Road trip to Bush Fire..

What a magical weekend.

Right, let us get the background first. I have been interested in attending the MTN Bush Fire Festival for the last three years. It seemed so worldly and care-free. But, I could never really afford it – very common issue, I’d say. This year (27-29 May 2016), the universe was on my side. In the shape of a very kind and fun soul, of course.

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This meant, R-O-A-D-T-R-I-P!! It is a little odd but I take them seriously. Snacks, a BOX of CDs to suit every mood, checking and double checking documents, more snacks and an endless amount of water. Also, a really annoying sing-a-long happy-go-lucky voice. I must sound like Donkey from Shrek. Oef…

After over six hours, buying an assortment of alcopops and getting a new stamp on my very bare passport, we were ready to set up camp in Mahlanya Market, Malkerns, Swaziland!

We arrived quite late in the evening but I had a smooth gin and tonic sippy cup to keep me warm in the long queue of campers. The music was pumping and boy, we were getting super excited to get in to it all.

The entire set up was absolutely phenomenal. Africa, you beaut! If you had to walk around the camp blindfolded, you would have no idea where you were – the languages, accent, diverse music! This is where my heart belongs.

Saturday morning. The one thing I never miss about festivals is the shower queue. After standing in a snaking queue to jump in to a cold shower but what’s worse is the cold water running out then having to dry your soapy body with a dry towel. Half loaf is better than no loaf, they say. Half clean and ready to eat, drink and dance through the festival.

 

A beautiful atmosphere, incredible talent and one of the best that I have attended with the absolute gem company.

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The image that captures the weekend: fun, colourful and just dance
Warmth fills my soul when I think about this amazing weekend.

With happiness & love,

x

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Good Deed: Surfers Not Street Children..

I love being a good Samaritan. I love listening to peoples’ stories. I love seeing people change their lives for the better. So, I just love seeing human beings practicing ubuntu.

I have been involving myself in numerous projects. Great projects, where both parties benefit. Recently, I have become more drawn to the skating and surfing (board-riding) world. I mean, I grew up with friends that surfed but I could never afford the gear. So, I immersed myself in reading about the chilled board-riding culture.

Then, we found a unique organisation in Durban that gets children off the streets by teaching them how to surf. This is, of course, the extremely simplified version. Surfers Not Street Children is an organisation that exudes stoke! I have met young men that have gone through a tough upbringing that lead them to drugs and living on the streets but today, they always have smiles on their faces, travelling through surfing and have become quite the young gentlemen.

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I have been making visits to the Surf House (where the former street children stay) and I must say, if looks and feels like a large family house. The lads are all welcoming and so is their resident puppy!

I went there again recently with the Entrepreneurs Organisation to listen to Tom Hewitt talk about his organisation. He is really laid back and surely can talk for hours (we tease him about this).

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The great story is that these are former street children, they are black and they have changed their lives around! You have qualified surfing instructors, coffee barristers, trainee chefs and pro surfers representing South Africa all living under one roof! The phenomenal part is that they are making waves, inspiring other street children!

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I will be on the beach a lot more with the team. Such rad ous!

Feel free to drop me a mail if you would like to know more about the organisation.

With love,

x

Markets. Sushi. Gardens. Family..

What a beautiful weekend filled with laughter, dances, Thai spring rolls, sushi, family braai, a walk with monkeys and Hadeda Ibises and a relaxing Sunday.

I started off the weekend with a catch up at the Musgrave Roof Top Night Market. I have moved away from just eating Falafels. I have discovered amazing Thai Spring Rolls with glass noodles! What?! So. Good.

My Saturday started off quite mellow. I didn’t really want to get out of bed. I did. Otherwise, Nick would have been bleak with me.

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I bought sushi from my local take away spot run by three young Chinese guys who have asked me out on a miso soup dinner date.

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A feast more than a light picnic. Go big or go home, eh?

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We pretty much could not move for a while. All we could do was lie flat on our backs, look at the sky and listen to the birds sing.

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When we had been bitten by enough mosquitos, we decided on a walk around the Botanic Gardens. We have always had this place available to us but we just do not visit it often enough. It is the best picnic spot in Durban. Also, seemingly the place to take wedding photos.

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A walk with Hadedas and monkeys in the heat seemed like the most perfect moment. All life living in harmony.

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After the lazy stroll. It was time to see my family for a late afternoon/evening braai. It is always so lovely to see my cousins. We literally sit outside, have beers and talk utter nonsense. For hours! It is the best!! 🙂

I would not have had this weekend any other way.

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like & celebrating it for everything that is.”

With love, x

Munkay in Town..

“I am here for a good time, not a long time.”

Yes, I did just quote a hip hop/rap song. It’s quite catchy and so true. Better make the most of it, right?

This has made me realise, once again, that this year has been rather wonderful. Gratitude is all I can offer at the moment; I am so ridiculously thankful of how things have turned out.

Thursday morning, I received a “I’m on my way to Durban to see you” text from one of the world’s best human beings! So, there I was thinking, “weekend made!”

Unfortunately, I could not clear my calendar as I had a traditional family ceremony that was coming up on Saturday. We had some major preparation to get through. So, family during the day, Joel in the evenings. It worked out well.

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We enjoyed a cosy candle lit dinner with two other mates (thank you Piro for such a lovely dinner and for making a special vegetarian meal for me!) The image below shows that you really are royalty 🙂 Your hospitality and generosity – you truly deserve a chair fit for a king! Straight outta Benoni! Haha..

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Wine. Great conversation. Durban fast food (Johnnies Roti’s which are the size of an arm! An entire arm!). And, meeting a beautiful black Great Dane named Pieters.

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What a treat. What a pleasure. What a beautiful send off and I did not want to see you leave so soon. This is when I also realised how darn short weekends are!

“Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness.”

With love,

x

Flip Flop Happiness..

Sanibonani!

Everyone that knows me pretty well knows that I love my slops.

Well, it’s either I walk around barefoot or it’s the slops. It’s just so darn comfortable..

It’s Friday, Spring and sunny. Why not?

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Oh, hello! So, the office got involved, too!

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Happy Friday 🙂

With love,

x

Green Fingers and Dirty Hands..

I enjoy being outside, as you may have figured out. Beautiful Saturday morning at the Green Camp in Umbilo, Durban. Naturally, being a hippy.

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This space is the epitome of the recycling concept! The building itself is recycled! It is an old dilapidated house that has been transformed in to a homey, relaxing space. A place for artists to gather their thoughts, for avid gardeners to grow their own vegetables, for inspiring meetings and a home.

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Everything here is recycled or upcycled. The clothes and pieces that are gathered from people all over Durban will soon be on sale or available to swap (still an idea!) to uplift the area. It is such an incredibly happy place. I felt at ease here; basking in the sun and playing the Kalimba poorly.

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Personally, it is Durban’s best kept (free) secret. Everything grows so wonderfully. It is a great concept that is still being revised and improved as they go along. A little bit of trial and error.

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I will be visiting this place a lot more. Share some ideas on how we can turn this in to a self sufficient zone. We spoke of having a solar training where we can learn how to make our own solar generators, recycle zones, making our own grocery bags, etc. There is just an endless list of ideas.

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Or, you can just relax under a beach umbrella and read.

With love,

x

 

 

 

 

 

The Undeniable: South Africa’s Energy Crisis

The Low Down

In the time where nations are divesting in dirty energy such as coal and nuclear, South Africa, one of the largest economies in Africa decides to invest in almost R1 trillion in nuclear energy. This comes at a time when South Africa is having a serious energy crisis. Loadshedding, a period of strategically scheduled black-outs, began towards the end of 2007. The parastatal Eskom was having crisis. It is now 2015, Eskom is still having a crisis. South African citizens have been warned by Eskom that we should expect further black-outs and an 18 percent hike in tariffs, yet the government still provided $2 billion to bail out the parastatal.

Ahead of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in less than six months, we need to give the government a little nudge in the right direction or, maybe get its head out of the nuclear cloud.

 

The Problem

The problem here is that South Africa heavily relies on coal energy. Approximately 70% of country’s electricity is generated from coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels. The other problem is that South Africa somewhat enjoys taking a few steps backwards. When countries such as Germany and Ireland decide to phase out their nuclear power plants, South Africa invests in nuclear. So, it appears that South Africa is in favour of the controversial trio: coal, fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and nuclear.

You would ask yourself why a country with favourable renewable energy conditions not opt for solar energy as its first option? Why a country with recurring blackouts that affect the economy not opt for an immediate solution? A developing country with a declining economy choose to invest billions in a project that might not even lift off? Why a country with scarce water resources continue to invest in coal which uses up to 10 000 litres of fresh water per second? Let that sink in for a moment.

Why? The only explanation would be money! As we have learned with the recent FIFA scandal, money is often the route of all bad decisions made by a government. The crisis feared by this developing nation is the employment in the mining sector. One step at a time now. A new renewable energy investment will create just as many jobs, if not more.

 

Let Us Move On, Shall We?

Let us move away from the idea that renewable energy is an intermittent backup solution. The great news is that over the last two years, the average solar tariffs have decreased by 68% and wind dropping by 42% which makes it more affordable. A report from South Africa’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research stated that wind and solar projects last year delivered R800 million more in financial benefits for the country than what they actually cost. What the cash-strapped municipalities don’t want you to know is that they often purchase energy (from Eskom) in bulk and then sell to the consumer. This is one of the many reasons why they are not promoting renewable energy as much as they should.

On the 26th of May 2015, the Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that they will continue to build a fleet of the nuclear power stations. This is the same Energy Minister that Greenpeace Africa announced to take to court on the 27th February 2015. The international organisation rightfully states that the Energy Minister, according to the National Nuclear Regulator Act 47 of 1999, is responsible for determining the appropriate levels of financial security to be provided by the holders of nuclear licences in the country. Quite frankly, South Africa cannot afford this. We all know this. To make matters worse, there are numerous unanswered questions. The cost analysis does not include the final bill for radioactive fuel storage, security, or decommissioning these nuclear plants at the end of their working lives. Honestly, where are we storing the nuclear waste? If you recall grade school Chemistry, radioactive mother-daughter reactions can go on for hundreds of years depending on the element! We do not need to have a tsunami for disaster to strike.

 

We are six months away from the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris yet South Africa has not submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). The INDC is a document whereby nations publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions they intend to take under a new national agreement. I have a few suggestions:

  1. Energy conservation should be built in to every stage of production.
  2. Carbon emission prices should be introduced as energy tax!
  3. Countries should invest in public transport. Less traffic, less emissions, less demand for cars. Happy cyclists.
  4. New buildings should also have a strict energy criteria introduced.


It is time that the communities voices are heard. We should do away with conferences that do not have substantial outcomes. With INDCs in place, and passionate negotiators, this year should be the year that ordinary citizens speak with one voice and demand environmental conservation. We need to divest in dirty energy, especially coal and nuclear. We need to invest in safe, renewable energy. Wake up South Africa! Rainbows are meant to be colourful; they should not be tainted by coal and nuclear clouds, and respiratory masks.

I Could Pass as a Berber..

I have a colleague from Algeria! Wonderful gentleman with a sense of humour that will leave you stunned half of the time. In a good way. He really has a lifetime of knowledge.

Anyway, I am African and I really do not know so much about many African countries. He decided to educate us a little and we had an Algerian afternoon at work. A powerpoint presentation, smorgasbord of Mediterranean treats (including baklava for desserts) and bit of guitar sing along desert tunes.

I learnt that:

– Algeria is the largest African country by land mass.

– Zinedine Zidane is of Berber origin!

– It snows in Winter (sometimes)!!! Yes, the bottom half of the country is a desert and the top half, is well…normal?

– Algiers, the capital city, is commonly known as the White City because of the white painted buildings throughout the city. Looks stunning!

– French and Berber as well as other dialects are spoken…

The great thing is…I had the chance to dress up! Yup! I could definitely pass as a Berber Princess 🙂

Hah!

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I love learning about other cultures!

Live. Love. Laugh.

x

Good Samaritan Saturday..

Well, my mother is. I tagged along to help her out. On the 16 May, my mother had her little tea garden stall at a local Flea Market. This was not just any flea market. She was taking part to raise funds for Ningizimu Special School.

Ningizimu is a school for children, up to the age of 18, with special needs. They range from Autistic children with learning disabilities, happy little girls with Down Syndrome, positive kids in wheelchairs. They are all happy, lively young people with a positive outlook! As you may have guessed, this is not a mainstream grade school; however, they learn a range of skills from playing the Marimba and being a part of a steel drum band, pottery classes, sewing & upcycling classes.

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My nephew, the little Picasso that he is, decided to draw me a picture of a…Rhino! Haha! Can you see the horn?! This is adorable. He was extremely proud of it and I could not take it away from him!

I found these amazing upcycled bags made by the learners. These bags could last a lifetime! Why? They are made of old Tyre tubes. Yup! This is thinking out of the box! I am now a proud owner!

The Up-cycled Bags!
The Up-cycled Bags!
I am the Proud Owner of this Bag! :)
I am the Proud Owner of this Bag! 🙂

We were also entertained by a rather impressive marimba band. The students, of course!

What a beautiful Saturday! Well spent. Worth waking up early to set up. We raised some funds for the school! Waahaay!

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Success! We are happy chappies!

So, from now on, I refuse to say, “I can’t…”

Loads of Happy Hearts and Smiles.

With Love,

x

PS: My mother is a teacher at Ningizimu Special School. 

PPS: I bought something else for myself. An old, old suitcase. Then, look inside, to see the label. It used to belong to a friend’s family. To his grandfather, to be precise! Small world!

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Autumn Hike in Injisuthi, Drakensberg..

I can use my limbs again!

Also, what I did not know was that you find little boys shouting out “SWEETS” when you drive past. Apparently, it is quite common in the more rural townships. We had about four boys herding some livestock shouting out for these sweets. We had to stop and wait for the cows to move out of the way. During this time, we had these little 8 year old boys almost climbing in to the car demanding sweets or money to buy said sweets. A friend had an apple to give one of the boys. They can get quite aggressive but at the time, it was hilarious! Little boys having fun.

Woah! Breathtaking experience that I will, I dare say, do it all over and over again!

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I organised this hike to Injisuthi, Drakensberg thinking that it would be a walk in the park. Just a walk to a cave, casually, you know. Little did I know that this trek would take 7 hours just to get there! I may have said some prayers and curses in the last hour as it was dark, I was not feeling too well (altitude, lack of food, exhaustion, hot & cold) and I couldn’t figure out why we could not find this darn cave!

We arrived at the Marble Bath cave SEVEN MINUTES before the heavens opened and it poured. It was so cosy, and absolutely breath-taking! We were completely sheltered from the thunderstorm and fell asleep like a baby with the sounds of rain, wind, river streaming and thunder as my lullaby.

Oh, I was the leader and map master! Ahem…

Here are the photos of this glorious, majestic and well-worth it hike! (Clearly I have not had enough, I am planning a four day hike as we speak…)

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Thank you, Nature! You are one helluva a stunner!

With Love,

x

PS: That water (Marble Baths) was delicious!