CHAPTER 10 – THE NASTIEST TOWN IN SOUTH AFRICA
“Truth is still truth even if no one believes it. A lie is still a lie even if everyone believes it.” – Source unknown
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” – Saint Augustine
“Through all the ways of our unintelligible world, the trivial and the terrible walk hand in hand together.” – Wilkie Collins, ‘The Woman in White’
My readers were been intimidated too. Even people I didn’t know who saw through the bullshit and criticised my attackers. More often that not, it was Mark Allan and DA Councillor Dr. Martin Young who scolded, insulted and scared them.
A regular tactic was to join their pages and then tag them in horrible posts, as if they had committed my ‘crimes’. Businesses were tagged too. It was a lesson in not accepting invitations to the pages of people you don’t know. But some of my ensnared subscribers were older and less wise to Facebook, not realising that all they had to do was unsubscribe from the pages of the beasts tagging them.
Allan was vicious towards women who stuck up for me. A young mother whom I hardly knew, saw me in town and gave me a hug. She said Allan had made her cry.
People didn’t even have to comment. They were considered guilty by association, just for being my subscriber. Young and accomplices would threaten to sue them.
The bullying worked to a degree in that some unsubscribed from my page and many, particularly women, stopped posting comments in support.
* * * * * *
An example of the insanity was the targeting of Amanda Forrow who met me once.
Those my age will recall that Forrow was a Radio 5 and SABC celebrity. She was the first to run a consumer watch programme. Thereafter, she took up motivational speaking and spiritual counselling. I met her for a pleasant conversation years before. Meeting her was enough for my cyberstalkers to throw her under the wheels of the political bus.
Protecting Brand Knysna (PBK) distinctly showed that the rights of the Public meant nothing, and that the goal was to make them too scared to know me:
“When will people realize associating with or supporting Hampton rubs off on them??? This is ‘brand damage by association’ to colossal levels. And it is time to pay for that association. His supporters should deservedly pay an increasing share of the cost of the damage he does to Knysna. This is an entirely democratic process whereby the majority rules.”
PBK wasn’t the majority and a mob cannot rule a Republic. But these examples from the comment section show that nastiness rather than constitutional rights was their sole intention.
“Oh no, this pic was taken whilst Mike Hampton and Amanda Forrow were enjoying “sweet-nothings-pillow-talks” whilst discussing their ‘on board the UFO acceptance speech’!!!”
The photo was cropped, of unknown source, and showed only Forrow. Over snacks coffee and polite conversation, us strangers never got around to sex. That PBK was using an age-old weapon against a woman was extra mean.
“Amanda Forrow, the lady who has been declared persona non grata in every station in the land, who was allegedly stood up by [radio host] Martin Bailey for a more attractive, slimmer and intelligent person, who has run out of people to con in Knysna, not to mention the alleged bilking of the Turbine Hotel a few years back. She and Wicked Mike have had such a cozy relationship all these years… hatching plans on who to destroy next. The ‘truth’ she claims!!! Ha ha ha, now that is so funny. Only people with two (or less) brain cell(s) would consider any validity in her ‘truth’… but then again, she is an ardent ‘Conspiracy Theorist’!!!”
“Does she have a ten year old? Nope! Like the Black Widow Spider, she kills anything after mating with her, although anyone stupid enough to attempt ‘gatte-jag’ should lie with the consequences thereof!!! Thankfully, the gene-pool self-regulates…”
After being strongly criticised, PBK ensured there was no misunderstanding:
“This page is for one purpose only – to counter the damage Hampton and his supporters do to Knysna’s brand. There are several administrators. It is unpleasant but necessary. There is no alternative in dealing with a sociopath. We’ve looked. We’ve tried. This is the only way. If you google dealing with narcissists and sociopaths this is to be the common recommendation by experts. Narcissists are incapable of taking advice or guidance towards more fruitful and profitable means of exchange. This is the only alternative to more traditional methods of dealing with unwanted individuals which involve criminal intent, threats and bodily harm which is how Durban got ‘rid’ of Hampton. He has a track record. That route is reprehensible. This is the only ethical alternative, to call him on his bluffs and to expose his supporters and their motives.”
Except, as usual, their ‘facts’ were rubbish. ‘Durban’ hadn’t got ‘rid’ of me, and Forrow had only met me once, wasn’t a supporter and wasn’t involved in politics. It’s unsurprising that, like my Dad, she got the hell out of Knysna.
Several voices made those PBK comments. A profile called Paul Sharp identified them as Mark Allan and Baden Hall. PBK responded that they were, “Not just one person – a whole consortium.” That comment compares to Young’s words elsewhere. Young may not have been involved under his own name but as an admin he was responsible when others made a post or comments under the page name. What ever happened there represented them all. They were culpable.
PBK was right about Sharp’s profile being fake. I even wondered if it was chosen because, long time ago, that was the name of my best friend. I’ve since identified the person behind it but their words and not their identity is relevant here. PBK was wrong in saying it was me. And Allan was wrong in saying that it was Forrow. The latter mistake is relevant to the next part.
Baden Hall was another admin. He’d been a strident supporter of Knysna Tourism CEO Shaun van Eck and was extremely unhappy with me for blogging about his lunacy as a host on Knysna FM, and as a snake oil salesman for con artist company Mannatech. The related photos of him on Facebook made him look like a televangelist (which may have been the hallelujah intention).
His next ‘product’ was MMM. He was happy to engage in the obligatory slippery speech:
“We’re all off to Mauritius in September, and each and everyone has spending money of R5,000 and R100,000 every month… for the rest of their lives! If you want to be part of this group of global go-getters, let’s talk.”
As justification for the product not being a con, he posted that Andile Mngxitama had joined the scheme. Mngxitama is a black supremacist who’d been booted from the EFF and would become the founder of the BFLF (Black First Land First). BFLF wants to steal lands from white property owners, gets happy when white school children die, and supports the Guptas and Zuma (the people most associated with the attempted capture of the South African economy). He wasn’t a a sane product reference before, and is even less now. But who cares? Definitely not Hall who could say that:
“My wife, my son and his girlfriend are shortly leaving on a 5 week holiday of Europe and UK, all paid for, thanks to MMM.”
Hall had displayed serial nastiness and disregard for the Public and was the first person to lay criminal charges against me. He was an ardent supporter of Young and Allan’s filthy comments about me. I was also told that he was angry with Amanda Forrow for something that had happened in their distant past.
The current description on his Twitter profile gives me chills: “Life-Skills Coach and Mentor.” Like Allan and Young, “Insanity Skills Coach and Cyberstalker” is more grade appropriate. I consider those who support them to be students in their Sociopath Academy.
Rants & Raves Knysna, run by Mark Allan, was one of the earlier Facebook groups against me. In a screenshot at the end of this chapter, you’ll find Allan adding Seton to the group (and Edge welcoming her). More importantly, that 2014 post found Baden Hall strangely associating Forrow and me.
Hall’s long-term grudge against Forrow and me continued leaking as elegantly as a short man’s penis dragging on a tiled floor:
“Mugabe, Hitler, Stalin and many others of their ilk believed that what they were doing was ‘right’ and had the unequivocal support of the ‘masses’. History has judged them accordingly. This person [Hampton] will be no different, especially after we survey the ruinous surroundings of Knysna once he has departed… A person is judged by the company he keeps… well, Amanda Forrow (together with all her numerous aliases) being one such supporter, as well as… er… er… er… can’t think of anyone else at this moment! That is damning in itself.”
When I received a High Court gag order from Deputy Mayor Esme Edge in 2015, Hall was over the moon about it. Adding weight to conspiracy is that he said eight more cases were coming at me. No lizards or UFOs, just the regularly nasty kind that can be found in humans throughout history. Further at issue here is that he used it to insult Forrow again, and imply she was next. He was obsessed.
I knew Hall was involved with PBK but, as with Seton and Edge at Knysna Knews, I needed proof. When questioned, Baden’s involvement wasn’t denied but that’s suggestive rather than conclusive. But another PBK post revealed him within hours.
Paul Sharp questioned PBK with:
“Care to explain to your followers why Ms Forrow was so viciously attacked. Or why you sanitised that thread so thoroughly? On the very thing you accuse Hampton of doing.”
“Maybe Baden removed the posts he made about you.”
Allan had thought Sharp was a fake profile being used by Forrow. Sharp had claimed Hall was an admin. Allan had just confirmed it.
‘Dr. Martin Young, Explain the Attack on This Woman’ was the header of my blog. Young failed to respond.
The situation became another damning factor the DA wouldn’t count as reason to not make him councillor later that year. Nothing else could explain the repetitive torridness unless it was the job the DA had given him. He was their Man, untouchable.
* * * * * *
I don’t want you to get insult fatigue and be numb for the rest of my book. So I’m going to rush through things such as Angry Mike which was a Twitter parody of me. Later, the name was changed to Butthurt.
Martin Hatchuel was allegedly the creator. I can’t confirm but there were substantial clues. I’d regularly drunk coffee with him in my early years in Knysna so I knew his sense of humour. Additionally, he was the most involved in sharing and commenting on Angry Mike.
It was also interesting to see which topics were chosen.
The Parliament hearing for my petition was mocked. Hatchuel had anonymously composed and released a press release about it on behalf of the Knysna Municipality. And Knysna Municipality’s Communication’s Manager had refused to reveal who wrote the press release against me on April Fool’s Day. Could that have been Hatchuel too?
Most importantly, at the same time Hatchuel was talking about a cricket match on his personal Twitter profile, it was mentioned on Angry Mike and on Protecting Brand Knysna (PBK). The latter unsurprisingly suggests he was another member of the admin “consortium”.
Regular twits were usual suspects Young, Barnes, Hall and Beard.
Repeated subjects were that I hated Knysna, was going to jail, and was like the Guptas. Basically, the propagandists had me pretending I was saying a bunch of dumb stuff. Occasionally they’d throw in an image to mock. For example, the top of my head was shown, and Barnes called me a “knob”.
Beard was true to his character and liked the post, “Maybe Zimbabwe needs me. Activists have a short shelf life there.” Beard also commented on another post that he wanted me to go “bungee jumping with no strings attached”.
One post continued the paedophilia theme. It showed a nerd with the caption, “Played the guitar… got arrested for fingering a-minor.” Hall liked that one.
Knysna fell under the DA’s East Region Manager, Jaco Londt. He repeatedly failed to act on my complaints and, after a meeting, refused to respond to any. However, he responded to the Angry Mike profile and added a smiley. I’m betting he knew what was going on.
They displayed a few clever moments that made me smile but, overall, most were childish and some just mean.
* * * * * *
Wanting me jailed had become regular theme but one PBK post, in particular, stuck like gum to the shoes of my enemies.
“So this is what we are going to do…
We are going to ask Knysna residents to crowd source R50,000 for legal fees to put this problem away. There are two, if not three, watertight cases that can see our protagonist do jail time for contravention of court orders. This is not an individual responsibility. This is Knysna’s responsibility, and should be funded as such. Watch this space.”
Mark Allan and Mark Beard you know. Manon MacDonald, as reminder, was the disgraced manager of the Knysna Municipality’s Electrical Department that I’d exposed for giving contracts to her husband. Sue Ryan was the local leader of the Ubuntu Party which I’d mocked for their dangerous election slogan that promised poor voters free electricity. The fake love in that party had become obvious with their comments against me, especially when they sided with the dangerously immoral.
The result to PBK’s call for money to jail me was:
Mark Beard: “Count me in subject to more details please.”
Sue Ryan: “Count me in too…”
Mark Allan: “I’m in.”
Manon McDonald: “I’m in!”
* * * * * *
Ashley Barnes and Martin Hatchuel falsely tried to tar me as a copyright thief in July 2016.
SANParks had invited writers to experience their new tourism route in the Knysna Forest. It was well organised and enjoyable. Professor de Jongh gave a lovely speech which I recorded and posted online for history buffs to enjoy. It would become another good deed punished.
Hatchuel and Barnes publicly accused me of plagiarising audio from Hatchuel’s video of the interview. On Knysna Gossip Column, Barnes used “steal”, “no ethics”, “absolute fraud”, and “leech” to describe me.
The lie was obvious. If they’d believed it, they’d have contacted me first. Plus Hatchuel must’ve noticed me recording with my cellphone, my arm held out (it was a small group). My recording was also better quality.
I emailed them, demanding an apology. Barnes never responded. Hatchuel was immediate with, “Go fuck yourself.”
* * * * * *
Subscribers, which is to say the Public (which is you), had been intimidated before. But in September 2016, the DA put them on the shooting range and mass fired threats of legal action if they continued to be my subscribers. The simple act of liking my page had become a crime to the DA.
I don’t know all involved but they included Dr. Martin Young (who’d recently become a councillor), Mark Beard and Sonwabo Oliver Ndevu whose picture found him in DA regalia. Julie Seton was allegedly involved but the person who told me was too scared to show me the proof.
Here are extracts from their threatening letter:
“You are listed as one of my friends having liked Love Knysna’s Facebook page in the past. Doing so at first glance is understandable. You may not know any more about what is going on there nor even care.
The level of tolerance for the persistent harassment of individuals on Council and in the Municipality running Knysna by Michael Hampton has diminished considerably. The damage he is doing to this town is not irrelevant, and there is proof thereof.
The chances of wide based and emphatic legal action seeking damages against him to put an end to this campaign of harassment is growing.
The problem is, he is a self declared destitute. And this is where you unfortunately come in. You have ‘liked’ his page. It is even worse if you have ‘liked’ or ‘shared’ a post that can be considered litigious.
You may be at risk of being sued alongside him for damages. If you don’t believe me, please check up on social media law.
I’m not telling nor asking you to do anything. You may believe in what he is doing or support him. That is your prerogative.
As a friend, however, if you do NOT support his views and/or methods, I advise you to distance yourself as much as you can by ‘unliking’ his page. Hit the Like button at the top. You will get a window asking to confirm the ‘unlike’. Select it. If he has blocked you, you won’t see that button, and will have to report that situation to Facebook so they can remove you.
If you have friends also on the page that you care about and don’t want to see facing legal claims against them, please spread this message!
This is about protecting Knysna residents from even more harm done by Michael Hampton (Wicked Mike).”
The composition of the letter smelt like a doctor. Those participating deserved an Oscar award for their fake concern.
The sudden pothole of unsubscribers motivated me to work harder until they were higher than before. I wasn’t going to be intimidated. And I was especially proud of those who stood up, either by contacting me or commenting online – thank you.
* * * * * *
I knew that it was a ‘Hail Mary’ but I had to try stop the escalation. I sent this letter to my cyberstalkers:
Subject: Meet and discuss?
From: Love Knysna – Mike <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2016/09/22 11:55 AM
To: DA – Martin Young <email@example.com>,
DA – Martin Young <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Martin Hatchuel <email@example.com>,
KM Comms – Christopher Bezuidenhoudt <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Magnetic Creative – Ashley Barnes <email@example.com>,
Autolink – MarkBeard <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
HOCASC – Wendy Rademeyer <email@example.com>
Amanda Martin [fake profile but posted as open letter online too]
CC: Out There – Fran Kirsten <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attention to some of the people involved in the political campaign to discredit me.
Why is it that so many DA people and supporters will not accept my challenge to a public meeting, debate or interview about my allegations of political and municipal corruption in Knysna?
Mayor Eleonore Bouw-Spies won’t (she killed her election promises of transparency and communication in her first month in office).
Knysna-Plett Herald Editor Elaine King won’t (her big boss in George said their lawyers were against it).
Speaker Georlene Wolmarans won’t (she had to be threatened with arrest to eventually turn up in Parliament).
WILL DA COUNCILLOR DR. MARTIN YOUNG TURN UP?
I’m inviting you people addressed at the start of this blog to a recorded discussion.
You have repeatedly tried to discredit me and my allegations of political corruption in Knysna. You never provide facts but possess many insults and accusations.
I’m offering each of you one hour. That means one on one in polite, reasonable discussion with me.
We’ll introduce ourselves, saying who we are and what we do. And you’ll be honest by stating if you have any connection to the DA or Municipality.
You don’t get to twist the agenda into yours. We’ll only discuss the main issues themselves:
1.The illegal ISDF tender
2. Knysna Tourism’s abuse of public funds
3. The Mazar’s report on Rowan Spies and his appointment as an Eden Councillor
4. The untendered appointment of Fran Kirsten
5. The propaganda campaign against me
6. The responsibility of the DA regarding these issues
As Amanda Martin’s hot issue is the Ubuntu Party, that’ll be included for her/he alone [it turned out to be a He who’d railed against me for questioning his friend, Michael Tellinger, the international, nutty leader of the Ubuntu Party. Nevertheless, name removed as he has shown great value elsewhere].
As Rowan Spies and Fran Kirsten are topics, it’s fair to offer them the same opportunity.
Each can bring a silent witness.
Surely one on one, recorded for the public, is as honest and transparent as it gets?
As most of you are acquainted, you can discuss among yourselves which day in October is the best to start. I will meet 5 of you that first day, one after the other, with a 30-min break in between.
If you believe you can prove I’m lying, or simply present evidence to better educate me, you should be jumping at this opportunity to either help Knysna or discredit me.
You could even use this as an opportunity to build bridges…
Please mail me your response by September 30 or comment on my Facebook (if you’re not banned).
Political conspirators don’t do honest discussion. I had no takers but received a bizarre email from Ashley Barnes.
* * * * * *
Whereas the males in the campaign against me would unfairly reduce women into bitches, Barnes was the real kind.
I’ve already mentioned that Barnes was a copywriter/marketer getting work from the Municipality. I’ve related a few nasty things she said and supported. Some of her Magnetic Creative colleagues contributed too.
What I’m about to share isn’t diabolical evil, but an example of how trivially unhinged some of my foes are.
Mango Groove is a famous band in South Africa with Claire Johnston as its singer. I don’t know them. They were just one of the many good bands whose Youtube songs I posted on Facebook. I sometimes liked to start my subscribers’ morning off with a song. Besides loving music (which was most of my life before Knysna), I shared from different cultures in the hope people would relate across the divide.
Whereas Barnes never accepted my offer to a sane meeting about corruption, cyberstalking and consequent peace, she somehow found my song post as reason to scratch again. It was also unhealthy, celebrity bombing.
“On 12/10/2016 08:16, Ashley Barnes wrote:
Claire Johnston of Mango Groove is a good friend of mine. In fact, I consider her my best friend. I have requested of her that she not support your latest post – not that it would even enter her radar. Just know – she is not a supporter of you, silly little Mike. You think you’re a music aficionado, but you’re really just a useless wannabee with the intellect of a boiled potato.
+27 (0)44 382 0565
“On 12 October 2016 at 08:32, Love Knysna – Mike wrote:
Your trolling comments already litter social media. No need to cyberstalk me via email, especially with something so irrelevant and trivial.
It’s also inappropriate for you to speak on behalf of another.
Please don”t contact me.”
“On 12/10/2016 12:19, Ashley Barnes wrote:
Oooo – bit late, dontcha think, Mike?
Who contacted who first?
Let’s just add “Fucking Hypocrite” to your list of accusations.
Guess who else is on my list of contacts? Advocate Friedman is a personal pal of mine.
Go on, you arsehole – try to take this further. I’m literally itching.”
On 12 October 2016 at 12:23, Love Knysna – Mike wrote:
Hateful and foolish. Again, I ask that you don’t contact me.
“On 12/10/2016 12:53, Ashley Barnes wrote:
Too late. I have the means. And you have just crossed the line.
If I don’t get a public apology, kiss your ass goodbye. Seriously, Mike – this is one little step too far.
Alternatively, email me a private apology and I’ll leave it at that. You’re barking up the wrong tree to have an argument.
The reason why I don’t want to publicly crucify you is that I believe there is truth behind the smoke that you’re stoking. Truly, I do not deny there are issues with our current leadership which I’ll never deny you support in that regard.
Make me a friend or a public enemy – your choice once again. Just know, your issues are a drop in the ocean of nationwide complaints and you are damaging our town with your current posts. I will not support the damaging shit you deem to be reflective of our town.
YOU ARE CAUSING DAMAGE AND HARM! DESIST!!!”
“On 12 October 2016 at 13:02, Love Knysna – Mike wrote:
From top to bottom, your email, in tone and wording, is unreasonable.
It’s you who supported the propaganda against me, supported some very nasty types with political agenda.
I’ve never met you. I don’t know you. You decided to jump into my life, seeking to damage mine. And now you threatening me again. It may just be the type of person that you are.
Again, go away!”
“On 12/10/2016 17:02, Ashley Barnes wrote:
Remove me from every public threat and I’ll consider it.
YOU, go away!”
“From: Love Knysna – Mike, Date: 2016/10/12, 5:08 PM
Very childish, uninformative and unproductive. This will be the last time I respond.”
I believe in the ‘broken window’ construct. If that window doesn’t get fixed, some kid is likely to throw a rock through the window next to it. Graffiti follows. Then garbage, prostitution, pimps, drug dealing, bad cops, mugging and killing. The Knysna version was that the authorities and politicians hadn’t fixed what needed fixing, instead inviting every lunatic to their failure party in my ‘honour’.
Barnes’s self-description on Twitter was appropriate: “Advertising Strategist and Business Director of Mischief.”
* * * * * *
Protecting Brand Knysna (PBK) made a derogatory post about me after Knysna Municipality’s banned me. Mark Beard responded with his hope that my father would kill me. Ashley Barnes liked that. Then the fake profile of Amanda Martin incorrectly said, “He lives with his father, who moved down here.”
I had wanted my Dad with me in Knysna. My Mom was dead and my sister, my only sibling, lives in the United Kingdom. The Municipality always wants rates from retirees so it should have been a story with a happy ending.
But my Dad is a gentle man without stomach for conflict. When he gets happy for a long period, he becomes charmingly childish in his excitement. It adds an innocence to him which I’d love to achieve. He doesn’t talk politics, can’t name my enemies and he’s not going to read this book. He’d rather drink tea, gamble on the horses and talk to the last of his five dogs who’ll likely die before him. And because he’s a kind man whose had enough hardships (and too many operations) in his life, I want him to enjoy the time he’s got left.
I love my Dad. I hope to spend more time with him when (if) I manage to extricate myself from this mess.
Subsequently, although a lovely empty plot, with a view of the Heads, was bought by him on his one trip to Knysna, I sold it within a year. My dad would rather stay as faraway from Knysna as possible.
Unfortunately for Beard, if my father were to drown me, it wouldn’t be in the satisfaction of a Knysna bathtub.
* * * * * *
I’m sure you’re beginning to understand why I relate to Marilyn Manson who sang that he, “Wasn’t born with enough middle fingers”. That became my slogan.
I still love Knysna but the DA turned it into the nastiest town in South Africa.
Or download the full ‘Same Shit, Different Government: Book 1 – The Corruption & Intimidation’ for free: