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J O B U R G ’ S

b e s t

gu i d e

f o r

p a r e n t s

top of

the class

how to be a good class rep

for the love of the game is competition taking the fun out of sport?

be inspired

school sticks & stones

a fresh batch of

baker’s day

the dangerous nature of starting rumours


February 2014


back to


we’ve turned celebrate with us


• caffeine fix – when to draw the line • why the finland education system works




Hunter House P U B L I S H IN G

welcome back

Publisher Lisa Mc Namara •

Editorial Managing Editor Marina Zietsman • Features Editor Cassandra Shaw •

I hope you feel rejuvenated after the holidays and are ready to tackle the New Year with gusto. For those of you with children going to big school for the first time, this is a watershed moment that I’m sure you’ll remember for years to come. But it’s a big deal no matter what grade your child is heading to, because education is so important. Have you chosen the right school for your child? Does he have too much on his plate? How do you plan to get involved in his school and in supporting him throughout the year? If we want our children to succeed and to achieve their full

Resource Editor Simone Jeffery • Editorial Assistant Lucille Kemp • Copy Editor Debbie Hathway

Art Designers Nikki-leigh Piper • Mariette Barkhuizen • Mark Vincer •

Advertising Lisa Mc Namara •

Client Relations Renee Bruning •


Nicolene Baldy •

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

Joburg’s Child magazineTM is published monthly by Hunter House Publishing, PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010. Office address: Unit 5, First Floor,

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potential, we need to be there for them every day. I hope you’ll find inspiration in Child magazine, and ways to grow a love of learning in your child. Have a wonderful Feb.

This issue marks our 10-year anniversary. Thanks for your support. It’s been truly rewarding to walk beside fellow parents. Here’s to the future – ours and yours.

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February 2014


contents february 2014

24 upfront


3 a note from lisa

8 upfront with paul Paul Kerton

6 over to you readers respond 10 reader’s blog Catherine Janse van Rensburg shares healthy lunchbox ideas


cautions us against too much sun exposure, but warns us not to be too pedantic about it

11 pregnancy news – when to cut the cord delaying the cutting of the cord can be beneficial for your newborn. By Lucille Kemp

16 active for life pushing young children to excel in sport is not in their best interest. By Marc de Chazal

19 learning digitally Cassandra Shaw attended the Google in Education South Africa Summit and shares what she’s learnt

22 the finland phenomenon why is the Finnish schooling system so successful? Caryn Edwards investigates

24 it’s not “just a rumour” telling tales about others can be hurtful and dangerous, says Gary Koen

26 are you up to it? being a class rep is not always an easy task, but it can be rewarding, says Christina Castle

28 the buzz around caffeine should children consume even a tiny amount of caffeine? Vanessa Papas brings the facts

12 best for baby – nursemaid’s elbow Anél Lewis explains what signs to look out for

14 dealing with difference Growth Hormone Deficiency can be successfully dealt with, says Glynis Horning

30 resource – baker’s day made easy get creative with these colourful ideas. Compiled by Simone Jeffery

34 a good read for the whole family 38 what’s on in february 50 finishing touch with a shock, Cassandra Shaw realises she’s turning into her mother

classified ads

health 9 “game-boy back” Tamlyn Vincent looks at the physical damage too much gaming can cause

45 family marketplace 48 let’s party

this month’s cover images are supplied by:


February 2014


Cape Town



St Mary’s School

St Mary’s School

Saheti School

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February 2014



a little miracle I would just like to let you know that I love Child magazine – from the advertisements, and all the information to the great articles. The photos you choose for your front covers are also always gorgeous. I would like to share our amazing story about my beautiful miracle grandchild. Her mom, Leanda, who has severe epilepsy, fell pregnant. Three doctors advised her to have an abortion, but she decided to have her baby and gave birth to a perfect little girl. It wasn’t an easy decision, but Seanna is going on four now and is as clever, bright and beautiful as can be. Charmaine Talbot

thanks for great prizes On behalf of Luc and all his friends, we would like to say a very big “thank you” for the prize we’ve won through Child magazine from Rugby Tots, Cape Town for Luc’s fifth birthday party. We had great fun and now have many potential Springboks on our hands. The Rugby Tots team were wonderful with the children and have

definitely sparked a great interest to take on rugby lessons. I will need to start thinking how we’re going to top it with the next birthday party… Bresler family We recently visited Gondwana Game Reserve having won a weekend away in a Child magazine giveaway. It was a wonderful break and my sons, aged two and a half and four and a half, enjoyed it immensely. The staff was fantastic with the children and very accommodating. The boys loved the game drives in the open-top 4x4, and our personal ranger, Brian, was able to hold their attention for hours. The accommodation in the Bush Villa was luxurious, and the facilities excellent. Thank you so much for a wonderful weekend. Emma

sun scare We’ve spent the December holidays in the Southern Cape, and I was really shocked to see the lack of “sun culture” many parents actually follow. Regardless of skin

over to you ban school uniforms In response to the article in the November issue of Child magazine (“two schools of thought”) where they compare New Zealand schools to South African schools, I would like to add: Finland has one of the best education systems in the world without wearing uniforms and having silly rules about appearance. Finnish students do not wear them in primary or high school. They are completely unnecessary. (Also read the article on page 22 “the finland phenomenon” – Ed) I think uniforms are stupid and against children’s rights. Throughout high school, I wore a school uniform and was punished for not obeying such school rules as dress length, colour of hairbands, colour of clips, having a fringe, having long nails, not pulling up my socks or rolling down my white socks twice not once. Today, as a 34 year old working in a corporate environment, I look back in nothing but disgust. Reasons given for school uniforms are a placebo cynically prescribed for the gullible and often include: 1) “they save money”. Often school uniforms can only be bought at a monopoly supplier, that pushes prices up. When the redundant blazer and tie costs more than a pair of jeans, cost to the school does not matter and the uniform is enforced regardless of cost to the parents. 2) “they improve discipline”. I look back on my disdain for the school

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February 2014

colour (I’m coloured myself), I’ve learnt that you don’t spend time in the sun during the hottest part of the day, and that you have to apply and reapply sunscreen regularly. Holiday-makers just don’t seem to take this advice seriously. Families that I’ve encountered on the beach with little children, early in the morning, will still be there late afternoon, tanned crimson, oblivious to the dangers of sunburn. It was especially the children that worried me. They would play in the shallow waters with mom, and on many occasions I did not see the re-application of sunscreen, even after having a rubdown with a towel. Am I the only sun paranoid person? Alana Hill Childmag says Ensuring that your child is protected against the negative effects of the sun is extremely important. See the link below.

Check out and click on “7 skin types and the sun” for a more informative guide.

Let us know what’s on your mind. Send your letters or comments to or PO Box 12002, Mill Street, 8010.

uniform and how I was punished because of it. I was well behaved and in the top 10 of my class. Appearance has nothing to do with behaviour or morals. 3) “they promote a sense of school pride”. I have never since being a pupil, felt any affinity towards my high school or primary school. Teachers, principals and some parents believe in the benefits of uniforms, albeit superficial. It simply requires a change of mind-set. Some teachers and principals may sadistically “enjoy” the inspections of school uniforms and the resulting punishments they can dish out for minor offences. I am making an appeal to you to experiment with the idea of no school uniforms and let go of the rules relating to appearance. Lara Gravenor

love to dance I absolutely love the idea of Zumbatomic. I’ve been looking at ways to get my five year old “off” cartoons and on to something we can do together. We both love to dance and I could drop a few kilos while I’m at it. I’m also getting her two best friends and their mothers involved. She will feel so special that she can have her friends and their moms over at her house for a fun date and it gives us an opportunity to get to know each other better as mothers. Suvana Majiare

giving my marriage a second chance Thank you very much for the October 2013 issue of Child magazine, which carried a very insightful and informative article dealing with divorce (“divorce dilemma” by Gary Koen). I had been contemplating divorce and after reading the article my mindset changed for the better. I am working towards a better family environment, not only for myself, but also for my children. The article provoked an open-minded thought process in me and gave me an angle that I had never thought to explore. I definitely agree that more often than not, when the fight starts between two parents, they do not have regard for, or tend to forget about, their children’s feelings. I was on that path and was burdening my children with my problems, instead of guiding them through life’s challenges. Thank you very much for the article. I am now more inclined to make it work than to break up. Anonymous subscribe to our newsletter and win Our wins have moved online. Please subscribe to our newsletter and enter our weekly competitions. To subscribe, visit

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.

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February 2014


upfront with paul

factoring in the sun The sun can burn, cause skin damage and sometimes even

rowing up in England there was little chance of getting badly sunburnt or developing skin cancer, or even so much as a heat rash since the sun deigned to shine so infrequently, its influence was negligible. And boys never went out without their vests on. The other thing was that sunbeds, Mediterranean holidays, easyJet and multi-factor lotions and potions hadn’t been invented or exploited, or were limited to but a few. Not so in sunny South Africa where the sun is an intensely different story. The African sun has been burning holes in people’s skin since time began and it is wise to heed the health warnings, especially where our children are concerned; even on the cloudiest of days. One minor wardrobe malfunction when dressing your child, or lackluster concentration when lathering on sun cream can be very costly. Allow the sun’s laser rays to break through the factor 30 and you have a very grumpy, unhappy bunny on your hands – and rightly so.


February 2014

Saskia, Paul and Sabina

Once at Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge I walked all day in 34°C, but while I’d covered my body I’d forgotten to put any x-factor protection on my feet. I wore those ridiculous sandals with paisleyesque swirls cut into the leather (don’t ask, biggest sartorial mistake of my life). Hours later, while everybody was jollying in the bar, I was covering my unbearably sore, bright pink paisley tattoos, stinging and itching like a thousand spider bites. It’s easy to forget the sun cream and think that once one layer has been applied

on the beach at 9am, there is no need to apply another coat until 9am the following morning. This is particularly serious when children are going on a playdate or a school trip; despite the best efforts of host parents and teachers, there is always one poor child who comes home lobster-like, minus a few layers of flesh. There is a limit to this protection though. You see children who are covered from head to toe in a white, thick paste as mom or dad’s over enthusiasm has run away with them. The body does need some sun

to penetrate the skin for a crucial dose of natural vitamin D. Lately the World Health Organization noted that the overprotective Western World has started developing rickets and backtracked slightly on its solar scaremongering, advocating that parents hold off applying cream for 10 minutes so that the child’s body can reap the benefits. An even tan remains a style badge of honour and makes everybody look good – like the clever lighting over the vegetable shelves in the grocery store; white teeth and the whites of the eyes look infinitely whiter, and the “healthy glow” is deemed very sexy. It wasn’t always as fashionable. In Victorian times the aristocracy looked down on people with tans as peasants and farm workers, while they camped in their ivory towers to preserve their pale, almost transparent skin, which was then deemed sexy. Me? I’m off to catch a few rays and fill up on vitamin D. Well, I am English and it is midday. Follow Paul on Twitter: @fabdad1

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embarrassment, but it also has its benefits. PAUL KERTON explains.


“game-boy back” The long hours spent gaming are taking their toll on children’s



bodies. TAMLYN VINCENT explores some solutions.

herever you go, you see them – restaurants, the doctor’s rooms, even on the couch at home. Children sitting hunched over some new gadget, or the latest console, pounding away as they fire little birds at laughing piggies. But the time children spend playing computer games is putting their bodies under strain. Liska Thom, a physiotherapist in Durban, says that children spend long hours in a stationary position, often with poor posture. This causes an imbalance between muscles, which can’t hold the joints in place. The soft tissue and joints strain, become inflamed and start to hurt. Over time, bones may also fuse in the incorrect position, causing curvature of the spine. Repeating actions when playing games doesn’t help either. Repetitive use of the same body part can result in an overuse or repetitive strain injury, says Joburg-based paediatric orthopaedic surgeon Dr Greg Firth. The resulting injuries have taken on names like “Game-boy back”, “Nintendonitis” and “Playstation thumb”.

damage done Repetitive strain injuries are a group of injuries caused by prolonged repetitive movement and are often found in fingers, hands, arms, shoulders and necks, says Cape Town chiropractor Dr Per Rehn. Carpal tunnel syndrome

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is a common example, where pressure on a nerve in the wrist causes numbness, pain or even loss of movement in the hand. Arm muscles can also be strained from using a computer mouse, thumbs from using Game Boys or phones, and upper and lower back muscles from poor posture. Look out for tenderness, pain or throbbing in muscles or joints. Other symptoms could include tingling, numbness, stiffness or weakness in the affected area. “The repetitive strain on the joints over time can be quite substantial,” notes Thom, adding that children are likely to carry these injuries with them into adulthood, when they will experience more chronic back, neck and shoulder problems. These problems are also becoming more common. The technology is readily available, and with cellphones and tablets, increasingly mobile. While more research needs to be done in South Africa, Rehn believes that these injuries will become more of a problem in the future.

time out You can’t pretend the technology isn’t there, says Rehn, but you can limit children’s gaming time and encourage them to sit properly, and play outside. If children are experiencing pain or discomfort, have them take a break, as problems should resolve if they stop playing, says Firth. If the pain doesn’t clear up, see a physiotherapist or doctor.

game plan • Encourage good posture when sitting at tables, desks or on the couch, ensuring backs are supported. • Get children to lie on their tummies and prop themselves up on their elbows while playing games. • Encourage regular breaks, exercise and stretching. • Stretch hands and fingers: – Make a fist, hold and release, pushing your fingers out. – Grip and release a soft ball several times with each hand. – Place your hand, palm down, on a table. Lift and drop fingers one at a time. • Stretch shoulders, neck and back: – Roll shoulders forwards, then backwards.  – Standing straight with legs slightly apart, stretch one arm up and overhead, while bending the spine sideways. Repeat with the other arm. – Slowly roll the neck from side to side, first with your neck tilted forward and then backward. For more stretches visit our website at childmag.

February 2014


reader’s blog

peanut butter granola bars Avoid the morning panic and sort out your child’s lunchbox ahead of time. CATHERINE JANSE VAN RENSBURG offers us a recipe.


February 2014

Coconut oil boosts immunity and fights harmful bacteria and viruses, as it has antibacterial properties. Seeds and nuts are a powerful source of protein, healthy fats and minerals needed for bone development, immunity and energy production. Raw honey is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants, supports good bacteria, aids digestion, has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is said to slow ageing. Oats provide high levels of fibre and protein, and low levels of fat. It also stabilises blood sugar and reduces the risk of diabetes. These bars contain all raw ingredients, so none of the nutrients have been destroyed by high temperatures. They are great for breakfast, high-energy snacks or lunchboxes and take 10 minutes to make. Just make sure there isn’t a peanut allergy among your child’s classmates.

ingredients • 1 cup natural peanut butter (or macadamia nut butter) • ½ cup coconut oil • cup raw honey • 2 cups rolled oats

• 2 cups mixed seeds (raw sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, coconut, raw chopped pecans or cashews) • 1 cup chopped dried fruit (dates, raisins, apricots)

method 1  Gently and very slightly warm the peanut butter, coconut oil and honey in a pot until thoroughly mixed. 2 Remove from heat and add the oats, seeds and fruit. 3 Mix thoroughly and spread in a large pan. 4 Use a potato-masher or spatula to press the mixture down firmly and evenly. 5 Cover the pan with foil and leave in the fridge to set for a few hours. Once chilled, cut into bars and store in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer. *Catherine is the author of

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

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wonder if other moms have the same morning “lunchbox packing apprehension”, thinking of something edible to rustle up at top speed? It always helps having a starting point, but sometimes just finding the lunchbox or juice bottle is like running a gauntlet. The lunchbox will have found its way up a tree and the last remaining juice bottle will be at the bottom of the toy box. To ease my morning stress, I made some lunchbox treats with my children this week: Minneola and white chocolate biscuits and peanut butter granola bars. I must admit, I had a moment of hesitation – trying to decide between quickly whipping up the treats in peace or baking with my children. But I involved them. Yes, my four year old insisted on cracking or “crushing” the egg, which was traumatic to watch, but he was very helpful with the white chocolate chopping (and eating) and my two year old emptied a packet of sesame seeds over the floor. They had fun, and thankfully set off outside to lick the whisks, giving me a glorious few minutes to clean up the aftermath in peace. So, bring on the lunchbox packing this week, I’m armed and ready. These granola bars are high in omega oils and immune boosting, brain building nutrients:

pregnancy news

when to cut the cord


During childbirth, delaying the clamping of the cord even for a minute can give the placenta more time to pass on its goodness to your premature baby. By LUCILLE KEMP defined

pregnant Alys Suter first came across the idea of delayed cord clamping while chatting to Sister Susan Lees, her antenatal class instructor. Lees, who has practiced as a midwife for over 18 years in hospitals and private birthing units, has seen the benefits of reverting back to a time when we interfered less with childbirth.

The WHO defines the process as follows, “In the womb, the baby’s blood flows through the umbilical cord to and from the baby, and the placenta brings oxygen and nutrition to the baby from the mother’s blood. If the umbilical cord is left unclamped for a short time after the birth, some of the blood from the placenta passes to the baby to increase the baby’s blood volume and help the flow of blood to the baby’s important organs, including the lungs.”


the latest on delaying The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement in August 2012 saying, “For many years now, standard care during the delivery of the placenta has been to clamp the cord immediately at birth.” The WHO review looks at delaying cord clamping to allow more placental transfusion compared with immediate cord clamping. Lees sees delayed cord clamping as, “allowing a natural process when the doctor leaves the umbilical cord to pulsate for a couple of minutes, upon delivery, in order to supplement the iron levels of a premature baby. Midwives in private practice have been using this method for 15 years, though it’s not yet mainstream practice.” Alys’ son, Ethan, came almost two months premature, but had Alys had the time to create a birthing plan she says she would have elected to delay cord clamping. During her time with moms, Lees advises that they request a delay in cord clamping, when creating their birthing plan, if they so wish.

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life-giving cells low

The WHO has endorsed delayed cord clamping after reviewing studies with 738 babies born prematurely, between 24 and 36 weeks gestation, by caesarean section or vaginal birth. “Clamping the cord after a delay of at least 30 seconds and at the most 180 seconds, showed that fewer babies needed transfusions due to anaemia compared to those whose cords were clamped within a few seconds. Also, the risk of bleeding in the brain (intraventricular haemorrhage) and severe infection in the bowel (necrotizing enterocolitis) were reduced.”

Anaemia is a common condition in premature babies due to a decrease in the number of circulating red blood cells, containing haemoglobin, which carry oxygen to each cell of the body. This is where delayed cord clamping can be beneficial as, according to Lees, “premature babies can receive an extra 70ml to 100ml of blood”. One or more of the following signs may indicate that your baby has anaemia, so keep a lookout if you feel that something is amiss: • pale skin colour; • a fast rate of breathing or difficulty breathing when at rest; • decreased activity or too sleepy; • a high heart rate (tachycardia) when at rest; • tiredness with feeding or poor feeding habits; and • slow weight gain.

February 2014


best for baby

nursemaid’s elbow ANÉL LEWIS got a shock when she came home and found her child in pain. She tells us more about nursemaid’s elbow and how to handle it.


February 2014

When I replied that I had been at work and that my nanny had called me about the incident, he said he was sure that Conor had nursemaid’s elbow, a common injury seen in toddlers – especially children looked after by nannies or caregivers. He explained that a child’s elbow may become dislocated if their arms are yanked or

serious injury, the doctor agreed to send Conor for X-rays to see if there was a fracture or break. In retrospect, I wish I had trusted the doctor’s instincts. Conor had to endure several sets of X-rays, which caused excruciating pain, as the radiographer twisted and flexed his arm and wrist into different positions.

I understood that it could have happened while any of us were looking after him. pulled. I was horrified by the suggestion that Conor may not have fallen after all, but that his arm may have been injured by being pulled roughly. Had the person I trusted to look after my child possibly caused his injury, and then covered it up? As I didn’t want to rule out the possibility that he may have fallen and sustained a

While we were waiting for the results, an orthopeadic surgeon at Life Claremont Hospital in Cape Town, Dr Clive White, happened to walk past. He immediately asked me if I had done the “reduction manoeuvre” yet. “The what,” I asked? He then explained that as Conor’s arm was hanging limply by his side, and there was

no sign of swelling, it was likely that his elbow had been pulled out of joint. White then pulled Conor’s wrist and arm so that the elbow could “pop” back into place. It was over within seconds, and Conor did not appear to be in too much pain. In fact, by the time we had walked to my car outside the hospital, he was using his arm again. He had been given a painkiller when we arrived in the emergency room, but there was no need for follow-up medication.

the medical lowdown White explains that nursemaid’s elbow is a slip of the radial head, one of the bones in the elbow joint, under the ligament that holds it in place. “It is caused by a longitudinal pull on a straight arm – commonly a sharp tug.” It can occur in children from six months to six years of age, but is most common between the ages of two and three when the ligaments are still relatively loose, making it easier

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got the call at about 2pm. It was my nanny saying that Conor had fallen and injured his arm. I rushed home to find my 16-month old son pale and in pain. His left arm hung limply at his side and, although he was not crying, he was experiencing discomfort. My nanny explained that Conor had been playing with his cars when he fell down two steps, and landed on his arm. I was worried that he may have fractured his wrist or broken his arm. But as he wasn’t continuously crying and there was no sign of a bruise or swelling, my husband and I decided to wait until the morning before taking him to the doctor. Conor seemed fine, as long as we didn’t touch his arm. But the following morning he still refused to use his injured arm and screamed when I tried to move it to dress him. Time for the emergency room… The first thing the doctor on duty asked, when I explained about Conor’s tumble, was whether I had seen him fall.

other injuries to look out for

for the elbow to move out of place. The injury is also twice as likely to happen to girls than boys. If it’s happened once, there’s a 30% chance it will occur again in the same elbow.

signs, causes and treatment The most obvious sign is pseudoparalysis, when the child can’t use the arm, and it hangs limply by their side. This often terrifies parents, says White. There are usually no signs of swelling, warmth or bruising. A diagnosis is based on history and an examination of the arm to rule out the possibility of more serious injuries. While usually caused by a sharp tug or pull on the arm, it can also happen during a moment of fun. If you swing your child while holding their wrists or arms, the elbow could easily pop out of its socket. The injury can also occur during a fall, or when a child rolls over.

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The reduction, or replacement of the elbow in its socket, is done while your child is awake. “The pain is not severe enough to warrant an anaesthetic risk,” says White. The elbow may also occasionally slip back into place spontaneously. Surgery is only required in very rare cases when the arm does not pop back easily.

education as prevention Initially I was furious with my nanny for possibly injuring Conor. I was also reluctant to leave him in her care again. But, after reading more about the condition, I understood that it could have happened

while any of us were looking after him – when Craig was swinging Conor, or when I pulled him quickly to avoid a strong wave at the beach. Without having actually seen what happened, I could not say for sure who had been at fault. So, once I calmed down, I explained to my nanny that we all needed to be more cautious. Instead of yanking them by their arms or wrists, we had to lift up the children under their arms. As Conor is now at a greater risk of dislocating his elbow again, I made it very clear that we have to be extra careful with him.

Abusive head trauma or shaken baby syndrome is caused by dropping, throwing or shaking a child, or from hitting the child’s head. It can also be caused by unintentionally fast movement. The injury is most commonly seen in babies between the ages of three and eight months, but can occur in children as old as five years. It usually happens when frustrated caregivers or parents violently shake the child. The extreme movement causes the child’s brain to move in the skull, damaging nerves and blood vessels. It may cause brain damage or even death. Rough play and gentle falls should not cause this type of injury, but the golden rule is to never shake a baby or child. Also, throwing your child into the air may strain your child’s neck, especially if she is younger than six months. Rather lift your baby into the air, or bounce her gently on your knee with controlled movements.

February 2014


dealing with difference

a growing

problem Growth is a good indicator of children’s health, but some grow slower than others. When should you worry – and what can

aariq Meth was a small baby and sickly from the start, constantly fighting bronchitis. “Doctors at our local state hospital weren’t concerned and I kept expecting he’d grow,” sighs his mother, 37-year-old Joburg credit controller Nashieta Jacobs. “But at four he came to just above my knee – my niece, who’s a year younger, was taller.” Nashieta took Taariq to a GP, who confirmed that he was undersized. She was referred to various specialists and eventually a paediatric endocrinologist – a doctor specialising in children with growth and hormone problems. “She immediately ordered him into hospital for tests. It turns out my son had something called panhypopituitarism – his pituitary gland produced no hormones. He was


February 2014

put on thyroid hormone, steroids and daily growth hormone injections.” Today Taariq is a healthy 11 year old of normal height for his age. “I’m 1,56m and he’s almost as tall,” laughs Nashieta. He’s an active boy and in the top five of his class, academically. “It worries me that he came close to not being assessed early enough for treatment to be effective,” she says. “Moms need to be aware of the problem.”

finding a cause A growth problem can occur at any age and have any number of causes, from genetic (familial) to malnutrition, certain syndromes (Prader-Willi and Turner), skeletal disorders, head injuries, chronic medical conditions (kidney, heart, lung and intestinal diseases), magazine joburg




serious illnesses (meningitis, encephalitis and brain tumours) and an underactive thyroid. “Most children don’t have a serious problem with growth and will eventually reach a height that’s similar to their parents,” says Dr Yasmeen Ganie, a paediatric endocrinologist at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban. But some have Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD) and need treatment. GHD stems from problems with the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, and can be hard to diagnose as the gland produces Growth Hormone (GH) in spurts. “Testing is done only once other causes of poor growth have been excluded,” says Ganie. The endocrinologist conducts baseline tests followed by GH stimulation tests that may require the child to be hospitalised overnight. “The earlier GH treatment is begun, the closer to the child’s adult height potential they will achieve,” says Dr Michelle Carrihill, a paediatric endocrinologist at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.

injecting hope GHD is treated with daily injections until the growth areas of the bones close. “In severe deficiency, treatment may continue into adulthood at a lower dose,” says Ganie. Parents are taught to give the shots, and once they’re older, the children themselves. “Taariq’s used injections; they’re not painful,” says Nelisha. A more frightening aspect can be cost, although Carrihill reports that it has become “relatively cheaper” in South Africa as the cost price to the patient has not increased relative to inflation. Cost depends on how much GH the child needs and how long they are on it. Only certain medical aid plans cover treatment.

GH was originally derived from the pituitary glands of autopsied bodies, but has been synthesised since 1985. Side effects are rare when it’s used as directed, but may include headaches, muscle and joint aches, slippage of hip bones and water retention. GH treatment may also expose diabetes, says Carrihill, and if the child is harbouring a GH-sensitive cancer, GH therapy could accelerate its growth. “Long-term surveillance for cancer is needed,” says Ganie. If diagnosis is made early enough and a child responds well, they can grow to their normal or near-normal adult height potential, say both doctors, but it’s important to have realistic expectations. GH can’t override genetic potential, and if both parents are short, the child will probably be short too. (To estimate their adult height, average your height and your partner’s, then add 7cm for a boy or subtract 7cm for a girl.) Results can be noticeable after just three months as growth is initially faster than normal, but it slows – though not to what it would have been without treatment. Three times more boys are presented for assessment of short stature than girls, although there’s no such ratio between genders with respect to the actual incidence of GH deficiency, Carrihill says. This statistic may reflect social bias, as parents of short boys are more likely to go for help. Although a slowing of growth can be noticed from around age two, it’s usually diagnosed when children start school and their height is compared to others their age, or at puberty when short boys can become self-conscious, or be teased or bullied. “That’s what I feared for Taariq,” says Nashieta. “Now he doesn’t have to worry.”

when to act All children need to be measured twice a year and their growth plotted on growth charts. Ask your GP about seeing a paediatrician or paediatric endocrinologist when your child: • is shorter than most others of the same age and the same gender; • has a face that looks younger than his peers, a chubby build and prominent forehead with small hands and feet; and/or • has delayed puberty (lack of breast development by 13 years in girls, lack of testicular enlargement by 14 in boys).

assessing the problem: They will: • ask about the heights of other family members; • ask about pregnancy, labour, delivery and postnatal complications; • consider the child’s weight and height measurements since birth; • ask about their general health and nutrition, past illnesses, injuries and stresses; • do a thorough physical examination; • X-ray a hand and wrist to check bone development against their height and age; • take blood to test for thyroid hormone deficiency and kidney, bone, or gastrointestinal diseases; and • possibly do an MRI of the head to check the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. If results suggest a growth problem, your child will be tested for GHD. For more information contact the Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of SA (SEMDSA): 011 202 0516 or visit

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February 2014



active for life Pushing our children into competitive sport, at a young age, may not be in their best interests. MARC DE CHAZAL explains.

fear factor Children lose interest in sport because of fear, says sport psychologist Clinton Gahwiler. “They either fear failure or they fear success, which can result in less enjoyment from sport and also various performance issues,” he says. “Unfortunately, the way we perceive success and achievement in society teaches children to link their sense of self-worth to other people.”


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here are very good reasons to get children off the couch. Embracing an active lifestyle from a young age will benefit them throughout their lives and help them to avoid the many health risks of a sedentary existence, such as obesity and diabetes. If we push too hard, however, we may just be contributing to the problem of inactivity instead. Susan Keegan, the director of The Vine School in Lansdowne, Cape Town, believes that children are being pushed to perform and to specialise in one sport long before they are ready. “Although this may lead to short-term gain for a few children, the vast majority do not benefit and the overall impact is detrimental,” she says. “It seems that we’ve forgotten that school is a place where you learn. It’s a place of preparation, not performance. Once you have learnt skills and gained confidence based on real competence, you are better prepared for the stress of performance and competition. Children drop out because they are expected to perform when they are not yet physically or mentally ready; and they lose interest, not only in sport, but in physical activity. They’d rather play computer games, where they can try, fail and try again. The result is poor levels of physical fitness, which also manifests in learning difficulties.” Prof Tim Noakes of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) believes that the major injury children suffer from is not physical, but the loss of desire to play sport. Noakes is not opposed to children playing competitive sport, but he advises teachers and parents to introduce competition appropriately. “Children need to learn the basic skills first; then they need to get fit before they start to compete. But we just go straight to competition. Children in early primary school don’t have the skills or the fitness to cope with highly competitive sport,” he says.

Overly zealous parents and teachers are largely to blame for this pressure. “Many parents are far too wrapped up in their children’s sporting success and young children are ill-equipped to deal with the pressure,” says Keegan. “That’s unhealthy, but it’s a small thing compared to our children’s loss of the joy of just playing a game and the delight of running, jumping and hitting things. Competitive sport in primary school robs children of playing for the sake of playing. If children are conditioned to believe that the ‘real’ reason for fitness and athletic skills is to win something, then why would anyone but the winners want to be fit or athletic?” If a child is playing two to three hours of specialised sport at a young age, there is a good chance they will suffer overuse injuries. But the real problem, according to Noakes, is that parents are pushing their children to achieve through them. “You don’t find many Springboks forcing their children to play a particular sport,” he says. “It’s usually the father who never made it. And any school trying to discover the next Naas Botha at the age of six is doing it all wrong. The children who are heralded as future Springboks at the age of 13 hardly ever make it to the top.”

break a leg The psychological and emotional impact of pushing children into competitive sport too young can be detrimental, but so too are physical injuries to a developing child’s growth plates. These injuries can cause long-term or even permanent damage. Growth plates are areas of developing cartilage tissue near the ends of long bones. The growth plate regulates and helps determine the length and shape of the mature bone. “Sports that involve throwing may result in overuse injuries to growth plates,” points out Dr Lyall Ashberg, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon practicing in Cape Town. “Cartilage in a child’s elbow can be permanently damaged as a result. Knees are another area commonly injured, which can lead to Osgood-Schlatter Disease (OSD). This is caused from overuse and results in inflammation of the bone, cartilage, and/or tendon at the top of the shinbone, where the tendon from the kneecap attaches. OSD usually goes away by the age of 18 or when a teenager’s bones mature. Until then, only the symptoms need treatment. Rest and stretching is the key to pain relief,” he says. Ashberg has also treated overuse injuries to wrists, especially in girls doing gymnastics at a competitive level, many of whom had to be removed from the sport because of their injuries. Young girls who play soccer intensely may also suffer from ligament injuries caused by the rapid deceleration movements required by the sport, he says.

Children in early primary school don’t have the skills or the fitness to cope with highly competitive sport. physical literacy “Children need to develop an age-appropriate physical literacy before they can progress to playing sports such as cricket and rugby,” says Noakes, referencing the Canadian Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model. According to Noakes, the South African Department of Sport and Recreation has endorsed this model for schools countrywide. Canadian Sport for Life, the movement behind LTAD, defines physical literacy as the concept that children must learn to move properly when they are in preschool and primary school. The idea is that if children are given the opportunity to do the right physical activities at the right time in their development, more of them will enjoy getting active and will stay active throughout their lives. Research shows that many children simply drop out of sport because they don’t have the necessary skills to play. Those who do excel have learnt the fundamental skills such as running, jumping, throwing and catching from the time they were toddlers. It’s just not true that some children are born brilliant athletes, as scientific research has shown that one needs 10 000 hours of practice to become an expert. This doesn’t mean, however, that children should be lacing up their rugby boots as soon as they learn to walk. Movement skills need to be learnt before sport skills. In the LTAD model, girls should only begin specialised training after the age of 11 and boys at 12. Real competition should only start for girls when they’re 15 and boys when they’re 16, and this all depends on the essential physical literacy path that begins during the first 6 years of life.

everyone wins So, what is the role of parents to ensure that children actually enjoy being active with better chances to become the next Usain Bolt? Canadian Sport for Life encourages us to support our child’s activities, and not to be a 24-hour coach. Our role is to assist with transportation, to provide good nutrition, rest and a balanced lifestyle. We should also seek to understand their reasons for playing a sport and not be demanding about results. magazine joburg

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Noakes admits that he hasn’t really solved the dilemma of competition at school level for himself. “I believe in the value of the LTAD model and the need for children to develop physical literacy before they begin to compete. I also think we focus too much on competing for the school. But then again, the reason we have such good rugby players is because of the competitive structures in our schools,” he says. “The problem with pushing so hard to produce good rugby players is that we end up with 200 specialist players in the country and 50 000 other players with nowhere else to go because they only learnt to play rugby well. How many flankers out there who didn’t make it professionally could have rowed in the Olympics? Many cricket players could also have been great tennis players or golfers. And so many black children are only exposed to soccer. Imagine the potential there?”

Many parents are far too wrapped up in their children’s sporting success and young children are ill-equipped to deal with the pressure. The Vine School focuses on maximum participation, skills training, physical fitness and sheer enjoyment, says Keegan. “Physical education is built into the school day, so every child has a minimum of two sessions a week of running, jumping, balancing, skipping, swimming, and catching, throwing and hitting balls,” she says. “All our staff members spend almost every break with the children, so informal cricket and soccer matches happen during break time under supervision of teachers who play with them. We have a small extramural programme, which includes soccer, netball and cross-country running, but the emphasis is on doing your best, not beating someone else. We’re not opposed to competition; there are few things that improve your skills as much as when you compete against a worthy opponent. But to handle competition well you need a certain level of emotional maturity, which is still very fragile in primary school children.”


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tech tools

learning digitally It’s a great time to be a student. CASSANDRA SHAW lists a few of the exciting educational opportunities presently available online.



t’s no secret that the world is turning digital. There is digital news, online shopping, and digital forms of communication. Digital education is also growing rapidly. You can pay for or access free online courses offered by reputable universities or independent companies; access various educational applications teaching children everything from pairing objects to learning new languages; stream an online talk or an instructional education video; read an e-book on any topic; and even study from a digital textbook. Despite obvious bandwidth and accessibility issues that exist in South Africa, what’s great about digital education products is their ability to allow learners to develop in virtually any location, at their own pace and on their own time. Recently, I attended the Google in Education South Africa Summit and was amazed at all of the online educational products and opportunities that are currently out there. For the most part, they are easy to find, access and explore, and as someone who grew up in a world before and after the rise of the internet, the possibilities and opportunities that it now provides our children really makes the idea of online learning seem that much more exciting and fun.

should develop as it will help with their problem-solving and research skills – two things they will need along their educational path, so understanding how to get the most out of their online searches is extremely important for their academic future. At the summit, Kevin Sherman, head of curriculum and learning at Parklands College in Cape Town, described a few of the online tricks of how to search effectively online. We learnt things like how to search for a phrase we couldn’t fully remember, images only in one colour, and content of a specific reading level. Google has also developed some online learning lessons, videos and games to help students get the searching results they need. Check out Google Search Education, and in particular, the lesson plans, Power Searching Quick Guide and the A Google a Day Challenges.

links • Google Search Education –

searching school The internet is filled with valuable information, and some not so valuable, so it’s important that a child learns how to sift through it properly, effectively and safely. It’s a skill that they

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• Power Searching Quick Guide – assets/PowerSearchingQuickReference.pdf

February 2014


tech tools

connecting with culture Google is also more than just a search engine. They’ve created a number of additional free websites that allow viewers to take part in things they normally wouldn’t have daily access to. One of these sites is the Google Cultural Institute, a collaboration of various cultural initiatives, one being Art Project. Using Street View “‘indoor’ technology”, Google went into a number of museums and galleries, throughout the world, and created a range of 360 degree tours, where visitors can click and move around a museum as if they were there themselves. The experience has a similar feel to the images found in Google Earth or street view Google Maps. Now, students in South Africa can experience what it’s like to visit a museum in Brazil without even leaving their homes or their classrooms. In keeping with the art world, they’ve also compiled digital copies of a number of galleries all over the world. They’ve collated over 45 000 images in high resolution, some of which have been photographed using “gigapixel photo capturing technology” – allowing extremely defined and high resolution images. If you open one of these images and zoom in extremely close, you’ll not only be able to see the textured and uneven paint on the surface of the canvases, but you’ll also be able to see, in high definition, the artists’ brush strokes. They even give you the opportunity to look at more than one painting at once. At the summit, Chris Betcher, an educator and currently an ICT integrator at PLC (Presbyterian Ladies’ College) in Australia, explained that with this technology, students in an art class will now be able to study and compare the art strokes of different artists simultaneously, something you probably wouldn’t be able to do even if you visited these museums in real life. This website also gives visitors the opportunity to create their own virtual gallery by compiling their favourite pieces, adding personalised comments and sharing their collection with others. In addition to the galleries, they also offer Art Talks where experts discuss intriguing topics relating to certain artists or their works. links • Art Project – • Art Talks – or Project/posts

virtual visits Ever want to visit Stonehenge, The Palace of Versailles, Antarctica or the Grand Canyon? Now with World Wonders, visitors are able to tour various places around the world without ever having to stamp their passport, pay exorbitant prices, or hassle with student consent forms. Using what they call “Street View Technology”, Google has made a number of world heritage sites visible online. Like Art Project, visitors of World Wonders are able to have a 360 degree view of places they may not have normally been able to visit. In order to reach some of these destinations, they’ve modified the way they acquire their images by attaching their technology onto different modes of transportation like a bicycle, snowmobile, a train or a boat. They’ve even managed to offer images of what it looks like under the sea in the Great Barrier Reef. In addition to the lifelike views, visitors also have access to photographs, videos, information and maps. The educational benefits of a site like this or similar sites like Google Earth, or Google Maps, can vary from gaining history and geography to English knowledge. Children can be sent on virtual treasure hunts, learn map skills, and chart the birth place of their favourite writers, historical events or monuments. All that’s needed is a little bit of creativity. link • World Wonders –


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hosting history With websites like Historic Moments and Cultural Figures, the Google Cultural Institute provides us with a view into the past by offering historical documents that are not always accessible to the public. Historic Moments allows viewers the ability to search and read about a number of events throughout history from D-Day to the fall of the Berlin wall. Once they’ve searched for an event, visitors are given a timeline that includes blurbs, pictures, videos, and primary documents from that era. If a timeline has not been produced on the event searched, there are usually photographs or other things that the viewer can look through. While teaching us about this site, Betcher made note that there are quite a few timelines relating to Nelson Mandela and South African history, which may be of interest for South African history students to use. Although it’s similar to Historic Moments, Cultural Figures is another historical site that focuses on key influential figures from the past rather than specific events. Here viewers can examine timelines from people like Anne Frank and the South African heads of government from 1909 to 1993. Having a resource like this can allow learners to see the impact that various individuals have had on a specific era, culture or movement. links • Historic Monuments – • Cultural Figures –

sharing experiences Another topic discussed at the summit revolved around using websites and online forms of communication to collaborate with students on the other side of the world. Wendy Gorton, an education consultant in the United States spoke about the benefits and the many possibilities that are out there for teachers or children wishing to do this. Children can work on projects together and collect data that contribute to a group project, or they can communicate with another class in a different country to find out information on a topic they are learning about at school. In the process they get to see what life is like in another country, learn about faraway places, and build potential lifelong friendships. These methods can also be used to contact professionals, other individuals, experts or celebrities that agree to speak to a classroom on a specific topic. These types of opportunities are excellent as they allow students the chance to communicate with people who possess first-hand experience and knowledge about the things they are studying. But it also helps to make these topics come to life and gives them more of an understanding of the types of careers that come from studying these fields later on in life.

links • CIESE – • Epals – • Polartrec –

other educational websites to visit • Constitute Provides access and opportunities to compare the many constitutions of the world. Visit: • Coursera A website offering free online courses from various reputable universities across the world. Visit: • Khan Academy A resource of educational videos for students, teachers and parents offering lessons on practically everything. Visit: • Mindset Learn A South African resource filled with educational videos on topics ranging from accounting to technology. Visit: • TEDEd A number of educational videos on offer. Educators are also given the opportunity to “flip” their classroom by customising their lesson with these videos, adding additional questions, and tracking who accessed the lessons. Visit: • The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Visitors can view digital versions of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and can read what they say through the English translations offered. Visit: • YouTube Education Offers a number of educational videos for school children, university students or lifelong learners. Visit:

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February 2014




Finland phenomenon The Finnish educational system is consistently rated


t’s a topic discussed everywhere – the state of our education. Are our methods of education sufficiently representative of a country with the diversity and range of educational institutions evident in South Africa? What is South Africa doing right, and what can be improved to get our education on the map. Due to its unmatched appearance at the top of the list of most successful education systems, many countries are turning to the teaching methodology of Finland to attempt to get their own systems of education on track. But what is it that makes Finland, a country that until recently had an unemployment rate higher than it was during the Great Depression, so progressive and successful? Is it possible to marry our diverse cultures with an education system that has proven successful and is ultimately monocultural?


February 2014

Finland’s decision to decentralise their education system has proven highly effective. This means that schools have a certain amount of authority over what is taught and how teaching is administered, but under the protective covering of a central governmental body. This structure may be the skeleton supporting each individual school, but there is a general vein of appreciation and admiration for teachers. Tütti Lehtola, a teacher at Pietarsaari High School in Finland, admits that teachers are generally happy and content in Finland. “We share ideas, feelings and disappointments,” says Tütti. In addition to the development that is provided for the teachers, no incentives are given based on learning results, so the teachers do not feel the pressure to produce excellent marks, but rather have the desire to see children achieve success through hard work and support.

When the Finnish government started winning awards for education, they were asked how they had suddenly achieved this status. They had no idea. All they knew was that there was no one definitive action or decision, but rather a slow, steady process and a sensible progression. What they did know for sure, though, was that their teachers were the backbone of the education system. In Finland, teachers are as highly regarded as doctors and lawyers. They must have a master’s degree and only the very best students are selected to become teachers. This process of picking the superlative students means that teachers feel empowered and proud of their vocation. Great teachers lead to great teaching, great learning and a new generation of great teachers. The cyclical nature of this development is wherein the success of education lies.

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as one of the best. CARYN EDWARDS finds out why.

When asked what advice she would give to the South African education department, Tütti believes that the root of success in schools is the education of the teachers. She believes that schools should never be ranked, and that inspections and evaluations should only be necessary where insufficient training, support and development exist. Much like South Africa, Finnish teachers are mentored throughout their practical training and are guided through what can be a very daunting career initiation. This mentorship proves invaluable, investing a sense of security in the new teacher. The assigned mentor is encouraged to critique and assist the student teachers, as well as instil in them the need for early detection of learning problems or discrepancies. By the time Finnish students graduate from high school, nearly 45% of them have been involved in some sort of special education programme. While most European teachers will spend over 700 hours per year in the classroom, Finnish teachers spend only 592. The remainder of their time is spent assisting students in smaller groups or on a one-on-one basis. Although this appears to be a time-consuming and expensive task, Finnish students have the smallest gap between the highest and lowest achievers of all recorded scholars. This reiterates the belief that all Finnish children, no matter their background, are offered the same level of education so that the graduating workforce is equally balanced and prepared for the working world. Sarah Tiainen, an upper-elementary school teacher from Turku in Finland, believes that tax money could not be better spent than on education. “If education is free and equal for all, then countries will ensure a well-educated nation, with no cost to the learners’ families.”

so what do South African educators think? Stephen Le Feuvre, associate principal in the Secondary Facility at Parklands College in Cape Town, agrees that we

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can learn from countries like Finland, but that “the principles we learn must be translated into our environment and not just applied as if Finland’s educational system is the oneanswer-fits-all solution. We also have to accept that change may occur more slowly than in a country like Finland due to complexities in terms of population size, diversity and historical factors.” Kayley Bernhardt, a Grade 1 teacher at Ashton International College in KwaZulu-Natal, agrees with Le Feuvre. However, she also believes that any opportunity to improve learning is beneficial, and that information that works in Finland may very well assist with education here. “We should always be open to expanding our realms of possibility.” She adds that, “All children should have access to the same level of education. Firm educational

The root of success in schools is the education of the teachers. finnish features • F innish learners rarely write examinations or do homework until their teens. • Children of differing levels and capabilities are taught in the same classroom with the necessary support for those who need it. • Thirty percent of children receive extra help during their first few years of school. • Primary school children get a 75-minute break per six-hour school day. • Teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates.

foundations should be established in each and every learning establishment. Classes should be small in order to facilitate the optimal learning of each individual.” With 34 years of teaching experience, Jill Ward, a retired headmistress from Joburg can also see the advantages of the Finnish educational system. She believes that “children should be given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning. When children work at their own speed, either through workbooks or tablets, they are able to complete their tasks in their own time and at their own level, thereby alleviating the stress that comes with being in a classroom with children with vastly differing academic abilities.” Learners would benefit from this, as teachers are then freed up to assist children who may need extra assistance. Classroom assistants, who need not be formally trained, could then help to keep control of the classroom. She believes that this method of learning would be highly successful in a South African context and, coupled with a reward system, would ensure that several learners can learn in one venue with just one qualified teacher and an assistant. “This system will only work if discipline improves in schools, and learners maintain a high level of self-discipline.” In terms of how education is regarded in this country, Stephens adds that, “We [also] need a robust council of educators that protects the profession from bad PR by ensuring that good teaching is made public and bad teaching is dealt with effectively.” Likewise, teachers’ unions need to be brought into the process of encouraging good teaching among their members and discouraging bad teaching.” Although the differences between SA and Finland are numerous, the desire to produce well-educated, capable and confident learners is the same. When South Africans begin to cultivate a culture of learner excellence and an appreciation for the teachers, we may very well see our education system on the “Most Successful” list.

February 2014


straight talk

it’s not “just a rumour” Rumours can be hurtful and dangerous to all parties involved. Gary Koen explains.


he old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” is not true. Words have the power to cut deeper than the sharpest blade and can leave wounds that burn with a painful intensity that can last for years.

In the course of my work as a clinical psychologist, the emotional abuse and pain caused by cruel and unkind words is, by far, the more common type of difficulty that I encounter. While physical abuse often accompanies emotional abuse, ironically, the physical abuse is easier to deal with. The attackers are more obvious, the feelings of hurt seem more real, while the person who suffered is in no real doubt that they have been abused. Emotional abuse, on the other hand, can cause far more long-term harm. While some forms of emotional abuse are overt and explicit, it is often the more subtle and hidden abuse that carries more lasting damage, pervading and undermining every area of a person’s sense of who they are, sowing doubt and filling them with an unease that is often difficult to identify. In many instances the individual concerned has no real understanding that the reason they feel the way they do is because they have been abused. In the murky and complex world in which bullies live, words are often the most powerful of their weapons, and perhaps the most destructive of all is the power to start a rumour about another boy or girl which is untrue, hurtful and meant to cause them embarrassment and harm. At least when sticks and stones are involved you can see who your attackers are, and you may even get a chance to grab your own stick and fight back. But when it comes to rumours, the attackers remain faceless cowards, who hide behind a veneer of innocence, and are often able to pretend they had nothing to do with this vicious attack. The motives behind starting rumours are many and varied. Sometimes it can be motivated by the envy a child feels about another’s success and popularity. Or it can be an underhand way of exacting revenge for some past hurt or disappointment. Sometimes it can even be a practical joke that gets out of hand. The most dangerous motives, though, are the rumours started simply to make somebody else’s life more miserable, and the trademark of all bullies is the perverse pleasure and sense of fulfilment that they feel when they succeed in doing just that.

spreading like wildfire A rumour is like a virus. The only way in which it can thrive and grow more powerful is if it is spread. And like all human viruses, it relies on other people to spread it. The bully who starts the rumour understands how eager we are as a species for gossip and scandal, and little children are no different to adults – they enjoy a juicy story as much as any of us. The


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undercover, hurtful and sometimes planned

truth is that human beings love to gossip. Entire newspapers, magazines and TV shows are pretty much devoted exclusively to gossip. People talk about one another all the time, and unless we are hoping to create an Orwellian type state, governed by Thought Police, then we also have to accept that we have absolutely no control over what people want to think about us and very limited control over what they want to say about us. In a private conversation between two people, they can say whatever they want to about anybody else, provided, of course, the conversation remains private. The whole principle of confidentiality is based on the premise that whatever gets said remains strictly between the two people who say it. However, this is not the case when it comes to starting a rumour. It is the opposite of “private and confidential”. The point of a rumour is to spread it, and the intention of a rumour is to cause as much pain, hurt and possible embarrassment for the boy or girl involved.

Children nowadays receive threatening and abusive messages on their cellphones and laptops, at all hours of the night, intruding deep into the sanctity of their own homes. modern day issues Another worrying feature, when it comes to rumours these days, is that anyone can become amateur paparazzi, even small children. The power of social media makes the spreading of any story so much easier, so much more addictive and, more worrying still, so much more anonymous. While previously it was possible to escape the torments of the playground by simply going home, children nowadays receive threatening and abusive messages on their cellphones and laptops, at all hours of the night, intruding deep into the sanctity of their own homes. Cyberbullying is rife: it is frightening, insidious and intrusive. It is designed to cause the maximum amount of harm with the minimum amount of effort. Those who have been subjected to cyberbullying will know of the gripping sense of anguish, embarrassment and isolation that they are left with after receiving messages that are hurtful, taunting or threatening. The proliferation of sites that allow people to log on and abuse another person with impunity, and without the other person having an opportunity to defend themselves, is another growing concern. It is hard to quantify the shock of discovering that you have been the target of a very public vilification by a whole range of assailants; none of who are prepared to properly identify themselves. These forums exist in workplaces, on campuses and even in some schools. Recently a site was discovered that targeted a certain junior school teacher; inviting the school children to log on and say whatever they wanted about him. More shocking still was that this site was created by junior school pupils.

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dealing with rumours Parents whose children suddenly find themselves the target of a malicious rumour are often gripped by a mixture of fury and helplessness. While encouraging their children to just “ignore” the stories is admirable, it’s also very hard to do, and there are times when a more direct intervention is called for. Normally the antidote to any rumour is the truth and, as I have already mentioned, rumours do require humans to spread them, which means that it’s also possible to track down the source. Approaching the class teacher with the evidence is one way to go, as would be speaking to fellow parents, most of whom would instantly empathise with the suffering of both the parent and the child. Once the rumour has been uncovered and the culprits exposed, we can once again witness the power of words, but this time in a positive and healing fashion. In many ways, those who spread the rumour are as guilty as the person who started it. Witnessing first hand the hurt that the rumour has caused another person is often enough for most children to feel deeply remorseful that they played some part in causing that pain. In addition, a heartfelt apology and a proper reconciliation can go a long way to healing the hurt of the child involved. However, when it comes to the actual source of the rumour, things are not quite as simple. On the whole, bullies tend to view the truth as just another game, which invariably they play better than most. In many respects, it is the way in which bullies are able to twist, mask and distort the truth that makes them so dangerous. They feign innocence and surprise when confronted, and are generally very skilled at evading responsibility and deflecting the blame onto somebody else – often the victim themselves. It is only when they are properly cornered that the truth emerges and adults need to be particularly careful when dealing with the bully. They must not allow the bully to simply wriggle their way out of the situation. If that happens, not only do they allow the child to avoid ever learning a vital developmental lesson, which is that of needing to take responsibility for one’s own actions, and not always blame others; but it also sets them on a dangerous path where lies and deceit become the only way in which they can function in the world.

about the author Gary Koen is a clinical psychologist in private practice with over 20 years’ experience, working mainly with adults and adolescents. He also does presentations at schools on a range of teenage-related topics. These include all the general aspects of normal adolescent development. He developed, and successfully runs a course, “An introduction to adolescence”, aimed at parents. He is also working on a book that deals with the challenges facing parents and teenagers and, as a father of three, he is heavily invested in everything he says. For more information, visit

February 2014


how to

are you up to it? To class rep or not to class rep? That is the question. For some, it is a role embraced with enthusiasm and dedication.


t the beginning of each year at my children’s school we have a class meeting. In this meeting the class teacher introduces himself, his teaching methods, what he hopes to achieve with the children and what he expects from us as parents. He also likes to walk away with the name of one parent who has kindly offered his or her services as class representative. I am never that parent. And while I think that parent is an absolute sucker, I am eternally grateful this parent has stuck up her hand and sacrificed herself for a year, and is, quite frankly, a Godsend. “Sacrifice?” say my busiest friends collectively as I mention this to them over dinner one night, all of who have been class reps at varying schools at varying stages of their children’s school careers. And all of who hold down careers of their own. “It’s not a sacrifice, Christina. It’s actually a great way to connect with the school; to get to know the parents and the children,” lambastes my mate.


February 2014

“Luke (aged seven) loved the fact that I was around and involved,” adds another friend who hands over the class rep reins this year. I think back to the days in Grades 1 and 2 when I’d sign up for hotdog duty and how Alex’s face would beam as I walked into the classroom with a tray full of hotdogs. Now, aged 13, I am pretty much the last person he’d want to see hanging around the school, dishing out hotdogs to his friends or lifting them on some outing. I am just too embarrassing, I am told. By the sounds of it, if I had any intention of class repping, I have certainly missed the glory days. So what have I missed out on?

the perfect candidate Some people are more inclined to this job than others. You don’t need to be an A-type personality to pull this one off. But it does help to be: • Someone who is willing to take on the task. Most people accept the role of class rep because they

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For CHRISTINA CASTLE, it is quite possibly her worst nightmare.

It’s actually a great way to connect with the school; to get to know the parents and the children. want to do it. And are happy to do it. Don’t say “yes” because you have been pushed into it. You don’t want to resent your decision. • Aware. This can be a time-consuming job. There is a certain amount of time that you need to commit to this. Yes, you will be busier on the school front than most of your fellow parents, but the role is what you make of it. Some make more work out of it than is actually required. Just stick to the task at hand and you’ll find it’s not as taxing as you think. • Organised. Call all list makers and Outlook kings and queens. You’ll sail through this if you have your ducks in a row. • Diplomatic and sensitive. This is a toughie and not for the sharp tongued or precious. Go easy on your fellow parents even when they are not going easy on you. • A good communicator. It’s about staying two steps ahead of everyone else. Even the teacher. • Good at encouraging people to volunteer or participate. Sounds easier than it actually is. While you might understand the importance of parent participation you might find that not everyone is on the same page. • Up to speed on email. It’s the best way to communicate with the masses and can be done at any time of the day or night.

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• While moms are more inclined to volunteer for the job of class rep, more and more dads are sticking up their hands for consideration. While they tackle the job differently, the dynamics are refreshing and to be encouraged.

what’s involved The role of class rep varies from school to school. Some are more involved than others. Essentially the class rep is the link between the school and the parents. They are there to provide support for the teacher but not represent the school. • Welcome new parents to the class, and share general information they may need to know. • Encourage parents to support the school by attending AGMs and other important functions. • Coordinate rosters for school functions or events. • Arrange lifting for various school outings. • Organise social get-togethers for parents. • Facilitate fundraising.

direction of the teacher or the most appropriate staff member. It’s not for you to get involved. • Don’t fuel car-park talk. It’s destructive and unnecessary. And oh so boring. • Don’t moan about your fellow parents to others. The aim is to keep it as harmonious and pleasant as possible. • You may be privy to confidential information. Keep it that way. Don’t blow the trust.

what you need to know

what not to do

These are the little things that people tend not to include when they give you the full job description. • It costs to be class rep. You can be guaranteed of increased cellphone and petrol bills. • People don’t respond. It’s nothing personal, but be aware that few parents will take the time to respond to your email requests. • Not all people want to help. There’s nothing you can do about it. Next… • Not all people can help – demanding jobs, lives and lifestyles can often mean parents are less able to help. That doesn’t mean they are less willing to help. Many are able and keen to contribute their skills, services and sometimes money in lieu of time. • It helps to have a good relationship with your child’s teacher. You are there to support him.

It’s all about boundaries. While you are in close touch with the school and the teacher, you are still a parent, and not a member of staff. Quite simply, know your place. • Don’t become a conduit for complaints. If parents have something to moan about, rather point them in the

I have failed to mention that schools love class reps. And many reward their class reps with a fabulous tea at the end of the year with cake, and lots of it. I will do anything for a piece of cake. Well, almost.

It’s about staying two steps ahead of everyone else. Even the teacher.

February 2014



the buzz around


While caffeine is usually safe for adults in moderate amounts, even low amounts can have negative


side-effects for children. By VANESSA PAPAS

chocolate bar at break, an energy drink during swimming practice, a mug of milo after dinner and come bedtime, your child is bouncing off the walls, irritable, moody and unsettled. It’s likely they’re suffering from caffeine overload. A recent study found that children aged six to 10 consumed caffeine eight out of 10 days, on average. So, if our children are consuming caffeine regularly, and at an early age, what effect does this stimulant have on them?

caffeine and our children Caffeine is a drug that is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. It’s also produced artificially and added to certain foods. Typically used for its ability to arouse the central nervous system, caffeine can cause anxiety, dizziness, headaches, palpitations, and influence moods, result in restless sleep and insomnia, and change how attentive a child is.

a low level of caffeine can be detrimental to your child’s health and lead to caffeine dependence,” he says. The most common symptoms after caffeine withdrawal, even at low doses of 100mg, include decreased alertness, increased fatigue and drowsiness, irritability, headaches, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, depressed moods and decreased activity levels, explains Patel. “These symptoms are, however, typically mild to moderate in severity, and usually short-lived. While caffeine addiction in children is not a common problem, parents don’t easily seek professional advice because they don’t really see it as ‘substance abuse’,” he says.

limits, effects and recommended healthy alternatives Gauteng dietician Helen de Beer recommends children consume less than 100mg of caffeine a day or 2,5mg per kilogram of body weight. “There are no

“Although recognised as ‘safe’ by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the safety of caffeine use among children is under-researched and poorly understood,” says paediatrician and researcher Dr Deepak Patel. He adds that caffeine is the most commonly used psycho-stimulant in the world and that children and teenagers are the fastest growing population of caffeine users with an increase of 70% over the past 30 years. This rise is mostly associated with the development of caffeine energy drinks marketed primarily to children. Energy drinks like these not only have extremely high amounts of sugar, but they also contain caffeine levels ranging from 50mg to 500mg (which is equivalent to five cups of coffee). “While caffeine has been given to infants if they have trouble remembering to breathe, and occasionally it has been used for some people suffering from headaches, beyond that, it has no real benefit or medical use and should be excluded where possible from your child’s diet. Even products with


February 2014

set guidelines by the FDA on caffeine consumption in children, but the amount a child weighs influences the dose response. A child weighing around 30kg would be able to handle around 60mg of caffeine within a 24-hour time frame. Your average can of cola, for example, contains about 35mg of caffeine, where a cup of hot chocolate contains anything between 10mg to 70mg. Both these beverages also contain a lot of sugar, which could exacerbate the problem of poor concentration (and cause dental caries, obesity and diabetes),” says De Beer. “Although caffeine has not been shown to directly cause stunting, it does interfere with calcium absorption, which is needed to grow strong, healthy bones. Caffeine also has a slight diuretic effect, which causes the body to lose water through urination, but evidence is mixed that the amount of caffeine taken could actually cause dehydration.” Learning how to read nutrition labels is key in identifying whether a product contains caffeine. “Many products now give warnings where the caffeine content magazine joburg


Many products now give warnings where the caffeine content is high.

is high,” adds De Beer. “Reducing caffeine intake can be achieved through opting for Rooibos or decaffeinated herbal teas. Choose water as your child’s primary source of fluid intake instead of high-sugar and caffeinated beverage options. A mug of warm milk could be used to replace hot chocolate. Chocolate, which also contains caffeine, should not be given on a regular basis and rather only in limited amounts (one to two blocks). Coffee, particularly filtered coffee and espresso, should be completely avoided.”

what about decaf? Not all “decaffeinated” products are created equal. “Some products, such as herbal teas, or those that state ‘decaffeinated’ on their label, are, in fact, not caffeinefree,” warns Cape Town dietician Jordana Ventzke. “There are three main processes of decaffeination, of which the most commonly used method is the Chemical Solvent Method, but certain chemicals used in this method are believed to increase the risk of certain cancers. The Swiss Water method

is the only one without any health concerns and this is often used in organic products. Unfortunately, it is not often mentioned on the label which method of decaffeination has been used, so choosing organic products is often the safest option.”

pregnancy and breast-feeding Ventzke advises that those who are pregnant or breast-feeding should also avoid or limit their caffeine intake. “A pregnant woman should decrease the amount she is consuming to no more than 200mg a day. Regularly consuming large amounts of caffeine may increase the risk of having a low birth weight baby. Caffeine crosses the placenta, so as caffeine increases your heart rate and metabolic rate, it will affect your baby in the same way. Moms who are breast-feeding may drink caffeine, but again also in moderation. There is some evidence suggesting that chronic coffee drinking may decrease the iron content in milk. Irritability and sleeplessness has also been seen in babies whose mothers consume large amounts of caffeine.”

good to know • Caffeine will have more severe adverse effects in children who suffer from seizures, diabetes, cardiac abnormalities, mood and behavioural disturbances and if they are taking certain medications. • Because children have lower body weights than adults, even small amounts of caffeine can have very intense effects. • Several studies have shown that caffeine interferes with calcium absorption, raising the risk of the brittle-bone disease, osteoporosis, in your child’s future. • Caffeine is not stored in the body, but its effects can be felt for up to six hours. • Certain pain medication syrups for children contain high levels of caffeine.

how much is too much?

• Green tea 237ml: 20mg

Based on average body weight, the

• Cocoa 150ml: 30–60mg

maximum daily caffeine intake for

• Coca-Cola 355ml: 34mg

children is 45mg for children aged four

• Diet Coke 355ml: 45mg

to six; 62,5mg for children aged seven

• Pepsi 355ml: 38mg

to nine and 85mg for children aged

• Diet Pepsi 355ml: 36mg

10 to 12. Below is a list of foods and

• Red Bull 245ml: 80mg

beverages and their caffeine levels.

• Milk chocolate 55ml: 3–20mg

• Coffee 237ml: 60–80mg

• Dark chocolate 55ml: 40–50mg

• Decaffeinated coffee 237ml:

• Hot chocolate 200ml: 10–70mg

1–5mg • Black tea 237ml: 30–100mg

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• Milo 20g Milo powder (recommended): 2,2–4,8mg

February 2014



baker’s day made easy

Baker’s Day is the perfect time for you and your child to get creative in the kitchen. Simone JeffEry has


compiled a few fun recipes to help get you started.

highlight of the school calendar, for most children, is the day they are selected to take part in Baker’s Day. That’s when children get to create delicious treats for their classmates or participate in a school bake sale. Teachers might give children a theme, based on what they have been learning at school, or leave it up to their imagination. Here are a few helpful, tasty ideas and tips.

hot chocolate spoons what you’ll need • 100g milk chocolate (1 slab will make approximately 10 spoons) • toppings – mini marshmallows, coloured and silver balls, edible glitter • milk to serve • 10 plastic or wooden spoons • roll of wax paper • baking tray

1 Place the wax paper onto a baking tray and line up the wooden spoons with the handles resting on the edge, to keep the bases of the spoon level. 2 Melt the chocolate slowly over a double boiler, stirring frequently. You can add a splash of cream to make the mixture smoother, but you must do this when the chocolate starts to melt, not afterwards. 3 Once the chocolate has melted, use a teaspoon to spoon the melted chocolate onto the wooden spoons. 4 Decorate the spoons with your toppings of choice (mini marshmallows, silver balls and glitter). 5 Leave the spoons to cool slightly before placing in the fridge. If you put the tray straight into the fridge they may turn white. 6 After they’ve set, serve the spoons with glasses of warm milk. Get the children to stir vigorously and enjoy.


February 2014

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bird’s nest what you’ll need • instant noodles or ramen – 1 pack of noodles will make 5 nests • 30ml fresh cream • 200g milk chocolate • 3 speckled eggs per nest • 5ml peanut butter per nest • paper baking cups • baking tray

step-by-step 1  Melt the milk chocolate slowly over a double boiler, stirring frequently. Add a splash of cream to make it smoother. 2 Break up the uncooked instant noodles into a mixing bowl and coat with the melted chocolate. 3 Place the coated noodles in paper baking cups and shape so that they resemble a bird’s nest. 4 Place a spoonful of peanut butter in the centre of the noodle nest and top it off with a few speckled eggs. Leave to set and serve.

give it a twist Replace instant noodles with All-Bran Flakes, and replace the peanut butter with Caramel Treat. Almond butter can also be a peanut butter substitute.

banana cupcake cones what you’ll need for the base • 2 ripe bananas or 1 cup of mashed banana (makes 12 cupcakes) • 125g unsalted butter • 200ml sugar • 2 eggs • 60ml milk • 5ml vanilla essence • 5ml cinnamon • pinch of salt • 500g or 2 cups of self-raising flour • flat bottomed ice-cream cones • paper muffin cups (optional)

what you’ll need for the icing • • • •

100g unsalted butter 100g cream cheese 500g castor sugar 5ml vanilla essence

step-by-step 1 Mash the bananas. 2 Preheat the oven to 180°C. 3 Mix unsalted butter, mashed bananas, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla essence together in a mixing bowl. 4 Sift the salt, cinnamon and flour into a separate mixing bowl. Create a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients. (Cheat – use a vanilla cupcake premix, follow the instructions on the box and add the mashed banana and cinnamon.) 5 Option A – place the flat-bottomed ice-cream cones on a baking tray and fill the cones full with the cupcake batter. Option B – line each muffin cup with a paper baking cup and fill full with the batter. Place the ice-cream cones upside down onto the batter. 6 Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 7 Allow the cupcakes to cool before removing the paper baking cups. 8 To make the icing, beat all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. 9 Generously apply the icing at home, or place the icing in a piping bag and take to school for the children to decorate the cupcakes themselves. magazine joburg

February 2014



robot jellies what you’ll need • 3 packets of jelly powder – one red, one yellow and one green (1 packet makes 15 shot-glass sized jellies) • water • small glasses • drinking straws

popcorn balls

step-by-step 1 Place the small glasses on a tray. 2  Empty the green jelly powder into a mixing bowl and add 250ml boiling water. Stir until the powder has dissolved and then add 250ml cold water. 3  Fill each small glass one third (10ml) of the way with the green jelly liquid and place in the fridge. As the glasses are small the mixture will set faster than usual. 4  Repeat the process with the yellow jelly powder and, once set, with the red jelly powder. 5 Cut the drinking straws in half and insert in the glasses after you’ve poured in the red jelly mixture. 6 Allow to set and serve.


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what you’ll need • unsalted popcorn (1 packet of microwave popcorn makes 10 balls) • 30ml syrup • 50g unsalted butter • 200g marshmallows • 5ml vanilla essence • 100g milk chocolate for dipping • 100s and 1 000s (multi-coloured sprinkles) • skewers

give it a twist Add pieces of fruit to the glasses before placing them in the fridge.

step-by-step 1  Make unsalted popcorn, either in the microwave or on the stove, and place it in a mixing bowl. Make sure you remove the kernels that haven’t popped.

2 Melt the unsalted butter in a saucepan and add the syrup, marshmallows and vanilla essence. Stir continuously. 3  After the marshmallows have melted completely, pour the mixture over the popcorn. 4  Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray (the mixture is very sticky) and create balls out of the popcorn mixture. Press firmly otherwise they will fall apart later. 5  Insert a skewer and dip in melted chocolate or 100s and 1 000s (or use both). 6 Place the balls on a baking tray lined with wax paper and allow to cool.

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flower fruit pops what you’ll need • fruit (watermelon, melon, spanspek, pawpaw, green grapes) • skewers • flower- and round-shaped cookie cutters

step-by-step 1 Create medium-sized slices of the fruit, taking into account that you are going to cut out shapes from the slices so you don’t want them to be too thin or thick. 2 Use the flower cookie cutter to cut out shapes in the watermelon and spanspek. Cut out the centre of the flower shape with a small round cookie cutter and replace with a round shape from a different fruit. 3  Dip the skewers in water before using them, to stop them from splintering. Skewer a green grape first. Skewer it near the bottom and tilt the grape so that it faces upwards. 4  Combine the flower and round shapes and skewer above the grape.

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helpful tips • W  hen coming up with ideas, be mindful of any allergies among the children at your child’s school – try to come up with alternative ingredients. • Know that there will be a mess. Minimise your stress by prepping your work area for the inevitable puffs of flour, dollops of dough and sticky sauce. If you are lucky enough to have a low-lying table, set up your work station there. Cover the floor under the table with a sheet, cover the table with wax paper and keep all the sharp implements on the kitchen counter. If this isn’t an option, just ensure your children are on a stable stool or secure in a high chair. • If you are baking with many children, give them each a task to complete or make sure they take turns. • Plan to bake just before bath time. • Ensure the handles of pots and pans are angled away from the edge of the stove so that children don’t bump them or pull them off the stove. • A session of baking in the kitchen is a fun way to work on your children’s maths skills, colour recognition and food knowledge, to expand their creativity and practise reading. Plus, getting them to the kitchen when they’re young will hopefully mean they’ll be making you breakfast in bed in no time.

February 2014



a good read for toddlers I Am Not a Copycat! By Ann Bonwill and Simon Rickerty

Aunt Amelia By Rebecca Cobb (Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, R161) This is a charmingly funny, warm and beautiful story. When mom and dad go away for the night, Aunt Amelia comes to look after one very cross little girl and boy. They do not want to be looked after and, even worse, mom has left a list of boring instructions. But Aunt Amelia turns out to be rather different from expected. The list becomes a guideline for fun things to do. “Please tell the children to be careful if you go to the park.” But Aunt Amelia shows them how to climb trees and hang from branches like monkeys. Children from the age of three will love this adventurous aunt.


February 2014

Let’s Talk About: Big Beds and Bedtime By Stella Gurney and Fiona Freund (Published by Campbell Books, R89) Let’s Talk About is a new series of firstexperience photographic books aimed at toddlers to preschoolers and their parents. Informative and humorous, the series reflects on young children and their parents’ actual experiences: think real environments and situations with a toddler’s voice, accompanied by useful and sometimes wry information and advice. In this book, Layla is moving from her cot to a big bed. Join her on her first night in her new bed; while we look at how to get ready for bed, sleeping in new places and things that go “bump” in the night.

(Published by Oxford University Press, R179) Hugo is getting ready before he sets out to practise his water ballet routine at the local swimming pool. Bella, annoyingly, is copying everything he does. She even chooses the same outfit as Hugo. Bella continues to copy Hugo once they’re in the water, adding to his infuriation. But then another poolside duo rush to take a photo of Hugo and Bella’s fabulous routine. And the copying that caused all the friction is now something to be proud of. Hugo and Bella head straight for the ice-cream parlour to celebrate, but will they choose the same flavour? With quirky illustrations and great read-aloud text, this is a made-for-sharing picture book.

for preschoolers Train to Kalk Bay By Graham Isaacs and Katrin Coetzer (Published by Lapa, R90) It’s just after Christmas and Graham’s family spends a day at the beach every year. The whole family is looking forward to a fantastic, fun-filled time. But first they have to take the train to get there, and this is where the excitement really begins. On the morning of their departure, the station is filled with people; all on their way somewhere. When the train arrives, everyone runs to find a window seat. At Salt River Station they switch trains for Kalk Bay. This is a great local tale of fishing, swimming, sea, sand and children too exhausted to run for a window seat for the trip back home.

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for preschoolers

for early graders

Winnie’s Dinosaur Day By Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul

Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition By Seth Casteel (Published by Headline Publishing Group, R206) This is a children’s edition of Seth Casteel’s extraordinary Underwater Dogs, featuring brand new photographs and some old favourites. Dive right into this edition, with colourful photographs of the cutest canines chasing after their favourite toys with hilarious, joyful rhymes. It’s a special treat for children and adults alike. Casteel is an award-winning pet photographer with a passion for working with animals. His series of underwater dog photographs has brought him worldwide attention, entertaining and bewildering millions of animal lovers. He is based in Los Angeles and Chicago and is the proud “dad” to two dogs: Nala the mini-labradoodle and Fritz, the Norwich terrier.

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(Published by Oxford University Press, R143) One day, when Winnie and Wilbur are flying over the museum, they see a crowd of people gathered around the skeleton of a triceratops. There’s a competition to draw or make a model of what the dinosaur would have looked like when it was alive. Winnie is really keen to take part, and decides to transport herself and her (not-sowilling) cat, Wilbur, back to the time of the dinosaurs. Winnie just can’t capture the dinosaur on paper so she jumps onto his back and they crash into the present-day museum courtyard just as the prize is about to be presented.

the m o adora st ble witch

Mischief and Mayhem By Roald Dahl (Published by Puffin Books, R107) Roald Dahl loved playing practical jokes and tricks and here you will find some of his very best – such as when Matilda superglues the rim of her father’s pork-pie hat and it becomes stuck fast to his head. Or when George tricks his grandma into drinking his marvellous medicine... Or when young Roald Dahl himself puts a dead mouse into a sweet jar... Inspirational stuff. And you can find out how to create your very own mayhem with Roald Dahlthemed practical jokes, card tricks, jokes, quizzes and other mischievous fun and games. Find out where to hide a glass eye or how to booby-trap a peach. “Professional tricksters” can put their cunning to the test. Inside this beastly little book you’ll find stepby-step instructions for making mischief and mayhem.

Wild World: An Encyclopedia of Animals By Jinny Johnson (Published by Weldon Owen Publishing, R450) This stunning encyclopaedia explores the amazing variety of the animal world. Creatures that range from the smallest insects to the giants of the mammal world are all found here. The great photography reveals the many curious shapes and forms found in the animal world, including seldom seen birds of the rainforest canopy and some intriguing fish. Each spread displays a broad family group, revealing some incredible relationships. A large gatefold shows the animal kingdom’s family tree. Information is given in bite-sized boxes, which makes it easier for younger children to digest and use as a resource tool.

February 2014



for early graders n learning ca be fun

Tell Me Why: The Earth is Like a Jigsaw and Elephants Have Trunks By Barbara Taylor (Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, R147 each) Bizarre, confusing or just plain strange things happen in the world around us all the time. Each title in the Tell Me Why series delves into some of the great, quirky mysteries of everyday life, and tries to uncover them one topic at a time. By combining the world of science and scientific research with dynamic artwork, each book in the series helps young readers make sense of the baffling queries in their curious minds. In The Earth is Like a Jigsaw, questions such as “why are sunsets red?” and “how does a rainbow work?” are answered. In Elephants Have Trunks, children can find out why penguins can’t fly and why a firefly’s bottom glows. The series is ideal for children from the age of seven.

for preteens and teens

Curse of the Dream Witch By Allan Stratton

The Bone Dragon By Alexia Casale

(Published by Faber Children, R129) It is the age of the Great Dread. The Dream Witch wants the heart of Princess Olivia and, until she has it, none of the kingdom’s children are safe. Like Milo, a peasant boy who is trapped in the Dream Witch’s underground lair. Can Olivia and Milo lift the Great Dread, save their families and rescue their kingdom? Join them on an epic adventure as they battle fantastical nightmares of flying cleavers, man-eating moles, magical parchments and a carpet of bats. This classic adventure of courage, friendship and magic is recommended for children aged nine to 11.

(Published by Faber Children, R153) Everyone at school thinks that Evie broke her ribs in a car crash. Evie doesn’t talk about why she was adopted and why she really needed an operation, because some things should never be said. Now, she is safe and even has a souvenir from hospital, a piece of rib bone, which she carves into a dragon. And it comes to life at night, helping Evie to heal. But some things are too terrible to be forgiven. Sometimes, revenge must be taken and it seems the dragon is the one to take it. This extraordinary novel is recommended for children from the age of 12.

Be Prepared Editor: Sam Carter (Published by Simon and Schuster, R268) Do you know the right way to wield an axe or string a hammock? Do you have the skills to survive in the wild, predict the weather or shine at a party? If the answer to any of these is no, then this is the book for you. Jam-packed with gems old and new, this compendium will delight readers of all ages. You don’t need to have been a scout to enjoy advice on being an intrepid traveller, preventing a sneeze or vaulting a fence. Gleaned from over a hundred years of British scouting heritage, Be Prepared is quirky, surprisingly useful and, most of all, fun. Whether you’re an adventurer for real or an adventurer at heart, you’ll find this a fascinating treasure trove of ideas and practical know-how.


February 2014

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for us reality check

Call it Dog By Marli Roode

Letters to My Son By Mignonne Breier (Published by Kwela Books, R145) The death of any child is overwhelming. Parental grief is intense, long-lasting and complex. In Letters to My Son, Mignonne Breier explores her own relationship with this grief. After the sudden death of her eldest son, Matthew, aged 25, from leukaemia, her view of her own world, and her place in it, is profoundly changed. But in coming to terms with her loss she develops a deeper understanding of herself and this, in turn, leads her to a form of closure that is as delicate and complex as her relationship with the child she has had taken from her. This is an intense and beautifully written book that will resonate with readers of all ages and backgrounds, whether you have lost a child or not.

(Published by Atlantic Books, R149) Jo returns to South Africa after 10 years in the UK to cover the riots sweeping the Joburg township of Alex. Nico, her estranged Afrikaner father, reappears and asks her to help prove his innocence in the murder of a black man. As they set off on a road trip through South Africa, it becomes clear that Nico knows more about the murder than he is letting on. Set against the backdrop of a country struggling to absorb its bloody history and forge a new democracy, Call It Dog explores what it is like to feel you no longer belong in the land of your birth – or to your own family.

parenting books When Your Child is Ill – 4th Edition By Dr Bernard Valman (Published by Penguin Books, R277) This is an updated quick-reference British Medical Association visual medical guide to children’s ailments and their treatment. From asthma to chickenpox, learn to look after your children with this home guide for parents. Comprehensive question-and-answer charts help you make informed decisions about your child’s health, giving you the confidence to know when to visit a doctor or hospital, or to treat them yourself. Plus, there is updated advice on first aid, specially tailored for children, and it gives you the knowledge you need instantly if your baby or child gets hurt. Fully revised and following the National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines, When Your Child is Ill, 4th Edition, is perfect for parents and carers of children of any age.

make life easier the tasty way

Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes By Annabel Karmel (Published by Random House, R175) Toddler mealtimes can be a battleground and, for busy parents, time for preparing food is in short supply. One of the UK’s top experts on feeding children, Annabel Karmel, is on hand to help. In this new Quick and Easy book she offers 130 recipes that can be rustled up in minutes. With an eye on nutritional content and appeal for children, as well as speediness for hassled moms and dads, she solves mealtime dilemmas in an instant. Recipes included are Speedy Bolognese Bake, Tuna Pasta Bake, Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry, Mango and Apricot Chicken and Tomato and Basil Risotto. It contains tips and tricks to encourage your child to eat, and offers recipes from savoury to sweet, for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner. Annabel’s Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes will make for mellow mealtimes.

magazine joburg

February 2014



what’s on in february

You can also access the calendar online at

Your guide for what to do, where to go and who to see this month. Compiled by SIMONE JEFFERY.




Beauty and the Beast This is an imaginative production based on the classic tale, but with a fun twist.

Madame Zingara’s After Forever Tour Spellbinding new acts keep you enthralled in the mirror tent as you dine on sumptuous food.

bump, baby & tot in tow – p46

how to help – p47

Playdates at Bambanani Make the most of this family restaurant with its covered, outdoor play area, fourstorey jungle gym and toys galore.

Children of Fire Africa’s first charity that helps to support burn victims, welcomes your monetary donations.

SPECIAL EVENTS – p39 NSA’s Festival of Fame A unique school festival that encompasses a wide variety of performances, workshops and exhibitions under the “Generation Imagination” theme.


February 2014

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SPECIAL EVENTS 1 saturday Artists under the Sun This exhibition of fine art and sculpture is also on 2 February. Time: 9am–4pm. Venue: Zoo Lake, cnr Jan Smuts Ave and Westwold Way, Saxonwold. Cost: free entry. Contact: 083 470 1998 or visit The Guildhall Visit the oldest restaurant remaining in the inner city (1912) with heritage expert Den Adams and the Parktown and Westcliff Heritage Trust. You walk up Rissik Street to the Meischke’s Building, home to the Guildhall. Walk lasts approximately 2½ hours. Time: 12:15pm. Venue: secure parking in the Nedbank parking lot, entrance in Marshall St, Joburg CBD. Cost: R180, includes lunch, but excludes drinks and gratuities. Contact: 011 482 3349 or visit

6 February – Open day at Saraswati Principle Kindergarten and School

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2 sunday The Maragon Platinum Mile Swim This swim forms part of the Elite series and Interschools Prestige Event. The race is suitable for all those who can swim 1 000m in a pool in 25 minutes. All the races are a mile long except for the 3km race at 8:30am (not suitable for first-timers), and the 600m fun swim for the disabled at 2pm. Online entries close 30 January. Competitors must register an hour before the event. Time: 8:30am–2:30pm. Venue: Buffelspoort Dam, off the R104, between Hartbeespoort and Rustenburg. Cost: R112 per swimmer, fun swim R50 per swimmer, entries on the day R150, R40 per car. Contact: 083 679 2473, 083 254 3628, or visit


Chocolate Valentine’s workshop Children can make a variety of chocolate goodies with a Valentine’s theme. They can also learn decorating techniques, make chocolates using heart-shaped moulds and experiment with red chocolate and other treats. Booking essential. For children 4 years and older. Time: 3pm–5pm. Venue: Mugg & Bean Broadacres, Broadacres Shopping Centre, Cedar Rd, Broadacres. Cost: R120. Contact: 076 600 2219, or visit

6 thursday Dainfern College open day This is an informal opportunity to see the school in action and find out what an education at Dainfern College is all about. Meet the principals, staff and pupils. For parents of children from Grade 0–12. Time: 9am–10am. Venue: Dainfern College, Broadacres Dr, Dainfern. Cost: free. Contact Tracey: 011 469 0635, or visit Open day at Saraswati Principle Kindergarten and School Interested parents can find out more about the school, which believes education is more than the accumulation of facts but rather

the unveiling of the essence of self. Time: 2pm–5pm. Venue: 31 Elstree Ave, Glenvista. Cost: free. Contact Michele: 011 432 8854, 084 511 0930 or visit

8 saturday Brescia House School open day Pop in to the school this morning and see it in action. For parents of children in Grade R–12. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Brescia House School, 14 Sloane St, Bryanston. Cost: free. Contact Helga: 011 706 7404, or visit

Charlize Berg and Arno Jordaan Live Charlize and Arno are singing your favourite hits as well as songs off their latest CDs. Time: 5pm–10pm. Venue: NG Kerk Suiderlig, cnr Gould St and Windram St, Krugersdorp. Cost: R100, children under 4 free (sit on parents lap). Contact: 081 778 4688, 074 448 3096, kewlconcerts@gmail. com or visit Little Kickers Germiston open day Soccer training for enthusiastic boys and girls. They learn to play soccer, work on their coordination and control, and learn teamwork. Booking essential as space is

February 2014


calendar Court, Wrenrose Ave, Birdhaven. Cost: R250. Contact: 082 807 7100 or Spar Lantern Run The 10km and 5km routes have been lined with lanterns to guide you through the farmlands to the finish line. Pre-enter until the 10 February. Entries can be done on the day. There is no age restriction for the 5km; 10km is only for runners 15 years or older. Time: registration 4:30pm, race starts 6:30pm. Venue: Agricultural Research Council, Olifantsfontein Rd, Irene. Cost: 5km R36, 10km R57. Contact: 082 937 0733, info@ or visit

22 February – Nitro Circus Live

limited. For children 18 months–7 years old. Time: 9am–10am. Venue: Germiston City Sports Club, Vimmy Ridge Rd, Germiston. Cost: free. Contact: 079 701 8529 or Open day at St Andrew’s School Find out more about this school for girls during their information session. Booking essential. Time: 9am–12:30pm. Venue: St Andrew’s Ave, Senderwood. Cost: free. Contact: 011 453 9408 or visit

9 sunday Castle Gorge Join the Johannesburg Hiking Club for a short, steep ascent at Castle Gorge in Magaliesburg, with panoramic views and mountain pools. Wear hiking boots, and bring a swimming costume, towel, drinking water and a packed lunch. Not recommended for children under 8


February 2014

years old. Time: 7:45am–4pm. Venue: meet outside Gateview House, Constantia Office Park, Hendrik Potgieter Rd, West Rand. Cost: adults R40, children free. Contact: 010 590 1903 or visit Water insects Spend the day at the dam, collecting and identifying water insects and water creatures, and then releasing them. Booking essential. Time: 9am–11am. Venue: Kloofendal Nature Reserve, cnr Galena Ave and Veronica St, Kloofendal, Roodepoort. Cost: adults R60, children R40. Contact: 079 693 5608 or visit

12 wednesday Love workshop Spend 90 minutes baking and making art and crafts. For children 3 years and older. Also 13 and 14 February. Time: 3pm–4:30pm. Venue: TamTam Kids, 1st floor, 102 Wrenrose

14 friday Beeld Holiday Show This leisure and lifestyle show offers solutions to all your holiday needs. Children can enjoy the entertainment and monster activity area with Endurocross track and Woema motorbike hall. Ends 16 February. Time: 9am–6pm Friday, 8am–5pm Saturday, 8am–4pm Sunday. Venue: Gallagher Convention Centre, 19 Richards Dr, Midrand. Cost: adults R70, pensioners and students R40, children under 7 free. For more info: visit Big Band Valentine A performance of classic renditions by a 17-piece band that features songs such as “Try a Little Tenderness”, “That’s Amore”, “Quando Quando Quando” and more. No children under 3. Time: 8pm. Venue: The Lyric

Theatre, Gold Reef City, cnr Gold Reef Rd and Northern Park Way, Ormonde. Cost: R130–R170. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit Lipizzaners Valentine’s Day concert The magnificent white stallions dance to love songs in an unforgettable romantic performance. Time: 7pm. Venue: 1 Dahlia Rd, Kyalami. Cost: R150. Contact: 011 702 2103 or visit My Bloody Valentine Bring out your dark side this Valentine’s Day with a 5km zombie run over light obstacles and past dark stretches that are crawling with zombies. There are prizes for the bestdressed zombie. Suitable for all ages with parental supervision. Space is limited. Time: 7pm–11pm. Venue: National Zoological Gardens, 232 Boom St, Pretoria. Cost: R200 per person, R300 per team of two. Tickets are available through Quicket: 086 784 2538 or visit; or contact Carol: 082 821 3435 or Randburg Harriers Valentine’s Night Race Go dressed in a fun, love-themed outfit for this 10km fun run on Valentine’s Day. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Ann Harding Cheshire Home and Wiggles and Squiggles. There is a post-race party with a live band. Time: 7pm. Venue: Randburg Sports Complex, cnr Republic Rd and Silver Pine Ave, Randburg. Cost: R69, temporary licence R21. Contact: 011 792 7003, or visit

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15 saturday Brescia House School entrance and scholarship exams This is the chance for children to write Brescia House’s 2015 entrance and scholarship examinations for Grade 8. Time: 8am–12pm. Venue: Brescia House School, 14 Sloane St, Bryanston. Cost: free. Contact Helga: 011 706 7404, or visit Information day at Kairos School Find out more about the school, that caters for children in Grade 0–7. Time: 9am for 9:30am–11:30am. Venue: 79 Rustenburg Rd, Emmarentia. Cost: free. Contact: 072 665 3233 or visit Open day at St Teresa’s School Parents interested in enrolling their children in Grade 00-3, are welcome to find out more about this Catholic school for girls. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: 30 Rutland Ave, Craighall Park. Cost: free. Contact: 011 442 9127 or visit

22 saturday Nitro Circus Live See difficult and dangerous stunts in freestyle motocross, BMX and skateboarding with star athletes from across the world, as well as a 50-foothigh launch off the Nitro Giganta Ramp into an inflatable Zorb ball. The show might need to be rescheduled if the weather conditions aren’t perfect. Time: 7pm. Venue: FNB Stadium, Nasrec. Cost: R330–R770. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit

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Sadag Fitness Marathon Challenge yourself to a two-hour cardio workout that is suitable for all fitness levels and ages. The challenge can be done in relays or for just 10 minutes. All the proceeds go to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. Time: 9am–11am. Venue: Dream Body Fitness, The Core Centre, cnr Kikuyu Rd and Leeuwkop Rd, Sunninghill. Cost: R100. Contact: 011 262 6396 or office@

23 sunday Love Pugs Day Bring your canine friend to enjoy a fun day in the countryside, filled with competitions, games, jumping castles and more. Register them for the doggie wedding ceremony and fancydress competition. Funds raised go towards the Ark Animal Centre, an animal welfare that cares for puppies and expectant smallbreed dogs. Tickets are limited. Time: 9am–2:30pm. Venue: Walkhaven Dog Park, Plot 77, Zwartkop, Muldersdrift. Cost: R200 per couple, includes entrance fee, lasagne lunch and donation. Contact: or visit

Shepherd’s Fold Stables breakfast trail ride Spend the morning on horseback admiring the breathtaking views of the Cradle of Humankind and the Elandsdrift Valley, and return to a buffet breakfast served on the stoep of the old farmhouse. For children 12 years and older. Time: 9am. Venue: Shepherd’s Fold Stables, 55 Sunset Dr, Elandsdrift, Lanseria. Cost: R375. Contact Belinda: 084 220 2657 or belinda.

24 monday Shave or Spray The Cansa Shavathon invites you to shave or spray your hair in solidarity with cancer survivors. You can also volunteer running errands or organise an event. Corporates: 24–28 February, shopping centres: 1 and 2 March. Time and venue: varies. Cost: adults R50, children under 12 R25. Contact: 0800 226 622 or visit

26 wednesday NSA’s Festival of Fame The National School of the Arts’ annual school festival encompasses a wide variety of performances, workshops and exhibitions. The festival give young, aspiring and emerging artists an opportunity to engage with professional artists, and watch and learn from some of the best talent. Ends 2 March. Time: performances from 8am–9:15pm. Venue: various venues within the National School of the Arts, 17 Hoofd St, Braamfontein, and at the Joburg Theatre, Loveday St, Braamfontein. Cost: day ticket R60. Contact: 011 339 6539 ext. 208, or visit

27 thursday Gauteng Homemakers Expo Do a bit of research, speak to experts and satisfy a myriad of home-related needs. Find out the latest trends for 2014, join the experts at the interactive Builder’s DIY Theatre to learn a few tips and tricks, and visit the first ever Barista Theatre that is hosting the Gauteng Regional Barista Championships. Ends 2 March. Time: 10am–7pm Thursday and Friday, 9am–6pm Saturday and Sunday. Venue: Coca-Cola Dome, cnr Northumberland Rd and Olievenhout Ave, North Riding. Cost: adults R80, pensioners R50, children under 12 free. Contact: 0861 114 663, or visit

February 2014



Blue wildebeest trail Spend the weekend traversing unspoilt mountain ridges, gorges and streams. It’s a nature lover’s and ecotourist’s dream. Make sure you take your swimming costume as there are lots of natural rock pools to cool off in. You sleep in dormitories. Bring your own food. Until 2 March. Suitable for all ages. Time: Friday afternoon to Sunday lunchtime. Venue: near Badplaas. Cost: R441. Contact: 010 590 1903, or visit

FUN FOR CHILDREN art, culture and science Conversations (Housekeeping) This exhibition explores the roles of nontraditional artworks in the Johannesburg Art Gallery collection. It features many decorative art, as well as a furniture collection. 3 December–30 March. Time: 10am–5pm Tuesday–Sunday. Venue: Johannesburg Art Gallery, King George St, between Wolmarans St and Noord St, Joubert Park. Cost: free. Contact: 011 725 3180 or Grand Silos at Newtown Registered architectural students took part in a silos design competition for conversion concepts of the silos in Newtown. The aim was to give them an opportunity to design a space that will not only redefine student life, but also lifestyle. You can now view the finalists’ works at this gallery. 17–21 February. Time: 11am–4pm. Venue: Ithuba Arts Gallery, Anchor House, 100 Juta St, Braamfontein. Cost: free. Contact: 011 880 1340, info@ or visit Rise and Fall of Apartheid exhibition This comprehensive pictorial overview of apartheid encompasses over 800 works by more than 70 photographers, artists and filmmakers. 13 February–29 June. Time: 9am–5pm. Venue: Museum Africa, 121 Bree St, Newtown. Cost: free entry. For more info: visit Walter Oltmann: In the Weave An exhibition of artworks by one of South Africa’s finest and most intriguing artists, celebrates his output over the last three decades. 29 January–29 March. Time: 8am–4:30pm Monday–Friday, 9am–1pm Saturday. Venue: Standard Bank Gallery, cnr Simmonds St and Frederick St, Joburg CBD. Cost: free. Contact: 011 631 4467 or visit

classes, talks and workshops Buzz Drama classes Weekly workshops that develop your child’s confidence and social skills while they take part in creative play, sing songs and dance. This term’s theme is fairytale forest. For children 5–9 years old. First term started 20 January. Time: 2:30pm and 3:30pm Monday–Thursday; 10am and 11:15am Saturday. Venue: Monday: Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre; Tuesday: Norscot Manor, Fourways and Art on 1, Bedfordview; Wednesday: Parktown North Methodist Church and Jabula


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28 fri

Recreation Centre, Sandringham; Thursday: Field and Study Centre, Sandton and The Dance Studio, Honeydew; Saturday: The Dance Junxion, Rosebank Mall. Cost: tbc. Contact: 011 025 2525, info@buzzdrama. or visit Chess coaching Learn to master the rules and strategies of chess during a weekly, hour-long beginner’s class with chess coach and writer, Clyde Wolpe. Booking essential. Time: 10:30am–11:30am every Wednesday. Venue: Old Edwardian Club, 11 9th Ave, Lower Houghton. Cost: R600 per month. Contact Clyde: 072 768 5521, or visit Drama Dynamics Take part in their actionpacked workshops in stage acting. Booking essential. For children 8–18 years old. Rivonia classes start 27 January; Boksburg classes start 28 January. Time: 4pm–5pm. Venue: The Barnyard Theatre Rivonia, Witkoppen Rd and The Barnyard Theatre Boksburg, Northrand Rd. Cost: R540 per term. Contact: 083 609 9679, dramadynamics@ or visit NCT’s Saturday workshops The programme is designed to teach children about live theatre, both on stage and behind the scenes, and includes drama, improvisation, script reading, singing, mime, musical appreciation, modern, hip-hop and African dance. 25 January–22 March. For children 7–17 years old. Time: 9am–12pm every Saturday during the school term. Venue: National Children’s Theatre, 3 Junction Ave, Parktown. Cost: R800. Contact: 011 484 1584, or visit Pottery and mosaic madness Children of all ages can paint/mosaic a variety of ceramic figurines or wooden blanks. Children 6 years and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential. Time: 9am–4pm Monday–Friday, 9am–2pm Saturday. Venue: Pottery Junxion, 5 Glendower Place Shopping Centre, 99 Linksfield Rd, Dowerglen, Edenvale. Cost: R20 per person per hour, excluding material. Contact: 011 453 2721, or visit

family outings Learning Point High School Expo Have all your questions regarding your child’s future education answered by the high schools (state and independent) that are exhibiting at schools and shopping centres throughout the month. 5 February: magazine joburg

Glenanda Primary School; 12 February: Edenglen Primary School; 19 February: Parkview Senior Primary School; 26 February: Monument Primary School; 27 February: Cliffview Primary School; 28 February– 2 March: Nicolway Bryanston. Time: 2pm–6pm; Nicolway Bryanston 9am–6pm. Venue: varies. Cost: free. Contact: 011 760 5244 or visit

finding nature and outdoor play Pony camp A supervised and structured riding camp is offered. You can attend for one or two days. No experience required. For children 6–16 years old. 24 and 25 February. Time: 8am–5pm. Venue: Shepherd’s Fold Stables, 55 Sunset Dr, Elandsdrift, Lanseria. Cost: R300 per day. Contact: 084 220 2657 or visit

markets Books2You Book Fair Discover hundreds of books, and with every book bought, you get free books for your school. Time: 10am–3pm Monday, 7:30am–1:30pm Tuesday. Venue: Mulbarton Primary, Archibald Ave, Mulbarton. Cost: free entry. Contact: 031 705 7744 or orders@ Favourite Things Market This inviting outdoor market showcases a treasure trove of retro, vintage and homemade collections. Also browse through the Rambling Rose Charity Shoppe and Reader Bookshop. 1 February. Time: 9am–2pm. Venue: REEA Lawns, cnr Richmond Ave and Marlborough Ave, Craighall Park. Cost: free entry. Contact: 072 207 8196 or Finders Keepers Market Meander among the stalls of crafts, bric-à-brac, antiques, clothing and an assortment of handmade gifts. Various self-help and sustainability projects are being promoted. Time: 9am–5pm every Sunday. Venue: The Mall of Rosebank, cnr Bath Ave and Baker St, Rosebank. Cost: free entry. Contact: info @ finderskeepersmarket. or visit

on stage and screen André the Hilarious Hypnotist André presents a humorous and interactive show in which he gets members of the audience to perform stunts while under his

spell. 15 January–9 March. Time: 8:15pm Wednesday–Saturday, 5:15pm Saturday, 3:15pm Sunday. Venue: Studio Theatre at Montecasino, cnr William Nicol Dr and Witkoppen Rd, Fourways. Cost: R100. Book through Computicket: visit Beauty and the Beast This imaginative production is based on the classic tale but with a fun twist. 1 February: Cresta, 8 February: Rivonia, 22 February: Boksburg. Time: 2pm, doors open at 12:30pm. Venues: Barnyard Theatres in Rivonia, Boksburg and Cresta. Cost: R90. Contact Rivonia: 011 234 2033, Boksburg: 011 823 6933, Cresta: 011 478 5300 or visit Premiere of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Revenge of the Leftovers Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he’d saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention, but he soon learns that it has survived and is now creating foodanimals. Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission to battle hungry foodimals to save the world, again. Premieres 31 January. Time: varies. Venue: cinemas nationwide. Cost: varies per cinema. For more info: visit sterkinekor. com or

31 January – Premiere of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Revenge of the Leftovers

Premiere of The Perfect Wave This is a full-length, feature film based on the true story of a 24-year-old New Zealander, Ian McCormack, who embarks on an adventurous world trip with his cousin to explore the best surf spots in search of their dream wave. The film was shot in South Africa, Bali and Java under the direction of world-renowned director Bruce MacDonald. Premieres 28 February. Venue: nationwide. Cost: varies per cinema. For more info: visit


sun Melville Koppies guided tour Join a three-hour guided tour of Melville Koppies Nature Reserve and heritage site. For children 6 years and older. 2, 9 and 16 February. Time: 2 and 16 February: 3pm; 9 February: 8:30am. Venue: park opposite the entrance at Marks Park Sports Club, Judith Rd, Emmarentia. Cost: adults R50, children R20. Contact: 011 482 4797 or visit

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February 2014


calendar Puppet shows at Kinder Theatre Children 3 years and older enjoy these heartwarming tales. 4 and 22 February: Numbi, the Shy Giraffe; 8 February: Jurassic Park; 15 and 18 February: an African folktale, Khamba and the Tree With no Name; 25 February: Ugly Duckling. Time: 3:30pm Tuesday, 10am Saturday. Venue: Kinderspiel, 39 Greenhill Rd, Emmarentia. Cost: R50. Contact: 011 646 0870 or

playtime and story time Slippery fun at Jozi X Cool down on a 100m slip n slide and brave action world with its eight giant inflatables. For children 5 years and older. Time: 10am–5pm Wednesday– Sunday. Venue: Jozi X Adventure Centre, cnr Main Rd and Sloane St, Bryanston. Cost: R100 Wednesday–Friday, R120 Saturday and Sunday. Contact: 082 456 2358, info@ or visit Story time at Smudge Childminders read to your little ones and then guide them in painting or creating a craft that is related to the story. For children 3 years and older. Time: 2pm, every Friday. Venue: Kingfisher Drive Shopping Centre, Fourways. Cost: R130 per child, R90 for siblings, includes all materials. Contact: 082 852 8231 or visit

sport and physical activities Bharata Natyam dance classes A classical dance school offers Bharata Natyam dance classes, a classical style that originated in


February 2014

the south of India. It incorporates gestures, which are used with eye, head and neck movements. Classes include dance theory, yoga, meditation and dance practical. Time: Glenvista: children’s class 5pm–6pm, adult class 6pm–8pm, every Wednesday; Marlboro: 6:30pm every Tuesday; Lenasia: 8am every Saturday. Venues: Sarvavidya Natyaalaya: Glenvista, Marlboro, Lenasia. Cost: R300 per month. Contact: 082 267 4602 or visit Bumboarding Have fun bumboarding and slope-surfing down the 20m ski slope or play on the jungle gym and trampoline. For children 3 years and older. Time: 2pm–4pm every Tuesday and Thursday. Venue: Ski Deck, 74 Bond St, cnr Bond St and Elgin Rd, Ferndale. Cost: R90. Contact: 011 781 6528, or visit

only for parents classes, talks and workshops ADHD parenting course A four-week course for parents of ADHD children. Starts 18 or 20 February. Time: 7pm–9pm Tuesday; 9am–11am Thursday. Venue: Morningside, Sandton. Cost: R1 200. Contact Lorian: 083 267 3265 or Blood sugar control in children Author and dietician Tabitha Hume guides parents through the maze of conflicting nutritional advice, separate fact from fad, and give practical solutions for a busy home to

Young ballet stars of the world

25 tue

For the first time, medal winners from the South African International Ballet Competition that was held in Cape Town travel to Joburg to perform in a spectacular ballet gala showcasing the young ballet stars of the world. The performance includes dancers from Korea, Cuba, the USA, Switzerland, China and other countries. Also 26 February. Time: 8pm Tuesday and Wednesday; 3pm Wednesday. Venue: The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City, cnr Gold Reef Rd and Northern Park Way, Ormonde. Cost: R120–R360. Contact: 011 248 5168 ⁄ 5229, or visit

ensure good nutrition is both easy and child friendly. Understand the nutritional link between ADD, concentration, psychology and child weight management. For parents of children 4–14 years old. 18 February. Time: 6pm–7:30pm. Venue: St Stithians Girls’ Prep, lecture theatre GLT, Peter Place, Bryanston. Cost: R110, scholars free. Contact: 011 706 7623, reception@ or visit Communicating with your children Understand how children process information and learn how to talk so that they listen. 22 February. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Parkhurst Recreation Centre, cnr 13th Ave and 5th Ave, Rosebank. Cost: R250. Contact Elke: 082 547 9224 or visit

Courses with Domestic Bliss Have your domestic worker trained on an accredited, healthy eating cooking course or first aid and CPR course. First aid and CPR course starts 15 February (three weekly sessions); healthy eating cooking course starts 20 February (four weekly sessions). Time: first aid course: 8:30am–4pm every Saturday, healthy eating: 8:45am–1pm every Monday. Cost: first aid: R1 600, healthy eating: R1 850. Venue: 235 Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North. Contact: 011 447 5517, 083 525 4992 or visit CPR and first aid course This is an accredited course covering all the basics with practical demonstrations. 23 February. Time: 8am–12pm. Venue: Ladybird Corner, 24 12th Ave, north parking

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of the Netcare Linksfield Hospital, Orange Grove. Cost: R500. Contact: 011 485 3057 or Left-hand learning workshop Learn the challenges leftys face and find solutions. 15 February. Time: 9am–11am. Venue: unit 5B, Clearview Office Park, 77 Wilhelmina St, Constantia Kloof. Cost: R250. Contact Tracy: 083 417 3316, tracy@lefthandlearning. or visit “Raising Boys” For parents of boys of all ages. Receive useful developmental information and start paying special attention to how you parent, respond to and raise your boys. Parents also learn how to avoid power struggles, motivate and teach responsibility and compassion. 6 February. Time: 7pm–9:15pm. Venue: northern suburbs of Joburg. Cost: R100. Contact: 082 525 7941, natalee.holmes@ or visit Starting on solids As a new mom, starting your baby on solids is an exciting, but daunting milestone. In this workshop you learn how to introduce new foods and receive recipe ideas. Booking essential. 20 February. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Hyperion Dr, North Riding. Cost: R350. Contact: 082 494 2903 or Talk on dyslexia An informative talk for teachers and parents of children at risk of dyslexia by Dr Tilly Mortimore, a senior lecturer in inclusion at Bath Spa University in the UK. She speaks at a conference

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for therapists and high school educators on Thursday and Friday, discussing the impact of dyslexia, multilingualism, inclusion and practical programmes. Public talk: 19 February, conference: 20 and 21 February. Time: public talk: 7am–8am; conference: registration 8am, 9am–3pm. Venue: Bellavista School, 114 Wingfield Ave, Birdhaven. Cost: tbc. Contact: 011 788 5454 or visit Valentine biscuit-decorating workshop Bake and decorate your own biscuits for your special Valentine. Participants are taught how to flood biscuits with Royal icing, how to cover biscuits with textured fondant icing and more. Booking essential. 7, 8 and 10 February. Time: 9am–12:30pm. Venue: Tinybite, Dennis Rd, Athol, Sandton. Cost: R350, all ingredients and recipes provided. Contact: 082 927 9763 or visit Working with clay and mosaics Every second Saturday of the month you can create your own mosaic in a tranquil art studio.

18 February – Blood sugar control in children

1 and 15 February. Time: 9am–12pm. Venue: Seedpod Studio, Broadacres Garden Centre, cnr Cedar Rd and Valley Rd, Fourways. Cost: R300 per morning. Contact: 011 465 0375, or visit

on stage and screen Elvis, the Legend Returns Relive the magic of the king of rock and roll with Texasborn Elvis impersonator, Nathan Belt, who has been performing this role since 1999. 16 January–2 February. Time: 8pm Thursday– Saturday; 3pm Sunday. Venue: Mandela Theatre at Joburg Theatre Complex, 163 Civic Boulevard, Braamfontein. Cost: R100– R250. Book through the Joburg Theatre: 0861 670 670 or visit Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (JIMF) To honour the 250th birthday anniversary of Mozart, the JIMF performs Un’ aura amorosa, a homage to the tensions expressed in Mozart’s opera Cosi fan tutte. There are two pre-festival concerts on 25 and 26 January, which take the form of a Viennese New Year’s Concert, as well as a post-festival Valentine’s concert on 14 February. 25 January–9 February. Time: varies. Venue: venues across Joburg. Cost: R140–R280. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000, 011 447 9264 (JIMF) or visit Johnny Clegg Unplugged Clegg entertains at a concert that includes storytelling, as he talks about his life and the political

history of South Africa that motivated and inspired him in his songwriting. 7–9 February. Time: 8pm Friday and Saturday; 3pm Sunday. Venue: Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace, 64 Jones Rd, Kempton Park. Cost: R200–R290. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit Legendary ELO The Electric Light Orchestra is performing a set list of hits that includes “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “All Over the World”, “Shine a Little Love” and more. This British band released 11 studio albums between 1971 and 1986, and is best known for its modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones. 13 and 14 February. Time: 8pm. Venue: Emperors Palace, 64 Jones Rd, Kempton Park. Cost: R240. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit Madame Zingara’s After Forever Tour New acts keep you enthralled in one of the last remaining mirror tents in the world, as the mysterious Madame Zingara welcomes you to her forest where legends and folklore come to life, secrets and myths dance in the air and magic becomes tangible. 13 February–30 April. Time: 6pm. Venue: Montecasino Outdoor Event Arena, cnr William Nicol Dr and Witkoppen Rd, Fourways. Cost: R410–R496. Contact: 0861 623 263 or visit

family marketplace

February 2014



Hypnobirthing classes Learn the technique for achieving a satisfying, relaxing and stress-free birth. Hypnobirthing teaches you and your birthing companion, the art and joy of experiencing birth in a more comfortable manner. Time: 10am–12:30pm and 4pm–4:30pm every Saturday. Venue: 134 17th St, Orange Grove. Cost: R1 750 per couple. Contact Anna-Marie: 083 310 8162 or Tracey: 084 405 3057 or

Tango Fire Argentina’s hottest dance export returns for a sizzling display of the fiery and sensual tango. The production takes the audience on a journey through the history of tango. 4–23 February. Time: 8pm Tuesday–Saturday, 3pm Saturday, 2pm Sunday. Venue: The Mandela Theatre at the Joburg Theatre Complex, 163 Civic Boulevard, Braamfontein. Cost: R100– R250. Book through the Joburg Theatre: 0861 670 670 or visit The Rocky Horror Show The classic rock musical is performed by a South African cast and band, who brings the iconic hit songs, such as “The Time Warp” and “Sciencefiction” to the stage. Official dress-up nights are Friday and Saturday. Participation packs get audience members involved. No children under 16 years old. 24 January– 30 March. Time: 8pm Tuesday–Saturday, 4pm Saturday, 2pm and 6pm Sunday. Venue: Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre, cnr William Nicol Dr and Witkoppen Rd, Fourways. Cost: R100– R350. Book through Computicket: visit Trevor Noah: It’s my Culture Soweto-born comedian Trevor Noah was the first African comedian to perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and soon after was booked to appear on The David Letterman Show in 2013. 28 February–9 March. Time: 8pm Friday and Saturday, 6pm Sunday. Venue: The Teatro at Montecasino, cnr William Nicol Dr and Witkoppen Rd, Fourways. Cost: R120–R280. Book through Computicket: 0861 915 8000 or visit

out and about Chocolate and coffee tasting Cuan Robinson of the coffee company, Caturra, presents an interesting talk on coffee, touching on its history and different types


February 2014

available. Visitors get to taste various kinds of coffees and imported chocolates. 22 February. Time: 10am. Venue: Ngwenya Glass Village, off Beyers Naudé Dr and R114, Muldersdrift. Cost: R80, includes the talk, tea/coffee and cake. Contact Athalie: 083 285 8383 Chocolate tasting with Pure Romance Join the Chantilly Network Forum for a ladies’ chocolate-tasting evening in aid of Green Door, a halfway home for abused children. 8 February. Time: 2pm–5:30pm. Venue: Rustika Guest Lodge, Rustic Timber, cnr Witkoppen Rd and Kingfisher Rd, Fourways. Cost: R250. Contact: 082 653 5128 or Valentine’s Day underground dinner Join The Forum for a chic and trendy evening at the Turbine Hall. Guests are treated to a cocktail on arrival, a three-course meal and music among the turbines of Joburg’s oldest power station. 14 February. Time: 7pm. Venue: Turbine Hall, 65 Ntemi Piliso St, Newtown. Cost: R450. Contact Hazel: 087 310 3888, turbinebookings@ or visit

support groups Ask a Dietician Contact the Pick n Pay health hotline to speak to a registered dietician for guidance on how to plan balanced meals, eating healthier and managing your diabetes. Contact: 0800 11 22 88, or visit Diabetes SA For more info contact: 011 886 3721, or visit Overeaters Anonymous (OA) A fellowship of people who share a solution to the problem of compulsive overeating. Members follow a 12-step programme, patterned after that of Alcoholics Anonymous. During the meetings, people share their experiences, strength and hope in recovery. Dates and times vary per venue. Cost: free. Contact: 011 640 2901, or visit

bump, baby & Tot in tow

classes, talks and workshops BabyGym This five-week course for you and your baby helps you stimulate your little one and ensure whole-brain development. Learn how to help your baby reach all their milestones well. The classes take place once a week for five weeks. For babies 2 weeks–1 year old. Starts 17 and 26 February. Time: 9:30am–11am. Venue: The Children’s Therapy Centre, Petervale. Cost: R630. Contact: 083 303 1190, joanne. or visit babygym. Fitmommy Burn your baby fat, and get your old body back. Time: prenatal classes 9:45am–10:30am, postnatal classes (with or without baby) 10:30am–11:30am and fitmommy classes 5:30pm–6:30pm every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Venue: Helderfontein Estate, Chattan Rd, Glenferness. Cost: varies. Contact: 082 895 2513, or visit magazine joburg

Toptots workshop Share in your little one’s development while having fun with other moms. For babies 3 months–4 years old. Starts 18 January. Time: varies. Venue: branches across Gauteng. Cost: varies. Contact: 082 876 7791, or visit

Ladybird Corner, 24 12th Ave, north parking of the Netcare Linksfield Hospital, Orange Grove. Cost: R60. Contact: 011 485 3057, 082 524 5611, sweetypie.booysen@yahoo. com or visit

how to help

playtime and story time Grannies House and Gardens Enjoy a slice of cake in the coffee shop while your children dress up like fairies and pirates in the dress up room, create art and crafts, or head outside to zip around the bike track, bounce on the trampoline and more. Time: 9am–4pm, Saturdays and public holidays; 9am–1pm, Sunday. Venue: 138 Barkston Dr, Blairgowrie. Cost: R30 per hour, maximum of R90 per child. Contact: 011 326 4265, or visit Playdates at Bambanani This family restaurant has a covered, outdoor play area with a four-storey jungle gym and toys. Special activities take place every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2:30pm. Keep little ones busy with pottery, art, a petting zoo or magic shows. Suitable for children 6 months–12 years old. Time: 9am–8pm Tuesday–Friday; 8am–9pm Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Venue: 85 4th Ave, Melville. Cost: free entry, minimum spend of R50. Contact: 011 482 2900, or visit

support groups HI HOPES A free support programme for families who have babies with mild to profound hearing loss. They offer information, resources and support in the home environment and target how to communicate best with your child. Contact: 011 717 3750, or visit Managing motherhood A forum for new mothers to share their experiences and learn from other moms. Booking essential. Time: 6:30pm every Monday. Venue: 134 17th St, Orange Grove. Cost: R120. Contact Anna-Marie: 083 310 8162 or Tracey: 084 405 3057 or The Family Life Centre A registered NPO geared to address relationship and family issues. They offer support groups on bonding with your toddler, child or adolescent, a therapeutic support group facilitated by a counselling psychologist on postnatal depression, and child and adolescent assessments. Venue: 1 Cardigan Rd, Parkwood. Contact: 011 788 4784 (9am–12pm Monday–Friday), counselling@ or visit Thirsty Tuesdays Relax, have fun and socialise with other moms. You are also able to weigh your baby and get some good advice and support from an expert. Time: 10am–12pm every Tuesday. Venue:

Children of Fire Africa’s first charity helps young survivors of burn injuries in Africa and educates the communities in which they live, providing both prevention and cure. It also assists with schooling and physiotherapy. Donations are welcome. Venue: 58 Auckland Ave, Auckland Park. Contact: 011 726 6529 or firechildren@ Hospice Charity Shops They welcome donations of any unwanted items of clothing, furniture, toys, linen, books, paintings, silverware, glassware and more for their charity shops in Gauteng. Venues: The Olde Charity Shoppe, Jukskei Park Shopping Centre, Fourways; The Charity Box, Wilro Park Shopping Centre. Contact: The Charity Box: 082 787 6997 or The Olde Charity Shoppe: 082 881 7122 SA Riding for the Disabled Association (Sarda) Sarda Gauteng is a registered NPO that provides therapeutic horse riding for physically and mentally challenged children and young adults. The riders suffer from a variety of disabilities, impairments and genetic disorders. The organisation relies solely on donations. Venue: The Earth Centre, Peter Rd, opposite Monash University, Ruimsig, Roodepoort. Contact: 011 958 5044, or visit Teddy Bear Clinic This non-profit organisation is dedicated to ensuring abused children are protected and rehabilitated. They provide therapy, counselling, assistance, love, comfort and ongoing support. Help by donating money towards their Journey to Healing programme, which covers medical examinations, forensic assessments and trauma counselling. Donate office stationery for the clinic, or volunteer your time to decorate bears for their fundraising events. Venue: 13 Joubert St Ext, cnr Empire Rd, Parktown. Contact: 011 484 4554/4539, 083 469 9196 or visit

SA Riding for the Disabled Association

don’t miss out! For a free listing, email your event to or fax it to 011 234 4971. Information must be received by 31 January for the March issue, and must include all relevant details. No guarantee can be given that it will be published. To post an event online, visit

magazine joburg

February 2014


it’s party time


February 2014

magazine joburg

magazine joburg

February 2014


finishing touch

time to smile We’re more alike than we think. CASSANDRA SHAW shares

Cassandra and her son


t’s amazing how the tables turn. It’s not anything new though. After all, our parents did warn us, on numerous occasions, that one day our time would come. “Just wait until you’re a parent” was constantly repeated in my household. Well, my day has finally come, I’m a parent, and I now see myself doing the exact same things that my mother once did with me. I’m not talking about having your first child and suddenly having to change a dirty nappy, or having to deal with a toddler


February 2014

throwing a tantrum when you’re in line at the grocery store. I’m talking about taking on your parent’s traits and suddenly seeing them so obviously in yourself. When I was growing up and had a recital, performed in a school play, or played sport, my mother always used to attend, and there was always something she brought along with her without fail – a giddy smile from ear to ear. No one had made a joke, no child had messed up their lines, and no one had tripped over their laces while sprinting the 100m. My mother was proud. Her smiles were directed at me, and I knew it. As a child, and especially as a teenager, for some reason, this attention used to embarrass me. I even remember teasing her about it when I was older and we were attending each of

my younger sisters’ crowning moments. I used to say sarcastically, “Mom, try not to smile too much today, okay?” Her response, naturally, was to make a funny face and then continue smiling. Muscle memory I suppose. Recently, my son has moved on from his “little boy bike”, to one without pedals – he completely skipped training wheels, and immediately started riding a pedal bike on his own. Now at three and a half, he takes off on his bike like it’s no one’s business. The first day we took him and his new bike to the park, my husband and I were very cautious. My husband held onto the back of the seat, while our son got the hang of balancing and the motion of pedalling. As soon as he perfected it, my husband let go and ran alongside him. As I

was walking behind, and saw his little legs pedalling away and heard his shouts of happiness, I was suddenly filled with pride. Our son was growing up, learning, and quickly crossing off those developmental milestones. I soon found myself smiling uncontrollably, and instantly thought of my mother, her smile and all those times I used to make a joke or roll my eyes at her. I now know that my son will have the same “problem” with me as he grows up but, like me, he’ll just have to get used to it. If I’m anything like my mom, then that smile is not going anywhere. And besides, I’m sure he’ll understand one day anyway… Cassandra Shaw is Child magazines’s features editor. Apart from proudly smiling at her son, she wonders what other traits of her mother’s she’ll pick up next.

magazine joburg


how she’s begun to see the world through her mother’s eyes.

Child magazine | JHB February 2014  

Joburg's best guide for parents