Saturday, November 21, 2009

Voices from the Past

As I continue to organize and declutter my files on South Africa I have pulled the file labeled, "correspondence." This is a file that documents my contacts. While it is dated there are actual letters that I have saved.

Below are two, one from Sharon Pratt at the Family Marriage Society of South Africa and Jane Keen at the Women's Support Centre. My basic philosophy is to be very intentional in sharing research findings with informants as a courtesy. I am all too aware of folks that obtain degrees as a result of individuals and never even bother to share their final papers etc.

The final letter is from the Rev. Bob Steyn, minister at the Unitarian Church in Cape Town and dated January 8, 1994. He has since died and so the letter has sentimental value since he was so kind to me.

Dear Qiyamah: This is just a short note to express our deepest gratitude for your excellent presentaion at our In-service Training Programme on Thursday 22 September 1994. The staff were both challenged and encouraged to continue to work in this very difficult area of domestic violence. We wishyou every success for the future and hope that somehow we will be able to maintain the contact. Best regards, Yours sincerely, S. Pratt (Mrs.) Manager of the Domestic Violence Team at Family Marriage Society of South Africa. Cape Town Office

Another letter from Jane Keen, Coordinator of the South African National Institute for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Offenders (NICRO) reads as follows:

17th January 1995
Dear Qiyamah, Thankyu so much for your letter which arrived today. It is lovely to get feedback and see that things are going so well for you. I am glad your visit was such a positive experience for you. We certainly enjoyed it and hope that you will maintain contact.

Thins are beginning to get going here at the satart of the new year but staff wise we are a little depleted. Debbie has gone back to Canada (as expected) and Penny has moved to Rape Crisis (their gain and our loss). Politically things continue to move int he right direction, albeit slowly, and ther is more of an openness to deal with domestic violence.

All the best for '95 - in your new job, your studies and your lecturing! Please keep in touch. With best wishes from all of us at the centre, Jane Keen, Coordinator: NICRO Women's Support Centre.

Dear Ms. Rahman: Forgive the delay in replying to your letter aboutr coming to South Africa. Life has been fairly hectic. I am not sure of the urgency because you do not say when in August you want to come to SA. Tony Baker has sent me a copy of his letter to you. Eric Heller-Wagner has not had your letteer because his address has changed. I have filled him in and he has a possible suggesgtion which I shall include below.

The YWCA Hostel int he City Bowl area could put you up after mid August. They are fully booked until August 12, but have vacancies after that. The cost is R55 a day for dinner, bed and breakfast. Thi is very reasonable in local terms. The accommodations and the the food are good. Eric Heller-Wagner says a woman colleague of his in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Western Cape, a predominantly black university where Eric is teaching now, hs been trying to find a woman to share her house. He does not know how far she has got. He will let me know. That is all I can come up with at this time.

I have vivid memories of Atlanta. I had a brief spell at the Atlanta Gazette during the Civil Rights campaigns in 1963 as part of my Nieman Fellowship programme. My wife, Marie, and I shared with close American friends and colleagues their shock and grief when John Kennedy was assassinated and felt ourselves very close to them.

I have discussed your research plans briefly with Eric who says he will be happy to help you with suggestions and advice as far as he can.

Please let me know if I can be of further help. Our telephone number is 21-461-1410. You would have to add the 0 and the international code at the beginning when you dial. We do not have a fax machine but we do have an ansering machine. We look forward to meeting you.

Bless you and take care, Bob Steyn

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