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…
Have a look at my post as a guest blogger on Running Wolf’s Rant… Did your city make my Top 10?
Have you lost faith in South Africa? Just take your car and drive…
Drive to the lost and unseen parts…
You will be greeted by the most incredible sunrise, the yearning for random children to wave at you, the eager “Oom” or “Tannie” to feed you…
South Africa, the way it was meant to be, a mosaic of mountains, bushveld, beach, winelands and beauty in her purest form. Here is about 4000 kilometres around this amazing country…
The new Arcade Empire, which opened next to The Grove shopping mall (Pretoria) nine months ago, has been attracting all types of young people with its variety in music. However, its variety in food seems to cater as well to everyone’s tastes, from pizza to steak to calamari, amongst others.
The best meal of the night? The cordon bleu wrapped in cheese!
On Tuesday, 26 March, a few bloggers and social media junkies were given an exclusive peek into their hidden treasures. Their chef, Doctor, has been limited by the two-page menu, but showed us what else he is capable of. Co-owner Rudolf Przybylski explains: “We wanted to spread the word that we are upping our menu and soon our service.”
On the menu last night (click on the pic for the caption)…
Please scroll down for the full slide-show…
About 40 children at the Peng-ai-Gong Care Centre in Zone 16 of Ga-Rankuwa, a few kilometres out of Pretoria, were greeted with toys, clothes, food and stationery last week, just in time for the holiday season.
The children all come from disadvantaged, vulnerable or abused backgrounds and attend schools near by. They go to the care centre after school till about 16h30 to eat and do homework. But things have not been easy: the centre lost its main sponsor a few months ago.
However, Bianca O’Neill, a lecturer at Tshwane’s University of Technology, heard about their plight and decided to help out. In September, the children were asked to draw anything of their choice that they would like to own and O’Neill instructed her students, who are future Foundation Phase teachers, to make these toys out of whatever materials they had.
It was a project that would be both educational and inspirational. The result was phenomenal: the children were given objects like a giraffe, doll houses, a Chris Brown doll, wire cars, amongst other things.
For Irene Kgasi, the centre’s manager, O’Neill’s arrival was a divine appointment:
“Bianca is a gift. She wiped away our tears just in time. We, however, still need a donor and more food as we cannot expect Bianca to continue helping us. Whoever is interested must please contact our Board Member, Angie Molebatsi.”
The centre is made up of a total of 46 boys and 58 girls (when they are all present) between the ages of 4-19 and also includes activities like numerical literacy and sport.
The project of transforming a child’s hand-drawn dream into a real-life model was inspired by the idea of giving to those less fortunate, but also giving something that you made personally. It was a test to see how generous and imaginative the students were, but also to test their love for children and whether teaching was truly their chosen profession. The students were marked on originality, durability, neatness, as well as evaluated on the journal they had to keep from the day they started on the toy till now.
For student Mpho Kesimoloste, it was a wonderful experience:
“To see the smiles on the children’s faces was truly amazing…The whole thing became personal for me, because I did not know where to begin or how my toys would turn out. We also didn’t know how the children would react to the toys that we made and, to our surprise, they were very happy and it brought a sense of joy and happiness to them.
I believe that as people we should continue to help and care for needy and vulnerable children, this kind of thing should not end with us but continue to help these children to be positive in life.”
For Mpho* (8), an orphan at the centre, the gifts came just in time:
“We are so happy. We have never had a real Christmas. All I wanted was a toy… old or new. Now, I have so many! We are going to share and make it the best Christmas ever!”
O’Neill describes the success of this community project:
“This involvement has inspired my students so much… I’m proud of all my students and happy with all the people who made donations. Here’s hoping to continue with his for a long time and bring as much joy to the children and teenagers as we can.”
The project also hopes to break down the stigma attached to the Tshwane University of Technology, which became infamous earlier this year for their strikes and unrest. O’Neill explains:
“My students have proved themselves as hardworking and dedicated individuals, who are willing to make a difference.”
Readers who are interested in helping the centre, can visit their website: http://noah.clickclickboom.co.za/?p=2468
South Africa, a country once cursed and condemned by her racist past, is now flourishing with eleven different tribes and numerous cultures. Here is just a glimpse into the beauty of her rainbow nation…
These photos were taken over the span of two years (2010-2012), from posh cities like Cape Town and Stellenbosch to the more desolate Sutherland and the forgotten parts of Stellenbosch.
I avoided captioning the pics, in fear of people stealing them.
Please do not use these pictures for your own use. They are all copyrighted and my testimonies… If you have any questions about any of them, please leave a comment below. I am happy to share the stories behind each one, from 40 years of friendship, to Gay Pride and unique art.
South Africa reawakens in her people’s journeys.
Ever fallen in love with a city ? You dream night and day of dancing to her music, eating her food and exploring her every inch. Every time you return home, you long to go back…
Paris, much like Berlin, Barcelona or Munich, is one of the few cities in the world that has this effect. She is filled with so much motion and emotion, you often feel lost in her culture, history and characters.
She is the most visited city in the world with an estimated 42 million tourists annually. Her 12 million inhabitants make her one of the most concentrated cities in the European Union. She has produced the highest number of higher education students in the EU through her 17 universities and 55 grandes écoles (Ivy League schools).
She contains about 3800 historical monuments and has inspired the world’s leading poets and philosophers. She is also hub to the world’s leading fashion houses : Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint-Laurent, Dior and Chanel.
Paris, a city for lovers of art, music, history, literature and lovers themselves.
Rien ne m’a fait jamais battre le cœur
Rien ne m’a fait ainsi rire et pleurer
Comme ce cri de mon peuple vainqueur
Rien n’est si grand qu’un linceul déchiré
Paris Paris soi-même libéré
Nothing ever made my heart beat as much
Nothing made me laugh and cry
As much as the cry of my winning people
Nothing is as large as a torn shroud
Paris Paris, in herself released
– Louis Aragon, Paris
Disneyland Paris : 15 million annual visitors
Notre Dame Cathedral : 13,6 million visitors
Sacré Cœur : 10,5 million visitors
The Louvre Museum : 8,8 million visitors
Eiffel Tower : 7 million visitors
Paris only became France’s capital in 508 AD/CE, after Lyon under King Clovis, and again in 1180 under King Philippe Auguste. The city of Vichy temporarily replaced Paris as France’s capital during World War II. This change in political structure was known as the Vichy-Regime.
Originally known as “Lutetia” meaning “midwater-dwelling” under the Romans, Paris became a popular and populous town built around the beautiful Seine river. The name “Paris” is derived from Homer’s Iliad based on Paris, the Trojan prince’s search for Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships. Paris therefore means “Son of a noble father.” Some believe the name is actually derived from the Celtic Gallic word parisio meaning hardworking people/ craftsmen. Other historians believe the name comes from “Par Isis” (from Isis, the Egyptian goddess of nature, magic and wisdom). Paris is also often nicknamed “La Ville-Lumière” or the city of lights.
For more important dates in Parisian history, visit : http://goparis.about.com/od/historyculture/a/ParisHistory.htm
Paris is also home to the Théâtre du Châtelet, where the César awards are held every year in February. The Césars are the French equivalent to the Academy Awards/ Oscars.
South Africa’s hottest music festival during the coldest time of year beat all records this year, in its 18-year existence. Just a few days before, Gauteng was celebrating its first winter wonderland in 30 years, with lions at Joburg Zoo captured playing in the snow.
The theme for this year “Sweet Thing” gathered an estimated 23 000 fans to celebrate over 100 acts in SA’s finest music (including Fokofpolisiekar, aKing, 340ml, Bittereinder, BLK JKS) and international acts like Seether, Bullet for my Valentine, Enter Shikari and Eagles of Death Metal.
Click here for a full list view.
Oppikoppi comes from Afrikaans slang, translated as “on the hill.” Those brave enough to walk up the hill drunk or stoned, are greeted by a beautiful view of the campsite and a few more hidden stages. The festival includes three nights of camping in dust and thorn bushes, surrounded by friendly strangers. You also have the choice of staying at the Kreef Hotel for an extra R1000 and may even bump into your favourite band members. Expect to pay between R600-R750 for a ticket, R500 on a tent and R400-R500 on booze and food.
This year’s festival even included a collection of short films, an extra stage, a sand-art competition (on audience members’ cars… No, that huge phallus was not sand art, but that beautiful baobab and eye were), colourful couches (apparently if yours was cool enough you could join band members backstage), free pancakes and coffee served by the Red Frogs (made up by members from various churches from Pretoria and Joburg) and the unexpected surprise acts doing duets with others (Jack Parow singing with the Kongos drove the crowd wild).
If you were lucky (or unlucky) enough, you could witness drug dealers getting busted in your camping area. One guy at our site shouted at the cop who was dressed like a civilian: “I’m just a user!” as he removed his back-pack filled with marijuana and other goodies. They even kindly packed away his tent for him. Or, you could even be part of a movie… My friend and I were shouted at with “Cuuuuuut!” for helping out a guy covered in “blood.”
The endless queues; whether you’re waiting to go in, come out, get food or go to the toilet. But that’s how you meet people from all walks of life, from the banker in Sandton to the street vendor from Cape Town.
Apart from being part of a mosh-pit or noticed by your favourite lead singer, is the treasure-hunting afterwards. If you wait till noon Sunday (when most people are sitting in their cars in an endless queue), you could pick up an abandoned tent (zipper can be fixed), a cooler-box, a few Energades, the Cuervo ring you really wanted, etc.
The regulars like Henno Kruger (a photographer who has been to 14 Oppis) really enjoyed Wesley’s Dome and the Top Bar: “It was by far one of the best Oppis… Highlights included the international acts, Southern Gypsey Queen tribute, Yoav, Beast, Black Cat Bones and no disappointments.”
As an “Oppi virgin” as they love teasing us, I can safely say it was one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life. Be prepared to see yourself at your craziest, filthiest, most joyous self and others at their most raw and naked.
Your friendships may bond over hours of endless drinking or dissolve after one gig they refused to go watch with you. You will probably bump into a guy dressed as Borat, see your best friend’s girlfriend flash her breasts on his shoulders or on stage and hear voices from the heavens.
These tend to be the naked, tripping guys who decided to climb a thorn tree to discuss the weather. Enjoy!
The video to prove it all:
Check out the awesome Oppikoppi site here!
There is majestic colour in Stellenbosch as well as the Bo-Kaap of Cape Town, South Africa. It comes in the flavours of the Cape Malay people who settled here from as early as 1654, after being exiled or imprisoned by the Dutch East India Company.
Think of jazz music on special occasions, while eating Bobotie (a delicious light curry flavored with sweet raisins) as people dance around you or the sound of the mosque calling people to come pray.
I explored both towns, camera in hand, and was welcomed open-armed into various mosques to take unique pictures, which each reflect a particular theme important to Islam in South Africa.
A report I did on South Africa for Erasmus Mundus radio show Accents Weekly.
Listen to the podcast: