Watch “Phalaborwa, Kruger National Park Kids Show No Fear for Lions.” on YouTube

The story about the 14 lions that were spotted in the area around Foskor Mine in Phalaborwa, South Africa, has been widely publicised. On our recent tour of the town, we found that people were not at all concerned about the lions.

The town of Phalaborwa is the only town in South Africa which directly shares its border with the world renowned Kruger National Park. So sightings of wild animals in this town is not an unusual occurrence. Some of the locals told us that they are living in harmony with the wild life. Elephants can be seen foraging for plants and reeds on the banks of the Selati river which is just within walking distance from the town. At night, hippos can be spotted crossing the streets in town and drivers have to be careful when they drive around town at night as the hippos are not clearly visible at night due to their dark brown colour. Other than that, and for time immemorial, there has never been any incident of wild animals attacking humans in this town. A local tour guide told us that other than the crocodile, no other wild animal, including lions and leopards, will actively hunt for humans. They prefer to keep a safe distance from humans and will only attack humans if threatened.

However, recently, and ironically at the same time as the 14 lions were spotted near the town, an elephant trampled a security guard, contracted to Foskor Mine, to death. The circumstances under which the incident occurred are not known as the guard was alone on night duty at one of the mine’s work sites at the time of the the incident.

Despite this, the locals insist that their town is very safe and they appeal to both domestic and international tourists to visit their unique town in order to experience nature first hand.

Nature enthusiasts are streaming from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands , France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Britain, the USA, Canada etc to come and enjoy the hospitality of this town. South Africans are also not to be outdone in this gold rush.

There are many local lodges, hotels and guest houses specifically designed to cater for these international and domestic tourists. The local Phalaborwa Accommodation Association has registered in excess of thirty establishments ready to serve the needs of these tourists. For anyone travelling to Phalaborwa and looking for the best accommodation, TT can be contacted at thete-at@nix.co.za or +2779 581 1841 to get in touch with any of the establishments. The tourism association has said that Phalaborwa is referred to as the town with two summers as there is hardly any winter here with the lowest average temperature being 15 degrees Celsius.

Ramaphosa’s Dream City: A Missed Opportunity for Zuma.

In his State of the Nation address on 20 June 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke about building the first city since the end of apartheid in South Africa. This idea and its potential to solve a multitude of social and economic problems is long overdue. If Zuma had had such a dream, and spent the billions of rands lost to state capture in building such cities, we could have had at least three such mega cities and the population composition of places such as Soweto and Alexander would be very different today as masses of people from these townships would be encouraged to settle in the new cities. And President Zuma would have been justified in naming the city after himself. Imagine Zuma City, a lasting legacy for South Africans.

Zuma had bad advice, and we are where we are today. But it is not too late for Ramaphosa to start with the project and no doubt the support from the private sector will be tremendous as there will be enormous benefits to be gained from such a project. In my view, once the first city is well under way, then a second one should commence, then the third one.And President Ramaphosa can have the pleasure of naming it after himself. Imagine Ramaphosa City or Matamela City or even RMC City. Then a lasting legacy would have been bequeathed to successive generations of South Africans.

This project in my view, should start tomorrow as it will solve our unemployment and crime problem at once. There is plenty of land between existing towns and cities as for example, between Johannesburg and Witbank/Emalahleni or between Pretoria and Emalahleni. There is no need to wait.

TT Thete is a contributor for DigiiNewsNetwork

D-Day: 06 June 1944 -The Invasion of France by the Allied Forces.

D-Day 06 June 1944, the Invasion of France by the Allied Forces

Background to the Invasion: Germany invaded France on 10 May 1940 and the battle of France began. By 26 May 1940, German troops had advanced deep into France, trapping over 336 000 British, French, Belgian, Dutch and other allied troops at the port of Dunkirk. Hitler ordered his forces to halt. This gave the British an opportunity to organise the biggest evacuation of troops in history. Historians do not agree as to the reasons why Hitler would have made such an order as the French and British troops were trapped at Dunkirk and their defeat was a foregone conclusion. There are those who argue that he was persuaded by Herman Goring, chief of the Luftwaffe, to halt the advance of the ground forces so as to give the Luftwaffe and opportunity to finish the battle and claim victory for themselves. Others would say that he wanted to give the rest of the German infantry a chance to catch up with the panzers which had advanced rapidly across France. Yet others would say that he wanted to give Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister,  an opportunity to negotiate for peace under favourable terms, while others would say that the German panzers advanced so rapidly into France that Hitler was convinced that the French and British forces would strike back viciously while the German troops were over-stretched and vulnerable. Whatever the reason was, the British were given an opportunity to evacuate thousands of troops within a matter of days. The French sued for peace and it so happened that France, for the next four years, until June 1944, remained under German occupation while elsewhere in Europe and the World and on the Eastern Front, the war raged on.

A meeting of Allied Commanders Planning for D-Day.

Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.

The decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion in 1944 was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), and General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all the land forces involved in the invasion. The coast of Normandy of north-western France was chosen as the site of the invasion, with the Americans assigned to land at sectors codenamed Utah and Omaha, the British at Sword and Gold, and the Canadians at Juno. To meet the conditions expected on the Normandy beachhead, special technology was developed, including two artificial ports called Mulberry harbours and an array of specialised tanks nicknamed Hobart’s Funnies. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deceptionOperation Bodyguard, using both electronic and visual misinformation. This misled the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings.  Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in charge of developing fortifications all along Hitler’s proclaimed Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an invasion.

The Allies failed to accomplish their objectives for the first day, but gained a tenuous foothold that they gradually expanded when they captured the port at Cherbourg on 26 June and the city of Caen on 21 July. A failed counterattack by German forces on 8 August left 50,000 soldiers of the 7th Army trapped in the Falaise pocket. The Allies launched a second invasion from the Mediterranean Sea of southern France (code-named Operation Dragoon) on 15 August, and the Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August. German forces retreated east across the Seine on 30 August 1944, marking the close of Operation Overlord.

The ruins of Caen, World War 2

The battle for Caen.

Summary of the scale of the battle: The invasion took place from 06 June 1944 until 30 August 1944 in northern France and resulted in victory for the allies.  Soldiers from the following countries took part In the invasion on the side of the Allies namely, The USA, the UK, Canada, France, the French Resistance, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Danish sailors. On the Axis side, only Germany was involved, Italy having been taken out of action with the demise of Benito Mussolini on 25 July 1943. Japan was preoccupied with the United States in the Far East and could not come to the assistance of the Third Reich.

General Bernard L. Montgomery watches his tanks move up.” North Africa, November 1942

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel  and General Bernard L. Montgomery

The Commanders: The Allied Forces were commanded by Dwight Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander, Arthur Tedder as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander and Bernard L Montgomery as Commander in Chief of Ground Forces. The German Forces on the Western Front were under the overall command of Adolf Hitler himself, Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt OB of the Western Front and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, commander of Army Group B. The Allies deployed just over 2 million soldiers while Germany could only manage to deploy just over 640 000, just a quarter of the troops deployed by the allies.  Close to 40 000 civilians were killed during this phase of the conflict.

TT Thete is a World War II Historian based in Phalaborwa, South Africa.

This Article is published courtesy of Wikipedia. Pictures are supplied by Goodfreephotos.