The Crest 101

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MAY-JUN 2021 ISSUE 101

MAN OF STEEL Sbonelo Khwela

Distributed to the communities of Everton, Gillitts, Hillcrest, Kloof, St Helier & Winston Park

*ed's letter

warm winter sun W

e’ve had a few chilly nights sneak up on us this month. But as May and autumn fades into June and winter, let’s be honest … winter in Durban is not really winter – even though we are definitely a few degrees colder here up the hill, and pull fluffy onsies out of the cupboard before we light a fire on those nippy winter evenings. What do you enjoy most about this season? For me it’s without doubt all about that warm winter sun. In stark contrast to the hot and sweltering summer sun, the soft and gentle winter sun lightly kisses your face and warms you up from top to toe when you steal a few moments in it during the day – just to get a quick break from a cold office, shared with colleagues or tucked away in a corner of your home. Your pool is probably by now close to ice cold, but you can still enjoy beautiful days on the beach. How lucky are we to live in this tropical climate! Father’s Day is around the corner, and we have a fantastic line-up of interesting men

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for you to meet. Our multi-talented coverstar, Sbonelo Khwela, is a proud father of five. He is also a top athlete and runs a thriving business employing and benefitting members of the Shongweni community. Sbonelo might have the shoulders of a paddler, but he has the mindset of a true-blooded entrepreneur. We’ve also featured Grant Blakeway’s 56-day journey at sea, all alone in a rowing boat to raise awareness for the plastic pollution problem. And it’s an incredible and impressive journey indeed. Finance guru Justin Harrison taps into neuroplasticity to show us how we can rewire our brains to make better financial choices, and Travis Duggan is ready to take you on fun 4x4 adventures in the Valley of 1000 Hills. Siya Khubeka and Ross Norton are also a strong force to be reckoned with, together with a few others they’ve achieved connecting the Lower Molweni Valley community to the rest of the world through Wi-Fi. Then there’s twins Ayanda and Andile Ngidi with friend Trent Varejes, who have pulled triple-storey Danté Experience out of the bag; a bold and grand venue in uMhlanga for the young, hip and happening. We love our regulars; less in more in Trending, Kirsten Chananie gets an amazing makeover with Image Insured’s Megan and Fay Coleman, and our expert columns from Action Coach and MJ Accountants never fail to offer sound, relevant advice. Enjoy the read with a warm cup of tea, or a heart-warming Thai curry – Ant’s tried and trusted recipe is on page 40!

TALK TO US W Crest Magazine

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in this issue*

GROUP EDITOR Doody Adams 083 325 7341 EDITOR Katrine Anker-Nilssen 083 309 6736 PRODUCTION EDITOR Lorna King GRAPHIC DESIGN Kyle Griffin SALES CONSULTANT Anneline Domnick 066 254 0621 DISTRIBUTION Mphumzeni Thusi ACCOUNTS & DISTRIBUTION QUERIES Meghan Dewet 083 533 5898 ONLINE EDITOR Sarah Mackintosh CONTRIBUTORS Darrel Bristow-Bovey, Cathy Clark, Ant Ellis, Shirley le Guern, Justin Harrison, Kate Hoare, Wendy Jackson, Anne Schauffer, Stephen Smith, Rogan Ward

Copyright: All material in this issue is subject to copyright and belongs to Famous Publishing unless otherwise indicated. No part of the material may be quoted, photocopied, reproduced or stored by an electronic system without prior written permission from Famous Publishing. Disclaimer: While every effort is taken to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this publication, neither the authors nor the publisher will bear any responsibility for the consequences of any actions based on information contained herein. Neither do they endorse any products/services advertised herein. Material which appears under ‘Advertorial’ is paid for. *To the people of Everton, Gillitts, Hillcrest, Kloof, St Helier and Winston Park, the office parks, the residential estates and, of course, all our advertisers, thank you for your continued support.


40 30



Covid twist of fortune for Sbonelo Khwela





The latest home trends from interior designers


Casual online fashion

Gabi Breedt's new medical practice Published by Famous Publishing Printed by Novus Print (Pty) Managed distribution by Vibrant Direct



Grant Blakeway's ocean adventure



Connected: helping the homeless



Danielle du Toit's cookery school



The ABC logo is a valued seal of trust, providing measurement, compliance and auditing services which protects the way advertising is traded. The Crest is ABC audited and certified.

ON THE COVER: Sbonelo Khwela. Picture:

Hope for local community





How to create positive financial habits





Local conservation steps up in Outer West developments





Local doctor launches book



Red Bull Content Pool

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7 8 9 15 22 26 28 34 46 51 52


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Stretch Pilates For MIND, BODY AND SOUL Jenna van der Merwe grew up in Kokstad and attended St Anne’s in Hilton. “My mom is a teacher and my dad owns a hardware store, so it makes perfect sense that I would embark on a career of teaching people about their form and function. I just love working in the field of biomechanics and movement. It’s a hybrid between art and science.” The newly opened Stretch Pilates Studio in Hillcrest is an extension of the Durban North Studio. “My husband Stefan and I are both BASI compressively trained instructors, we met in Stellenbosch where we both studied a BSc Sport Science,” says Jenna – who completed her honours in Biokinetics Cum Laude before moving on to the Sport Science Institute of South Africa. She then started using her biokinetics and pilates knowledge to teach staff at the local resident hospital in Manguzi, where

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Stefan did a year’s internship following his post grad Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Degree. “I volunteered in the physio department using just movements to rehabilitate clients who travelled from rural areas. Despite the language barriers and lack of equipment, the clients felt better and got stronger. I realised what a powerful tool we had to combat pain and restore function.” Stretch Pilates Studio Hillcrest is a space where everyone is welcome. “Movement doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating, we laugh and work hard. It’s fun and effective, indulgent and addictive,” says Jenna – adding she has a fantastic team of instructors. “Many of our instructors are physios and bios. Working alongside medical professionals who have extensive experience in rehabilitation does give us an edge when it comes to figuring out our clients’ needs, and allows us to play a role in the holistic treatment of our clients.”

Having imported the best equipment in the world to offer sessions on the large apparatus, Jenna and her team’s pilates has a rehabilitative component as well as a performance one. “You have to try it to understand it. For me it’s like taking someone for a ride in my new car,” says Jenna – who believes people need to connect their minds and bodies through purposeful thought and movement with intention. “That way they can change the patterns of pain and explore new alignment and freedom that comes from strength and stability.” Book a trial session with Jenna to learn about your body, discover your unique weaknesses, honour your strengths, find faulty movement patterns, and identify areas that need some improvement. “Whether it be on the mat or on the reformer, you will learn just how strong you can become and how great that feels,” she says.


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What does your fresh start look like? For many, it’s a mature lifestyle village in a glorious location, surrounded by state-of-the-art security, lush indigenous gardens and completed by forest or ocean views. It could also be freedom of choice when it comes to activities, home types and purchase options that suit every need. Then, there’s the convenience factor of a single monthly levy that ensures everything is taken care of. Because when it comes to a new adventure, why should you settle for anything less than all of the above and then some? To see how you can live the holiday from as little as R1.6 million, book a private tour of Renishaw Hills, Scottburgh today. Email to get started or take our virtual tours on


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times entrepreneurs who adapt, adjust and evolve will not only survive but thrive. During lockdown he had time to reflect and look at creative ways of growing his business, and purchased a fully licenced road legal Toyota Land Cruiser Game Viewing Vehicle with a roll cage and 11 seats with seat belts. “I knew that there would be a demand to take corporate groups and families 4x4ing with me through the mighty valley to discover just what an incredible playground we have in KZN.

“My dream is to bring more people and corporates into the valley while continuing to work closely with Sibusiso. We plan to upskill, empower and encourage the youth living in the valley and provide a programme where we can broaden their horizons by inviting companies to showcase at planned career days we host in the valley – aiming to be the bridge of guidance to the youth.”


and appreciation for it. All my 4x4 days are held here, at Mqeku Picnic Site, where I work closely with Sibusiso Shangase and employ and upskill local labour to maintain our trails.” Travis studied Sports Management and worked for Nissan South Africa as a 4x4 instructor, gaining vital experience. “The last 20 years have been an incredible journey. I continue to learn daily and adjust my training programmes to push the boundaries that keep me at the forefront in the driver training sphere,” says Travis – who believes that in uncertain



Travis Duggan 4x4 is a 4x4 driver training and tour experience company, offering excellent training and adventures, such as the Waterfall Experience from the Shongweni Farmer’s Market – a 55-minute round trip rich in both history and beauty. Travis, a car enthusiast who has always had a thirst for driving or riding anything with an engine, grew up in Hillcrest and has always loved the outdoors, riding motorbikes, quad bikes and sports. “While playing in the Valley of 1000 Hills I always had a deep love


Upskilling, Empowering And Encouraging LOCAL YOUTH THROUGH 4X4 ADVENTURES

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LEFT: From left, Deborah

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Coaching for


KLOOF-BASED BUSINESS COACHING FIRM, ACTIONCOACH IGNITE, CELEBRATE THEIR SEVENTH BIRTHDAY NEXT MONTH. DARRYN LE GRANGE TELLS US A BIT MORE ABOUT THE BUSINESS COACHING INDUSTRY Q What exactly is business coaching and does it differ from life coaching? A Business coaching is the process of helping business owners and their teams achieve and sustain high levels of performance, much the same way that top athletes and sports people are coached. A life coach works with their clients on personal issues, unrelated to a business and this is not what we do at ActionCOACH Ignite. Q Describe your ideal client? A Our ideal client is an owner-managed business

KEY STATS • Have coached 212 businesses in one-on-one coaching • Have coached 120 businesses in group coaching • Have coached 8 416 hours • Have won 1 Global Award • Have won 15 National Awards • Our clients have won 5 National Awards • Thousands of cups of coffee!

who wants to grow or improve his or her business. Q What exactly does an ActionCOACH do for you? A An ActionCOACH business coach will help you to set goals for your business and then come up with a plan to achieve these goals. Your coach will hold you accountable to the action you agree to take, will help you identify the blind spots in your business, and will be a sounding board for you. We will push and encourage you to achieve more than you could on your own and will help you in the areas of marketing, sales, finance, systems, time management, managing your team and customer service to name a few areas of focus. Q What sort of results can a business owner expect from coaching? A Our main aim is to help you build a “Commercial, Profitable Enterprise That Works Without You”. Our first priority is to make you more money than you are paying us, so we become free to the business. Like with anything in life, what you put in is what you get out so your results will be dependent on the amount of effort you apply and the level of action you take. We have helped many businesses improve their profits by hundreds and even thousands of percent. Q What makes ActionCOACH

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Ignite different to all the other business coaches out there? A We believe our uniqueness lies in the following points: • We have a proven recipe to build highly profitable businesses whilst still giving the business owner time freedom. • You get to benefit from our award-winning team’s collective experience, wealth of knowledge and business expertise. • Our business has been built


COMPLIMENTARY COACHING SESSION Email darrynlegrange@ to request your complimentary session. on referrals and reputation so you can trust us to help you get real results in your business. Q What is the process should someone be interested in business coaching? A We would start off with a complimentary coaching session to get an understanding of your business, its challenges and opportunities, but mostly, and importantly, both prospect and coach will get to see if they are a good fit for each other. W ActionCOACHIgnite




n the marketplace, prospective buyers may throw a price objection at a salesperson, often leaving that salesperson scrambling for a quick response. An inexperienced or unskilled salesperson may just agree to drop the price then and there, and a more experienced salesperson will confidently hold their price. Buyers are savvy in using this tactic, and whilst discounts do have their place in certain scenarios, salespeople must take care to not just drop

If a product has a profit margin of 30% and the salesperson gives a 10% discount to make the sale, the company loses a massive onethird (33.33%) of the available profit. Assume something sells for R10 000 and has a R3 000 gross profit. If we give a R1 000 discount the selling price will now be R9 000 and the profit reduced to R2 000. We have given away R1 000 profit, now divide that by the original profit of R3 000 and that is 33.3% of the profit that has just been given away

ABOVE: From left: Nicole Kitching, Melissa Jacobs, Suné Alexander and Emily Motaung. Picture: Shane Doyle The below table illustrates this example;

NO Discount

10% Discount

Selling Price



Cost Price






Profit %



How discounting can HARM your business IN THIS FEATURE, MELISSA JACOBS EXPLAINS THE IMPACT DISCOUNTING CAN HAVE ON YOUR BOTTOM LINE their price as this can have far reaching implications on the business profitability, as demonstrated further below. Price is what the customer pays, value is what they get. As soon as the customer perceives that the price is higher than the value, they don’t buy. They have to perceive the value to be equal or more than the price, in order for a sale to happen. Salespeople need to ensure that they are highly skilled in explaining and demonstrating the value to the customer. Let’s take a look at the implication on the numbers as a result of discounting.


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The scary part is that in order to get the R1 000 profit back, you will need to increase your sales by 50% (R4 545) considering that you are now operating on a 22% Gross Profit. Business owners and their salespeople must do their best to protect their price and margins. It’s important for businesses to invest in teaching sales people not to hesitate or stumble when a buyer insists on a lower price, and to rather equip them with negotiating tactics that will help them hold firm on their prices. This also boosts a customer’s

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perception of the product or service’s value. It is much better to rather add some sort of value add instead of giving a discount.


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correct colours to wear, what colour and style your hair should be, and which clothing styles will balance your body shape.” As Kirsten is a Summer with cool skin tones, her hair was too warm and golden, which made her look pale.

Fay and Megan worked with Carl Putz (072 640 7185) to choose the correct hair colour to suit Kirsten’s skin tone. -year-old Kirsten Chananie visited Fay and Megan of Image Insured, who helped her tap into her full potential. “Colour is so powerful, and showing Kirsten the correct colours to suit her skin tone took her from looking ordinary to extraordinary,” says former Miss South Africa, Megan. “A Colour and Figure analysis will teach you everything you need to know regarding the

Pop into our shop in the Delcairn Centre, Village Road, Kloof and browse through our beautiful clothing range or contact us for more information on one of our life-changing makeovers. Tel 031 764 1039 or email info@

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cover story*

The father, the paddler, the concrete block




f you’ve ever followed the Dusi Canoe Marathon or the even tougher Non-Stop Dusi – in which the Pietermaritzburg to Durban race is done in a single day – you’ll know the name Sbonelo Khwela. An elite athlete, Sbonelo has won the K2 Dusi Title, in 2014, and finished second and third in K1 years. He has also won the Non-Stop Dusi a phenomenal seven times, both in a K1 and a K2. But as with just about all of us, 2020 was something of a disaster, as the Covid stick firmly thrust itself into the spinning wheel of our lives. “Covid didn’t actually affect the Dusi in 2020 or 2021, and we managed to complete the 2019/2020 paddling season before the lockdown occurred,” says Sbonelo. “But as professional athletes, we rely on our salaries from our sponsors to pay our bills. And just like other salary earners, some of us suffered major salary cuts. It happened without warning, and suddenly I was scrambling to make sure I had money in the bank for my stop orders.” Sbonelo needed an alternative income, fast. »

RIGHT: Sbonelo getting ready to train at his local – Shongweni Dam. Picture: supplied


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Luckily, fate intervened. An existing block-making business in the area had recently shut down, and the employees came to Sbonelo asking him to take it over. “I was looking for a business that could carry on despite Covid and could create jobs here in Shongweni, and it has worked out well.” At the moment, Sbonelo employs five guys in his business, two of whom manufacture the blocks using manual moulds. “These guys are machines,” Sbonelo laughs, “yesterday they made 680 blocks, all manually!” A proud father of five, Sbonelo also bought a four-ton truck for the business, and does deliveries himself, as well as managing orders from customers and making sure his employees have all the materials they need to carry on working. It’s easy to see that Sbonelo is a proud and well-known member of the Shongweni community. He started paddling at the age of 16 as part of the Change a Life development programme, learning to paddle on Shongweni Dam – which is a stone’s throw from his block-making business. He lives a few hundred metres further up the hill, and all of his business efforts either employ or benefit members of the community. While he enjoys a number of sports, especially playing soccer with his mates, his sporting ambition is to become the first black paddler to win a K1 Dusi, and to be a part of the first all-black team to win the K2 Dusi. This means a careful balance between his training, his businesses and his family, but he has the discipline to make it work. Sbonelo might have the shoulders of a paddler, but he has the mindset of a true-blooded entrepreneur. He has big dreams and sees his block business growing until he owns a warehouse


and industrial block-making machines, producing thousands of blocks a day and supplying hardware stores as well as his private customers. Like many entrepreneurs, he has a few businesses going: he transports factory staff as well, and he owns a number of cottages that he rents out. And, lest we forget, he is also an elite athlete sponsored by Red Bull with a number of race victories behind his name. With his sort of drive, it would be foolish to bet against him accomplishing his dreams and more.


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ABOVE: Normally 300 – 400 blocks are made a day, but a busy day can see almost 700 completed. INSET: Each block is handmade with a mould, and Sbonelo does quality control to make sure customers are always happy.


story katrine anker-nilssen pictures rogan ward

Medical Centre on Lyngarth Road. “It was always a dream of mine to have my own practice one day and provide an environment in which patients feel welcome and at home,” she says. “Following the tragic passing of my dad from the devastating Covid pandemic, I found it difficult to imagine my career in medicine without my lifelong mentor by my side.” But through the support of family, friends and the Upper Highway community, Gabi is now able to allow his legacy to live on.


abi grew up in the Upper Highway area and went to St Mary’s DSG. “I come from a very close family and am the youngest of three girls,” she says. “My late father, Dr Peter Breedt, was an incredible inspiration to me.” Gabi completed her undergraduate in Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg, and then went on to do two years of internship at Pietermaritzburg Hospital Complex. “I rotated through Grey’s, Edendale and Northdale hospitals before I was placed at New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town for my community service year,” says Gabi. In 2020 she returned home to work alongside her dad. “This was one of the most incredible experiences, where I was able to learn from him and to work with my hero. “Growing up in a medical household, I was both fascinated and drawn to medicine from a young age. Medicine is a calling, one doesn’t choose to do it, but rather it chooses you. My dad has played a big role in why I chose to do medicine. I often found myself in awe of both the impact and difference he made in people’s lives. It was a privilege to have him, not only as my father – but my mentor,



confidant and colleague. His love, kindness and compassion for all his patients have resonated through the community for many years, and it would be one of my greatest

LEGACY lives on

accomplishments if I could be even half the doctor he was.” Gabi, a general practitioner with a keen interest in aesthetic medicine, has just opened up her own practice at Kloof

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“Being a GP you get to build relationships with your patients and become an integral part of their lives. Whether it be through triumphs or losses, a GP is allowed to share in those moments and it enables connections to last for years and years to come,” says Gabi – adding that she is extremely fortunate to have Sister Kaylie Penery, who, with 10 years of casualty experience behind her, is a huge asset to the practice. “Kaylie’s kind and compassionate nature makes any patient who walks through our doors feel welcome and at ease,” says Gabi.





s a result of the Covid-19 pandemic many of us are now working from home, making correct ergonomics and posture even more important. Since the pandemic the percentage of employed South Africans working from home has risen from 4% to 38%. Post-pandemic, businesses in South Africa are predicting that many employees, almost 33%, will still be working from home. This can lead to an increase in the risk for developing sitting-induced lower back pain. Ergonomics is the science applied to the physical and psychological principles in an environment in order to increase productivity and well-being. Physical ergonomics refers to human anatomy and factors that affect movement or posture. Lower-back pain has been linked to poor workplace ergonomics, especially due to long hours at a desk and performing repetitive actions. According to Debbie Cameron, time, posture, and your environment are the main factors influencing the link between sitting and lower-back pain. Sustained sitting decreases variation of movement, and increases use of the spinal muscles when in awkward positions, and are the primary causes of sitting-induced lower-back pain. Research has shown that moving every 20 minutes can decrease the likelihood of developing sitting-induced lower-back pain. Thus, taking breaks from sitting or changing positions can help prevent lowerback pain, where shorter, more frequent breaks are better than fewer, longer ones.  A good sitting position when at your desk is vital: • Sit with your lower back supported. • Your weight should be evenly distributed through both hips. • Your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees slightly lower than your hips. • Your arms should make an “L” shape and your wrists should be straight. • Your screen should be at eye level and your keyboard straight in front of you. You

Beat back



can also leave a space of 10-15cm from the edge of your desk to rest your wrists when you are not typing.  Alter your environment in order to optimise your sitting posture: • Adjust the height of your desk or chair. • Use of a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor. • Additional back/lumbar support if needed. • Keep your mouse close to you and use a mouse pad to avoid awkward wrist movements. • Have objects you use often, such as the phone or stapler, nearby to avoid repetitive reaching/stretching. • If you spend a lot of time on the phone, try using a headset. • If you wear bifocals and you find yourself having to raise or lower your head to see your monitor, please consult your optician. These actions can put strain on your neck and back. Physiotherapy will help should you be experiencing sitting-induced lower-back pain, firstly to identify and treat the painful structure that is troubling and secondly to help you with an individual office set up that includes: education on postural awareness, a plan to avoid long sedentary period, prescribing appropriate exercises, and recommending assistive devices/equipment.. FOR MORE INFO Debbie Cameron Physiotherapy; 031 765 8898;

ABOVE: Physiotherapist Megan Fryer advises Debbie Cameron on optimal chair ergonomics to help prevent back pain.

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Just a man and the SEA


illcrest resident and Maritzburg College old boy Grant has a long history and strong passion for the sea, having been a ship’s diver in the navy for four years and then spent most holidays on or near the sea. The 59-year-old always wanted to have some sort of adventure with the ocean but, as he says, life carries on and you don’t get around to these things. The spark that changed this was a holiday to Indonesia with his wife, Adri, for their 25th wedding anniversary. “When we arrived


story stephen smith pictures penny bird at the island everything looked beautiful, but when we woke up the tide had gone out and the beach was covered in plastic. I’d never seen anything like it – it was just unreal. It really woke me up to the problem, and when I got back to Durban I began to notice the same thing and wanted to do something about it,” he says. Grant started looking for an ocean challenge to do, to raise awareness for the plastic pollution problem. He didn’t choose an easy adventure but

GRANT BLAKEWAY SPENT 56 DAYS BOBBING ON THE OCEAN IN A CAPSULE 9M LONG, 1,8M WIDE AND 1,2M HIGH jumped in with both feet, settling on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. And no, he had no experience rowing. At 3 000 miles (over 4 800km), the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is known as the world’s toughest row. It starts at La Gomera in the Canary Islands and ends at English Harbour in Antigua and Barbuda. The winners, usually a team of two or four, take around 32 days to complete the arduous journey. Grant, rowing solo, took 56 days, rowing up to 18 or even 20 hours a day. Even when he slept, he had to wake up every hour to check he hadn’t drifted too far

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off course and that everything was still OK with the boat. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here – it took Grant a couple of years, and a huge amount of problem solving and administrative headaches, to actually get to the starting line in the Canary Islands. At first he wanted to enter as a team of four, but as often happens, his team mates started to drop out as things started to get real. Instead of giving up on his plan, Grant got further inspiration from para-athlete Kelda Wood, who completed the race paddling solo. The next challenge was finding a boat – because Grant entered the race without ever having even sat in an ocean-rowing boat. He overcame this problem too, as well as a host of logistical

LEFT: Grant in his 2.4-ton rowing boat, on which he lived for 56 days. ABOVE: Grant before setting off on his remarkable journey. INSET: The end of 56 days of paddling, at English Harbour. issues that were emphasised by Covid-19 and various international lockdowns. Eventually Grant made it to the start line on December 12, 2020, the biggest challenge still ahead of him. He battled skin ailments, abscesses and more during his race, as well as the expected challenges of long days paddling, days at anchor not able to paddle because of conditions, rough seas and loneliness. “The hardest part was when you couldn’t row because of headwinds. At one time I was stuck at para-anchor for eight days, and that was very tough mentally. I tried to keep busy by getting the boat in order, but there’s only so much you can do,” he says – adding that his biggest mistake was not varying his diet enough. “I took just four different meals, and repeated them. After having dehydrated chilli con carne three times I never wanted to see it again!”

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Grant admits that almost from the moment you sign up for the race, it’s a challenge. “Raising funds, getting a boat, training, getting to the start. None of it is easy,” he says. “While I was out there rowing, I thought I would never ever do this again, but at the moment I’ve already started thinking that I might like to redo it, and hopefully have a cleaner run with the experience I’ve gained and hopefully fewer hiccups. Actually, I’m battling to settle back into my normal life. I’m feeling restless. Almost as I finished I started to miss it. It sounds strange but it’s true,” he ends with a chuckle. Grant and his wife have three children, and run a courier company in KZN. When Covid hit it forced them to realign their business, and they now specialise in going to areas that the bigger courier companies don’t reach.






story and pictures kate hoare

t’s easy for us to get caught up in the “daily grind” and routine of life with little thought or time for others. Paying it forward is the connecting and helping of another without the expectation of anything in return – where acts of kindness and compassion make a real difference to the life of another, with the hope of triggering a chain reaction of kindness. Meet Jodie Torlage, a busy Kloof mother of two who runs her own corporate clothing and gifting business by day, and in her personal time passionately helps many less fortunate make something of themselves. In 2018 Jodie, on her own, started distributing food to the homeless in the Durban Umbilo area, and on Sundays would take a group of them to church. Friends started joining her and in 2019

Paying it


Kindness costs nothing but can change the world for someone” Connected was launched, a small non-profit outreach programme operating from informal hubs like Grace Family Church in Riverside, Durban North and other similar places in the Upper Highway area. After busy day jobs and family commitments, Jodie and her team would venture out into the Durban night to improve and change the lives of those society had excluded. What began as simply handing out food to people in shelters and on the streets, has developed into relationships and trust, with the team helping the homeless secure ID documents, CVs, skill development and job placements. After three years Jodie and her team know each person by name, and understand their struggles and what’s lead them to living on the streets. Connected works passionately and tirelessly to help the homeless heal, as well as sponsoring many of them on Alpha courses or reuniting others with family – with the ultimate


ABOVE: Jodie Torlage – the drive behind Connected, helping the homeless make something of themselves. RIGHT: Mondli’s kaftans, hats, masks and bags are vibrant and proudly South African, available online at Encouraging Eco as well as at Claire’s Concepts in Mackeurtan Avenue in Durban North.

aim of getting as many homeless people off Durban’s Umbilo streets as possible. “I feel strongly that everyone has a passion and a purpose and when those coincide one has the power to enrich the lives of others. Kindness costs nothing but can change the world for someone!” says Jodie. The harsh reality is that unemployment is the biggest contributor to our homeless situation and South Africa’s unemployment rate is now nearing 30%. During lockdown, Jodie and her team became increasingly aware they were helping people with enormous skill and potential to earn an income. In partnership with Lovemark and Together for Durban, and in collaboration with The Wellness Centre Trust, Connected has recently run its first skills development course, which includes basket making, beading, sewing, crocheting and woodwork with the aim of providing many homeless people with a sustainable way of earning a living and getting back into society. To support those attending the workshops, Connected recently launched its online e-commerce platform, Encouraging Eco, where products made at the workshops are sold. “Connected’s ultimate hope is that Encouraging Eco becomes an online shop for local gifts, giving us an opportunity to support local entrepreneurship and upliftment,” adds Jodie. As Connected has grown, so have their success stories. Two years ago Mondli was living on the streets. Today he is a chef at 9th Ave Bistro, with his own clothing and accessory range on the side. Mondli was the first to get a job, get off the streets and now is one of the

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Connected team. Although his life has changed and improved dramatically, he still visits his friends on the streets and doesn’t ever feel he is better than them. Connected passionately believes that through their upskilling workshops and selling of locally made products, proverty can be alleviated. But, Connected needs the community to support their efforts to make it a success. By giving a hand up rather than a handout, Connected’s initiatives really have the power to bring many out of homelessness and allow them a more dignified and decent life.


How can you help?  Do you have a skill you could teach at a workshop?  Do you have space to become a stockist (a hairdresser, coffee shop)?  Do you have materials to donate (beads, needles, threads, material)?  Can you donate a Thursday evening meal, books or blankets?  Support the homeless on Encouraging Eco or at Claire's Concepts.

FOR MORE INFO W Follow Connected, Encouraging Eco and Claire’s Concepts


Fresh simple




ood is about relaxing and bringing people together – which was just what Danielle du Toit’s collection of “lockdown recipes” for everyday living did at a time when people were feeling most isolated. Her passion for food and teaching probably started during childhood and culminated not only in the creation of her cookery school, pheka, in 2006, but also in the writing of her recipe book pheka fresh simple cooking last year. “I spent about five years travelling the world with my husband. We had a ball backpacking and eating our way around the world. I worked in Chamonix in the French Alps, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean on private yachts. I spent time in Europe, Asia and South America and absorbed everything I could regarding the food and culture of the places I visited,” she says. On returning home, the couple spent time working in kitchens at bush lodges and hotels. That, she says, fuelled her passion for people, travel and local food. When the du Toits set up home in Botha’s Hill 15 years ago, Danielle started a small cookery school that offered courses for domestic workers. “I needed to create a business that was going to work for me and my new family, and so I tested out my idea on a few close friends and family. Everyone was delighted,” she recalls. This still forms the bulk of her work. “Cleaning and ironing can be very mundane. It’s great to be able to give


people new skills that they can not only use in the workplace but also take home. They can make a beautiful loaf of bread, a homemade pizza or a curry for their families. The messages and the photographs I get from my students are very rewarding,” she smiles. Danielle also does cookery classes for youngsters during school holidays and admits to surviving the odd flour fight. “Cookery classes for adults are aimed at those who are passionate about cooking,” she adds. Lessons are delivered either in her large, welcoming home kitchen or in the kitchens of clients. Her school is essentially a mobile one.

LEFT: Danielle in her kitchen at home trying out a new recipe. BELOW: Danielle presents a certificate to one of her cookery students.

Danielle also does cookery classes for youngsters during school holidays and admits to surviving the odd flour fight

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Everyone enjoys the simplicity of the book. You can literally open your pantry cupboard and cook a meal that is both nutritious and tasty without complicated ingredients

“I have a vehicle with all my equipment in it. I travel and can be in Durban North or uMhlanga on one day and in Pietermaritzburg on the next. I realised I couldn’t rely just on Upper Highway so decided that this was the best way to spread my wings a bit further.” The Covid lockdown provided another unexpected opportunity. “It brought the cookery school to a grinding halt. I posted a recipe each day during the initial threeweek lockdown. People were cooking at home and needed inspiration. People were sharing and commenting. Then someone suggested I put all of the recipes together in a recipe book,” she explains. She teamed up with close friend Louise McCann, whose magazine experience took care of the editorial side. All the cooking was done and photographed at home. “My sons Dominic and Luc helped style the pictures, made fires, climbed up ladders to help with lights and tasted the dishes. They even pretended that the brownies weren’t perfect and I had to make them a number of times so they could keep eating them,” she laughs. The book was launched in August last year and is available online via as well as at markets and some outlets in the Upper Highway and uMhlanga areas. To date, she has sold around 1 000 copies. “Everyone enjoys the simplicity of the book. You can literally open your pantry cupboard and cook a meal that is both nutritious and tasty without complicated ingredients. There are also lots of vegetarian options and food for the fire,” she says. Now back to a new normal, Danielle says that her cookery school is picking up again although classes remain small and they stick to stringent Covid protocols. At home, the family enjoys making dinner, eating together and swapping stories about the day around the dinner table. FOR MORE INFO

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Weavers’ Nest is Highbury’s co-educational pre-primary school for Grades 0000 – 00 (from age two to five). Here, your child will be at the centre of everything we do and, through our dynamic pre-school programme, will be given the wings they need to fly. We will inspire your child with a love of learning and their deep curiosity and innate sense of adventure will drive their interest to understand the world and their place within it. Your child will be acknowledged as strong, capable, resilient and full of wonder and potential. Our dedicated and experienced teachers are passionate about the development of your child and encourage discovery through play in a nurturing environment, providing our young girls and boys a solid foundation for the years ahead.


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homas More College is, and always has been, at its heart a place of innovative, pioneering and brave thought leadership which seeks to empower every child individually to lead a life of fullness, purpose and authenticity. In our incredibly volatile and uncertain world, this is difficult. However, the Thomas More College ethos allows us to meet this world with empathy, focus, courage, creativity and clarity. “In my relatively short time at this profoundly unique place of learning, I have witnessed the simplicity and liberating gravitas of our ethos as we have had to navigate our way through challenging, unchartered and sometimes treacherous waters,” says High School Headmaster Dave Wiggett. “Our ethos, our polestar, is indeed an ever-fixed mark which alters not when it alteration finds.” (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116). A clear vision within an organisation such as Thomas More College, implies that it can be seen when the sky becomes cloudy and overcast,



Sports Centre when day becomes night or even when you close your eyes. A clear vision also stands the test of time. In Thomas More College’s case the vision sometimes appeared larger and expensive and sometimes blurry, almost fading away and then at the appropriate moment it came into crystal clear focus and revealed

itself into what has now become the new sports centre. It is quite fitting, then, that this magnificent centre has been christened the iKhwezi Sports Centre. iKhwezi is, in our region’s lingua franca, the morning star, the guide to lost and weary travellers, the herald of a new day and fresh beginnings. It is constant, it is

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dependable, it is trustworthy and it is honest in its purpose. Patrick Smith from Walker Smith Architects revealed an amazing and wonderful design of what the iKhwezi Sports Centre could look like. The layout was beautiful and spacious, it was practical and functional and we thought it might just also be affordable. So, with that goal in mind we assembled a Steering Committee that was passionate, competent and included people who could provide the requisite professional, technical and financial input. A professional approach was adopted and following a rigorous tender process, Reed Simpson was appointed to build the centre. After many due diligence visits to other schools, Ms Wanri Venter (former HS HOD: Sport) and Patrick Smith recommended that we select Fintrex to provide and lay what is clearly a world-class floor.


The project was not without its challenges, primarily due to a black swan event called Covid-19 resulting in the country, the school and all building activity being suspended at the end of March 2020. Reed Simpson were able to return to site in mid-May, with this impressive facility (excluding the floor) being completed and handed over towards the end of September 2020. Thomas More College hosted the official opening of the iKhwezi Sports Centre on April 15, 2021. The opening commenced with two indoor hockey matches – the 1st Boys’ vs Staff and 1st Girls’ vs Staff. The matches were followed by the formal proceeding of the centre being opened, whereby Mrs Deni Hornsey, recently retired Foundation Phase Headmistress, unveiled the commemorative plaque which is now mounted at the entrance to the centre.

ABOVE: SA vs Namibia at the Africa Indoor Cup. BELOW: Ms Carol Mbili cuts the ribbon at the opening ceremony. BOTTOM: TMC 1st Boys’ vs TMC Staff.

Mrs Hornsey played an instrumental role in the expansion and development of our beautiful school grounds and was part of the decisionmaking of this extraordinary facility. It was only fitting that we asked our current longest standing staff member, Ms Carol Mbili, to cut the ribbon

and officiate the opening of the centre. Thomas More College is very proud to have hosted the 2021 Indoor Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON CUP) for both the Men and Ladies over the weekend of April 16-18, 2021. It was a high energy tournament with incredible hockey played by all teams. Jethro Eustice, SA Mens’ Indoor Hockey Captain, says: “We’re now at a venue that looks after Indoor Hockey.” The iKhwezi Sports Centre currently incorporates a full-size indoor hockey court, change rooms, spectator’s ablutions, a wheelchair friendly ablution, grandstands (250 fixed seats), storage facilities, a catering station and additional parking bays, with plans to include one netball court and two cricket nets. Maggie Mengo, Namibian Ladies’ Captain, expressed in her jubilation after having won the Ladies’ Africa Indoor Cup on Sunday, “I wish I could copy and paste this venue from SA to Namibia.” *Article written by Mr Dave Wiggett (High School Headmaster) and Mr Larry Riddle (Steering Committee Chairman) FOR MORE INFO Juliet Hartley: 031 764 8640;;

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Confessions of a pandemic




n a year where so many superheroes were acknowledged, one group of everyday heroes worked incredibly hard and took on enormous responsibilities but had very little support. Those were the mothers who wore many different hats and assumed a plethora of titles – chef, chief of police, homeschool teacher, “Minister of Moods” and more. Kloof doctor and first time author, Paula Diab, has written and self-published a humorous book entitled Confessions of a Pandemic Mother for these fellow moms. After qualifying in 2000, she completed her internship in the small Zululand town of Eshowe and remained there for 10 years where she completed her master’s degree with a special interest in HIV and diabetes management. She also met her husband, married and started their family in Eshowe. The family moved to Durban when the children started school, and it was then that she completed her PhD and set up a practice specialising in diabetes management – which she now runs from The Atrium Lifestyle Centre in Gillitts. Having self-published photobooks and, after chatting to a friend who authors children’s books, Paula decided to share her experiences. “I had no moms to talk to on the side of the sports field, no moms to catch up with over coffee or bump into in the car park while our teenagers were dawdling and we were rushing back to work. So, I started talking to my laptop. Gradually, over the year, as I was writing these stories, different themes began to emerge.


RIGHT: Paula with her family. Picture: Kim Hofmann

BELOW: Paula with her book,

Confessions of a Pandemic Mother.

“I realised I was writing about what so many of my friends were feeling and experiencing. Because people were not seeing each other, they all thought they were the only ones struggling. With extra time to reflect, I suddenly realised there were many lessons we could learn from this,” she says. Diab sees motherhood as both a calling and a gift, but wryly notes that there’s no training manual. “This time, however, our children were also floundering. Doubt, despair and hopelessness crept in. The book is about the challenges faced by working moms which were highlighted and exacerbated during lockdown,” she explains.

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MOTHERHOOD POINTERS • Children require a balance of freedom and responsibility – it’s a constant juggling act to maintain this. Restrictions in some aspects of life can create freedom in others. • As a parent, you may be called to help find things for children – sometimes it is a lost shoe, other times, it may be courage, confidence of even just a smile. • Delegate some tasks and seek support from others – parenting is not a solo performance. • Common sense should always prevail – if it doesn’t feel right or look right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts! • A critical mind is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. A sound mind with such qualities will allow each personality to develop a strong character and to make the correct decisions for crafting a successful life. • Equip your children with independence and resilience – you cannot always prepare the road for them, but you can prepare them for the road ahead. • Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it’s necessary! You can’t pour from an empty cup – find people, places and activities that fulfil you and cater for your own needs as an individual. • Make mistakes – and forgive yourself!

For this doctor, laughter was definitely the best medicine and she provides a delightful peek into the world of her family as the chief protagonists – Paula, her husband Guy Bigalke, their 13-year-old son Brunton and 11-year-old daughter Lauren – negotiated a world turned upside down by Covid-19 protocols. “I think more people need to know that what they were doing was and is fine and, if you make mistakes, it’s OK,” she says over a cup of tea on the shady veranda overlooking her lush green garden – which was the scene of many a home lesson during lockdown. She points out the dust bowl that was part of the family bike track to which she refers in the book. Paula recalls how her son, who was missing his much loved school sports, began struggling, and how she grappled with allowing her daughter her own cellphone only to have to deal with a dubious video that was received when she did. Paula is also totally honest about rules and regulations that simply didn’t make sense – curfews for outside exercise, spelling tests completed using tablets with an auto correct function and more. “You are trying to teach kids at a very impressionable age to be curious, and then you tell them not to ask questions because you just don’t know the answers,” she explains. The book, which can be ordered via or downloaded from Amazon, has received a very positive response. One UK mom reported that the experiences were slightly different but the feelings much the same regardless of the children’s ages. At this point, Paula admits she feels that she still has many shortcomings as a mother, but what she has learnt through Covid is to savour the moment. “My greatest lesson has been to slow down. I’m a person who likes to get things done – but you couldn’t make any plans. You didn’t and still don’t know what’s really happening. That taught me to just celebrate today,” she says.

How can you help your high school learner with maths? TEACHING MATHS IS NOT EVERY PARENTS’ FORTE AND YET THIS IMPORTANT SUBJECT OFTEN REQUIRES AN ADDITIONAL TEACHER FOR LEARNERS TO FULLY GRASP IMPORTANT CONCEPTS. For this reason, renowned mathematics educator Trish Pike moved her teaching online, creating affordable video lessons for Grade 8 - 12 learners in the form of Maths Online. Learners can enjoy her lessons for only R300 a month, giving them access to online tutors, her video lessons, quizzes and worksheets. Learner Vanessa Steltman recently commented, “From 43% to 70% in the space of one term. Thank you!” Use the code MO-CREST-21 for 10% off 6-months access* to Maths Online. Go to www.advantagelearn. com/maths-online to find out more about how your high school child can improve using Maths Online.

*Terms and conditions apply.


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illcrest may have grown from a little country village far from the madding crowd into a sassy urban one, but it definitely hasn’t left its glorious country roots or community vibe behind. It’s that sense of community in a gentle nature-based setting, which makes Emberton Estate such an appealing place to put down roots. For newcomers to the area, it’s a wonder to discover that the village of Hillcrest offers the wonderfully natural environment of old trees and green expanses, horses, mountain bike tracks, outdoor markets …all within a stone’s throw of top-notch retail, commercial and office facilities. Living on an estate like Emberton, residents can access everything from worldclass schools to horse riding lessons and a mountain bike trail in a matter of minutes. It’s this unique, multifaceted type of residential estate which resonates with the needs of so many young people moving into the Hillcrest area. This young, entrepreneurial energy is a positive force for the village of Hillcrest, and breathes new life, fresh ideas and a dynamic dimension into a community. Over a quarter of Emberton residents work within Hillcrest and the Upper Highway belt. One of Hillcrest’s major advantages is its close proximity and easy access


EMBERTON comes of age

FROM YOUNG FAMILIES TO GET-UP-AND-GO PROFESSIONALS, THIS HILLCREST LIFESTYLE ESTATE HAS GROWN AND MOVED WITH THE TIMES AND THE MARKET. IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY, AND EMBERTON ESTATE HAS THAT AND MORE to the M13 freeway, and in this estate – a hop, skip and jump from the M13 – many residents head west to Pietermaritzburg, or east to Durban and the North Coast. The position is unsurpassed. When Emberton land was first brought to the attention of the experienced developers, Collins Residential, that easy accessibility to everywhere was considered a major drawcard. It’s proven absolutely correct, as global trends lean heavily towards easy accessibility to places of work – with less time spent in traffic – more compact living where communities share facilities and therefore costs, and a connection to nature which fosters health and well-being. Hillcrest and Emberton tick all three boxes. Emberton is certainly coming of age, as a new phase of the estate is poised to launch. The configuration of these homes has been precisely what the market wanted, and this phase, too, will respond to the needs of prospective homeowners. As Collins Residential project specialist Pat Lambie says, “Young people are looking

for affordable, quality homes where they can begin this phase of their lives in what they consider to be a healthier, happier environment in which to work, play, and raise children. They choose Upper Highway because they see it as ‘country’… far from the negatives of city living!” He adds, “They are, however, realistic, and therefore very drawn to the exemplary

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security of an estate like Emberton.” Although estate living in South Africa is becoming increasingly around lifestyle within the estate, the advantage of living in Hillcrest is the volume of brilliant restaurant and entertainment opportunities five minutes from the Emberton gatehouse. It’s wonderful to have the heated lap pool, tennis

court, clubhouse, BMX track, playground and more right on your doorstep for the children, but equally, it’s great to move in and out of the greater Hillcrest community and enjoy what the village has to offer. As modern as life here has become, there’s something still a little historical and old-worlde-values about the area and this estate. And everyone likes it just like that. At Emberton, when the evening lampposts come on … it’s time for the children to leave their friends or the

playground, and go home. There’s something about that return to old-fashioned values which people are yearning for – knowing your neighbours, and not only being part of the community but playing your part effectively. Emberton Estate has come of age. It’s mirrored the growth and maturing of Hillcrest, and provided the ideal homes, lifestyle and community that young people want and can afford. FOR MORE INFO



Situated in the heart of Hillcrest, Emberton Estate has created a secure, family-centred lifestyle. Our next phase offers ground fl oor units, featuring pet-friendly gardens, as well as generous sunny patios on the fi rst fl oors. These open-plan homes boast designer fi nishes, feature walls and a light and airy feel. “It’s a Hillcrest success story! A residential estate that continues to provide picture-perfect homes for a like-minded community”


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Be come part o f t he E m b ert o n fa m il y! | C ont a c t F i o n a : 0 8 3 3 4 2 7 7 0 2 | L e o n : 0 8 3 3 2 7 2 9 0 3 fo r a p e r s o n a l i s e d t o u r of the es tate.

olympic champs*

Erin Gallagher

Emma Prinsloo

Erin Sterkenburg

Erin Gallagher (St Mary’s matric 2016) and a passionate Saints’ Old Girl, has reached the pinnacle of her success by representing South Africa as a part of the RSA 4x100 relay team, who are the first ever female RSA team to qualify for the Olympics. When interviewed previously Erin said, “I have no words to describe just how accommodating and supportive St Mary’s was during my high school career. If I could, I would go back and start all over again. If it weren’t for St Mary’s, I don’t think my swimming would’ve turned out the way it has, I owe a lot of what I have accomplished to this amazing school. Their constant support and complete and utter willingness to allow me to travel around the world to compete, and give of their own personal time to help me catch up on the copious amounts of work that I missed, certainly didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.” “Erin is so deserving of her selection to the Olympic team. She was always so committed at school. We are very proud of her,” says Head of Sport at St Mary’s, Mrs Jan Nicklin.

St Mary’s Old Girl, Emma Prinsloo (née Chelius – matric 2013) is doing us proud by representing South Africa as part of the RSA 4x100 relay team; the first ever female RSA team to qualify for the Olympics. “I have always loved being in the water,” says Emma, “I swam for my school swimming team and started competing for a club at around 11. I started at St Mary’s in Grade 8, after being awarded a sports scholarship for my swimming, and the strength of the team was a huge motivation to attend St Mary’s. My teachers were also extremely understanding and still pushed me to reach my full potential. I am such a proud Saints Old Girl and I will always cherish my time at school.” Mrs Jan Nicklin, Head of Sport at St Mary’s, was delighted to hear of the amazing news and says, “At school Emma was so committed and sacrificed a lot for her swimming. We are very proud of her making the Olympic team.”

Erin Sterkenburg began her rock climbing career in 2017 at Westville Girls’ High School and very quickly achieved success at provincial and national championships. Her natural talent, dedication and hard work has led her to become the top-ranked female youth climber in South Africa and receiving Protea Colours from the National Climbing Federation in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Erin has represented South Africa at the Youth World Climbing championships in both 2018 and 2019. In 2020, she represented South Africa at the Africa Cup Olympic qualifier tournament, where she was placed first in all three disciplines – lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering. Due to her excellent achievements, Erin has been selected as a member of the South African Olympic team – the only female rock climber from Africa who will be attending the event in Tokyo later this year. Now in Grade 12, Erin has made a substantial impact on our school. A high academic achiever and leader, Erin was awarded the Honours blazer by the school in recognition of her outstanding achievements. We wish Erin and the rest of Team SA safe travels and all the best for the Tokyo Olympics.

031 764 9855;;


031 764 9855;;

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031 266 1258;;


KLOOF, GILLITTS, HILLCREST, WATERFALL AND WINSTON PARK We would love to hear from you to discuss any of your property-related questions, and we can offer you a FREE comparative market-related valuation of your home. We are a team of qualified agents with many years of real estate experience, and look forward to being of service to you. Pop in anytime for tea at either one of our offices below.

WATERFALL: The Plane Tree, Unit 5, David Drive, Water fall. Call 031 763 3808 GILLITTS: Gillitts Centre, 4 Clifton Road, Gillitts. Call 031 764 6262 KZN Amanzimtoti 031 903 5260 Berea 031 903 8818 Dundee 034 212 4960 Durban City 031 301 1933 Durban North 031 563 7070 Durban Rentals 031 822 9071 Estcourt 036 352 3147

Howick 033 330 8066 Musgrave / Glenwood 031 316 5402 Pietermaritzburg 031 342 5129 Pinetown 031 822 9071 Queensburgh 031 463 2533 Titanium 083 260 1997 Umhlanga 031 561 2346 Upper Highway 031 764 6262

Upper Highway Letting 031 765 2639 Westville 031 266 9091 GAUTENG Benoni 010 745 1929 Blue Diamonds 082 495 3355 Dynamic 072 520 1246 Infinity 012 880 4860

Midrand 010 141 9383 Moot 012 332 3677 Student Rentals 076 926 4458 Vaal / Vanderbijl 016 423 2876 / 016 985 1124 NORTH WEST Hartbeespoort 082 894 6097 Klerksdorp 083 264 2457

Rustenburg 014 594 2402 LIMPOPO Polokwane / Venda 015 291 0725 FREE STATE Bloemfontein 072 645 6172 Ficksburgh 082 798 5052

CAPE PROVINCE Atlantic 021 205 1901 Blouberg 021 556 8682 Barrydale 074 142 2861 Hermanus 083 661 8465 PE 065 840 5146


Wonderful wild




nyone who has ventured west of the Crest recently will likely have said “there is a lot going on out there!” – with tales of massive earthworks, huge new buildings and news that the N3 upgrades have actually started. While these developments are the hot topic, much of the area remains as it has for many years; rolling hills dotted with homesteads interspersed with errant grazing cattle. There remain a few truly untouched spaces despite Durban’s westward expansion, and efforts are being made to conserve and rehabilitate them. “There are some wonderful wild spaces

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SUPPORT LOCAL  iSithumba Adventure Centre With a conference centre, a 20-bed lodge and a restaurant, and offering a range of activities, this is a comfortable base from which to explore the area.; 083 650 2789  iSithumba Travels Offers hiking and cycling tours that take in the iconic iSithumba mountain – a massive and imposing granite boulder, canoeing and swimming in the Umngeni River and authentic cultural tours.; 065 936 4418  Kwa-Ximba Conservancy Find Kwa-Ximba Conservancy on Facebook or call Simon Maphumlo on 083 737 6564.  Durban Ramblers Hiking Club Visits to Bartlett Estate are facilitated by the Durban Ramblers Hiking Club.

ABOVE: Anisotoma natalensis, a critically endangered species endemic to KZN Sandstone Sourveld and known from only two populations between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

ABOVE: Brachystelma pulchellum, a near threatened species endemic to grasslands on Natal Group Sandstone between Durban and Cato Ridge.

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in the Outer West that are not sufficiently appreciated or accessed,” says Paolo Candotti, chairman of the Kloof Conservancy. “The Kwa-Ximba Conservancy was founded nine years ago by members of the local community who are trying to conserve the few remaining areas of indigenous land that lie along the Msunduzi River.” Another area of environmental significance is the Bartlett Estate, recently bought by eThekwini Municipality and earmarked for formal protection. It contains a relatively undisturbed patch of KZN Sandstone Sourveld, one of very few in the area. KZN Sandstone Sourveld is one of the most threatened vegetation types in the province, and as the name suggests only found here. The University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Functional Biodiversity conducted a “bioblitz” – a rapid environmental survey – on the Bartlett Estate and recorded five rodent species, two shrew species and several larger mammal species such as Scrub Hare, Porcupine, Reedbuck and Grey Duiker. The botanists collected over 200 plants, including five red listed species. Witnessing the rapid development of the area, Merlog Foods became a founding member of the Hammarsdale Cato Ridge »

ABOVE: Hermannia sandersonii, a vulnerable species, particularly associated with grasslands on Natal Group Sandstone between Durban and Cato Ridge.



community who use it as a thoroughfare. It runs along 1,6km of the Comrades Marathon route, and should have fantastic views across to the Umgeni and Msunduzi.” With support from Merlog Foods, Cosworth Carriers and NCP Chlorchem, the HCRDA is working with eThekwini Municipality Cleansing and Solid Waste and the Metropolitan Police to drive enforcement of dumping by-laws. Local business Msenge Environmental Landscapes are rehabilitating and conserving it through clearing, landscaping and maintenance operations. “This is a good example of the private sector

Development Association (HCRDA), an effort by business to engage productively with the challenges facing the area. Russell Hanger, MD of Merlog Foods, says “One can do nothing and simply complain or do something. And we’ve chosen to do something. We’re pleased with the number of firms that have joined the HCRDA, and with the positive response from the eThekwini Municipality to this initiative.” Merlog Foods is spearheading an initiative to rehabilitate and conserve a large tract of Ngongoni veld that runs along the R103. John White of the HCRDA says, “There has been lots of illegal dumping, sand mining and overgrazing. Alieninvasives have taken root, and now cover a few hectares. It should be knee-high grassland, but it’s head-high weeds in places. This all makes it dangerous for the


This is a good example of the private sector collaborating, taking the initiative and working with government and the community to make the area a better place to work and live

TOP & MIDDLE: The beautiful

grasslands in the area, where Nguni cattle graze. ABOVE: Cosworth Carriers are supporting the project through supply of earth-moving equipment.

collaborating, taking the initiative and working with government and the community to make the area a better place to work and live,” says John. Kelvin Kotze, development manager of the Hammarsdale Industrial Park, notes that, “Our phase 1 development has 64 hectares of conservation servitude and is surrounded by more than 200 hectares of Durban Municipal Open System (DMOSS) ecologically sensitive area. Our owners and tenants are encouraged to adopt an eco-approach. We have guidelines and resources to support them in this regard. It makes business sense to adopt sustainable practices.”


FOR MORE INFO; John White 083 710 7555

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Adequately covered this




he Gillitts Primary School, nestled in the picturesque and tranquil Stockville Valley, is an institution with which we at Cooke Fuller have been proudly associated for the past 10 years. During this time, we have watched in awe as this modest school, charged with the responsibility of educating 430 underprivileged children, has been transformed into a school of excellence.


The school’s incredible turnaround has been championed by its principal, Miss Arti Jadoo. Miss Jadoo was appointed as acting principal in 2011 – a time when the school wasn’t fenced, when most of its windows were broken, and when a lack of basic facilities, coupled with negative publicity, led to service delivery protests and understandably low staff morale. Since then, Miss Jadoo has worked tirelessly to overcome the numerous and serious challenges facing the school that accommodates learners from Stockville Valley as well as the nearby townships

Molweni, KwaNyuswa, Embo, Nqetho, and Shongweni – to name a few. Miss Jadoo is supported by her team of 15 educators who, due to their relatively small number when compared to the number of learners, are involved in almost every aspect of the school’s functionality. They accept their arduous workloads willingly and with a deep sense of professional camaraderie. The results of their efforts include the school’s 100% pass rate, and its award of “Top Performing School in the Circuit” by the Minister of Education in 2019. The management and staff at Cooke Fuller have been privileged to play a role, albeit relatively minor, in the transformation of Gillitts Primary. Supporting the school through the sponsorship of its computer room, a Jojo Tank, shade umbrellas, and classroom chairs, and thereby helping a school that has done so much to help itself, has been a worthwhile and enriching experience for our company which, 40 years ago, had its own humble beginning. Today, a multi-faceted brokerage serving over 6 000 clients in all aspects of insurance and financial planning, we’re

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proud of our independence and our ability to adhere strictly to our set of values that are reflected and summarised in our payoff line “we look after you”. This year’s winter has got off to a chilly start. The hardships brought about by the cold weather will undoubtedly be exacerbated by the additional hardships caused by Covid-19’s effect on our

TOP: Learner Usithandile Nzama with some of the beautiful blankets donated.

ABOVE: Emma Fuller, learner Aphile

Nzama and Miss Arti Jadoo. LEFT: Dr JK Zulu (GPS School Circuit Manager), Colleen Saunders (CFG Director), Miss Arti Jadoo (GPS Principal), Emma Fuller (CFG Director) and Adrian Fuller (CFG Director).

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economy. For these reasons Colleen Saunders, a director, and a long-serving member of the Cooke Fuller team, who has spear-headed our CSR initiative with Gillitts Primary since the initiative began, recognised the need to provide blankets for the learners and appealed to her fellow directors for assistance. We agreed wholeheartedly with Colleen’s suggestion, which was supported by the notion that, despite all the will in the world, a young learner is going to struggle to concentrate in class if the discomforts of winter prevented them from sleeping the night before. We acquired blankets from a supplier in Johannesburg and, with the assistance of additional personal donations by our staff as well as the generosity of Anthony Gerber of Farmboy Towing, who assisted with the delivery of over a ton of quality blankets, are confident that the students of Gillitts Primary will sleep well no matter how harsh the winter ahead may prove to be. The management and staff at Cooke Fuller congratulate Miss Jadoo and her team on their outstanding work, including their ongoing ability to raise funds from willing sponsors who always take comfort in the fact that their donations are used responsibly and in the best interest of the young learners. We look forward to our continued relationship with Gillitts Primary – an immaculately and cheerfully maintained institution, as dynamic as it is modest, and one that echoes our commitment to the industry we serve, as well as our community.


031 764 8200; 3 Park Lane, Kloof 3610;;




henever we make financial decisions, a complex set of neurons travel the neural pathways in our brains, winding and twisting their way through both the logic and emotive parts of our neo frontal cortex. Unfortunately though, as human beings we tend to favour our emotive neural pathways, and this is why we often override our own logic when it comes to financial decisions. Luckily human beings are highly adaptive creatures, and with a few tweaks and hacks we can learn to open up new neural pathways that will enable logic to supersede our primitive emotive cognitive reflexes through a process known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is basically the ability of the brain to adapt to changes in an individual’s environment by forming new neural connections over time. This explains how the human brain is able to adapt, master new skills, store memories and information. In this article I am going to explain five ways you can take advantage of neuroplasticity and rewire your brain to create positive financial habits.

 Set

yourself a challenge Creating a really big challenge for yourself forces your brain to react and adapt differently as it tries to problem solve. The simple act of creating a challenge for yourself opens


up new neural pathways in the brain as it tries to figure out how to help you achieve these goals. Maybe you set yourself the challenge of paying off all your debt within a year, or maybe you challenge yourself to double your income in six months. Whatever it is, make it big, make it bold and then write it down somewhere you can see it every single day.

 Take small

consistent steps The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and so does opening up

Rewire your



your neural pathways. Choose small simple steps that you can consistently do to work towards your goal. Not only will this create momentum, but on a deeper level your brain will react by forming new habits around the actions you are taking. For example in the case of paying off your debt, creating a budget and tracking your spending is a great start, or in the case of doubling your income, make it a daily habit to look for income opportunities.

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 Change

your circle of influence Our brains are very much a product of what we feed it. Negative news, social media and toxic friendships become the limitation of our thoughts, and since our thoughts become our actions, it all starts with controlling what we feed our brains. There is an old saying that says “Show me your five closest friends and I will show you your future”. And in the case of your circle of influence, this extends to everything you are stimulated by – including what you read and listen to. So start aligning your goals with people who will support you, expose yourself to positive input through what you read, watch and listen to and before long you will create a new reality.

We love progress and our brains respond to positive feedback by opening up those new neural pathways  Track and

measure your growth As people we love progress and our brains respond to positive feedback by opening up those new neural pathways – these are called positive feedback loops. You can literally rewire your brain to succeed financially by tracking and measuring your progress. As you succeed

your brain will do all the work and open up those positive feedback loops. Before long, it will feel like everything you touch turns to gold.

 Break your


Routine can be a really good thing, or it can be a really bad thing. For most people it’s the latter. As people we easily fall into lazy routines, and this is

what we need to break free of. So instead of coming home from work and sitting in front of the television, read a book, go for a walk or spend time with your family. Not only is this healthier, but breaking your negative routines will help build those new neural pathways.




A brighter


story wendy jackson pictures rogan ward


he community of the Lower Molweni Valley and the social justice outreach of Kloof’s St Agnes Church have forged into the organisation Philangethemba. Computer training officer at Philangethemba campus, Siya Khubeka, is gifted with vision and IT expertise. Ross Norton of St Agnes has long realised Siya’s and the community’s need for optimum Wi-Fi connectivity. “Now with lockdown, as online has moved from the fringe to mainstream, the digital divide has become clearer,” explains Ross – a chemical engineer who has been involved with Philangethemba, which means “living through hope”, for 15 years. For Siya and Ross the need to provide connectivity for the Philangethemba community became paramount, and innovative problem solving was imperative. Sharing this challenge with friend and colleague Brad Leggat, a mechanical engineer and programmer/coder, Ross appealed for ideas. Brad suggested a pole with line of sight from Kloof to the computer centre at Philangethemba was needed. Ross followed Telkom’s line when they introduced fibre to Kloof, where he lives. Searching, he ended up at Telkom’s own pole. Standing on an old tree log, he established the vital line of sight. After bringing it to the attention of Telkom’s technician, Vincent Pheiwae, things started happening. “Within a week,” Ross relates, “Telkom had erected a second pole next to their own.” What they needed next were two microwave dishes. Brad invited his friend, Rob Goldblatt, whose business involves design and assembly of electronic



circuits, to join the team. What about power? The team decided on a solar panel and battery. Ross’s home became an assembly plant, with Siya doing the welding single-handedly. “On probably the hottest Saturday in February of this year, we climbed our

pole with a long ladder to assemble our dish and panel,” says Ross. Two days later Telkom connected the fibre. Siya, who had already assembled the dish at Philangethemba, called via Skype. All four were moved to cheer. Siya, a man with a huge heart and

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LEFT: Ross and Siya in the tower above the computer centre, where Siya attached the receiving dish. TOP: Siya at the Kloof pole, checking the box with the controls. MIDDLE: The beautiful Molweni Valley. ABOVE: Siya in the computer centre at Philangethemba.

wide grin, explains the significance of that Skype call: “I live here and know the people,” he says, speaking from heartfelt intensity. “I understand their needs and their frustrations. Before, we never thought we could get beyond this internet problem. Now it has happened.” Philangethemba is a remarkable achievement. Established in 2004, it has partnered with the Tholulwazi High School and improved facilities, which filter out into the community, including two primary schools and many creches. Now on offer is early childhood development, a toy library, teacher training, a sports field, the ibhungezi sewing co-op, extra school lessons where Linda, Ross’s wife, assists, woodwork classes, and motor mechanics which the multi-talented Siya teaches. With a permanent staff of six, Philangethemba also employs six interns each year. Most of the interns go on to tertiary education. “We approach corporates with social responsibility projects, and have donations for funding,” says Ross. “Now that we have fibre, we are discussing rolling out the rest of the online learning systems. Symbiotically we hope Brad will be able to teach a Tholulwazi School student who has shown interest in programming, computer coding via oneon-one video learning.”



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rock the kitchen*




ot damn, I love food, and I love people. No prizes for guessing how much I love people who also love food. I’ll start this issue’s love letter with a reminder that there was a time when the steakhouse ruled supreme, and the most “exotic” food we could get at a restaurant was Spaghetti Alfredo. So imagine the collective delight of the cheese sauce-soaked masses when the one and only Sean Beatt opened one of South Africa’s first authentic Thai restaurants – Baan Thai on Florida Road – in 1994.


Shazam! Fragrant, fresh and full of creative dishes jammed with fantastic new ingredients, Sean and wife Premjit’s menu tasted of adventure and boldly challenged a food scene as predictable as grease on French fries. Hallelujah. Food runs in Sean’s family, with dad Brian having owned and run top-end bistro The Colony, an ahead-of-its-time destination with a reputation for gastronomy and mischief in equal parts. Having developed and owned the Bangkok Wok franchise, Sean and Premjit ditched the corporate hamster wheel and now run two ridiculously good and authentic

noodle shops in North Durban – The Wok Box in Mackeurtan Avenue, and SW1 in Mount Edgecombe’s Flanders Mall. My girls and I are super-regulars at SW1, where we’re constantly delighted with a revolving door of killer new menu items, each better than the last. I’m forever amazed at the energy and passion I get from Sean – he’s a contagious, empathetic human, and he knows his spring onions. I had to ask him the question

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that keeps me up at night, and yet for which there is no finite answer: Why does restaurant food taste different – better even – than home cooking? Yes, I hear you, there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal, but also, there’s nothing like the craft and excellence of a brigade of professional, trained chefs in full swing. The answer: In experience, equipment and technique. And of course, it’s the vibe, the mood we’re in when we’re waited on – it


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all adds up. As home cooks, we can get pretty close to restaurant-standard food, but for me at least, there’ll always be a something special about a professionally prepared meal. For Sean, authenticity is everything. There’s literally no substitution for real ingredients from specialist grocers – world-famous soy, fish and oyster sauces and shrimp pastes, fresh choi, lemongrass and radishes. And then, there are those inimitable ingredients that make all the difference – galangal, tamarind and palm sugar to name just a few. It’s in these unique combinations that the true joy of south-east Asian cooking lies, and no Western shortcuts will do. It’s not about screaming-hot curries and chilli that’ll wake your ancestors. Thai food is about the perfect balance of many complex flavours – a hot, sweet, salty and sour joyride that’ll leave you wanting more, and searching desperately online for a recipe that comes close. So here’s an

authentic cook-at-home Thai recipe straight from the sunny shores of Koh Samui for ya!

Coat bottom of a pot with oil over medium-low heat, gently fry curry paste, chilli and lime leaves for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat, add coconut cream and milk, water and palm sugar, stirring slowly until blended. When sugar has dissolved, add chicken pieces and simmer slowly until almost done, roughly 45 minutes. Add calabash and cook until just tender – too long and it’ll get mushy. Add ripped basil leaves before serving. Season to taste with salt or fish sauce. Curry paste is salted so if you’re seasoning, add slowly and taste as you go. Garnish with fresh chilli and serve with steamed basmati rice. Until next time, consider this: You don’t want to look back and wish you’d eaten Thai food more often. The balance may seem complex and even elusive, but it’s worth the effort – and if all else fails, visit Sean immediately.

Green Chicken Curry • 1 whole chicken • peanut or vegetable oil • 1 dessert spoon of curry paste per person • 4 green chillis, sliced diagonally • 4 lime leaves, preferably fresh • 1 tin coconut milk • 1 tin coconut cream • 1,5 empty coconut milk tins of water • 50g palm sugar • 1 calabash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces (try and get this from your local Asian market, it’s worth it – or substitute with fresh green beans) • handful of basil leaves • fish sauce to taste • fresh red chilli, sliced for garnish Portion chicken into bite-size pieces (cut drumstick into 2, etc). Break up carcass for use.


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2021/05/03 11:08


Keep it




he world we live in has changed dramatically. A global pandemic, increased environmental concerns, growing awareness of inequality, a surge in online presence and a change in the landscape of the workplace, has fuelled a growing phenomenon and international trend over the last year. Keeping things simple, whether it be in home decor, fashion or simply decluttering our lives, less is more is most certainly getting our attention. The minimalist movement is more prolific now than ever before. Here are a few simple ways to streamline all aspects of your life to achieve this clean, “back to basics” lifestyle.

The Minimalists: Less is Now

Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s most important things, which actually aren’t things at all. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have helped over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcasts, and Netflix films. They have built a movement out of minimalism and share how it’s never too late to start over with less, and why simplifying can lead us to more fulfilling, happier lives. “Minimalism is the active intention of paring down so you can focus on what


things slower and finding inner peace in the stillness, while focusing on life’s most important “things” like health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

Minimalism is the active intention of paring down so you can focus on what matters in life matters in life,” explains Matt D’Avella, documentary director. It is not only about decluttering stuff, but also our old mind patterns that no longer serve us. It allows us to make more conscious choices and encourages the search for happiness – not through things but through life itself. Taking

Home Decor

Since the 1960s, minimalism has had a fundamental impact on art and pop culture. However, beyond fine art, minimalism as an aesthetic has taken hold of the interior design world, moving away from unnecessary embellishments and embracing clean lines, neutral colour palettes and multi-functional decor pieces. How to create a luxurious minimal design: • Make use of a limited colour palette of neutral or light colours, and add pops of colour with greenery, art pieces or textured wallpaper. • Don’t be afraid to have some empty

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winter 2021: • Whether you are working from home or in the office, a relaxed WFH (work from home) look will ensure you are on-trend this winter. Pair tailored trousers with a basic T-shirt or an oversized shirt with leggings, along with some comfortable footwear like a pair of Birkenstocks or trainers. • Designers have taken the loungewear of 2020 and made it chic for 2021. • Give basic a twist. Be sure to add some simple layering, with a jersey over your shoulders or a tailored jacket, to finish off the simple but stylish look. • For evening, the classical LBD (Little Black Dress) is back, but then again, did it ever go out of fashion? If you are looking for inspiration, here are a few minimalist style icons: Victoria Beckham; Jane Fonda; Diane Keaton; Gwyneth Paltrow; Audrey Hepburn.

space, providing a clutter free environment. • Make use of multi-functional furniture – such as an ottoman – which can serve as both a coffee table and storage space for remotes and other items. • Your decor should serve a purpose. We all have pieces we love, make it functional and help remove the clutter. • Furniture should have clean lines and include simple decor objects. The emphasis should be on quality rather than quantity.


Whether or not you are a true minimalist, there are many minimalist fashion trends that work as bases for any wardrobe. The simplicity of clean lines, simple shapes, a muted neutral palette, wardrobe basics and a pared-back approach to style is all the fashion inspiration you need for winter 2021. The capsule wardrobe trends for


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The DantŽ




ne thing’s for sure. Interior designer Alice Colle let her hair down when transforming the uMhlanga stalwart, Ile Maurice, into triplestorey Danté. With a brief from her clients which had “unique, bold and off-the-charts” written all over it – “think Annabelles in London” as inspiration – Alice had eight weeks to pull Danté out the bag. With 195 restaurants in uMhlanga, Danté needed to be “everlasting”, which is precisely the translation of the name. Brothers – and twins – Andile and Ayanda Ngidi, are co-owners with friend, Trent Varejes. They bring different, complementary skillsets to the mix, but they share the same passion for entrepreneurship, hospitality, and food. During university, Durban-born Ayanda and Andile did the usual university thing … as barmen and waiters. Post-university, they launched their working lives with pop-up eventing – The Social Pop-up Event Co-ordination Company was theirs. Young and inexperienced, they discovered that relentless hard work and a grim determination to be better than the best, was the only way up. They also discovered they really enjoy people and creating events which pull people together. The brothers have been friends with Johannesburg-born Trent for 10 years, the three of them hitting it off from the outset. Today, they call themselves family friends, and Trent’s dad has not only shared his entrepreneurial bug with his son, but with the Ngidis too: “We’ve absorbed so much of value from Trent’s dad, Gavin,” says Ayanda. “We had a triple-storey venue in our sights and on our vision board from around 2009. When this opportunity came up, we


called Trent, presented him with an idea for a multi-storey, multifunction venue on the Ille Maurice site (which was available for long-term lease), and he was in.” Alice got the call. She laughs, “Eight weeks, that was it. And we weren’t going to erase Ile Maurice either. It was an institution, and we wanted to retain some of that vibe.” The trio realised they had to be ready to open the doors by the end of November: “Not just ready,” says Ayanda. “But phenomenally ready.” Alice thought, “something tropical, over the top”, but although there’s a thread which runs throughout Danté, each corner, space and room features different fabrics, textures and wallpapers – plus 170 pieces of Victoria Verbaan art line the walls. From the ground, climbing up the next

LEFT: Ayanda and Andile Ngidi are co-owners with friend, Trent Varejes.

two stories, popping into the different levels, bars and venues, is not unlike the wonderful thrill and surprises when you travel. Step inside Danté’s island-style veranda, and you’ll find a Main Restaurant and Bar, Gin Garden, Cigar Bar, Oyster & Champagne Bar, Signature Bar and Rooftop Bar with 180 degree ocean views. Each has its own signature flavour. Alice retained the existing restaurant tiles, balustrades, basins and a few mosaics as the base on which to build: “The moulded pressed ceilings provide a great deal of character, layered with bold wallpapers, art, velvets, linens, chandeliers, chunky bamboo blinds, elegant light fittings and furniture.” Danté is a riot of colour, and if you ask Alice which dominates, she smiles: “We used a lot of pinks, greens, blues, golds, and natural tones.

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Pink is such a happy colour and creates so much excitement. The natural tones add a certain calmness, and the others simply create interest. I think every colour under the sun has been used in this project – however it all seems to work together like a beautiful piece of tapestry.” The decor in a nutshell? “Bold, grand and over the top.” When it comes to the menu, it’s a mix of Mediterranean and Italian, with a South African twist. Andile and Trent in particular roll up their sleeves, or rather, their culinary imaginations. Andile spent a short time at KZN’s International Hotel School focusing on front of house, but he thinks big – peeling and chopping was not for him. He, like Trent, enjoys food. They brought in specialist and legendary chef Marco Nico (sadly deceased) who, together with the boys, established a blueprint for the kitchen. Ayanda says, “The name Danté is Italian, so there was always going to be an Italian influence. We offer the freshest, widest range of seafood … alongside our pizzas, pastas, you name it.” Trent’s a mere 22 years old, but you’d never know it. He’s been working alongside his dad as well as on his own successful

projects, so he’s way ahead of the pack. “As Danté comes from ‘everlasting’,” says Ayanda, “when we branded the restaurant, we named it the Danté Experience. We don’t want to pigeonhole it, this is phase one of something which will never stop evolving.” They opened during a pandemic which, although challenging, has given them the time and space to fine tune everything: “What you see is just the start of what we’re going to be building on. Phases two and three – watch this space.” “We’re young, diverse, can tweak quickly. We won’t be standing still,” Trent added. “When we see something good we say ‘let’s make it great’; when we see something fine we say ‘let’s make it amazing’.” Whether you’re keen on a mocktail or one of the finest freshly squeezed juices, plan on a pub crawl, a seafood dinner or a bespoke meeting place or out-of-this-world function, the Danté Experience can be whatever you want it to be.


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ovid-19 touched every area of our lives in ways we didn’t even imagine possible. Overnight our homes were transformed into multipurpose spaces as different generations arm-wrestled for quiet spots to learn, work, Zoom, watch TV, and escape. In the opinion of interior decorator Tracy Kelly of Nom de Plume Studio: “We wanted our homes to become a place of healing and comfort. For some, that means calm interiors with less but more impactful pieces – choosing quality over quantity; for others, it means the bold use of colour, drawing inspiration and comfort from their healing powers.”

Making friends with

TRENDS One thing’s clear. We all had time to examine our homes, and found them wanting for this new life thrust upon us. We weren’t eating out or holidaying, so those funds were redirected into making our homes more liveable, more enjoyable, and more functional. Interior decorators are busy. Decor trends are largely driven by events or the mood in a country, and in Covid’s case, it drove two seemingly apposite trends: cocooning, and finetuning our homes for entertaining. The team of Vision by Milstead and Hayter says the main bedroom as the traditional first port of call for decorators has been superseded by entertainment and leisure areas. If you can’t go out, you stay in – and bring people into your home. South Africans are creating convivial “pubs” and “restaurants” inside their homes. Josey


SAVVY INTERIOR DECORATORS ARE RARELY SLAVES TO TRENDS, BUT RATHER CAREFULLY SELECT THOSE TO WHICH THEY ARE DRAWN AND IDENTIFY AS ENHANCING A SPECIFIC HOME AND ITS ARCHITECTURE, ITS OWNERS AND THEIR LIFESTYLE, WRITES ANNE SCHAUFFER Hayter says they’re opening up the lounge to the patio in an even bigger way than previously: “We’re removing doors between lounge and patio, so the lounge is a massive space – those stackback doors or shutters are pushed out so they’re between patio and garden.” Space, light and air are big drivers. Spaces are being multi-purposed, so too some furniture. The Vision team has been installing “champagne bars” – essentially a kitchen table at a bar height. So, instead of the limited space and functionality of a standard bar, you now can fit more people for drinks/eats/socialising. Wendy-Lee Douglas of Douglas & Douglas – mother of three children under 11 – is understandably drawn to the clear trend regarding organisation and the minimisation of clutter: “Thanks to Netflix’s The Home Edit and Marie Kondo,

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I’ve introduced loads of storage solutions within the home to keep chaos at bay. I have plenty of decorative woven baskets around the home to house toys, because, even with a dedicated playroom, kids always want to play in spaces where you are.” Tracy Kelly also hones in on the tidy-up queen Marie Kondo’s philosophy, and points to the current Japandi trend – a combination of Japanese and Scandinavian interiors: “Essentially, clean lines with the focus on light and minimalism.” When it comes to wall colour, “It’ll always depend on what look you’re after,” says Wendy-Lee, “but our current favourite is to paint the bottom third of a wall in one colour, then fill the other two-thirds with another. It plays wonderfully with proportions, and adds architectural interest to a space.” The Vision team’s choice is white walls throughout the home – and that love of white is echoed by decorator Nikki Rolfe: “White is powerful, ancient, smart, timeless and loved by architects and designers. It always looks good, cool and calm, no matter your style, and there are so many different whites from which to choose – cool, chalky shades through to a white rose. Used with almost any other colour, white adds a look of freshness.” The Vision team favours two whites – »


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For more information or to book a private tour of our facilities, please contact Sr Sue Dalais on 031 561 3300 or visit


else’s, and this ensures the individuality of yours. Upcycle – never be frightened to paint, re-upholster, and alter. Natural materials are always a personal favourite for Tracy, and she mixes rough with smooth – like natural woods with beautiful marble, and organic textured tiles with natural sisal and cane. Likewise, Nikki Rolfe suggests, “Add straw and rattan for appealing texture; or combine natural objects with lush greenery.” Tracy also suggests that “Fabric with texture is huge – think a chair cover in a textured wool. It feels like a giant hug – just what we all want, isn’t it?”


Plascon’s Evening Mist and Dulux’s Winter Bird – then add feature walls of colour, cladding, mirrors or wallpaper. “That white palette provides a cohesive, unfussy look, and allows you to go wild if you like, on your decor and fabric colours. Wallpapers, too, are massive at the moment, as are murals, particularly featuring botanicals or tropicals.” The indoor-outdoor trend will never leave sunny South African shores, so our focus on indoor greenery as a decor trend – pictorial as in framed botanicals on the wall, or live plants – makes perfect sense: “Unanimously, the inclusion of our environment and how we can bring it indoors has translated into loads of greenery. The positive energy radiating from plants within a home is priceless,” says Tracy Kelly. All decorators agree on plant power: “Indoor plants – the bigger the better,” says the Vision team. “Palm trees or banana leaves which touch your ceiling. Even a vase on a server, with oversized green leaves. People want a fresh feel.” There’s long been a pull to natural, even earthy fibres, colours and finishes,


compounded by growing awareness around sustainability. Bluntly, not everyone cares deeply about putting sustainable or local first, but with local it does tend to trickle through in accessories, artwork, and the like. Tracy Kelly feels strongly, “Producing more local content and developing our skills is imperative. In time, we’ll improve on quality and pricing – we’ve


White is powerful, ancient, smart, timeless and loved by architects and designers relied on imports for too long.” For those not focused on sustainability, combining old with new feeds into reusing and recycling. “Mixing old pieces with new is certainly current, and nothing makes a home feel more lived in than when you have a collection of vintage pieces,” says Tracy. Nikki concurs, “Whip out old pieces and combine them with new ones.” No one wants a home which looks like anyone

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Ampezzo Ð What a wooden floor wishes it could be At Italtile you can find timberlook products that are top quality porcelain tiles with cutting edge technology to create the most durable, low maintenance product for lasting beauty. AMPEZZO is our latest range of beautiful wood-look glazed porcelain floor tiles from local supplier Gryphon. The range offers two appealingly rich matt-look colourways: Natural and Whitewashed.  Ampezzo Natural Matt Glazed EcoTec Porcelain Tile 220x895mm, was R249 now R229/m².  Ampezzo Whitewashed Matt Glazed EcoTec Porcelain Tile 220x895mm, was R249 now R229/m².  Ampezzo Natural Matt Glazed Slip-Resistant EcoTec Porcelain Tile 220x895mm, R299/m².

Ampezzo Whitewashed

MIDTOWN is available in three options (below) and is especially suitable for living areas, but can be used in kitchens and bathrooms too.

Midtown Charcoal

PROUDLY South African


Midtown Ð Adding space naturally Midtown Manhattan is one of the wealthiest districts in New York, but there is certainly nothing mediocre about it. You will be in awe of how the MIDTOWN tile can make a small space stretch for metres more, and you will be humbled by the fact that local manufacturers have managed to produce this rectified, screed look surface to appear so natural and flowing.

Midtown Grey Matt Glazed Porcelain Tile 795x795mm, was R275 now R229/m². Midtown Charcoal Matt Glazed Porcelain Tile 795x795mm, was R275 now R229/m².  Midtown Charcoal SlipResistant Matt Glazed Porcelain Tile 795x795mm, was R309 now R279/m².

Retro Ð Right on trend RETRO is a magnificent remastering of the tile look that has been loved and much sought after for centuries. Based on the ancient art of “cementine”, but remastered with high tech digital inkjet technology, RETRO features a soft, honey-toned pattern on a matt, glazed porcelain tile. Suitable for floors, feature walls, patios, countertops, or a kitchen splash back. Manufactured by Ceramic Industries, RETRO is a welcome deluxe local addition to our ever-growing pattern “fiesta”, and has earned Italtile’s LiveGreen logo. Retro Patchwork Matt Glazed EcoTec Porcelain Tile 600x600mm, was R189 now R159/m².

Retro Patchwork

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FOR MORE INFO ITALTILE uMhlanga; 7 Tetford Crescent, uMhlanga Ridge; 031 566 5069; Open 7 days a week. T&Cs Apply



ABOVE: Sintered stone, 6mm thick for the cladding and 12mm for counter tops. LEFT: In kitchens we see a move towards thinner counter tops, sleeker lines, matt surfaces and a more subdued palette. Adding detail pops; either feature cladding, backlit onyx or details on main kitchen islands – like this island featuring crafted curved sides, robust and sumptuous against the clean contemporary slim surround counters.




frigran is a market leader in creating stone products that can bring to life any designer’s dreams, our core focus is the fabrication of Granite, Marble and CaesarStone. Our technology allows us to create quality products, with an emphasis on personalising each design to the individual’s needs.


Constantly pushing boundaries, be it investing in new materials or technology, we have our own water jet machine which allows us the freedom to create exciting new designs, as well a computer guided CNC machine which can cut stone perfectly straight or at 45 degree angles. Stone choices make or break a design, for counter tops there has been a move away from the 30mm thick granite

towards engineered surfaces which are non-porous and offer lighter colour choices. There will always be a place for natural stone. Its unique beauty will stand the test of time. Pop into Afrigran so we can show you all the different stone options available. FOR MORE INFO; 031 577 8090; Showroom Unit 6, Outlet Park, 59 Meridian Drive, uMhlanga

ABOVE: Stone swatches show the trend towards thin counter tops. RIGHT: Keeping it clean, with thinner surrounding stone tops and a feature island.


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Creating quality stone products


Go with the





t Coco & Salt we live for embracing femininity, for going with the flow, for being authentically and exquisitely real. We believe in uniqueness. We believe in blending the local with the exotic and luxury with relaxation. We dress confident women who know who they are, who follow their passions, who radiate creativity and pursue a life of gorgeous adventure. Coco & Salt is more than just style; we

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value comfort, quality and versatility. We know that style goes beyond fashion. It’s the way we feel, express, and connect – both with ourselves and with the people we meet along the way. We dress women who know exactly who they are: gorgeous, inside and out. Founder Karen Jessop launched Coco & Salt for South African women, like herself, who wanted beautifully feminine clothing that could handle the heat and humidity of our weather. Karen set about curating a fun, fresh, and feminine range of bohemian clothing that


Jess jersey, R1 890.  Singita tunic dress, R990.  English rose skirt, R650.  Each online order is packed with love and care in a free tote bag.

BOTTOM (LEFT TO RIGHT): Midnight tunic dress, R990.  Ariana dress, R990. Safari palm tunic dress, R990. Mum & me beanie set, R399. Eden ruched dress, R690. Boho skirts, R650.

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bursts with colour and wraps the wearer with lightness and comfort. Sold online and in selected boutiques nationwide, Coco & Salt has become known for its curated collection of premium, vibrant, and lightweight prints that embody freedom, luxury, and adventure. The distinctive designs, limited ranges and exclusive stockists ensure that each and every Coco & Salt piece is a unique addition to your wardrobe.




last word*


o you know what social activity is surprisingly disappointing? You may not know this, but the catering at a tea party hosted by four-year-old girls is seldom very good. I know this from bitter experience. A few years ago, two four-year-old girls of my acquaintance extended a formal invitation to join them for tea. It wasn’t a written invitation, but nevertheless it was made with all due solemnity, so I duly informed them that I would be pleased to accept. Now, it’s true that I didn’t have a great deal of experience with small children, but I wasn’t completely clueless. I wasn’t expecting high cuisine. But still, I was hoping for, I don’t know, something. I arrived and was seated, and regarded with suspicion the teacup before me. It seemed a little small to provide a truly satisfying cuppa, but I was prepared to give it a shot. One four-year-old tilted the tiny teapot over my tiny cup, and we all watched as nothing came out. “Is it good?” said the other four-year-old, and she and her sister looked at me very earnestly. “Um,” I said. My mind was racing. Was there something wrong with them? Had they not noticed the lack of anything drinkable? I couldn’t in all conscience tell them this was a good cup of tea. “It’s not very hot,” I said at last. They considered that and nodded thoughtfully. “The kettle doesn’t work very well,” said one of them. “Have a Swiss roll.” Do I need to tell you that there was nothing on the plate? Were they trying to make a fool of me? A most unsatisfactory meal, but they kept inviting me back. “You’re their favourite guest,” their mom told me, but that didn’t ring true. If they liked me so much, surely they would take the time and trouble to get some real tea and some


Let's pretend


non-invisible Swiss roll. The next year they were five and invited me for a Father’s Day lunch. They assured me there would be spaghetti and also ice-cream, but by that time I was wise to the duplicity of youth, and knew not to get my hopes up. “Why don’t you have any children?” they asked me over the second course of fresh air. “Just lucky, I guess,” I replied.

They nodded thoughtfully, and said they were pleased about that, because if I had children of my own, I probably wouldn’t have as much time to play with them. I agreed that was probably the case. The good thing about children is they may not lay on a decent spread for tea, but they know which things are worth pretending about and which things aren’t. “Do you have a daddy?” they wanted to know. No, I replied, he died when I was just a little bit older than them. “We don’t have a daddy either,” they said. Maybe I could be their daddy, if I wanted? I told them I didn’t think it worked that way. “We could pretend you are though, can’t we?” they said. “Not real, just play-play.” I said I supposed so. Maybe. “What can we call you?” they wanted to know. I told them they could call me Darrel, which is what they had been calling me up until then. They considered that. “What if we call you Darry?” they said. “Because that’s a little bit Darrel, a little bit Daddy.” And I wanted to tell them that was fine, but it took me a while because my throat was suddenly strangely sore and there was something in my eye.

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beneficial strains  3 variants for daily health, repairing the gut & healthy kids  Does not need to be refrigerated  Suitable for diabetics  Vegan-friendly


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