Thursday, September 22, 2011


I met a 23-year-old girl the other day. Indian. English Speaking. Studying Law.

After a few minutes of a very superficial conversation about the busyness of Johannesburg, career aspirations, place of residence and relationships the conversation gradually moved from general to specific. She explained to me a little of her struggles to prove herself amongst her friends and family as everyone she associates with is highly prosperous and influential. Her aim is to be the best at whatever she does. Yet, in an almost hushed tone, with a distinct gleam in her eyes… she vulnerably explained how she sometimes contemplates the ‘irresponsible idea’ of being a full-time artist. 
Determined. Driven. Sporadic dreamer.

I met a 54-year-old man the other day. African. Zulu speaking. Lecturer at Wits.

He interrupted me at till in Pick n Pay, advising me to close my handbag properly in public, as theft is rife and on the increase (of course) in this country. The teller had some problems with the card machine so while we waited we briefly discussed crime statistics and went on to discuss where some of the safer cities in South Africa are – specifically for raising children. As I turned to leave, we shook hands and he said to me in a stern tone but with a big smile on his face, 
“Nice meeting you, now don’t ever forget to close your handbag.” 
Protective. Fatherly. Consciously helpful.

I met an 8-year-old boy the other day. Portuguese. Wealthy. School going.

This young man was quiet but confident, well spoken but slightly careless, attentive but still a boy. I picked him up from school as part of my aupair work and he surprised me with his unusual questioning and interest in my life. He described to me his simple but honest desire to help people one day ‘when he is grown up’ as “there are too many sad people in the world”. He then begged to introduce me to playstation for simply half an hour. I gave in and gave way to being solidly beaten in “Call of Duty 4, Modern Duty Warfare”. His massive grin was enough of a reprise. 
Caring. Sensitive. Unashamedly competitive.

I met a white 84-year-old lady the other day. White. Retired. Lives in an old age home.

This lady was walking in my neighborhood, enjoying the sunshine. She smiled as she walked and stopped to greet me with genuine friendliness. No inhibition. Lines of wisdom stretching over her face. A depth of ancient beauty. A content expression of understanding. A brief and simplistic interaction with this lady left me contemplating my life’s goals and ambitions. My youthful arrogance seemingly obvious in the midst of someone who has walked a long road, someone who has experienced life to the fullest, someone who has loved and lost and come to a place of enviable satisfaction. 
Mature. Composed. Sophisticated aura.

Different ages. 
Different races. 
Different contexts. 
Different faces. 
Different stories. 
Different dreams. 
Different desires. 
Different challenges. 
Different emotions. 
Different struggles. 
Different names. 
Different perspectives. 
Different hopes. 
Different cultures.

One nation.

Heritage Day, 24 September, is a Public Holiday on which South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their cultural heritage and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all it’s people.

A celebration of life.

We have often heard the typical comments made by foreigners - on how friendly we are as a nation. The daily interactions we are accustomed to are seen as completely ‘suprising’ or ‘unusual’ to those from mostly European or First World countries. The greetings paid to you by strangers you walk past in the street, the conversation struck in an elevator, the smile in a shopping centre, the comments made in que’s, the complaints or encouragements shared...
Whether it’s about the weather or the latest political scandal there is a genuine openness and sharing-of-life we seem to carry wherever we go. The respect and appreciation of different cultures.

Madiba’s birthday was on the 18th July and on that day I read a tweet saying “Madiba's birthday a few hours away and it's difficult to celebrate. Every single thing that he stands for is being destroyed in SA. A shame.”

I guess there will always be a manner of viewing our nation in respect of the areas in which we lack and need improvement. There are always vast and open spaces in which we know need to change. 
However, commemorating heritage day is an opportunity to view what we DO have. 
Our cultural diversity and varying beliefs and traditions are what make us a rainbow nation. 
It is a rarity. 
Something unique and blatantly beautiful.

I recently went to the Nando’s comedy festival in Johannesburg and a gentleman named Ndumiso Lindi (The Rooster) brilliantly described our nation in a way I have never heard before. He painted such a rich picture of the cultural conglomeration of heritage that we hold within one nation. He highlighted our idiosyncrasies and encouraged our differences to the point a standing ovation was given. This was not simply because he is an obviously great African comedian… but because I am almost certain that every single one of the 1800 audience could feel the presence of celebratory unity. What we have in this country is intrinsically attractive.

Yet, beyond our diversity of cultures being celebrated on a single day, we hold something more essential than any other kind of recognized public holiday or person on this planet. 
We hold a truth within our hearts that motivates, stirs, encourages, moves and changes everything we live for. 
This truth has been proven true for centuries and has literally altered our existence on this planet, on this nation, in the cities we find ourselves. 

This truth is better than any unified heritage.

A Savior who created us.
A King who walked this earth as a man.
A Father who gave his life so that we could live.

May we never fail to live in celebration of this truth.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Have you ever found yourself in a moment when a single word changes everything? 
When one sentence brings clarity and direction?
When your entire world is changed in one expression of truth?
When a one-liner suddenly opens your eyes?
When a conversation inspires and encourages you like nothing else can?
When lyrics from a song urge you to action?
When a book title makes you smile?
When a magazine article motivates you see a situation differently?

The whispered “I do” in a breath-taking union.
The tearful “goodbye” uttered at an airport.
The surprised mumbling of a first word uttered by a child, “mama”.
The beauty of life unfolding as words express what we hold within.

Words create impressions, images and expectations. They build psychological connections. They influence how we think. Since thoughts determine actions, there’s a powerful connection between the words we use and the results we get.

The current rugby world cup is an example of this. The unity of words used to support our bokke. The facebook and twitter status’s declaring victory for our team. The rugby jerseys and inspired conversations between strangers who share excitement over each match. The groups of friends hovering over television screens all over our nation… 
And as our anthem is sung this atmosphere of complete support and whole-hearted unity is created:

(translated into English)

God bless Africa
Raise high its glory
Hear our prayers
God bless us, her children
From the blue of our heaven,
From the depth of our sea,
Over our everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing cliffs resound,
Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land.

Words can be remembered forever.

I’m almost sure as Neil Armstrong was standing on the moon he didn’t think that his words would be remembered and repeated years later… 

“This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

I’m sure Nelson Mandela didn’t realize the legacy he was leaving as he endured those 27 years in prison. And as he was released on the 11th February 1990, I wonder if he understood that his words were declaring freedom for generations to come:
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

There are others like Sir Winston Churchill who, as a young army officer and then later as British Prime Minister said:
"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."

And Gandhi who, while fighting for equality of the individual and the independence of India, stated:
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

There are still the likes of Shakespeare, Einstein, Aristotle, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin and so many more who have stood for something and changed this world through the simplicity of words spoken or written.

We have all experienced how words can kill enthusiasm, impact self-esteem, lower expectations and hold people back. Well chosen ones can motivate, offer hope, create vision, impact thinking and alter results. I have learned that my words have power over my thoughts and actions. They also impact and influence people I speak them to.
In the words of Pearl Strachan: "Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs."

If words can change this world, then lets choose each word as if it mattered.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


“Pleasure gorged on the sun and freshness you’ll want from Spring / Summer 2011. On the one hand, the exotic: exuberant nature inspired by Gauguin, luxuriant foliage and cat-like beachwear motifs. On the other hand, the desert: a landscape of sand, primitive embroideries, Berber stripes, beautiful laces patinated by the years, ikats and metal accents.”

The emphasis seems to be on non-conformity, ample shapes, dry knits, charming linens and cottons. It’s not a question of being good or reasonable, but the passion colours evoke, the explosions of prints, geometrical accents, Indian flowers, folk music kitsch, cartoon influences and the naive primitives that all mix create a wild patchwork of fashion. A liberated celebration of all that everyday life is about. Amusing creativity, beachwear influences, mixes of ethnic and otherworld, ardour and femininity, the whole trend being based on strong lines.

An atmosphere heavily loaded with, memories but reinvented by using, technical innovations. To maintain the feeling of softness and a nostalgia of charm, there are sophisticated constructions, digital prints, placed jacquards, audacious accents, and subtle featherweight effects, silks, fine cottons, blends. Then there are the refined, luxury lines of coordinates made to last: it’s the triumphant return of the camisole, bodices, teddies: all expressions of what has been described as ‘eternal sophistication’.

Hot Summer Buys

Navy Blue Armani Exchange Dress
(Cotton-spandex and mesh dress)

Sunny color-bright pieces

Club Monaco Silk Shorts
Parker Dress
(Silk charmeuse dress)

G-star skirt

Forever 21 Dress
(Cotton-acrylic dress)

Monrow cotton shorts

I Heart Ronson Dress
(Cotton-polyester dress)


Because LIFE is too short to blend in…


My all-time favourite summer clothing item is short denim shorts…

Maybe its because I grew up at the coast.
Maybe its because they appeal to very humid conditions.
Maybe its because you can work them with all stars, slops or heels.
Maybe its because they are timeless in a casual kinda way.

Whatever the reason… they are my must-have summer addiction.

Some suggestions for an oh-so-trendy-denim-shorts look

Whatever the prediction for 2011’s Summer trend, fashion or style I think it’s mostly about allowing what really matters to be made clearer. 
Not everything we want is accessible. 
Not everything we want is affordable. 
Don’t compare yourself to the stereotypical red carpet glamour girl. 
Don’t live for fickle fashion.

Make what you have work best and get ready to celebrate summer.

A life without love is like a year without summer. 

~ Swedish Proverb


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


ithemba Lam Baby Home

This morning I spent time at an orphanage in Forest Hill called ithemba lam.

Ithemba Lam (meaning “My Hope”) is a temporary safe-haven for abandoned, orphaned, abused, or neglected babies, and those that are affected by, or infected with, HIV/ AIDS, until they are adopted into a permanent family, placed in a foster home, or reunited with their biological family.

My gran visits every now and again and so we popped in for literally 45 minutes...

It was 45 minutes of being challenged to my core.

A couple named Kim and Peter Frankhauser have given their lives to love and care for babies who have no home. 
A small house hidden away in a small suburb in Port Elizabeth. 
Volunteers who give their time to raise these babies. 
They received a call from the welfare department on the 31st August 2009, asking if they could assist them with three siblings that they were trying to place. After scrambling around they were able to accommodate the three cherubs, Rex (3), Tyra (2) and Chrystal (2 months). I stood there, listening to Kim speak with undeniable passion for this initiative that they began two years ago… 

The emotion of giving your heart to children who have not known love from any other person or being on this earth.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she described how attached she has become to these children…

“This is not a sacrifice. I love it. There is nothing else in this world I’d rather do.”

I sat there on that carpeted floor holding this one twin and questioning if I’d ever be able to impart as much as this couple have done to these children. 
They have given their lives. 
They have offered everything they have. 

In my eyes this couple are warriors. 
They are heroes. 
They live for more than themselves.

I am reminded of this line from a song by Lifehouse which goes:

 “How can I stand here and not be moved by you?”

It’s not a case.

It’s not a cause.

It’s about lives.

May we give ourselves to the lives of those who need us to live for more than ourselves.

To ensure the sustainability of the home, they are still trying to secure regular funding. 
If you are able to help in any way, however big or small, or know of anyone who may be able to assist, their bank details are:

Account Name: Ithemba Lam
Bank: FNB Walmer Branch
Code: 211217
Account Number: 6227 0722 195
Non-Profit-Org Number: 076-105-NPO (for tax-deductible donations)