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Footbridge

Footbridge

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Published by Roger Russell
A walk around a post-Apartheid South Africa to support the fight against crime
A walk around a post-Apartheid South Africa to support the fight against crime

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Published by: Roger Russell on Sep 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/18/2014

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FOOTBRIDGE
 A JOURNEY THROUGH THE HEART OF SOUTH AFRICA BY ROGER RUSSELL
 
 On Monday the 23rd of August 1999, Roger Russell set off from Cape Town planning to walk 4200km around the Republic of South  Africa. A South Africa where not only was the crime rate one of the highest in the world but where the police themselves were considered to be corrupt and inefficient. Some few weeks before he started this the BBC had televised and broadcast an incident in which suspects in the process of being arrested were brutally beaten by members of the Johannesburg Flying squad. The circumstances and actions depicted shocked the world. Roger does not believe that this kind of news always reflects the full picture. Roger believes in the essential goodness of people. The goodness of the majority of the staff of the Police Services of the country and the majority of the people that live in it. The next day he was confronted by four armed youths and the little equipment he had was stolen. He had walked approximately 17 kilometers. Despite this he was determined to carry on. The event and his decision to continue became public property. Media all over the world covered the story. His courage inspired many South Africans and some of them came forward with offers of help. The walk was to continue! This is the story of that walk, it is not
a story of one man‟s
determination but a story of many people, a story of a country. A story of courage and failure, of commitment and disappointment. But above all it is a story of the other side, one for the good guys. A story that tries to provide a balance in the picture of an emergent society.
 
 
This book is for…
 
People who had the humanity to reach out when I was walking the streets looking for support before I was robbed;  A lady at the second hand camping shop on Long Street who gave me a gas stove, Andrea Weis of the Argus who ran the first article, Alan at AM-2-DAY for the interview on morning TV, Logans who gave me a poncho and some large discounts, CADAC who supplied a sleeping bag and 7-Eleven who sent me a cheque for R100.00. I have had this cheque framed as it was the only sponsorship I received in cash before all the publicity. And finally a backpack from Ken at Cape Union Mart. Jeremy Pender of Pender designs for a supply of highly effective T-shirts. My family; Anny and Brian, Carol and Diana, Jane, Jill and Jacky, Mom, all of whom are supposed to support me but do it with such faith and concern that I carry them in my heart where ever I go. The team (those that came on board once they knew and stayed for the trip);  Arthur Gillis of Protea Hotels who told me that I would not want for anything and saw to it. Barbara, his personal assistant, a veritable solar system of contacts and efficiency that kept the walk a joint effort. Ken Lazarus, Thanks, it is not easy to go to someone that has given you something and say,
“Hell Ken, I have lost it, have you got another one?” I did not have to, Ken got hold of me and said, “I demand the right to continue to support you…” Thanks Ken and Cape Union
Mart.
Thanks to the public… To Victor who
apologized that a member of his race had robbed me and has vowed to do what he can to change things. To Robyn at Logans who was very
worried about my feet. To the staff at Pick „n Pay, Kenilworth, who provided me with a
thousand rands worth of vouchers from their own pockets. To so many, many people along the road who sometimes did nothing more than walk across the street and shake my hand but unwittingly carried me around the country. To those that fed me, drove me here and there and provided a roof over my head. Thanks to the SAPS and the staff of the many Police Stations I visited around the country; sometimes good, sometimes not so good, but always the best they could.  And, of course the press
 – 
 you people were wonderful. We all take a beating about what we do sometimes and you come in for your fair share of that. The truth is that you are as concerned about this country as all of us and I saw this demonstrated in a very real way from the 23
rd
 August 1999 until the 2
nd
 May 2000. Then finally, thank you to Cynthia Ayres for this book
 – 
 She deciphered my writing, typed it and then made it into English. She has been as much a part of the final product as all of the people mentioned on its pages
Note from the author:
The story is written almost as a diary and the events are authentic. However in order to protect the situations and families of some of the people I met along the way, I have written some stories as commentaries. These appear at the end of each section that defines an area through which I walked. The stories do not necessarily have a geographical relationship to the area after which they appear.

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