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Ken Borland



Bavuma admits notorious chokers tag will now be hung around his Proteas’ necks 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma did not explicitly say it was another case of South Africa choking at a cricket world cup after their shock loss to the Netherlands saw them eliminated from the T20 showpiece on Sunday, but he did admit that notorious tag would now be hung around their necks, like so many of their predecessors.

Needing to just beat qualifiers the Netherlands to make the semi-finals, the Proteas instead came out flat and uninspired, allowing the Dutch to post a challenging 158/4, and then batting limply to only manage 145/8 in reply.

“That tag will always be there until we get to a final and come out on the right side of it,” Bavuma said in the aftermath. “We have nothing else to blame, everything was in our own hands.

“We had the confidence, the belief and the form behind us, but when it mattered we just couldn’t do the business. There needs to be an element of learning to make sure young guys like Tristan Stubbs and Marco Jansen don’t make the same mistakes in future.

“But we are still going to carry that monkey on our backs, that tag. We knew we had to win the game, but I didn’t feel any different type of pressure personally.

“It’s very hard to say it was different because we knew we had to beat India and we won that game. We had the opportunity to make the semi-finals and we just did not take it,” Bavuma said.

Of his own future in the shortest format, Bavuma said he will park any decision on the captaincy until a new fulltime coach is appointed. The skipper admitted that all the speculation over his own poor batting form had also been unsettling.

“It’s been a tricky time and to consider the captaincy now, a lot of my thinking would be emotional. I probably will think about it and speak to the relevant people.

“We have to see who comes in as coach, generally the new person coming in might want a different leader to execute their vision. But I think I carried myself with dignity through the good and bad times.

“Mentally all the talk does affect you. You try to manage your mental space as much as you can, unfortunately social media and whatever is said about you, always seems to get to you no matter how you try to control it.

“I’ve tried to keep a level head through the good and bad times and stay as close to myself as possible. Not just for myself but for the group, who will now take a lot of flak, and rightfully so,” Bavuma said.

Four remaining matchfixing suspects will be sitting uneasily after Matshikwe sentenced 0

Posted on July 25, 2022 by Ken

The four remaining suspects in the 2015/16 RamSlam T20 Challenge matchfixing case will be sitting uneasily after Pumelela Matshikwe was given a six-year sentence, suspended for five years, for corruption in Pretoria last Friday.

Matshikwe is the second player to be convicted for his role in the matchfixing scandal, and he pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering into a corrupt relationship with Gulam Bodi and two separate bookmakers for fixing matches in the 2015/16 season of the T20 competition.

Bodi was sentenced to five years imprisonment in 2019 on eight charges of corruption for his role as the middleman in the scheme. It was the first time the Corrupt Practices Act had been used in a sporting context.

Fellow Highveld Lions cricketer Jean Symes has also been charged and his case is pending, while Thami Tsolekile, Ethy Mbhalati, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Alviro Petersen, who have all been banned from cricket, have not yet been charged.

But it is known that the Hawks Anti-Corruption Task Team under the guidance of the National Prosecuting Authority’s senior state advocate Willem van Zyl, is continuing investigations into that quartet of former players.

While Matshikwe, who entered into a plea agreement with the state, and Symes have kept silent over the case, Tsolekile, Mbhalati, Tsotsobe and self-styled whistleblower Petersen have accused Cricket South Africa’s Anti-Corruption Unit of racism and coercion against them. They began their campaign to have the investigation reopened on a well-known radio talk show based in the city and even repeated their accusations in the Social Justice and Nation-Building Hearings.

The SJN ombudsman, Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, did not uphold their allegations.

Apart from causing immense pain to the South African cricket family, the four remaining suspects have increased their risk of criminal prosecution, with insiders saying the Hawks are determined to prosecute all the suspects one-by-one.

Limpokwena Nature Reserve 0

Posted on June 22, 2022 by Ken

An idyllic spot in Limpokwena Nature Reserve, next to the Mogalakwena River.

Birding in the arid north-western reaches of the Limpopo Province is much more profitable when there are rivers around and the Limpokwena Nature Reserve is a case in point.

Situated where the Limpopo and Mogalakwena rivers meet, Limpokwena is like a bushveld oasis in the vast stony plains of Mopane scrub that dominate the region.

The well-equipped lodge area is a place of tremendous tranquility under the fever and sausage trees and, from the reserve entrance to the main camp, there is a road along the Mogalakwena River that provides a foretaste of the marvellous birdlife that is to come.

There are lovely massive trees along this major tributary of the Limpopo, which marks the border between South Africa and – from west to east – Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The Mogalakwena starts life as the Nyl River in the eastern Waterberg.

A morning drive along the Mogalakwena River brought something special early on as the bright yellow flash of a Goldenbreasted Bunting flying into a tree next to the river caught my eye, closely followed by a Greyheaded Kingfisher alighting in the same dead branches.

Not far from where I spotted the Greyheaded Kingfisher, an intra-African migrant that is always a good sighting, the road passes a beautiful spot with the Mogalakwena on the one side and a big pond on the other, surrounded by very pleasant riverine forest.

A Malachite Kingfisher, a year-round resident, was catching breakfast in the pond and creating ripples that disturbed the serene reflection of trees and clear blue sky in the water.

A little further on, a handful of Blackfaced Waxbill were feeding on the seeds of the tall grass, that is so prevalent in March in the Limpopo River Valley, and then flying up into the remains of a thorn tree. These typical seed-eaters of the arid west nest in thorn trees.

Blackfaced Waxbill are pretty unobtrusive little birds, the antithesis of the raucous Hadeda Ibis.

But my first sighting of these very familiar birds that are normally quick to announce their presence was of a couple quietly straggling along the river road. Of course I did soon hear noisier Hadedas.

Seeing as though ‘Mogalakwena’ means ‘fierce crocodile’ in the local Tswana language, it was little surprise to spot a rather large one, on a sandbank, well-hidden by some short trees.

Lodge sundowners

Heading back to the lodge, just up the road from that idyllic space, some Vervet Monkeys peered at me naughtily, their heads poking above the long grass. Fortunately they were no trouble at all on this trip.

A sundowner outside my cottage, close to the Mogalakwena and a smaller stream, was called for and, overlooking the stream bed from a slighly elevated vantage point, one gets excellent views of whatever is flying around the riverine forest.

A Tropical Boubou was rather noisy as it settled down for the night in the trees above the firepit and, well after sunset, a Woodland Kingfisher landed in the tree in front of me, calling away; their loud, piercing call is one of the sounds of summer in northern South Africa.

An African Scops Owl also popped in for a visit, giving its characteristic frog or insect-like call (depending on what amphibians or insects sound like in your neck of the woods) – Prrrrruup! – from close quarters.

The smaller stream was a side channel, a dry bed with pools of water after the rains and well-wooded fringes, which is why there was still a fairly new-looking Hamerkop nest in a tree in front of my cottage.

These massive nests are amongst the most remarkable in the Avian kingdom and I did see a few Hamerkop flying in fluttery fashion along both rivers.

The next day a Crested Barbet was investigating holes in the trees in front of the cottage and an Emeraldspotted Wood Dove was pottering around in one of the dry stream beds.

The deck

The lodge have built a deck on the banks of the Mogalakwena River and this is a great spot to look over and along the water.

A Brown Snake Eagle was cruising overhead and a Meyer’s Parrot was clearly visible at the top of a Red Bushwillow, eating the seeds, which are poisonous to livestock but loved by parrots.

A Greenbacked Heron came flying along the full river, which also had a Pied Kingfisher patrolling, and then the dry 35° heat meant it was time to cool off at the swimming pool, which was sparkling most alluringly in the shade of the welcoming trees back at the warm hospitality of the lodge.

An African Fish Eagle was calling and soaring high above the swimming pool and then a single Arrowmarked Babbler flew with great purpose over the pool to join its noisy colleagues who were headed towards the riverine bush.

As one enters Limpokwena, one is struck by the rugged, arid landscape. Thorny trees and Mopane thickets seem to be the only vegetation seen in the heat haze, apart from the Baobabs, scattered amongst the old farms and scratched by the former inhabitants and gouged by the Elephants which currently roam the area, many coming across the Limpopo from the Tuli Block in adjoining Botswana.

As I drove through the gate, a group of Chacma Baboons seemed to be chilled and happy to see me, but my closer approach saw them stampede away, fleeing across the old farmlands.

A Common Myna then came flying across the road towards the Mogalakwena River with nesting material in its beak.

It was not a very promising start.

The Mopaneveld

But it’s not just the riverine areas of Limpokwena that make this such a highly-recommended spot for nature lovers. There is also much to discover in the rocky koppies of this hot and dry region.

When one comes out of the river drive, the road heads westwards straight into the heart of the Mopaneveld. A Jacobin Cuckoo flew across the road and then played a bit of hide-and-seek as I tried to get a decent sighting.

There were numerous Whitebrowed Sparrow Weavers and lots of nests, although many of these are roosting nests. Practically all of them, however, are on the leeward side of the trees, away from the prevaling wind. The most widespread of the Sparrow Weavers is also quite chirpy and bossy.

A family group of White Helmetshrike also flew across the road, chuckling away at their noisy, colonial neighbours.

A big group of Banded Mongoose, 15-20 of them, were also on the road and, with no termitaria in sight, they had probably come down from their shelter in the rocky outcrops, which were dotted with the striking Purple-Pod Cluster-Leaf (Terminalia prunioides). The plum-coloured fruits of this deciduous tree, which is often associated with Mopane, are also loved by parrots.

Giraffe peering over Purple-Pod Cluster-Leaf (Terminalia prunioides)

As the road then turns north and heads gently down towards the Limpopo River, one comes across a clearing in the Mopaneveld, a peaceful bit of open Acacia savanna.

A Giraffe was enjoying browsing in a less-enclosed space, attended to by a Redbilled Oxpecker. Whitefronted Bee-Eaters were sharing a tree with Redbilled Buffalo Weavers and there was also a European Roller in the vicinity. An African Hoopoe and a Glossy Starling were confidently picknicking on the ground next to the road.

The peace was rather shattered, however, when a Namaqua Dove male that was chilling in a tree was dive-bombed by another arriving male!

When I headed out again in the afternoon on my complimentary game drive with host Riley as a wonderful companion – so passionate and interesting about the bush – we started by admiring a Lesser Grey Shrike, which was incredibly dapper in its bright white, grey and black colours.

Soon we were enjoying a herd of African Elephant as a couple of Helmeted Guineafowl went careening down the road at breakneck speed.

We went through that same patch of open Acacia savanna and the Bee-Eater, Hoopoe and Glossy Starling were all still there.

Our destination was Island Camp, and seeing it was one of the highlights of my stay. It would be a dream camping spot for me and anyone else feeling adventurous.

Island Camp is a stunning spot on the Limpopo and you have to cross a high log-bridge over one of the channels of the river to get there. You are basically camping right in the river as there are four rustic tents set up on an actual small, unfenced island in the river famous for both its beauty and danger.

There is a little bench of waterfalls just up the way from the camp which looks a great spot for fishing birds, and the pristine riverine trees, where a Collared Flycatcher had been seen a month earlier, allowed me to add Goldentailed Woodpecker and Spottedbacked Weaver to my list.

Before returning to the Lodge, we popped in at the superb sunken photographic hide. There were a pair of Great Sparrow, which can be locally common but are mostly uncommon in South Africa, on the telephone line approaching the hide and I was delighted when they then came to the water to drink.

Great Sparrow

On my final morning at Limpokwena, a quick scan of the waterhole, that has water pumped into it regularly, at the lodge showed little else than Marsh Terrapins and a Brownhooded Kingfisher in the trees along the dry watercourse running just outside the fence-line.

On the way out of this quite wonderful bit of natural wilderness, a Steppe Buzzard was quietly perched, perhaps also departing, beginning its northward migration as summer came to a perfect end.

Where is Limpokwena Nature Reserve?

Sightings List

Chacma Baboon

Impala

Common Myna

Southern Yellowbilled Hornbill

Redeyed Dove

Pied Kingfisher

Plains Zebra

Cape Turtle Dove

Lilacbreasted Roller

Vervet Monkey

Waterbuck

Blue Wildebeest

Tropical Boubou

Tree Squirrel

Woodland Kingfisher

Hamerkop

Forktailed Drongo

Redbilled Hornbill

Redbilled Woodhoopoe

Laughing Dove

Common Warthog

Egyptian Goose

Greyheaded Kingfisher

Goldenbreasted Bunting

Grey Hornbill

Malachite Kingfisher

Grey Heron

Blackeyed Bulbul

Blackfaced Waxbill

Southern Greyheaded Sparrow

Natal Francolin

African Darter

Hadeda Ibis

Nile Crocodile

African Darter

Longtailed Starling

Jacobin Cuckoo

Whitebrowed Sparrow Weaver

White Helmetshrike

Banded Mongoose

Redbilled Quelea

European Bee-Eater

Namaqua Dove

Giraffe

Whitefronted Bee-Eater

Redbilled Buffalo Weaver

European Roller

Giraffe

Redbilled Oxpecker

African Hoopoe

Glossy Starling

Grey Lourie

Greater Kudu

Blackbacked Puffback

Crested Barbet

African Fish Eagle

Arrowmarked Babbler

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove

Lesser Grey Shrike

African Elephant

Helmeted Guineafowl

Crowned Plover

Goldentailed Woodpecker

Spottedbacked Weaver

Cinnamonbreasted Rock Bunting

Great Sparrow

Common Duiker

Redbacked Shrike

Blacksmith Plover

Southern Masked Weaver

Brown Snake Eagle

Spotted Flycatcher

Water Dikkop

Meyer’s Parrot

Threebanded Plover

Greenbacked Heron

African Scops Owl

Five-Lined Skink

Marsh Terrapin

Brownhooded Kingfisher

Steppe Buzzard

Adams’ loss of nerve an unfortunate development 0

Posted on June 10, 2022 by Ken

Paul Adams’ refusal to testify in Mark Boucher’s disciplinary hearing is an unfortunate development that will not only considerably weaken Cricket South Africa’s case, but also reflects badly on the former spin bowler and makes it harder for the current Proteas coach to clear his name in an unambiguous fashion.

Having showed an admirable level of courage in testifying at the Social Justice and Nation-Building hearings about an offensive team song the Proteas used in fines meetings in the late 1990s, Adams now seems to have lost his nerve when it comes to presenting and justifying the same evidence, but this time with Boucher’s representatives being able to cross-examine and test his claims.

It shows again that for SJN Ombudsman Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza to err so badly in allowing inflammatory allegations to be publicly aired without being properly subjected to legal processes has only created more headaches for Cricket South Africa.

Adams was also disingenuous in his weekend statement announcing his decision when he claimed he never meant to single out Boucher in his SJN testimony. While Boucher’s name was admittedly brought into the conversation by one of Ntsebeza’s legal assistants, Adams went on to say that Boucher “should come and say sorry, if that’s enough, but we can’t brush this under the carpet”.

Adams also went on to target Boucher’s appointment as Titans coach in 2016.

No amount of “sorry”s can fully cleanse the stain of being unjustifiably called a racist and Adams’ refusal to further discuss his allegations has denied Boucher the chance of properly exonerating himself if he is innocent of the offences his former team-mate accuses him of doing.

With Enoch Nkwe also not expected to testify, CSA’s entire case could quickly disintegrate. But the public may not be as quick to forget the allegations that were made against Boucher but which have never actually been disproven.

That could only have happened if Adams had availed himself to answer such probing questions as what other songs were sung, what songs did he participate in and who actually wrote the offensive lyrics?

Having provided the matches to those who are looking to burn down Boucher’s career, Adams has now slipped out of being held accountable for what he said.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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