Dog fighting is disgusting

Yoh! But the world is a cruel place and people do really horrible things – deliberately. Never mind bullying (which is also nasty and deliberate) I was reading the other day that some folk think it is fun to make dogs fight with each other.

Really? Can you believe that anybody is stupid enough to think such a terrible thing is fun?

It’s definitely not fun for the dog – that is for sure. It is sadistic, mean and hurts the animals.

It is also illegal. Did you know that?

According to the Animals Protection Act No.71 of 1962, ‘Anyone who baits, provokes or incites any animal to attack another animal shall be guilty of an offence’.

Worse! These people specially breed their dogs to be mean and nasty. Some even cut their dogs’ ears so that they can’t get bitten off in a fight. Eeeuw! Just the thought of that makes me want to rush off and hug my dog.

Even more disturbing is the fact that some people bet money on which dog they think is going to win, and then watch the whole fight like it is a boxing match or something – except boxers choose to fight – dogs have no choice. These people are just as guilty as the idiots who are making their dogs fight.

It gets even nastier. There have also been cases where smaller dogs are used as bait. Just to get the fighting dogs in the mood. As if this is not bad enough, revolting individuals go around stealing those little dogs from homes where they are loved and treated like furry children – only for them to land up being mauled to death by some vicious dog that never had a chance to be anything else in life.

The whole thing makes me seriously sick to my stomach.

Dogs are such loyal creatures. All they really want is somebody to love them and look after them properly and they will, in turn, be the most wonderful companions. They understand a whole lot more than people ever think they do. They are not just dumb animals at all.

If you know of anybody that organises dog fights, watches them or bets on them – call your local SPCA immediately. It is not allowed.

Come to think of it – if you know of anybody being cruel to their animals – call your SPCA.


Stand up to bullies

Remember last week we were talking about how bad bullies are and, even worse, how terrible it is to be bullied?

Here are some things that you can do if you are being targeted by a bully.

  • Get away as soon as possible and move to a safe please where there are other kids and adults.
  • Avoid places where you are alone – hang out with other people. Even if you are not friends with them – hang out near them anyway.
  • Act as if the bullying has no power over you. Look calm and confident (even if you are terrified). You can do this by standing up straight and tall – put your shoulders back and push your chest forward. (Practise this in the mirror at home – you never know when you might need to stand tall.)
  • Stand up for yourself – act as though the bullying is really boring and answer back with things like – So? Yup? Really? And…? Whatever you say! Who cares?
  • Get help from an adult you trust. Tell them what has happened to you and ask for their support. If one person does not listen – go to somebody else.
  • Keep in mind that bullying is about the person who is doing the bullying. Although they are targeting you and it affects your life – it’s not really about you – it says something about the person who is doing the bullying. Never forget that. It is not your fault.
  • Tell yourself that you are awesome, brave, lovable, worthy of respect and belonging. Nobody can take that away from you. Own it. Say it often. Remind yourself all the time that you are fabulous.

If you see somebody being bullied it is NOT cool to just walk away and not get involved either. YOUR SILENCE ENCOURAGES THE BULLY!

This is what you can do.

  • Don’t laugh and don’t encourage the bully in any other way.
  • Tell others not to join in on the bullying either. You can make a difference by encouraging others to do the same.
  • Help the victim any way you can – speak directly to them and say something like “Let’s get out of here.”
  • Show the victim that you are empathetic – say “I would feel sad and angry too” or “I’m sorry this is happening to you.”
  • Encourage the victim to tell an adult and offer to go with them.

Stand up for what is right – even if you are standing alone!



It is not BIG to make somebody else feel SMALL!

In the same survey that was done about how sad South African reading statistics are, they also mentioned that our Grade Four children are among the most bullied in the world.


How horrible is that?

There is often some confusion regarding conflict and bullying.

  • When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s RUDE.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s MEAN.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it – even when you tell them to stop or show them that you are upset – that’s BULLYING.

Conflict is normally a disagreement or an argument. Bullying is normally a show of strength or influence to intimidate somebody else, or typically to force them to do something that they do not want to do.

Conflict turns into bullying when there is an imbalance of power. This can come from someone being bigger, older, stronger and more confident or having more friends. Their mean behaviour happens over and over again.

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes – some use their fists (physical) others use their voices (verbal) and in the last few years, cyber bullying has become a big thing too – using the internet, social media, text messaging, e-mail and other electronic mediums to say mean or embarrassing things.

No matter what shape the bullying takes, they all leave you feeling broken and humiliated.

Bullying does not only occur at school either – it often happens at home and in the neighbourhood.

Warning signs of somebody being bullied:

  • Withdrawal from friends and activities.
  • Physical complaints.
  • Worried, angry, quiet or moody.
  • Declining schoolwork.

One of the major forms of bullying in schools is EXCLUSION.

For various reasons kids shun other kids. Often for stupid things like they don’t have cool enough clothes or hairstyles. We all know having a friend to sit with at break or lunch time makes the world of difference.

That’s what the friendship bench is all about. If you don’t have anybody to sit with – you can sit on that specific bench at school and somebody is always there to chat to you and see that you are not alone. We have a roster and take turns to do bench duty – you get to meet all sorts of interesting people too.

More on how you can beat bullies next week.

Be kind people!


One of a kind

13th of November was World Kindness Day. Yes! There really is such a day. Although honestly I think that every day should be kindness day – just like every day should be earth day.

The world revolves around kindness.

Just think a bit… if somebody smiles at you, or compliments you on something – you feel good. Right? It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and your whole body feels a little lighter and happier. Just because you are feeling good about yourself – you might then smile at somebody else involuntarily because you’re in a good mood. And that might make them smile too.

It’s a chain effect – a good one!

Just the same if someone yells at you and makes you feel bad, you curl up into a little ball, and smart at the injustice of it all. You are far more likely to yell at the dog, shove the cat and be mean to the next person you come across.

That’s also a chain effect – a bad one.

Being kind is a mind-set. It costs nothing and means the world. If you are a boss it can be as simple as thanking somebody (publically preferably – remember – thank in public and scold in private) for a job done. It does not have to be a hard or complicated job either. Being nice to people makes them feel valued and then they want to do more. Being nasty makes people think… why should I bother?

It is crazy when people in charge belittle their staff and then still expect them to perform well. There’s a guy who owns a restaurant near us and he always yells at his waitrons and treats them like dirt. Obviously his staff turn-over is very high yet he still does not get that he, him-self is the problem.

It’s easy to say to say something nasty or demeaning – but it is even easier to say something nice.

And you don’t have to lie – if you don’t think a dress looks good on somebody – you could say you like the colour, or the style or something.

There are numerous ways you can be kind. Lend a helping hand. Give a word of encouragement. Give somebody a letter or a card. Compliment a stranger.  Or just smile at random people – that also does the trick.

Have a nice day.


World Humanitarian Day

19 August was World Humanitarian Day. This day was initially declared by the United Nations back in 2008 after a terrible terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Bagdad in 2003, where 22 people were killed.

Nearly every day some disaster happens – whether it is war, terrorist attacks, floods, earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, disease, poverty or hunger. These things cause huge suffering for all the people who are caught up in these events and, sadly, it is usually the poorest people who suffer the most.

Humanitarian assistance workers go all-out to provide help in these situations both in the short and long term. Often these workers put themselves at risk too and sometimes even die in their efforts to help other people.


We can all be humanitarians.  There is no special training needed to do the right thing every now and then. Sometimes it is as simple as delivering blankets or warm clothes to the needy when there is a very cold spell. Or helping out in your local community if something untoward – like a flood -happens.

Basically it all boils down to being kind and thinking of others. The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous.

It’s not very hard to be any of those things, but sometimes it does require conscious thought. Often we get so caught up in everyday life that we forget there are many people who have considerably less than we do and could use a bit of a helping hand. It could be as simple as knowing somebody at school who needs to share your lunch occasionally.

Remember a while ago we talked about having “Friendship benches” at school.  Where kids who don’t have any friends, or just maybe need somebody to talk to, can go and sit and know for sure that somebody will come and talk to them. That also boils down to being kind – and generous. You don’t have to be generous with money always. You can be generous of spirit or with your time.

There might even be an elderly person in your neighbourhood who is lonely and could use somebody to chat to or maybe needs help with shopping or garden work.

The main thing is for us all to keep an open mind and not miss out on opportunities to do the odd good deed. Or many good deeds!


World Day against Human Trafficking in Persons

The 30th of July is World Day against Human Trafficking in Persons.  That’s quite a mouthful and probably not something that most people think of – but they should. It is a very serious topic and very scary too.

Worst thing is that it happens – a lot more than you think.

The International Labour Organisation reckons that there are about 20.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world. 68% of these people are trapped into forced labour, 26% are children and 55% are women and children.

It is horrendous to think that unscrupulous people make money out of snatching other human beings and exploiting them for money. Often false advertising is involved. Like somebody sees a billboard for as enticing job in a faraway place with a toll free number to call. But instead of getting the job that they are expecting, they are tossed into a brothel or a sweat shop and forced to do jobs that they would have never in a million years wanted to do. Because they are illegally in a foreign country, with no paperwork and usually no money, they have very little chance of ever going home again.

These are some of the signs that traffickers look for in children:

  • Homelessness
  • Isolation
  • Drug, alcohol or tobacco use
  • History of prior neglect
  • Gang involvement
  • Bad history with child welfare services
  • Low self-esteem
  • History of victimization
  • Criminal history
  • Current involvement with criminals

Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  • Never give your social media passwords or bank pin numbers to anybody.
  • Never let anybody hold your ID documents for you – even if you think they are trying to help.
  • Avoid posting your location on-line. (This is a biggie these days with social media and cell phones automatically offering to post where you are.)
  • Remember that you have a RIGHT to stay safe.
  • Remind yourself that your worth should not be determined by another person.
  • Think of a plan of who to call and what to do if you feel you are in an unsafe situation.
  • Memorize the number of an adult you completely trust and the Human Trafficking 24/7 hotline +1 888-373-7888.

So, when your parental agents tell you not to talk to strangers – they are not kidding. If somebody promises you something that sounds too good to be true – it probably is.

Stay safe


Don’t be bullied!

The 3rd of May is World Press Freedom Day. You might think this is a weird day to have and is not very important – but it is. Hugely so. It is critical that newspapers and electronic media are allowed to freely report what is going on in the country or the world, for that matter. Often journalists risk their lives in order to bring news of what is happening to the people. Just imagine if were not able to read your weekly edition of the African Reporter?  You’d have no idea of what is going on in the area.

Which brings me to my next topic – bullying.

There is way too much bullying going on these days. Not only kids are bullied – adults also get bullied.

Verbal bullying is just as wrong as being bullied physically. These days, with social media, you get cyberbullying too.

Sometimes people only properly recognise bullying when it’s physical. For example, when somebody pushes or hits you or hurts you in some other way.

The sad thing is that bullies are typically people who are being bullied themselves – usually at home. They then take it out on other people – normally smaller or weaker than themselves.  It makes them feel better about their own situation – but it is completely wrong.

There are a number of ways of dealing with a bully.

You can try and deal with it yourself.   Walk away whenever the bully approaches you. Pretend you are just walking away from a friend – that way your body language does not look like you are afraid. Bullies like it when you are afraid.

If the bully is verbally abusing you – think of something else – like what you are going to do that weekend or count in your head to 100.  Anything that blocks out what the bully is saying. If you don’t hear it – it can’t hurt you.

If possible, try to hang around friends all the time so the bully cannot get you alone.

Never forget that you are a valuable person and it’s the bully that has the problem. Not you.

Of course you DO NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT ALONE. You can happily go and speak to somebody that you trust – a prefect, parent, teacher or other adult. If they don’t believe you, speak to somebody else that does. If you are being bullied at work you can speak to your HR department.

Know your rights – being bullied is wrong.

Take care,


Bullies are Bad

Hullo my friends.

How are you all?

I saw a terrible thing the other day at break time. One of the bigger kids shoved a little girl – took her lunch box and helped herself to all the food. Just like that.

I was so shocked I just stood and stared. I felt really bad for not doing anything to help, although I did share my lunch with the little kid.

Shame, she was crying so much her glasses had all misted up and she could not even see.

I said she must tell her teacher and she must tell her parental agents. But the little kid just shook her head and said that the bully girl lived close to her and would pick on her even more if she got her into trouble.

Eish! I did not know what to do. So I asked my Mum and she said I should tell my teacher. My teacher listened carefully and asked a few questions. Then she said not to worry – she would make a plan.

My teacher is so clever! She lurked behind a window at break time and saw the same thing happening all over again. The big kid stole the little kid’s lunch. She dashed outside and had words with the bully.

The last I saw was the bully being hauled off to the principal’s office.

Bullying is bad you know. And it takes all sorts of different forms – like being called names, being teased or being ignored and left out. Sometimes they push or pull you, steal your stuff or even hit you.

It’s wrong.

I know it’s scary if it’s happening to you – but you HAVE to TELL somebody. Your teacher or your parents – anybody who can help you.

You are not allowed to be bullied. Not even by an adult. They’re not allowed to bully you either.

Usually bullies are having a problem in life themselves – but it still does not give them the right to take it out on somebody else.

It’s a violation of the bill of rights… “All children should be protected against all types of violence.”

Stand tall.


PS – If you are an educator and are interested in getting wallcharts on the subject of “Bullying” go and look at:


Your new cool word for the week:

Word:  pow-wow

Meaning:  to have a discussion with, to talk to

Example: I had a pow-wow with my mum to see how we could help stop the little girl from being bullied.