Archive for category: personal reflections

Consumed by fire: when all you have goes up in flames

20 Mar
March 20, 2017

Some say the fire started in a sangoma’s house. Others say it was started by a drunk man who fell asleep, but nobody knows for sure. All we do know is that the fire was ruthless; scorching, angry flames leaping from one corrugated iron shack to the next and destroying everything in its path. Within a matter of hours, four people had died, 4,500 homes were destroyed and 15,000 people were left homeless and destitute. Read more →

Behind Hout Bay’s quest for answers from a smelly factory

31 Aug
August 31, 2015

The first time I went to Hout Bay I instantly knew I wanted to live there. There was something about the rich diversity of colourful characters, the fishing village heritage and the spectacular natural environment that captured it all. Read more →

a garden of happiness

16 Apr
April 16, 2014

One of my goals this year is to grow a vegetable garden. To be honest, I’m not very good with plants. I’m good at admiring them, speaking to them, and generally loving them, but growing them has always been a daunting task. The great irony is that I’ve spent most of my life around farmers, whether in lecture halls at university, working with specialists on international development projects, or covering articles on women’s agri-business associations in Papua New Guinea. I should be a person well placed for knowing what to do, but the tragic tales of my dead cacti say otherwise.

I decided to take on the challenge.

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celebrating solwara mangi – gulf style

12 Apr
April 12, 2014

On 30 November 2013, I stood in the middle of more than 2,000 people at the Sir John Guise Stadium, singing into a microphone, and could hardly believe it was real. People were pressed tightly together, waving at me, smiling, calling out ‘solwara meri!’ and filling me with a sense of belonging that has yet to be matched. I smiled in amazement at Robert Oeka, standing beside me, and together we started our next song, Kerema Yu No Save. This was a celebration of Gulf Day, and we performing in true Gulf style. Read more →

a year of blossoming

21 Jan
January 21, 2014

Beautiful days and wonderful adventures seem to course through my life at a rapid pace, and I am often barely finished with one thing when another begins. Being caught up in this whirlwind is a privileged experience, but it is also easy to get disoriented and to forget what is really important in life. This year is going to be a pivotal year for me, a year where I am conscientiously working towards many goals, and concentrating my energies more proactively. I’ve created a vision board for this year to keep me focused and here are a few things on it. Read more →

the sea-fairy house

03 May
May 3, 2013

My dear friend Clinton and I used to live in the fairy house, a magical space in the forests outside of Pietermaritzburg. There we created a home that was filled with giggles and dancing, warm fires and long talks, and an immense amount of love. It was indeed a magical fairy house in the forest and some of my fondest memories will forever be housed within those trees.

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03 May
May 3, 2013

There’s a big difference between buying a house and owning a house. When you’re buying a house, all the things that aren’t quite right are whitewashed in this glamorous idea of how you could fix them up. When you own a house, all those things suddenly become a reality, and not only do you have to decide what you want, but you have to know how to do it. I am good at many things, but fixing things is not one of them. I’m the kind of person that when a light bulb goes out, I will very happily use a candle for the next two months until some kind person happens to be there with a light bulb and changes it. These things just aren’t within my frame of reference. I can organise an international youth conference, but I really have no idea where the milk aisle is. Read more →

buying a house

03 May
May 3, 2013

Some time towards the end of 2012 I decided it would be a good idea to move to Cape Town. I wanted to buy a house and live in an interesting place, surrounded by dynamic people doing motivating things. I wanted to make roots somewhere, to have a place to come home to after travelling. Over the next couple months this feeling became stronger, and by December I started looking for a house to buy. Read more →

solwara mangi

03 May
May 3, 2013

IMG_1879I met Robert Oeka in 2011. He was a driver on the Project I work on in Papua New Guinea, and was driving me through the busy streets of Port Moresby one afternoon. I was in a musical at the local theatre at the time and, terrified of my upcoming solos, was singing along to a CD in the car. Robert asked me if I liked to sing. I told him that I loved performing and while I didn’t think I was a particularly good singer, if it got me onto a stage it was certainly something I would do. Robert went on to tell me that he was a famous Papua New Guinean musician and asked if I wanted to record a song with him. I didn’t really believe him, but I gave him my number anyway, thinking what an experience it would be if it actually worked out. Later, I asked all my Papua New Guinean friends if they knew of him, and everyone replied yes, that he was indeed a well-loved singer throughout the country. Several weeks later, Robert phoned me up and said he had written a song for me to sing, and wondered if I would come to Tokorara – a ‘no-go zone’ settlement in the city – to record it. With security guards in tow, off I went one Saturday afternoon and met with him and his producers. Read more →