Travelling through memory…

VANESSA SMEETS

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SANTÉ: Founder of Blank Canvas Studio, Martine de Kock, welcomes guests to The Thyste Traveller’s third event.                                                                                  PIC: Vanessa Smeets

Memory flows for some in the form of a distinct song, an exceptional smell or a specific taste. For Martine de Kock (31), founder of Blank Canvas Studio, capturing the essence of her late great grandfather came in the form of what he loved most: great food, wine and company.

These ideals had to be captured in a truly sensory journey and, so, The Thyste Traveller series was born, asking exclusive wineries across South Africa to be part of an unforgettable experience.
The Thyste Traveller journey has grown from a small intimate group of friends to a monthly event of celebration and joy, in the comfort of a cozy atmosphere, in Pretoria.

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CHEERS: Bernard Dewey, sales and marketing director for Chamonix, and Martine de Kock, organiser of these delightful events.                                            PIC: Vanessa Smeets

Blank Canvas Studio has hosted numerous events in its young existence, but this is a very personal one for its founder:
“My great grandfather, Oupa Thys, travelled the globe to experience its culinary offerings. These events are held in his home, in memory of him, where we share a love of what he stood for.”

The third event in the series was showcased by Chamonix, a beautiful wine farm nestled in the Franschhoek valley, with a 50-hectare game farm, and found only one hour away from Cape Town.

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PARADISE: Chamonix wine farm in Franschhoek, paired perfectly for the third event.         PIC: Chamonix website

Guests were treated to a delicious 6-course pairing menu, prepared by ESSEN eatery which included:
TOP: dried porcini mushroom tortellini, parmesan ice-cream, peking duck.
BOTTOM: pork dish, melanzanata aubergine and gold Belgian chocolate dome for dessert.

Regulars to these events, Joha and Piet Bredell, said: “We keep coming for the great food, wine and company. What better way to spend a Wednesday evening?”

Keep an eye out for the fourth installment on this appetizing journey…

 

TBR: Fast & Furious

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RULE 1: Have a reliable pit-crew. Punctuality and communication are key.

“I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself,” Ferdinand Porsche.

Racing cars is not just sport, it’s become integrated into South African culture ever since I can remember. My first experience of racing? Sitting around and waiting for my parents to get off medical duty at race circuits around South Africa. I was only 7 years old and had no idea that one day I would be one of those women screaming, sighing and laughing nervously in the pits. My parents often shared their worst-case-scenarios of quadriplegics, stabbed jugulars and cindered off body hair… It was normal at our family dinners.

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RULE 2: Have a reliable car. Drive it with passion!

“Everyone in life is looking for a certain rush. Racing is where I get mine,” John Troutmann.

Ironically, my boyfriend’s favourite hobby is building and racing cars. His team? Team Beer Racing (TBR). Don’t get the wrong idea… It’s so much more than just a bunch of guys drinking and talking cars, it’s a brotherhood.

You risk your life at the hands of others. While one is great at giving advice, another is great with his hands and another with the wiring. It’s intricate. It’s time-consuming. But, best of all, it’s self-made.

After weeks of late nights and hassling our neighbours with loud grinding noises as well as early morning revving, my boyfriend’s car was ready for the African Endurance Series at Kyalami, 9 May 2015. 22 years later, all those family dinners flashed back with my nerves.

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RULE 3: Have an amazing support system.

I will never forget that date, as it was etched into our daily lives: “The engine has to be rebuilt… 30 days left,” “Sh*t! The left back tyre is loose… 10 days to go.”

Ladies, I warn you – you must have the patience to share your man with his machine. He will devote most of his free time to it and then come to bed smelling like petrol. Well, it’s okay! Support him with your kindness and smiles. I tried learning some car jargon, but quickly got lost…

Gentlemen, be patient with us women who support you. We are as tired as you, waiting patiently in cold beds… But it’s okay, we love you for your ambition and dedication. True men stick to the their rims!

“A smooth race never made a skillful driver,” Anon.

Kyalami, I thank you for the most stressful, yet adrenaline-packed, two hours of my life
, watching the love of my life at high speed amongst 40 cars. I will never forget the look on his face as the engine was finally finished: surprise. As the car ran: relief and as he finished the race with his partner: ecstasy.

Endurance racing is not really about winning, it’s about finishing. It’s about showing the other guys you did a great job building your car, that the endurance of building such a sweet piece of machinery was worth it.

I thank you, my racer, for allowing me to be your pit-girl but, most importantly, for teaching me the importance of self-discipline and fraternity. I’m so proud of you.

Mr Gay SA: 12 Heroes, 1 Dream

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This time next week, the new Mr Gay South Africa will be crowned at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg. In a country that still struggles with sexual identity and where homophobia is still quite prevalent (we read about ‘gay beatings, murders’  and corrective rape on a weekly basis), I asked one of the finalists to share his aspirations, thoughts and comments on the whole experience.

Craig Maggs (25) and I met five years ago, after the whole “Stellenbosch Kissing Saga.” When I met him the first time, he was using another name and afraid to come out. All I could see was a survivor. He has not only survived homophobia, but also a crocodile attack that crushed his dream of becoming a surgeon (Craig lost an index finger in the attack). Today, he stands as an icon of solidarity; hopeful and watchful of a new South Africa that aims to not only accept every race, but also every sexual preference. From chef to personal trainer to writer, who knows where this talented young man will go…

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IRON MAN: Body of steel, heart of gold. Craig hopes to change the gay community by creating a platform where socials can include fitness and fighting for similar causes. PIC: supplied

QUICK FACTS:

Height: 1.87m
Weight: 90kg
Favourite food: Mum’s lasagna or Portuguese chicken
Favourite quote: “With a single blow of a hammer, you have transferred plans into action.”
Biggest accomplishment: Surviving a crocodile attack at Lake Kariba and learning to accept myself as I am.
Greatest dream/ desires: My greatest desire is to live a life that will be remembered.
Strengths: Compassionate. Resilient. Dependable.
Weaknesses: Terrible liar, I over think things, I don’t trust easily.
Occupation: I work two jobs: I work for an NGO that deals with AIDS and Ebola research during the day and at night I am a waiter at Beefcakes in Illovo (who got me involved in this competition).
Hobbies: Playing sport, keeping fit, gardening, hiking, baking and sleeping.

Craig, you have trained hard to be in the Top 12. The last time I saw you, you were on a broccoli and asparagus diet, trying to reach your target weight and body.
But, tell us, what do wish to accomplish in terms of the competition?
My faith has challenged me to make a stand in order to make a difference to those that are hurting out there, especially those who I can relate to. The lonely, the oppressed, the bullied, the raped and those who have lost their ability to dream. I want to walk alongside them in their journey as a role model and friend. I want to be the reason someone never gave up on life or themselves.

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BEHIND BLUE EYES: Behind his charming smile, lies a BSc degree in Sports Science from Stellenbosch University. Pic: supplied

So, how did you prepare for Mr Gay SA?
Besides going to the gym and a horrible diet (of mostly green veggies), I wanted to broaden my mind. I approached different people and discussed their views on matters. It was incredible to see how differently we see things. I also did a lot of research into the history of gay rights, focusing on icons and how they altered history.

The Top 12 are incredibly diverse, from all over the country. How would you describe the other contestants?
The 12 contestants are incredibly inspiring people. All from different walks of life (from medical to political backgrounds), making us a dynamic team with different approaches and focus points. We have nicknamed ourselves the super 12 with the goal of changing the world around us.

Hmmm… How does Mr Gay SA stand apart from other “beauty” competitions?
Not only do we represent minority groups, we also focus on creating 12 role models, not just one. All twelve people will have a role to play throughout the year not just the winner.

What is your advice to those who wish to compete?
Approach this competition with an open mind and an open heart. It will challenge you and make you grow in ways you never thought possible. But, also be aware that this competition will open your eyes to a very broken world, that may cause you to become depressed if you have the wrong motives. Do it to make this world a better place not for selfish goals. Challenge the norms and be courageous role models to society.

What has been the biggest challenge in this competition?
For me personally the biggest challenge has been the emotional load of seeing so much hurt and need, especially because I can’t do enough to change it.

…And the greatest joy?
The greatest joy would be the message I received from a Zimbabwean friend living in Australia. She told me how she was so impressed on the impact I was making and that I should keep going, no matter how difficult it was.

How has your family and friends reacted to you being part of it?
My family were very concerned, if not disappointed, but have been amazing considering their background. As for my friends, they have been incredibly supportive and have really motivated and carried me all the way!

TOP 12: The finalists had fun and were also trained and mentored by Mr Gay World 2013, Christopher Olwage. PIC: Facebook

TOP 12: The finalists had fun and were also trained and mentored by Mr Gay World 2013, Christopher Olwage (far right). PIC: Facebook

What is your response to the negative feedback on Mamba Online page about you guys?
At first I was shocked and horrified at what people wrote, but now I see it as a challenge. A challenge to prove that this group of 12 heroes is there to be role models for all groups, not just racial or homosexual. We are a team and not individuals.

Now for the competition-type questions…

What is your view on being religious and homosexual? So many people battle and how do they overcome it?
Personally I am a Christian. Jesus said in the Bible: “WHOEVER believes in me shall have eternal life.” (John 5: 24) It doesn’t say “only some people” or “only straight people.” That is what I hold onto.

It is not an easy journey, as often the people of the church are the ones who cause the most hurt for gay people. They tend to ostracize you, judge you or try to change you. But don’t give up faith.

GAY PRIDE: The Top 12 inspired thousands in Cape Town to walk the streets with them, for a better South Africa. PIC: Facebook

GAY PRIDE: The Top 12 inspired thousands in Cape Town to walk the streets with them, for a better South Africa. PIC: Facebook

What do you think SA can do more in terms of LGBTI rights?
South Africa is fortunate to have one of the best constitutions for LGBTI rights in the world. However, it could do a lot more in protecting the people from the homophobia experienced by people in the community. Also, I believe South Africa could also stand up for LGBT rights throughout Africa, like in Uganda and Zimbabwe.

How can we do more in terms of these African neighbours and homophobia?
This is a very delicate issue, because this could make conditions worse for the affected people in those countries. However, we do need to do something! There are too many human rights violations happening to do nothing. Usually, the best way to change situations like this is to change the minds of the young, while they are still open and accepting. Make them question the norms and they will create the positive change. It will take a few brave individuals risking a lot, but a worthwhile cause cannot be left alone.

How can we educate the community more on:

  • corrective rape
  • homophobia
  • LGBTI NGOs
  • “gay media”

I think a good place to start is to build relationships between the LGBTI community and the mainstream media. Yes, often people complain about the involvement of “pink news” but in our day and age, it is becoming more prevalent. This could be highly beneficial to both integration of the LGBTI community, as well as people being able to share their stories that are big issues in society today. For example, corrective rape and homophobia. The first step to solving a problem, is admitting that it exists and raising awareness of it.

This will take concerted effort from the LGBTI community, which needs to work as a team and not individuals.

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WALK THE WALK: Craig and the other contestants showed off their ideas and bodies at Gay Pride in Cape Town last month. PIC: supplied

How do plan on using the title if you win?
I have two ideas I would like to develop:
Firstly, the buddy system. Let young LGBTI people interact with people who can serve as role models. Have a small group forum, where they can learn through other peoples experiences.

Secondly, I would like to reintroduce the gay sports’ night where people can interact across age and racial barriers, in a relaxed fun environment. My focus would be raising young leaders and again having the young learn from people with experience.

Anything you’d like to add?
I really think that it’s time the LGBTI community starts to work together towards a common goal, rather than defeat its own purposes.

 

Oppikoppi 2014: Odyssey

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“We are but dust and shadow,” The Odes of Horace

My third Oppikoppi and maybe ‘third time lucky’… I went for FREE! Thank you, Cinema Nouveau for choosing my random post on which movie best describes the Oppikoppi experience.
I chose “Searching for Sugarman” from the selection given, because we are all still searching for that experience/ that artist/ that time in our lives when we embark on an Odyssey, a massive adventure.

I separated myself from the city lights, embraced the dust and bushveld, was initiated by the full moon under warm winter nights and returned whole.

Many complained the line-up was not that impressive this year… But, for 20 years of Oppikoppi, one should know it’s not so much about the music, it’s about:
– discovering who you are in extreme conditions
– knowing what your best friend finally looks like without make-up
– making friends with strangers in long queues
– holding some celebrity’s drink while he/ she takes a selfie with a random
– catching the drumstick/ the CD/ the item of clothing full of hard-earned sweat
– sharing crazy “past Koppi” experiences
– making memories filled with dust, life and music

Here is a selection of my favourite dust, life and musical moments, accompanied by words from Homer himself. Long live this Odyssey!

A friend to all ages

Article & photos © VANESSA SMEETS

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INSPIRATION: Sarah’s joy comes from entertaining the people she cares about, from preschool to frail-care.

Sarah Widman (88) has finally had her biggest wish come true: the publishing of her first book, The Ant and the Elephant. It appeals to young children and teaches them many lessons:

K.T. (5): “It taught me to love all people.”
J.D. (5): “It taught me to be a better person.”
N.T. (5): “It taught me to work hard for the things I believe in.”

Interestingly, these lessons are all vital aspects to Sarah herself. She loves all people, young and old, by helping out the elderly in frail-care at the retirement home where she is a resident and also at Pretoria Montessori Preschool, where she reads or puts on shows for the children.

“God gave me the gift of making all people laugh, I use it as much as I can,” she says. Sarah found solace from a difficult background by putting on shows and plays for others. All her plays were self-written. Her play, Stages through the Ages, is for a more mature audience and aims to show what friendship goes through in various seasons of life.

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PUBLISHED: Sarah Widman (88) made the local newspaper this week after publishing her first book.

Sarah has definitely worked hard for the things she believes in. She waited 25 years for this first book, being rejected several times by a number of publishers.

She says: “Maybe people are more open now to the ideas of this imaginary world, where we need to escape from stress and technology.” Although her stories reflect Aesop’s Fables in terms of their morals, they are uniquely African and in tune with a child’s mind.

“I speak to my inner child, that’s where I get my ideas… I travel in my thoughts, I daydream, I ask a lot of questions… I’m always curious, like a child, and find joy in observing them.”

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BLISS: A friendly kiss after reading time for Sarah, the children at Pretoria Montessori Preschool’s dearest friend.

She has been a guest teacher at Pretoria Montessori Preschool for the last two years and this relationship has worked magic both ways. The preschool teachers describe Sarah’s presence as “a light to these little souls. They have learnt so much more on being respectful, disciplined and listening to the elderly.”

“I love Teacher Sarah because her stories are always clever and fun… She also gives the biggest hugs,” says S.M. (5).
Her next book, Adventures in Ghost-town, is currently in production and should be published by the end of the year. It will explore a little boy’s brave journey after disobeying his parents.

Resolution 2014 (check!)

VANESSA SMEETS

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
– LM Montgomery

How many resolutions have you kept this year? A new year, a new beginning and yet, fourth month into the new year, it feels like we make resolutions only to break them.

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Pic: Internet

The problem may stem from the actual meaning. The Oxford Dictionary defines a “resolution” as: ‘(1) a firm decision to do or not to do something’ and ‘(2) the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.’

This can be hard to come by, as many people are not emotionally ready to stop smoking, stop drinking or make peace with that family member. The “Happy New Year” syndrome enables you to impulsively make that leap. But, as the gym classes pile up, one has to ask: how many of those new gym members will still be there by mid-year?

You have to be passionate about what you are changing. Not for him/ her/ them/ God, but for you. You may be have been conceived by your parents, enhanced with God’s talents, but ultimately you are the author of your own destiny.

For ten years, I had “get your driver’s licence” as a resolution… It started growing into an emotional fungus that prevented me from actually tackling it. Reading that resolution year after year made me feel more and more useless.

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Pic: Internet

In 2012, I did not put it on my list and, guess what, 5 months after a few lessons (lessons I had done twice before, but never attempted the test) it was mine. No more fears or mockery from people that did not know the real reason for that fungus: four friends who had tragically passed away in separate car accidents.

I made an emotional choice not to go on limping by their tragedies, but tackle it head on. I broke down mental barriers, which freed me emotionally, spiritually and, of course, physically. Now, the only regret is knowing what I could have experienced and seen year after year…

But, it’s okay. The timing was perfect. Not having a licence made me go on other crazy adventures: trekking around Australia with classmates, trying out the car-pool system in Germany (you sign up online and see how many people are interested in joining you; kind of like ‘couch surfing’ but with transport), taking endless bus-trips to forests, beaches, public pools and other sites I would not have found on my own. The fondest memories come from falling asleep on bus-trips, not understanding Danish and being taken to another city, as well as finding my way back after the wrong stop.

This year, I asked my friends if they had any 2014 resolutions. The answers were seemingly ambiguous:
“Who the f*ck makes those anymore?”
“Of course…I make one small one a week.”
“Stop smoking. It’s been there for 15 years. Maybe next year.”
“Gym…at least for a month, just to get rid of Christmas baggage.”
“Get married to that guy I met at New Year’s. It’s been three days, but I know he’s the ONE.”
“Like everyone else, become suddenly rich. Realistically, that’s a decade-long-resolution.”
“Do something I’ve never done before. You know, no FOMO, just YOLO.”

Where did resolutions originate?

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Pic: Internet

According to historian Bill Petro, they started in Babylon and continued in Ancient Rome, as the Romans worshipped their two-faced god Janus (hence the name ‘January’) who looks on the past with one head and on the future with the other.

That does not give much space to the present, does it? Which is exactly the crux of problematic resolutions, they don’t let you live: you just keep looking back and forth, self-critical and more aware of your apathy.

So, as we already reach the third of 2014 (as I was not able to keep my resolution “Blog more this year”) let’s say cheers to the best resolution yet: “No more resolutions!” Not annual ones at least… Hehe…

As Walt Whitman put it so beautifully:

“Afoot and lighthearted, I take to the open road: healthy, free, the world before me.”

 

EXTRA SOURCE:
http://billpetro.com/history-of-new-years-resolutions

Braamfontein: Joburg’s creative hub

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There’s something magical about Braamfontein, Johannesburg’s creative hub; home to the Joburg Theatre, Neighbourgoods’ Market every Saturday and an array of funky art and coffee shops…

There is HOPE! Incitement South Africa…

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ARE YOU IN? Incitement SA will launch March 9. Are you ready? Courtesy: Incitement Fan-page

Once riddled with negative connotations, the word “incite” now means to provoke and spur on in a positive way. Incitement South Africa was founded February 9 this year, by Tamara and Francisca Al-Halaseh. It comes at a time in South Africa when our mind-set is rife with negativity, speculations and heartache. Originally founded in Malaysia in 2011 by Daniel de Gruijter and Zikry Kholil, as a way for employees to talk about their ideas, the movement has now become a global instrument of positive change. From Malaysia, it spread to the USA, Canada, UAE and Jordan and has now reached South Africa.

Incitement is a global movement of local communities. The site reads:
“It is born out the idea that people have something worth saying. We encourage everyone… who has something to share to get up and get it out there.”

What is it?

Incitement South Africa encourages individuals to create positive thinking, by networking with people from various backgrounds. This will be done by sharing life-affirming values and stories that have inspired and motivated them. The Incitement South Africa Facebook fan-page publishes affirmations of self-growth and self-belief on a daily basis. No judgement. No prejudice.

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CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Are you ready to change or be the change? Pic from the FB fan-page.

How will they do it?

By hosting informal and easy-going events, starting with Gauteng and moving nationally.

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POSITIVITY: What makes a good life? Find out with Incitement. PIC: internet

When is the first event?

The event planned for 30th of March in Pretoria (at Blue Valley Mall) will gather everyone from entrepreneurs, personal growth enthusiasts, thinkers to marketers and students. They will enjoy a series of powerful presentations and participate in unique team-building exercises. These will be designed to help them grow on a personal and professional level. Think of it as a melting pot of incredible and original ideas that stir up weary souls and awaken tired minds. Watch out for the venue on the Facebook page.
Reply to the event: Incitement SA Launch.

The presentations given will be documented with guests’ permission on video and posted to their YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter channels, in hope of making positive affirmations a reality. It will help employers deal with down-trodden staff, parents with unruly children and students with depression.

Co-founder Francisca Al-Halaseh says:

“It is a platform for people to speak up and share their outrageous visions for the future, life changing experiences from the past and ideas for the present.”

But, it’s not all ‘serious talk.’ It’s also a place to have fun in front of a crowd and spread positive vibes.

For more information, visit:
http://theincitement.com/

If you would like to sponsor or get involved with the March 9 event, check out the South African Facebook fan-page:

https://www.facebook.com/IncitementSouthAfrica

Fearless Female Boxer

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BEAUTIFUL PHOENIX: Posing gently before her hectic training, Melissa finds solace in spiritual and inspirational books. PIC: L’Afrique Photography/ Lalla

Melissa Jacobs is not your average Pretoria girl, she’s one of the few boxing women we have on a professional scale.
Standing at only 1m58 and weighing 53,3 kilograms, she’s won several awards and is now training both men and women at a boxing academy.

She has two older brothers and an identical twin sister. Her family supports her sport and keeps her grounded. Here’s my one-on-one with this very spiritual and talented 27 year old, known in the ring as “Phoenix’…

1) Who are your inspirations?
God first! He is truly my driving force, as He put me on this earth to be the best I can be, in whatever I set out to do and He keeps me humble and grounded and grateful.

Then, there’s the love of my life, my best friend and my training partner: Hykie Berg. He has been a key role in my boxing, training and he truly inspires me with his positive attitude and outlook on life.

Then to one phenomenal man, Nick Vujicic: you changed my life. His A Life Without Limits book, is a true inspiration for a ridiculously good life.

2) Which other hobbies do you enjoy?
I enjoy reading spiritual and inspirational books. I also have a great love for succulents, so I have “green fingers” and love gardening. Also, I love making old photo frames, painting them and putting them together.

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DETERMINATION: Grueling hours of hard work and a strict diet keep Melissa in shape. PIC: L’Afrique Photography/ Lalla

3) How did your love for boxing start?
I started muay thai boxing at the age of 23. What started off just as ‘self-defence,’ turned into a passion to compete and push myself on a physical level.
My story is that of inspiration and sadness, but the outcome has been so rewarding.

I first prepared for my muay thai grading three months in advance. After a grueling 5km run, 1000 pushups, 1000 sit-ups, 1000 leg raises, 1000 kick squats and really tough fight against my kru (instructor) I was finally graded and was allowed to compete.

I competed three times over a span of two years, as there weren’t many girls in my weight class. My very last fight was in 2010 at Zoo Lake, the Ambassadors’ Cup. I achieved an amazing dream there! I became SA female bantam weight champion in my federation!

I stopped mauy thai the same year to pursue other goals, but realised my fighting spirit is still so alive in me. I then decided to join Transnet Rail Engineering Boxing Academy. I had to start from scratch, as this sport was very different from mauy thai. I was then finally graded as an amateur female boxer and my journey has been amazing.

4) Which awards have you received?
I was a Bantam weight woman’s MSA mauy thai champion.
On a boxing level, I have received “female runner-up boxer of the year” in 2011, “performer of the month” in June 2012 and July 2012. I received “the fittest boxer award 2012” and I received “the personality of the year” in 2012.

5.1) Have you ever competed against men?
No, I have never competed against guys, but I have sparred and trained with them when I was preparing for bouts.
My boyfriend happens to be my favourite sparring partner.

5.2) Would you like to compete against them?
I would, definitely! I would be that daring. Besides, life is either a daring adventure or nothing!

6) What do your friends and family think of you boxing?
Most of my friends and family are very supportive and understanding.

7) Which other sports are you involved in?
I am an “Energizer Bunny”! I enjoy hockey, swimming and weight-training, but boxing takes up most of my time.
I belong to OAH Hockey Club and a swimming club, where I take part in swimming races like the Midmar Mile and Roode.

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MEAN MUSCLE: Ready to fight, Melissa finds focus. PIC: L’Afrique Photography/ Lalla

8) What are your views on this specific sport, boxing?
When it comes to boxing or any sport on an amateur/ professional level, it’s about true dedication and sacrifice.
In general, there are people out there with misconceptions about boxing: they think it’s about the knock out, but it is not. We box for points and not to knock the opponent out.
Boxing is all about fitness, technique, skill and foot-work. Boxing in SA is sadly not exposed enough, with some amazing talent not being recognised.

9) Please tell us about your favourite quotations…
Well, these two come from the Bible, my most inspirational book:

Hebrews 13:5: “For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not!”

James 4: 10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honour.”

And, my other two favourites come from Nick Vujicic’s book, A Life Without Limits:

“Helen Keller said there is no such thing as a secure life ‘it does not exist in nature…life is either a daring adventure or nothing…’ Risk, then, is not just part of life, it IS life!”

 

“Live to glorify God and don’t leave an ounce of energy, a trace of your uniqueness behind. Dare to be ridiculous and you will be ridiculously happy.”

10) Do you follow a strict diet?
I follow a very healthy monitored eating plan set out by my dietician. I don’t believe in starving myself, I love muscles and being fit.

11) When can we see you in action?
Hopefully this year…

12) What’s your day-job?
I am employed by SARS, I am a project co-ordinator for the technologies department.

13) Where do you see yourself in ten years?
This question I cannot answer. Everyday is a given, not a right and planning ahead is planning for disaster.

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HARDCORE: Melissa is as hardworking as determined to be a successful boxer. PIC: L’Afrique Photography/ Lalla

14) Who do you train? How can they contact you?
I can train anybody, whatever age, situation or fitness level. Those interested can contact me on 0798842708 or check out Transnet Rail Engineering Boxing Academy on Facebook.

I dedicate this interview to Hykie Berg: “I am GOLDEN in God’s eyes.”

Save the rhino, ink yourself!

VANESSA SMEETS

The year 2012 has already exceeded all past records in rhino poaching, with 570 rhinos killed this year alone (as of November) in South Africa, compared to 333 in 2010. The population has plummeted by 90% since the 1970s, with a rhino poached about every 16 hours. Poachers have access to vast resources and are technologically advanced, even using helicopters to track and kill them. The investigative piece done by eTV’s 3rd Degree two weeks ago showed how all members of society could be involved, even game rangers themselves.

rhino tattoo

HELP US: The proposed rhino tattoo that will be launched this Saturday in South Africa, to help save the rhino, by funding anti-poaching units and raising awareness amongst the public. PHOTO: provided

The only solution would be to guard each and every rhino individually, which would cost a lot of money in training guards, setting up night vision, purchasing horses, maintaining specialised vehicles and a helicopter.

Project Rhino describes the situation:

“When a country goes into battle they have massive war chests available to them, the war against poachers instead is reliant on an outraged public to get us our funding to take the battle directly to the poachers. We need to get serious and stay serious!”

Skintrade tattoos and “Space for Elephants” who are co-founders of “Project Rhino” have put together an initiative that will display the public’s concern and get people talking, as well as raise the funds necessary for the equipment. “Mark of the Rhino” is a permanent tattoo that will preferably be placed somewhere visible on your body, to get people talking. It will officially be launched this Saturday (1 December).

It is hoped that thousands of people will go through with this initiative, showing that rhino poaching is not an environmental problem but an EPIDEMIC.The Mark of the Rhino  will be around 6-8 centimetres. It is a silhouetted, tribal-style tattoo of a rhino, designed to represent the black, white and even Sumatran rhino, and a unique code beneath it in Roman numerals. The code will be individualised for every donor’s tattoo.

Along with the tattoo, they will also receive a certificate with their name which will also be placed on the website next to their individual number. Their own names, company’s name, or a pseudonym can be used. Companies can also buy multiple “marks” and give them out to suppliers, staff members or customers. Individuals can buy marks for family and friends and it is believed they will make great Christmas gifts: a gift that you can’t lose or break and that will make a difference in the war against poachers.

The mark will cost donors R900 and take around 10 to 15 minutes to get done and will have a lifetime guarantee. It takes around a week to heal and does not require much aftercare.

The “mark” can be purchased at any Skintrade Tattoos’ shop.They are award winning artists and have done plenty of shows and tattoo conventions, including the BMX World Championships, international tattoo conventions in South Africa, and the Sexpo show, to name but a few. They are located in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, but they will also be doing roadshows around South and Southern Africa. They will be appearing at shopping malls, festivals, fairs and markets in many areas.

Addresses for these shops can be found on the website www.skintrade.co.za and details of the roadshows will be posted there too. It will be launched in the three main cities to start with and rolled out nationally, and then internationally. We have a number of celebrities that are already lining up to get their “mark” and a lot of the Project Rhino members will be at the launch getting theirs.

Project Rhino believes the war against rhino poachers can and will be won:

“A militant stance towards the poachers themselves, driven and fuelled by public funding and a trained, armed and adequately equipped crew dedicated to this very difficult task, will see the rhino population rebounding within the next few years, provided we ALL participate in the fight in one way or another.”