Last month Noseweek revealed (nose162) that while Sean Wisedale is known as one of the few South Africans to have conquered Everest and in the corporate world as an inspiring motivational speaker, to his terrorized neighbours in the Durban suburb of Glenwood he is known as the monster who periodically keeps them awake all night, manically yelling threats and abuse at them from behind his high boundary wall.
On and on, for hours at a stretch.
That is, when he is not actually hurling rocks, wine bottles and anything else that comes to hand across the wall, on to their roofs.
We reported how neighbors as far as four houses away have been woken by Wisedale’s manic yelling in the early hours. (We also posted a recording of one such incident on our website.) And how the police have on several occasions responded to neighbours’ late-night calls for assistance.
Finally, fearing for their own sanity and safety, the neighbours held a secret "neighborhood forum" meeting in November at which they decided to lay formal complaints at the Umbilo police station.
What we omitted to record was that we had also called Wisedale's office (at the number prvided on his website), where the woman who answered informed us that he had left on an expedition to Kilimanjaro and would only be back after our deadline.
We can now report that when, a few days after his return, we called him, he responded, extraordinarily politely, with a limited admission of what could not be denied, a denial – and an explanation. He also posted comments on Noseweek’s Facebook "wall", which readers can view on our website.
"I am a red headed South African with Irish blood in the mix. I get angry and I wailed from the rooftop after a few boolies. The Simons [one of his immediate neighbours] recorded that and Noseweek posted it. It is an isolated event." That his how, on Facebook, he lightly dismissed the several such mid-night incidents lasting up to four hours each, that took place last year, as testified to by all his neighbors. Not to speak of the shorter reprise performance he recklessly put on on the Monday night after nose162 appeared. (He hurriedly shut up when Dr Roberts, also a neighbor, arrived at his gate with a torch and a threat he dared not ignore.)
Wisedale continued: "I have not committed any crime in trying to restore the peace in my own home that has been destroyed by the Simons’ commercial self catering accommodation interests. Today I will write to all the anonymous neighbours mentioned in the Noseweek story to apologise to them for having had to hear my protests."
To Noseweek he gave the following explanation: "The racket the Simons’ illegal tenants made drove me beserk. I stood on the rooftop to wail at them and their tenants who we can hear arguing and swearing at each other. Then we have to hear their television noises at 6 in the morning. We're always living on tenterhooks. It's not just normal urban noise, it's erratic. Now their permanent lodgers have a neglected dog that yaps all day, every day. In an isolated case when I went beserk I'd got nothing left in the tank.”
Then he admits: "We have a history. We have been litigating since 2004 about a fence, the height of a hedge, building plans, the B&B they run called Bright Sky, I’ve had the municipality send them contravention notices, until last year the council gave them special consent to operate the B&B. I and another neighbor appealed to the provincial town planning appeals board and on the 8th of March 2013, the Appeals Board ruled in our favor: the Simons were suspended from continuing their 'Bright Sky self catering' and from constructing garages to service those units. [The Simons have not, in fact, been operating a B&B: they have had two long-term tenants occupying their two flatlets. - Ed]
“Janet [Simons] hates me. We cannot communicate. I’m a peace loving individual. I tried getting Warrant Officer Xaba at the Umbilo police station to intervene, but the police say it’s a civil matter and won’t. Now I’ve decided the simplest is to build a wall between us as a sound barrier. High walls make great neighbours.”
No mention of the other neighbours with whom he has also been in a legal dispute. No mention of the bottles and rocks he's been hurling onto the neighbours’ roofs. No mention of the incident when he not only did the usual yelling but also loudly smashed furniture in his own house. No appreciation that Noseweek’s story was not about a neighbours’ dispute about noise or building plans, but about his terrifyingly abnormal behaviour when he’s had “a boolie or two”..
On Facebook he contends that “The Simons supplied Noseweek with a load of untruths and distortions about me and my family.” Not true. Noseweek spoke to several neighbours and did also approach the Simons - who refused to speak to Noseweek as they were too terrified to do so - and had been advised against it by their lawyer. Wisedale also believes Durban-based reporter Paul Kirk was the author of Noseweek’s story. Also not true.
Finally Wisedale had us note: "My gorgeous wife Katherine is far from timid, having run Comrades, completed Ironman and paddled many great rivers. If I did wrong she’d kick my but around the yard ten times!” he said. [If I were him I’d be very, very nervous. - Ed.] Katherine Wisedale has since posted a long defence of her husband on our FaceBook wall. (See the righthand column on our website.)
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