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C a p e

Dec 2011 / Jan 2012


To w n ’ s

b e s t

g u i d e

f o r

pa r e n t s

keep your children safe - in the sun, the water and everywhere else toilet training tips choosing the right shoes


what’s on in december & january education


I am not a fan of creepy crawlies, but as the first Christmas beetle settles on my kitchen counter, my spirits soar. The cicada, or Christmas beetle as it’s commonly known, brings with it the promise of lazy summer days, gaudy tinsel on the tree and magical, festive family time. The little, shiny brown bug reminds me of Christmases past, at home with my mom, dad and brother. My dad – ever the gracious and generous Father Christmas, my mom – happy to put up her feet after a long year of primary school teaching, and my big brother – kind and caring, always. Nowadays, with my brother in Australia and my sister-in-law in the UK, achieving a complete family Christmas is rare. To add to this, my dad died in June, so sadly this year will be the first without our gentle Santa. But it will be the first Christmas with my mom and my in-laws all together. To get the remaining grandparents together for Christmas is a coup and great cause for celebration. We’re planning fish on the braai, plates of paella and as many Lilos as the pool can manage. My wish this festive season is that you too can spend fabulous family time together, that you too can put your feet up and play mind-numbing hours of Monopoly, relishing the time to breathe and smile knowing that your family is close. Happy holidays from me, and all of us at Child magazine.

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Cape Town’s Child magazineTM is published monthly by Hunter House Publishing, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Office address: Unit 7, Canterbury Studios, 35 Wesley Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Tel: 021 465 6093, fax: 021 462 2680, email: Annual subscriptions (for 11 issues) cost R165, including VAT and postage inside SA. Printed by Paarl Web. Copyright subsists in all work published in Cape Town’s Child magazineTM. We welcome submissions but retain the unrestricted right to change any received copy. We are under no obligation to return unsolicited copy. The magazine, or part thereof, may not be reproduced or adapted without the prior written permission of the publisher. We take care to ensure our articles, and other editorial content, are accurate and balanced, but cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or inconvenience that may arise from reading them.

December 2011/January 2012



december and january


38 safe and sound

Ruwaydah Lillah gives 10 tips to keep your children safe these holidays

40 treasure hunt

geocaching is the buzz word in family fun. By Karen Whyte

42 festive food for family and friends

upfront 3

a note from lisa 46 the charm of camping

6 over to you

readers respond

14 reader’s blog  Claudia Eicker-Harris wants to send her four year old to a nudist colony


sometimes your child’s honesty can be a bit embarrasing, says Marc de Chazal

Jessica-A’isha Mouneimne looks at ways to prevent cot death

12 get it off your chest

31 mom’s blog

Lynne O’Connor and her family swap city life for the outdoors in Limpopo

10 while you were sleeping

23 dad’s blog

Maia du Plessis and Simon Scarboro give inspiration for a feast on the beach

Anél Lewis praises grandparents

Lucille Kemp advises you to act fast when your child has croup


20 festive family traditions

8 wins


 hristina Castle finds out how families C with different beliefs and backgrounds celebrate this time of year

24 here comes the sun

advice on how to be safe in the sun this summer. By Vanessa Papas

27 stay safe in the water

Lucille Kemp looks at the importance of being water-wise

28 music for the mind

how can listening to Mozart benefit your child? Sonja du Plessis goes looking for the answers

32 one, two, wee!

18 dealing with difference

Marina Zietsman looks at the genetic disorder, Prader-Willi syndrome

48 resource – get out there!

a selection of the best outdoor family outings. Compiled by Lucille Kemp

54 a good read

new books for the whole family

78 last laugh

which pet is right for your child at what age? By Jessica-A’isha Mouneimne

 Sam Wilson is not going to pull out all the stops this festive season

classified ads

36 these shoes are made for walking

 Paul Kerton hopes his daughters will grow up to be more than the next Kim Kardashian

60 what’s on in december and january

Donna Cobban investigates the science of toilet training

34 finding (the right) fido

16 upfront with paul

Anél Lewis consults the experts on how to choose the right shoes for your child

71 family marketplace 75 let’s party

this month’s cover images are supplied by:


December 2011/January 2012

Cape Town



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December 2011/January 2012



over to you article spot on

In response to the “heavy school bags” article I often see children with very serious spinal stress in my body stress release practice, and the sad thing is that these aches and pains are easily prevented. The weight of school bags, coupled with ergonomically incorrect desks and chairs, are responsible for many spinal problems in children. In a young, developing body these problems can become irreversible. A UK charity called BackCare has done a fantastic job of lobbying the authorities to take the spinal health of children seriously. Sadly, no organisations like this exist in South Africa. More articles are needed to highlight these issues. Thanks for once again taking the lead. Melody Mitchell

on our facebook page In response to the website article “motor development therapy” I’m a preschool teacher and I think that children don’t spend nearly enough time playing. They are not being allowed to explore and make up games. It’s not just parents who are at fault, preschools are pressured to do school “work” with the children, which detracts from play (the real work of children). Sarah Ashwell

one peaceful night… I made the decision that 1 November would be the night that my five-year-old son, Marcus, would have to fall asleep without his mother. My husband and I did our research and accepted that the experts on television and in books must be right. Their advice was to simply put your child to bed, give him a good night kiss and leave the room. Every time he emerges from his bedroom, simply take him back to bed without making any eye contact or starting a conversation. This might carry on for ages (between 30 and 300 times – the experts are a bit vague on this one), until both of you are so tired, your child will simply fall asleep. It’s almost like breaking in a horse, according to these clever people. I don’t want to argue with the experts, but my child is not what one would call a textbook case. I’m not saying this because I’m his mom, but I think he has proven repeatedly that he is the exception to the rule. Full of confidence and knowledge, we put Marcus to bed, explained to him how things would now be done, gave him a good night kiss, left on his bedside lamp and kept the door slightly ajar. The first time, he came flying out of the room like a ninja with a Jedi sword. The second time, I had to fetch him from under the table in the main bedroom. Bear in mind that I was doing this almost blindly, as I was not allowed to make eye contact. The third time, he pretended to be very sad and tried his best to cry, complete with sobs, but no tears. Then he started with “but I love you


December 2011/January 2012

mommy!” At this stage, I also had to keep my husband in line, as he was about to break the “no eye contact” rule. Somewhere between the fourth and eighth time, my son wanted to know, “but why are you not talking to me?” I succumbed, took him some milk and made eye contact. I gave him a hug and a kiss and chatted to him, sending the textbook nanny routine out of the window. It took all my willpower not to get into bed with my little one. Instead, I forced myself to sit on his bed and hold his hand. “Sing for me, Mom,” was the next request. Not sure of where to begin, I started with an Afrikaans children’s hymn he knows well. I worked my way through a few other church songs (it’s important for the songs to be slow with not too much rhythm). When I forgot the words, I simply sang “na, na, na.” At one stage, I worked through a difficult rendition of a Josh Groban song (lots of “na, na, na”). Then, with half-closed eyes and his little warm hand in mine, Marcus requested another “na-na” song. This is when I decided to “na na” Ave Maria. As I sat in the half-dark looking at those two brown eyes, almost asleep but not leaving my face, I realised how grateful I am to have him. While calming my child, I had become calm. In my efforts to get my busy boy asleep, I too had become still. It gave me the quiet time to thank the Lord for my child. Marcus had helped me to forget about everything else, and enabled me to just be peaceful. Janita Storm

Vanessa Papas’s article on central auditory processing disorder (“broken telephone”, November 2011) was great. I think she did a really wonderful job. I wish that I had read an article like that when I started this journey with my child, Tim. I really think it’s going to benefit some moms out there. The article has a great conclusion and is very positive, and I hope and pray that Tim too can benefit from early detection so that by the time he’s 12, he will be able to cope better. It is so nice for us moms to hear that we are not alone. I must admit that I was astounded by how many disabilities and difficulties there are out there. Lianne Kelly

why halloween? This has been on my heart for a long time and, as your magazine reaches so many parents, I want to ask why South Africans celebrate Halloween? It is not part of our culture or history. Every year, I see how the shops expand their range of decorations, using this as another moneymaking scheme. It seems as if parents blindly follow their lead without question. I challenge every parent to read the history of Halloween to understand what it really means. Why would any parent want their children to take part and dress up like a devil, a witch or an evil spirit? Please make an informed decision about celebrations such as these. We could still have fabulous neighbourhood parties by celebrating something like spring or summer, where we could knock on our neighbours’ doors and give one another a flower from our gardens. J from Cape Town

i’m a winner I just got my prize, which I won through Child magazine. Thank you so much. The Ideal Toy hamper is amazing and my children will have so much fun with all the new goodies. Penina Minkowitz Follow us on and

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on our website

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December 2011/January 2012




in december and january

geared up The BPA-free, funky Cool Gear range keeps your snacks and drinks cooler and fresher for longer, thanks to its patented EZ-Freeze technology. For more info, visit Two readers stand a chance to each win a Cool Gear Hamper valued at just more than R1 000. See the “how to enter” box and simply email us or post your details and mark it as “Cool Gear CT Win”.

funkiest footwear Skechers Twinkle Toes sneakers with hot lights, a sequined toecap and colourful print designs, are the ultimate in funky footwear for young fashionistas! Skechers is available from Skechers stores in Sandton City, Rosebank, Cresta, Eastgate, East Rand Mall, Clearwater, Menlyn and Canal Walk. Also available from Edgars, Tekkie Town and other leading fashion retailers nationwide. Skechers hotline: 011 630 4000. Five readers strand a chance to each win a pair of Skechers Twinkle Toes shoes valued at R400. See the “how to enter” box and simply email us or post your details and mark it as “Skechers CT Win”

artistic flair The Super Rolling Art Centre is a mobile easel with a chalkboard on the one side, a whiteboard on the other side, replaceable pull-down paper roll for drawing and painting, four storage cups and four non-spill paint cups. For more information or to order, visit One reader stands a chance to win a Super Rolling Art Centre valued at R2 000. See the “how to enter” box and simply email us or post your details and mark it as “Art Centre CT Win”.


package deal The multi award-winning Sistema storage range is BPA-free, dishwasher-, microwave-, and freezer-safe, and modularly stackable. The patented clip-lock technology makes the Sistema range convenient and easy to use. For more information, visit Two readers stand a chance to each win a Sistema Hamper valued at just more than R1 000. See the “how to enter” box and simply email us or post your details and mark it as “Sistema CT Win”.

how to enter

congratulations to our October winners

Unless it is otherwise stated, emailed entries go to

Nicole Mattera and Fatima Gamieldien who each win an Eco.Kid hamper; Jaconette and postal entries go to PO

van Dyk who wins a uDraw Game Tablet with games; Rowen Geswindt, Donna

Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Only one entry per

Calhau, Zorah Heldsinger, Lauren Pattrick, Lou-Ellyn Jones-Pienaar, Zainnoenesa

reader is allowed and entries must be received by

Mitchell, Dagmar Timler and Athi Silevu who each win a Green Cross gift voucher;

31 January 2012.

and Carmen Matthee who wins a Tripp Trapp Chair.

December 2011/January 2012

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December 2011/January 2012



while you were sleeping Although the exact cause of cot death remains unknown, parents can take steps to avoid the risk of it occurring. By JESSICA-A’ISHA MOUNEIMNE

know the risks While there are many theories about what causes Sids, or cot death, there is still no definitive explanation for this sad occurrence. Possible triggers include foetal neurological abnormalities, chemicals from


December 2011/January 2012

the infant’s mattress, sleep positioning, exposure to smoke and temperature. But Megan Faure, co-author of Baby Sense (Metz Press), says that rather than looking for an exact cause, one should understand and minimise the risks. “Tummy sleeping has been proven to dramatically increase the risk of cot death and since the launch of the international Back to Sleep campaign, advocating side sleeping, there has been a dramatic reduction in the mortality figures.” While co-sleeping, or sharing your bed with your baby, has many advantages, it has been proven to increase the risk of Sids. “Usually when co-sleeping occurs, the infant is not sleeping on a firm surface, under his own bedding or in a sleep sac. This increases the risk of smothering and overheating, and if the mother is taking medication or has consumed alcohol, the risk is even higher,” says Faure. Maternal smoking, whether during or after pregnancy, is also extremely dangerous. “In fact, no smoking should take place anywhere near an infant and parents should

be strict when dealing with friends and family who smoke too,” adds Faure. The risk is higher in babies born to mothers younger than 20 or who have had little antenatal care, and in babies born prematurely or underweight. Ninety percent of Sids deaths occur before the age of six months. It’s most common in babies between two and four months.

get help Families who have lost a child through Sids should seek counselling. There is no support group in SA, but Compassionate Friends supports parents who have lost a child in any way. Johannesburg: 011 440 6322 or Durban: 031 463 1890 Cape Town: 0861 227 464, support or visit Nationwide: compassionatefriends.

reduce the risks • Breast-feeding can lower the risk of Sids. • Ensure the baby’s sleeping place is firm. Use a sleep sac to prevent your baby’s face from being covered by blankets. If you do use a blanket, opt for a cellular one. • In the early weeks, put your baby to sleep near your bed. • Ensure that your baby’s room temperature never exceeds 21°C and that your baby is appropriately dressed (not too warm or cold). • Put your baby to sleep in a left lateral position and make sure his nasal passages are not obstructed. • Ensure that your child’s mattress absorbs vomit so that it doesn’t sit on top of the mattress. • Use a baby monitor that will alert you if your baby stops breathing. • Do not use the propping method if you are bottle-feeding.

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s the mother of a young baby, one of my worst fears is discovering the lifeless body of my child in his cot in the morning. This is probably every parent’s worst scenario. The American Sids Institute describes sudden infant death syndrome (Sids) as “the sudden death of an infant under one year of age, usually during sleep, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation”. In the United States, 2 500 infants die from Sids each year. There are no reliable statistics for the incidence of cot death in South Africa, but research shows that Sids is more prevalent in poorer communities. Durban paediatrician Dr Das Pillay says SA lags behind in providing reliable statistics and support for parents.

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December 2011/January 2012



get it off your chest Croup is a common childhood illness and while most cases are mild, symptoms can worsen quickly


roup is defined as the inflammation and swelling of the larynx (voice box) and windpipe caused by a cold or viral infection. It occurs mainly in children between the ages of six months and two years and can be seen as the equivalent of laryngitis in adults. Some children are more prone to developing croup than others, and repeatedly at that. Although there is no sure evidence, Johannesburg-based paediatrician Dr Johnny Lotter says, “There definitely seems to be a family inheritance pattern for children at risk of getting croup; that they perhaps have a smaller airway, or a tendency to swell quicker when confronted with viral infection.” Croup is highly contagious; contracted in the same way as the common cold. It is mostly present during the autumn and winter periods, so the majority of infections are between March and September. It is during this colder period, “when many children in daycare centres have


December 2011/January 2012

the ‘glazed doughnut’ look, that croup strikes and is a common reason for absenteeism,” says Lotter. Dr Mario Zampoli, senior specialist of paediatric pulmonology at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital says, “In the past, serious bacterial infections caused severe croup-like illness, but fortunately these conditions are rarely seen today because of effective vaccines from the routine combination injection Pentaxim, which children receive at six, 10 and 14 weeks.” However, Pentaxim does little to safeguard the child against the common viral form of croup.

identify and attack Typically, croup starts with a cold, which often appears as only that for several days, followed by a hoarse voice and a barking cough in mild instances or difficult and noisy breathing in severe cases. The symptoms will be worse at night and will normally last anything from three to six nights with the first two nights usually being the most severe. Other symptoms of the viral disease are fever, lethargy, irritability and poor appetite. Most cases of croup are not severe and can be safely managed at home: by getting your child to inhale warm misty steam, providing plenty of fluid, giving

them acetaminophen (or paracetamol) for the fever and to alleviate discomfort, and giving them a dose of oxygen via a nebuliser (medicine should only be added to the nebuliser if ordered by a doctor). Your doctor will prescribe cortisone, and in severe cases an adrenaline solution to breathe in via a nebuliser, to treat the swelling in the voice box. Doctors advise against giving your child cough mixture as, according to Zampoli, “it doesn’t really work, it has potential side effects and with acute respiratory infections in children, coughing is good so it should not be suppressed.” Lotter says, “It is important to know that your child’s windpipe is as big as his small finger, so only a small amount of swelling leads to a large decrease in airway diameter.” If your child is not responding to home treatment and you notice any one of the following symptoms, take them straight to a doctor: they are very agitated, have difficulty breathing or they are struggling to breathe deeply, there is a tugging between the ribs when breathing in and there is a change in the colour of their lips or skin. However, Lotter encourages you to seek medical attention from the onset. “If a child wakes up barking and battling to breathe, don’t wait until the morning to address the problem.”

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so it’s best to act fast, says LUCILLE KEMP.

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December 2011/January 2012



the naked truth CLAUDIA EICKER-HARRIS considers sending her


t occurred to me this morning that I should move to a nudist colony. Rather, it occurred to me after my four-year-old daughter had rejected outfit number 75 because “the socks have a seam”, that she should move to a nudist colony. The rejection of clothes is a regular occurrence in our house (for my daughter, not the rest of us) and some mornings it takes 45 minutes to get her to accept that she will have to feel the clothes she is wearing on her skin. The other day she told me that I should go and find a shop where they sell seamless dressing gowns and that I should get clothes that make you “feel like you’re naked, mama”. She wants to know why no-one has invented clothes that stretch without having elastic in them, or shoes that don’t have a join where the soles meet the uppers (I told her that clogs are perfectly acceptable footwear in many countries), hats that don’t


December 2011/January 2012

make your head itch or scarves that don’t make you feel “causticphobic”. I can’t wait until she has to start wearing bras – what fun that will be. Every morning, we spend at least seven minutes sorting out her “bum-eating panties”, we then set our teeth on edge as we pull at the arms of a perfectly good long-sleeved top until the threads snap so that she knows it won’t be too tight. The only way we can ever get her to wear socks is if we pretend that they are “toedissolving socks” by putting them on her and then, in mock horror, whipping them off and counting all her toes. The situation in which we now find ourselves is entirely our own fault. When Her Majesty was a baby, she was only clothed when we went out. We sniggered at people whose little darlings were ensconced in lace and ribbons. We tut-tutted at little feet squished into shoes that made a horrible sucking sound as the wearers struggled through muddy puddles. And, heaven help the parents who actually put their littlies in full costumes on the beach. The poor things were sure to develop some sort of sensory problem in later life. Yes, I see the irony now.

When she started toddling, our daughter waddled around in a nappy (or mostly not) through the house, through the garden and, yes, sometimes through the local garden centre or park. We believed that children should be free of the constraints of clothing, the prickles of manufacturers’ labels and the rub-a-dub-dub of seams. But, I see now how very wrong we were. So, here’s my advice to all of you with newborns. Dress your little darlings in the highest of polo necks, the laciest of christening gowns, the most sequined princess dresses, the knobbliest socks and the most label-ridden, buttoninfested, zip-clad, seam-swamped clothes you can find, because (and don’t say I didn’t warn you) the more you let it all hang out, the more it will end up biting you on the...

Readers, this is your column – it’s a space to air your views, share a valuable parenting lesson, vent your frustrations or celebrate your joys. Send your writing to

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clothing-intolerant daughter to a nudist colony.

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December 2011/January 2012


upfront with paul

almost famous Today’s celebrities do very little to earn their few seconds of fleeting fame. PAUL KERTON


read a snippet recently about a researcher who asked a classroom of four year olds what they wanted to be. Half said “famous”, which I found very telling. Having once worked on a biting British tabloid newspaper selling 3,25 million copies every Sunday, I confess that even then, much of the content was celebritybased (and often controversial). But the culture of celebrity has since exploded out of all proportion. Everything now seems to be celebrity-centred. There are so many new routes to fame, whether it’s the explosion of reality TV shows where ordinary people are whisked away to the gilded cage of fame and money; or selfcreated celebrity phenomena on YouTube. Never before has there been an age when so many people, largely under 25, are so keen to get in front of the camera, and have the technology to do so. The thing is, celebrities used to actually do something to earn their celebrity. Whether through sport, entertainment, business or general notoriety, natural celebrities rose


December 2011/January 2012

Saskia, Paul and Sabina

above the clutter as the public’s champions. Today, teenagers want to be famous but they don’t want to actually do anything to become famous. They just want to be a celebrity for the sake of being one. Admittedly, some of their icons – Justin Bieber, Hannah Montana and others – do contribute something and work seriously hard. But check out the biggest celebrity milkmaids on the planet – the Kardashian family. Kim Kardashian earned $250 000 (almost R2 million) a day during her 72-day

sham marriage and gets $10 000 (about R78 000) for a mention of products on her Tweets. You can’t argue with the money – the whole family is a moneymaking factory – but what does she actually do? Fame also used to have longevity, but now it is as instant as freeze-dried coffee and disappears as fast. Pop artist Andy Warhol’s famous quote, “Everybody will be famous for 15 minutes”, was probably true when he said it. But today that should read five minutes, as fame is fleeting. And when

stars are fading and the famous are on their way down after being at the top, there is nothing more depressing. While celebrities were once chosen as reliable role models, we now have cricketers who take a “bung” (bribe); rugby players who act like children (especially in England), footballers whose every second word begins with “f” (said as they face the camera); while actresses wear drug-taking as a badge of pride as they casually pinball between rehab and prison. This celebrity culture is having an adverse effect on our children and has been eroding their sense of reality for some time. I don’t want my daughters to be famous; I want them to do something that defines their lives. If fame comes with that, then so be it. But celebrity itself is not a noble ambition. No wonder the Western world is collapsing around us. Nobody is doing or making anything anymore; everybody is too busy queuing up to be famous. Paul Kerton is the author of Fab Dad: A Man’s Guide to Fathering.

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hopes his daughters will rather strive to do something worthwhile with their lives.

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December 2011/January 2012


dealing with difference

MARINA ZIETSMAN looks at Prader-Willi syndrome, one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed genetic conditions.

not just for us. We’ve also had to include extended family and friends. I have, at times, felt like a tyrant because I’ve had to say ‘no!’ yet again to Luke when he wants to eat something outside of his routine or diet. This is something most other children take for granted.” Janet says that taking Luke to the supermarket can also be testing. “He knows he shouldn’t ask for treats. We have to be strict. At times I’ve had to leave the trolley right there in the shop and take him home to make him understand that we cannot relent. Also, on the odd occasion we do visit a restaurant, I have to make it clear to him that he has only one of two choices from the menu. That’s it.” Luke is on a low-calorie diet of 900 calories a day and meal times are strict. Because of the low muscle

Food management also means locks on pantries, fridges and food cupboards. signs of prader-willi syndrome Dr Engela Honey, a paediatrician at the Department of Genetics, Division of Human Genetics at the University of Pretoria, describes the characteristics of PWS. “It is a genetic condition and presents with severe hypotonia (low muscle tone), increased appetite and obesity from about one year. If the appetite is not controlled, morbid obesity will develop.” Dr Honey explains that different characteristics are apparent at different ages and stages (see “what to look for”). Five-year-old Luke Legemaate, from Durban, has PWS. His mom, Janet, tells their story. “At birth, the first indication that something was wrong was that Luke was very swollen and floppy,” says Janet. “He was also non-responsive, he never cried and couldn’t feed on his own. We had to tubefeed him.” For two years, Janet and husband Brian had to subject Luke to several tests, one of which was a PWS test that came back negative, but they could not find the answer to what was wrong with their little boy. Although he could walk, with the help of a therapy programme, Luke was “walking, but falling all the time”, says Janet. At the age of two years and eight months, they did another PWS test that came back positive. “We finally had a name (for his condition),” says Janet. “We could now focus on what to do in order for him to reach his full potential.” Dr Honey explains how PWS is diagnosed. “The diagnosis is made on clinical features and confirmed with blood tests. There are two different tests: FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridisation) where the presence of that specific piece of chromosome 15 is detected or not, and DNA studies where a methylation test detects if that specific area on chromosome 15 is working or not.” The latter is the more accurate of the two tests.

living with restrictions “We live in a society that is all about social events and these are generally focused around food,” says Janet. “As a family, this requires significant planning before we venture out. We’ve had to make drastic adjustments about meal times, diets and keeping food away – and these are


December 2011/January 2012

tone and inactivity, those who suffer from PWS need fewer kilojoules than the normal person. “On a ‘bad’ weekend, Luke can easily pick up 2kg,” says his mom. Kath Megaw, a clinical dietician from Cape Town, says the amount of calories a person needs depends on their physical structure and age. For an overweight child who is not on growth hormone therapy, a diet of 700 calories per day is recommended. “That breaks down into about 150 calories per meal, three times a day, with 250 calories left over for snacks. It’s not very much, but because of the comparative inability for a person with PWS to exercise (and lose) 700 calories a day, it becomes very necessary to restrict their food intake,” says Megaw.

incredibly helpful to the person with PWS to know that food is secure and is not a temptation.” And the way forward? Janet knows a time will come when they will literally have to lock away food. This is the reality. But for now, they are happy to do whatever it takes to keep their lovable little boy happy and healthy.

what to look for During pregnancy Reduced foetal activity; baby may stay in the breech position In the neonatal period Severely hypotonic; struggles to feed; a weak or an absent cry; shows little facial expression; almond-shaped eyes; thin upper lips with downturned angles of the mouth; sticky and thick saliva; narrow forehead; underdeveloped penis (micropenis) and undescended testicles in boys; in girls, there is hypoplasia (underdevelopment or incomplete development) of the labia minora In the infant period Hands and feet are usually small; the ulnar (forearm) borders of the hands and inner side of the legs are usually straight; delayed speech development; hypotonia improves to a point and motor activity increases, but gross motor development is delayed

management and treatment PWS is a complex syndrome, where in many cases the characteristics of autism are also present. Parents need to seek professional help to deal with very trying circumstances. There are several professionals whose input is required to help make the life of someone with PWS more bearable (albeit not all of these are a must for each case). There is also no cure for PWS or any best treatment. “Treatment consists of a multidisciplinary team,” says Dr Honey. “This includes a paediatric endocrinologist (to monitor growth hormone therapy), a geneticist, a speech therapist, a dietician, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, a psychologist and a remedial teacher.” But Dr Honey says the best “medicine” is early detection and weight management. Megaw reiterates that it is important for food management to be implemented early. “It is far easier to start outright than to remove privileges later because of weight gain. It is also important that you recognise that food-seeking, which may result in morbid obesity, will be a problem and that you take steps to control this before it becomes a life-threatening situation,” says Megaw. Food management also means locks on pantries, fridges and food cupboards, says Megaw. “Not straight away, but when food-seeking becomes apparent. Although this might seem antiquated and unfair, it is

Childhood period Between the ages of two and three there is increased appetite and excessive weight gain; excessive sleepiness; decreased pain sensitivity; skin picking; temper tantrums related to food cravings; an increase in body fat mass compared to a low muscle mass, regardless of their weight; linear growth velocity is decreased and they are shorter than their peers; a small number of children may have an autistic personality Adolescence and adulthood Sleep and respiratory problems due to inactivity and obesity; behavioural problems, learning difficulties and temper tantrums; usual growth spurt and normal sexual development during adolescence is usually absent due to the lack of normal sex hormone production

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PHOTOGRAPH and illustration:


magine that you are hungry all the time, that you are on a diet all the time, and that you can only eat about half as much as everybody else – not to lose weight, but just so you don’t gain weight. This is how American mom Teresa Kellerman describes Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) on the Prader-Willi Syndrome Arizona Association’s website. Although considered a rare syndrome by most people, it is one of the most common conditions seen in genetic clinics. But it is also one of the most misunderstood, as it is often not diagnosed. PWS is caused by a missing piece of genetic material on chromosome 15 and it is not more prevalent in a specific gender or race.

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December 2011/January 2012


our stories


family traditions

CHRISTINA CASTLE talks to South Africans of different beliefs and backgrounds to find out what makes this time of year so special.

crayfish and cricket on the beach

They usually come back with a specimen loaded with character. Our tree is never straight or uniform, and it bears clear signs of the prevailing coastal winds. It is placed in a bucket with rocks and soil where it pretty much leans against the lounge wall. No one dares to shift it for fear of it taking a tumble and knocking out some old relative. The decorations document the boys’ artistic journey through their school years. Some ornaments have been gifts from friends, others a feeble attempt to make the misshapen tree moderately “designer”. But the best part of it all is my husband’s unashamed love for tinsel. “A Christmas tree is not a Christmas tree if you don’t have tinsel,” he says. And so we have mountains of it that adorn not only the tree, but also every possible space where tinsel just might work. Even the fishing rods are draped in the stuff. I take a deep breath and place the presents at the base of this masterpiece. And secretly, I think it looks pretty cool.

family feasts and granadilla lollies oh christmas tree It’s a bit of an institution, our Christmas tree. There is absolutely nothing glamorous about it. But we are talking the Eastern Cape here and glamorous is not really part of its make-up. It took me a good few Christmases to get my head around the wonky branch that is our Christmas tree but, this being my husband’s turf, I was determined to embrace it. And besides, I could always do the fancy tree with my family every second year. But, as the years have rolled by, this Christmas tree has inched its way into our family and became part of a much-loved ritual. Almost the very day we arrive for the summer holidays, the boys head off into the veld in search of an appropriate specimen. “Watch out for snakes, be careful with those weapons and bring us a nice one,” I yell as they climb into a bakkie with pangas, axes and mates.


December 2011/January 2012

While many families indulge in the commercial side of Christmas, for some, the festive season signifies a much-needed time-out. They prefer to call it a day after lunchtime, taking the opportunity to indulge in quality family time. Lauren Smith and her family are Jewish so she and her husband often work through the festive season. But they still manage to find some time to enjoy a picnic on the beach with other families, watching the children surf and the sun going down while sucking on granadilla iced lollies. “Why granadilla iced lollies? They are just synonymous with summer, like mangoes and watermelon. So too are tired, tanned and happy children. The festive season is about sleeping late and catching up on the family time we often miss out on during the busy school year,” says Lauren.



he festive season is about embracing tradition and putting your own stamp on it, spending large amounts of time with family and friends and eating yourself into a stupor. I’ve always loved the festive season. As a child growing up in Australia, it meant six weeks of no school, hot days and equally hot nights, colliding with Christmas beetles, drinking more fizzy cool drinks than I was allowed to in a year, playing cricket with my brother and father in the back yard, watching the Ashes, swimming in the neighbour’s pool, eating mountains of prawns, sunburn, salty skin, wrapping presents with my grandmother, decorating the tree, singing Christmas carols with my sister and making coconut ice and rum balls with my mother. Years later, South Africa is now my home and the festive season is still my favourite time of the year, with my children getting up to the same kind of nonsense. The only difference is that while we hang on to what was so special to us in the past, we are also forging our own traditions. And it seems that many South Africans do the same.

Loki Osborn is American and Lucy is English. And while their children, Scarlett, four, and Felix, seven, are born and bred South Africans, their extended families are very much on the other side of the world. But they always spend the summer holidays at home in Cape Town, honouring the traditions they have created for themselves over the years. Christmas Eve is reserved for a more traditional family and food encounter. “The cooler evening is conducive to eating typical Christmas fare,” explains Lucy. However, Christmas Day has taken on a whole new format as the Osborns celebrate summer, family and friends. So, while their relatives and friends feast on turkey and gammon in the freezing northern hemisphere, they prepare dozens of crayfish, rustle up a group of friends and make their way to Llandudno. Here, they spend a not-so-lazy but highly indulgent afternoon on the beach, devouring local delicacies. And when that’s done, the wickets come out and teams are drawn for the annual Christmas Day beach cricket challenge. Whether you can hit a ball or not, or whether you have had just one too many crayfish, every age group is represented, participation is compulsory and festive fun is guaranteed.

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December 2011/January 2012


our stories

barszcz, uszka and pierogi Welcome to the Ranoszek’s “Wigilia” – the traditional Polish celebrations on Christmas Eve, but with South African undertones. Imagine devouring 12 courses of food in one sitting? In the Ranoszek household, the entire family rolls up its sleeves and pitches in to prepare this massive feast. I think they know it’s worth the slog. Central to the meal are dumpling-like dishes, known as pierogi and uszka. These ravioli-sized parcels are either filled with wild mushrooms, potato and cream cheese or cabbage. Each parcel needs to be individually made so parents, Claudia and Marek, Stefan, 14, and Luke, 12, line up to form a production line. Fish is baked, herrings prepared and the table is traditionally set with cloves of garlic at each corner for health. An extra place is always laid for the unexpected visitor (I think I might just pop in this year). When the first star of the evening appears, it’s time to eat. And that they do, kick-starting the occasion with a generous bowl of barszcz (clear beetroot soup, served hot) which is followed by fish, herring, potatoes and, of course, the prized pierogi. There is fierce competition in the Ranoszek household as to who can eat the most pierogi. The current record stands at 37 pieces, but I’ll keep you posted as both Ranoszek boys are growing at a rate of knots. From there they waddle to the tree to open presents, reminisce and, wait for it, eat walnut torte.


December 2011/January 2012

do it united nations style Every Christmas Eve, Nadia Surve and her family are invited to dinner at the house of their friends, Soraya and Mukhtar Joonas. Soraya spent her childhood in Canada and Mukhtar grew up in Mauritius. Although they are Muslim, Christmas presents an ideal opportunity to get together with family and friends who would not necessarily be celebrating Christmas. Soraya goes big and decorates her house from top to bottom with an extensive collection of Christmas paraphernalia. Every detail is considered and perfected. The fare is traditional Christmas food, offered in vast quantities. At the beginning of the dinner, they light a Christmas candle – a travelling light – that is passed around the table. The guests help their neighbour light his or her candle, taking a moment to reflect on the past year and to share their own festive stories. “It’s a fun way of connecting people, who are often strangers, around the table. We get to share and appreciate everyone’s traditions,” says Soraya. At Soraya and Mukhtar’s Christmas Eve dinner, it’s not unusual to find Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians and other interesting people sharing this festive event. “That, in itself, is worth celebrating. And it’s what Christmas is really all about,” says Nadia. I couldn’t agree more.

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dad’s blog

stop and stare Children can say the funniest things, but sometimes their honesty can be embarrassing



for their parents, says MARC DE CHAZAL.

hildren have a generous capacity to stare at other people. Of course, their parents tell them that it’s rude to stare. Staring and pointing is especially rude, but children will do it regardless. Some things are just too fascinating not to point out. And how else will you know where to look if someone doesn’t point you in the right direction? Sure, it may be a very big ocean that’s impossible to miss right there in front of you, but if you’re a child from Gauteng, travelling to Durbs for the first time, your brain is going to tell your finger to point and your mouth to

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yell something like: “Wow! Look at that, Dad!” Or in Afrikaans, “Kyk daar, Pa!” There are times when the innocent exclamations of a child, accompanied

standing in front of them had a very bad case of acne. “What’s wrong with that lady’s face, Mom?” my daughter asked spontaneously and loudly, gesturing

Staring and pointing is especially rude, but children will do it regardless. Some things are just too fascinating not to point out. by pointing and staring, cause embarrassment for a parent. For example, my toddler (who is now a teenager) was with her mom waiting in line at the ATM machine. The person

in the obvious direction. At that point (pardon the pun), her mom wanted a few dramatic things to happen, such as time travel or for the earth to open up widely beneath them.

When child-like innocence is thrown into the mix, such an episode is understandable and forgivable. (I’m hoping the person with bad acne found dermatological relief… and internal healing if my daughter caused her any emotional pain.) But it’s generally not acceptable to make fun of other people’s misfortunes or differences. If we all agreed on this, it would be a kinder world, wouldn’t it? Read more of Marc de Chazal’s weekly parenting blogs on

December 2011/January 2012



here comes

the sun

here are so many reasons to love summer. Few things beat eating watermelon around the pool, building sand castles on the beach or going on a fun-filled family holiday. But summer also means increased exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. At least 80 percent of suninduced skin damage happens before the age of 18, so your child’s precious skin needs proper protection to limit the risk of them developing skin cancer in later years.

higher than in white skin. However, this does not mean that darker-skinned children cannot get sun damage and skin cancers. All skin types need to be protected from the sun’s harmful rays,” she says.

block it out The first line of defence is applying a high factor sunscreen on your child whenever they are exposed to the sun. “While no lotion, cream, spray or ointment can totally

“Children have very delicate skin because the epidermis, or outermost layer of the skin, is still thin. This means high doses of ultraviolet (UV) rays can reach the deeper layers of the skin quickly,” says cosmetic doctor Maureen Allem from Johannesburg. “While skin cancers are fortunately rare in children, one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person’s chances of developing a melanoma later in life, so it’s vital to start sun protection at an early age.” Although children respond differently to the burning effect of UV radiation, (a dark-skinned child will burn slower than a freckled, red-haired child with milky skin), the effects can be just as damaging. “Melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour, helps protect the skin against the effects of the sun, but only to a certain degree. In dark skins, melanin provides a sun protection factor (SPF) about four times


December 2011/January 2012

block out the sun’s rays, depending on the SPF of the product you use, your child should be protected from 90 to 98 percent of UV rays,” says Michelle Armstrong, brand manager of a sunscreen manufacturer in Durban. “Sunscreen is made from a long list of ingredients (see “what’s in your sunscreen?”). This is because there is a combination of UV filters, which have to be included to ensure full broad-spectrum protection. In a SPF50+ product, more than a third of the raw materials are filters. The higher the SPF, the thicker the formulation will feel on your skin.” Armstrong recommends choosing extra water-resistant products with a high SPF. “Urocanic acid (UCA) is a biochemical substance naturally occurring in human skin. Together with melanin, UCA is among the most important components of the skin’s own UV protection system. Swimming can cause the amount of UCA

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While skin cancers are fortunately rare in children, one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person’s chances of developing a melanoma later in life.

Protecting your child from the damaging effects of the sun doesn’t have to put a damper on their fun. VANESSA PAPAS explores ways to keep your child burn-free.

in the skin to decrease, which is why it’s important to choose products that are extra water resistant to ensure they stay on longer while your child is in the water.” Different sunscreen brands have different shelf lives, but if you apply sunscreen correctly, enough for a visible layer before rubbing it in, a bottle should last only four to five full body applications. If there is no expiration date, throw away any sunscreen that is older than three years. Extreme temperatures will also shorten the shelf life of your sunscreen, advises The Cancer Association of SA (Cansa). Sunscreen should be applied anywhere your child’s skin is exposed, including their lips, ears, back, neck and the tops of their feet. It’s also important to only buy a reputable brand of sunscreen or one that has the Cansa seal of approval. Use lip balm with a UV factor to protect their lips.

cover up For additional protection, wear clothing or swimming costumes made from UV factor fabric. “The materials used in UV fabrics themselves are not special, rather it’s the way the fabric is constructed, the quality of the filaments and the density of the weave that gives swim wear fabrics a higher UV rating,” says Peter Constan-Tatos, of a protective clothing manufacturer based in Johannesburg. “Cansa administers this with a range of colour-coded labels, ranging from 30+ to 50+ ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).” A UPF50+ garment allows you to stay in the sun 50 times longer than if you were not wearing any protection. Your child should also wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect their face from harmful UV rays. Some hats are available in UPF fabric.

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shade your eyes Cape Town optometrist Magdel Lindemann says children’s eyes are more vulnerable to sunlight because their corneas, lenses and fluids are clearer, allowing more light to reach the retina. “Studies show that small amounts of ultraviolet radiation over a period of years may increase the risk of developing cataracts and may cause irreversible damage to the retina, the nerve-rich lining of the eye that is used for seeing.” She says, “Cumulative damage of repeated exposure may also increase the risk of developing skin cancer around the eyelids.”

what’s in your sunscreen? It’s important to choose a sunscreen that does not contain chemicals that can damage your child’s skin. Sunscreen ingredients fall into two categories: absorbers, which create a chemical reaction to absorb UV, and reflectors that are physical barriers that block or reflect UV rays away from the skin. • Absorbers that are tested and approved as safe to use by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) are homosalate, octisalate (also called octyl salicylate), octinoxate (also called octyl methoxycinnamate or OMC), octocrylene, avobenzone and oxybenzone. Oxybenzone, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin, can however trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals so caution should be taken when choosing products with oxybenzone. • Reflectors that are considered safe to use are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. • Avoid products that contain retinyl palmitate, which is a form of vitamin A that can form free radicals, and sunscreens with added bug repellent, as toxic pesticides can be harmful to your child’s skin. If your child has sensitive skin, opt for sunscreens containing zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, kaolin or talc, which provide the best sun protection. Organic sunscreens are available at local health shops and pharmacies and do not contain toxic cosmetic ingredients. Remember that tanning oils and creams, such as cocoa butter or coconut oil, do not protect the skin, unless it clearly states on the container that sunscreen protective ingredients have been added.

December 2011/January 2012


health Lindemann says effective sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. According to Cansa, UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin, causing aging and increasing the risk of cancer. UVB rays cause the browning reaction, known as “tanning”, and also increase the risk of skin cancer. “How light or dark the lenses should be is a matter of personal preference. As the UV protection comes from a chemical applied to the lenses and not their colour, I recommend a medium tint. Light lenses don’t offer much comfort in bright sun and very dark ones will prompt your child’s pupils to expand to let in more light – along with more UV radiation. Large lenses and wrap-around styles that fit close to the eyes are best as they protect the delicate areas around the eyes.”

sun safety tips • Keep your child out of the sun between 10am and 3pm, when rays are at their most harmful. • Never expose babies to direct sunlight. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies younger than six months. • Always apply sunscreen on dry skin and reapply often if your child is swimming.

• You can’t add SPF numbers. If an SPF 10 product gives your child an hour in the sun, adding another layer won’t give your child another hour. If you want longer exposure use a higher SPF sunscreen.

did you know? • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in South Africa with about 20 000 reported cases every year and 700 deaths. • UV radiation is not felt as heat on the skin, so even on a cool and cloudy day, the radiation may be just as damaging as on a clear, sunny day. • You can monitor harmful UV rays with a Cansa UV-Smart armband that turns darker in colour as the UV rays intensify. • The UV radiation in sunlight is an important source of vitamin D, essential for bone growth and the immune system. This means that some exposure to the sun, outside of the danger period, may be good for you.

shark-spotting conditions are good

shark-spotting conditions are poor

For more about vitamin D, go to content/sunshine-vitamin

SPF or sun protection factor refers to how long it will take for your particular type of unprotected skin to burn. If you are wearing sunscreen with SPF20, you can spend 20 times as long in the sun as someone who is not wearing any sunscreen. If your skin is fair and takes 10 minutes to show signs of burning, you can stay in the sun for 20 x 10 minutes, or three and a half hours. A darker-skinnned person, who takes longer to burn, would be able to spend more time in the sun using the same SPF. All sunscreen products have to comply with the South African Sunscreen Standard. Manufacturers must label the product with the following SPF categories: low for SPF6 and 10; medium for SPF15, 20 and 25; high for SPF30, 40 and 50 and very high for SPF50+. Always use a sunscreen with at least SPF20 and reapply regularly.

December 2011/January 2012

When it comes to clean and safe beaches, we are spoilt for choice. If you see this blue flag flying on the beach, it means it has met stringent international standards for safety, cleanliness, the amenities it offers and its environmental standards. South Africa has 27 Blue Flag beaches this season. For a full list, visit Be flag-savvy when heading into the water:

high shark alert

sp what?


beach basics

a shark has been spotted the designated area is monitored by lifeguards and safe for swimming swimming is unsafe, so stay out of the water designated area is used for water sports and is not safe for swimming

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stay safe in the water Get your child water-wise by equipping them with the



necessary skills, says LUCILLE KEMP.

rowning is the second highest cause of unnatural death in children in South Africa, and in a balmy climate where we swim a lot, children are often exposed to the dangers water can pose. Now that school’s out for the summer, your child will probably spend much of the holiday in the water, whether at the beach or in the pool. To ensure your child’s safety, you probably make sure that you are always there when they are swimming. You may also have prepared yourself to deal with emergency situations by having a first-aid or CPR course qualification under your belt. However, because of the unfortunate margin for human error – forgetting to close a pool gate properly or briefly turning your attention to a ringing phone, Netcare says that 90 percent of children who drown are under some sort of supervision at the time. So, the question is: how equipped is your child – how well can they swim? You can decrease the likelihood of your child drowning if you send them to swimming lessons and ensure they are taught basic water survival skills as early as possible. Olympic gold swimming champion Ryk Neethling went to water safety classes after a near drowning incident at the age of six. It’s not surprising then that Ryk, who runs swimming schools in Pretoria and Cape Town, believes that water safety classes covering vital basics such as “floating

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and breathing, knowing how to correctly get out of the pool and always respecting the water”, should be taught to children from six months right up to seven years. This is a crucial time for your child to become a strong and confident swimmer, as Netcare reports that a huge portion of the drowning calls it receives, especially inland, are for children between the ages of two and eight years old. Netcare also

swimming best practices 1  Always supervise children near water, but especially at home. Less than two percent of near-drowning incidents occur at the beach, but a staggering 72 percent happen at home. 2  Ensure your swimming pool is fully fenced with a self-closing and self-latching gate. You also get pool fences with SABS specifications. 3 Do not prop open pool fence gates. 4 Make sure there is nothing for your child to climb onto near the pool, such as pot plants or trees. 5 Ensure your child does not have access to the pool from the house. 6  If you do not want to make use of a fence, install a pool safety net. These should always be attached

found that most drowning cases involved children who were not used to being around swimming pools. Childsafe, the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Southern Africa, says, “Three-year-old children are vulnerable and constitute 45,45 percent of the total reported drowning cases.” Drowning happens quickly and a child can drown in 4cm of water. Brain damage can occur within minutes.

when the pool is not in use and, once it is removed, make sure children are supervised near it. Always use pool nets according to their instructions. 7  Never rely on flotation devices alone to protect your young child. 8  The fish pond should always be covered with mesh or a net to prevent infants from drowning. 9 Be sure to empty paddling pools after use or close them up safely. 10 If you live near natural hazards such as rivers, dams or a vlei, fence off your backyard or property. 11 When boating, make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. 12 Learn CPR and be prepared for emergencies. Courtesy of Childsafe.

December 2011/January 2012



music for the mind The calming effects of music are undisputed, but can listening to Mozart really improve your child’s maths and


y daughter was a very “busy” baby during my pregnancy, constantly churning and moving. But as soon as I listened to a particular CD she calmed down. I played “Kisses from Heaven”, filled with affirming lyrics and classical vocals, throughout my 24-hour natural labour. Now she is six years old and plays this song on her own CD player. It still soothes her and I often hear her singing along to the music in an angelic voice at night. Does this mean she heard and identified the music even before she was born, and is it possible that this early exposure to music could improve her creative and analytical skills?


December 2011/January 2012

in the womb Gordon Shaw, a neuroscientist at the University of California, says there are studies indicating that foetuses can hear and react to sound by moving. Rene van de Carr, a Californian obstetrician, says he has observed a 33-week-old foetus pattern his breathing to the beat of Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony”. “The foetus followed the rhythm of the symphony; it’s obvious he learnt something about the rhythm and enjoyed it.” It sounds plausible, considering that the development of a baby’s hearing starts on the 22nd day of gestation and the ear matures structurally during the fifth month. Studies in this field are still in its

infancy and no final conclusions have been made, but listening to music that you enjoy will make you relaxed and in turn benefit your baby. So dance to your favourite song, soak in the tub to the soothing sounds of cooing doves or violin concertos and keep singing to your newborn.

hooked on the classics According to Don Campbell in his groundbreaking book, The Mozart Effect for Children: Awakening Your Child’s Mind, Health and Creativity with Music (William Morrow), classical music improves a baby’s analytical and mathematical skills, and stimulates language formation, as early as in

the womb. The “Mozart effect” gets its name from a study that suggested that children’s spatial-temporal reasoning improved after listening to selected music by Mozart for 10 minutes. Spatial-temporal reasoning refers to the ability to visualise patterns; a useful skill for solving maths and science problems. But why the classics and not rock music? “When we listen to classical music, the spatial pathways (in the brain) are ‘turned on’ and are ready to be used,” says human development specialist, Dianne Bales in her academic paper Building Baby’s Brain: The Role of Music. Classical music has a more complex structure than other genres, and it is believed that babies as young as

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science skills? SONJA DU PLESSIS finds out more.

three months can identify the structure and then recognise classical pieces. Rosalie Pratt, a professor of music medicine at Brigham Young University in Utah, adds, “Classical symphonies have the right mix of new sounds and repetition, which babies may enjoy.” However, she warns to avoid unorganised sound, as animal studies have shown that constant exposure to chaotic music negatively alters the brain’s structure.

“Its effect has been reported by several, but not all, researchers. Only certain kinds of spatial reasoning have shown improvement. General intelligence does not seem to be affected. The media and popular culture have inflated the various findings far beyond their original intent, but listening to Mozart from an early age won’t do any harm.” She stresses that making music with your child is more important. “Singing with your child,

When we listen to classical music, the spatial pathways (in the brain) are ‘turned on’ and are ready to be used. Yvette Rodgers, a Cape Town mother of three musical boys, says she “never stuck to the classical stuff” when she was pregnant. Instead, she listened to music that had a lot of rhythm and beat. She was living as a Rastafarian when her eldest son, Zian, was born and he was exposed to many drumming sessions, in and out of the womb. At 15 years old, he plays the saxophone so well that he performs solos at weddings for extra pocket money.

brainy baby Anja Pollard, a Pretoria-based music therapist working with special needs children up to the age of three, is not convinced by the “Mozart effect”. She says,

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learning musical rhymes together, making instruments and playing and listening to music is extremely valuable. The positive association of a parent’s love and attention with music will encourage a child to love and appreciate it,” she says. But Gwendoline Smith, a Durban mother of two musical girls, Caitlin, 11, and Kellyn, eight, is convinced that exposure to music helps brain development. “Learning music is like learning another language and learning anything new increases brain performance. Having said this, I don’t think it will turn an average child into a genius.” Bales says, “Babies love the rhythm, melody and predictability of songs and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a

‘singing voice’. Just listening to your voice helps them with language formation and if you do play an instrument, practise while your baby is in the room.”

toddlers and preschoolers Music teaches children self-expression, which can empower a toddler whose verbal skills are limited. There are various programmes, developed by experts, to engage toddlers and preschoolers in informal music tuition. According to Heidi Twilley, head of Kindermusik SA and currently doing her doctorate in music on prenatal brain stimulation, the most important years for stimulation and brain development are from birth to the age of seven. “(After that) windows of opportunity close permanently in the brain,” she

cautions. Yet old-fashioned, non-structured musical play can also be a great source of stimulation. Toddlers will bang pots and pans with wooden spoons or create their own “orchestra” by shaking containers filled with dried beans and corn.

little maestros and musos Wikus van Zyl, a music teacher at a school in Cape Town, advises that the recorder is a good starter instrument which children can begin playing from the age of five. “Yet some five year olds have also successfully started guitar, violin or keyboard and piano lessons. Violin and piano lessons should start early, as they take a long time to master. The playing of brass instruments should only be started later due to the lung capacity they require,” he says.

December 2011/January 2012



I have fond memories, as an eight year old, of gathering instruments from around the house – African drums, a penny whistle, a broken recorder and a “play-play” keyboard – to create the most awesome cacophony in the back of our garage with my friends. But I later developed a lovehate relationship with instruments as I spent hours practising the violin for music exams to please my ambitious mother. “A child should be given the opportunity if there is a desire to play a specific instrument. Desire and discipline are the most important character traits for musical success, not extraordinary musical talent. Often children discontinue lessons because it’s the parents’ ambition and not their own.” Gwendoline feels that some parents who force their children to play an instrument, do so to fill a void or fulfil a dream they never could. “That’s a very heavy burden to put on a child. My girls enjoy practising

because they enjoy music. I do remind them though that their lesson days are coming up. Their teacher only expects about five to 10 minutes of practice everyday.” Gwendoline’s daughters are both learning to play the piano and they sing in their school choir. Wikus says, “A good teacher-student relationship, taking each student’s personality, aptitude and capacity into account, is key.” Gwendoline agrees, saying that a teacher can make or break a child. “Caitlin started off with quite a stern teacher and it took her a while to connect emotionally with her music. Her current teacher is absolutely wonderful. Kellyn started a month ago and there is no stopping her.” Playing an instrument teaches children the value of commitment and the feeling of success if they persevere. As Plato said, “Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything.”

teach your child musical appreciation by: • Playing CDs in the car • Making instruments • Tapping glasses filled with water to identify the different sounds • Blowing on glass bottles to create “wind” instruments • Counting sounds heard in the kitchen or garden • Attending music concerts of various genres • Jamming with African drums, pots, pans and wooden spoons • Listening to sea sounds in beach shells • Singing with your child and reciting musical rhymes • Listening to music as a family

music – hit the right note! By Dan Green Published by Macmillan Children’s Books (R99) This book for children aged eight and older is packed with tips and fun characters. Children can improve their musical know-how with a unique guide to the building blocks of music. Learn about pitch, tempo, dynamics, melodies, brass, percussion, woodwind and much more.


December 2011/January 2012

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mom’s blog

words of wisdom ANÉL LEWIS says grandparents deserve some thanks too,


for the important role they play in our children’s lives.

y daughter, Erin, is a bit reticent among strangers, and she seldom smiles at people she doesn’t know. So I was astonished when she broke into a broad grin recently when an elderly gentleman glanced at her while we were out having lunch. He looked like your archetypal grandfather, which he later told me he indeed was. Erin was entranced. She smiled, she showed him the book she was holding, and let him make faces at her. Erin has not met her grandfather yet, as he lives in New Zealand, but she does get to spend all week with one of her grannies who looks after her while I am at work. It got me thinking about the value grandparents add to our children’s lives. Erin’s Oumie has already taught her so many things. She can wave goodbye, “high five” and change the TV channels with amazing (and somewhat alarming) dexterity. They share a special bond, quite unlike the one my husband and I have with her – one

of Erin’s shirts sports the cheeky logo “I’m tired of this, take me to Grandma”. I can’t wait to introduce her to her other grandparents when we visit the Land of the Long White Cloud one day. Grandparents love unconditionally and with infinite patience. Also, having been there and done that, they are a great source of advice. My mom has shared teething and fever remedies that you can’t get in bottles or sachets from the chemist. We have Hallmark days set aside for mothers and fathers, but what about the grandparents? So, in the absence of an official Grandparents’ Day, let’s remember to give thanks to these wise and wonderful people who play such a pivotal role in our children’s lives.


They share a special bond, quite unlike the one my husband and I have with her.

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December 2011/January 2012



one, two, wee! Toilet training is often a time of great anxiety for parents and their toddlers, but it doesn’t have to be. DONNA COBBAN lifts the lid on this important milestone.


December 2011/January 2012

firm while he perched himself precariously over the toilet seat – and that sealed the deal. He had just turned three by the time he was toilet trained and I was none the wiser as to why it happened when it did.

Some toddlers resist potty training because they like the attention they get at nappy-change time.

Jann Watlington, of the Parent Centre in Cape Town, points to some distinctive signs that will indicate your child may be ready to start toilet training. “Signs may include tugging at their nappy, hiding behind the couch or requesting that the nappy be removed.” Peer pressure from other parents and family needs to be strongly avoided as “long-term emotional damage can occur if a child is forced when he is not ready”. Parents must not be bound by any training programme, book, ideal or idea, she advises. Instead, just do what is best for you and your family.

to pee or not to pee Dr Christopher Green, paediatrician and author of Toddler Taming (Vermilion), says, “No child can be trained until the appropriate nerve pathways have sufficiently matured, a process that is completely outside the influence of even the most brilliant parent or doctor.” He goes on to say, “Once sufficiently matured, the process is controlled by the child’s will to comply or his determination to defy, which in turn is dependent on the child’s temperament, as well as the skill and cunning of the trainer.”

tips to get the show on the road Robin Barker, author of the popular The Mighty Toddler (Struik) suggests “dimming the attention down” when you change a nappy as “some toddlers resist potty training because they like the attention they get at nappy-change time”. Nadia Evans, a consultant at the Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre, advocates for time spent just sitting on the potty – with clothes on if need be and in front of the television if that helps – just to get your

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uring my fairly short stint of mothering thus far there are two issues that win hands down in the amount of attention and unsolicited advice that they garner – teething and toilet training. My son has always done things in his own time. He was a late walker and talker and so I presumed he would be late to use the toilet too. “Bribe him,” suggested well-meaning friends. “Give him a star chart,” another advised. I resisted both – something in me thought that the skills needed to get to the toilet and pull your pants down, sit or stand, aim and succeed was pressure enough without adding dangling carrots and after-the-act stars to the whole fiasco. I bought a potty – he seemed too large for it, so I bought an inside lid for the toilet seat to stop him falling through. But the seat wobbled and he hated it. I bought another potty that looked larger, but it turned out to be an illusion. Then I became cross that potties are not penisfriendly – who thought to put that massive thing in the front that crushes the family jewels? My final purchase was a small stool that allowed him to rest his feet on something

child used to the idea. “Whenever your child shows signs of needing to urinate or have a bowel movement, you should ask him if he wants to use the potty or take him to the toilet and explain to him what you want him to do.” However, she quickly cautions that you should only keep him seated for a few minutes at a time. “Don’t insist, and be prepared to delay training if the child shows resistance. Until he is going in the potty, you can try to empty his dirty nappies into his potty chair to help demonstrate what you want him to do.”

• Have either of the parents not been ready or been inconsistent with training? Fouzia Ryklief, a manager at the Parent Centre in Cape Town, says, “Toilet training is an individual process and it is important not to give this process too much emphasis in front of the child. An extreme critical reaction or exaggerated praise can create too much performance anxiety for the child (and this can continue into adulthood). Instead, try a simple ‘good job’ or ‘well done’ when there is success.”

when to back off

girls versus boys

Some experts believe “control over your bodily functions“ is one of the most important phases your child will go through – mess it up for them and they might be messed up for life, seems to be the general message. Doctors sometimes get concerned when they hear of a dry child regressing and starting to wet their bed. The general consensus here, says Green, is that there is either an infection or emotional trauma present. With regards to the latter, he believes it may well be the cause but in most cases, he doubts “whether even Sherlock Holmes could find the real trigger”. Watlington suggests you consider the following questions when toilet training shows no immediate progress. • Is your child just not ready? • Perhaps there is a new baby on the way? • Has Mom recently returned to work? • Have punitive, harsh potty-training techniques, characterised by blaming, shaming or shouting, been used? • Is there any family stress, such as marital problems?

According to Evans, the only real difference between boys and girls is that “generally” girls sit on the potty or seat, and boys stand. “Copying the same sex parent will help, but if your child desires to do the ‘opposite’ to what is considered ‘normal’, so what? It’s not a train smash.”

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elimination communication (EC) This is the practice of potty training right from birth, through the use of observation and timing. The infant is moved to an appropriate place (hopefully the toilet, if it is near enough) in which to urinate and defecate once the signals and cues are in place. While this technique is practised in many cultures, and is perhaps the answer to nappy-laden landfills and expensive child-rearing, Watlington says EC is not recommended. “There is so much going on during the infant’s early development that needs constant attention – the focus is on bonding and building trust through consistent care and response to the baby’s physical and emotional needs.”

some insights from parents who have been there • Get a better, more comfortable potty. • Try not to force the issue. If “Captain Underpants” is adamant that there is not a wee on board, even if I am sure there is, I accept (his word). • Get the sturdy children’s toilet seat; not a loose-fitting one, which slips around and can be alarming. • Expect the occasional accident and have a ready supply of spare clothing and undies available. • Buy a seat together. Let the child choose (for standing, this allows a better aim and for sitting, there is less chance of dangling legs and slipping into the toilet bowl). • Don’t rush it. Let them page through a book while they wait.

fun and helpful books to get you through the wet times Boys’ Potty Time and Girls’ Potty Time (Dorling Kindersley) come with special reward stickers. They also have a potty-shaped cover to get your toddler in the mood. Potty Time by David Bedford (Penguin Group).

December 2011/January 2012


how to

finding (the right) Fido A house is not a home without a pet, goes the saying, but which one is suitable for your child? JESSICA-A’ISHA MOUNEIMNE finds out.

llowing your child to care for a family pet can do wonders for their self-worth. Cape Town clinical psychologist Justine Evans says, “One of the most important benefits of owning a pet is the opportunity for children to share in the care of a valued member of the family. This can encourage nurturing behaviour, empathy, responsibility and teamwork. All of these are important ‘deposits’ into a child’s bank of competency and selfworth.” However, how do you choose the right pet for your child?

around is not at all beneficial for the child, but detrimental to his or her social and emotional development,” she says.

finding nemo Gray-Kilfoil says a child of six or older who is very keen on animals, and has shown that they can be gentle with them, may be able to manage a small pet. But she advises that it may be a good idea to start with a plant. “If your child can remember to water it and keep it going for six months, then perhaps she can have a couple of goldfish in a tank.”

Choosing a dog for a family should be carefully researched and considered, perhaps with the assistance of a professional behaviourist or trainer. According to Karen Gray-Kilfoil, a Cape Town-based animal behaviourist, having a pet when you have a baby or a toddler is only beneficial if you, the parents, are animal enthusiasts and are 100 percent responsible for the pet. “If the pet, even if it’s a goldfish, is neglected or treated badly then having it


December 2011/January 2012

She warns that if the fish are not maintained correctly, the parent must always step in and feed or clean the tank. “Allowing a child to neglect an animal won’t teach them anything good.”

touchy-feely From the age of 10, your child can usually manage more responsibility, so she may want a bird or a cuddly animal. Gray-Kilfoil says budgies are the easiest birds to own. “They are hardy and can be trained from an early age to respond to people. But parents must do their homework and remember that most animals need company, so two are usually better than one.” She says rats and guinea pigs are more suitable for young children than hamsters and rabbits. “Rats are clever, entertaining and can learn to be awake when their owner is there, while hamsters sleep during the day. Guinea pigs sleep at night and are less likely to bite than rabbits. They also make the cutest noises. Again, you need more than one or they will magazine cape town


pets for babies and toddlers

be lonely, but beware of having a pair or you will suddenly find you have hundreds. They should be neutered.”

a child’s best friend A dog needs a lot more time, financial investment, exercise, training and attention than other pets. Gray-Kilfoil says this is why a dog should never be given to children, except perhaps in name, but should belong to the whole family. “Children should be encouraged to help feed and even train or walk the dog, but ultimately it is the adults’ responsibility.” While some breeds are generally known to be better with children than others, such as the Labrador or German Shepherd, a lot depends on the temperament of the individual dog, its training and upbringing. “Choosing a dog for a family should be carefully researched and considered, perhaps with the assistance of a professional behaviourist or trainer,” she says.

pet partner According to Evans, a child’s personality should be taken into consideration when choosing a pet, but it’s not necessary for the two to be alike. “It is conceivable that a shy child may benefit from being in the company of a boisterous animal, just as we are often drawn to opposite characteristics that balance or complement our own personality, in our friends and partners. I consider it more important for the parents to work out what kind of pet they are likely to enjoy or be able to make space for, since they are ultimately going to be doing most of the caring for it.”

long-haired dogs and cats raise concerns about allergies. But Leask says that while parents should always consult a doctor first for the go-ahead if allergies are an issue, “new research has shown that exposing young children to dogs and cats could help prevent later allergies”.

pet etiquette • Children often touch dogs incorrectly, even pinching them. Long, strong stroking and firm massaging all over the dog’s body should be taught from an early age. • Teach your child to “let sleeping dogs lie”. • Tell your child to back off when a dog growls. • Never separate fighting dogs, as you or your child may suffer a severe, re-directed bite. Teach your child to move away from a dog fight. • Children should be taught never to approach a dog while it is eating or chewing. • Your child should be considered of higher status in the family than your dog. The dog should not feel that he has to correct the child’s behaviour by nipping. • Puppy responsibility can best be guided by attending a puppy school with your child.

not suitable for children Dr Donald Leask, a Johannesburg-based veterinarian, says reptiles and some rodents carry a high risk of salmonella. He adds that while all animals could carry some sort of disease, one should always buy pets from reputable breeders and dealers. “The first thing a pet owner should do is take the animal to the local vet for a check-up, making sure it receives all its shots.” Often

baby and hound It is best to get your dog out of the habit of jumping on furniture before your baby arrives. Put some thought into where your dog will be sleeping (not in the nursery) and, if necessary, make this change before the due date. If you know friends with a baby or small child ask them over to meet your dog. Allow the dog in once everyone has settled down and stay calm. The more your dog sees and interacts with children, the more likely he is going to be comfortable with the new baby. Sprinkle a doll, teddy or cushion with baby powder, or other baby scent, and practise cuddling, carrying and pushing it around in the pushchair. Allow your dog to sniff or lick the doll’s feet, while you use a calm and pleasant tone of voice. While in hospital, send a dirty nappy and any dirty baby clothes home for your dog to sniff. These should not be given to the dog to destroy, but merely to briefly get used to the smell. As soon as you and your baby are settled and comfortable (within a couple of hours), allow your dog to come and meet the baby. You should be holding your baby and someone should be supervising your dog. Allow your dog to sniff the baby and praise him constantly and calmly.

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December 2011/January 2012



these shoes are made for walking When your child takes her first steps, make sure she puts her best foot forward by choosing the correct type and fit of shoe. By ANÉL LEWIS

It is important to allow them to go barefoot regularly to help them develop balance, coordination and posture.

barefoot is best Podiatrists advise that you let your novice walker go barefoot where possible, unless she is walking outside and needs protection from sharp objects. Babies and crawlers don’t need shoes; socks will do. Podiatrist Vernon Lever, of Lever Amler Podiatrists in Johannesburg, adds that shoes at this stage may in fact impede normal foot development, especially if the fit is incorrect. Children learning to walk get important sensory information from the soles of their feet. “It is important to allow them to go barefoot regularly to help them develop balance, coordination and posture.” Anette Thompson and Michael Els, of the footwear committee of the SA Podiatry Association, agree. “Barefoot is still best, at any age.”


December 2011/January 2012

walk this way Once they have been walking for a couple of months, you can start looking for suitable shoes. Jo Frost, of the Supernanny series and author of Confident Baby Care (Orion Books) says you will know your child is ready for shoes when his toes are flat on the floor. Toddlers can still go barefoot indoors, but if you want them to wear shoes outside, opt for a lightweight shoe. Lever says, “The fit of a shoe at this stage is very important so as to not impede the development of those feet. Podiatrists agree that a first walking shoe should be slightly flexible and have a thin sole. A toddler should be able to feel the ground underneath their feet.”

if the shoe fits Always put a good fit and comfort ahead of fashion. “You’ve got to remember that even though your baby’s walking, the bones in her feet are still soft, so it’s incredibly important for that first pair of shoes to be the right fit,” says Frost. Lever offers the following shoe-shopping advice: • Shop later in the day. “Their feet will expand about five percent by the end of the day, which makes for a better fit.” • To check for a good fit, have your child stand up. “There should be just enough room to squeeze your pinkie between the heel and the shoe, and the full width of your thumb should fit between the end of his toe and the tip of the shoe. That will offer some wriggle room.” • Choose shoes made of breathable, lightweight fabric, such as canvas, cloth or soft leather. Lever says synthetic fabrics should be avoided, as they will make your child’s foot sweat. • If you can’t grab any material from the top of the foot, the shoe may be too tight at the ball of the foot. • Abandon the myth that your child will be able to “break in” his shoes. They should be comfortable from the start.

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PHOTOGRAPH: SA Podiatry Association

y 10-month-old daughter is starting to take her first tentative steps. She still holds onto things for support, but she loves being able to stand and move freely, albeit on tiptoe. I make sure she wears socks with rubber grips on the soles for added traction, but lately I’ve been looking at baby shoes and wondering whether it’s time to get her a few pairs.

Let your child walk around the shop for a while, wearing the shoes, so that you can check her feet for irritated spots. • The shoe should be 12 to 16mm longer than the longest toe. • The sole must be flexible, to at least 55 degrees in the ball of the foot area. You should be able to bend the shoe at the ball of the foot with one finger. • A closed heel or heel strap is recommended. “The goal is to have a shoe that follows the foot in any movement in space without needing effort from the foot to keep it on.” • Shoes for infants should not weigh more than 30g, 110g for toddlers and less than 220g per shoe for teenagers. “If a child’s shoe weighs much more than your cellphone, don’t buy it.” The same guidelines apply when it comes to buying shoes for older children, says Lever. “Healthy shoes for children are similar to healthy shoes for adults – not too high a heel, plenty of width in the toe box, soft natural materials to conform to the shape of the foot and good support.”

will lead to foot or toe abnormalities in later life. Heels for children should be banned,” say Thompson and Els. They may also cause internal problems. “When barefoot, the forward angle of the pelvic bone is 25 degrees. When a little girl wears even a 30mm heel, this changes the angle to 45 degrees, causing internal organs to shift position.” Lever says high heels could increase the risk of twisted ankles. “High heel shoes can cause physical risks of heel muscle tension, changes in the plates’ growth (the areas of developing cartilage tissue at the ends of long bones) or bone fractures.” Other shoes to be avoided include those with built-in wheels, shoes or sandals with rigid soles, flip-flops and sandals without back straps and pumps that don’t have a strap across the foot, say Thompson and Els. And don’t buy shoes with built-in arch supports. Your child needs a light flexible shoe that allows the arch to form naturally. Specialised footwear, such as rigid-soled skateboard shoes or gumboots, should not be worn as everyday wear.

growth high heels and other no-nos Five-year-old Suri Cruise, the daughter of actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, has controversially made high heels fashionable for young girls. But the SA Podiatry Association says children should not wear heels of more than 15mm, to avoid possible bone deformity, muscle imbalances, and potential spine alignment issues later. Toddlers should never wear heels, while children wearing shoes from size 12 to 2 should not have a heel elevation of more than 8mm. “Wearing heels, even if just for a little while, carries enormous risk of developing muscle imbalances which

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Thompson and Els estimate that your child’s feet will grow an average of two sizes per year in the first four years. But the growth may be sporadic, with a lull and then a sudden spurt of several sizes within a short period. It depends on the child and their rate of growth. So, check your child’s feet for growth (length and width) every school term, or every three months. Generally, the main growth period for girls’ feet is between eight and 13, while boys’ feet grow the most rapidly between the age of 10 and 16. To keep pace with your child’s growing foot, start a foot length chart at home, similar to a height chart. The association

urges parents to especially monitor their children’s school shoes. A survey at a Johannesburg school found that all 180 children measured were wearing the wrong size shoes by September. Some of the children already showed signs of foot problems. Don’t be fooled by advertisers who imply that January is the only time to buy new school shoes, say Thompson and Els. Replace ill-fitting school shoes when needed. “It is far better for a child to be barefoot than to be in outgrown school shoes.”

did you know? • The bones in your baby’s foot are partiallydeveloped and made of cartilage, making them pliable. They will only develop fully into bones by the time she is 18. • A baby’s feet can sweat twice as much as an adult’s. • The growth of your baby’s foot is seasonal, with the fastest growth occurring in the warmer months. • By the age of 12, your child’s foot is about 90 percent of it’s adult length.

December 2011/January 2012



safe and


Holidays are not just about the fun in the sun. There are also hidden dangers as your child spends time on the beach, in malls or out with friends. RUWAYDAH LILLAH offers 10 safety tips.


Keep your environment childfriendly and safe for small children.

If you are staying in hotels or holiday apartments, check the rooms for open plugs, electrical cords and anything dangerous that may attract your baby or toddler’s attention. Make sure to baby-proof the room and block off access to stairs or windows that they can reach easily.


Don’t leave small children alone at home or in the care of an older child this holiday season.

Children may not have the mental and emotional capacity to properly take care


December 2011/January 2012

of younger siblings. They may not know how to handle an emergency and often they won’t realise that their behaviour could have an impact on their siblings. Younger children are less likely to respond to discipline by an older sibling.


Teach small children their name and surname, address and telephone numbers.

Make sure your child carries identification and contact details on them all the time, irrespective of their age.


Teach simple safety rules.

Get them to memorise emergency numbers for the police, ambulance and fire services, home security company (if you have one), Childline and the number of the nearest relative or close family friend who can respond quickly. Put this list on your fridge or notice board at home.


Implement internet safety rules.

Block access to adult sites on a family computer. Teach your child never to divulge his or her real name, age or address on the internet. Advise your child against communicating with strangers on the internet and monitor the websites they visit. magazine cape town



t is important for your child to have a safe and fun childhood, while having some independence. “You need to find a balance in educating your child about their personal safety without making them paranoid or scared of the outside world,” says Ally Cohen, child safety advisor for Arrive Alive. Joan van Niekerk, training and advocacy manager at Childline SA, says children may become soft targets in an environment where there’s a lack of adult supervision. But there are a few things you can do to keep your child as safe as possible, without curbing their holiday fun.


The incidence of road accidents increases dramatically over the festive period.

By law, all passengers should wear seat belts and children under three must be securely strapped in a baby car seat.


Drowning increases significantly over the December holidays.

Don’t allow children to swim without adult supervision, even if they are good swimmers. Make sure a fence or safety cover protects your swimming pool (as well as fish ponds). Avoid beaches with strong currents or areas that are not patrolled by lifeguards.


Always keep your children close to you on outings.

You could use safety harnesses for small children or child-locating devices to help keep older children in range and safe. Dress young children in bright colours so that they stand out and do not blend into a crowd. Tell older children to seek help from the centre management or a security guard should they be separated from you.


Don’t drop children off at malls, the movies, arcades or parks without supervision.

These places are not safe, especially over the holiday season. If older children go to public places, such as shopping centres and stadiums, make sure they use the buddy system, where at least two friends

stay together, and they must keep in contact with you telephonically.


Check out and research holiday camps, workshops and programmes.

Get full references and make sure there will be adult supervision at all times. Your child’s best deterrent to becoming a target is his understanding that no-one has the right to threaten his safety. You can also warn him about the dangers so that he can be more vigilant. But sometimes, for added peace of mind, you need to arm him with more than just common sense. • ID wristbands with your telephone number, in case your child wanders off or gets lost. • Child locators and alerts will help you find your child in open areas and shopping centres. • Safety harnesses and wrist straps can be used to keep your child close to you, especially in crowded areas. • A seat belt positioning harness is an affordable replacement for a booster seat to ensure children are properly buckled up. It’s suitable for children over three years. • Pool alarms set off a siren if a child falls into the water. It’s suitable for all types of pools, ponds, rivers and the sea. • A car strap clip ensures that your toddler doesn’t get out of the seat belt straps in his car seat.

DNA profiling About 800 to 1 000 children go missing in South Africa every year. The first few hours are critical, as quick action is needed to reunite a child with his family. Distraught parents are often unable to give an accurate and detailed description of their child. Law enforcement says having a complete profile of your child on hand could lead to a quick and safe recovery. DNA profiling is mostly done by child safety specialists who visit schools. You could suggest this to your school principal or Parent/Teacher Association (PTA). Pre-printed order forms are sent to each parent who wants a DNA profile of their child. The completed kits, with the child’s fingerprints, photo and personal information, are delivered to the parents to keep in case of emergency. It includes vital information that will proactively assist in recovering a missing child.

who to contact for help or information Ambulance and fire: 10177 Childline’s national helpline: 0800 055 555 or visit Missing children: 072 647 7464 or visit (there is no waiting period to report someone as missing) Nationwide emergency response: 10111

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December 2011/January 2012



KAREN WHYTE explains why geocaching has become a firm favourite with explorers of all ages.

what is geocaching? Geocaching is finding a “cache”, a treasure or a box, using GPS coordinates and clues. The biggest cache is usually an old plastic two-litre ice cream container, but they can be any size, even a micro cache of the tiniest proportions. The smallest are usually the hardest to find. Inside is a logbook where successful treasure hunters can leave details of their visit (including date, code name and comments). There is often also a small assortment of toys or trinkets. These can be exchanged for others, with a note made in the logbook of what was taken and what was left. Alternatively, you can just sign the logbook and not exchange any items.

how did it start? Geocaching started in May 2000 when the US removed the selective availability of the 24 satellites revolving around the earth. This meant GPS receivers, belonging to


December 2011/January 2012

the man on the street, were now accurate. Techno-geeks wondered what we all could get up to with this new gift. Dave Ulmer, known as the “father of caching”, created the game when he hid a bucket in his neighbourhood and posted the GPS coordinates online in a challenge for people to find it. It was found within days. Soon a website had been started to collect the locations of caches. As “geo” means the earth and “cache” a temporary hiding place, geocaching is about bringing together the earth, the hidden cache, computer technology and people with a sense of adventure.

get exploring Your first step is to log on to geocaching. com and become a member, using your very own code name. It’s free, but you do have the option of a premium membership if you want additional features or to support the upkeep of the site. There you can search for caches close to your location or along a specific route if you are on a road trip. Choose one or more and download the waypoints (longitude and latitude) to your GPS. Read the history of the cache, the clues and let the children decrypt the “additional hints”. You will see that caches logged on the website have different icons. These tell you what type of cache it is (e.g. a traditional cache, multi-cache or a virtual cache) as well as the difficulty and terrain. This is the D/T code, with the range being from 1 to 5, with 1 being very easy, and 5 very difficult. Therefore a 1/1 will indicate that the cache is easy to find and also not physically demanding. A 5/5 will need much brainpower and physical fitness to locate. If you are new to geocaching, it is best to start with a cache with a D/T of 1/1 and build up from there. Some geocaches contain a geocoin – these are meant to be removed and put into another cache elsewhere, and their travels can be tracked via the geocaching site. Our family picked up a coin in Hermanus and deposited it magazine cape town

PHOTOGRAPHS and Illustrations: Whyte


ark Twain wrote in Tom Sawyer, “There comes a time in every rightlyconstructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.” I disagree – I think this raging desire can hit all of us, at any age. Do you want to do something different with the family this weekend, perhaps get outdoors and explore a nearby area? Geocaching is the modern take on a treasure hunt and fantastic fun for children of all ages, including those of us who are over 1,5m; and it takes you to hidden places in your neighbourhood. The best part is that somebody else has hidden the treasure. So, instead of mom and dad having to lay the clues, the whole family can take part in the search. The only catch is that you need to have a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver. Many car hire companies will rent out a GPS at around R70 to R80 a day. The alternative is to use your smartphone with a downloaded geocaching application.

in a cache in America, and it has been interesting to track its travels. Once you have downloaded the waypoints and read the clues and information, get yourself as close to the cache as possible and then walk the rest of the way. Have sturdy shoes if the terrain indicates more than a 1. A hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, water and snacks are usually good to have and take an inexpensive item to exchange. Remember to keep it small so that it fits into the cache and don’t make it something edible that will attract wildlife. Your GPS will take you within one to five metres of the cache and then you can use the clues given, as well as your powers of observation, to find the treasure. It is usually quite well hidden under a few strategically placed rocks. Read the information given with the waypoint. This gives the significance of the site. Once you have logged your visit and exchanged your items, make sure that you seal the cache well to prevent moisture getting in, and hide it in exactly the same spot as you found it so that the next geocacher can have the joy of finding it. Try to avoid being observed, as “muggles” (a non-geocacher, coined from the Harry Potter series) may come and remove the cache afterwards out of curiosity. Once at home, log your visit and comments on the webpage. Your account will keep you updated on the number of your successful finds.

families in a heartbeat.” Neil and Melanie Brooks, parents of Tristan, 12, Cameron, nine, and Shannon, six, say, “Geocaching takes us out into the greatest parts of any area we visit, whether it’s the mountains, the forest or the coast. Instead of the children moaning about going for a walk, we can bribe them with a hunt for caches. There is no better way to explore a new waterfall, viewpoint or beach than hunting for a cache. Geocaching has also taught our children the history of local spots, such as Lady Anne’s cottage hidden in Newlands Forest, the lion enclosure at Rhodes Memorial, shipwrecks in the Western Cape and the haunted Du Toit’s Kloof tunnel.” The Brooks family started geocaching two years ago and have found 270 caches. Andrew Myers, from the South African Geocaching Statistics website sageostats., says that there are currently over 5 400 caches waiting to be found all over the country. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start exploring.

for toddlers, teens and granddad Renata Bothma, Cape Town-based mom of Donné, 16, and Cobus, 13, says geocaching is a wonderful way to bond with your children. “It is like a treasure hunt that just keeps on going. We’re learning so much in the process, especially with the geocaches that have historical or geological information added to them. I love the idea of being outdoors with my teenagers and getting to know our country. My children can’t wait for the next exciting adventure. I would recommend it to all magazine cape town

helpful websites

December 2011/January 2012


book extract

festive food for family and friends Get into the holiday mood with these wholesome dishes from Halfaampieskraal Celebrates, compiled by MAIA DU PLESSIS and SIMON SCARBORO.

PHOTOGRAPHS: Simon Scarboro

Without snow and sleet, Christmas in the southern hemisphere usually invol ves sand and sea. Thes e recipes can be cooked on a skottel or braai at the beach, or in your backyard, and make a refreshing change from the traditional, festive season fare.


December 2011/January 2012

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gigantes plaki Serves 6 500g butter beans (soaked overnight) ¾ cup olive oil 2 large onions, chopped 5 cloves garlic, chopped 1 x 400g tin peeled tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped 4 fresh bay leaves 1 tablespoon sugar sea salt freshly ground black pepper juice of ½ lemon Preheat the oven to 160°C Boil the beans until almost tender, then drain and place in a baking dish. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions and garlic lightly. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, most of the parsley and the bay leaves. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the beans. Add the sugar, salt and pepper and combine everything. Cover with tinfoil and bake for about an hour. Lift the foil to check if a little water is needed to loosen the sauce and that the beans are tender. Sprinkle with the reserved parsley and drizzle with fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Season liberally with freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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December 2011/January 2012


book extract

braaied whole crayfish Using a sharp knife, split the crayfish along the underside from the head to the end of the tail. Leave the shell intact. Clean out the intestines and head cavity. Brush the flesh lightly with olive oil. Place on a grill flesh side down, over medium coals with no flame. It should take a couple of minutes for the flesh to colour. Turn the crayfish over and spread liberally with garlic and parsley butter. It will melt immediately on the warm meat, filling the shell. Grill for another few minutes until the flesh is just firm. Do not be tempted to overcook, as the crayfish will continue cooking in the shell after you take it off the heat. Add more garlic and parsley butter if desired.

garlic and parsley butter Using a pestle and mortar, crus h six cloves of garlic with a teaspoon of sea salt. Add 200g soft ened unsalted butter, combine well and then stir through a han dful of chopped flat-leaf parsley. These proportions can be adjusted to taste. Cayenne pepper also makes a piquant addition.

smoked mussels over the coals Lightly steam the whole mussels in sea water, or fresh water with enough salt added to replicate sea water. As soon as the mussels open, remove them from the water. Discard any unopened mussels. Remove the beard from the mussels. Push the mussels to one side of a pan and sprinkle a tablespoon of oak wine-barrel shavings over the empty side. Cover with a lid or tinfoil and place on the coals. The mussels will smoke very quickly; a minute will be enough.


December 2011/January 2012

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chocolate roulade serves 6 6 large eggs at room temperature ½ cup castor sugar plus a further 4 tablespoons of castor sugar small pinch of salt 6 tablespoons cocoa powder 250ml whipping cream 1 teaspoon vanilla essence Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a shallow rectangular baking tin or Swiss roll tin with non-stick baking paper. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks with half a cup of castor sugar until pale and light. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the salt and two tablespoons of castor sugar. Keep beating until firm peaks form. Fold the cocoa powder and the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Try to retain as much air as possible. Spread evenly in the baking tin and bake for 25 minutes. Leave to cool and turn out on baking paper. Trim off the hard crusts. Whip the cream, vanilla essence and the remaining castor sugar together using an electric beater. Spread the cream evenly over the cake. Start to roll the cake, removing the paper as you go. Don’t worry if cracks appear, as they can be hidden by dusting icing sugar or cocoa over the cake. Decorate the roulade with melted chocolate or chocolate shavings if you prefer.

about the book Halfaampieskraal Celebrates (Human & Rousseau), by Maia du Plessis and Simon Scarboro, brings the goodness of farm life into your kitchen. The recipes, which are beautifully illustrated with full-colour photographs, document life on this 250-year-old working wheat, sheep and goat farm in the Overberg, which also boasts guest rooms and a Cuban-inspired function venue. The food is simple, sumptuous and worthy of any celebration – a wedding, Mother’s Day or a convivial birthday picnic. Available at good bookstores nationwide.

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December 2011/January 2012



the charm of camping LYNNE O’CONNOR swaps early-morning deadlines in the city for dawn wake-up


wake up at 3am every day to get to work in time to prepare my morning news bulletins. So one would think that I would choose a holiday where I could wake up at a godlier hour, order room service and watch TV from my bed. But no, I prefer to go camping. That means I get up as soon as the first bird starts singing in the campsite. The best time of the day is just before sunrise, when the campsite is quiet and the air is crisp and fresh. It’s at that time of the day that I pull up a chair, wipe the dew from the table, boil the kettle, take out a box of rusks and read a few chapters of my novel. Aah, peace and quiet. When my husband first took us camping several years ago, I wasn’t convinced that I would enjoy it. To be honest, I was six months pregnant at the time and I was not, at first, a happy camper. But by the time we hooked up our trailer and began the long trip home from Plett to Johannesburg, I was a convert. My two sons had spent a fortnight in the fresh air, riding their bikes, playing on the jungle gyms and digging for worms and goggos. Since that trip, we’ve become avid campers, much to my Sandton colleagues’ horror. We’ve bought every gadget necessary (including a mini washing machine) to survive a few days or weeks away from home luxuries. Our favourite trips are those that take only an hour or two’s drive. Soon, the campsite is sorted, the fire is roaring and the children have vanished in search of new friends. The trick to camping, sweetie darlings, is to follow the Girl Guides’ motto of “Be prepared”. Be prepared to do nothing, bark orders at your husband and children from your camping chair, drink plenty


December 2011/January 2012

of wine, go for long walks, read a novel or two, learn the words of “Meisie, Meisie” (seriously), and braai with your neighbours and new friends. Another part of following the Girl Guides’ code is to bring interesting bits and bobs with you to keep the children busy. Our trailer is filled with puzzles, colouring books, novels, skateboards, swing-ball, soccer balls and board games. But the best time that we have is when we take long walks or ride our bikes together. The children have also learnt some of the old-fashioned games that we played in the 80s and 90s, such as hopscotch, treasure hunts (searching for feathers, pine cones, seed pods, animal bones), Marco Polo and hide-and-seek. One of our favourite places to visit has to be Sondela, near Bela Bela (what used to be known as Warmbaths) in Limpopo. Situated in a nature reserve, Sondela has everything that a frustrated, exhausted mom could need. There are activities for the children, including pony rides, quad biking (my paramedic husband is never keen on that), warm and cold pools, jungle gyms, a farmyard, table tennis and during the busy season, holiday clubs. They also have a wildlife rehabilitation centre, where my children have touched and fed giraffe and wildebeest. Our neighbour there is a female kudu called Daisy, who visits our campsite often, creating great excitement for all. Our recent trip to Bela Bela was so relaxing – we woke up when we wanted to, ate when we felt like it and mooched around the campsite, killing time

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PHOTOGRAPHS: Lynne O’ Connor / Jason Morris

calls while camping in Limpopo.

by doing nothing. I watched as my boys swam, drew pictures in the sand with my daughter and looked for squirrels, butterflies, owls and dung beetles with a group of children from the campsite. It was fantastic because we did nothing, together – something that our modern lifestyle doesn’t often allow. We’ve made plenty of new friends, including a boisterous farmer from the Free State who insisted that we, his Engelsman neighbours, eat his Vrystaat wors and krummelpap, while drinking brandy and coke.

There are also days when you quite literally have to save your camp. One trip to Mountain Sanctuary Park near Brits began with a massive Highveld storm. As the women and children hid in our caravan (which we have since sold), the men stood in the rain trying desperately to save the tents from being blown away. We’ve also spent days huddled in our tents or the resort’s clubhouse, as the rain hammered down. Let’s just say that we’ve now learnt to pick our camping dates a little better. But alas, camping isn’t for everyone. We recently decided to bring another

It was fantastic because we did nothing, together – something that our modern lifestyle doesn’t often allow. But my other favourite camping trips family of virgin campers with us. They are those with friends. We often go away made a brave effort to enjoy themselves, with the Dickson and Morris families. but left after just two days, promising to Those lazy days together are spent being join us when they had bought themselves entertained by the dads who chase the a caravan and plenty of sleeping tablets. children, encourage them to play pranks Despite the little dramas associated on fellow campers and scare other children with camping, it remains a firm family while playing “stalk the lantern” at night. favourite. I know that it’s time to hook up In the evenings, the families sit around the trailer and head to a campsite when, the campfire, roasting marshmallows, sitting at the newsdesk in my city office, laughing about the day’s events or telling I can smell the bush and the campfire, stories and jokes. almost feel the cool morning air on my skin Campsite dining is very basic. It’s only and see myself sitting in my camping chair worth preparing if it can be cooked on reading my novel. There’s also no radio a braai or a skottel. My husband, who and no television – bliss! knows how to prepare only simple dishes Lynne O’ Connor reads the news on Talk at home, is now expected to make many Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. She has of the group’s meals, which means hardly three children, Ciaran, 12, who spends his any cooking for me. Breakfast is French camping days trying to look cool, Braedan, toast, scrambled eggs or cereal. Lunch 9, who rides his bike, swims and causes is whatever anyone feels like: sarmies, general mayhem and Ava, 4, who nags her noodles or leftovers. Supper, however, is mom and dad to play with her as she’s still usually an elaborate affair, where the family too small to be let loose on the campsite prepares and cooks the meal together and on her own. sits around the fire chatting while eating. On those evenings, we’ll wolf down a potjie, a braai, or a boerie roll accompanied places to visit by rice or pap, and a variety of near Sondela: salads. The fresh air really does Thaba Kwena Crocodile Park 014 736 5059 make you ravenous. Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park 012 723 0315 Zebra Country Lodge 014 734 7700 Forever Resorts Warmbaths 014 736 8500 Sondela Nature Reserve 014 736 8800

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December 2011/January 2012



get out there! LUCILLE KEMP gives her top five spots to enjoy the outdoors with your family these holidays.

camping spots This shady, grassy campsite underwent an upgrade early this year. The site lies on the Rondegat River, so pack the costumes because the crystal-clear, shallow river is ideal for the children to swim and play safely in. Use the site as a base to explore the Cederberg Wilderness area, which is renowned for its dry mountain fynbos, San paintings, caves and unusual rock formations. Other highlights are a rich animal life and the Stadsaal Caves, which also has San paintings from when elephants freely roamed the area. Set aside time to do at least one of the popular day hikes, or go your own way for a day or two in the secluded wilderness. Contact 021 483 0190, reservation.alert@capenature. or visit

Berg River Resort Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the campsite is set on the banks of the Berg River in the Paarl winelands. There are two swimming pools, a putt-putt course and a petting farm where the children can feed


December 2011/January 2012

the animals, as well as a waterslide and donkey and tractor rides. All campsites have electrical outlets. Nearby places to explore include Butterfly World and Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm. Contact 021 863 1650, or visit

Biesievlak Campsite There is no need to carry around bulky tent equipment, just to set it up and take it down again. Biesievlak, based in Citrusdal, supplies and sets up everything for you, so you can immediately put up your feet while your children play on the jungle gym, paddle in the canoes or play in the water and make new friends. Each campsite can accommodate up to six people in three canvas tents set up as needed under a big Bedouin freeform marquee. Each tent comes fully equipped with electricity points, blow-up mattresses, luxury bedding, and cookware and braai paraphernalia. Contact Karin: 083 260 4822, or visit

Riverside Resort When you’re not out exploring Klein Brak, a beautiful part of the Garden Route, Riverside Resort has two swimming pools, one especially for children; a river where you can fish, swim and canoe; a park with a few jungle gyms, and a pool table and table tennis. There is a tennis court, a nine-hole putt-putt course and you can sometimes enter a fishing competition. Contact 044 696 6061, or visit

Tweede Tol Camp Site, Bainskloof Pass Tweede Tol is situated in Bainskloof Pass within the Limietberg Nature Reserve, which lies in the Du Toitskloof mountains near Paarl. There are 25 campsites, each with their own braai area. Hot and cold water bathrooms are available, as well as firewood and a jungle gym. As a camper, you will have exclusive use of the Wolwekloof River’s swimming holes and you can also explore the rugged terrain with its steep kloofs and deep valleys. Contact 0861 227 362 8873 or visit

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Berg River Resort

nature reserves Featherbed Nature Reserve

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Featherbed is a pristine, privately owned piece of paradise on the Western Head of Knysna and is accessible by ferry only from the Knysna Lagoon. There is a 4x4 drive up the headland onto the reserve, stopping at spectacular viewpoints. You can opt for a guided 2,2km walk through coastal forest and fynbos into ancient sea caves and end off with lunch under a canopy of Milkwood trees. Contact 044 382 1693, or visit

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in Gansbaai overlooks Walker Bay and is surrounded by indigenous fynbos and forest-clad hills. You will discover some of the most rare fynbos and largest Milkwood Forests in the world. The beaches are lapped by crystal clear waters frequented by southern right whales, the rare African penguin and of course, great white sharks. Explore the caves, ride on horseback, hike through stunning scenery and go shark cage diving, whale watching and more. Contact 028 384 8000, or visit

Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve The reserve lies in the Hottentots Holland Mountains between Sir Lowry’s Pass and Franschhoek Pass. The area is rugged and mountainous with fynbos, several antelope species and the occasional leopard. There are a variety of day hikes, which traverse mountain slopes and streams, and an area to enjoy a picnic. Contact 0861 227 362 8873 or visit

walks and picnics. The nearby Tranquility Trout Café offers scrumptious picnic baskets. Contact 0861 227 362 8873 or visit

Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve Vrolijkheid, which lies in the Breede River Valley near Robertson, needs to be explored for its Heron Trail. The trail departs from the main parking lot and meanders in easy terrain via a Braille trail with information boards. Three bird hides, which children will love as it feels as though you’re in an oversized tree house, can be reached via this route. There is a delightful picnic spot near the parking lot, complete with braai places and wooden benches. Contact 0861 227 362 8873 or visit

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Featherbed Nature Reserve

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Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, which includes the smaller Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, lies near Stellenbosch. The reserve comprises the Jonkershoek mountains and portions of the upper Jonkershoek valley, and it is lush with a variety of cliffs, peaks and pine forests and has a rugged terrain that makes it ideal for hiking. Assegaaibosch is much smaller and is suitable for short

Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

December 2011/January 2012



beaches Buffels Bay and Bordjiesdrif This area of the Cape Point National Park Reserve is surrounded by a few walks and cycling routes. The stretch between Bordjiesdrif and Buffels Bay specifically has a great beach with safe tidal pools for swimming, as well as picnic and braai spots. You could also explore the Cape Point area and take one of the short walks to the Smitswinkel viewing point. Contact Cape Point information centre: 021 780 9010/11, info@capepoint. or visit

Little Bay Beach This beach is a favourite spot for flying your child’s kite with them as well as windsurfing and kite surfing. The long, flat sandy Big Bay Beach nearby is perfect for families who want to sun tan or take long walks. If you can cope with ultra-chilly water, the swimming and bodysurfing is safe and fun. A rocky point divides the descriptively named Big Bay and Little Bay Beaches. This beach also provides a great vantage point for taking memorable photos of Table Mountain. Contact visit

Llandudno Beach Pack a picnic, the latest John Lindsay novel, beach bats and all the other beach essentials. Don’t forget your budding surfer’s surfboard – this beach is popular for its great swell. It is also reasonably sheltered from the wind and there are various shady spots created by the rock formations. If you feel like stretching your legs, take a walk to the rocks on the right-hand side. The beach, like the village itself, will make you feel removed from bustling city life. Stay a little later and you will be treated to a spectacular sunset. Contact visit

Oudekraal Beach

Oudekraal Beach Oudekraal, tucked away between Llandudno and Bakoven, is a boulderenclosed bay with its own seal colony. With a number of sheltered coves, the beach makes a good picnic spot and there are also a few well-maintained braai sites. Oudekraal offers families a choice of grass patches or white sand and rock pools for sunbathing. If there is an avid diver in the family, they’ll love exploring South Africa’s oldest shipwreck, the Het Huys te Craijestein, with its rich marine life, as well as Justin’s Cave. Contact visit

Windmill Beach This little-known, small beach near Boulders Beach, has clear waters and is perfect for snorkelling. Take the small residential side street passing Boulders Beach entrance and you’ll discover this little piece of paradise. The beach is sheltered and gently sloping with flat, shallow water that’s ideal for families. Contact visit

picnic spots Clifton 2nd Beach

Maynardville Park

A sunset beach picnic is always a favourite and Clifton 2nd is wind protected and safe, making it popular with families. It boasts a special atmosphere – there is always a group of people playing volleyball while parents get their feet wet and children chase the dogs along the shore. In the summer months, you can take your time settling in before the sun sets. Contact visit

Maynardville Park is great for picnicking with its beautiful gardens, huge trees and an open-air theatre to explore. However, the newly refurbished play area alone makes Maynardville Park worth a visit, so pack a basket and find a shady spot under the trees. The new 2 000m² playground features an irrigation system, a new adventure timber play structure and refurbished swings, a seesaw and a roundabout for disabled children. The new development is being laid out in phases and is set to be a huge attraction for families. Contact visit capetown.

Clifton 2nd Beach


December 2011/January 2012

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mountain bike/bicycle trails Delvera Kids BMX track This non-technical BMX-style track is perfect for the little ones. Parents can have coffee and take in the view of Table Mountain, while the children hit the track. There are also pony rides and go-carting on the farm. Contact Dirtopia: 021 884 4752, or visit

Eselfontein mountain bike track Eselfontein in Ceres is a popular track for mountain bikers with approximately 70km of single track, which an older child will love if mountain biking is their thing. Children of all fitness levels will love the 8km section of forest on the trail, which is easy to ride and, with the December heat, is thankfully mostly shaded and near a river. There are also a variety of farm roads for easy riding. Download the course on your GPS and get going. Contact: 082 389 4202, info@eselfontein. or visit

Lebanon MTB Trails The trails meander through stunning terrain and combine rolling orchards, forested pine slopes, mountainous fynbos and breathtaking views. Beginners can take an easy meander

through the orchards, farm dams and forests, while the more experienced and energetic can head up into plantationclad hills for climbs with stunning views and sweeping descents. The green and yellow trails at Lebanon are perfect for children and are fullymarked, traversing the Elgin Valley farms, as well as the Lebanon Forest Reserve. The trails have something to offer all types of mountain bikers, so take it easy on a family trail through this scenic valley. Contact 083 461 8940, info@ or visit

Lower Tokai forest trail This track is perfect for children between the ages of three and six, and provides a safe area to get all riders accustomed to riding off-road. The ongoing development of a 3m-wide trail offers enough space for a child to learn to ride and provides up to 4km of uninterrupted riding. This man-made clay trail runs along the perimeter of the lower forest with wooden boardwalks and play areas adding to the day’s adventure. A volunteer indigenous treeplanting project carried out recently will soon see the restoration of shade. Contact Sanparks: 021 701 8692, or visit

The upper slopes of Tokai

Lebanon MTB Trails

Newlands Forest reservoir The 50-year-old Newlands Reservoir supplies a large amount of the area’s water. Explorers will also discover various rivers and streams along the trails, with the constant, gentle gushing adding to the serene atmosphere of the forest. Botanists – amateur and professional – will simply adore the adjacent City Parks Nursery, which is involved in maintaining and rehabilitating certain indigenous tree and plant species within Newlands Forest. Contact visit

Silvermine Nature Reserve Silvermine is a popular picnic spot for a reason – it feels removed and untouched but is close to home. There are designated picnic and braai areas in parts of the park that can be located by contacting Cape Nature Conservation. Gather family and

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These slopes offer some of SA’s oldest trails for the more adventurous riders from the age of seven. These trails are located behind the Tokai Manor House at the top of Tokai Road. Start with the green-rated Faerie Garden trail with its shaded single-track trail of easy-tomoderate climbing and river crossings. Contact: 021 701 8692, tablemountain or visit

friends, grab your bicycles and head out on a clear day. The reserve offers some relatively gentle and unassuming walks, a good option for younger and older visitors. Contact visit

Solms-Delta Wine Estate picnics Indulge in a picnic at Solms-Delta Wine Estate, where you can cool off afterwards in the river. You get a basket for two, filled with treats such as smoked Franschhoek trout and wine, soft drinks or spring water, while the children get their own packed lunch. A personal guide will carry your basket and blanket and help you to choose a quiet spot on the forested banks of the Dwars River or overlooking the private lake. Don’t forget to pack costumes, towels and fishing nets. Contact 021 874 3937 ext 115 or visit

December 2011/January 2012



day walks and hiking trails

Delvera full moon hike

Delvera full moon hike Enjoy the sunset over Table Mountain with stunning views of the Winelands on top of Klapmutskoppie while having your picnic. The optional shuttle to the half-way mark is recommended for children. These hikes in the Renosterveld Conservancy take place throughout the summer months, until May. Bookings are essential. Contact Dirtopia: 021 884 4752, theteam@dirtopia. or visit

Happy Valley Trail

Sevilla Rock Art Trail

This easy 9km walk, which starts in Bainskloof, is the ideal trail for families and beginners. Park your car at Eerste Tol and then walk up a jeep track past the ruins of an old house and a monument commemorating those who drowned in the 1895 Witte River disaster. Enjoy the accessible rock pools along the way, before ending the walk with a swim in the secluded Junction Pools where the two rivers meet. Return via the same path. Contact 0861 227 362 8873 or visit

Head to Clanwilliam for a cultural adventure on a relatively easy 4km walking trail that winds along the Brandewyn River and visits nine sites of San rock art paintings. Small game, dassies and baboons may be encountered on the walk and a fascinating array of indigenous plant species and birds can be observed. Contact 027 482 1824, or visit

Long Beach walk

St James to Kalk Bay hillside walk

You’ll be accompanied by the cry of gulls and the crash of the waves on this beach walk between Kommetjie and Noordhoek. The highlight is a fascinating shipwreck some way from the water’s edge. Try to choose low tide for your walk, as the going is much easier on the firmer sand. Contact visit

Take your children and the dogs on a gentle mountain climb with superb views of False Bay, with Simon’s Town, Hangklip and Kalk Bay harbour nestling peacefully below. Start on the bend just south of Boyes Drive, almost opposite St James railway station, and afterwards walk back. Contact visit

Long Beach walk


December 2011/January 2012

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animal parks Drakenstein Lion Park Drakenstein Lion Park is situated in the scenic Cape Winelands and is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning sanctuary for captive born lions. They help rescue lions in distress, from South Africa as well as from overseas, and provide lifetime care. The sanctuary houses 34 rescued lions, including three rare white lions. Families can stroll through the park at their leisure and view these magnificent beasts at eyelevel or get a bird’seye view from one of the raised viewing platforms. Contact 021 863 3290 or visit

Knysna Elephant Park Knysna Elephant Park provides a home for orphaned elephants. Join them in their free-range environment where you will be able to appreciate their magnificent presence up-close. Whether you choose their standard daily tour, elephant back ride or the more exclusive walking and riding safari, this is an experience that will stay with you forever. Contact 044 532 7732, info@knysnaelephantpark. or visit

Sanccob Visitors get a rare chance to peek behind-the-scenes at this seabird hospital, based in Bloubergrandt. Children will be captivated by the spectacle of almost all seabird species in one space as they learn about the challenges facing these creatures out in the wild, how they can make a difference by encouraging their schools, peers and parents to limit waste, recycle,

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clean up the beaches and volunteer when they are old enough. Contact 021 557 6155, or visit

Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, situated in The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, is the ideal place for you and your children to learn about indigenous wild cats in a one-hour guided tour. At Tenikwa, they offer a conservation programme that works with children to raise awareness about the loss of habitat, the impact of environmentally insensitive farming practices and what each one of us can do to preserve our wildlife. Contact 044 534 8170 or visit

The Birds of Eden Sanctuary and Monkeyland Get up close with over 200 species of wild birds in this free-flight sanctuary, also located in Plettenberg Bay’s The Crags, which has its own forest. A visit typically takes you along elevated walkways into a pristine forest filled with birds from every corner of the globe. Your children will be enthralled throughout the meander, which reveals sightings and experiences they’ll treasure. Make Monkeyland your next stop and go on a safari with a game ranger who will tell you about the various species of monkeys, lemurs and apes. Contact 044 534 8906, or visit

Drakenstein Lion Park

for the thrill of it Ratanga Junction Holidays are the perfect excuse to go crazy on a couple of this theme park’s more than 23 rides. You will find something for everyone, from the thrill-seeker to the younger child who is happy to stay closer to the ground for a train ride. There are also more laid-back attractions designed to entertain children and families. Contact 0861 200 300, or visit

December 2011/January 2012



a good read CDs and audio books Riveting Rhymes and The Bright Blue Frog CDs By Gregory Pastoll (Gregory Pastoll, R80, plus postage outside Cape Town) Riveting Rhymes is a collection of 19 amusing short stories told in rhyme, read by a variety of readers. The titles range from Beetle Ka-Teetle and Alien Annie to The Chewing Gum Champ and The Column of Wollum. The Bright Blue Frog is a story narrated by John Richards, a well-known radio announcer, with a variety of readers playing the various parts. Freddie is a little blue frog who wants to be green, like all the other frogs in his pond, but nobody knows how to make him green. His whole clan goes on a mission to get help with this problem from King Frongo, the biggest-frog-in-the-world. But it is King Frongo’s wife, the stately Queen Francesca, who solves the problem. Both CDs are suitable for children aged five and upwards. To order, visit

for the road

Africa’s Little Five By Chloë Murdoch (Videoart Media, R100) The author of these five stories completed her B.Prim Ed at UCT as well as an MA in education at Kingston University. Children can enjoy five delightful animals as they each learn a valuable life lesson, as well as important facts about their species and their environment. Through Shakina the leopard cub, Buru the rhinoceros calf, Ellie the elephant calf, Gongotha the buffalo calf and Lindani the lion cub, children learn more about animal life. The CD comes with an activity booklet with colouring-in fun, puzzles, mazes, places to draw and a space where children can create their own story. The CD is available in both English and Afrikaans and is suitable for children between the ages of three and 12. To order, contact 082 770 0323.

Spud Read by John van de Ruit (Penguin Books, R112) It’s South Africa, 1990. Two major events are about to take place: the release of Nelson Mandela, and more importantly, the start of Spud Milton’s first year at an elite, boys-only private boarding school. Cursed with parents from well beyond the lunatic fringe, a senile granny, and a dormitory full of strange characters, Spud has to forge a new life for himself in this foreign and sometimes hostile environment. Armed with only his wits and his diary, Spud takes us from illegal night swimming to the cricket field, from ghost busting to teacher baiting. He also invites us into the mind of a boy struggling to come to terms with a strange new world.


December 2011/January 2012

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for toddlers

I’m not Sleepy! By Kayt Manson (Campbell Books, R90) This little boy is definitely not sleepy – he’s far too busy playing with his friends. After he and Lion have done some “roaring”, the poor lion, exhausted, falls fast asleep. Then it is time to go running around with Giraffe, until Giraffe also gets tired and falls asleep. Still the little boy is not ready to go to dreamland, and it’s Bear’s turn to dance with him. When Bear gives up, the little boy realises that the running, roaring and dancing has also made him tired. “Good night. Sweet dreams.” With sturdy, tabbed pages that are easy to turn, this book might just become a bedtime favourite.

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Zoe and Beans: The Magic Hoop! and Zoe’s Christmas List By Chloë and Mick Inkpen

Jack and the Flumflum Tree By Julia Donaldson and David Roberts

(Macmillan Children’s Books, R118 each) In the second title of this brilliant series, The Magic Hoop, Zoe has found a fun new game to play. When Beans jumps through her hoop he magically transforms into a rabbit, a crocodile and a mouse. But could Beans the elephant be a jump too far? In Zoe’s Christmas List, Zoe knows exactly what she wants for Christmas, and to make sure Father Christmas does too, she and Beans take a trip all the way to the North Pole. But with a baby polar bear to rescue and a swirling snowstorm to contend with, will they ever make it? This is a wonderful Christmas story with a surprise pull-out page.

(Macmillan Children’s Books, R118) This is a fabulous and very funny new story from this winning picture book team. Jack’s Granny is sick with a bad case of the moozles and the only cure is the fruit of the fantastic flumflum tree, which grows on the faraway Isle of Blowyernose. It’s a perilous journey, but Jack bravely sets sail with a motley crew of only three – and a large patchwork sack that Granny has filled with an odd assortment of items, from chewing gum to tent pegs. But what use will they be against hungry sharks, a leaky boat and a thieving monkey?

The Littlest Bear By Gillian Shields and Polona Lovsin (Macmillan Children’s Books, R85) This book might be about an ice bear, but it’s not about Christmas in the snow. The littlest bear loves to play and explore, but he wishes he had a friend to play with. His mother warns him to stay close so the wild white wolf can’t catch him. Then, when the littlest bear wanders off one night, he stumbles across another little animal that is also wild and white… and a wolf. But just maybe, he isn’t as scary as his mom makes him believe… This is a beautiful snowy tale about an unexpected friendship, with such enduring illustrations and characters, that your child will simply fall in love with it.

December 2011/January 2012



for preschoolers

Sassafras By Audrey Penn and Ruth E. Harper (Tanglewood Press, R163) Poor Sassafras! The little skunk is hiding from the world because he’s embarrassed by his own smell. But Sassafras’s ability to create a bit of a stink comes in handy when an intruder enters the woods. With the help of his friends, Sassafras learns that what makes him different is what makes him special. Audrey Penn’s tender tale of a sensitive skunk will help readers to celebrate the unique qualities in themselves and in others. The book is recommended for children from as young as four and up to the age of eight.

He came from the Father By Alida van Deventer (Untangled Marionettes, R100, plus R15 postage) As a puppeteer, Alida van Deventer started performing the Christmas story with woodcarved marionettes in 1967 and since then the story has been told in many ways and places. For this book, Alida and her three daughters collaborated to tell this story again with table figures. Elsje took the photographs, Lisa was the graphic designer and Gerda wrote the story, while Alida, as the marionette artist, was responsible for creating the very believable and interesting characters. Children will simply love this well-known story, told with the help of these figurines and clever backdrops.

great gift id ea Dr Seuss – A Classic Treasury By Dr Seuss (Harper Collins Children’s Books, R284 hardcover) Every child should have a Dr Seuss treasure on their bookshelf and this omnibus includes five classic stories: The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat comes Back, Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks and How the Grinch Stole Christmas – the perfect gift for any little reader.

Wolf Camp By Katie McKy and Bonnie Leick (Tanglewood Press, R153) Maddie’s mother agrees to send her daughter to a new camp – Wolf Camp. But when Maddie returns she seems, well, changed. She snaps at flies, howls at fire trucks, and chases squirrels – on all fours. She stops eating sweets and starts eating meat. And the dog is now afraid of her when she lifts her lip and shows her teeth. What child hasn’t fantasised about being an animal? And what parent hasn’t exclaimed over the transformation in their child when picking them up from a camp? This book intertwines these two themes in a hilarious story about a very different kind of camping experience.


December 2011/January 2012

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for early graders Big Nate – From the Top and Big Nate – Out Loud By Lincoln Peirce (Andrews McMeel Publishing, R96 each) These Big Nate collections feature as Sunday strips that originally appeared in newspapers and on the web at Even though Nate is an 11-year-old, these books have proven to be popular with children as young as eight, as well as with fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Nate is the all-time record holder for detentions in his school’s history. He is a self-described genius and a Grade 6 Renaissance boy. Most children can relate to Nate’s daily battles against overzealous teachers and all-round conventionality. Why not collect the series and get young boys reading, and laughing, these holidays?

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again By Frank Cottrell Boyce (Macmillan Children’s Books, R130) This is the first-ever sequel to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming. In this story, Jem thinks Dad had lost his marbles. The whole family is going on a tour of the world in a clapped-out camper van – mom, dad, grumpy sister Lucy and baby Harry? Please, no! But this is no ordinary camper van. Equipped with an engine with an amazing past, it can go fast. Very, very fast. And not necessarily on the road. Or even on the ground. In fact, it’s almost as if it has a mind of its own, and it wants to take them all on a magical adventure.

Milly-Molly-Mandy’s Things to Make and Do Based on stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley (Macmillan Children’s Books, R190) Whether she is baking a cake, planting a miniature garden or having a dolls’ tea party, Milly-Molly-Mandy is always having fun. Packed with teatime treats, crafty fun and big ideas to brighten up a gloomy day, this is the perfect book for long holidays, rainy days and adventures in your own back garden. With easy-tofollow instructions for lots of activities, including baking blackberry crumble, sewing patchwork, knitting a scarf, planting sunflowers, building a fort and making a bird feeder, little girls will have hours of fun with this book and the lovable Milly-Molly-Mandy. magazine cape town

Guinness World Records 2012 Editor in Chief Craig Glenday (Guinness World Records Limited, R160) Ok, this one is actually for the whole family, but the “records” in this book fascinate young children. Some of them urge you to ask “Why?” and some are just brilliant. Want to know what is the largest object lifted by balloons or who won the most air guitar champions? It’s all here. Meet Chanel Tapper: she has the longest tongue (female) at a whopping 9,75cm. If the fastest 4x100m relay in high heels is not your cup of tea, find out who invented the smallest robotic hand, where the largest piano is, who drove the fastest lap in the Le Mans, what the most popular TV show was or which books got left behind most in hotel rooms over the past year. December 2011/January 2012



for teens and preteens The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men By Patrick Ness

Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune By Rick Riordan (Puffin Books, R165 each) Everybody was over the moon when Rick Riordian brought Percy Jackson back last year in The Lost Hero, with three new heroes, a missing demigod and a curse that threatened to destroy them all. In the second book, The Son of Neptune, Percy and his fellow demigods must face the most important quest of all: the Prophecy of Seven. If they fail, it’s not just their camp at risk. Percy’s old life, the gods and the entire world might be destroyed. The third book, The Mark of Athena, will be released around April next year. The series comes highly recommended for children from the age of 10.


December 2011/January 2012

(Walker Books, R95, R117, R140) This series, recommended for teenagers, won the Costa Children’s Book Award as well as the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize. The first book introduces Todd Hewitt, the last boy in Prentisstown. But Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, never-ending noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets. Just one month away from his 13th birthday, that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence. Prentisstown has been lying to him, and now he is going to have to run. This is a powerful series of books; exciting and thrilling, deeply moving and the ending is nothing short of electrifying.

Lost Christmas By David Logan (Quercus Publishing, R123) Eleven-year-old Goose is lost. It’s Christmas, his parents are dead and now his dog Mutt has gone missing. Those around him aren’t doing much better: his Uncle Frank’s wife has walked out on him and his Nan is losing her mind. But then Anthony appears, a man who seems to know everyone’s secrets but nothing at all about himself. Who is he, how does he know so much and can he help Goose? A delightful Christmas read from start to finish, David Logan takes the reader on a terrific journey through love, loss and the quest for home. Also, look out for the film starring Eddie Izzard as Anthony.

Olivia’s First Term and Olivia Flies High By Lyn Gardner (Nosy Crow, R85 each) The first book in the series, Olivia’s First Term, begins the tale of 12-year-old Olivia and her little sister Eel. They are used to travelling through Europe with their dad and his circus. When her dad gets injured, the two girls are sent to The Swan Academy of Theatre and Dance. For Olivia, staying put in one place is pure hell. In the second book, Olivia Flies High, we meet her friends and see how Olivia deals with the many obstacles that cross a teenager’s path. The series has been described as “gripping” and it is believed that the author has created a tale of a modern day stage school, which could rival many children’s classics.

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for us Madeleine By Kate McCann

The Delta and Far Horizon By Tony Park

The Help By Kathryn Stockett

(Quercus Publishing, R185 and R120) Tony Park is challenging Wilbur Smith for the title of master of the African thriller. In The Delta, Namibian-born, SAS trained, British soldier-turned-mercenary, Sonja Kurtz has been hired to assassinate the president of Zimbabwe. The attempt fails and, running for her life, Sonja takes refuge in the Okavango Delta. Where she came to find peace, she finds war, and it’s not just the survival of the Delta that is at stake. In Far Horizon, relentless ivory hunters roam the vast plains of Mozambique and leave nothing but blood and destruction in their wake. No one is more affected than Mike Williams, a former Australian army officer whose girlfriend was brutally killed by them. These two enthralling novels will make a much-appreciated gift.

(Penguin Books, R120) Enter an unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962, where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver. There’s Aibileen, raising her 17th white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue and white Miss Skeeter, home from college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. No-one would believe that these three would become friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely on one another. Each is in search of a truth, and together they have an extraordinary story to tell.

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(Bantam Press, R226) This is the heartbreaking and personal account from Kate McCann on the disappearance of, and ongoing search for, their daughter Madeleine. She was abducted in Praia da Luz in Portugal on Thursday, 3 May 2007, just short of her fourth birthday. The investigation that ensued even implicated that her parents were behind her disappearance. To date, Madeleine has not been found. In this book, Kate wants to give her account of the truth. She says writing this memoir has entailed her recording some very personal, intimate and emotional aspects of their lives.

Justin Bonello Cooks… for friends By Justin Bonello

be inspire


(Penguin Books, R260) Justin writes: “My dad always says, ‘A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.’ I think the same can be said about eating on your own. Let’s face it. No one should eat alone. My worst nightmare is rushing home, fixing up a quick grub and standing in my kitchen stoksielalleen and wolfing it down.” He suggests getting together with your mates, lighting a fire, having a laugh and cooking food that creates memories. Whether your kitchen is in the great outdoors, somewhere on a beach or at home, this is the kind of book that is best enjoyed with your friends. And remember, there are no bad cooks… just friends who aren’t hungry enough.

December 2011/January 2012



what’s on in december and january

You can also access the calendar online at

Here’s your guide for what to do, where to go and who to see. Compiled by LUCILLE KEMP.

3 sat

special events


FUN for children


only for parents


bump, baby & tot in tow


how to help




The Caretaker by Zip Zap Back by popular demand, this show combines theatre, dance and circus and is not to be missed.


December 2011/January 2012


bump, baby & tot in tow

how to help

Stand and Deliver Nik Rabinowitz celebrates his 10th year in comedy with this new solo show.

Group for moms of preemies Every second week a guest speaker presents a topic that is relevant to you and your premature baby.

Foodbank festive season drive Spare a thought for a staggering 11 million hungry South Africans and sms the word “Foodbank” to 40421.

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eMzantsi Carnival Join more than 1 000 people, costumed dancers, musicians and giant puppets on the streets of the south peninsula.

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December 2011/January 2012



SPECIAL EVENTS 1 thursday World Aids Day Gala Concert This event – where the dress code is formal with a touch of red – has a star-studded line-up of guest artists that includes Jimmie Earl Perry, Dutch X-Factor winner Sharon Kips, Vicky Sampson, Eddie Atherton, Wolfgang Riebe, Soli Philander (MC), Mike Campbell Rhythm Orchestra and a host of other inspiring and entertaining artists. Time: 8pm. Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Cost: R120. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit

2 friday The Franschhoek “Magic of Bubbles” Cap Classique and Champagne Festival The theme for this year’s festival is black and white, with the emphasis on hats, and the best dressed couple on each day can win a prize. Time: 6pm–10pm, 2 December; 12pm–5pm, 3 and 4 December. Venue: Town Hall, Huguenot Rd, Franschhoek. Cost: R180, which includes a complimentary tasting glass and booklet of tasting coupons; free for children under 18. Book through Webtickets: visit

4 sunday

11 sunday

Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concerts December line-up kicks off Today: Lira. 11 December: Parlotones. 15–18 December: Carols by Candlelight. 26 December: Zebra and Giraffe. 31 December: New Year’s Eve Concert. On certain Sundays there is a Kids Zone; visit for these details. Time: gates open at 4pm. Venue: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Cost: adults R80–R125, children R55–R95. Book through Webtickets: visit

Christmas Choral Festival Experience the enchantment of the festive season at the V&A Waterfront, where the air is filled with cheer from fantastic local carolling Christmas choirs and bands. Ends 23 December. Time: 6pm–7pm or 8pm–9pm. Venue: V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre. Cost: free. Contact: 021 408 7600, events@waterfront. or visit

9 friday Sarda carols by candlelight Take a picnic, chairs and blankets, and join Sarda for an evening of carol singing and a nativity pageant. Time: grounds open at 6:30pm and pageant starts at 8pm. Venue: Brommersvlei Rd, Constantia. Cost: free entry but donations are welcome. Contact Donna: 021 794 6191

16 friday Fynbos and Food event Visit a beautiful and tranquil indigenous nursery near Cape Point where you can buy plants at 20 percent less, enjoy fynbos walks, fynbos food, a farm stall, food stalls, live music, a host of children’s activities and an animal farm. Expert gardening advice is on hand too. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Good Hope Gardens Nursery, Plateau Rd (M65) − 5km from Scarborough. Contact Roushanna: 021 780 9299, 072 234 4804, fynbosplants@ or visit or

3 saturday eMzantsi Carnival Join more than 1 000 people, costumed dancers, musicians and giant puppets on the streets of the south peninsula. Stay to watch the eMzantsi’s Got Talent show hosted by Rob van Vuuren and enjoy local talent, plus food and crafts. Time: 10am–3pm. Venue: Sun Valley, Fish Hoek. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 785 1515, or visit Festival of Sharing A cultural festival featuring crafts, handwork, food, music and children’s activities, as well as a green market offering products and services complementary to the environment. Food is homemade, organic and wholesome, and crafts are made from natural materials. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Stellenbosch Waldorf School, entrance via Spier Winery at Santa Rd, Annandale Rd (between R310 and R44). Cost: free entry. Contact Leen: 072 213 4009, or visit

1 sunday Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Cape Town comes alive to celebrate New Year with a vibrant carnival also known as the Kaapse Klopse. Over 10 000 costumed, banjopicking musicians, singers and dancers (their faces painted white as opposed to the original black-painted faces of the visiting minstrels) parade through the streets as they make their way to a series of dance, singing and costume competitions at Athlone Stadium. For more info: visit Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concerts January line-up kicks off Today: Mango Groove. 8 January: Plush and the Graeme Watkins Project. 15 January: Johnny Clegg. 22 January: Dan Patlansky and Natasha Meister. 29 January: Zahara and Claire Phillips. On certain Sundays there is a Kids Zone, so be sure to check sanbi. org for these details. Time: gates open at 4pm. Venue: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Cost: adults R80–R125, children R55– R95. Book through Webtickets: visit

28 saturday

10 December – Christmas SPCA Horse Show

10 saturday Christmas SPCA Horse Show Open to riders of all ages, the SPCA Horse Show raises much needed funds for the SPCA Horse Care Unit and is fully endorsed by the Western Province Horse Society. Spectators can enjoy a Christmas market and children’s entertainment. Also 11 December. Time: 9am–12pm, 10 December; 8am–4pm, 11 December. Venue: Constantia Valley Riding Club, Brommersvlei Rd, Constantia. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: 021 700 4180/41, or visit

16 December – Fynbos and Food event

J&B Met The stage is set for a record day in every respect when the gates open at Kenilworth Racecourse for one of South Africa’s biggest summer horseracing, fashion and entertainment occasions, the R2,5-million J&B Met. Facilities include a marquee village with capacity for 5 000 people and 184 picnic sites. Head there to see and be seen. Time: 11am–12am. Venue: Kenilworth. Cost: R175 entry. For more info: visit

23 friday Knysna Rocks Music Festival Knysna Rocks has returned by popular demand boasting some of SA’s top local talent including Johnny Clegg, Prime Circle and Afrikaans music sensation Die Heuwels Fantasties. Alongside these musical legends, Elvis Blue and Holiday Murray entertain the crowds with DJ Sideshow heating up the decks. Time: 2pm–11pm. Venue: Knysna sports grounds. Cost: R165–R265. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit or for more info: visit

31 saturday

3 December – Festival of Sharing


December 2011/January 2012

Kirstenbosch New Year’s Eve concert This year’s concert features the hugely popular group Prime Circle as the headline act. No One’s Arc opens the evening, followed by Idols winner Elvis Blue. Take the family and fill the picnic basket. Time: gates open at 7pm; concert starts at 8pm. Cost: R250. Contact Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden ticket office: 021 761 2866 or book through visit

28 January – J&B Met

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December 2011/January 2012



FUN FOR CHILDREN art, culture and science Amelia’s Artworks children’s art workshops The children learn basic techniques and explore various media. Ideal for ages 5–10 years. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 December and 6, 13, 20 and 27 January. Time: 2:30pm–4pm, every Friday. Venue: 7 Capel Rd, Highlands Estate, Oranjezicht. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: 082 864 6769 or Children’s art and crafts The art classes are ideal for ages 4 and older. 3 and 10 December. Time: 10am or 12pm. Venue: Plumstead. Cost: R60 per session. Contact Ray: 021 712 8809 or 083 383 3405 Christmas card crafts Children make their own Christmas cards and do fun creative crafts. 3 December. Time: 10:30am–12:30pm. Venue: The Bandstand, Noordhoek Farm Village. Cost: free. Contact: 021 789 2812 or visit Clay Café holiday special They offer an affordable flat fee, which covers painting two items, a juice and a snack. At the evening workshop they make Christmas gifts. 10 December–17 January. Clay Café is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and they close early on Christmas Eve. Time: 9am–4pm, daily. Venue: Old Dairy, Oakhurst Farm, Main Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: R85 all inclusive. Contact: 021 790 3318 or visit Kidz Art exhibition Talented young artists are exhibiting their favourite works of art, which incorporate a wide range of mediums. 5 December. Time: 5:30pm–7pm. Venue: Kidz Discovery, The Drive, Camps Bay. Cost: free. Contact Kathy: 083 654 2494 or Sue Nepgen’s children’s art tuition Send your child to art classes once a week, where the emphasis is on fostering

Gingerbread house decorating workshop

creativity, self-esteem and enjoyment of art, with a focus on environmental art. Ideal for ages 4–13 years. Term starts 20 January: Friday class; 21 January: Saturday class; 24 January: Tuesday class and 26 January: Thursday class. Time: afternoons and Saturday mornings; call to confirm. Venue: Michael Oak Waldorf School, Kenilworth or 28 Klaasenbosch Dr, Constantia. Cost: R550 per term, including materials, firing and outings. Contact Sue: 021 794 6609, 083 237 7242 or

classes, talks and workshops Christmas tree cookies decorating workshop Children decorate 10 Christmas cookies for their Christmas tree. Suitable for ages three and older. 10 December. Time: 2pm–4pm. Venue: Newlands. Cost: R120 (juice and a cookie is provided at tea time). Contact Carol: 084 990 0244 or to book, Gingerbread house decorating workshop Your child will help assemble and decorate a gingerbread house which they can enjoy over the festive season. For ages 5 and older. 10 December. Time: 9:30am–11:30am. Venue: Newlands. Cost: R120 (juice and a cookie is provided at tea time). Contact Carol: 084 990 0244 or to book,

family outings

Clay Café holiday special


December 2011/January 2012

Carols by candlelight and Christmas market Noordhoek Farm Village invites all children to bring a gift for a child less fortunate than themselves to leave with Santa’s helpers before the performance. Santa hands out goodie bags, there is a Christmas market and the South African Navy Band entertains with a performance before the carol singing and lighting of candles. All proceeds go to St Luke’s Hospice. 10 December. Time: 4pm–6pm for Christmas market and Kids Zone where children bring gifts to Santa’s elves and write letters to Santa magazine cape town

9 fri

Children’s yoga, arts and creative fun workshops For 4–7 years: 10:30am–2pm, 9 and 10 January, R365 per child. For 8–13 years: 10:30am–2pm, 11–13 January, R540 per child. Venue: Merry Pop Ins, 201 Bree St. Only 6 children per age group. Contact Nicole: 083 377 9248, or visit

for the Santa postbox; 6:30pm–8:30pm for SA Navy Band performance and carol singing. Venue: Noordhoek Farm Village. Cost: free. Contact: 021 789 2812 or visit In-mall choir walks Festive cheer moves into the heart of the V&A Waterfront with cosy indoor Christmas carol recitals by walking choirs. 16–24 December. Time: 7pm. Venue: Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. Cost: free. Contact: 021 408 7600, or visit Knysna Rocks Music Festival 23 December. Time: 2pm–11pm. Venue: Knysna sports grounds. Cost: R165–R265. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or for more info: visit Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concerts line-up Concerts take place every Sunday, 4 December–29 January. On certain Sundays there is a Kids Zone, so be sure to check for these details. Time: gates open at 4pm. Venue: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Cost: adults R80 –R125, children R55–R95. Book through Webtickets: visit V&A Summer Concerts Be sure not to miss out on the wide variety of incredible headline acts on stage this summer. 26 December–8 January. Time: 5pm. Venue: V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre. Cost: free. Contact: 021 408 7600, events@waterfront. or visit Wine estate chic-nics Visitors to this picturesque wine estate can enjoy a sumptuous alfresco picnic in style. Children are taken care of with their own little picnic hampers, and a safe play area and duck pond is provided to keep them entertained. On Sunday, live music adds a lively atmosphere. Time: 11:30am–3pm, daily. Venue: Allée Bleue Estate, Franschhoek, at the junction of the R45 and R310, in the Groot Drakenstein Valley. Cost: R145, picnic baskets available for vegetarians; mini-picnic for children is R80 and includes fruit juice. Contact: 021 874 1021, or visit magazine cape town

finding nature and outdoor play Apricot picking at De Krans Make your way to De Krans Wine Cellar in Calitzdorp for their annual apricot picking. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 December. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: De Krans Wine Farm, Calitzdorp. Cost: R3,90 per kg. Contact Helet or Bessie: 044 213 3314, or visit Cableway tickets half price for sunset at the top of Table Mountain The Sunset Special allows visitors to take a halfprice ride on the Cableway to the top of Table Mountain to savour the saturated hues of the sun as it slips into the Atlantic Ocean. 1 December–29 February. Time: Sunset Special tickets are valid from 6pm daily and available from the ticket office. Venue: lower cable station, Tafelberg Rd. Cost: adults R97,50 and children R47,50. Contact: 021 424 8181 or visit

Table Mountain Cableway Sunset Special December 2011/January 2012


calendar Catch-and-release bass fishing Bring your own fishing rods or rent from the gift shop but pre-book to avoid disappointment. For ages 3 and older with parental guidance. Time: 9am–5pm, Monday–Sunday. Venue: Babylonstoren Rd, R45, Simondium – between Paarl and Franschhoek. Cost: R15 for an hour, R25 for three hours, R35 for full day or free if picnic basket is ordered from the café. Contact Janet or Graham: 021 863 1142 or info@

Catch-and-release bass fishing at Le Bonheur

Volunteer Wildfire Services open day The theme this year is Beat the Burn II. Children need to collect badges by doing activities, such as abseiling and working with hoses and equipment. Once they have collected a few badges, they can report to the Fire Chief to receive their signed Honorary Fire-Kid certificate and have a photo taken. The family is treated to a fire simulation with fire fighters, fire engines and


December 2011/January 2012

11 sun

a water bombing helicopter. There is a food court and picnic area. 3 December. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: Newlands Fire Base, Newlands Forest (off M3 highway). Cost: free entry. For more info: visit Wildlife photographer of the Year exhibition 7 December–7 March. Time: 10am–5pm, daily. Venue: Iziko South African Museum, 25 Victoria St, Gardens. Cost: R25 adults, R10 students and pensioners, free for children under 18. For more info: visit

holiday activities Camelot Riding School holiday camp Fun and games while learning all about

Buffalo Drift children’s adventure camp Sign up for a three- or five-day adventure camp, which takes place on a riverside farm in Porterville. Facilitated by fun, experienced counsellors. For ages 8–13 years. 11–14 or 11–16 December. Time: arrive and depart 12pm. Venue: Ruigtevlei Farm, R44 to Porterville (11km after Gouda). Cost: three-day camp R1 000 per child or five-day camp R1 750 per child, which includes activities, accommodation and home-cooked meals. Contact Joy: 082 258 3764, or visit

riding and pony care. No experience necessary. Ideal for children 4–18 years. 12–14 December. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: Camelot Riding School, Herta Erna Rd, Schoongezight. Cost: R750. Contact Claire: 083 261 7656 Cavendish Kidazzle workshops 10–23 December and 2–7 January. Time: 10am and 12pm. Venue: level 1, Cavendish Square. Cost: R80 per child, including activity pack. Contact: 076 393 5239 or December cooking programme Children spend a fun hour baking and decorating their own takeaway box. 12–16 December. Time: 10am and 3pm. Venue: Yello Armadillo,

Parklands. Cost: R60. Contact Yolande: 079 513 4491 or Doodle Creative Space summer holiday creative programme Areas covered include painting, mixed media, ceramics, pottery painting, fabric painting, stencil printing, making a mosaic mirror and making their own diary. Maximum 12 children per class. For ages 5 and older. 12–15 December, 3–6, 9 and 10 January. Time: varies. Venue: Doodle Creative Space, 221 Buitenkant St, Vredehoek (above Lazari’s). Cost: from R120 for 1,5 hours. Classes include all materials and tools for the project. Contact: 084 533 3569 or Drumkidz holiday workshops Each child will have the opportunity to drum along to a story, song and some fun drumming games. Sessions last 30 minutes. For children 3– 8 years old. Time: 12 December: 10:30am, venue: Crazee Daisee Play Venue, Seaside Village, Big Bay. 15 December: 11am, venue: Little Picasso’s Cafe, 4 Northumberland Rd, Parklands. Cost: R40 per child; booking is essential as seats are limited. Contact Melanie: on 079 161 3999 or melanie@ Five-day holiday programme Offers Kindermusik, crafts and a fun snack. Ideal for 3–5 year olds. 5, 6, 8 and 12 December. Time: 10am–11:30am, daily. Venue: Bergsig Church, Boland Way, Vierlanden. Cost: R55 per session. Contact Louise: 074 102 5617 or

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Geppetto’s Crafts Holiday activities covering woodwork. 9–21 December and 4–8 January. Time: 9am–12pm or 2pm–5pm. Venue: 21 Rose St, Bo Kaap. Cost: R75, which includes materials. Contact: 074 119 4788 or 076 935 8237 Holiday care Activities are run by a Waldorf teacher. Choose the half-day (9am–12pm) or full-day (1pm–4pm)

Holiday musical stage school

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option, which includes lunch. Ideal for 3–5 year olds. 12–16 December and 16–20 January. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: Thandi House, 139 Main Rd, Bergvliet. Cost: R70 for half day or R150 for full day. Contact Janneke: 021 712 2229 or 073 354 7965 Holiday golf workshop Children get to play on a Snag nine-hole chip-and-putt course after a brief introduction to the basics of golf using Snag equipment. For ages 5–9 years. 16 December. Time: 10am–12pm. Venue: Bergvliet. Cost: R100. Contact Dave: 083 418 8866, littlechampions@ or visit Holiday mural art workshops for children Inspire your natural creativity and learn how to create your own mural and then take it home with you. Three-hour workshop on theme, presented by Mural Maniac. Ideal for 10–16 year olds. Time: 9am–12pm, every Saturday. Venue: 1 General Schalk Burger Close, Welgelegen. Cost: R580 per person, which includes paints, materials, mural board and refreshments. Contact Theo: 021 559 6090 or Holiday musical stage school This school is run by the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. Students gain three hours’ daily tuition in singing, dance and drama from experts in the field of musical theatre, and they work towards a musical production at the end of the week. 12–17 December. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Athenaeum in Newlands. Cost: R900 for one week, which includes a musical workshop performance on

12–15 December – Jellybean Events summer workshop

the last day. Contact: 021 674 7478, info@ or visit Iziko Museum holiday fun 12–14 December: three-day robotics and aviation workshops for Grades 1–4; 9am–12pm or 1pm–4pm. Cost: R450. 12–15 December: four-day model aeroplane building workshop for Grade 7–10; 9am–12:30pm. Cost: R300. 19–21 December: Grant’s Magic and Entertainment Show for children aged 5–10 years; 9am–10am and 10:30am–11:30am. Cost: R10. 11–13 January: robotics and aviation holiday workshops for Grades 1–4; 9am–12pm or 1pm–4pm. Cost: R450. Venue: 25 Queen Victoria Rd, Gardens. Contact: 021 481 3952 or JellyBean Events summer workshop Activities include hip-hop and zumba dancing, clothes painting, sunglass design, festive season decorations and mini Olympic

games. It ends with a dance showcase. Ideal for boys and girls 6–12 years old. 12–15 December. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Michael Oak Waldorf School, Kenilworth. Cost: R150 per day, booking essential. Contact: 083 392 9593 or Kidz Discovery summer fun factory holiday club They offer a semi-structured morning of art and crafts, baking, face painting, dress up, role play, fun in the fairy garden, clambering on climbing walls and jungle gym, water fun, story time and more. Ideal for 3–7 year olds, under 3s need adult supervision. 7–21 December. Time: 9:30am–12:30pm, Monday–Friday. Venue: The Drive, Camps Bay. Cost: R120, which includes a full snack, baking and craft materials per morning. Contact Kathy: 083 654 2494, or visit

December 2011/January 2012



Tots n Pots Constantia holiday programme

Kidz Playzone holiday programme The programme includes craft workshops, a magic show and snake show. 12–16, 19–23 December and 2–6, 9 and 10 January. Time: 9am–4:30pm, Tuesday– Saturday. Venue: 10 Pastorale St, Durbanville Business Park, off Klipheuwel Rd. Cost: from R20 per child; no extra cost for crafts. Contact: 021 979 4872, 084 575 2546, or visit Kronendal aftercare holiday club Go for a couple of hours or for the whole day. Activities include art and crafts, drumming, baking, mountain hiking, a walk to the beach and swimming. Time: 7:30am–1pm or until 3pm or 6pm. Venue: 10 Andrews Rd, Hout Bay. Cost: half day R60 (bring own snack), three quarter day R90 (includes lunch and snack), full day R120 (includes lunch and snack). Contact: 076 402 2333 or Party Playhouse crafts programme Your child can enjoy the following themed days: Christmas Bake & Play, Surprise Gift for Mom, Miniature Christmas Garden, Christmas Mobile, Photo Frame Fun, Christmas Snow/Glitter Globe, Surprise Gift for Dad, Christmas Tree Decorations & Ornaments, Build-A-Bear, Fabric Paint, Bake & Play, Sand/Glitter Art, Jewellery

Fun, Stained Glass Holder and Fabric Bag/ Placemat. 12–15, 19 and 20 December and 2–6 January. Time: varies per activity, call to enquire. Venue: 4 Bella Rosa St, Rosenpark, Durbanville. Cost: R45, R50, R65 or R200 per activity. Contact: 072 529 8518 or visit Ratanga Junction summer holiday fun 2 December–10 January. Time: 10am–5pm. Venue: Century City. Cost: children over 1,3m R152, under 1,3m R75 and non-riders R50. Contact: 0861 200 300 or visit Rococoa chocolate classes Your children will learn where chocolate comes from, see how and where it grows and make a little chocolate themselves. Gather a group of at least 10 children and book a session. For ages 6 years and older. 7 December–12 January. Time: 3pm–5pm, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the holidays. Venue: The Palms Lifestyle Centre, Sir Lowry Rd. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: 021 461 2301 Roly Polyz holiday programme The programme includes baking classes and canvass painting. Time: 10am–5pm, Wednesday–Sunday. Venue: 8 Bree St. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: 021 418 1818 Ryan Maron’s Cricket School of Excellence holiday clinic A four-day clinic where children practise batting, bowling and fielding and are advised on how to select equipment. Ideal for children 4–16 years, grouped according to age and capability. Time: 12–15 December: 9am–2pm; 4–6 January: 9am–3pm. Venues: Rondebosch Boys’ High School; Jan van Riebeeck Primary School; Century City Central Park; Parklands College or Bastion Primary School. Cost: from R500 per student. Contact Ryan: 021 671 9460, or visit Sporting Academy holiday clinic The clinics comprise soccer, swimming, hip-hop dance and horse riding for boys and girls aged 5–13 years. 12–15 December and 3–6, 9 and 10 January. Time: 9am–12:30pm, daily. Venues: American International School of Cape Town, Constantia, Fish Hoek and Scarborough. Cost: from R120 per day to R390 for four days. Contact: 084 777 1212 or

9 fri

Canal Walk ice slide Experience a tube slide down a giant, spiral ice slide. There is also a smaller slide that is sure to give little ones a rush. 9 December–8 January. Time: 10am–10pm. Venue: Canal Walk Centre Court. Cost: R40–R60. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit


December 2011/January 2012

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Sunshine holiday workshop The sessions include speech and drama, creative movement, storytelling, puppetry and costumes, art and crafts and free play. 12–14 December. Time: 8:30am–11:30am or 8:30am–3pm. Venue: Bergvliet Guide Hall, Ladies Mile ext Rd, Bergvliet. Cost: R90 for half day, R150 for full day. Siblings get 10 percent discount. Contact Georgia: 076 481 5305 or Tots n Pots Constantia holiday programme Fun, hands-on cooking workshops that expose your child to a variety of foods while creating a dish of their own to take home. Each day children create a holiday dish and craft. For 2–10 year olds. 12–16 December. Time: 10am–11:30am. Venue: Tots n Pots Constantia. Cost: R120 per workshop. Contact: 083 649 7405 or Tygervalley Ice Rink Experience their 360m ice rink complete with chill-out lounge and DJ’s igloo. An infinity screen depicts live footage of glaciers, snowcapped mountains and other imagery. With the help of professional childminders and ice rink mascot Robbie the Seal, children aged 3–10 can experience a Christmas on ice. Ends 15 January. Time: 8am–5pm. Venue: Tyger Valley Shopping Centre. Cost: R50 per hour including skates or R30 per hour if you bring your own. For more info: visit

markets Alphen Antiques and Collectables Market Find antique and collectable silver, jewellery, glass, watches, medals and collectable toys and books, and have a bite to eat. 11 December, 8 and 22 January. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Alphen Centre Hall, 10 Constantia Main Rd. Cost: free entry. Contact: 084 626 7499, desd@ or visit Baby and Kids Lifestyle Market launch A holistic market that features 60-plus stalls selling quality, pre-loved baby and children’s clothing, toys, books and equipment, as well as bespoke and handcrafted designer clothing, toys and décor for babies and children. Children love the puppet shows and the market also offers recycled craft workshops, two

2–3 December – Christmas Candlelight Market

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Blue Bird Garage Market A vibrant market featuring a variety of locally-made items including artisan breads, meats and bakes, mezze platters, organic biltong as well as jewellery, vintage clothing and wooden surfboards. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 December and 6, 13, 20 and 27 January. Time: 4pm–10pm. Venue: 39 Albertyn Rd, Muizenberg. Cost: free entry. Contact Dylan: 082 493 9055, or visit

play areas featuring DreamWeaver organic jungle gyms, a jumping castle, pony rides, a petting zoo, cupcake decorating, sand art, a face painter, balloons and an activity area. 17 December. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Observatory Recreation Centre, Rawson St, Observatory Village. Contact: 021 788 8088, 083 332 9785, holistikids@mweb. or visit Cape Town’s Biggest Christmas Fair Along with an array of stalls there is a children’s entertainment corner, a free Santa’s Christmas wish corner with a present for each child and an opportunity to get a photo with Santa. There are random gift hand-outs and a gift wrapping service. A percentage of the entry fee goes to Gift of the Givers. 20–24 December. Time: 10am–10pm. 24 December: 10am–7pm. Venue: Good Hope Centre. Cost: adults R20 and children R15. Contact: 021 703 1868 or visit Century City Natural Goods Market A distinctive market that takes place under stretch Bedouin tents, where you can buy fresh and organic produce and support the creative arts, crafters and clothing designers. Enjoy delicious and healthy gourmet meals and deli items as well as boat trips from Intaka Island to Canal Walk. 4 December. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Central Park, Park Lane, Century City; on the village green. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 531 2173, naturalgoodsmarket@ or visit Christmas Candlelight Market The market offers authentic German delicacies including brötchen and glüwhein, and organic meat from a Karoo farm as well as a boutique gift and clothing section, micro breweries and boutique wineries. Enjoy carol singing throughout the evening, and a Christmas tree and candles for the children. Time: 2 December: 6pm–10pm, 3 December: 9am–2pm. Venue: Oude Libertas. Contact: 021 886 8514, 072 416 4890, or visit December 2011/January 2012



17 December – Kloovenburg Wine & Olive Estate Christmas Market

City Bowl Market on Hope This foodie market stocks everything from oysters and champagne to sushi. 3 and 10 December. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: 14 Hope St, Gardens. Contact: 073 270 8043, or visit Cobble Walk Christmas Market Make use of the market’s extended hours and do some of your Christmas shopping. Stalls include décor, cakes, jewellery, and a special area with jewellery and nik naks for children. 16–18 and 21–23 December. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: Cobble Walk Centre, cnr Verdi Boulevard and De Villiers Rd, Sonstraal Heights, Durbanville. Contact Barbara: 079 983 7830, barbara@tibbins. com or visit


December 2011/January 2012

Designer-Maker Festive Market Designer exhibitors have been hand-picked by the former curator and manager of the Design Indaba Expo. The DesignerMaker Junior Market is a new section run by children, who sell their own handmade products, and there is a “design your own festive items” section. Time: carols by candlelight takes place on 14 December at 8pm. 14–16 December. Time: 3:30pm–6pm, 14 December; 10:30am–6pm, 15 and 16 December. Venue: The Freeworld Design Centre, 71 Waterkant St. Contact: 021 427 8918, or visit Earth Fair Xmas Market Parents can shop for a range of handmade Xmas gifts while the children enjoy various activities in the Kiddies Corner, which includes Xmas-cracker making, potting plants and painting the pots. 16 December. Time: 3pm–9pm. Venue: Earth Fair Market, Main Rd, Tokai. Cost: free. Contact Jacqui: 084 220 3856, or visit Fab Ideas Christmas Gift Fair Avoid the manic rush this year and do your festive season shopping from quality stalls at the Fab Ideas Christmas Gift Fair. There is a live band on Saturday and proceeds go to Bobs for Good Foundation. 9 and 10 December. Time: 9am–7pm. Venue: Monkey Valley Resort, Noordhoek. Cost: adults R20 entry. Contact Julie: 082 879 5571

Favourite Things Christmas Fair Showcases and empowers local art and craft designers, giving these women a platform to show and sell their work, which includes jewellery, crocheted items, sewing, clothing, artworks and many other beautiful bits and pieces. 3 December. Time: 11am–3pm. Venue: unit 7, Wembley Studios, 15 Wembley Rd, Gardens. For more info: visit French Christmas Market The French School is organising a French Christmas market on the premises. There are French and non-French exhibitors, a small art exhibition of local French artists and a French used-book sale. 3 December. Time: 9:30am–2:30pm. Venue: 101 Hope St. Contact: Kidz Discovery mega market day Head down to this books and gifts sale while you register for the Kidz Discovery 2012 programmes, which are the professionally run, comprehensive Kidz Discovery baby, toddler and BrightStart preschool preparedness classes. 3 December. Time: 10am–3pm. Venue: Kidz Discovery, The Drive, Camps Bay. Cost: free entry. Contact Kathy: 083 654 2494, info@kidzdiscovery. or visit Kloovenburg Wine & Olive Estate Christmas Market Get ideas for your Christmas table, stock up on delicious stocking fillers or buy a Kloovenburg festive season hamper as a present. It includes their luxury body product range, olives,

11 sun

Pedro the Music Man in The Mermaid from Zanzibar Pedro Espi-Sanchis returns to the Kalk Bay Theatre with The Mermaid from Zanzibar. In addition to Pedro’s storytelling, clowning and music, there is an enchanting visual dimension to the show in the form of shadow puppetry. Ideal for children 4–10 years old. 20–24, 27–31 December and 2–7 January. Time: 11am. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: R50. To book: visit

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olive oils and the estate’s superb wines. There is a trampoline to keep children busy. 17 December. Time: 9:30am–3pm. Venue: Kloovenburg Wine & Olive Estate, Riebeek Kasteel. Contact: 022 448 1635, info@ or visit NGK Stellenbosch Christmas Market There is an array of exhibitors and a few upliftment projects selling their wares. Time: 9am–8pm, 1 and 2 December; 9am–3pm, 3 December. Venue: Martinson St, Uniepark, Stellenbosch. Contact: 021 883 3850 or visit Nitida’s Farmers’ Market Go early and do your shopping at some of the 45 stalls, which offer everything from free-range eggs and chickens, fresh veggies and organic nuts to dried fruit, olives and oils. Time: 5pm–9:30pm, 27 January; 8am–12:30pm, 28 January. Venue: Nitida cellars, M13/ Old Tygervalley Rd, Durbanville. Contact

6 January – Dolphin Tale premieres

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Getha: 083 651 0699, or visit Porter Estate Produce Market A variety of fresh produce and artisan foods to enjoy as well as one of the best brekkie rolls. Hand-crafted gifts by local crafters and loads of children’s activities. Dogs on leads are welcome. Time: 9am–1pm, every Saturday. Venue: Chrysalis Academy grounds, Porter Estate, Tokai. Cost: R5 parking per car. Contact: 082 334 5434, or visit Rondebosch Craft in the Park Handmade crafts are on sale. Enjoy pancakes and relax with a cup of coffee. Time: 9am, 3 and 17 December; 9am–1pm, 24 December; 3pm–8:30pm, 21 December. Venue: cnr of Campground and Sandown Rds, Rondebosch. Contact: 021 531 4236 or 083 272 5482 on market day

16 fri

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The show is performed by the children of the Spotlight Drama Studio in Bergvliet. The play centres around children who travel into the magical world of Narnia. Suitable for all school-going children. Time: 7:30pm, 16, 19–21 December; 2:30pm and 6:30pm, 17 December. Venue: The Masque Theatre, 37 Main Rd, Muizenberg. Cost: R70 adults, R50 children. Contact: 021 788 1898 or visit

on stage and screen Children’s Theatre at Delvera Farm 4 December: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 18 December: Rooikappie en Die Wolf. Parents enjoy a glass of wine at Simonsberg Café or browse the various art and crafts shops on the farm while the children watch the plays. Time: 11am. Venue: Delvera Wine Farm, Stellenbosch. Cost: R40. For more info: visit Dolphin Tale premieres Winter, a young dolphin, is caught in a crab trap severely damaging her tail. It will take the expertise of a marine biologist, the ingenuity of a

prosthetics doctor and the devotion of a young boy to save Winter. 6 January. Cost: varies per cinema Eve’s Shoe Educare graduation and variety concert Performed by the créche and pre-primary school. 10 December. Time: 2:30pm. Venue: Milnerton Primary School, Zastron St, Milnerton. Cost: R40 for adults, R20 for children under the age of 12 years. Contact Yvonne: 021 511 5231 or Gigglebiz series 2 premieres Double Bafta award-winning presenter Justin

Fletcher is back to get under-sixes laughing in Gigglebiz, a lively collection of short and simple comedy sketches packed with hilarious and eccentric characters. 13 December. Time: 7:55am and 3:55pm on CBeebies (channel 306 on DStv). The series continues thereafter on weekdays at 7:55am, 3:55pm and 7:55pm Honk! The Ugly Duckling Musical Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, Honk! tells the story of an

family marketplace

December 2011/January 2012



From 3 January – The Three Little Pigs

odd-looking baby duck, Ugly, and his quest to find his mom. Along the way he meets the wonderful characters from the duck yard, the frog pond and the goose squad and avoids becoming lunch for the devious cat. For ages 3 and older. 9–11 and 14–17 December. Time: 2:30pm or 7:30pm. Venue: Little Theatre, UCT Hiddingh Campus, Orange St. Cost: R100. Contact: 082 771 9644 or Metamorphosis by Jungle Theatre Company Hiding in a tree house and crying herself to sleep, a child dreams about the sounds of her garden, which turn into music. A surreal, outdoor performance of characters who dance the story of a neglected child who experiences the transformation from a caterpillar into a butterfly. The stilt performance, with powerful drumming and spectacular costumes, promises to be great entertainment. 8–10 December. Time: 4pm; 10 December: 10am. Venue: Grass Terrace at Muizenberg Main Beach (next to the Pavilion). Cost: free. Contact Miranda: 021 788 5461 or The Birds – A revival of a popular Ancient Greek comedy Two humans, fed up with their living conditions in Athens, set out to find another human who has transformed himself into a bird. He has joined a bird tribe that is building a sublime, peaceful city in Cloudcuckooland. Take a breakfast picnic, sun hat and cushion. 20 December–15 January. Time: show starts at 7am. Venue: Kirstenbosch open-air theatre. Cost: R100. Discount of 20 percent for pensioners, students and learners. Contact: 021 761 2866 The Cape Dance Company Directed by Debbie Turner, the company presents its new season, featuring neo-classical ballets created by local and international choreographers such as Christopher L. Huggins, Michelle Reid and David Krugel. 30 November–11 December. Time:

8:15pm. Venue: Artscape Theatre. Cost: R110–R160. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or call Artscape Dial-ASeat: 021 421 7695 The Caretaker by Zip Zap The Caretaker combines theatre, dance and circus in a show not to be missed. Set in a quaint apartment block inhabited by an interesting group of young people, it focuses on the caretaker and a homeless soul who play an endless game of cat and mouse. 10–12 and 14 and 15 December. Time: 6pm. Venue: Zip Zap Dome (behind the Artscape Theatre). Cost: booked in advance R80 adults and R60 children 4–12 years or R100 at the door for all ages, under 3 year olds free. Contact Natasha: 021 421 8623, or visit

December 2011/January 2012


Totalsports Challenge Choose between the action-packed seven-discipline Totalsports Challenge or the less daunting four-discipline Totalsports Terra Firma Challenge. Athletes can enter individually or in a team. It is sure to be a day to remember with past champions coming out to share in the fun. 14 January. Time: starts 8am. Venue: starts at Gordon’s Bay beachfront and ends at Kleinmond beachfront. Cost: tbc. Contact Top Events: 021 511 7130 or visit

From 12 December – The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Elves and the Shoemaker This magical Christmas fairy tale takes place in Cape Town where a poor German shoemaker lives with his wife. When two young elves pay them a visit, they make it the best Christmas the old couple have ever had. Watch as the elves turn pieces of leather into beautiful shoes and join the shoemaker and his wife for their Christmas party. 12–17 and 19–23 December. Time: 11am. Venue: Hillsong Church, Old Dockside Club (next to Ratanga Junction). Cost: R40. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit The Mousetrap Enjoy a fun night in support of the Western Cape Primary School science programme by watching an all-time favourite whodunnit, the world’s longest running play − The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie. 13 December. Time: 7:45pm for 8:15pm. Venue: Theatre on the Bay, Camps Bay. Cost: R125 or R150. To book, contact Isabel: 021 691 9039, or visit

9–10 December and 8 January – Delvera Hi-Tec full moon hike



The Three Little Pigs The three little pigs have grown up and left home to make a life for themselves – one wants to be a dancer, another an opera singer and the third wants to be a successful businessman. But the big bad wolf is a threat and tries to get into their homes. When none of his disguises work, he resorts to drastic measures... 3–7, 9 and 10 January. Time: 11am. Venue: Hillsong Church, Old Dockside Club (next to Ratanga Junction). Cost: R40. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit

playtime and story time End of school magic show Magic, mystery and intrigue have the children entertained by the magician and his tricks (leaving you time for coffee or some early Christmas shopping). For children 3–10 years. 10 December. Time: 10:30am–12:30pm. Venue: The Bandstand, Noordhoek Farm Village. Cost: free. Contact: 021 789 2812 or visit Folio Books story time Suitable for ages 3–9 years. 3 December. Time: 10:30am. Venue: Folio Books, 207 Main Rd, Newlands (opposite Westerford High). Cost: free. Contact: 021 685 7190 or foliobooks@ Milnerton Library play time 12 December: making Christmas hats and cards. 13 December: jumping castle, face painting, board games and novelty race. 14 December: Christmas craft activity working with recycled items. 15 December: making various Christmas decorations. For ages 4 and older. Time: 11am–1pm. Venue: Milnerton Library, Pienaar Rd, Milnerton. Cost: free. Contact Nicole or Mandy: 021 550 1263 Tokai Library school holiday programme 12 December: bring your favourite instrument and make music in the hall. Time: 10:30am–11:30am. 13 December: cut out Christmas tree decorations. Time: 2pm–3pm. 19 December: decorate Christmas cookies

with Freda and Yumna. Time: 11am–12pm. 20 December: sing Xhosa and English Christmas carols in the hall with Lindi and Freda. Time: 3pm. 21 December: Christmas party. Time: 12pm–1pm. Venue: Tokai Rd. Contact: 021 715 8550

sport and physical activities Community Chest Twilight Team Run A fun run where participants dress up as everything from dragons to ballerinas for the Community Chest, which helps more than 400 beneficiaries in the Western Cape. Their role is to enable communities in alleviating poverty. 6 December. Time: 5pm. Venue: Grand Parade. Contact Najuma: 021 424 3344, or visit Delvera Hi-Tec full moon hike Enjoy the sunset over Table Mountain with stunning views of the Winelands from the top of Klapmutskoppie. The 9,75km walk is a marked hiking trail through the Renosterveld Conservancy. Sunset is at 8:01pm and moonrise 7:21pm. Take a torch, warm clothing and hiking shoes. Snacks (even picnics) and drinks are available at Trail Centre, but you are welcome to bring your own. 9 and 10 December and 8 January. Time: 5:30pm. Venue: Dirtopia Trail Centre, Delvera Farm, on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts. Cost: R50, including permit, optional shuttle to halfway mark and map. R20 for children under 10. Contact: 021 884 4752, info@ or visit Lebanon Family MTB Funride & Run A family mountain bike event – the routes encourage newcomers to the sport and include a flowing single track. The shorter routes are ideal for the children. For ages 3 and older. 3 December. Time: registration from 7am. Venue: Oaklane Cottages, Elgin Valley, Grabouw. Cost: from R40. Contact Nicolene: 021 884 4752, theteam@dirtopia. or visit Meridian monthly hike A three- to four-hour circular hike from the visitors’ magazine cape town

centre along the Hoerikwaggo Trail. Take your Wildcard or entry fee, water, snacks and sunscreen. 10 December. Time: 1pm. Venue: Cape Point Visitors’ Centre. Cost: R15. Contact: 072 473 4030, or visit Modern dance classes with Primary Dance at Planet Kids Classes held Tuesday from 3pm–4pm (5–7 year olds), 3:30pm–4:30pm (8–10 year olds) and 4pm–5pm (11–13 year olds). Classes are 30 minutes long. 6, 13 and 20 December. Venue: Planet Kids, 3 Wherry Rd, Muizenberg. Cost: R50 per class onceoff or R320 per term. Contact Andy: 021 788 3070, or visit

only for parents classes, talks and workshops Brainline open day Information session on distance learning for Grades R–12. 3 December. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Calders Hotel, 1 Recreation Rd, Fish Hoek. Cost: free. Contact Daleen: 076 414 2774, or visit CPR for Family and Friends CPR training for non-medical folks, parents and caregivers. Suitable for ages 12 and older. 3 December. Time: 9:30am–1pm. Venue: Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic. Cost: R250. Contact Pec: 021 705 6459 Creative Retreat A day of guidance and reflection where you learn how to free your creative spirit and create your own out-thebox inspiration board. Later on, you’re left to unwind with a book or your camera and then break for a decadent lunch. Afternoon activities include painting, clay hand-building or creating with cement. 1 December. Time: 8:30am–6pm. Venue: Towerbosch restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch. Cost: R975. Contact Charlene: 083 666 1480, or visit

14 sat

Big Boys Don’t Dance at Kalk Bay Theatre Set at Ash’s bachelor party, the boys get into their fair share of trouble. From one ridiculous idea to another, they prove that true brothers watch each other’s back. Caught between braai tongs and tutus these two Pretoria boytjies challenge the cliché of the “male dancer”. 14 December–7 January. Time: 8:30pm, Wednesday– Saturday. Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre. Cost: R75–R95. For more info: visit

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December 2011/January 2012


calendar The Phantom of the Opera Broadway’s longest running musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber makes its long-awaited appearance in Cape Town. 1–11, 13–24 and 27–31 December and 3–8 and 15 January. Time: 2pm, 2:30pm, 7pm or 8pm. Venue: Artscape Opera House. Cost: R125, R175, R275 or R375. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or Artscape Dial-A-Seat: 021 421 7695

out and about

10 December – The Mama Bamba Way antenatal weekend workshop

“Emotional containment and boundaries” parenting workshop 10 December. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: Constellation House, Rondebosch. Contact Dr Sarah-Jane Knight: 079 422 5118 or Goldsmith Studio basic jewellerymaking skills course The workshop runs over 10 weeks, three hours a week. Starts 6 January. Time: 9:30am–12:30pm. Venue: Gold of Africa Museum. Cost: R2 200 for 30 hours. Contact Heidi: 082 770 9788 or visit Holiday mural art workshops for adults Learn how to create your own mural and then take it home with you. Three-hour workshop to a theme, presented by Mural Maniac. For ages 17 and older. Time: 9am–12pm, every Saturday. Venue: 1 General Schalk Burger Close, Welgelegen. Cost: R580 per person, which includes paints, materials, mural board and refreshments. Contact Theo: 021 559 6090 or Nanny training Give your nanny all the practical skills, essential knowledge and real confidence she needs to care for your child. 1 December. Time: 1:30pm–4:30pm. Venue: Sugar and Spice Nanny Training, Netcare Hospital Blaauwberg, Blouberg. Cost: R1 600. Contact Caithe: 071 366 4725, or visit Parent Centre moms’ group For moms-to-be and moms and babies. Their last meeting for 2011 is on 8 December and they regroup on 12 January. Time: 10am–12pm, every Thursday. Venue: Life Kingsbury Hospital, maternity section, 2nd floor, Wilderness Rd, Claremont. Cost: R40, includes refreshments. Contact: 021 762 0116 or Self-discovery through art: life coaching Through discussion, reflection, drawing, painting and the making of collages you discover, free, heal and learn the inner motivations of the real you. Overseen by a qualified facilitator and coach. Time: 9am–2pm, Monday–Friday. Venue: 1 General Schalk Burger Close, Welgelegen. Cost: R450 per session, which includes workbook, art materials and light refreshments. The course is five sessions and you choose the amount of sessions. Contact Lisa: 072 972 5568


December 2011/January 2012

Woolworths back to school mom’s tour Woolworths once again hosts dietician-led mom’s store tours to give parents the opportunity to learn more about healthy school lunchbox options, specifically focusing on nutritional advice for parents of school-going children. 31 January. Time: tbc, but after office hours. Venue: Woolworths Willowbridge. Cost: free. To book your place, contact: 021 486 2900 or

on stage and screen Jimmy Carr – Laughter Therapy, live in SA This is Jimmy’s solo show, which debuted in August 2010 at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. Famed for his deadpan delivery and risqué material, Jimmy Carr has received a host of comedy awards. 8 December. Time: 8pm. Venue: Grand Arena, Grand West Casino. Cost: from R250. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or vist Some Like It Vrot! Comedian Marc Lottering and songwriter David Kramer join forces to bring a brand new musical comedy to the stage. It is set in contemporary Cape Town and moves between Wynberg, Woodstock, Grassy Park and the Waterfront. 5–9, 12–16 and 19–23 December. Time: 8pm. Venue: Baxter Theatre. Cost: R90–R150. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit Stand and Deliver Nik Rabinowitz brings you his new solo show. 6–10, 13–17, 20–24 and 27–31 December and 3–7 January. Time: 8:15pm. Venue: Baxter Theatre concert hall. Cost: R100–R190. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 The New York Metropolitan Opera at Cinema Nouveau The highly anticipated fifth season of The Met Opera comprises 11 world-class operas and includes some of the most renowned opera singers and composers. Filmed in HD at the New York Metropolitan Opera, these screenings give viewers the opportunity to experience opera at its best. The line-up: 9 December: Satyagraha composed by Glass. 23 December: Rodelinda composed by Handel. 6 January: Faust composed by Gounod. Time: tbc. Venue: Cinema Nouveau V&A Waterfront. Cost: R120. For more info: visit

COME (Comedy on Monday Evenings) An evening of laughter featuring young and upcoming talent as well as more established acts. Time: 8pm. Venue: Zula Sound Bar, 98 Long St. Cost: R40. Contact: 021 424 2442 Free wine tasting at Old Cape Wine Shop With just under 1 000 bottles on the shelves, only the best wine and bubbly make the grade. Time: 11am–2pm, every Saturday. Venue: Old Cape Wine Shop, Imhoff Farm. Cost: free. Contact: 021 783 5054, For details of December and January’s tasting calendar: visit Long Legs Fridays Experience a vibey after-work summer spot. Each week presents a different band. Time: music starts at 7pm. Venue: 134 Long St. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 422 3074, or visit Monday Music at Barleycorn Music Club A platform for local and visiting musicians to exercise their talents before a warm and supportive audience. Time: 8pm. Venue: Villager FC, 11 Lansdowne Rd, Claremont. Cost: R20. Contact: 072 500 2163 or visit

support groups Childcare Information Centre Based at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, they provide a directory of services for health, welfare and education facilities for children with special needs. Contact: 021 689 1519 Gay parents support group For gay and lesbian parents and parents-to-be. There is a regular and open exchange of ideas and experiences. Contact The Triangle Project: 021 448 3812 or visit

bump, baby & Tot in tow

classes, talks and workshops Group for moms of preemies and high risk pregnancies Meet other moms with similar experiences and challenges. Enjoy a cup of tea/coffee while you share your story, laugh and cry together, and support each other through your journey. A guest speaker comes every second week to present on a relevant topic. Facilitated by an infant occupational therapist. Time: 10am–12pm, every Tuesday. Venue: Life Kingsbury Hospital. Cost: R40, includes refreshments. Contact Celeste: 083 287 6543 or Moms and Babes Claremont Join these mom-and-baby stimulation classes for 2–12 month olds. Your baby’s class is age dependent. Book by mid-January. Time: 10am and 3pm. Venue: Claremont. Cost: call to enquire. Contact Di: 021 671 8690 or 082 746 3223 The Mama Bamba Way antenatal weekend workshop Birth preparation classes for creating an empowering and transformative birth experience for women, their partners and their babies. The course consists of 15 hours’ group instruction. Maximum of five couples per class. 10 and 11 December and 14 and 15 January. Time: 10am–5pm, daily. Venue: Mama Bamba, 2A Dennebosch Close, Constantia Hills. Cost: R1 500 per couple. R300 for a copy of the book The Mama Bamba Way. Contact Robyn: 021 461 8257, or visit

playtime and story time Moms Club For moms and babies. At least once a month there is a speaker on a babyrelated topic. Time: 10am–11:30am, every Tuesday during term. Venue: Medway Youth Centre, cnr Medway Rd and Milford Rd, Plumstead. Cost: free. Contact Barbara: 074 580 4480 or SuperStars baby and toddler activity workshops Aimed at providing your baby or toddler with a safe and supported environment in which to play and explore. Begins mid January. Time: Tuesday 3–6 months: 9:30am–10:15am, 6–9 months:

Wriggle and Rhyme This is a relaxed, fun group where you and your baby or toddler can enjoy music and movement together. Wriggle and Rhyme classes combine singing, movement and rhythm using percussion instruments. Time and venue: Wrigglers class 9am and Rhymers class 10:30am. Sun Valley: Tuesday–Friday; Bergvliet: Tuesday and Thursday; Constantia: Wednesday; Wynberg: Thursday. Cost: R390 for eight classes. Contact Kirsty: 079 740 4561, or visit

magazine cape town

it’s party time

3 sat

For more help planning your child’s party visit

Climbing Mountains challenge Reach for a Dream invites you to climb a mountain and make a difference. Proceeds raised enable Reach for a Dream to fulfill the special dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses. 3 December. Time: 7am. Venue: Platteklip Gorge, Table Mountain. Cost: R100 per person. Ask friends and family to sponsor your steps. Contact Genevieve: 021 555 3013 or

10:30am–11:15am; Wednesday 9–12 months: 9am–9:45am, 1–2 years: 10am–11am; Tuesday 2–3 years: 3pm–4pm or Friday 10:15am–11:15am. Venue: Little Picassos Café, Northumberland Close, Parklands. Cost: R550–R650 per term for eight lessons. Contact: 082 431 3608 or

support groups Cleft Friends Support group for parents with babies born with cleft lips and palates. Contact: or visit Hi Hopes Programme Families of babies with a hearing loss can access home-based, early-intervention support and information through the Hi Hopes Programme. It uses a family-centred approach that is in the best interest of the child’s overall development and considers the family’s specific circumstances and needs. This service is free until the child turns three. Contact Renee: 021 949 9388 or Little Miracle Support group for parents of premature babies. Contact: 0861 548 853, or visit Postnatal Depression Support Association The organisation offers help for moms and their families. You can also join the chat group. Contact the national helpline: sms “help” and your name to 082 882 0072 for them to contact you. Head office: 021 797 4498 or visit

how to help FoodBank Festive Season Drive Spare a thought for a staggering 11 million hungry South Africans. Simply sms the word “Foodbank” to 40421 until 31 January to feed 12 fellow South Africans. Smses are charged at R20 and proceeds of the campaign are donated to FoodBank SA. For magazine cape town

more info: visit PDSA Golf Day The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals hosts their annual golf day. Contact Sandy to book your four-ball. 9 December. Time: starts 8am. Venue: Rondebosch Golf Club, Klipfontein Rd. Cost: tbc. Contact Sandy: 021 638 5134, or visit

9 December – PDSA Golf Day

ThinkTwice Along with HIV/Aids, many children in South Africa face sexual abuse, unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. ThinkTwice looks to empower children through workshops and programmes, which help them to build a healthy sense of self-worth and respect for others. As well as donations, they need stationery, consumables, computers and services such as marketing, advertising, IT and printing. Contact: 021 762 2979, 082 215 4349, or visit

don’t miss out! For a free listing, email your event to or fax it to 021 462 2680. Information must be received by 6 January 2012 for the February 2012 issue, and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. To post an event online, visit

December 2011/January 2012


it’s party time



December 2011/January 2012

magazine cape town

magazine cape town

December 2011/January 2012


last laugh

spread the joy SAM WILSON has concocted a plan for a stress-free festive season – and it involves a lot less trimmings and gravy.


have a new family plan for the festive season. I know, I know, you’ve heard me say that before, some of you more than once. But this time, THIS time I think it just might work. Remember that first big family roast you ever did? You thought the meat was the big deal, didn’t you? But all you really do with the roast itself is bung it in the oven and whack a meat thermometer in it. No, it’s the evil trimmings that cause all the hassle. Over the years, I’ve really grown to hate that word... “trimmings”. It sounds so innocuous, doesn’t it? Like a fluffed napkin or the good silver – the final festive flourishes. But if you’ve ever stood in a sweltering kitchen – with potatoes crisping too fast in the fryer, cauliflower cheese softening


December 2011/January 2012

with neglect in the warming drawer, rice catching on the bottom of the pot and recalcitrant gravy lumpily glomping around a spoon – you’ll know exactly what I mean. It’s not the trimmings themselves that are the hassle (I mean, how hard is it to roast a potato?), it’s getting them all ready at the same time that makes mothers around the world groan inwardly. And what is Christmas, but a full year’s worth of consolidated trimmings? Not only are most of us synchronising our veg with our roasts, but we are also trimming trees with tinsel, fireplaces with stockings, presents with ribbon and puddings with glacé cherries. And all for what? One day’s celebration? “It’s too much,” I wailed at Andreas. “You know I love a family knees-up as much as the next girl, but thinking about

all the stuff that needs to be done just makes me so very tired. And I can nail this stuff, you know I can. But all in one go? It’s not a holiday, it’s an Ultimate Woman’s Challenge and it drains the last scraps of energy from my soul just thinking about it.” Dreas dropped his book to his chest and patted me on the shoulder. “That’s a little dramatic, don’t you think? Especially since I always do most of the shopping. But I see what you’re saying. So, (and here there’s an almost audible click from his logical scientist mind), why don’t you just spread it out a little?” Brilliant! The man is brilliant! So this is my cunning plan: why does Christmas have to be all in one day? Our Wilson-Späth December is going to be a festival of little celebrations instead. Yes, we’ll do a (less trimmed) roast on the 25th,

but maybe we’ll spread our giving of gifts throughout the month and trim the tree over a lazy weekend. And save the trifle for New Year. While I love the festive season and seriously cherish my family, this year I am going to cherish myself too. And I am going to build in a lot of new “me trimmings”. Like a DVD day with my BFF and a fair bit of relaxed swimming at the gym, possibly with a fetching pool noodle or two. And maybe, dare I say it, cooking with packet gravy? I’ll let you know next year how the whole month turns out, and I hope you get to trim back your trimmings a little too. Sam Wilson is the Editor of, and And, yup, you guessed it... she’s never really cracked the secret to gravy.

magazine cape town


Joe, Sam and Benj

Child Magazine | Cape Town December 2011 / January 2012  

Cape Town's best guide for parents