the toilet to wash their faces, or would rub soap on themselves and wait for it to rain.The communal cells housed between 60 and 70 prisoners; they were only built for 30 and as a result were overcrowded, dirty and badly ventilated. They were lit by a small window, but ironically, as authorities tried to break the spirit of the prisoners, these communal cells became an area to build courage and discuss resistance. The inmates gave each other strength and sang resistance songs to entertain, comfort and maintain solidarity.As if life inside was not harsh enough, made worse by the hostility of the prison wardens, there was also a hierarchy in the cells. You slept according to status: the gang leaders in the place of most comfort. The bod guards protected them and then the bush, or slaves, were near the toilet. It was a stinking space, where the slaves, the lowest in the cell food chain, were abused. These unsanitary conditions created perfect conditions for diseases, including typhoid and enteric fever.Emakhulukhuthu, an isiZulu word meaning the “deep dark hole”, was reserved for the harshest punishments. These were the isolation cells, where “lunatics, juveniles and those with infectious diseases” were kept. Prisoners here spent 23 hours a day inside, subsisting on a diet of rice water. “They could officially be held here for 30 days but some spent over a year in these cells,” states one of the information boards.Emakhulukhuthu, an isiZulu word meaning the “deep dark hole”, was reserved for the harshest punishments. These were the isolation cells, where “lunatics, juveniles and those with infectious diseases” were kept. (Image: www.constitutionhill.org.za) To pass the time, the inmates were creative and did blanket sculpting. At the end of each week, the prisoner with the most artistic blanket sculpture won a reward. “The conditions here were so depraved that when the prisoners were moved to Diepsloot Prison, known as Sun City, they said it was like moving to a hotel, and was utterly luxurious compared to the horrific conditions they had to previously endure,” said Thring.Number Four is now a stark museum and memorial to the thousands of men who were confined within its walls, deprived of the most rudimentary of human rights. Photographic, audio and video material captures the rich heritage of the site. Artefacts of prison life are also on display, including recreations of the blanket and soap sculptures. It remains as it was when it was closed in 1983.Jailed for fighting for freedomMahatma Gandhi was the first to apply the concept of non-violent civil disobedience in South Africa, against the racial segregation laws of the time. The exhibition in the Old Fort, “Gandhi: prisoner of conscience”, focuses on the years Gandhi spent in Johannesburg, from 1902 until 1914, when he left South Africa at the age of 46.Of his experiences in South Africa, he said: “Truly speaking, it was after I went to South Africa that I became what I am now. My love for South Africa and my concern for her problems are no less than for India.” Mandela is quoted on the walls of the exhibition: “The spirit of Gandhi may well be a key to human survival in the 21st century.”Mahatma Gandhi was the first to apply the concept of non-violent civil disobedience in South Africa, against the racial segregation laws of the time. The exhibition in the Old Fort, “Gandhi: prisoner of conscience”, focuses on the years Gandhi spent in Johannesburg, from 1902 until 1914, when he left South Africa at the age of 46. (Image: www.constitutionhill.org.za) Constitution Hill has witnessed it all: South Africa’s history of injustice, detention and imprisonment, as well as democracy at work. People who passed through the complex include Gandhi, Mandela, Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu, Joe Slovo, Ahmed Kathrada, Treason trialists of the late 1950s, and students and schoolchildren from the 1976 Soweto uprising, as well as thousands of others active in the apartheid struggle, alongside common criminals.This multipurpose complex functions as a national symbol of a new South Africa and a public space where South Africans, and others, can debate and define the democratic order and this new world.last_img read more