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Cape Town’s

August 2010 Issue 72

Circulation 45 228

C a p e

To w n ’ s

b e s t

g u i d e

f o r

pa r e n t s

love for

learning education


what type of school is best for your child?

who’s your


a father’s role as mentor to his sons

bribe tribe are parents buying good behaviour?




As I page through this, our education issue, I am impressed. Our editorial team has gone all out to deliver you a great, no, an amazing read! Our resource this month “education matters” on page 46 will go a long way in helping you decide on the right school for your child. The answer might just surprise you… My daughter had to endure a year of mediocre education, bullying and pure misery, before I realised that the best place for her was the public school down the road. It’s one of the finest examples of public schooling in the country, run by a principal out of the top drawer. Luckily for us, they had one spot open. And so, overnight, our lives were transformed. I wouldn’t have predicted that my daughter would fare better in a public, co-ed environment. Or that she’d learn and gain more in confidence in her current class of 31 than in a smaller class at an independent school. I had read as much as I could about different schooling and learning options and, importantly, had chatted to lots and lots of moms at different schools – plus school secretaries, teachers, and the PR people. But in the end, I went with my gut. And it seems that my intuition was right. In an office of parents, the talk often falls to the education of our children. It’s with this in mind that we have tried to give you a launching pad for your own debates regarding the education choices you make for your children. From selecting a pre-, prep- or high school to delving into the mother-tongue debate (see page 20) and tertiary learning options (see page 38), there’s lots of fuel for discussion... I promised you a good read.

Hunter House PUB L IS H ING

Publisher Lisa Mc Namara •

Editorial Managing Editor Marina Zietsman • Features Editor Elaine Eksteen • Resource Editor Lucille Kemp •

monthly circulation Cape Town’s ChildTM 45 228 Joburg’s ChildTM 45 418 Durban’s ChildTM 40 028

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To Subscribe Helen Xavier •

Accounts Helen Xavier • Nicolene Baldy • Tel: 021 465 6093 • Fax: 021 462 2680

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Cape Town’s ChildTM is published monthly by Hunter House Publishing, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Office address: Unit 7, Canterbury Studios, cnr Wesley and Canterbury Streets, 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 ChildTM. 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 are accurate and balanced but cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage that may arise from reading them.

August 2010


august 2010


upfront 3

a note from lisa


 ver to you o readers respond


11 reader’s blog Liz Fisher on home schooling her sons

13 the itch you can’t scratch tips for treating eczema in babies. By Lucille Kemp 14 b  orn or bre(a)d? obesity in children is on the rise. Donna Cobban finds out why

features 20 mind your language Glynis Horning investigates mother-tongue instruction


24 t he bribe tribe bribery or incentive? By Donna Cobban 28 moving on ways to help your child deal with a friend leaving town. By Ruth Rehbock



12 u  pfront with paul Paul Kerton adopts drastic measures to keep his children flu free 16 dealing with difference understanding the world of the gifted child, by Marina Zietsman 46 r esource: education matters Chareen Boake looks at different schooling options for your child

32 when you are gone  lynis Horning looks at what the law G says about “custody” 36 like father like son Siviwe Minyi shares moments of bonding with his son

51 a good read  new books for the whole family 54 what’s on in august

38 h  igher learning sending your child to university takes planning. By Tammy Sutherns and Susan Tissiman 42 c  ulture studies Nina Mensing-Challis takes her two boys on a backpacking adventure

66 last laugh Sam Wilson on reviewing restaurants

classified ads 60 family marketplace 63 it’s party time

this month’s cover images are supplied by:

August 2010

Cape Town’s

Cape Town’s

August 2010


over to you a dream come true

thanks for the help

I was informed earlier today that I won the Fairy Shop, May 2010 competition. I would like to convey my thanks and gratitude to the Fairy Shop and Child Magazine. Thank you very, very much. My daughter, Laylaa, will be on cloud nine when she sees her dress. I remember wishing for my own fairy dress as a child. I am so delighted that I have now been given the opportunity to make it a reality for my little girl. Tashnime Moorad

Thank you very much for having featured Mr Recycle in the resource in your April issue of Child Magazine. We were able to “create” another Planet Guardian as a result! One of your readers also joined our project to Save Our Earth. Many blessings on you, and your magazine. Martin Brink

Thanks for running my letter in the June/July 2010 issue of Child Magazine (support on facebook). It has already brought together 20 people. I have also received emails asking for advice and where to go for help. People are sounding very confused, helpless and misguided. I would be so grateful if you would run an article on dyspraxia.  Catherine

stating the facts As a nursery school teacher and a mom I always look forward to reading Child Magazine. However, I was really disappointed with your article on vaccines (May 2010) as the box “beyond belief” gave the wrong impression of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses as far as vaccines are concerned. I am a Witness and my colleague pointed it out to me saying: “I know you vaccinate your child”. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept transfusions of whole blood, red cells, white cells, platelets or plasma. However it is up to the individual’s conscience if they will accept minor fractions that don’t contain the above. At first glance your article gives the impression that we don’t vaccinate. It also indicates that we don’t ingest any animal products, which would include eating meat. I can assure you we are not vegetarians! Whether or not this is what you actually meant or if it was just incorrectly worded, I think it would be appropriate to print the truth in your next article. Louise Thanks for your letter, at Child Magazine we enjoy debate around our features. The “beyond belief” box in “rash decision” said that “there are Jehovah’s Witnesses who reject vaccinations”, but it did not say that all Jehovah’s Witnesses do. In addition the last sentence of the box went as follows: “most religions leave it up to individuals to decide.” The comment concerning “putting anything from an animal into their bodies” was in the context of “vaccines being made from blood products and animal tissue,” mentioned earlier, however, we apologise if any readers have taken offence. In addition, we gave the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses of South Africa a chance to clarify their view on vaccines. Here is their response... Vaccination is a personal choice and the Jehovah’s Witness magazines have over many years referred to vaccination and also stated that each individual should decide personally what to do, based on the facts at hand. As far as tissue transplants are concerned, whether from an animal or human source, this is also left up to each individual to make an informed decision. Pieter de Heer, Secretary

August 2010

[Look out for our October “dealing with difference” article, which will be on dyspraxia]

sweet dreams I have two girls, Alice (14 months) and Ella (three-anda-half-years-old). A few months after Alice was born, we started having trouble getting Ella to sleep. She had always been a fantastic sleeper and never fought going to bed. We suddenly had a child that would cry for us or call us repeatedly to come upstairs, long after her bedtime. We were exhausted. One day, someone shared a brilliant idea with us: Ella was allowed a “special treat” and could sleep in her sister’s room. Alice was already asleep and we told Ella she could go to sleep in Alice’s room as long as she lay quietly and didn’t make a noise or wake up her sister. It worked brilliantly. She felt secure with her sister, and went to sleep quietly and quickly. Later in the evening before we went to bed, we would move Ella back into her room so the two of them didn’t wake each other up in the morning. Luckily we have a spare bed in Alice’s room that Ella slept in but if you don’t, maybe even a mattress on the floor will suffice. Once Ella was falling asleep easily again, we saved the nights of sleeping with her sister for special occasions – such as when we were going out and had a babysitter. You might find that even your five-year-old will enjoy being with her baby sister and may find comfort in knowing someone else is with her. I personally think it also helps to strengthen the bond between siblings. Christine

some magic! I love the book extract “give them a bit of magic” by Roni Jay in the June/July issue of Child Magazine. It is such a refreshing viewpoint in our society that touts structure and stimulation. A friend of mine advises, “The best thing you can give your children is a little bit of boredom.” There’s nothing better to get their wonderful imaginations kick-started – or mom’s! Emily

My heart went out to the reader who wrote about her desperateness to recover the closeness she used to have with her husband in the letters page of the May edition. I had to respond and let her know about The Marriage Course. It is a seven-week evening course run by several churches in South Africa. It aims at helping couples have great marriages. We did the course after 13 years of marriage. Life and having children takes its toll on every marriage and unless one works on your marriage, it deteriorates. The course initially started at Holy Trinity Brompton church in London. This is how it works: over the course of seven weeks you have a “date night” with your partner, where you are served a delicious dinner in a restaurant-type setting and after dinner you watch a DVD on a particular topic such as communication, in-laws or sex. You then have the opportunity to discuss, with each other, these important issues with the aid of a workbook. As the course leader Nicky Lee explains, “A marriage is like a car and every car needs a tune-up after a few years.” Doing the course was fantastic as my husband and I had a chance to reconnect, communicate and discover how much we had in common and be reminded as to why we had chosen to enter this life partnership. One of the results of The Marriage Course is that we now try and plan a weekly date and have even taken to dancing the Tango. Anonymous I would like to respond to the reader who described her wish to re-connect, or enrich her relationship, with her partner after a period of focusing on the children. FAMSA is an NGO focusing on relationships (including counselling); details can be found on their website ( and they have listings in the telephone directory. Shelley Horwitz

write to us We would like to know what’s on your mind. Send your letters to: or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. We reserve the right to edit and shorten submitted letters. The opinions reflected here are those of our readers and are not necessarily held by Hunter House Publishing.

Cape Town’s


standing together

marital problems

Cape Town’s

August 2010



in august

treasured memories Keep and display all of your child’s memorabilia such as A3 artwork, photos, certificates, reports, badges, medals and CDs. That’s everything together in one safe place forever. My File About Me is an all-in-one, larger than A3 size, sturdy system that can store an entire life’s history that is designed to last. It includes a photo album, memory book, life file and treasure box. For queries contact 011 673 9817 or or visit Readers of Cape Town’s Child stand a chance to win a fun and colourful starter kit valued at R750 or one of six vouchers valued at R250. Email entries to sales@ with “CT win” in the subject line together with your full name, contact numbers and suburb, by 31 August 2010. Only one entry per reader.

colourful life Crayola products are fun and innovative. For many years Crayola has contributed to the development of young children by offering quality, mess-free products that enhance and stimulate creativity. Crayola offers the right tools for colouring in, painting and drawing, such as Crayola Colour Wonder’s ink or paint, which needs just seconds to dry to magically reveal bright colours. Importantly, Colour Wonder won’t mark clothes, furnishings or children as the colours only work on Colour Wonder paper. Crayola is available at selected toy stores nationwide, for more information call 011 493 8300. Cape Town’s Child readers stand a chance to win one of two Crayola Hampers valued at R550, which each include one Winnie the Pooh-themed Crayola Colour Wonder and a Crayola Happy Hands Art Mat, a Cars-themed Crayola “Colouring by Numbers” and a Crayola Maxi Sticker Kit. To enter, email your details to with “Crayola CT win” in the subject line or post your entry to Crayola CT win, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010 before 31 August 2010. Only one entry per reader.

August 2010

Cape Town’s

win a dream holiday Buy any Disney merchandise from your nearest Ackermans store and stand a chance to win a trip to Disneyland Paris for a family of four. You and your family will also attend the exclusive enchanted Disney ball and meet the special guests. The giveaway includes three days of fun at Disneyland Paris and two nights in an official Disneyland hotel. Simply grab your entry form in store.

Cape Town’s

August 2010

giveaways continued... a child’s world Creating unique furniture and enchanting play elements for children, Wooden Elements offers your child the world at their height. The items are aesthetically pleasing and of high quality. Wooden Elements’ picnic table and bench will develop your child’s independence and spatial awareness, while being fun for many a summer meal. There’s also a beautiful range of beds, chairs and tables plus playhouses, tree houses, jungle-gyms and more. They also custom-make items. Wooden Elements is based at 18B Fish Eagle Park, Kommetjie. For more information contact 078 111 7695 or visit Wooden Elements is giving away two child-sized wooden picnic benches valued at R1000 each. To enter, email your details to with “Wooden Elements win” in the subject line or post your entry to Wooden Elements win, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010 before 31 August 2010. Only one entry per reader. By entering this competition you consent to your details being given to Wooden Elements and/or their agents and you may receive marketing communication from them, as a result.

let children be children Since 1993 Keedo has been bringing fun, colour, style and comfort to thousands of babies and children around the world and epitomises quality and style. Inspired by nature, Keedo’s focus is also on respect for the environment. Head to your Keedo store at Tygervalley 021 914 1632, V&A Waterfront 021 421 6743, Cavendish Connect 021 671 8374 or visit their e-store at One lucky reader will win a Keedo voucher to the value of R500 to spend in-store or online. To enter, email your details to with “Keedo CT win” in the subject line or post your entry to Keedo CT win, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010 before 31 August 2010. Only one entry per reader.

congratulations to our May winners Laylaa Moorad, Jemma Hendricks, Portia Cairns, Jenna Porter, Kaetlyn Ulyate, Nikita Harry, Jade Heitor, Danika Smit, Lily Brown, Alexa Moses and Maya Adma who each win a voucher from The Fairy Shop; Tashnime Moorad wins an Artjamming party; Alistair Thompson, Anieshya Essop, Anna Trow, Anthea Boyes, Candice Christians, Carole Steffen, Catherine Swart, Chantal Souter, Chrystal Williams, Clare Bezuidenhout, Colleen Goosen, Henda van Deventer, Julie Kemsley, Leonore Kotze, Lichelle Cook, Melanie Scrooby, Nicole Heitor, Nikki Burrell, Ronel Aspeling, Sam Holdstock, Sarah Oosthuizen and Tammy Nicholson who each win a Naartjie voucher and Ingrid Roberg, Dorianne Abrahams, Tania Schrire, Jeni Abdul, Marina Muhlberg and Lucie Floquet who each win a cast-iron Le Creuset baker.


August 2010

Cape Town’s


lessons with mom For LIZ FISHER’s sons, going to school might mean baking muffins one day and insect- and plant-studies in their garden the next.



home school my two boys, aged five and eight. Although we have a routine and start at the same time every day, each day is different and exciting. I refrain from trying to be The Teacher with a ruler, gold stars and a structured system, where subjects are followed to the T and timetables to the minute. We have fun – and the boys learn through various activities in a relaxed environment. Although there is an age difference, I teach them together. One morning, for example, we baked muffins. Just in this one activity they learned maths, Afrikaans, cooking skills, as well as lessons in responsibility, time and music. They practised maths during the measuring of ingredients; and Afrikaans, when I asked them to fetch an object using the Afrikaans word instead of the English. They learned how many minutes it takes to prepare and bake muffins. Plus we sang various “tidy up” songs, instilling in them the importance of cleaning up after themselves. The boys learned an astonishing amount, all while having a great time. This is what home schooling is all about.

Cape Town’s

On another occasion we worked in the garden and I taught them about the botany of flowers, the biology of insects and the nutrients in the soil. This was particularly fascinating for my five-year-old, who is an orchid-lover and already knows more scientific names of orchids than I do. “What if your child isn’t keen on baking or gardening?” you may ask. Well, my eightyear-old is often sceptical about what I have planned for him… but the key lies in having a “reward system”. Most children respond better to a reward system than to a punishment-based one. When baking muffins, the reward was being able to eat out of the batter bowl, which all children love to do – and of course they also got to eat some of the delicious end product. The gardening “lesson” took place early in the morning, and when we’d finished it was hot enough for them to run through the sprinkler, spray each other and me. That night they slept like angels. I still regularly get the question: “What about social interaction?”. It often feels like people think home-school moms lock their offspring in the house and never go

out. The truth is we have a fun week filled with friends and family. There are tons of ways you can allow your child to still have an active social life. We often have play-dates with other children, and my children attend sports and other activities. The boys are also very outgoing. My eight-year-old has told me he would like to be an architect and my five-year-old wants to be a vet. So when they play with Lego, the one designs and builds the other’s vet practice, which is where all the sick insects go. It’s a privilege and honour for me to be their mom, mentor, guidance counsellor, nurse, caregiver… No other feeling comes close to this.

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

August 2010


upfront with paul

Paul, Sabina and Saskia

harsh medicine PAUL KERTON considers

t’s that time of year when children get sick. Colds and flu invade small bodies with ease, yet no matter how old our children get and however many winters they have survived, they still don’t get it. They wander about the house without shoes or socks; and head outdoors, no jacket, no hat – turning blue before our very eyes. “Put something warm on, now,” we parents cajole. “But I’m warm already? It isn’t that cold,” they argue, through almost chattering teeth. “Put something warm on now!” we say slightly more sternly, adding, “or stay in your room.” They surrender with a look that says, “what’s so important about being warm anyway?” Well, little Miss Short-Memory I’m glad you asked. If you get sick, firstly, you are miserable. Secondly, you will miss school at a crucial time in your development. And thirdly, you will have to go to the doctor (no matter how mild the condition) so that he can tell us what we already know and give us a prescription for a range of medicines, which you will refuse to swallow without a monumental amount of blackmail and physical force and not before the sticky red goo has been spilled on the crisp new duck-downduvet. So, having shelled out R180 for the doctor, and another R180 to the pharmacy, we now have to cough up R120 for dry cleaning, and we’ve taken about four costly hours off work. Then we have to


August 2010

organise for someone to be at home while you recuperate. And, because you are feeling at a low ebb and sorry for yourself, mommy caves in and lets you sleep in our bed, which means first mommy, and then daddy, gets ill and we have to buy even more (stronger) medicine, while feeling dreadful and taking even more time off work. And, just as you are bouncing and jumping around, smiling with renewed good health, finally wearing something sensible and warm, your sister will start coughing and spluttering and the cycle will start all over again. So, please, dear daughter, put on something warm before I burst a blood vessel! There is, of course, another school of thought that, in contrast to the mollycoddling above, dictates that when children get sick they need to be kept in quarantine. This means no contact with the outside world, no excitement, no sweets, no DStv… no special privileges. Harsh medicine perhaps, but that way: a) they get better quicker, b) they don’t pass it on and c) they realise how boring it is being sick, and suddenly think twice about running about the house near naked when it is minus four degrees. This may sound slightly Dickensian and rather Guantanamo Bay, but it does have the required effect. Well, according to my good friend and former US President, George “Dubya” Bush. Paul Kerton is the author of Fab Dad: A Man’s Guide to Fathering. Cape Town’s


prescribing a bout of quarantine.


the itch you can’t scratch LUCILLE KEMP looks at eczema in babies.


czema starts out as an itchy skin irritation that when scratched becomes a rash. When scratching continues or the inflammation is exacerbated by external factors such as allergens, the area will flare up into a red and burning rash, that can then become scaly. When infected, it will appear as pus-filled blisters that may ooze or become crusty. Eczema mostly appears on children’s cheeks and scalps, the joints of their arms and legs, necks, back of the arms, the inside of elbows, the front of the legs and torso. This is called atopic or allergic eczema and “is the most common dermatologic condition in children,” says Dr Denga Makhado, a Johannesburg-based dermatologist. “The gene that causes atopic eczema is also responsible for asthma and allergies,” she explains. Bloemfontein-based dermatologist Dr Deon Rautenbach also says, “Most eczema cases, however, are mild and don’t warrant medical treatment, just moisturising.”


burning issue If your child has severe eczema, you’ll know that the big issue is treatment. Steroid therapy is an acceptable treatment but overuse of corticosteroid cream can cause stunted growth in infants. A good clinician will always consider the benefits of treating eczema versus the risks relating to corticosteroids. Durbanbased paediatrician Dr Yatish Kara says: “I prescribe a mild one-percent hydrocortisone for short periods of time.” However, this is as a last line of defence. “I try emollient creams first, as eczema often improves with skin hydration. Also, the bacteria in eczema secrete a toxin that irritates skin and aggravates eczema, so I suggest an antibacterial cream.” For steroid-wary parents, Rautenbach and Kara recommend immunosuppressant topical medication (calcineurin inhibitors), which don’t contain steroids but have an anti-inflammatory effect and relieve itching. Cape Town’s

maintenance plan A child’s eczema may be triggered by anything from soaps, moisturisers, sweat and allergens such as dust mites, washing powder and cow’s milk to scratchy clothing and dry, winter weather. Parents should try to control the child’s environment where possible and alleviate the symptoms. Scratching can cause more issues (such as infection) than the eczema itself so help your child understand that although scratching may feel good momentarily, it will make things worse in the long run. Also, keep your child’s nails short and clean. For babies you may consider placing mittens on their hands. An antihistamine can be effective for relieving itchiness. Use a perfume-free, soothing and intense moisturiser to wash your baby instead of soap, and apply the cream before putting them to bed. On this note, Kara says: “Be wary of expensive cosmetic creams – they cost a fortune and do little more than cheap emollient creams.” Keep your child’s body at a lower temperature with loose-fitting cotton clothing; use a dust-mite-proof mattress and wash clothes using non-biological washing powder. Some experts believe it helps to breastfeed your baby for at least the first six months of their lives, and delay the introduction of solids. If you are breastfeeding, food allergies may be responsible for your child’s flare ups so steer away from cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat and citrus fruits. If you aren’t breastfeeding and your child doesn’t have a cow’s-milk allergy, you could use a hypoallergenic, partially hydrolysed formula. Then, of course, it is advised that you protect your child from tobacco exposure to prevent allergic conditions. The good news is that, according to Makhado, “most children will outgrow eczema and the symptoms become less and less as they grow older.” August 2010



born or bre(a)d? DONNA COBBAN looks at the ever-growing problem of obesity among children.


August 2010

more than likely served in a larger quantity than the child needs. Further, and equally fascinating research, was the theory of a “thrifty gene” put forward by geneticist James Neel in 1962. His thinking is based on the fact that populations have for thousands of years relied on farming, hunting and fishing as a means of obtaining food, which resulted in periods of feast and famine. Neel proposed that these extremes in calorie intake resulted in people developing a “thrifty gene” that allowed the storage of fat during the feast periods in order to survive the famine. While helpful long ago, this gene now appears to work against those who live a Western lifestyle with an uninterrupted supply of calories and lack of physical activity, leading

The good news is that it is easier to change a child’s eating habits than it is to change an adult’s.

to unhealthy amounts of fat being stored for a famine that may indeed never arrive.

you are what you eat Whether it is the “thrifty gene” at work or not, Alison Lang, a Johannesburg-based clinical dietician specialising in paediatrics, believes the prevalence of certain foods and the ever-increasing frequency with which they are consumed may contribute to the obesity crisis. These commonly include convenience foods such as fish fingers, two-minute noodles, processed cereals, chicken nuggets, crisps, chips and sausages, along with excess calories found in iced teas, juices, flavoured water and fizzy drinks. Sadly, she says, she rarely sees the recommended “five fruit and vegetables a day” ever achieved. Cape Town-based dietician Deborah Hoepfl believes there are some essentials of healthy eating that can significantly

Cape Town’s



hile the United States may well be the epicentre of obesity, the rest of the world seems to be playing a fast catch-up game. According to the Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle Research Unit in South Africa, childhood obesity is an increasing problem worldwide with 22 million children under the age of five being classified as overweight. In South Africa 17.1 percent of children between the ages of one and nine living in urban areas are overweight. The reasons are vast and varied and the results of scientific inquiry just as diverse. New research suggests that children of women who smoked while pregnant

may be more likely to be obese in their late teenage years. Other new research links the obesity gene, known as TMEM18, to the current obesity crisis, but there are those who dispute this and claim children of obese parents become obese because they emulate the behaviour of the over-eating parent. Not so, say others; it is all decided months before the egg is even fertilised. Scientists claim that if a woman is overweight before becoming pregnant, her child is nearly three times more likely to be overweight by age seven, compared to a child whose mother was not overweight or obese. And while blame is being dished out, let’s not spare the busy working parent who grabs convenience food on the way home, which is often laden with trans fats and

reduce obesity levels. These include having breakfast every morning, enjoying dinner together around a table every evening, choosing water as the family’s drink of choice, reducing TV time, maintaining an hour of moderate daily exercise, enjoying five fruit and vegetables daily, and not being forced to finish everything on your plate so you learn to self-regulate your appetite. Interestingly, Hoepfl debunks the notion that obesity is largely genetic, explaining that there are indeed incidences where both parents are of a normal weight but the child is overweight. In these situations she recommends that the whole family adapt their lifestyle to accommodate the

overweight child, with parents acting as role models for healthy eating and an active lifestyle. This is perhaps an easier path to tread than the “obesity runs in the family” premise. This, according to Hoepfl, suggests that if a child under 10 has one obese parent, it doubles the child’s chances of developing adult obesity. If both parents are obese, there is an 80 percent chance the child will be obese. This sounds alarming, but the good news is that it is easier to change a child’s eating habits than it is to change an adult’s. According to research by BUPA, a British-based health-insurance company, children should not be put on strict diets but rather helped to maintain their current weight through a healthy eating plan and increased exercise. This then allows them to grow into that weight, as they

get taller. In addition to this, BUPA warns that parents should never put a child on a weight-loss diet without medical advice, as this can affect their growth.

living off the fat of the land So there it is: endless research, testing, case studies, group studies, nation studies and published results about the causes of obesity. Among all of these, though, are two questions posed by American doctor David Katz, an internationally renowned authority on nutrition, weight management and the prevention of chronic disease, that require reflection. “Why,” he asks, “are we eating ourselves to death?” And secondly: “Why would a putatively intelligent species do such a thing?” His answer is succinct: “Because we can.” There are, he says, many explanations one might invoke, “from the cost of food, to its energy density, to stress, hectic schedules,

food for thought Portion size has apparently been on the rise for a while. US researchers recently studied depictions of The Last Supper painted over the past 1 000 years, and found that the size of the main meals grew by 69 percent and plate size by 66 percent from the oldest painting (done in 1000 AD) and the most recent (1700s) paintings.

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technology and advertising.” But, he says, it all comes back to the most fundamental explanation of all. “Animals, including us, tend to get fat when circumstances allow. Circumstances have never so generously allowed for obesity as they now do.”

doing the maths Classifying obesity in adults is easy: a BMI (the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres) of more than 25 is classified as overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is classified as obese. For children, however, the calculation is more complicated. A child’s BMI should be plotted on a BMI chart, which takes differences in age, sex and pubertal status into account. According to the International Obesity Task Force a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentile for age and sex is defined as overweight and a BMI at or greater than the 95th percentile is classified as obese. Parents who are concerned about their child’s weight should consult their GP or paediatrician.

August 2010


dealing with difference

sizing up:

IQ 130+

A high IQ might sound like a blessing, but for the intellectually gifted child it’s an asset that can be frustrating and alienating, says MARINA ZIETSMAN.


or Durban parents Nadine* and Gary* the rocky road turned smooth when their son Ethan*, now 12, was tested and confirmed to be gifted. “Early in his school career we were asked to have him assessed for ADHD and were advised to put him on medication. He has always been a very active little boy, and we were told that some teachers were going to find it difficult to deal with him. He would demand attention and liked to be involved with everything. He has a great sense of humour, but was inappropriately disruptive in class.” A second set of tests done later in that Grade 2 year confirmed what his parents had always suspected. “He had always been way ahead of the typical developmental stages, so we weren’t surprised when he was found to have an above-average IQ (130 and up). It was a blessing to have confirmation that he was exceptionally bright, but then we had to figure out how to work with him and make him understand that certain behaviours are not acceptable. His quick wit can be funny, but not when the teacher is in the middle of a lesson!”

my child is gifted, now what? Ethan is part of the estimated five to seven percent of children who are intellectually gifted. There are checklists of characteristics of gifted children (see “ahead of the pack”), but it is most often the parents or grandparents who first suspect something, as they watch their children fast-forward through the milestones set out in parenting books. Ethan’s testing made all the difference for him and his parents, but according to Professor Shirley Kokot, president of the National Association for Gifted and Talented Children in South Africa and an educational psychologist, identifying the gifted child isn’t always necessary. If you would like to confirm your child’s giftedness, a few tests can be done to determine intellect. These are usually pricey and, most importantly, must be done by a qualified professional such as an educational psychologist who specialises in gifted children, otherwise the results may not be accurate. “If a child is easy-going, enjoys the social life at school, loves doing well academically and has the personality

that he was exceptionally bright, but then we had to figure out how to work with him.

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a blessing “toIthavewasconfirmation

to tolerate frustrations, there is often no reason to subject him to testing,” says Kokot. “It’s children who are experiencing problems at school that need to be assessed, so that the reason for their behaviour or unhappiness can be ascertained and better understood,” she says. And, the earlier the detection the better. “Many gifted children have an enjoyable school career and go on to do well professionally, socially and personally,” she says.

missing the mark According to Dr James Webb in his book Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: “Many gifted and talented children (and adults) are being misdiagnosed… The most common misdiagnoses are Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Mood Disorders… depression, and Bi-Polar Disorder.” This stems from ignorance about specific social and emotional characteristics of gifted children, which are then mistakenly assumed to be signs of pathology, explains Webb. Mary Young, head of Verity Preparatory School and College in Durban (a school for gifted children), adds that 23 of the

common markers for ADHD, expressed positively and not negatively, can also describe a gifted individual. “To complicate matters”, says Young, “a number of gifted children display attention problems (if a topic is presented too slowly, for example) and other learning issues. Often the more ‘expected’ disorder becomes the point of focus to the exclusion of the giftedness.” Another problem facing gifted children is boredom. According to Young: “Gifted children experience a world geared for those mostly operating on a different academic level to theirs as absolutely, mindnumbingly, depressingly boring.” It might not surprise you, therefore, that the truly gifted child is not always at the top of his class. “A gifted child often presents the dichotomy of displaying obvious intelligence at levels beyond the rest of the grade, or shows excellence with personal projects at home, but does not perform at school or show any interest in school work,” explains Young. “A typically gifted child who has been at school for a while could be underperforming and doing just enough to pass,” she adds. We’re all familiar with the child who most teachers and parents feel could do a lot better “if only he would apply himself!” It doesn’t help that people don’t “get them,” says Young. They are often

ahead of the pack The following are typical signs of giftedness. A gifted child may: • have an unusual memory; • pass intellectual milestones early; • start reading early; • have unusual hobbies or interests or an in-depth knowledge of certain subjects; • appear to be intolerant of other children’s inability to “get them”; • show an awareness of world events; • set impossibly high standards; • be a high achiever; • prefer to spend time with adults or in solitary pursuits; • love to talk; • ask questions all the time; • learn easily; • display a developed sense of humour; • be musical; • like to be in control; • make up additional rules for games. (Courtesy of Mensa)

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“picked on and expected to be better than their peers at everything”. “Educators need to understand that these children cannot be brilliant at everything,” says Young. A child may have an incredible vocabulary and the ability to hold her own when interacting with adults, but

harsh reality on soft issues Gifted children are fully aware they are different. If the reason for their difference is not recognised early, they might feel there is something wrong with them. In addition, they often have heightened sensitivities. This makes them acutely aware when others are talking about

Many gifted and talented children (and adults) are being misdiagnosed…

she’s still a child and needs to be allowed to be, and behave like, a child.

them, which can have a huge emotional impact. Parents need to ensure they don’t confuse intellectual ability with emotional maturity. Nadine says Ethan felt constantly victimised. “In Grade 2, before his giftedness was diagnosed, my son’s self-confidence took a knock. He and his teacher did not connect. She treated him like a disruptive child, and his classmates followed suit, telling him to ‘stop being naughty’. He defended himself with scuffles at school. Despite his high IQ, his


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emotional IQ was low. And because of his sensitive nature, he was easily hurt.” However, most gifted children don’t struggle socially. “Some thrive on taking on leadership roles and if they are naturally sociable and gregarious, they find great fulfilment in being looked up to by their peers and others,” says Kokot. “The degree of giftedness also plays a role. Those who are way above the rest cannot relate to the ‘normal’ range of humans with whom they come into contact and tend not to know how to interact.” Nadine says Ethan also struggled to relate to his peers, because they “don’t get things. He used to get quite irritated and short with them, but as he is growing older he is learning to discern and make adjustments to his attitude without being condescending.” Young adds that gifted children seek friends based on intellectual compatibility, which might mean they prefer adult conversation or choose friends who are older than they are. Some try hard to fit in with their peers, mostly “to keep things peaceful, though many gifted children have long ago learned – from necessity – to make peace with their own company,” says Young. “Ethan’s bedroom is always a chaotic mess of creation, filled with science projects and experiments,” says Nadine.

“He’s happiest alone in his room, working feverishly on his own projects. He writes, directs and produces his own films – and only comes out for food and drink breaks, which need to be enforced by Mom.”

get with the programme How can you help your child to reach his full potential, negotiating any emotional stress in the process? “The very first thing is to be honest about any and all information requested of you,” says Young. “Be prepared to be a reliable source.” Kokot stresses the importance of offering children educational challenges at their level of capability, just like you would for a talented sportsman. There are various organisations that offer special programmes for talented children. These give them the opportunity to spend time with other gifted children, which is very important for their emotional and social development. In addition, these programmes give children a chance to satisfy their curiosity and need for mental stimulation. (See “reach for the stars” on page 19 for other ways to encourage and nurture gifted children). For Ethan’s parents, getting him into such a programme was essential. In Grade 5 he was interviewed for the LEAP (Learning Extension and Acceleration Programme)

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class at his school and accepted. He now gets all the stimulation he needs. He finally feels that he belongs and has the opportunity to excel. “It’s a huge relief after all the years of being told that we were to put him on medication – essentially to slow him down so he would conform to class structure,” says Nadine. Sadly, the South African curriculum does not include special programmes for gifted children, and very few schools offer them. “South Africa needs educators and parents who understand giftedness and its ramifications. It is a huge tragedy that giftedness has been deleted from teachers’ training,” says Kokot. “I suggest parents of gifted children sit in the principal’s office and refuse to budge until someone takes action. Work with the teachers and offer to help in supplying additional materials for enrichment projects.” Parents of gifted children need to have tenacity, endurance and, says Young, “a lot of energy to keep up with the mental gymnastics, questioning and debate surrounding your decisions.” As your child grows older you’ll need to stay sharp to keep up – which means one of the benefits of parenting a gifted child is that it’ll keep your brain (and, hopefully, you) young. * Names have been changed

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reach for the stars Tips for helping gifted children reach their full potential • Do not dismiss ideas or fantasy discussions as silly or irrational. • Try to avoid imposing solutions to problems on them. • Provide alternative viewpoints in discussions. • Join the library and allow your child to take out books in the adult area. • Get the educators involved. • Educators should not give the gifted child more work, but more interesting/challenging tasks. • Educators should encourage gifted

children to explore topics in more depth than their peers. • Educators should not expect gifted children to learn by repetition. • If they want to explore topics or projects suitable for older grades, allow them to do so. You can’t expect them to wait until next year. • Do not exclude them from general adult conversation about topics such as politics, finance or world events. • Take them to as many interesting places as possible. • Join or form a support group. • Read as much as you can on the topic.

• Never skimp on requests for books. • Get an Internet connection and teach your child to search intelligently. • Engage with each new teacher and explain your child’s position and characteristics. • Expect to be in many parent/ teacher meetings. (Information supplied by Mary Young, Verity Preparatory School and College, Durban) For more information, visit or get in touch with the National Association for Gifted and Talented Children in South Africa, 021 873 4951.

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South Africa’s mother-tongue education practices have been implicated in everything from poor education results to the loss of African languages and cultures in the move to English. Glynis Horning reports.

hen Thembi*, a 41-year-old Durban receptionist, heard her daughter Sli* was one of the 40 percent of South African pupils who failed matric last year, she was convinced of the cause. It was not her daughter, whose books Thembi had to remove at 11:30pm most nights, such was the girl’s zeal to learn. It was not the township school north of Durban and its teachers, whose efforts in the face of limited resources she appreciated. No, it was the language issue.

Our education authorities have publicly acknowledged the importance of mother-tongue education. As Naledi Pandor, Minister of Education until last year, put it in 2006: “Study in the mother tongue should introduce a diversity of learning opportunities that have been unavailable in South Africa in the past. The policy recognises that past policy and practice has disadvantaged millions of children, and it promotes the effective learning and teaching of the previously neglected indigenous languages of

“Sli did very well until Grade 3; she was our hope for the family,” Thembi sighs. “Then in Grade 4 she started all these big subjects like science, and it was all taught in English! She would bring books home, but her English was still poor, she had started learning it only in Grade 2. My English is not good too, and I know nothing of these subjects so I could not help. If Sli could have learned in isiZulu for longer, she would have done better!” Thembi doesn’t know it, but there is considerable research to support this. As a statement, issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation earlier this year, put it: “Experience all over the world has shown that if children receive most of their primary-school education in a language they do not understand – and that their teachers often cannot speak properly – their cognitive development can be seriously impaired.” Researchers such as Dr Kathleen Heugh, who has run large-scale studies in literacy education in sub-Saharan Africa, have shown children get far better results receiving primary-school education in their mother tongue. And the South African constitution enshrines children’s right to mother-tongue tuition: “Everyone has the right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable.”

South Africa.”


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of schooling, but they will need to find a school offering it – not easy for less-common languages – and there seems no firm plan to extend mother-tongue beyond that. “The language chosen by the learner as a language of learning and teaching shall be taught as a subject, or as a first additional language from Grade 1,” Motshekga told press in Pretoria. “The teaching of English will occur alongside mother-tongue instruction for those learners who choose English as a language of learning and teaching.”

Mother-tongue bilingual education is a noble idea but challenging to implement. – Genevieve Koopman, director of general education and training, Western Cape Opposition parties support it: “I’m all for continuing with mother tongue right up to tertiary level,” says DA MP Juanita Kloppers-Lourens, shadow minister of Basic Education. “You always think and function more smoothly in your mother tongue,” adds Kloppers-Lourens, an Afrikaans speaker, who did part of her LLB in English. So why have we been slow in practically advancing mother-tongue education? In July this year Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced changes as part of a new curriculum, Schooling 2025, to replace OutcomesBased Education from next year. Pupils will theoretically be able to learn in their mother tongue for the first three years

The Department of Education admits there is a problem. “The present situation, in which English is the preferred language of learning and tuition (LoLT) in the intermediate phase, impedes learning and leads to poor mastery of both English and the mother tongue if proper instruction in both languages is not strengthened,” says Bobby Soobrayan, newly appointed director-general of Basic Education in Pretoria. The transition to English as a LoLT (currently in Grade 4, though policy doesn’t officially restrict it to this) happens “too abruptly and often before learners have fully developed the necessary cognitive skills in their home languages,” he concedes. In a bid to address this, the Western and Eastern Cape are piloting a programme of extending mother-tongue education to Grade 6. “Should the impact yield positive spins, it will be rolled out countrywide,” he says. But it’s a complex process. For one thing, Julie Viljoen, languages publishing manager at OUPSA, which has been asked to provide books in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa to support the project, says only Grade 4 books have been bought so far. “We haven’t completed Grade 5 and Grade 6, and now that’s on hold because the curriculum is changing.” OUPSA has developed style guides for all 11 languages to cover common terminologies, she Cape Town’s


unpacking the problem

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The present situation, in which English is the preferred language of learning and tuition in the intermediate phase, impedes learning and leads to poor mastery of both English and the mother tongue. – Bobby Soobrayan, national directorgeneral, Basic Education says. “But is it viable to develop all those languages for a higher education level? For example, Ndebele is such a young written language, and stories are mostly told, not written. Will the government start projects to help change this? And will the number of people who would use these books warrant it? Policy supports indigenous languages and bilingualism, but it would need drive and commitment from government.” As things stand, Genevieve Koopman, director of general education and training in the Western Cape, who recently took over the Language Transformation pilot project, reports finding little improvement in schools where it is being tried. “This is for the sheer reason that schools did not follow the model as prescribed,” she says. “To make MTBBE (mother tongue-based bilingual education) work requires huge resources and effort. There’s a need not just for textbooks in mother tongue, but for teachers to be given proper training in MTBBE, and to be committed to sticking to mother tongue in the classroom. Parental awareness and involvement is vital. It’s a noble idea, but challenging to implement.” Interestingly, one of the biggest obstacles to mother-tongue education is the attitude of parents. An HSRC survey has shown that “most South Africans prefer the use of English as the language of instruction from Grade 1 (with the exception of the Western and Northern Cape, where they prefer Afrikaans). English is the language of perceived potential upward educational mobility among almost all black Africans.” Soobrayan concurs: “Parents fear that learning through a language other than English restricts children’s potential to enter the global world with ease,” and there’s a perception it does not pay off in terms of economic viability, he says. “An important lesson in this regard is to compare benefits


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enjoyed by Afrikaans-speaking people who have used Afrikaans throughout the education system.” “It’s good to learn English because it can open many doors,” says Ndela Nelson Ntshangase, a lecturer in Zulu at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “But it’s sad if children lose their mother tongue and culture!” And that is exactly what has been happening in South Africa, reports Professor Vivian de Klerk, Dean of Students at Rhodes University and former Professor of English Language and Linguistics, who has researched language shift. “More and more black parents have been sending their children to former model C or independent schools if they can afford it, to give them what they believe to be the best possible education – in English. African languages have taken second place, and in some cases children are losing them completely.” When children lose their mother tongue, De Klerk warns, they stand to lose their culture, sense of pride and identity, and sense of community. “It’s mostly the elite who can afford the better-resourced Englishmedium schools,” she says. “Their children often end up unable to communicate with other members of their community and even family, especially those in rural areas.” The children best able to retain their mother tongue are those living in areas where they can keep using it, De Klerk says. “When parents move to previously white suburbs, children can lose their mother tongue in just two years. And when this happens, it’s hard to reverse.” It’s better by far to take steps to prevent that loss (see “speaking solutions”).

looking forward “There is no doubt that English is a language of wider communication, hence instruction in home language needs to be accompanied Cape Town’s

by strengthened quality teaching of English as a first additional language,” says Soobrayan. But while government policy states that the first additional language (English) should be taught alongside mother tongue from Grade 1 (Schooling 2025 reiterates this), in practice this has not been the case to date. “Each school has its own policy at present, but most schools introduce English as a second language in Grade 2,” says Monono Mdluli, foundation phase lecturer at Wits Schools of Education. “In Grade 4, when all subjects must be taught in English, there are problems. Grade 4 is a crucial transitional grade when, instead of just doing literacy, numeracy and life skills, children move on to eight different learning areas [six subjects in Schooling 2025] including the sciences.” Systemic evaluations, and the annual national evaluations done at Grades 3, 6, 9 and 12 show children are not coping, she says. “Formal research should be done to find out what role not being taught in mother tongue for longer may play.” Like most education professionals, Mdluli does not advocate African mothertongue education be extended past Grade 6. “Many of our languages do not have the books or vocabularies for all subjects, especially the sciences. But a few more years of mother-tongue tuition in primary

school could make a major difference to school results.” It’s surely worth a try. South Africa’s matric results have declined steadily from a 73 percent pass rate in 2003 to some 60 percent last year. And in the last Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), South Africa came last, reports Paula Gaines, research and development manager of the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy NGO in Johannesburg. “Malawi, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania invest a lot less money in education than we do and get better results,” she says. “And though many factors are involved – including poor teacher training under apartheid that still needs to be adequately addressed, and throwing out lots of babies with the bath water when Curriculum 2005 was replaced by the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) – the language issue is part of it.” It seems that as the FW de Klerk Foundation statement concluded, “Mothertongue education is an essential basis for sound education. The challenge is to persuade government to do much more to ensure that it becomes a reality – and to convince parents that their children will receive a better education if they are taught (at primary school) in a language they can understand.” * Surnames withheld

speaking solutions Make a plan. Discuss your approach to your children’s language learning early on, and stick with it. Until puberty, children can easily absorb any second language they are exposed to regularly, but it’s better for them to be properly grounded in their mother tongue first, says Professor Vivian de Klerk, Dean of Students at Rhodes University. From the outset, one or both parents should always speak their mother tongue at home. “If one parent does this, they must do it consistently,” she says. “If the other parent speaks the second language consistently too, there will be no confusion for the child.” Choose a mother-tongue-medium preprimary and primary school, if possible. “Evidence shows that children get their academic understanding by drawing on their mother tongue,” says De Klerk. “If they start a second language too early they can battle to make progress in either language or in their education in general, and their confidence can suffer.” If children attend a second-language-medium school, speak only your mother tongue at home. Manono Ndluli, foundation phase lecturer at the Wits School of Education, put her 10-year-old daughter in an English-medium private school, but speaks to her only in Setswana, while her husband speaks only Zulu. “Now she speaks all three languages well.” Give children pride in their language and culture, and praise them when they speak it well. Read to them, tell them stories and teach them songs about their culture in their mother tongue. Correct gently. If children forget and address you in their second language, answer in their mother tongue. If they make mistakes, simply repeat what they have said with the mistake corrected. Encourage friendships with mother-tongue speakers. Attend cultural gatherings where it is spoken, and make regular visits to relatives who speak your mother tongue or encourage telephone chats. Tell children the potential benefits of being “balanced bilinguals”, says Carey Myles, author of Raising Bilingual Children (Mars Publishing). These include exposure to a wider range of experiences and perspectives, more flexible thinking, increased creativity, better problem-solving ability, and greater education opportunities and marketability in the world of work.

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bribe tribe

DONNA COBBAN takes a look at rewarding, offering incentives


’m not sure when it happened. I live in a doublestorey house. Sometimes I need to be downstairs and my son is convinced he needs to be upstairs. He was once of an age when he could not be trusted to roam the upper Oregon pine floors alone, so I negotiated. “Come downstairs and play,” I’d say, but he was far too enthralled with his reflection in the bedroom mirror. “Let’s go outside to the sand pit,” I’d cajole. No reaction, he had just found a photo of his dad, and a private one-way conversation began to unfold between the two of them.


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“Come downstairs and we can have some grapes,” I tried. The words had barely left my lips and he was charging on all fours in the direction of the staircase. Downstairs at last he lunged towards the fridge and the promised grapes. Mission accomplished! I reached for the grapes, the coffee machine, my diary, my phone, the pot on the stove and kick started the day. No harm done, right? Or am I a manipulating mother, hellbent on my own purpose and just crafty enough to devise ways to encourage, trick or distract my child into my desired outcome?

I turn to my voluminous tome, New Oxford Dictionary of English, for a little clarity on the matter and conclude that all I am doing is offering an incentive (“a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something”). However, according to Robin Barker, author of The Mighty Toddler: the Essential Guide to the Toddler Years, bribery and reward offering can be easily confused. Suddenly I feel a little guilty as I read her take on the matter. “A reward comes unsolicited after the behaviour, the bribe is offered before.”

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and outright bribery – and the subsequent complications that ensue.

I offered him R5 for every morning he got out of bed when I told him to, and was not grumpy.

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Gulp. What if I just placed those grapes at the bottom of the stairs for my son to spot and said not a word, what would that be? No good – a bribe, Barker concludes, is usually given when the parent is desperate and the toddler indifferent (an all too common occurrence!). It can, she says, have immediate satisfying results, “but constant bribing is a form of blackmail that gives the parent the burden and the toddler the control”. I resolve to start house hunting for a single-storey home as soon as grapes are out of season.

But, no doubt, new challenges will emerge with each stage and what’s good for the toddler isn’t necessarily great for the teen. Cape Town-based clinical psychologist Ingrid Owens believes that parents of young children often just need to use the tools they have at hand. If negotiating your way out of the bathtub means the proffering of a carrot on a stick, then so be it, no harm done. “So long as this does not become a consistent mechanism with which to direct the child’s behaviour,” she cautions. Furthermore, Owens warns, too many rewards on offer can quickly

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hamper the child’s intrinsic motivation to carry out a particular behaviour.

praising too much This apparently applies not only to regular carrots on sticks but also to dishing out too much praise. New research indicates that lavishing our children with inordinate amounts of praise can prove to be detrimental. According to Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, authors of the internationally acclaimed book NurtureShock, lavishing praise as a reward has its certain dangers. They describe how Dr Carol Dweck, now at Stanford University, conducted a study on the effects of praise. Using 20 different New York schools, she divided children into two groups. One group was consistently praised for being intelligent (“you must

They had spent the afternoon helping me in the kitchen… I was delighted and got it into my head that they needed rewarding.

be smart at this”) while the other group was consistently praised for their effort (“you must have worked really hard”). Both groups were then given the option of taking two different tests – one of which was more difficult than the other. Of the group praised for their effort, 90% chose the more difficult test, while the majority of the group praised for their intelligence chose the easier test. In other words, the smart children copped out. Dweck concluded that “emphasising effort gives a child a variable they can control”. Having read this I try to hold back on the “good job” and the “clever boy” repetitions that roll off my tongue. It’s hard to stop what has become second nature, but I am determined to try. I am amused when I stumble across a story where the father is praising his daughter for having descended a slide in the local park. “Good sliding!” he tells her, but as the writer points out, the art of sliding is achieved through


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the pull of gravity, a universal law, and certainly not through the accomplished art of being a “good” slider. (Guilty, I make a mental note that the same applies to swinging.) So, now I know to hold back on praising my son’s every move, back to those grapes, which will no doubt morph into other things as he grows. I turn to parents with older children; forewarned is surely forearmed? My first point of inquiry involves the ubiquitous and seemingly inevitable star chart. Does it work and is it worth it? The answers are as wide ranging as the stars themselves. Cath tells me that her son Josh, aged six, loves his sleeping star chart. Once he achieves 20 stars for sleeping in his own room, he earns a present. Learning to sleep by himself, Cath reckons, far outweighs any possible “Pavlovian” damage to his psyche.

Robyn tried star charts on both her children. Leo, the eldest, responded like a dream, while her younger daughter, Juno, couldn’t have cared less. So it seems, as with most parenting dilemmas, it all depends on the child. Fouzia Ryklief of The Parent Centre in Cape Town believes a star chart can be a useful tool to get a process started, but that it should not be the only intervention. “View the star chart as an agreement or partnership in helping the child with something difficult that the child also wants to stop,” she recommends. However, she cautions, there shouldn’t be insistence or expectations that the child achieve a star every day. “It is perhaps better to see a star as an acknowledgement rather than a reward,” she says. Dan, aged seven, had an innocuous response to his mother’s attempts to cajole him with stars. “So we gave it up fairly Cape Town’s

quickly and turned to monetary bribes,” she tells me. “When he started Grade 1 he would wake up every morning grumpy, saying he did not want to go to school and I had to harangue him out of bed. The whole thing was a painful exercise. I knew he was happy at school and that there were no problems, so I offered him R5 for every morning he got out of bed when I told him to and was not grumpy. I think it took a week to change his behaviour and he now jumps out of bed happily each day and the money has morphed into weekly pocket money.”

show me the money Not every parent has a happy tale to tell. Judy deeply regrets what she did many years ago, when her boys were little. “They had spent the afternoon helping me in the kitchen – sweeping, washing dishes and the like. I was delighted and for some reason I got it into my head that they needed rewarding. I took out some lovely little aeroplanes I had stashed away for birthday presents and presented these to the boys once the work was done. They were astonished and the next time I asked them to help they asked if they were going to get an aeroplane in return. The stock of aeroplanes swiftly diminished and they rarely lifted a finger again. I had well and truly shot myself in the foot,” she tells me. I assure her that by going “public” with her story she may well save other parents from a similar fate. And Judy’s offer of meagre, yet very attractive, toy aeroplanes pales in comparison to a friend who recently offered his daughter R10 000 if she got top matric marks. There was an initial rush of enthusiasm, but when I called to check if the offer still stands and if her motivation is still as strong, it seemed that the family appears to have all but forgotten the offer, or have at least all moved on from the impossibility of the outcome. This is, however, not always the case. I remember only too well, watching fellow teens slip behind the wheel of their newly acquired vehicles – bribes procured for top marks. At the time, I was saddened that I Cape Town’s

had neither the marks nor the bribe-offering parents, so continued to negotiate for the use of the “family” car every Friday evening. Recent research by Harvard economist Roland Fryer on whether or not children respond to monetary rewards for scholastic achievement, indicates that children will respond better to rewards once the risk of failure is reduced. They found that paying children to pitch up at school worked better than paying them for top test scores. Attendance was something the children could control, the key they then concluded was perhaps to teach children to control more areas of their lives and then to reward the effort involved, rather than as yet unknown test results. It is indeed a complex arena in which to dabble as each child is so very different. I, like Judy, will no doubt soon have my own shot-in-the-foot story to share. In the meantime I am going to keep close to heart an anecdotal tale recently told in Times magazine by Amanda Ripley where she recounts the incident of a classmate with a TV addiction, long before this was “normal”. He was apparently “an encyclopaedia of vacuous content from the A-Team to Who’s the Boss”. His mother offered him $200 to quit the habit for a month. He then went cold turkey, rejecting offers to catch a secret show of Miami Vice at a friend’s house. No one could believe it. The month ended, his mother paid him his well-deserved $200 and “he went out and bought the biggest TV he could find”. I think that says it all.

well done Some alternative incentive ideas: Going out to dinner as a family – to celebrate a good report, for example. Coupon rewards that can be redeemed when it suits the child. Ideas for coupons could include: a trip to the park; a family picnic; a bike ride; a family night in, with the child choosing the movie; an extra bedtime story; getting to stay up a bit past their bedtime.

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moving on Your child’s firm friend is moving to another city – how can you help them cope with the sense of loss?

anging out with friends can be lots of fun. For youngsters, however, it’s vital for their development. Children need playmates to learn to engage with others. It’s during the formative years that children test their ability to share feelings and thoughts and forge bonds with others, until what they learn becomes intuitive. Interacting with their peers and creating friendships teaches children a whole repertoire of social skills needed for life. When a child plays with a friend, he has to learn, for one, how to share. “This means being able to say ‘no’ to yourself,” says Cape Town-based child and adolescent psychotherapist Judy Davies. “It takes time to acquire the skill and usually the younger the child, the harder it is to learn.” Friendships also teach children to understand how a friend feels, to be able to see the issue from another’s


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point of view. In relating to others you need to be willing to compromise, take turns and follow rules. Friendships also enable children to see how their peer group reacts to them, says educational psychologist Simona Maraschin, from Parkhurst, Johannesburg. “Positive feedback from peers means a child will feel accepted, secure and safe. Children need friends early on in order to test their ability to be independent, creative, spontaneous and autonomous,” she explains. In addition, friendships help children learn to trust and connect with others. Besides allowing children to discover different facets of their own personalities, friendships offer colour, warmth and diverse experiences. “Friends add so much to the enjoyment of life,” says Davies. “Friends show a growing child how relationships with non-family members enrich

your life. Critically, they also show how life outside the family can be safe and enjoyable.” And what of the issue of having a “best friend”? “Best friends only really become important in later primary school when personality starts to take shape, at around nine or 10 years old. Young children need a variety of friends,” says Davies. “There is however a difference between girls and boys: towards the end of preschool you’ll notice how girls prefer a ‘best’ friend or close friends while boys really love playing in a group.”

so long, not goodbye Aside from the valuable lessons children learn from friendships, they derive a lot of joy from their interaction with their peers. But what happens when friends have to

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part company? Perhaps your child’s bosom buddy moves to a new neighbourhood or you have to move your child to another school. “How your child deals with a loss of this kind depends on a few factors,” says Maraschin. “These include the age of the children and whether or not they can continue seeing one another even though they are at different schools.” Nadine Milner, mom to 30-month-old twins Tegan and Dylan, and six-year-old Jordan lives in Bruma, Johannesburg. She decided it would be best if Jordan repeated middle group at preschool this year. “He had the physical skills he needed to go up but emotionally he wasn’t mature enough for Grade 0. The one thing that concerned me was that he would have no friends in the new class.”

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It took three to four months before Jordan started making friends in his new class. “At first we tried to continue the friendships from the year before, however they stopped wanting to spend time with Jordan. In a way it was the best thing that could have happened. Right from the first day his new teacher made a point of telling me not to keep up the friendships with the children from the previous year. “It’s much more important for Jordan to make new friends in his new class,” she said. Nadine didn’t make a huge issue about Jordan making friends. When he told her no-one would play with him at school, she would ask about other times during the week when he did enjoy himself with a few classmates. “Gradually he started to talk about ‘special’ boys in his class and he sees them on play dates, but not every

Friendships also teach children to understand how a friend feels, to be able to see the issue from another’s point of view.

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week. Jordan just needed time to find his feet, although there were times this year when I was very worried and asked the teacher to make sure he played with someone at break time.” Children mostly prefer to have friends in their class, but if parents are supportive there’s no need to lose contact with friends at other schools. “I feel it’s extremely valuable to keep in touch with friends, particularly for children of eight or nine and older. Primary school children start to need the security of friends,” says Davies. The Internet, email and phones make it easier to keep in touch today. You could, for instance, help your child Skype a friend who has moved to another country. “It’s critical to remind children of their friends who are not around every day – it’s definitely not a case of ‘out of sight out of mind’. In this way we teach children the value of relationships,” says Davies. Davies also believes that when a child’s friend changes schools (or your child does), it’s a good idea to mark the occasion with a small get-together. In this way, she says, you are acknowledging and validating your


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child’s experience of the change or loss. However, she adds that, generally, the younger the child the sooner the contact breaks down.

learning to lose Although it’s hard to see our little ones hurting, learning to deal with loss is an essential life skill. Having a good support system will, however, make all the difference. “If you guide, support and assist your child to cope with the loss of a friend, they won’t crumble. In fact, having to make new friends will build social confidence and resilience,” comments Maraschin. Nine-year-old Koketso Lekganyene from Midrand had to change schools when he moved from Grade R to Grade 1. He didn’t know a single soul in his new class, but luckily he did make friends after a few months. “It was really difficult early in the year,” says his mother, Ellen. “Koketso was lonely and withdrawn and mostly kept to himself at school. Although I tried to push him to talk to his classmates he said they didn’t want to be with him. He didn’t want to go to birthday parties either.” Ellen persevered and managed to convince him to accept a few birthday party invitations. These slowly paved the way towards the establishment of friendships. “Once he’d been to a couple of parties where he relaxed and played with other children from the class, he spontaneously began to spend time with a couple of the children at school. It took around three to four months, but Koketso now has four firm friends.” So what else can parents do to support their child in making new friends? If she’s struggling to make friends in class, encourage her to take part in team activities such as soccer or enrol her for dancing, gymnastics or art classes (something in line with her interests), where there’s a safe but new “space” in which to foster friendships. Also arrange play dates for your child – but don’t go overboard. For a Grade 1 child, start by aiming for one Cape Town’s

Having to make new friends will build social confidence and resilience. play date a week. And for children who are missing their old friends, Maraschin offers the following advice: “if possible, keep contact with the friend outside school or slowly ‘wean’ a child of a friendship if the tie has to be severed completely.”

being prepared Dealing with losing a friend is often only one aspect of a larger change that your child might be going through. It may be part of a larger loss if the family moves to a new neighbourhood, city or another country. These moves would compound the loss for any child,” she says. “The best way to get through loss, if it’s expected, is to prepare your child for the change. “Talk about it and why it must happen but also be warned – your child may need to ‘grieve’,” says Maraschin.

“Talk to your child about his feelings. Accept and acknowledge whatever he feels, whether it’s anger, sadness or frustration. And if a child takes a knock in confidence, encourage new experiences and point out positive aspects of the change. Talk about his disappointments and comfort him when things don’t go smoothly,” she advises. It’s important to remember that our children will make friends on their own terms, in their own time and, if they lose a friend, will react in a personal way. As parents we may be able to help soften the bumps a little but your child is still going to have to ride them through. By helping them to negotiate their way successfully through the loss of a friendship and the building of new relationships, you are assisting them in gaining important skills for life.

reading matter A handful of helpful children’s books Friendship According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney What is Friendship: Games and Activities to Help Children to Understand Friendship by Pamela Day The Berenstain Bears Lose a Friend by Jan Berenstain and Stan Berenstain  Arthur Loses a Friend by Marc Brown

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when you are gone If something happened to you tomorrow, who would bring up your children? Take steps now to secure their future care, writes GLYNIS HORNING.

wife in Johannesburg. “I don’t know if it’s late-onset guilt and nostalgia – he wept buckets at Sharon’s funeral – but it’s killing me,” sighs Riaan. “He’s started smsing the boys, promising them material comforts

years, Riaan*. The soft-spoken 43-yearold teacher has sons of his own, aged six and 10, and the four are like brothers, he says. “Sharon’s ex left her for another woman when she was still pregnant with her younger boy, and except for paying maintenance, he’s taken virtually no interest in them. He’s a pressured businessman and once told me it was a relief that the boys had another father because he had so much else on his plate!” Yet within weeks of Sharon’s death her ex was demanding that his sons live with him, pressing for them to join him and his

and gizmos beyond those I could afford even if I approved of them. Sharon would have been horrified, but I don’t know what to do!” This is typical of the dilemmas that can arise over child care (previously known as “custody”) – especially if you don’t understand the law or take what measures you can to make sure your wishes are carried out if you are no longer around. “Parents who are or have been married to each other, or who have never been married but where the biological father has qualified to have parental responsibilities

overriding provision “The the court will look for is

the child’s best interests. – Candice Eve, associate, Shepstone & Wylie


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and rights, are co-guardians of the child, unless one of them has been awarded sole guardianship to the exclusion of the other by a court,” says Judy Cloete, a director at Miller du Toit Cloete Inc in Cape Town. “In the ordinary course of events, the surviving parent becomes the sole natural guardian and carer of the child.”

The court must consider the commitment the person applying has shown towards the child, the extent to which they’ve contributed towards the child’s expenses, the relationship between the child and the person whose parental responsibilities and rights are being challenged, and any other fact the court feels should be taken into account.

fit and proper If you have sole care or sole guardianship (and orders granting this are rare, Cloete says), then (in terms of Section 27 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005), you can appoint a “fit and proper person” to have care or guardianship of the child if you die – but the appointment must be contained in your will. However, even if you’ve only been granted care (as opposed to sole care) of the child on divorce, your ex-spouse automatically obtains care on your death, cautions Mary O’Gorman, principal family advocate for KwaZulu-Natal. And if you nominate another person in your will to have care or guardianship, your ex-spouse will have to agree to give up the rights to these before the provisions of your will can take effect. The “overriding provision” the court will look for is the child’s best interests (protected by the South African Constitution and the Children’s Act), says Candice Eve, an associate at Shepstone & Wylie in Durban. “If your ex is a co-holder of parental rights and responsibilities, then yes, he will automatically gain care and guardianship of your child. But if he’s an unfit parent, the court may well afford care or guardianship to any other person who applies (under Section 23 or 24 of the Act).”

rights and responsibilities “The handling of child care when a parent dies, as when there is a divorce, should be done in a way that keeps friction and unpleasantness to a minimum, and makes for as easy a transition as possible for the child, who will also be dealing with grief,” says Pearl Ramotsamai, a counsellor with FAMSA Durban. Deciding what you want for your child upfront, speaking to the major players if possible, and spelling out your wishes in your will are the best way to ensure that. “Any wish you have regarding the care of your child can be recorded in your will and will be enforceable, provided you have sole care and guardianship,” says Eve. But this will still be weighed against the rights of the other parent or other interested parties, such as the child’s grandparents, aunts or uncles. The right to care for your child is one of the parental rights and responsibilities assigned to a parent, says Eve. The Act defines “care” to include providing the child with a suitable place to live, safeguarding and promoting their wellbeing, protecting them from mistreatment, bringing them up, and “generally ensuring that their best interests are paramount”. Cape Town’s



hen Sharon*, a 32-year-old Durban alternative-health therapist, died after a short illness last year, she assumed her sons of seven and nine would keep living with her partner of the past five

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The older and more mature the child, the more their wishes would be taken into account. – Judy Cloete, director, Miller du Toit Cloete Inc

In most cases parties are given full or certain parental responsibilities and rights, says Cloete. These can include caring for the child, keeping contact with them, acting as their guardian and contributing to their maintenance. “If you have full parental rights, it’s taken to mean that you have all these rights and responsibilities,” says Eve.

the child’s rights Your child has rights too. “In terms of Section 31 of the Act, their views must be taken into account on any decision regarding the assignment of the caregiver or guardian,” Eve says. “And in terms of Section 10, every child of an age, maturity and stage of development able to participate in any matter concerning them has the right to do so in an appropriate way, and the views they express must be taken into consideration.” There’s no specific age at which a child can make their own decision, says Cloete, “but in practical terms, the older and more mature the child, the more their wishes would be taken into account”. For younger children, who also have the right to legal representation, the problem can often be overcome by “a skilled legal representative working together with a psychologist or social worker, to convey to the court the child’s views and wishes, and to give input on what’s in the best interest of the child in the circumstances”. If you die and your child’s other parent is no longer alive, surviving grandparents on either side can apply for the child’s care or guardianship, and the same criteria will apply as for any applicant, says Eve.


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psychologically speaking When deciding who to give care of your child in a will, your prime considerations should be stability and security, says Ramotsamai. “Familiarity is very important, so encourage your child to spend time with these people if they don’t already.” If a child’s relationship with you ends, and they have no other strong, supportive, secure relationship, it’s been shown that they react with a greater need to control whatever other relationships they can come by, say Eleanor and Michael Willemsen in The Best Interest of the Child (published online by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics). To do this, the child may become preoccupied with getting and keeping the attention of caregivers, teachers and friends at the expense of growing their own wings and confidence. Or they may dismiss the importance of relationships, and focus on their activities and achievements at the expense of having fulfilling relationships. Either way, they risk having problems in adulthood with close relationships, parenting, and establishing a healthy balance between independence and closeness, warn the Willemsens. But there are other vital considerations too when deciding who should care for your child. Is this person willing and able to help them develop their skills, interests and character strengths? “Look closely at their own character, lifestyle and values,” says Ramotsamai. “Are these what you want for your child?” *Names have been changed.

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willpower! “It’s vital to draw up a legal will, and the creation of a testamentary trust is a proficient way to ensure your family’s needs are catered for,” says Varsha Sewlal, head of office at the Master of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Durban. “If you die without a will, your estate will be settled in terms of the rules of Intestate Succession, and families are often torn apart by disputes over distribution of assets.” Sewlal’s office frequently deals with estates where a father dies and has had children with different mothers. “Often if provision is not made for all children, these children have difficulties accessing benefits,” she says. “On occasion we encounter mothers deliberately trying to exclude heirs. Should proper provision not be made, these children are at risk of not inheriting at all.” As a parent it’s your duty to provide to the best of your ability for your child, and a will can ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes, Sewlal says. “It’s your final opportunity to do the right thing.” If you die without a will the proceeds from your estate are automatically vested in the Guardian’s Fund. Appointment of an executor and the verification process are often lengthy, delaying access to funds from the Guardian’s Fund. “Dying without a will is tantamount to throwing your child to the wolves,” Sewlal says. “A will can ease tensions and distress, leave certainty for your loved ones and diffuse infighting.”

Besides a will, every parent should form a trust to see to the needs of minor children. “A trust can stipulate the specific arrangements you wish to make,” she says. Keep in mind that the biological parent is always the natural guardian, but, as explained earlier, care (custody) can be awarded by the High Court on application in the best interests of the child.

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like father like son SIVIWE MINYI wonders about how he’s shaping his son’s understanding of what it is to be a man.


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human too Our bookshop conversation got me thinking about how I was going to honour and respect my son’s emerging masculinity. He has already begun to develop a picture of heroes from some of the books he reads and the DVDs he occasionally watches, and these give him an idea of what it means to be a man. But a lot of masculinity is not “taught” but “caught”. This means that I need to be modelling something of value.

It’s okay to cry. These are not girl matters. They belong to us as people. Broadly speaking, society expects men to be physically strong and emotionally robust and never show signs of “weakness”. Boys are encouraged to imitate older boys and men, and discouraged from imitating girls and women. But I so wanted him to realise that he’s human. I have

told him that it’s fine to be attached to a particular doll or a teddy bear. And that it’s okay to cry. These are not girl matters. They belong to us as people. When I first raised this, he found it a little funny. That was before he witnessed me dealing with being bitten by a dog. That day I cried. He cried too. I also saw how he winced in pain when he was tackled while playing his first rugby match. Today we respond to what we feel. At this level, I feel that my son and I have connected.

show some respect The “girls-are-smelly” comment got me thinking about how my son is learning to treat people. Specifically, how he is learning to treat women. Children learn from their parents and those around them, and he is already learning lessons from his sister, who is three years older than he is. One day I overheard them having a discussion about respect. “Listen to me,” said his sister with an assertive voice, “look at the way our father speaks to mummy: he is full of respect and does not fight with her.”

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e caught me by surprise. We had just started perusing the shelves of a well-known bookshop, when my then five-year-old son Okuhle shouted from the other end of the shop: “Come on, chief, those books are for girls – there are real books on this side.” A few people turned to look at me. I hid my embarrassment and responded: “Okay, I’m on my way…” “Girls smell, you know, and I don’t like their books,” he continued. I laughed, which was my way of hiding the serious realisation that my son had started to create a picture in his mind about the world of boys and men. Visiting a bookshop is a monthly ritual for my son and me. Our brief interaction there opened the door to an interesting topic: boys and how they relate to others. In that moment I became fully aware of just how much the roots of boys’ behaviour lies in broader culture and what happens in their homes. And it made me realise that I need to acknowledge and be proactive about my role and responsibility in shaping Okuhle’s understanding of what it is to be a man.

A lot of masculinity is not “taught” but “caught”. This means that I need to be modelling something of value. I was stunned, and humbled. It brought home the idea that before fathers can teach sons about respect and nonviolent behaviour, we need to be modelling it. And, given the high levels of domestic violence in our country, this is very important. One morning he said to me: “Chief, I would like to be respectful of all people. I shall try just like you.” This is a lifelong lesson, one he will practise for the rest of his life. This lesson says that girls should never be hit, and that he should stand up for those who are bullied in class.

lessons on the field It also got me thinking about how I am helping to build my son’s character. There have been times when my son has been selected as captain of his school cricket team. This requires him to show leadership and discipline. Boys at this age tend to be competitive and winning is all-

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important. When they lose, it is as if the world has come to an end. Okuhle and I have watched a number of cricket and soccer matches together. On those occasions I have asked him to watch how the captains behave in the presence of the opposing team, and to take note of how captains are appreciative of others. (It’s not an easy lesson to teach because on the field boys are expected to play on the other team’s fears and weaknesses.) Then at the end of every match we exchange notes about what he has learnt. The outcome has been fascinating. He speaks of captains who encourage and praise teammates; of captains who take responsibility when their team loses. Sometimes the captain of a winning team will speak highly of the opposition. I then challenge my son to practise this even when he is not captain – to seek to praise and acknowledge any effort from the opponent.

We have also spent time looking at stories of sportsmen who have decided to be honest even when the call will go against them. One such story we shared involves tennis star Andy Roddick who, in May 2005, performed one of the greatest gestures of sportsmanship on a tennis court. Roddick, leading 5-3 in the second set, had a triple match point, and his opponent, Fernando Verdasco, was about to serve. Verdasco’s serve appeared to land just wide and was called out by the linesperson. Roddick, however, called the ball in, after checking the mark on the clay court and conceded the second-serve ace to Verdasco. Verdasco went on to win the match. The lesson: Roddick may have lost the match but he gained credibility and trust. He also gained a lot of respect from people for his selfless act. I can’t wait for another visit to our favourite bookshop. I sense another lesson coming on.

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higher learning If you’re hoping your child will go on to university after finishing school, here are some things to think about. By TAMMY SUTHERNS and SUSAN TISSIMAN


or many parents the stress of paying for university fees or student loans, making sure that their children follow a desirable path, pass their courses and ultimately get a job, can be a complicated and confusing process. For Cape Town mom, Jeanette*, who has two sons aged 25 and 23, who graduated from the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University respectively, it has been a long journey. “The economic crisis makes the financing of university studies more difficult,” she says. “Fortunately student loans are available but it does put extreme pressure on the student if he has to take a full loan for the whole degree. Especially if he is not guaranteed a job at the end. Our boys had loans for their last year and we paid off the interest so that the burden won’t be so great when they start out.” Getting a degree, however, doesn’t guarantee your child a job. “Finding a good job isn’t easy with or without a degree,” says Jeanette. Her eldest son, who graduated from UCT with a post-graduate diploma in accounting has managed to sign with a company and her youngest son is looking

to continue studying, hoping to obtain a post-graduate degree in human kinetics and ergonomics. This could further his chances of getting a higher paid job. She says, “My thinking has been that for a young man entering the job market, it would be better to further his studies rather than work in a pub. I have to admit that this is probably wrong – perhaps it’s better to get a degree and then get out into the world and try anything.”

“withStartthem,doingnotresearch for them.

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For Geoff Waugh, aged 25, his interests were never in university: “I didn’t want to come to varsity at all! I thought that if Richard Branson didn’t need a degree, then I didn’t.” Geoff started a computerrepair business as soon as he finished school, but when it didn’t work out, he enrolled in Rhodes University to ease his parents’ worries. “My parents thought that I was missing out on making new friends and contacts. I went to Rhodes, the only university that let me in. After a year I was elected senior student for my residence but I quickly grew bored.” Within Cape Town’s


self starter

months Geoff and his best friend Dan got a licence for the tuck shop in their university residence and started a pizzeria in their bedroom. “We were promptly closed down for violating some obscure bylaw.” Undeterred, the duo soon signed a lease for a property across the road from campus: “Pirates Pizza was born. We knew our friends weren’t spending most of their money on pizza, so we wanted to start a bar. At this point our academics were failing but business was flying. I spoke to my father and, being self-employed himself, he supported my decision to drop out.” Geoff and Dan now have a bar/ pizzeria in an entertainment venue in Grahamstown. Geoff says, “It’s hard work, but a lot of fun. I don’t regret my decision. I think if I were to try and get a job it may be difficult because I don’t have a degree, but I would hope that an employer would

bachelor of what?

look at the big picture: I have shown I can build a successful bar and pizzeria, with a capacity of 600 people, from a bedroom.”

about what their children plan to do after school, it is often difficult to know where to start. A lot of schools or psychologists offer aptitude tests, which helps both

For parents and their children, another decision to make is what type of degree or qualification to study towards. There are mainstream universities but then there are also institutions like techs, Varsity College, UNISA and colleges. Leigh Penzhorn, a 26-year-old Capetonian who works in Public Relations, got a diploma through correspondence and says that is very different to getting a degree through full-time university study. She says, “The only reason I studied PR through UNISA is because they did not offer it at UCT or any other university and it was important for me to be able to work at the same time as study. I think some people really need lectures, like maths or accounting students, but there are other degrees which are self explanatory and can be studied on your own.” For parents who have to start thinking

smooth sailing Tips for helping your child choose the right course and university • Many schools offer invaluable career guidance that includes job shadowing opportunities and psychometric and aptitude testing. Encourage your child to take advantage of these. • Many universities also offer assistance and ser vices to prospective students, who are choosing between degrees and institutions. These are worth looking for on the web, otherwise contact the university to set up an appointment with an advisor. • Help your child consider his talents, interests and strengths. Choosing a degree/course with these in mind can ensure that your child is both passionate about the work and stimulated by it. • Make sure your child attends the open days of the universities they

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are interested in – look on the university websites for dates. Open days generally occur from April to August. The open days will allow your child to see the universities, and interact with the faculties and current students. • If it’s important to you or your child, find out which universities are internationally recognised. • The structure and teaching style of some universities may suit some and not others. Correspondence courses allow for flexibility and the ability to work part time, as well as much lower fees. However, these have none of the social components that other universities have. Some institutions have more structure than others and are better suited to students that need more direction and stability.

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children and parents to get an idea of the child’s interests and strengths. This can help in terms of knowing what the best area of study would be for them. Cape Town counselling psychologist, Bhamini Rugnathji, encourages parents to do a lot of research, talking to their children about their strengths; “start talking about options with your children

when they are in about Grade 10 and when they have decided on their subject choices, as this affects which degree programme they can get into.” The next step is to start researching different institutions and the degrees or qualifications that they offer as well as the fees. Schools also often have career days when different institutions come in

getting in How to make the application process easier • Find out the application deadlines for the universities your child is applying to (most fall between June and October) and where to get application forms (electronically/at schools/at the university). • Your child will need to get a certain number of points to be accepted in a particular course, and may need to have taken certain subjects. It helps to know these requirements early on. They may also serve as motivation for achieving a certain standard in the Grade 12 exams. • Some universities accept submissions of application forms online, while others require the form to be delivered by hand or mail. • An increasing number of universities require or strongly recommend


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that prospective students write access tests or national benchmark tests as well as sending in their application. In past years it has been highly beneficial that students write these tests as doing so often ensures early acceptance. The tests are offered in various cities several times throughout the year, usually beginning in May – booking is often required. • Pay all application fees and acceptance-of-offer fees if your chosen university requires these, so as not to delay acceptance to the university. • Find out all dates of open days, tests, application deadlines and other important events on university websites and diarise them at the beginning of the year.

and explain what they offer. The Internet is also a fantastic tool for research. Bhamini advises, “Don’t make this a stressful conversation; adolescents change their minds a lot. Be patient and encourage their strengths. Start doing research with them, not for them.”

money talk University fees can swallow a huge chunk of your annual income. Ideally you’ll have been putting a little money away over the years for your child’s tertiary education, but if not, and if your budget doesn’t stretch to cover things, your child may need to take a student loan for some or all of her studies. Another option is that she studies via correspondence and works at the same time. See “the price of education” on page 41 for an indication of fees. The fees can seem daunting and then there are still living costs to consider, but in comparison to some of the highly regarded foreign universities, you can breathe a sigh of relief, however small. Harvard’s fees start at $34 000 a year, that’s a whopping R260 000.

what you know and who you know Some say that one of the primary benefits of getting a degree is the contacts and relationships you make while studying.

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Cape Town attorney, Alvhin Adendorff got his bachelor’s degree at UCT, his law degree through UNISA and his tax honours degree at UCT. With regards to university networks, he says, “in any field it is important to build social and business networks because reputation and word of mouth are still one of the most effective ways of attracting business. A university does provide a prime environment to create those networks – because there are people of different backgrounds with different interests who will eventually end up in key positions in the working world. It is quite possible to create those networks without attending a university, but it is much easier at a university given the concentration of qualified people.” In addition Alvhin stresses the importance of studying, “It is important to work hard at your studies because the formal qualifications you get will make you eligible for better career opportunities. It is even more important though to cultivate the habit of learning, and obtaining a degree or diploma is an excellent way to do this. Learning is something that happens throughout a career no matter which business you end up in. If you enjoy learning you will continue to develop personally and professionally, and improve your chances of a successful and fulfilling life.”

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the price of education Here’s an indication of the fees at 10 local universities. Please note these are annual fees for 2010, expect an 8–11% increase per year. Universities

BA Degree

BCom Degree

University of Cape Town (UCT) For more info visit:

R28 500

R29 500 – R35 000

University of Stellenbosch For more info visit:

R22 880

R25 720

University of Pretoria (Tuks) For more info visit:

R17 650 – R25 350

R19 750 – R30 500

University of Witwatersrand (Wits) For more info visit:

R18 295 – R26 900

R28 190 – R34 010

University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) For more info visit:

R19 370 – R21 670

R17 440 – R24 170

Rhodes University For more info visit: University of South Africa (UNISA) For more info visit: University of Johannesburg (UJ) For more info visit: University of the Free State (UFS) For more info visit: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) For more info visit:

Range of all university courses: R24 390 – R31 740 from R9 660 R17 400 – R21 440 R14 738 R8 080 – R23 970

from R11 304 R17 760 – R20 590 R16 869 R15 700 – R24 230

Other money related matters include: • In addition to fees, the following need to be factored into the budget: residence costs, which are about R30 000/year (including meals), or rent and food; textbooks and stationery, which can cost up to R5 500; and transport costs. • Many South African universities have non-refundable application fees ranging from R150 to R300 (these tend to increase with late applications). Failing to pay these may delay acceptance of applications. • Most universities require a portion of the fees at the beginning of the academic year. This payment is necessary for the student to register successfully. • Some universities offer discounts on fees to families that have many children studying at the same institution. • Many universities offer bursaries to students, not only for good school results, but also for continued good results at university. So high achieving students will be required to pay less in fees than others. • All universities have financial-aid departments and prospective students should look into the requirements to qualify for aid.

August 2010



culture studies Two boys are treated to a backpacking adventure – and lessons in the school of the world, by NINA MENSING-CHALLIS.


August 2010

Europe a couple of times. But our goal remained: we wanted to backpack around Thailand with our sons. Having hitchhiked our way through many an African and Asian country, we were not afraid of backpacking and the last thing we would do was book a prearranged tour. Even prebooking a hotel room was alien to us. However, this time was different. We now had two boys in tow, and just 25 days. Waiting on the side of the road for two days for a lift, or a week for a cheaper ticket (as one does when backpacking), was no longer an option. We wanted to fit as much as possible into the school holidays, as well as teach our sons the fine art of travelling.

midnight in Bangkok On finalising our tickets, I realised that we’d be arriving in Bangkok at midnight. In a city that never sleeps, that’s not a problem. But finding accommodation on the spur of the moment with a jetlagged 9- and 12-year-old might not be such fun. So I searched online and found a guesthouse within walking distance of Khao San Road (my favourite hangout) for the first two nights. From there we would find our own way. Before we left I bought the boys books on Thailand, and we watched James Bond’s The Man with a Golden Gun to get them into the mood for the canals in Bangkok and the islands along the coast.

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Julian with desecrated Buddhist carvings (due to a comeback in Hinduism in the late 13th century)

hen I found myself pregnant in Thailand at age 23, having just spent two years travelling and working our way around South East Asia, we were not ready to head back to South Africa and set up home. There was still so much of the world to see. So we planned to have the baby, then fly back to Thailand and continue our backpacking journey around the world. Clearly we had no idea! Before we knew it, 12 years had passed and we still had not made it back to the “Land of Smiles”. In those 12 years we had got married, had another son, started a business or two, bought and sold a property or two, and even made it to

The 12-hour bus journey from k Siem Reap, Cambodia, bac to Bangkok,Thailand

(We decided against showing them The Beach, for obvious reasons.) I knew my oldest son, Tyrone, would take everything in his stride – the travel bug had bitten him at eight, when I had taken him to Germany. My youngest son, though, liked his routine and comforts. For him, life’s good if there’s a Woolworths macaroni and cheese within easy reach. When on our first day in Bangkok Julian tasted his first Thai chicken curry and loved it, my husband and I both breathed a sigh of relief!

another world Within a few minutes of stepping off the plane the boys were thrust into another world. We

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Our sons learned invaluable lessons: sign language, bargaining, respect for another’s religion and culture, and map reading.

bargained with a taxi driver to take us into town, and he spent the hour’s drive trying to convince us to stay at his friend’s hotel rather than the one we had booked. It feels like every Thai taxi driver has a friend who owns a hotel – and a restaurant, and a shop for jewellery or clothes. The boys quickly learned the fine art of not being a pushover while still remaining courteous. As we found our way around Bangkok, our sons learned invaluable lessons: sign language, bargaining, respect for another’s religion and culture, and map reading. They also fine tuned their times tables while bargaining for souvenirs. Tyrone and Julian loved taking their shoes off and stepping quietly into temples. Their immediate

respect and reverence impressed me. Inbetween, of course, there was the usual bickering, a whine or two or three (let’s be honest here) and the occasional sulk. But, with the humidity and temperature nothing like we’d ever experienced before, that’s to be expected. It was while travelling up the River Kwai to a floating jungle camp that we really noticed how at home our children were. They loved catching motorbikes and tuktuks, and bouncing along on the back of trucks and buses. They were also enjoying the process of deciding where we’d spend the night, and shopping for food at the markets. Spurred on by this, we decided to brave a journey into Cambodia.

Food at a floating market near Kanchanaburi, Thailand

August 2010


Julian and Tyrone making dren friends with Cambodian chil

Monks in front of the Bayon Temple at Angkor Wat, Cambodia


August 2010

Visiting the temples of Angkor Wat had been a lifelong dream of ours, and journeying into the unknown was the type of travelling I loved. However, I was concerned about safety, and how the children were going to last on the 12-hour bus journey into a very third-world country. I need not have worried. As soon as they found their seats on a bus, they’d settle down, pull out their books and just make do. On one long bus trip they had to sit on our backpacks in the aisle for most of the journey – there were two seats without passengers, but these were taken up by the bus driver’s large religiousfestival decorations. Whenever the bus overheated we would come to a halt, the driver would get out a bucket, fill it up with stagnant water from a roadside

Some days we would get into a longboat and ask the driver to take us to a quiet snorkelling spot.

ditch, and use it to cool down the engine. Every once in a while we’d stop at a small town and shop for snacks and drinks at the roadside stalls. Looking out of the window, we watched as children helped their parents eke out a living from the dry earth. Pigs were shuttled to market on the backs of motorbikes that passed our bus at breakneck speed.

making connections On one bus trip a Canadian backpacker, who could only have been a teacher in his former life, kept the boys busy for eight hours straight, with games of hangman, eye-spy, plus jokes and tales of Canadian snow. When backpacking, it is often other travellers that enrich your experience. It was in Cambodia that the boys really

interacted with local children, many of whom help their parents make a living by selling trinkets or cool drinks at the temples and on local transport. At the temples of Angkor Wat Julian made friends with a boy his age. They teased each other in their own made-up sign language, mixed with a sprinkling of English, Thai and Cambodian words. It was clear, even through the language and culture barrier, that had these two been at the same school, they would have been best friends. We also saw small children begging at the border, scrambling for scraps in between the dust and wheels of trucks being checked by border officials. Now when my children don’t want to eat their food and I say to them: “there are starving children in the world who would do anything

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Julian chatting to a monk at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Waiting for the bus to Bangkok from Kanchanaburi, Thailand

to have a plate of food like that, so eat up!” they know exactly what I’m talking about. By the time we got down to the islands off the west coast of Thailand, our boys were seasoned backpackers. They could bargain like Thai stall holders, spend hours waiting at a border post or for a bus without moaning, eat anything and sleep anywhere – even on the front of a longboat or while hanging on to the back of a tuk-tuk. They happily unpacked wherever we spent the night, making a comfortable space for themselves in the sparse rooms of our bamboo-stilt houses on the beach. Within an hour of arriving anywhere they had made friends with the locals, and were comfortable enough to venture off and order from food stalls. We spent our days

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at their will. Being backpackers meant that we decided in the moment what to do next and where to spend the night. Some days we would get into a longboat and ask the driver to take us to a quiet snorkelling spot. We rented dive gear and gave them dive lessons along a quiet reef. We canoed to James Bond-like islands, spending the day on deserted beaches. Tyrone made friends with a local rock-climbing guide, who took us climbing for the day at no cost to us, so impressed was he by Tyrone’s interest and skill in climbing.

go with the flow We were glad we could just do what we liked, when it suited us. If we did not like what we saw, we moved on to the next place. There were a few things that had

looked interesting when searching on the Internet prior to our trip, but once there appeared to be just another tourist trap. Arriving in Koh Phi Phi, for instance, I was immediately disappointed. It was full of tattooed gap-year youngsters getting as drunk as possible in the sun, and Thai touts trying to get us to stay at their uncles’ guesthouses. We hopped straight onto a longboat and set off around the island to find a quieter spot. A tranquil bay, accessible only by boat, with a few bamboo huts and a little restaurant, all family-run, was the perfect stop for a few days. We never felt unsafe or got sick. We travelled on our motto “if there are people who live like this, so can we” getting to appreciate our life back at home that much more by doing so.

A monk blessing a family in Cambodia

August 2010





Choosing a school that will suit you and your child can be daunting. CHAREEN BOAKE investigates some of the different schooling options available to help you make that all-important decision.

public schools

a public school may suit you if… • there’s a suitable school close to your home. • the school in your catchment area offers the standard of education and extracurricular activities you are looking for. • you value cultural diversity. Public schools are often more diverse than independent schools. • the fees are more in line with your budget than those at private (independent) schools. • you need to apply for a reduction in school fees based on your financial circumstances. • you’d like your children to wear school uniforms.


August 2010

• you would like your children to enjoy a wide variety of sports and extramurals, many of which are included in the school fees.

a public school may not suit you if… • you want your child to be in a small class and receive plenty of personal attention. • there’s no suitable public school in your area. • the school does not have sufficient resources for remedial assistance. • the school fees have been raised to subsidise salaries for additional educators in order to decrease class sizes. • you have concerns about the better, more experienced educators leaving for larger salaries in the private sector. • the school’s security is insufficient due to lack of funds. • you’d prefer for your children not to be affected by possible educator strikes. For more info visit or Cape Town’s


Either partially or fully subsidised by the government, these schools follow a syllabus set out by provincial and national government. Admission is usually dependent on feeder areas within the school’s vicinity.

independent schools This is a broad term used to classify schools that are either privately owned or privately governed. They vary tremendously, from religious to secular, and from culturalintegratory schools to schools based on philosophical beliefs.

an independent school may suit you if… • you want your child to learn in a smallish class. • you want to be able to choose a school based on your cultural, religious or language preferences. • you don’t live in the feeder area of a school you like. Independent schools generally don’t have a catchment area, but your child may need to write an entrance exam or attend an interview. • you want to have more say in the running of the school. Independent schools are governed by governing bodies, parents and educators. • you value the school’s traditions or think it’ll be beneficial for your child to be part of the school’s pastpupil network. • you want to offer your children wider opportunities in fields such as sport, drama and music.

• you want to offer your child an education in a facility that is stocked with a large amount of top-quality equipment, which, in subjects such as chemistry and biology, can allow learning that’s more hands on. • you want your child to write a schoolleaving exam that qualifies them for entry into a foreign university. Certain schools allow learners to write A-level or Abitur exams, for example.

an independent school may not suit you if… • you don’t have the budget for the often expensive school fees. • you’d prefer not to have to pay extra for sports, extramural and administration fees, which are often not included in school fees. • the school doesn’t have a uniform and you want your child to wear one – casual clothes can be more costly. • you don’t want your child to be in an environment where there can be pressure to conform with regards to the latest fashions, toys and gadgets. For more info visit or

cultural integratory schools These are independent schools that promote and seek to instil the culture, language and ethos of their country of cultural origin. They are usually open to children of all cultural ethnicities and provide education in line with South African regulations. In addition to South African matric certificates, certain schools also offer students the option of studying towards a school-leaving certificate valid in the country of cultural origin.

a cultural integratory school may suit you if… • you want your child to learn to speak a foreign language. • you like the school’s ethos and values.

• you want your child to retain or learn more about your family’s cultural roots. • you want your child to pursue tertiary study abroad.

a cultural integratory school may not suit you if… • you’re unfamiliar with the language and culture of the particular school. • the fees are beyond your means. • the appropriate school is not close to your home. There are not many cultural integratory schools and you may not reside within an easy commute of your required school. For more info visit or

faith-based schools These are independent schools that offer a curriculum that integrates secular and religious education.

a faith-based school may suit you if… • you have strong religious beliefs. • you want your child to have a religious foundation, even if you don’t have strong religious beliefs yourself. • the school offers a community with the same religious ethos and beliefs as your family. • the class sizes are small and the facilities of a standard with which you are happy. Cape Town’s

a faith-based school may not suit you if… • you want your child to interact with children who have different religious backgrounds. This means your children may miss out on opportunities to rub shoulders with those different to themselves, which may lead to limited understanding of others. • the fees are more expensive than your nearest public school. • you are not able to offer the same religious traditions and beliefs within your home. For more info visit August 2010


montessori schools The Montessori method aims to provide a developmentally age-appropriate curriculum and to educate by learning through all five senses. Children in a Montessori environment learn at their own pace and according to their own choice of activities, rather than at a group pace or a roster. The educator’s role is to watch over the environment and to provide guidance for children rather than to lecture or lead them. Educators don’t set assignments nor do they dictate what should be studied or read. Children are usually placed in three-year age groups, forming “communities” in which the older children impart knowledge to the younger ones. Montessori discourages traditional competitive measurements of achievement such as tests and exams, and focuses rather on the individual progress and development of each child. Children are, therefore, given regular assessments rather than tests.

a montessori school may suit you if… • you value a holistic approach to education. Montessori promotes the emotional, social and spiritual needs and growth of children as much as their intellectual and physical development. • you value the independence children will be taught, as well as them being in an environment in which they are


August 2010

encouraged to make informed decisions from an early age. • you like the idea of children not being expected to conform to set standards of achievement. Children are nurtured according to their individual interests and talents. • you think your child will thrive in this individual-based approach. Here, children learn at their own pace. It would suit a family that is comfortable to support their child’s individual growth.

a montessori school may not suit you if… • you don’t like the idea of being unable to compare your child’s work to that of his or her peers. • you want your child to attend a mainstream primary school. The two approaches are very different, which means certain children may battle to make the switch. • your child finds it difficult to work independently. The environment can be demotivating for some children. • you don’t want your child to have to cope with moving schools and education philosophies for primary school. There are very few Montessori primary schools and high schools. For more info visit or

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waldorf schools Waldorf schools offer a curriculum responsive to the developmental phases in childhood while encouraging creativity and free thinking. During the preschool years, academics are de-emphasised and children are encouraged to “be children” through play and creativity. Artistic mediums of education are encouraged and many subjects are introduced to children through craft, woodwork, music and gardening. Minimal academics are offered in Grade 1 and children learn to read in Grade 2 and Grade 3. Waldorf schools also discourage traditional measurements of achievement such as tests and exams, and focus on the individual progress and development of each child. During the primary school years, the educator, who ideally remains with a class from Grade 1 to Grade 8, writes a detailed evaluation of the child at the end of each school year.

a waldorf school may suit you if… • you like the idea of your children not having to conform to set standards of achievement. They are nurtured according to their individual interests and talents. • your family or children are particularly artistic or creative. • you want your child to receive a high level of personal attention. • you value a holistic approach to your

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child’s education. Waldorf seeks to promote education through “complete unity of body, soul and spirit”. • you believe the security of being with the same educator and classmates for the first years of schooling will benefit your child.

• TV is a big part of your family’s life. Use of electronic media, particularly TV, is largely discouraged because it is believed to hamper the development of a child’s imagination. For more info visit

a waldorf school may not suit you if… • you think you may need to move your child to a mainstream school at some point. Because of the significant differences in the pacing of the various curricula, it could be a difficult adjustment for your child. • you have concerns about your child finding change difficult to handle. Having the same educator and classmates for the first eight years can make some children change-averse. • there are significant personality clashes between your child and the educator or other classmates. The problem will not resolve itself in the new year, as your child’s class and teacher are likely to be the same for a number of years. • you or your child are particularly competitive. The Waldorf environment is non-competitive. • you want your child to learn computer skills from an early age. Waldorf educators feel the appropriate age for computer use in the classroom is high school.

August 2010


home schooling Also called home education or home learning, home schooling refers to educating children within the home environment rather than through formal schooling. Children are educated either by parents or tutors, using a homeschool curriculum.

home schooling may suit you if… • you want to instil family values, or a culture you feel your child can’t learn through a third party. • you have strong religious beliefs and, because of these, object to certain lessons offered by schools. Or you want religion to form a thoroughly inclusive aspect of your child’s education. • you want to ensure your child’s safety is within your control at all times. • you’re keen to provide your child with a specialised education programme, tailored to their educational needs, learning preferences and pace. • you need to cater for a child who’s unable to attend mainstream schooling for reasons that may include a learning difference, for example. • you have a career that involves travelling for long periods at a time, and want your children to be able to travel with you. • you want to limit your child’s exposure to negative social influences – such as


August 2010

peer pressure, school bullies, drug use and under-age drinking. • you are affected by transportation problems or live in a remote area far from suitable schools.

home schooling may not suit you if… • you’re hoping for a cheap option. You won’t have to pay school fees, but you will need to purchase a curriculum and this can be expensive. • your children cannot be part of a broader home-schooling network, otherwise they may get insufficient time to interact with children their age. • developing a sense of belonging to a school group is important to you. • you believe it’s important for children to be in class with peers of different backgrounds and beliefs. • you find it difficult to draw a distinction between your role as a parent and that of an educator, and are either overly strict or too lenient. • your children show an aptitude for certain subjects you didn’t study or find difficult, such as a maths or physics. • you want your children to learn what it’s like to compete with other students for academic accolades. • you can’t devote sufficient time to the process – you will not only teach

but also have to do research, prepare lessons and arrange outings. • you want your child to play sport but don’t have money for private coaching or membership to sports clubs. • you want your child to be exposed to educators and students who have different opinions, values and world views to that of your family. For more info visit, south-african-homeschool-curriculum. com or

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a good read for toddlers Little Peekaboo Buggy Buddies: Red, Blue, Peekaboo! and Little Peekaboo Buggy Buddies: Peekaboo, Where Are You? By Georgie Birkett

best bedtime story

How to Catch a Star By Oliver Jeffers

(HarperCollins Children’s Books, R170) The award-winning Catch a Star was first published in 2004 and, because of its popularity, the toddler-friendly board-book has been released. It’s the heart-warming story of a little boy wishing for a star of his own – so they can take long walks together and play hide-andseek. He makes plans to catch a star; he even considers flying up in his spaceship to grab one, but sadly his spaceship had run out of petrol! Children will love this magical tale of hope and making dreams come true. Jeffers’ illustrations are in a

(Campbell Books, R63 and R56) Little fingers will love lifting the fun flaps to see who’s hiding in the garden and at home. They can peek behind curtains, under a flower, or behind the teddy bear. The flaps are made from beautiful easyto-lift printed felt, which little ones will adore (and not be able to rip). The Buggy Buddies format has handy straps that allow the books to attach to prams, car seats or high chairs. The other two books in the series are also worth having: One, Two, Peekaboo! and Peekaboo, Hello You!

class of their own.

for preschoolers The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary By Dr. Seuss

Let’s Go Green: Picture Puzzles By Roger Priddy

(HarperCollins Children’s Books, R106) Containing more than 500 everyday words, The Cat in the Hat Dictionary provides a funfilled way to teach young children basic dictionary skills. Packed with crazy creatures and zany humour, it will keep readers from as young as three laughing and learning all the way from A to Z. The book helps with alphabetical order and encourages children to recognise whole words. It also provides examples of word use and helps children develop their vocabulary. Using a dictionary has never been so much fun.

(Priddy Books, R55) This planet-friendly activity book for children aged five and older is made from recycled paper and printed with natural soya ink. It features pages of challenging picture puzzles to help children develop early-learning skills, such as visual and memory skills, problem-solving and fine-motor skills. The fun includes mazes, Spot The Difference, Seek And Find, What’s Wrong? and matching pairs. The book is die-cut with a carry handle, which makes it easy for little hands to hold.

The Earth Book By Todd Parr (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, R116) Written in the first person, this book suggests simple activities easily managed by young children. It also includes clear explanations of how these things can have a large impact on the health of our planet. The first-person narrative is easy to follow and children will adore the cheerful illustrations. The book is printed on recycled paper with non-toxic soya ink.

First Words and Pictures: Things that Go By Maria Maddocks PHOTOGRAPH: THINKSTOCKPHOTOS.COM

(Ladybird Books, R27) This beautifully illustrated little book introduces commonly used words to very young children through pictures. Toddlers will love spotting and naming the familiar things that move, while children who have just started to read will find this a handy tool for recognising letters. With one word per page, written in a bold and easy-to-read font, children will learn how to pronounce and recognise easier words such as car, truck and van. The more difficult words include forklift truck, steamroller and skateboard. Cape Town’s

August 2010


for early graders

for preteens and teens The White Quill By Liam Cundill

Ranger Muddles and his Wacky African Safari and Captain Muddles and his Wacky Water Wonders By Steve Camp and Jeannie Mather

Nicole in The Surf is my Turf By Lulu and Tee

(Art Publishers, R79 each) In these books, children can learn about 12 animals from the African bushveld and 12 creatures from the sea. The books’ clever split-page layout allows children to invent some unique and strange creatures that will keep them entertained for hours. Ever heard of a liphant, zebpard or pelopus? With stunning illustrations and an informative glossary, your children can first learn about the real creatures, and then create their own.

(Linda Fellowes and the Save Our Seas Foundation, R65) The same author and illustrator who created Peter, Pamela and Percy in the Big Spill and Eric in It’s a Piece of Cake brings us the story of a great white shark called Nicole. The aim of the book is to teach children that we are actually not a shark’s favourite dish and that this protected species has a very important role to play in the food chain. By buying this book you’ll make a contribution to great white shark conservation.

The Gift of Gold By Dorothy Kowen and Gillian Mathew (Jacana Media, R84) The Gift of Gold has all the ingredients of a classic fairy tale: a curse, a missing lucky pebble, an inquisitive little girl and a happy ending. The South African characters make it believable – there’s a traditional tribe praying for rain, a talking chameleon and a misunderstood tokoloshe. The story centres on little Thandi, a girl who lives with her grandmother in their village. It’s a simple and powerful tale with a lesson of love. “You should never take back a gift. A gift is a token of love, and how can you take back love?”

What Do People Do All Day? Richard Scarry (HarperCollins Children’s Books, R65) Thousands of children grew up learning to read with Richard Scarry books. This is the soft-cover abridged edition of the 1968 classic and, though some of the sections have been removed, nothing has really changed. It’s still full of excellent humour, fun illustrations and information about the hustle and bustle of Busy Town. Children as young as four will be able to follow the pictures, while early graders can read for themselves. This book – or the older, longer version – is a must-have on all children’s bookshelves.


August 2010

(Zulu Planet Publishers, R120) All the world’s fairytale characters live on the shrinking island of Libris, which is under attack. The only people that can help are a group of elderly humans who hold the key but are now too old to use it. What they need is a young, imaginative hero. Is Zachary Perry the one? Aimed at eight- to 12-yearolds, this book tells the story of two generations needing to work together to combat a computer virus that threatens the very fabric of literature. The story is filled with twists and turns to keep readers absorbed in the young hero’s adventures. To purchase a copy for R50 email chenecundill@

pick of the month

Kaspar – Prince of Cats By Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins Children’s Books, R96) They say cats have nine lives, and that’s certainly true of Kaspar. From the glamorous suites of the Savoy Hotel to the servant’s quarters in the attic, and from a crowded lifeboat to the hustle and bustle of New York City, Kaspar proves that no cat is too small for big adventures. But he is no ordinary cat. He’s Prince Kaspar Kadinsky – the only cat to survive the sinking of the Titanic. Michael Morpurgo and illustrator Michael Foreman have collaborated on 20 children’s titles since 1994 and Kaspar is another beguiling, action-packed story that children aged seven and older will devour. A true gem.

The Spiderwick Chronicles – The Completely Fantastical Edition By Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (Simon & Schuster, R183) The complete set of this international bestselling serial, of which more than six million books were sold, is now in one volume. Included is the full text, as well as selected artwork from The Field Guide, The Seeing Stone, Lucinda’s Secret and more. Three “lost” chapters are bound here for the first time and an exclusive Making of Spiderwick sketchbook is included. There’s also a gallery featuring 17 all-star artists, sharing their spin on the world of Spiderwick. For teens who are fans, this is a collector’s item.

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for parents

for us good read

The Bone Thief By Jefferson Bass

Gaia Warriors By Nicola Davies (Walker Books, R126) This book about climate change is a collaboration between the inventor of Gaia Theory and an award-winning nonfiction children’s writer that explains the science behind global warming and answers commonly asked questions. It contains interviews with Gaia Warriors all over the world, who work in fields such as fashion, architecture, conservation, research, law and food. Their mission is to get people to switch off lights, cycle more, fly less and look after the planet. This is the perfect book for a new generation of eco-warriors between the ages of nine and 12.

(Quercus, R234) Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton is exhuming a body to obtain a bone sample for a paternity test. A simple enough job, until he discovers that the body’s limbs have all been removed. Further investigation leads Brockton to a grisly black-market operation that deals in body parts and cadavers. The latest Body Farm novel from this New York Times bestselling author is a must for fans of the TV series CSI. Bass’s previous thrillers include Carved in Bone, The Devil’s Bones, Flesh and Bone, and Bones of Betrayal.

Moonlight in Odessa By Janet Skeslien Charles (Bloomsbury Publishing, R161) Janet Skeslien Charles’s debut novel Moonlight in Odessa was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of their top 10 debut novels of 2009. After months of searching, 23-year-old Daria, armed with perfect English and an engineering degree, finds a job at a big foreign company in Odessa (Ukraine). Unfortunately, Daria’s boss has other plans for her and she ends up moonlighting as an interpreter at Soviet Unions, a matchmaking agency. Exploring the business of email bride orders, this book is a darkly humorous debut about the choices and sacrifices we make in pursuit of love and stability.

Addicted Like Me By Karen Franklin and Lauren King Discover & Make – Space (HarperCollins Children’s Books, R172) This exciting book contains everything your child will need to make his own realistic Apollo 11 spacecraft models (there are three spacecrafts to build). Children simply need to follow the instructions: pop out the pieces and slot them together – no scissors or glue required. Plus, it’s packed full of essential space information. Children can discover what the moon is made of, take a peek into the future of space travel and find out what life on board a spaceship is really like.

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(Seal Press, R185) Told through the voices of a motherdaughter writing team, Addicted Like Me offers a detailed personal account of addiction and how it affects the entire family. Karen Franklin recounts her own past as a young addict, her struggle with the alcoholism of her parents, and ultimately her husband and children’s addictions. Lauren King, her daughter, tells of her own spiral of addiction – from marijuana and alcohol to crystal meth. The book also provides advice for parents dealing with addiction.

How To Be An ‘Amazing Mum’ When You Just Don’t Have The Time By Tanith Carey (Lion Publishing, R120) Are you fighting a losing battle against the clock, trying to keep your show on the road? This is a hands-on guide to fitting it all in, and still finding time to be a great parent. Packed full of shortcuts, it contains lively, tried-and-tested advice, including how to stop a mess before it happens, pack a nutritious school lunchbox, and get your children to do what you ask the first time. Tanith Carey is a mother of two and writes regularly on parenting for the UK’s Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

Sensible Stimulation By Marga Grey (Metz Press, R127) Marga Grey is an occupational the r apist who practised in South Africa for almost 30 years, working mainly with children and their families, before moving to Australia. In Sensible Stimulation she informs, guides and supports parents, giving them insight into their children’s early development. Through knowledge and understanding, parents can guide their children, helping them to become balanced adults and confident members of society. This book focuses on the first three years of a child’s life, which is fundamental to all further development.

August 2010



what’s on in august Things to do, places to go, ways to give back, talks and exhibitions plus loads of fun for the whole family. compiled by LUCILLE KEMP

8 sun

special events


FUN for children


only for parents


bump, baby & tot in tow


how to help






bump, baby & tot in tow

how to help

Ackermans Open Dance Championship Series Watch the cream of the country’s ballroom and Latin American dancers compete in DanceSport styles.

Barn Dance Parents can dance the night away at a good old-fashioned barn dance in a farm setting while children are taken care of.

Babies read books; toddlers too Get your young ones engaged in storytelling.

The Canal Walk Foundation Blanket Drive Drop off old or new blankets at the shopping centre.

August 2010

Cape Town’s


Atlantic Rail open day See Cape Town’s only operational steam locomotive and enjoy free train rides.

Cape Town’s

August 2010


SPECIAL EVENTS 1 sunday Cape Town Book Fair Catch the last two days of this year’s fair, which runs from 31 July to 2 August. Time: varies. Venue: CTICC. Cost: R60 per adult, R25 for students and pensioners. Children under 13 free entry. For more info: visit Jack and the Beanstalk You can either join in the fun or leave the children watching the


August 2010


6 friday Hermanus Wine & Food Fair Taste wine from nearly 60 producers. Ends 8 August. Time: 6 August 5pm–9pm, 7 August 11am–7pm and 8 August 11am– 5pm. Cost: R95 per day or R150 for the weekend pass. Contact Paul or Cathy: 028 316 3988, or visit The Robertson Slow is a perfect excuse to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Ends 9 August. Time: varies according to the different farms’ programmes. Venue: Robertson Wine Valley farms – Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson. Cost: varies according to activities. Contact Elizma: 023 626 3167, or visit

7 saturday

6 August – The Robertson Slow


play in a safe and supervised environment while you browse through the many art and crafts shops. 1 August. Time: noon. Venue: Children’s Theatre, Delvera Wine Farm, Stellenbosch. Cost: R40. Contact: 021 884 4352

Ackermans Open Dance Championship Events Indulge in the sensational rhythms of DanceSport. The South African Dance Foundation (SADF) showcases the cream of local dancers in this nationwide competition. Time: 6pm. Venue: GrandWest Casino. Cost: free for children under 12, R30 for students and pensioners, R50 for adults. Contact:

011 339 4439, visit or National Science Week open day National Science week starts 2 August – a celebration of science that aims to excite children about the subject and encourage them to develop an interest in studying mathematics and science. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: MTN Sciencentre, Canal Walk. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 529 8100 or visit

8 sunday Atlantic Rail open day Classic car owners are invited to bring their vintage car and family for a day out. Set in the station yard, Cape Town’s only operational steam locomotive offers free train rides. There are craft stalls and many activities for children. Indoor attractions are available in case of stormy weather. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: Train Lodge, Monument Station, Old Marine Dr, Foreshore. Cost: adults R40, children

SA Youth Choir in concert The programme includes popular pieces such as “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Time: 8pm. Venue: Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium, Picton St, Parow. Cost: R80 and R60. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit

under 12 years free. Contact Frances: 021 556 4176 or

9 monday Totalsports Ladies’ Race Show solidarity and support on National Women’s Day and choose between a fun 5km walk or an adrenaline-pumping 10km run. Moms with prams are welcome. Time: 8:30am. Venue: Plein St, Stellenbosch. For more info on race rules or online entries contact: 021 511 7130 or visit

11 wednesday Mamma Mia Experience the irresistible storytelling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs. Time: varies. Venue: Artscape Opera House. Cost: R180–R380. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000

12 thursday Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase Wine-lovers can enjoy

Cape Town’s

rare and exclusive wines. Time: 6pm–9pm. Venue: CTICC. Cost: R150 per person, which includes a tasting glass. Contact: 021 852 0408, info@capewinemakersguild. com or visit

13 August – SARDA Antiques Fair

13 friday SARDA Antiques Fair in aid of the South African Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA). Various items on display and for sale include silverware, jewellery, porcelain, furniture and collectables. Ends 15 August. Time and cost: Friday cocktail party 6pm– 9pm R40, fair 10am–5pm R20. Venue: Alphen Centre, Main Rd, Constantia. Contact Elaine: 072 330 9193. For more info about SARDA, contact Ann-Margret: or visit

14 saturday 15 Reasons not to be in a Play by KTO Drama School Be entertained in a comical and quirky way. Time: 10am. Venue: MTN

Cape Town’s

Sciencentre auditorium, Canal Walk. Cost: R50. Contact Fiona: 083 206 3885 or Chameleons Montessori open day Also 28 August. Time: call to enquire. Venue: Nitida wine farm, Tygerbergvalley Rd, Durbanville Hills. Cost: free. Contact: 021 976 9611 or visit Dore Centre open day Learn more about the Dore drug-free method of treating a broad range of learning difficulties and differences. Time: 9am–1pm. Cost: free. For more info or to book: 011 326 0716, kirsty. or visit Gravity Adventure Festival Features a mountain bike race and whitewater rafting. For ages five years and older. Ends 15 August. Time: 8am–4pm. Venue: Palmiet picnic site, Kleinmond. Cost: adults R60 and children R30. Contact Marie-Louise: 021 683 3698 or visit Green Gecko Montessori open day Time: 10am–noon. Venue: 6 Budock St, Claremont. Contact Sue: 021 683 5351 Johnson’s Baby Sense Seminars Leading experts in baby care and parenting focus on pregnancy, birth, feeding and the basics of newborn care as well as specific developmental, emotional and practical issues. Time: 8am–5:30pm. Venue: The Westin Grand Hotel. Cost: R230 for the morning or afternoon session, R420 for both. This includes a goodie bag and Johnson’s Baby products. Contact: 0861 114 891, or visit

M-Net Young Stars auditions for singers

21 saturday

or dancers aged 6–15 years. The successful candidates will perform at KTV Market Day in September. They stand a chance to win R20 000 and appear on KTV. Time: 9am– noon. Venue: Groote Schuur High School, Palmyra Rd, Claremont. Cost: free. Contact: 083 310 9765 or

Examination for entrance into German International School for current Grade 4 learners. Your child need not speak German to start in Grade 5, as English is the medium of instruction. Register your Grade 4 child for the entrance exam. Time: 10am– 12:30pm. Venue: Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt (German School), 28 Bay View Ave, Tamboerskloof. Contact Ingrid: 021 480 3831, or visit

15 sunday Just Jinjer at the Barnyard This internationally acclaimed South African band returns to local stages. Ends 16 August. Time: 8pm. Venue: Barnyard Theatre, Willowbridge. Cost: R150. Contact: 021 914 8898 or visit

18 wednesday Jan van Riebeeck Primary School open day Time: 6pm. Venue: School Hall, Jan van Riebeeck Primary School, 52 Kloof St. Cost: free. Contact Louise: 021 423 4209 or visit St George’s Grammar School info evening Time: 7pm. Contact: 021 689 9354 or visit

19 thursday Destinations Expo, Holiday and Travel Expo Rediscover exciting local destinations and the Indian Ocean Islands. Ends 22 August. Time: 10am–6pm. Venue: CTICC. Cost: R50 per adult and free entry for children under 18. Pensioners and students receive a R20 discount. To book contact: 021 855 4750 or visit

22 sunday Don Lock Memorial Fun Run/Walk, brought to you by MySchool Move for Your Health. With the generous cut-offs of 100 minutes for the 8km and 85 minutes for the 5km event, social walkers are accommodated too. Time: 8km 7:30am, 5km 7:45am. Venue: Claremont Primary School. Cost: adults R20, children under 20 R15. Temporary licence for 8km, adults R15, children under 20 R8. Contact: for a six-week training programme for the 5km event visit or For enquiries: 021 659 5649, 9am–noon, weekdays only or

24 tuesday The Baby and Toddler Expo Visit stalls throughout the mall. Ends 30 August. Time: Monday–Friday 9am–7pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am–5pm. Venue: N1 City Mall. Cost: free entry. Contact Bronwyn: 021 595 1170

August 2010


Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

25 wednesday Baxter Dance Festival features the work of emerging and established dance companies and choreographers. Youth groups, dance schools, school groups and traditional dance groups also perform. Ends 29 August. Time: tbc. Venue: Baxter Theatre, Rondebosch. Cost: tbc. Contact: 021 685 7880 or visit

26 thursday Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show More than 400 species on exhibition, some of which are indigenous only to this region. Ends 1 September. Time: 8:30am–6pm. Venue: Dutch Reformed (Flower) Church. Cost: adults R25, pensioners R20 and children R5. Contact Cecily: 027 482 2541 or

28 saturday Parklands College open day Time: 10am–1:30pm. Venue: 91 Raats Dr and 50 Wood Dr, Tableview. Cost: free. Contact: 021 521 2700, or visit Stitch! The Movie follows the fun-filled, heart-warming antics of the lovable, troublemaking little alien. Time: 10:30am on Disney Channel (DStv channel 303)

29 sunday Blisters for Bread fun charity walk Funds raised go to the Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA). Entries for individuals close 15 August; group entries close 6 August. Time: 20km 8am, 10km 8:30am and 5km 9am. Venue: Greenpoint Cricket Club. Cost: R30. For more info: visit

30 monday Deaf Awareness Week ends 4 September. Find out how you can support hearing impaired children by contacting the Carel du Toit Centre: 021 938 5312 or visit

FUN FOR CHILDREN art, culture and science Artjamming weekly art classes for children from 6 years and older. Time: 3pm–4:30pm. Venue: Cape Quarter and Willowbridge. Cost: call to enquire. Contact: Cape Quarter 021 447 0355, Willowbridge 021 914 9224 or visit Clay Café Let your child produce his own personal masterpiece. Time: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am–4pm. Venue: Hout Bay. Cost: varies. Contact: 021 790 3318 or visit Iziko South African Museum African Dinosaurs showcase. Entrance is free on


August 2010

National Women’s Day (9 August). Time: 10am–5pm daily. Venue: Iziko South African Museum, 25 Queen Victoria St, Cape Town. Cost: R15 for 17 years and older, free for 16 years and younger. SA pensioners and students pay R5. Contact: 021 481 3800 or visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden hosts the collaborative exhibition, Untamed, which include a living wall and sculptures by Dylan Lewis. Time: 8am–6pm (April to August) and 8am–7pm (September to March). Venue: Rhodes Dr, Newlands. Cost: adults R32, children 6–17 years R10. For more info: visit Mosaic Art Panel workshop Children 6–15 years learn to make their own birthday or Christmas gifts. 14 and 21 August. Time: 9:30am–12:30pm. Venue: 2 Hanover Rd, Diep River. Cost: R1 000, adult and child together. Contact Kathleen: 082 446 2956 or Sand art workshops Rainbow sand art card making for ages four years and older. Adults welcome. Time and venue: Saturday: Tokai 9am–1pm, Sunday: North Gate Island Market 9am–3pm and Hout Bay Craft Market 10am–4pm. Cost: R20 per card made. Contact Lana: 072 931 2344 or

classes, talks and workshops Grow A Tale: Conscious Kids’ workshop incorporates developing a child’s communication skills and relaxation techniques. Time: 9am–noon. Venue: tbc. Cost: R120. For bookings contact Lisa: 083 644 4980 or Kumon Education offers free trial Kumon Education, one of the leading afterschool education providers in South Africa, is launching a free trial offer. The offer applies to either or both subjects of English and Maths. 16–29 August. For more info contact: 0800 002 775 (toll free) or visit Little Cooks Club Fun cooking classes for children aged 2–8 years old. They learn about good food and nutrition through stories, cooking and puppet shows. Time: 11 August 3:30pm–4:30pm or 14 August 9:30am–10:30am. Venue: Tableview. Cost: R90 per class. For more info: visit Tots n Pots kiddies fun cooking workshops encourages good eating habits. Time: 2- to 3-year-olds 3 August 9:30am–10:30am, 3- to 6-year-olds 17 August 2:30pm–3:30pm, 2- to 10-yearolds 24 and 31 August 9am–10am. Venue: Daisies Coffee Shop, The Garden Shop, Doordrift Rd, Constantia. Cost: R480 for six weeks or R640 for eight weeks. Contact Chene: 083 649 7405, chene@totsnpots. com or visit

finding nature and outdoor play Meridian hikes 14 August: Constantia Nek to Constantiaberg; meet at Constantia Nek Restaurant parking lot. Time: 9am. Contact Jackie: 15 August: The Old Mule Track & Swartkop Saddle. Time: 8:15am. Contact Victoria: 082 295 4451 or willsome434@gmail. com or Frank: 082 882 4388 or hostnet@ 21 August: Silvermine East Cape Town’s

(Wolfkop entrance), no children under 12 years. Time: 1pm. Contact Dolores: 021 785 2191. 29 August: Lions Head. Time: 9am. Contact Dolores: DoloresDonovan@ or visit

family outings Farmhouse Rocks with Shanty, a local band of folk musicians. Time: 3:30pm. Venue: Cape Farmhouse Restaurant, Junction M66 & M65, Red Hill. Cost: R50 adults, R40 students. Contact: 021 780 1246 or visit The Compassionate Friends road trip to the West Coast flower region. You may choose to do a day trip or sleep over. 21–22 August. RSVP by 20 August. The Compassionate Friends is an organisation that supports bereaved parents. Time: meet at 8am. Venue: Winelands One-Stop just outside Cape Town on the N1 towards Paarl. Cost: R200 per person per day, children R100 per day – excluding accommodation for the overnight stay. Contact Suzette: 084 568 8402 or Two Oceans Aquarium is running a special on all membership rates until 31 August. Venue: Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront. Cost: R185 per adult, R145 per 14–17-year-old child, R90 per child 4–13 years and free for children under 4 years. Contact: 021 418 3823, aquarium@ or visit

Two Oceans Aquarium

markets Alphen Antiques and Collectables Fair Second and fourth Sunday of every month. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Alphen Centre, Constantia. Cost: free entry. Contact Des: 084 626 7499 or visit Country market in Montagu Find local and handmade items as well as the best real country breakfast under the trees at the outdoor restaurant, Tin Plate Ontbyt. Time: 8:30am–12:30pm, every Saturday. Venue: Euvrard Park, Bath St, Montagu. Cost: free. Contact: 023 614 2471 Earth Fair Market Time: every Saturday 9am–2:30pm and every Wednesday 3pm– 8pm. Venue: South Palms, Tokai Main Rd.

Cost: free entry. Contact: 084 220 3856 or Elkanah House Schoolyard Market 28 August. Time: 9am–1pm. Venue: Elkanah House, 85 Sunningdale Dr, Sunningdale. Cost: free entry. Contact Gail: 021 554 8644 Fresh produce market takes place on the second Saturday of every month. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Jan van Riebeeck Primary School, next to Lifestyle Centre in Kloof St. For more info: visit Holistic Lifestyle Fair Held on the first Sunday of every month. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Observatory Community Centre, off Station and Lower Main Rd and Drake St, Observatory. Cost: adults R8, children under 16 free. Contact: 021 788 8088 Hout Bay Craft Market Held every Sunday. Time: 10am–4pm. Venue: Hout Bay Common. Cost: free entry. Contact: 082 850 9752 Kalk Bay Fresh etc Market Held on the third Sunday of every month. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Kalk Bay Community Centre, Main Rd, Kalk Bay. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 788 8088, 083 332 9785 or Milnerton Flea Market Every Saturday and Sunday. Time: 7am–4pm. Venue: Otto du Plessis Dr, Paarden Eiland. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit Nitida Farmers’ Market 28 August. Time: 8:30am–1pm. Venue: Nitida Cellars. Cost: free entry. Contact: 083 651 0699 or Porter Estate Produce Market Every Saturday, weather permitting. Time: 9am– 1pm. Venue: Tokai. Proceeds go to charity. Cost: R5 per car. Contact: 082 334 5434, 082 823 4121, or visit Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market Held every Saturday. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Oude Libertas, Stellenbosch. Cost: free. Contact: 021 886 8514, admin@ or visit Timour Hall Road Organic Market Every Saturday. Time: 9:30am–noon. Venue: Christian Community Centre, Timour Hall Rd, Plumstead. Cost: free entry. Contact: V&A Craft Market and Wellness Centre Time: 9am–6pm daily. Venue: V&A Waterfront. Cost: free. Contact: 021 408 7842, or visit Waldorf Organic Food Market Every Saturday. Time: 8am–1pm. Venue: Tweefontein Farm, Technopark, Stellenbosch. Cost: free entry. Contact: 021 880 1039, stellenbosch@waldorfschool. or visit

Equal Zeal 8-week Zeal for Life Kids programme for children (5–11 years) to learn about thoughts, feelings, communication, healthy lifestyle, conflict resolution, empathy and making choices. Starts 6 August and runs for eight Fridays during term three. Time: Micro Zeals (5–7 years) 1:30pm–2:30pm, Mini Zeals (8–11 years) 3pm–4pm. Venue: Claremont Coaching Studio for Kids, 94 Camp Ground Rd. Cost: R1 200 (includes Zeal Kit and all programme resources and materials). Contact Steph: 083 567 5572, or visit

Cape Town’s

August 2010


Willowbridge Slowmarket Held every Saturday. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: Willowbridge Lifestyle Centre, Carl Cronjé Dr. Cost: free. Contact: 021 886 8514, admin@ or visit

on stage and screen 15 Reasons not to be in a Play by KTO Drama School. Time: 10am. Venue: MTN Sciencentre auditorium, Canal Walk. Cost: R50. Contact Fiona: 083 206 3885 or Baxter Dance Festival 25–29 August. Time: tbc. Venue: The Baxter Theatre, Rondebosch. Cost: tbc. Contact: 021 685 7880 or visit Curro Drama Kids Show 7 August. Time: 6:30pm. Venue: The Stage Performing Arts School and Theatre. Cost: R50. Contact Sophia: 082 301 4921, info@thestage. or visit Jack and the Beanstalk 1 August. Time: noon. Venue: Children’s Theatre, Delvera Wine Farm, Stellenbosch (midway between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts on the R44). Cost: R40. Contact: 021 884 4352 Mamma Mia Time: varies. Venue: Artscape Opera House. Cost: R180–R380. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000




Time: every second Saturday 10am– 11:30am. Venue: Exclusive Books, Lifestyle Centre, Kloof St. Cost: free. Contact: 021 426 2977 Folio Books Story time suitable for ages 3– 9 years. 7 August. Time: 10:30am. Venue: Folio Books, 207 Main Rd, Newlands, opposite Westerford High. Cost: free. Contact: 021 685 7190 or foliobooks@ Jimmy Jungles Indoor Adventure Playground Time: Monday–Sunday, 9am. Venue: Bellville and Claremont. Cost: from R35. Contact: 021 914 1705 or info@ Kidz Playzone Time: Tuesday–Saturday 9am–4:30pm, Sunday and public holidays 9:30am–2pm. Venue: Durbanville Business Park. Cost: from R20. Contact: 021 979 4872, 084 575 2546 or

playtime and story time Book Lounge Time: every Saturday, 11am. Venue: 71 Roeland St, Gardens, Cape Town. Cost: free. Contact: 021 462 2425, or visit


Mamma Mia

Noordhoek Farm Village hosts free activities every Saturday for children in their enclosed bandstand area. 7 August: Science and Electricity Day, 14 August: Scarf making Day, 21 August: Magic Show, 28 August: Theatre show. Time: 10:30am–12:30pm. Venue: The Bandstand, Noordhoek Farm Village. Cost: free. Contact: 021 789 2812 or visit

sport and physical activities WP Rugby Kidz offers children between the ages of 5 and 12 years an exciting ninemonth rugby programme of 36 one-hour weekly clinics from March to November. The focus is on skills, fitness, safety in rugby and acquiring knowledge plus having loads of fun in a non-contact environment. Time and venue: email to request details. Cost: R150 admin fee and R180 per month. Contact: or visit to register to join this programme. Youth cricket coaching Providing young aspiring cricketers with the necessary skills with the help of qualified and experienced coaches. Monday–Friday. Time: call to enquire. Venue: Cape Town Cricket Club and Noordhoek Cricket Club. Cost: private coaching R150 per hour; group coaching R70 per hour. Contact Wayne: 084 200 590, or visit

only for parents classes, talks and workshops Actionball training For new instructors who want to work on muscle development with children from 2–9 years old. 28 August. Contact Sannie: 079 137 8596 or Annual Feminar by Africa Women’s Network Women in the community are recognised for their contribution to society. 9 August. Time: 9:30am–1pm. Venue: Ottery Islamic Centre, Old Strandfontein Rd, Ottery. Cost: R65. Buy and pay for 10 or more tickets and receive yours free. To book: 021 703 9294 or for more info: visit Annual Professional Organiser Conference Diverse range of topics, from strategies for success to turning passion into profit. 23–29 August. Time, venue and cost: tbc. For more info: visit

family marketplace


August 2010

Cape Town’s

Autism Training hosted by Autism Action SA for parents and professionals who live and work with children who have autism. Time: 3pm–7pm. Venue: visit their website. Cost: R450. Contact Jazel: 078 578 7958, or visit Bergvliet High continuing education programme Courses cover business and finance, computers and information technology, music and dance as well as languages, study and writing, among other topics. Time: varies. Venue: Bergvliet High School, Firgrove Way, Bergvliet. Cost: call to enquire. For a course programme contact Katharine: 021 712 0979, kathy.miles@ or visit Cape Town Medi-Clinic CPR and first aid courses Subsidised CPR and first aid classes covering adult, child and infant CPR and all medical emergencies. Time: selected Wednesdays and Saturdays 9:30am–3pm. Cost: R220 per person or R390 per couple. Contact Daniele: 084 593 2314 or Dare to Dream women’s workshops Learn how to get where you want to be. 3, 10, 17 and 24 August. Time: 9am–11:45am or 7pm–9:45pm. Venue: 12 Buchan Rd, Newlands. Cost: R1 200. Contact Wendy: 021 671 9367, 083 412 8070 or Learn CPR and save a life CPR course for parents, childminders and au pairs. Time: 10am–noon. Venue: Pinelands. Cost: R220. Contact Lee-Ann: 021 531 4182

Cape Town’s

1:30pm–4:30pm. Cost: R1 600. To book or for more info: or visit

on stage and screen

Dare to Dream women’s workshops

Let’s Get Ready workshop for parents and teachers Great ideas for 3- to 8-yearolds. 14 August. Time: 10am–11:15am. Venue: Somerset West Library. Cost: R70. To book contact: or visit Permission to Parent seminar Tips to help parents of toddlers through to teenagers. Time: 27 August: 7pm–9pm; 28 August: 8:30am–4:30pm. Venue: tbc in the Northern Suburbs. Cost: R650. To book or for more info contact Esmé: 082 770 8907, or visit Sugar and Spice nanny training courses Greenpoint 23 July–13 August and 27 August–17 September (Fridays) 9am–noon; Panorama 3–24 August (Tuesdays) 2pm–5pm; Claremont 18 August–8 September (Wednesdays)

Defending the Caveman 3–28 August. Time: 8pm Tuesday–Saturday. Venue: Theatre on the Bay, Camps Bay. Cost: R135. Contact: 021 438 3301 or visit Just Jinjer Internationally acclaimed South African band Just Jinjer prepares to rock The Barnyard Theatre. 15–16 August. Time: 8pm. Venue: The Barnyard Theatre, Willowbridge. Cost: R150. Contact: 021 914 8898 or visit Shannon Hope, the Durban-based pianist and vocalist, performs. 20 August. Time: 7pm. Venue: Villa Pascal Boutique Theatre, 28 Van der Westhuizen St, Valmary Park, Durbanville. Cost: R65. Contact: 021 975 2566, 082 569 4147, info@ or visit Station 70 This musical is a tribute to the ’70s, a time of rock and disco music, hippies, bell-bottom jeans, platform shoes, lava lamps and the Cold War. Ends 18 September. Time: Wednesday–Saturday 8pm for 8:30pm. Venue: Roxy Revue Bar, GrandWest Casino, Goodwood. Cost: R67. Book through Computicket: 083 915 8000 or visit

out and about The Barn Dance Parents dance the night away at a good old-fashioned barn

dance in a farm setting while children (under 13 years only) are taken care of in the main farmhouse with movies and yummy meals. 14 August. Time: 7pm– 1am. Venue: Stanford Hills Estate (2km from Stanford). Cost: R50. Contact Jami: 082 807 2390, or visit

support groups

Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (CHOC) helps parents to meet other parents and survivors. For more info: visit Depression and Anxiety Support Group To contact a counsellor between 8am–8pm Monday to Sunday, contact: 011 262 6396 or for a suicide emergency contact: 0800 567 567 or visit Down Syndrome South Africa Offers support to people with Down Syndrome or similar disabilities and their families. Venue: 73 Van der Stel Rd, Oakdale, Bellville. Contact: 021 919 8533, 084 258 6436, or visit Panorama Psychiatry and Memory Clinic The Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dimentias Support Group meets on 17 August (thereafter every third Tuesday). The Head Injuries, Strokes and other Brain Injuries Support Group meets on 18 August (thereafter every third Wednesday). Time: 5:30pm for 6pm. Venue: Panorama MediClinic, Room 2A and 2B. Cost: free. Contact: 021 930 2177 or visit

August 2010


The Disabled Children’s Action Group Venue: 16 Broad Rd, Wynberg. Contact: 021 797 5977 or visit The National Association for Gifted and Talented Children in South Africa Contact Shirley: 021 873 4951 The Questioners’ Club Holiday ideas to keep gifted children occupied and stimulated. Contact:

bump, baby & Tot in tow

classes, talks and workshops Antenatal classes start the first Saturday of each month for four weeks. One free private class for each couple that joins in the next three months. Maximum four couples per class. Time: 10am–noon. Venue: Park Estate, Rondebosch. Cost: R900. Contact Emma: 083 455 8338, emma@meamama. or visit BabyGym An interactive, brain development workshop for babies, 2 to 8 months. 24 August–21 September. Time: every Tuesday, 10:30am. Venue: Fish Hoek. Cost: R550. Contact Marlise: 073 145 4369, marlise.howell@babygym. or visit Crawl Squad training For new instructors who want to offer milestone development for babies from 0–3 years old. 21 August. Contact Sannie: 079 137 8596 or email Home birth gathering is a support group with a guest speaker, a short film on home birth and the opportunity to meet and speak to midwives, doulas and other moms. 22 August. Time: 2pm–4pm. Venue: The Forge, 12 Windsor Rd, Kalk Bay. Cost: R30 per person or R50 for two. For more info: visit International Breastfeeding Awareness Week coffee mornings Breastfeeding advice and coffee morning for pregnant and breastfeeding moms (with their children). Time and venue: contact for confirmation. Cost: R20 (includes tea and coffee). Contact Emilia or Lesley: 076 837 4231, 084 653 9600 or visit Johnson’s Baby Sense Seminars Time: 8am–5:30pm. Venue: The Westin Grand Hotel. Cost: R230 for the morning or afternoon session; R420 for both. This includes a goodie bag and Johnson’s Baby products. Some lucky moms will receive prizes from the sponsors. Contact: 0861 114 891, or visit Parent Centre moms to be and moms and babies group Time: every Thursday 10am–noon. Venue: Kingsbury Hospital, Maternity Section, second floor, Wilderness

Crawl Squad training

Rd, Claremont. Cost: R35, including refreshments. Contact: 021 762 0116, or visit South African Childcare and First Aid Training Centre CPR courses on 7 August at Intercare Medical Centre, Parklands; 14 August at Cape Town Medi-Clinic. Group care training will take place on 2, 3, 4 and 7 August at Intercare Medical Centre, Parklands. Time: tbc. Contact Daniele: 084 593 2314, or visit

playtime and story time Babies read books; toddlers too Storytelling for babies 0–3 years. 3, 17, 31 August. Time: 9:30am. Venue: Kloof Street Library, 22A Kloof St, Gardens. Cost: R10 per baby. Contact Sharon: 082 222 4082 Bizzy Bodies An indoor play gym for children from the age of 9 months. Time: tbc. Venue: Westlake Business Park. Cost: tbc. For more info: visit Clamber Club These groups are divided into three age groups for children between 9 months and 3 years. For more info: visit Fun with Mom Playgroups for 0–5 year olds, which incorporates free play, crafts, sing-along and story time. Time: 12 and 26 August 9:30am–11:30am. Venue: Durbanville Baptist Church. Cost: R10 per child (first session free). Contact Tania: 082 096 9240 or Sonja: 073 260 2728 Jimmy Jungles has secure facilities for toddlers and children from 6 months. Time: Monday–Sunday 9am. Venue: Bellville and Claremont. Cost: from R35. Contact head office: 021 914 1705 or info@ Kidz Discovery Club Complete development programme for children 3

Baby Sign Language workshop Baby Hands South Africa runs

months–4.5 years. Time: age dependent Monday–Friday. Venue: The Drive, Camps Bay. Cost: age dependent. Contact Kathy: 083 654 2494 or visit Kidz Playzone is an indoor centre that caters for children from the age of one. Time: Tuesday–Saturday 9am–4:30pm; Sunday and public holidays 9:30am– 2pm. Venue: Durbanville Business Park Durbanville. Cost: from R20. Contact Bev: 021 979 4872 or Planet Kids An ecofriendly, indoor play and activity centre that welcomes children with disabilities. Time: Monday–Sunday 10am– 6pm. Venue: 3 Wherry Rd, Muizenberg. Cost: children under 2 R1 per month of age, minimum charge R10 per hour. Children 2–12 years R30 for the first hour. Contact: 021 788 3070 or visit Plinka Plonka Play Indoor play area. Time: Summer weekdays: 9am–5:30pm, weekends 9am–1pm; winter weekdays 9am–5pm, weekends 9:30am–4pm. Venue: 171 Buitenkant St, Gardens. Cost: children under 1 year enter free; 1 year and older R40 for the first hour. Contact: 021 465 0503, playatplinkaplonka@gmail. com or visit Scallywags Play Café The café has a separate play area for children under 3 years. Time: Monday–Saturday 9:30am– 5pm. Venue: Scallywags Play Café, 44 Belvedere Rd, Claremont. Cost: R45 for unlimited play, siblings R35. Contact Lindsay: 021 671 5988, 083 662 8414 or The Playshed has a baby coupe, a special place for toddlers under 3 years. Time: Friday–Sunday, 9am–5pm, holidays and Tuesday–Sunday 9am–5pm. Venue: Oude Molen Eco Village, Pinelands. Cost: call to enquire. Contact Madré: 021 801 0141 or 074 196 2778

support groups Adoption Support Group for people wanting support through the process of adopting and for those who have adopted and need support. Time: Wednesdays 7:30pm–9:30pm. Venue: Rondebosch. Cost: tbc. Contact Jean: 084 685 4839 or La Leche League’s breast-feeding support groups Panorama: Monday 2 August. Contact Rosemary: 021 910 0606 or Irma: 021 979 1425. Durbanville: Tuesday 10 August. Contact Trudy: 021 913 2816 or Tiffany: 021 913 3586. Parow: Wednesday 18 August. Contact Dilshaad: 021 930 2475. Time: 10am. Cost: free. SA Preemies National support group for parents of premature babies. Contact: 012 333 5359, support@preemiesforafrica. org or visit The Parent Centre Support groups for mothers and toddlers, mothers and babies and teenage mothers. Venue: Wynberg. Contact: 021 762 0116

how to help African Brothers Football Association (ABFA) runs a football programme for street children and the community. Through its campaign ‘Buy a Brick, Build a Dream, Become a Star’, ABFA aims to sell 5 000 symbolic bricks at R500 each in order to build a new clubhouse and educational centre, and establish two indoor playing zones. ABFA urgently needs to offer the children at the academy a place to study and to do their homework, with access to books. Contact Ben: 072 650 7676, Lynell: 071 876 8026, or visit African Tails is an organisation that takes dogs in when they are lost and lonely and, with the help of foster caregivers, vets and supporters, find them new families. Contact: 021 448 8074, Lola: 082 450 9804, Richelle: 073 928 6236, contact@, or visit The Avril Elizabeth Home is a 24hour high care and daycare facility for intellectually impaired children and adults. Elizabeth Anne’s and Purity Toiletry brands have again pledged to donate 10 cents to the Avril Elizabeth Home for every product sold. For more info: visit The Canal Walk Foundation Blanket Drive Drop off old or new blankets at the collection boxes at Canal Walk Shopping Centre Entrances 1–4. The Community Chest will distribute blankets to those in need this winter. Ends 22 August. The Organ Donor Foundation (ODF) is a non-profit charity established to address the critical shortage of organ and tissue donors in South Africa. Call their toll free information line 0800 22 66 11 for more details about becoming an organ donor or visit During August (Organ Donor Month) the ODF is participating in a charity book sale and appeals to members of the public to donate new or used books for this purpose. 26–29 August. Venue: Cavendish Square. The Shine Centre sets out to build a nation of readers with your help. Complete their basic training and volunteer to commit to a minimum of 1,5 hours per week, during which you will meet with two learners for a one-hour literacy session. For more info: visit

African Tails

this sign language programme for hearing babies aged 5–24 months. 7 August. Time: 10am–

don’t miss out!

noon. Venue: Bellville. Cost:

For a free listing, email your event to or fax it to

R560, includes workshop pack. Contact Clea: 084 207 6900 or


August 2010

021 462 2680. Information must be received by 5 August for the September issue. Information must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published.

Cape Town’s

it’s party time

Cape Town’s

August 2010


it’s party time continued...


August 2010

Cape Town’s

Cape Town’s

August 2010


last laugh

SAM WILSON on the fun of reviewing eateries with her children.

Joe, Sam and Benj


August 2010


y day job includes reviewing restaurants. (I know. You hate me. Many do.) I do so love a good restaurant. I love the crisp linen and the joy of wielding a really good steak knife. What I especially love is that feeling when the food arrives and it looks and smells just perfect, and you have to restrain yourself from doing a little dance of happiness. (The same one you do in a changing room when the piece of clothing you’re trying on fits perfectly.) Luckily my sons are also very fond of restaurants and are now old enough not only to accompany me but also to throw in their two cents’ worth. It’s terrifically cool to review restaurants with children. Firstly, it really freaks out the waiters. Secondly, children don’t feel the need to coo in quite the same way adults do when they are fussed over. They are also a lot more frank. Take Benjamin, for example. A few nights ago, he came with me to review a local sushi joint. “Can I have a whole lot of salmon, please?” he asked the waiter. I cringed a little, but only on the inside.

After all, isn’t that what many of us, in our heart of hearts, want to say to waiters in sushi restaurants? There’s a particular joy to watching a child eat sushi, especially if they eat it like Benj – casually yet with all the slurpy happiness of an aquarium seal at show time. It contrasts so sharply with the way so many Western adults eat sushi – reverently following pretentious little ginger-wasabi-soya sauce rituals, acting as if the food is judging us, rather than the other way round. But while Benjamin always scores the sushi gigs because of his salmon obsession, it is his older brother, 10-yearold Josef, who is the real reviewer in our family. Seriously – it’s a little unnerving. “Is it just me or do these porcini mushrooms really overpower the sole?” he said the other night. “Is it just me or is your job ruining our child?” Andreas whispered to me over his wine glass. And he’s right. We do have to be very careful to remind the children of the ridiculousness of our standard of eating

out, especially when compared to our household income. Also, they have to know that one day, Mommy will change jobs again and we will all be back in the Spur faster than you can say “Cheddamelt”. In the meantime I’m really savouring scenes like the one last week, where Joe was sitting, groomed and gleaming, in one of the country’s swankiest restaurants, sampling a Yorkshire pudding, artfully dabbed with a hearty gravy. “Are you enjoying that, little man?” asked the waiter. “Very much,” Joey replied. “It tastes almost exactly like French toast with Bovril. And I love French toast with Bovril.” I don’t know what I enjoyed more. The fact that he was right or the part where the waiter turned puce with restrained laughter, and threw off all pretensions of grandeur for the rest of the evening. Here’s to our children, who never let us get away with unnecessary puffing up. And to fish fingers with tomato sauce, for keeping our palates true. Sam Wilson is the Editor-in-Chief of Women24, Food24 and Parent24.

Cape Town’s


from fish fingers to sashimi – and back

Child Magazine | Cape Town August 2010  
Child Magazine | Cape Town August 2010  

Cape Town's best guide for parents