in search of meaning
MATRIC: survivor stories (#justchill)
Two nights away, spa treatments, sandboarding for 4 and lots more…
Living with loss and hanging in there
Mr ‘Black Like Me’:
What Michelle Obama ate in Cape Town
most irritating habit
stories of hope l local living l contemporary faith
contents ON THE COVER
Cover photos by: Tonya Hester, Russel Wasserfall, Onside Images/Bath Rugby
06 sportymoment Francois Louw on England, ice-cream and his most
12 reallife Living with loss, and hanging in there
17 examlife Matric – how a mother and son survived
18 foodielife What Michelle Obama ate in Cape Town 22 mylife Mr ‘Black Like Me’: SA miracle
AND THE REST
04 locallife What’s hot in Cape Town? Gasp, eat, shop and WIN!
09 dailylife How Ingrid Lestrade pushed through tough circumstances
to help rural children
10 teenlife Dynamic teens who are going for it
21 studentrap How to make your student bucks laaast
26 supportlife How a local course helped two divorced people heal
27 hotmedia Strong woman: the autobiography Justin Bieber’s mother
wrote, and other books/movies Capetonians recommend
28 marketplace Local classifieds (take the las out of looking) 31 infomoment Courses/groups/support for YOU
32 retailtherapy Made in SA: gifts you feel great about buying
PRIZES: up for grabs in this issue • • • • • • • •
CEDERBERG ACCOMMODATION FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR donated by Pampoen Fontein Farm, Cederberg p23 CHAMPAGNE BREAKFAST or lunch with wine for two donated by Pink Coffee Boutique, Kenilworth p2 SUNGLASSES AND EARRINGS donated by Portobello Road, Kenilworth p21 SPA TREATMENTS donated by The Skin Aesthetics Clinic, Constantia p26 PICNIC FOR TWO donated by Bite Relish p4 COOKERY COURSE donated by Stir Crazy Cooking School, Observatory p15 SANDBOARDING SESSION FOR FOUR donated by Adventure Sports & Tours 4U p7 SKATING SESSION FOR FOUR WITH SKATES donated by Grand West Ice Rink p10
• • •
SUNSET BOAT CRUISE FOR TWO donated by Waterfront Boat Company p25 COOKERY BOOK ‘A WEEK IN THE KITCHEN’ donated by The Kitchen restaurant, Woodstock p18 BOOKS donated by Struik Christian Media p27
to your door? We are free but R100 will cover postage & packing for 3 consecutive issues. Email: email@example.com
CONGRATULATIONS to the winners from our last issue:
Gail Bester, Harfield Village; Gloria Daniels, Wynberg; Chris Eksteen, Rondebosch; Bongiwe Gwadiso, Khayelitsha; Peter Holgate, Pinelands; Kyle Jackson, Pinelands; Ariane Krijt, Somerset West; Drew MacArthur, Lakeside; Bill Matthews, Noordhoek; Meg Meyers, Kenilworth; Jocelyn Morris, Mitchells Plain; Garth Nagel, Kenilworth; Elsabe Serafin, Muizenberg; Jo-Anne Smetherham, Fish Hoek; Brenda Stevenson, Pinelands; Pierre van der Merwe, Bergvliet; Kerry Warren, Lakeside; Renee Wegewarth, Monta Vista and Aaron Wilcox, Bothasig.
ALL COMPETITIONS IN THIS MAGAZINE END 16 SEPTEMBER 2013. Really sorry if you’re from afar, but all prizes need to be picked up in Cape Town! Normal SMS rates apply (so sorry, free SMSes won’t work) THE BORING BUT TRUE BIT: Please note that all our prizes, including the physical activities, are undertaken entirely at your own risk: we can’t accept any liability whatsoever for any damage or loss you may incur. Also, we may use your name in the next issue of thislife or other channels for publicity purposes. By entering any thislife competition, you accept these terms
Want to give input, or send a comment or questions? • Email Katy at firstname.lastname@example.org • Physically deliver anything (mark it Katy @ thislife mag) to Christ Church Centre, 16 Summerley Road, Kenilworth, tel 021 797 6332
A special thank you to Max Bosanquet of Cape Photography (www.capephotography.co.za) who lent us his studio equipment (again…) 2
thislife.org.za | issue 8
‘Like’ right us on F ac e b now o a c h a n n d sta n d o k ce to a a c ha m p a with wine gne brea for tw k fast B (Face outique, o at Pink or lunch K book C .com enilwor th of fee /Pink .cof fe e1)
Com p 16 Se etition en ds ptem ber 2 013
Umm…STOP? thislife team members trying not to get run over in Newlands
welcome to thislife magazine!
, bonjour. How hopeful are you feeling right now?
If your answer’s somewhere between not very and life’s an epic fail, read on − and read on too, those of you already joyously swinging from the chandeliers. The main aim of this mag is to bring you hope in all its many guises. Of course, you already knew there was good stuff happening out there. But on these pages, we humbly offer you tangible stories of hope that for us burn bright in the random glooms of contemporary SA life. Our local living pages (p4 and 5) will give you a quick pleasure buzz, but for something more meaty to spur you on, have a squiz at Ingrid Lestrade (p9), who grew up in what Jane Austen would have called reduced circumstances in a Cape farming area, but has pushed on through to a life of meaning and joy. On p10 you’ll find some dynamic Cape teens who don’t know how to give up and go home. Neither did Herman Mashaba (p22). Grab a good coffee and read how this Gautenger grabbed his apartheid-smothered life by the scruff of its neck, and turned it around to become an admired and enormously successful businessman.
Herman finds strength and hope in what he calls the Man Upstairs, as do many of the people on these pages, who explain their own individual connections with God. Worth a thought? We’ve many more encouraging features – how to survive Matric, live with loss, find great SA gifts and make your student bucks laaast. But if all else fails, enter our many competitions – we’re local, so you’ve got a great chance of winning! May you find that bluebird of happiness before too long – we hope it’s right here in your own backyard.
Katy Macdonald, Ed thislife is anchored by a cool group of Anglican churches (www.stjohnsparish.org.za) PS In case you’re wondering,
PPS Thank you to those who write us messages of encouragement.
We love them! Contact us any time on email@example.com – gripes included!
OUR TEAM: Editor Katy Macdonald | Strategic planner Dean Hand | Picture/Production editor Tonya Hester | Writers Claire Stevenson, Kendi Mugambi, Bronwen Bowmer, Pam Bailie, Jean Alfeld, Natasha Curry | Designer Gwyn Lubbe | Additional layout Simone Potter | Advertising/marketing/distribution Rebecca Parry, Debbie Gray, Mary Holgate, Debbie Thwaits | Consultants Brian Burnett, Angie Tate, Cindy Webber To advertise with us, contact Rebecca on 072 802 7022 or firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.thislife.org.za or ask for Linda on 021 797 6332
thislife.org.za | issue 8
shop... Tired of giving soaps and candles as presents? For some-
thing new, head on down to Heartworks in the Gardens Centre (yes, the high-rise block in Gardens-the-suburb that has nothing to do with seedlings). Africa meets chic in this smallish space crammed with local innovation that’ll brighten up the home of anyone who loves Africa but desires a change from plastic chickens and beaded wire bowls. Here are really great cushions, pottery, handbags, keyrings, tea towels, mirrors, hot water bottle covers, hooks and pottery – everything made in SA. From pretty and trad to funky, here’s all you need for a reminder of just how great this country is. A few items are rather pricey, but there’s something for every budget. Heartworks has a particularly good supply of bits and pieces for wistful SA expats. Some gifts are so lovely, they might even lure your émigrés back home.
African innovation: another reason not to move to Wimbledon
Heartworks, Gardens Centre, Gardens. 021 465 3289, open daily but closes Sunday at 2pm
A pic nic on th for two b y e (w w w block, B new food it ie .biter elish.e Relish s co.za )
ly SM your S BITE to c C o m ha nc e t 338 0 8 16 Se petition o win! for ptem ends be r 2 013
Meet the veteran Capetonians who’ve just done something so crazy they should probably be committed. Newlands vet Mark
Barron (59) and Kalk Bay sports scientist and cancer survivor David Crombie ran 62 standard marathons in just over 85 days – that’s a whopping 42km a day for six days, with only one day’s rest per week in-between. They followed the Mekong River, which snakes through south-east Asia, taking on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in the process. Why? Good question. But they’ve got a good answer: to raise funds for Home from Home, a Cape Town NPO providing care for orphans and vulnerable children in small foster family homes within their own community.
Mark, what was your biggest challenge? ‘Avoiding the enormous humidity. We had to run while it was still dark – on roads filled with potholes and craters!’
Great moment? ‘Discovering we’d both been given little
Christmas cakes as padkos by our colleagues and loved ones to eat on Christmas Day.’
Deep thought? ‘To take life’s opportunities and enjoy the
life I’m given. When things go badly, I’m more determined than ever to be happy!’
David, how did the locals cope with you? ‘By shouting “flange, flange!” (foreigners) and literally staring at these two pale males running through their remote villages.’
significant enough for me to be totally committed. It was never an ordeal because each day I got closer to achieving my end goal. It’s a mindset: when you accept the end, the means will follow.’
First thing you ate after finishing? ‘A slice of the
Christmas cake I had deliberately resisted until crossing the finish line.’ It’s not too late to contribute to the success of the Mekong River Run. For more info, go to www.homefromhome.org.za
thislife.org.za | issue 8
picture courtesy of Mark Barron
How did you keep focused? ‘The cause I ran for was
They did what? Yes, Capetonians Mark (right) and David flew to foreign parts and ran 62 marathons in 85 days
Local living what’s new in cape town?
What’s good in your neighbourhood?
Let us know on email@example.com
All features on this page are genuine editorial comment – thislife does not do advertorial in any shape or form!
What better than the crunch-in-the-mouth of convinc-
ingly fresh fish and chips following a surf or walk on the beach? LUCKYFISH & CHIPS is the offspring of the popular Kalk Bay restaurant, and a newcomer to the block at Muizenberg’s up-and-coming Surfers’ Corner. Basic and unpretentious, it lacks the cottagey charm of its harbourbased mothership (you’ll find yourself gazing a little sadly at plastic crates and cardboard boxes if you’re not careful). But position yourself the other way, and through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows you’ll spy the sea, exuberantly painted beach huts, and probably quite a few surfers getting changed…look the other way, oh ye of squeamish sensibilities. The food? To die for, bru. Classic hake comes in a light and crispy caramel-coloured batter. The calamari tastes somehow wholesome. Chips are triple-fried in palm oil. Good for you? Definitely not, but a little of what you fancy does you good from time to time, and these are definitely worth notching up calories for. Portions are generous and prices reasonable: you have to pay extra for sauces but there’s an abundance of free lemon wedges if that irks. It’s all served in friendly, relaxed style (and yes, that does partly mean not electrifyingly fast – it’s not that slow, but A-type personalities should go off-peak). For those who spurn fresh fish or calamari, a number of other options such as sandwiches and salads are on offer. Seems an odd and rather chilly choice here, though.
thislife loves: the basin for washing beach hands as you enter
LUCKYFISH & CHIPS, Beach Road, Muizenberg.
Convincingly fresh, sea-view fish and chips…what’s not to love? 021 788 9597, Open daily 9am-9pm
No one likes doing their washing, but when it comes with great coffee or Korean food
while you wait, it becomes a whole lot more appealing. So it’s no surprise that Cape Town’s quirky new laundrette-cum-café is taking off. I Love My Laundry is first and foremost a laundrette, albeit in a heritage building. But it also specialises in drinks and tasty dim sum, served to French songs amidst funky décor. ‘Our service is quick – we serve steamed dim sum within 15 minutes of an order,’ says co-owner Mico Botha. I Love My Laundry offers a special of eight dim sum plus coffee/wine for R40. Open Monday to Sunday from 7 to 7. Where? 59 Buitengracht Street, Heritage Square. Also available for private functions. For more details, call 074 992 1481 or click on www.ilovemylaundry.co.za
thislife.org.za | issue 8
thislife.org.za | issue 8
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A sand d three friend you an
.co.za) nture4u e v d .a (w w w for 338 0 8 AND toe to win! S S M S anc your chetition ends Comp mber 2013 te 16 Sep
SPRINGBOK Francois Louw on England, ice-cream and his most irritating habit
ust-married Capetonian flanker Francois Louw was born with rugby in his blood, a legacy from his grandfather, SA international Jan Pickard. This former Bishops boy, now 28, played several years for the Stormers and Western Province, and made his Springbok debut in 2010. In 2011, he signed a three-year contract with Bath Rugby in England. Francois’ parents run a guesthouse in Hermanus and his South African wife Sarah works in mergers and acquisitions just outside Bath YOUR MOST IRRITATING HABIT? Leaving the toilet seat up. It drives Sarah absolutely crazy! Ultimate comfort food? Pizza – Parma ham and rocket Why rugby? There was always a bit of rugby ‘gees’ in the family. I played from the age of about eight, and loved every minute of it. It’s an amazing game and I have learnt so much from it that I can use off the field. Most importantly it has taught me to be humble, and grateful for everything I have Why Bath Rugby? I’ve always wanted to play abroad and try something new. The opportunity came around a little sooner than I had hoped, but the club has a lot of history and heritage, and it’s something I wanted to be part of. Bath’s a beautiful city with a rich culture and great atmosphere Best thing about living in England? Meeting amazing people from all over the world, with whom I hope to stay in touch for the rest of my life Worst thing about living in England? The sun doesn’t exist here for nine months of the year One thing not a lot of people know about the Springboks is… That the first rule about the Springboks is that you don’t talk about the Springboks Why God? Wherever I walk, I walk with Christ and he will always be there. I am truly blessed and all I have is because of his grace. That’s not to say that my path hasn’t swayed from side to side, but I believe it’s through Jesus that I am (and we all are) saved Coolest thing about God? Forgiveness How do you connect to God? I try to connect with God on a daily basis through prayer and His word (the Bible) Best rugby memory? Sitting in the changing room at Newlands after the Super 15 semi-final in 2010, and being told by our team manager that I’d just been named in the Springbok team to face Wales in Cardiff What’s in your fridge right now? Well I thought about making it sound really interesting but to be honest, I need to do a shop desperately! Running low on all the essentials. I have loads of ice-cream in the freezer, though…(thislife conducted this interview shortly
before Francois got married, and hopes the situation has now changed a little) Guilty pleasure? Have I mentioned ice-cream? Every night?
this page proudly sponsored by Dorrington Jessop Incorporated Attorneys contact Barry Jessop: firstname.lastname@example.org thislife.org.za | issue 8
thislife.org.za | issue 8
A life in the day of
Ingrid Lestrade, director of the Goedgedacht Trust
She ain’t no cook, but Ingrid Lestrade is helping change farm children’s lives
Ingrid Lestrade, 34, was born and educated in the small farming town of Piketberg, the third of four girls. For 13 years she has been a driving force at Goedgedacht (‘good thoughts’), a farm near Riebeek Kasteel which aims to bring hope to rural children
y ‘alarm’ rings at six every morning – it’s my mother! She calls without fail to check I’ve woken up and said my prayers – and if not, she says them with me. Every day I thank God for all I have, for the dreams I’ve achieved, and ask for guidance in my day ahead. I live at this beautiful farm so I walk to work! I love taking a detour for a quick visit to the pre-school on my way to the office. The bright faces give me a boost. We sing a song together at the top of our voices, and I’m ready for the day! Once I’m at the office with my seven colleagues, there’s one constant on my mind: finding ways to break the cycle of poverty and hardship and provide a sense of hope and dignity amongst the youth. With so many hurdles to overcome – from overcrowded living conditions, unemployment, and alcoholism to mental, physical and sexual abuse – everyone needs all the support they can get. The good news is that in a community where 15 years ago, 95% of children dropped out in primary
school, we’ve produced 45 children who have completed their matric. Of these, 98% are employed, and we’ve just heard that one child who came right through our programme from pre-school onwards has been accepted to study next year at Stellenbosch University! It’s so wonderful to stay with children on their life journeys and see them grow into confident, bright-eyed, responsible young adults. It feels nice to know that bit by bit our next generations can be transformed.
seamstress I know a path out of poverty is possible. Growing up, I had a strict but loving upbringing. Even though we were poor, my mother taught us to be neat and work hard. I’m so proud of her, raising us singlehandedly and working long hours as a seamstress to put us through school. She was always busy making wedding dresses and, in her spare time, doilies for us to sell at school. She was also very involved with the community, giving legal advice to the farm workers. It was through her association with Lawyers for
Human Rights that I was introduced to the world of law. After school I obtained an LLB through Unisa, and I’m now studying for my Masters. I hope to use this extra knowledge to assist Goedgedacht with legal matters around tax and labour in particular. Lunch is something light, usually a sandwich I make for myself in my flat. In the afternoon I go for a walk for an hour every day, even when it rains. After a day of fundraising, writing reports and thinking how to address issues creatively, a quick game on my Wii, reading a book or watching a little TV pretty much takes up the rest of my day. Supper, for someone whose cooking skills are questionable at the best of times, is often a repetition of lunch! I admitted defeat on the cooking front a while back. My weekends are taken up by law classes and running youth and women’s groups, as well as catching up with my precious family. When I do get time I’m a sucker for a romantic tearjerker. My favourite is Notting Hill ... and Hugh Grant!’ thislife.org.za | issue 8
E n tr y a to Gr nd skate hir an (w w w d West I e for fou .icerin ce Rin r k k.co. z a)
GOING for it
Sim your ply SMS c thesehance to ICE to 33 808 f win o prize 16 Se s! Comp ne of threor e of ptem etition be r 2 e 013 nds
‘Follow your dreams!’ Can this
ever be more than a Hollywood cliché? Is doing what you yearn to do really possible in these hard economic times? Well yes, even in 2013, it seems. We didn’t have to look far to find these three dynamic Cape Town teens going for it, hammer and tongs...
Schoolboy designer Brandon Berg: ‘I’m pushy!’
Blatantly ignoring the fact that he had no formal training, BRANDON BERG of Pinelands started his own commercial range of clothes at the age of 15 (Edge by Brandon Berg, see www.edgebybrandonberg.com). Now 17, this schoolboy designer has added a perfume range, EDGE, to his repertoire. Brandon attends school in Newlands HOW DID YOUR FASHION PASSION START? Since I was seven, the three aunts who live in my road would call my mother and say, ‘I need Brandon to come and help me get dressed’, and I’d help them choose their outfits!
FIRST THING YOU MADE? A horrible purple blazer with sharkfin lapels and big gold buttons
WHY DID YOU START DESIGNING CLOTHES? I needed an outlet from schoolwork. I was doing badly, and needed to start doing something I enjoyed. Since I started designing, my schoolwork has really improved because I’m happy and have an interest
HOW HAVE YOU MARKETED YOURSELF? After that horrible blazer, I decided to have an open day at my house. I made 10 things for women, and 10 for men. I had over 100 orders that day, and straight afterwards I pushed to get into Cloak and Dagger, a shop outside Cavendish Square. I didn’t email, I phoned and said, ‘I’m coming to see you today’ and then my gran and I convinced them. I’m very pushy, I harass people! I tweeted Tracey DiMarco, a hairdresser on American reality show Jerseylicious, and asked if I could send her a blazer and a top. She said yes, I sent them and she emailed me a thank you! I’m making Liezel van der Westhuizen’s dress for the SA Style awards
WHAT GIVES YOU THE EDGE (GEDDIT)? My clothes are edgy but everyday. They appeal to a range of people, from my gran Lulu to friends aged 15, and are made for both men and women. Also, I’ve grown up in this generation so I know what our generation wants: older designers don’t always know
10 thislife.org.za | issue 8
WHAT MADE YOU THINK YOU’D SUCCEED WITHOUT FORMAL TRAINING? Naivety!
this year after I sent her a top, which I think is kind of cool. I also sent Lady Gaga some clothing when she performed here last year BAD TIMES? Yes, there were some harsh comments and haters initially, but my friends at school are cool now. Because the girls like the guys to wear my clothes, they wear them, even to play rugby! FUTURE PLANS/GOALS? New York fashion week, an interview with Ellen Degeneres on her show, my own shop… YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ASPIRING TEENAGERS? Follow your passion. Don’t let others stop you. Don’t let lack of money get in your way: make a plan. God opens doors and gives you opportunities – take them and be grateful!
KIMBERLEIGH VAN DER VENDTEL, 16, grew up singing in church in Malmesbury. When her music teacher took her own son to audition for the Tygerberg Children’s Choir, she took Kimberleigh along and… yes, she was offered a place. This meant moving away from her parents and four siblings at the age of 11 to live with a cousin in Pinelands. Kimberleigh attends school in Athlone, where she plays the piano and trumpet, and sings in a jazz band. Her singing has opened up travel for her all over the world and a chance to share the stage with SA vocalists such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Lira and Mango Groove’s Claire Johnston HOW DID IT FEEL TO LEAVE HOME, AGED JUST 11? I was small and used to my mom doing everything for me, so it was hard. It’s still hard but I learnt a lot of responsibility and self-discipline. I was scared of what I’d find in the big city, but I also felt excited and positive because I had a chance to succeed YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE SO FAR? Changing from an Afrikaans-speaking school to an English one! HIGHLIGHTS? Performing as lead singer with the jazz band in front of thousands of people at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Overwhelming but amazing PRACTISE MUCH? Every day! WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL WORK...? I guess I’m just a normal teenager when it comes to that!!
YOUR GREATEST SACRIFICE? Growing up without my mother YOUR FAITH? I stay close to God by praying with a friend. A lot of us teenagers don’t understand how essential it is to know God, especially when things go wrong. It’s good to acknowledge God and talk to Him about your struggles. I’ve also learnt to be patient with God. His time and my time aren’t the same at all! YOUR ADVICE TO OTHERS? 1. Be humble and God will make you great! 2. Never just hope, BELIEVE! 3. We all have so much potential. With just the right amount of work you can do ANYTHING!
Kimberleigh van der Vendtel left home at the age of 11 to start singing
MALAIKA JUMAH, 13, gained Western Province skating
colours just five years after taking up the sport. She lives in Elsie’s River with her mother, who runs a small stationery shop from home. Malaika is an only child and attends a primary school in Goodwood WHAT GOT YOU STARTED? I went to the Grand West baby rink for fun as a small child and fell a lot, but loved it. Even then I wanted to improve, and I stilI enjoy working to get it right. I skate in the 13–16 year age group and rank third in the Western Province in this group. My coach says I now qualify for international competition WHAT GIVES YOU THE EDGE? Practice! I’m at the rink at 6.30am most mornings
Malaika Jumah is often on the ice at 6.30am
THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF WHAT YOU DO? Going onto the ice alone, and my nerves. My tummy feels as though it is going to pop with all the butterflies! Also, the better you
become, the fewer friends you have: jealousy creeps in! WHO’S INSPIRED YOU? My coach encourages me, and my mother always believes in me. Chad le Clos inspires me with his hard work and dedication, and Caster Semenya showed me it doesn’t matter where you come from: if your talent’s been discovered, you can go very far YOUR DREAM? To compete in the Olympics one day! YOUR ADVICE TO OTHERS WHO WANT TO SUCCEED? PRACTISE! Believe in yourself. Don’t give up! thislife.org.za | issue 8 11
living with loss
Losing a spouse has to be one of the most traumatic things that can ever happen to a person. Some people never recover from it. thislife is humbled by, and grateful to, three Capetonians who have had the courage to share how it feels, and what helps them throughâ€Ś
Sue Marr and family have found comfort in continuing their Monday pancake tradition 12 thislife.org.za | issue 8
Shoe agent Sue Marr was born and raised in Durban. Her husband Johnny, a surgeon, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2011, and died two months later. Sue lives in Rondebosch with her three children, Oliver (17), Jean (15) and Matthew (12)
guess it’s not to be recommended, but I actually did meet the love of my life in a pub. We were both students at the time. I was studying at Stellenbosch, and Johnny at UCT. I liked him immediately and was a bit taken aback when he stood me up on our very first date! He had a good excuse (mistiming a cycle training ride) and, luckily, I forgave him. We were together 25 years, and married for 21. We had a great marriage. He was an independent spirit and so am I, yet I believe we were soul mates. We fought, that’s for sure, but we also shared many interests such as gardening, cycling and the beach. Of course, our three children only strengthened the bond we shared. I remember that early in our marriage, I asked Johnny to choose between us and his bicycle as I needed him to spend more time with me and the children! He graciously complied and chose not to pursue his cycling beyond casual participation. A memory I treasure is of us doing the Argus together, and him placing his hand on the small of my back, pushing me up every hill. We were shocked when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Johnny was a specialist in the area, so for him, there was no illusion as to the terminal outcome of such a diagnosis. Looking back, this actually helped us deal with it. He never kept anything from me or the children. Every time there was another test result or procedure, he would explain the best and worst case scenarios to us.
life, the one thing we can be sure of is death! Thankfully, there’s something else we can be sure of: He will never leave us or forsake us. This promise is repeated over and over in the Bible. Through this tragedy, I’m learning what it is to really trust God. He’s my lifeline.
security Even so, coping with loss and grief is very exhausting. We have an incredible circle of friends who have supported us from the day Johnny was diagnosed, such as with a steady supply of meals and help with school lifts. These practical considerations have been extremely helpful, and seeing how much people care is a great comfort in itself. Our family meets with a close group of friends once a month to share life and a meal together – something we look forward to for its comfort and security. For two years, I limited myself to seeing a small circle of very good friends, and only now am I beginning to feel confident enough to accept social invitations. I was given excellent advice not to make any major changes for the first two years after Johnny died and have tried to keep life as normal as possible for our family. Luckily, we weren’t financially forced to move house or change the children’s schools, though we have now chosen to move closer to one school. I’ve kept my job, which in itself has been a blessing. We try to eat together as a family, and on Monday mornings we stick to a favourite family ritual: pancakes for breakfast. This has always been our way of easing the blow of a new week.
Another great help was a book by Jerry Sittser called
Although we constantly prayed and hoped for a miracle, we faced the situation head on, right from the start. We had incredibly frank, open conversations. Obviously, these were often very emotional. I’m so grateful that during the short time he was ill, he was able to affirm his pride in each of our children, assuring them of his love. Nothing went unsaid. Throughout his illness, Johnny’s faith was unwavering. He was sure of where he was going, so never for a moment did he fear death. This helped all of us deal with the inevitable.
enlarged by, loss’. I would recommend it to anyone, as loss touches all of us at some stage.
Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and realise afresh that the love of my life is no longer with me. However, it’s not long before I’m comforted by God’s presence, and the knowledge that I’m never alone. After Johnny died, I think some people almost expected me to turn my back on God. The fact is, God never promised any of us that we would live forever. In
A Grace Disguised – How the Soul Grows through Loss. This shows how it’s ‘possible to live in, and be
My favourite quote at the moment is one I’ve slightly adapted from the novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of
Harold Fry .
‘I miss him all the time. I know in my head that he has gone but I still keep looking for him. The only difference is that I am getting used to the pain. It’s like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with, you forget it’s there and you keep falling in. After a while, it’s still there, but you learn to walk round it.’ Ollie, Jeanie, Matt and I are learning to walk around the huge hole in our ground.’
thislife.org.za | issue 8 13
Carpenter Loramer Darvel was born in District Six. Forcibly evicted with his family when he was six, he grew up in Grassy Park and now lives in Zeekoevlei. He met his wife Desi (Desiree), a clothing machinist, in 1983. They had two sons, Dorian (28) and Kyle (25). Desi died in 2012
met Desi through a girl I was dating (not a serious relationship!). I gave Desi and some other girls a lift to a club in Wynberg. It was a time of fuel restrictions, and as I dropped the girls there, I realised I didn’t have petrol for the journey home. I asked for a companion to come with me to the garage, and Desi volunteered. We never made it back inside the club and ended up sitting in the car, talking. We were always together after that. We married in 1988, and were best friends from the start. It wasn’t like Hollywood, everything moonshine and roses: our love grew with time. We did most things together. She would even phone me from the supermarket to ask me what I thought she should buy. We especially liked going to cricket at Newlands. Our life was turned upside down when Desi was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in May 2011. She was also diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome, which means your blood thickens at an alarming rate. Then she developed Asherson syndrome, which is basically incurable. Everything happened very
quickly. She lost her first leg in July 2011, and the other one three months later, on Dorian’s 27th birthday. Then she had a series of strokes and lost her speech. She died in March 2012.
laundry She had a strong faith, Desi. She always used to say, ‘Loramer, ons moet bid en vertrou’ (we must pray and trust). When she got sick, that’s exactly what she did. Not once did she become bitter or angry. That gave me a lot of strength. She did as much as she possibly could, even after she’d been confined to a wheelchair. I remember one Saturday morning when she had already lost her speech. I was just about to iron a shirt when she came wheeling past me, grabbed the shirt and gestured to me that she would do it. I went ahead and made breakfast while she took care of the laundry. Desi died on a Sunday morning. The nurse called me from the hospital. We knew how sick she was, but it still came as a shock: she had looked so much better the night before. Since she died, my sons have been amazing.
Both live with me, and it’s a great comfort to have them around. My youngest son also calls me at least twice a day to find out how I’m doing. It means so much. My mother, brother and sister also really show their love − my brother doesn’t live in Cape Town but calls regularly − and it’s a great comfort to know they’re all thinking of us. Usually I don’t like being fussed over, but this past year, I’ve really appreciated it. Another thing that helped was a Griefshare* course I did at St John’s Church in Wynberg. I’d recommend it to anyone who has to deal with the loss of a loved one. Nothing could prepare me for life without Desi. Our house was always full – we loved entertaining. Now it’s empty. I suppose friends don’t visit us because they don’t want to talk about Desi! I soon realised all the things she did in the house despite us theoretically ‘sharing’ chores, and my finances took a spin: I tended to overspend on luxuries in an attempt to console myself and the boys, and put on a lot of weight!
clichés One thing I didn’t like was the kind of thing people say at funerals, such as ‘She’s in a better place’ and ‘It’s God’s will’. You know they’re just running out of clichés and that they’re not being genuine. Those people haven’t come around since the funeral to find out how I am or how the boys are doing. God has shown me in so many little ways that He always takes care of me. The other day I really needed my car, but it was on the blink. The mechanic had said it needed to go in for testing. But I prayed, fiddled with the fuel injector pipes, and the car started. I believe God helped me out that day! Six weeks before Desi died, they broke into my place. My video camera, my laptop, all my photos of her – gone. I believe even that’s a good thing. If I had them now, I’d be sitting around watching videos of her. Now I’ve one photo and that’s enough. I visit her grave often. She’s still telling me to bid en vertrou.’
* For more details about Griefshare, the support group Loramer attended, go to LIFE SUPPORT, p31
Loramer Darvel (centre): ‘Life was turned upside down’ 14 thislife.org.za | issue 8
this page proudly sponsored by Neville Wellington, Charlie Miller and Eric Kok
reallife Sally Prins was born and educated in KwaZulu Natal. In 2000, she met her husband Chucky (real name: Jurian), a structured lender in private banking, and they married in 2004. He was killed in a car crash when she was pregnant with their second child, Leah, and their son James was 21 months old. James is now five, and Leah is three. Sally is a content specialist at an asset management company
met Chucky at a party in London. A few days later, he asked a mutual friend to organise a dinner where we chatted all night! We kept in touch via email after that, and when I decided to move back home a few months later he phoned and said, ‘If you ever come back to London, call me!’ After a few months in South Africa I decided to spend another year in London, and, on one of my first nights back, I ran into him in a pub. We became friends again, and after a year or so we got together. We married three years later.
Although I never imagined I’d marry an Afrikaans boy, I couldn’t have been happier. I was blessed with the most remarkable husband, soul mate and person for eight years. No words will ever do Chucky justice. He was the most balanced person I’ve ever met. In our marriage I felt supported and treasured, and I knew there was nothing in the world he wouldn’t do for James and me. The news of his death came as a complete shock. It was a Tuesday morning and Chucky had left early for a meeting in Somerset West. He never made it back. It was raining heavily, and on the way home his car skidded and hit a tree. He died instantly. I was at home that morning and didn’t think anything of it when Sollie, his business partner, rang the doorbell. When Sollie told me what had happened, I refused to believe him. I could get my head around the fact that there’d been an accident, but I couldn’t believe Chucky was actually dead. I kept asking Sollie if he was sure that Chucks had died. My greatest challenge has been single parenting. Telling James that his ‘Pappa’ was never coming home was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. Another was bringing my beautiful baby girl into the world alone. On that day, Chucky wasn’t there to hold my hand, and it brought home the reality that he would be absent from our lives forever, and that wonderful happy moments would forever be tinged with sadness. I’ve been truly humbled by how friends and family have rallied around me. My parents, two sisters and their husbands have been incredible. I’ve never had to face any part of this journey alone. My mom, who lives in Natal, spent more time with me in the first year than back home with my dad! My family have been here for birthdays and milestones, and any time I’ve needed them. When they couldn’t be here, I’ve felt so supported through phone calls, emails and SMSes. My ‘other family’ down here in Cape Town has been just as amazing. For the first couple of months, our fridge overflowed with all the
picture by Leigh-ann Cooke
Sally Prins: humbled by support from family and friends meals people brought us, while others took James out to give me a break on a Saturday, walked our dog or did ‘handyman’ jobs for me. Author Verdell Davis writes, ‘Loss is a
hole in our heart. But it is a hole that calls forth love and can hold love from others’. I will be forever grateful to all the amazing people who have filled my ‘hole’ with so much love!
bittersweet My faith took quite a knock as I struggled to comprehend how a loving God could allow this to happen. Chucks was such a good person, such an amazing dad – why did he have to die? Leah and James would never know their dad and that was the most difficult thing for me to face. I could deal with my own loss, but my heart broke for my children. I made up my mind, right at the start, to see a counsellor. My worst fear was waking up 10 years from now and realising I’d never dealt with my husband’s death. I saw Jodi once a week for about a year. It was good to take an hour out of my busy schedule to sit down and talk with someone about what I was going through. Life was so busy with two babies that there often wasn’t time to be sad, but these weekly sessions allowed me to assess where I was on this journey of grieving. With
time, I grew to realise that it was only God’s grace that had sustained me and my family. The only reason we’re still standing today is because of His grace and His love. In the beginning, I found it very difficult to see the world around us continue with life as usual while ours was turned upside down. Many times I wanted to shout to the world, ‘You have no idea what I face every day, the challenges, the heartache, the exhaustion!’ Eventually you move beyond that, beyond feeling bitter at the world for carrying on. Life will always be bittersweet. But you start to reach a level of acceptance.’
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thislife.org.za | issue 8 15
16 thislife.org.za | issue 8
MATRIC: how we survived Secret of success? Ben Bingham got the Matric he wanted despite turning down his mother’s ‘study sweets’ to make jam
SO, MATRIC FINALS are nearly here. Eek. Or not? Claremont life coach Sally Bingham and her son Ben, a first-year engineering student at UCT, tell how they survived last year’s Matric…
Mother’s story: ‘Matric finals loomed and the anticipated hype was not visible in our household. “Chilled” summed up the vibe for Ben, but not for me...
results that would enable him to take the right next step, but I had to remind myself that equally important were the life lessons he learnt while navigating Matric. How to manage pressure, achieve balance in life, or potentially deal with the failure to achieve his goals! It seemed that this learning would be what lasted, and empower him for future challenges. It was sometimes hard to keep this perspective. But the truth is, a week after the Matric results, no one even asked about them! Seeing friends with academically struggling teens who set them realistic goals, and encouraged them as they discovered their unique strengths, was inspiring. As parents, they helped them let go of the singular focus on results, which don’t measure character, wholeness or future success.’
Me: Ben, I’d like to up my game with supporting you in your final months of Matric. Ben: Huh? No, Mom, I don’t want any more support. Me: Well then, how can I encourage you? Ben: Ummm, give me money for each ‘A’ I get. Me: Not happening. Anything else? Ben: Yes, you can buy me study sweets … and don’t keep asking me how the studying’s going. Me: Ok, I’ll buy the sweets, but they can only be eaten if you’re studying.
Son’s story: ‘I found Matric fun. I passed (otherwise I suppose my opinion wouldn’t be valued), and I got into engineering
During this conversation I agreed not to ask him how his studying was going throughout his finals. I did ask him how his sweet supply was, but had to bite my lip often and trust Benjamin. It helped to process with friends my continued amazement at how little work he did versus how much jam he made, how often he cleaned his room, how many friends he visited, and how he developed his tailoring skills with yet another twist on possibilities for a waistcoat (never a wardrobe staple of his until this moment).
Parents like to think they’re helping you, so take advantage: it’s a win-win situation. Ask for rewards for marks. No harm in trying. While you’re still at school, listen, learn and do everything you can during classes. Your parents are paying for you to be there (we might as well respect them a little bit, right?). This helps the most. The more you work in class, the less you have to study. It’s the only time you have to pretend to work, so you might as well actually do it.
What do I now know?
1. There are no prizes or gains for worrying, whether you’re a teen or a parent. 2. Trust your teen – most often they know what needs to be done to achieve their desired result. 3. You can’t make a Matric student work, but you can love them through the process. 4. And finally, Matric is overrated! Yes, I wanted Ben to achieve
at UCT. This is what I aimed for, wanted to do, and worked towards. Having a goal helps everything. Why? Because if your goal isn’t to get into medicine, you probably don’t need 7‘A’s. Remember, you’re not proving yourself to anyone. Parents who expect you to live up to any other standard but your own are BAD parents. Getting stressed and anxious is counter-productive. If you do stress, think about how it won’t help, how no-one always gets what they want – and how you’re no exception. (Maybe your goals aren’t realistic? Prayer can help with this topic).
Studying: I found making repetitive notes useless, and learnt only why stuff happens. When I had to learn content, I used anagrams and diagrams, infinitely more helpful than reading lists of facts. I found it better not to study late: the energy gained sleeping was worth more. Work and play: if my friends went out, I went with them. If you can’t think of anything to do but work, it’s good to start some hobby. I turned to all sorts of things: making jam, sewing, juggling, fire spinning (start without fire) and even organising my room. Exercise and playing instruments aren’t bad choices, either.’ thislife.org.za | issue 8 17
AUBERGINE RATATOUILLE OKAY, OKAY this dish-with-a-kick has more ingredients than thislife normally likes to offer our readers (not least because our editor generally has a personal meltdown when faced with more than four ingredients…)
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But it’s easy to prepare, and you’ve probably got most of the ingredients in your cupboard already. And there’s an upside: the small thrill of knowing that this healthy offering is what America’s First Lady opted for when visiting Woodstock eatery The Kitchen in 2011. It was served to her by owner Karen Dudley, whose ability to serve up fresh, desirable food is so honed that lunchtime queues have been known to go round the block Full of protective phytochemicals, this ratatouille is a painless way to up that veg intake. Spice up your winter by eating it with pasta, brown rice or chicken, stuff it into pita bread with lettuce for school lunches, or serve cold with a braai in summer. It keeps for days
WHAT YOU NEED (serves 8) • 4 tbsp sunflower/olive oil • 5 onions, chopped • 2 tsp chopped garlic • 1 ½ tsp dried oregano • 1 bay leaf • 3 tins whole peeled tomatoes, chopped • ¼ cup sugar (optional, we cooked it without and it was still fab) • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce • 5 shakes of Tabasco • 4 medium aubergines, cut into 2cm cubes • ½ cup olive oil • 20g basil, snipped (or other herb of choice) WHAT YOU DO Heat the oil in a deep saucepan, add onions and cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 8 minutes till they become translucent. Turn up the heat, allow them to colour more (about 4 minutes)
Stir in the garlic, oregano and bay leaf and cook another 2 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes, sugar (if using) and vinegar. Turn heat down again, put lid on pot and allow sauce to stew and reduce (10 to 20 minutes). Stir to prevent sticking Add Worcester sauce, Tabasco, and salt and pepper if required. Add (more) sugar if you want it sweeter, vinegar or lemon juice if you want it sharper, or lots of chopped parsley or dill if you want it fresher While all this is cooking, take your diced aubergines, toss them with the olive oil and spread them on a large baking sheet in a single layer, no overlapping. Blast-roast them in a very hot oven, at least 200°C, for 20 – 30 minutes until they’re soft inside, have great colour and slightly frazzled edges Pour the tomato sauce into a serving dish, add in aubergines and sprinkle generously with snipped basil or other herbs. Enjoy!
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this page proudly sponsored by the Wilson family, USA: Mike & Barbara Wilson of Buffalo, Helen Wilson of Detroit and Liz Wilson of Oklahoma City
picture by Russel Wasserfall
Fit for a president’s wife: The Kitchen’s aubergine ratatouille, pictured here with koshieri rice pilaf thislife.org.za | issue 8 19
20 thislife.org.za | issue 8
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How to be the BOSS of your STUDENT budget
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Hmm, so it’s mid-year at varsity and you’re getting just a little tired of baked beans with your… baked beans. Maybe those caramel vodkas and the hip duvet cover you splashed out on earlier in the year weren’t the best idea after all? But take heart: there’s hope for your lifestyle yet! ‘Budgeting well makes all the difference,’ says financial planner Kirsty Scully of Core Wealth Managers in Pinelands. Students can do it, she says. ‘The discipline of managing a budget isn’t very different from the discipline of going to lectures.’ And, promises Kirsty, if you can crack budgeting now as a student, ‘you’ll have a great grounding for when you move on in life.’
Planning principles that paint a on your wallet 1) Set a budget for yourself The most important tip here is to manage every cent. Whether you’re living on a student loan or money from your parents, you’ll need a budget. Find one online (try www.eebacanhelp.com or www.moneydance. com), or draw one up on your computer if you like things simple
3) Think way ahead – like WAAAAY ahead If you’re nearing the end of your student days, start planning for the future. Set a goal for how much you’d like to save every month, and put it into action with your first salary cheque by investing in unit trusts. Set up a regular system for this Sounds crazy to think of retirement, but if you want to retire to that rocking chair on your stoep while you’re still able to rock it, start saving now. The earlier you start to save, the less expensive that stoep will be, and the more room it’ll have for your mates!
It’s not very hard. All you have to do is note down your available income, then deduct the following: 1. 2.
fixed expenses such as rent, electricity, tuition fees, books, transport and food. These are usually set in stone. Start the budget by deducting them first variable expenses such as eating out, clubbing, clothes and movies. When you’ve established your budget, you’ll want to make sure you can pay for the fixed expenses before you spend on anything else
Make sure that when you’ve deducted fixed and variable expenses from your income, you’re not in a ‘minus situation’. If you are, you’ll have to compromise on your variable expenses 2) How to − sigh! − reduce expenses • Only take a set amount of cash out with you when you go partying. No plastic cards. When the money’s finished, it’s finished. Time to go home… • Use your student card. You can get a good number of discounts by using this, so flaunt it • Before you buy anything, ask yourself: Do I really need it? Can I afford it? Is this the cheapest price? If the answer to any of these questions is no, don’t buy it • Textbooks cost a fortune: try buying them secondhand • If you stay in digs, pack in the housemates. The more the merrier, and the lower the cost • Transport − use as much public transport as possible. This saves hugely: no petrol, parking or car insurance costs • Socialising − you don’t have to go to EVERY social function, only the free ones! • Credit cards – just don’t start with these unless you’re looking for a downward spiral in life! thislife.org.za | issue 8 21
against the odds
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Herman Mashaba:‘there’s a way out of difficult circumstances’
erman Mashaba, 53, is one of South Africa’s best known and most successful entrepreneurs. The son of a domestic worker, at the age of 25 he defied his restrictive circumstances to found Black Like Me, South Africa’s first black-owned hair company.
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Now the executive chairman of Lephatsi Investments, a massive mining and construction company, he lectures on business leadership both globally and at home, and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration. Herman also mentors young entrepreneurial hopefuls, and recently instituted a court case against the Department of Labour and the bargaining councils to amend the labour laws that he says are crippling our poor communities. Herman lives in Johannesburg with Connie, his wife of more than 30 years, and their children Khensani (18) and Rhulani (16). Here, he shares a little of his life story.
was born on 26 August 1959 in Ga Ramotse, a remote rural village in Hammanskraal, about 30km north of Pretoria. The village consisted of clustered mud homes reached by dusty red roads lined with peeling gum trees. My grandfather, having high hopes for my future, named me Highman, which made me the butt of many jokes amongst my peers until I changed it to Herman later in life. When I was two my father died, leaving my mother, Mapula, to earn a living for her four younger children (our eldest brother, Pobane, was old enough to fend for himself). My mother, being unqualified for any other job, left home to become a domestic worker in Johannesburg, leaving my three school-going sisters to bring me up. One of the reasons I survived without parents at such a young age was that the entire village raised me. My sisters, Esther, Flora and Constance, would set off for school early in the morning and leave the front door ajar so that when I woke up I could toddle down to our neighbours who would clean me, feed me and keep an eye on me during the day until my sisters came home. My sisters kept house, cooked and cared for me, maintaining a stable home between my mother’s fortnightly visits. A spirit of ubuntu existed in our village as we all cared for one another as family, and shared a faith that held us together. Weekly, we would meet in one of the homes to praise and celebrate a loving God. As youngsters, we were able to forget our grumbling stomachs and the fact that we missed our parents as we fell asleep to the sound of hymns sung well into the night. It was here that a peace and a deep knowledge of God’s love settled in me in a way that went beyond anything that the world could ever do to me. There was great excitement in our home whenever my mother returned. My earliest memory of those times is of her scooping me into her arms as she walked through the front door, and carrying me about on her hip while she cooked. I remember
the anticipation of waiting to see what would emerge from her plastic carrier bags, and even a bar of soap was received with exclamations of delight! One such evening as I lay sleepily on my mother’s lap listening to the adults, she began to tell the story of how her grandfather had died. He was a farm labourer whose wage was a bag of mealie meal to feed his family at the end of each month. One day he was bringing in the harvest with his fellow workers when the farmer’s young son, barely taller than the long grass he looked through, chose my great-grandfather as his moving target to show off his shooting skills to his father. He shot him dead.
Seeing the despair in the eyes of the adults who were listening to my mother that night, I resolved never to come between a white man’s folly and his unbridled power. The fear instilled in me by my great-grandfather’s fate meant I never joined my high school peers in seeking weekend garden jobs in white households in Pretoria. And, as a result, my self-esteem remained intact. School was made difficult by the requirement for Afrikaans. Our teachers were strict, and every day I risked the possibility of a beating for being late for school after completing my morning chore of collecting the household’s water. I’m grateful for a teacher, Mr Khase, who took it upon himself to give us extra lessons on Saturdays. His efforts paid off when we all passed the dreaded Grade 8 exams. I went on to Ratshepo High School in Temba township in 1974. Later, the Soweto uprisings sparked a reign of terror more tyrannical than before, and even rural areas like Temba teemed with black police officers wielding sjamboks and carrying out their oppressors’ laws with injustice and brutality. thislife.org.za | issue 8 23
A boy called Louis Mkhetoni and I became firm friends. I remember how we’d watch with aching stomachs as the other children opened their lunchboxes at break, and how we’d steal drinks of tap water from the nearest house to ease our hunger pains. I wince to think how desperate we were. We said our prayers every Sunday with sincere hearts, but during the week we’d sneak through the neighbouring farmer’s fence at night to cut his firewood and take water from his dam. It was pure survival. We moved in groups, with thumping hearts, careful not to be caught.
dagga Starvation makes one resourceful, and like most permanently hungry kids in this situation, Louis and I entered the world of petty crime to survive. We became dealers of the small amounts of dagga that we smoked with the other high school kids. I also organised and managed gambling games played by men in the village, earning a cut of the proceeds. So began my entrepreneurial practice! Like many township teenagers, Louis and I also sniffed benzene and used alcohol from an early age. Looking back, I am not proud of this lifestyle nor the fact that, as a teenager, I simply followed the pack instead of doing what I knew to be right. I can only thank God that I did not become another addiction statistic as a result, and that I passed Matric and did sufficiently well at school to qualify for university entrance.
During my Matric year, I attended a beauty pageant at Hans Kekane High School. I had played the field for many years, and my practised eye fell on the most beautiful woman in the line-up before she’d even won the title. Her name was Connie Maloka. She wore a bathing suit, a red cape, dainty white shoes and an air of detachment which kept me on my toes for many years as I wooed her towards marriage! There was no money for further study after school, but miraculously my mother was able to arrange a Catholic bursary through the seminary where she worked as a cleaner. I studied for a BAdmin degree for 18 months at the University of the North, a microcosm of the politically anarchic state of the country as a whole. Here, too, we were ruled with an iron fist. I recall strongly Afrikaans-accented lecturers saying, ‘You boys and girls will never amount to anything!’ I left angry, wavering between hopelessness and bloodlust. A newly acquired knowledge of our country’s political situation and a strong sense of black consciousness meant my fear of the white man had turned to anger. I considered joining Umkhonto we Sizwe for training abroad as a killing machine to rout out the oppression in our country.
furniture In spite of these strong emotions, I saw fit to meet my obligations to pay back the loans incurred whilst at university. Apart from my
bursary and student bank loan, my sister and her husband – who had very little to live on themselves – had sacrificed their own needs to meet my living expenses. I suppressed my reservations about working for whites, and my first two jobs (as a clerk at Spar and then at a furniture manufacturer) gave me an entrance into the wider job market. Two years later, I had almost finished paying off my student loan and had my sights on the white wedding that Connie had always dreamed of. My next bold step towards emancipation was buying a brand new car, which meant I could work independently as a door-to-door salesman. At last my hard work began to show in my salary cheque at the end of each month. I initially sold crockery, cutlery, linen and fire detection systems, but soon realised these items wouldn’t lead to repeat customers. I’d need to sell a product that my customers replaced regularly to make the most of the relationships I formed easily. Scouring the newspaper, I came across an opportunity in sales at Superkurl, and this was to be a springboard for my big break. Remembering the unbelievable result that perm lotions and black haircare products had had on my hair on our wedding day, I knew Superkurl products were something I could sell well. The black haircare market was insatiable and, within no time, I was achieving accolades for top salesman and an ever-increasing pay cheque. But I also knew that I didn’t just want the gold watch at the end of a lifetime of working for someone else; I wanted my own business! I saw my opportunity when I noticed that the top chemist, Johan Kriel, was undervalued in the company and ripe for the picking. Moving outrageously against political norms, I approached this white Afrikaner whom I knew to be not only a respected chemist, but a gentleman who engaged respectfully with all members of his staff. It was unheard of for a black man to approach a white man to join him in business, but it was this business relationship and increasing friendship that blurred the colour lines for me. Connie and I spend many a good weekend with Johan and his wife on their farm to this day. Even so, I had a deep loathing for the injustice meted out by the apartheid laws. It was during this time that my brother, Pobane, died after being injured in a car accident. He was prevented from being admitted to the closest hospital because it was reserved for white patients only. Though Connie and I prayed fervently for his life, he died a week later in Kalafong hospital in Atteridgeville. I was utterly devastated to lose my big brother.
Herman and his wife Connie with their children Rhulani (left) and Khensani
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The company grew and thrived beyond my wildest dreams, with Connie at my right hand keeping a formidable eye on the finances. We were able to buy our first home in 1986 and the following year we bought one for my mother too, which gave me the greatest joy of all.
© Herman Mashaba
In 1990, the government scrapped the Group Areas Act and Connie and I were able to go house-hunting without restriction. In spite of fierce opposition from our right-wing neighbours, we bought a house in Heatherdale, Pretoria, and I put up a high security fence to keep the black-haters at bay. Yet again, however,
Eternal optimist: Herman and someone else’s BMW at the University of the North
We now live in Sandton and our two teenagers attend top schools. I can be seen relaxing at the clubhouse after a game of golf at Killarney, I take my extended family and close friends with us on holidays abroad, and I have learnt to play tennis and the piano, which I love. One of my concerns is that my children will be ruined by excess, and I try to teach them values to prevent this. I particularly don’t like them to be fussy about food!
© Herman Mashaba
certain individuals would restore my faith in humanity and Minister Pik Botha, also a neighbour, organised a cocktail party in his home to welcome us to the area. We were embraced by some of our white neighbours, with whom we remain firm friends to this day.
Early days in business: Herman (right) with colleagues Johan and Joseph at the Black Like Me factory
When I return to Ga Ramotse and see some of my old school friends, eyes glazed, seeming to have never left their bar stools, and when I remember Pobane, who never escaped the impact that poverty and alcohol had on his life from a young age, I stand in awe of the fact that I landed at the opposite end of the spectrum. Herman Mashaba was just like any other young township boy, no more intelligent and no more deserving, but – against all odds – my grandfather’s high expectations for me have been fulfilled. I’ll never measure my success in terms of what I own, nor by my worldly status, but by my relationships with others – my wife and children first and foremost – and by how I’m able to help others with my resources. Without these people to share my success, it would be worth nothing at all. Our ability to achieve depends to some degree on the choices we make and our willingness to work hard and take advantage of opportunities, each of which require confidence. My own confidence stems from the relationship I formed, as a small boy in Ga Ramotse, with one far greater than any man; one for whom nothing is impossible; one for whom, the Bible says, there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female’, and neither black nor white, too: the ‘Man Upstairs’, my father and creator. And that’s how I make sense of who I am today.
© Herman Mashaba
Together with a colleague called Joseph, Johan and I secured a loan of R30 000 on strict terms, and started our business, which we called Black Like Me, on Valentine’s Day in 1985. Johan came up with a quick-to-produce perm lotion and – as I’d anticipated – our product met an inexhaustible need in the black haircare market. What started out as a small working space, a 200-litre drum and a few decanting bottles, grew quickly into a factory of enormous proportions and a large staff contingent. Soon after we started, I secured coverage and marketing with SABC by sponsoring a hair and grooming series on TV. In addition to this, we maintained good relationships with our customers on the ground.
Student Herman with Connie I hope my life experiences may, in some small way, help people to see a glimmer in the darkness, and realise that there is a way out of difficult circumstances.’
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Simp ly for yoSMS BOA T u Com r chance to 3380 16 Se petition to win! 8 ptem ends be r 2 013
thislife.org.za | issue 8 25
value of ents to the , Spa treatmSkin Aesthetics Clinic e h T t a 0 0 5 R Constantia s.co.za) inaesthetic k .s w w (w
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beyond divorce… finding a little encouragement
Following their respective divorces, Ian Trethowan and Colleen Cloete found light at the end of the tunnel via a local church course ANYONE who’s gone through the devastation of divorce knows its ongoing pain − and how hard it can be to move on. But a course offered by a church in Kenilworth provides a safe and supportive space where healing often takes place. Here, two Capetonians tell how the Beyond Divorce course helped them…
Nursing sister Colleen Cloete of Marina da Gama attended the course last year hen I got divorced, I was devastated and very hurt. Friends whose son had attended Beyond Divorce recommended it to me. It consisted of seven weekly workshops covering key issues. After the session called Living with Loss, I felt I had finally been given the space and understanding to grieve the loss of my spouse and my dreams for our family and future. Before then, I had thought my continued sadness meant there was something wrong with me. The speaker reassured us that long-term grieving was normal. This insight was very freeing and contributed so much to my healing process. Overall, the course helped me come to terms with the dissolution of my marriage and made me realise that, like the eagle in the book of Isaiah, God is putting me back together again and healing the hurt as I wait for guidance from Him. I now have great hope for the future because I am able to understand and deal with my pain.’
The Beyond Divorce workshop has been run by Christ Church, Kenilworth for more than 10 years (www.christ-church.org.za) WHO’S IT FOR? Anyone experiencing the pain of divorce or a broken relationship (even within a marriage). This includes the newly divorced, people in the process of 26 thislife.org.za | issue 8
Lakeside businessman Ian Trethowan also attended the course in 2012
guess I was blessed when the first speaker talked about his own experience of divorce: I felt as though he was talking about my life. All the speakers had credibility as they had personal experiences we could relate to. I found the course structure clear, the people who lectured knowledgeable, and the issues covered valuable in my situation. After the talks, we had confidential group discussions which made the topics richer because they helped put into perspective what I was going through. Through these I was able to understand what was going on in my life and this helped bring me the healing I needed. I loved the safe, non-evangelistic platform where everyone, no matter their creed or walk in life, is allowed to go and heal their pain. I am also so grateful to our excellent facilitators, and my group for opening up their hearts. I chose to attend the optional session on divorce from a biblical perspective. It put things in context and came as a relief to hear that God knows my heart in this matter.’
divorce and others who have been divorced for years but realise they never dealt with some of the issues. The course is available to people of any faith − or none! WHY DO IT? The feedback from previous participants is that it’s non-judgmental, supportive and enables people to grow and get new
perspectives. Speakers are all professionals and range from clinical psychologists to clinical social workers, most of whom have been divorced The next Beyond Divorce workshop starts at 7.30pm on Tuesday 6 August, 2013. Contact email@example.com, or call 021 797 6332. Cost: R150 per person (financial assistance available)
STUFF PEOPLE LOVE... Capetonians tell us what inspired them WIN!
SMS R U N N 33808 for yourING to ch to win this bo ance Competition enok! 16 Septembe ds r (Prize donated2013. w w w.struikch by ristian media.co.za)
BOOK: RUNNING FOR MY LIFE by Lopez Lomong
(with Mark Tabb)
Reviewed by Arthur Stewart, 40, strategist and mentor, Rondebosch Where to get it: www.kalahari.com Cost: from R177
thoroughly enjoyed reading this engaging and inspiring story. Although I was unfamiliar with the details of the life of Lopez Lomong prior to coming across this book, his warmth and vivid descriptions of people and places left me feeling we were old friends. His story is truly an amazing one – being kidnapped as a boy in South Sudan, life in a refugee camp, getting adopted in the USA, and eventually running in the Olympic Games! While I don’t personally identify with most of his circumstances, I did find myself reflecting on my own life as he dealt with subjects such as hope, home, belonging, overcoming obstacles, and finding purpose.
SMS 33808HAPPENIN G to fo to win r your chanc t h is book e Com 16 Seppetition end ! s te (Prize mber 201 w w w.s donated by3. truik media christian .co.za)
BOOK: SO NOT HAPPENING by Jenny B Jones Reviewed by Rani Mugambi, 13, Kirstenhof Where to get it: www.kalahari.com or order from Scripture Union, Rondebosch (021 689 8334) Cost: from R132
his is a book about a girl named Bella who has it all: friends, Daddy’s Mastercard in her purse, and Broadway in her back pocket. Until, that is, her dad decides to get a divorce. Her mother then marries a guy she met on the internet, and Bella’s world is turned upside down. She is forced to move to Oklahoma to live with her new family: her two stepbrothers who are pre-programmed to hate her, and her stepfather who is hiding something. She wants to go back home but it seems that God needs her in Oklahoma to solve a mystery. I found this book interesting because it helped me understand what my friends with divorced parents go through. I would recommend this book to teens who love drama, suspense and mystery.’
This is an easy yet compelling read about a real-life hero who’s using what he has gained to benefit countless others. I highly recommend it.’
DVD: BAROUDEUR Reviewed by Jerome Damon, 40, teacher and international soccer ref, Rondebosch Where to get it: CUM Bookshops (www.cumbooks.co.za) Cost: R99.99
ere’s Francois, a marketing executive at a leading Cape Town agency for whom life is pretty rosy. Then disaster strikes! The big question is: should he ‘man up’ and tell his wife?
Some of the film I found rather clumsily done (poor acting or poor scripting? – you tell me). However, the transition of Francois from executive to cyclist is compelling, and perfectly captured in the growth of his friendship with Eli, the Jewish cycle shop owner. There are wonderful themes of stumbling blocks turning into stepping stones, and uniquely South African comic moments, too. My irritation is reserved for Kevin, the ‘coloured’ co-worker, who when retrenched relies on Francois to save the day for him and his family. Given our country’s history, was it really necessary for it to be a white man doing this? (Or is this my personal journey to walk?) However, while it may not appeal to all sectors of society, Baroudeur makes for good viewing. And even better discussion.’
BOOK: NOWHERE BUT UP by Pattie Mallette Reviewed by Karen Mclachlan, 46, bookshop owner, Bergvliet Where to get it: Exclusive Books (www.exclus1ves.co.za), Karmal Books, Bergvliet (021 713 0267) Cost: from R130
have never been interested in all the hype around Justin Bieber, but curiosity got the better of me when I saw his mother had written a book about her life.
This is a book many people will enjoy. I was really surprised by how well written it was, and how Pattie draws you into her world. You feel as if you’re part of the story. This story starts with Pattie’s childhood. She opens up about a cycle of abuse that made her a very broken woman. She was very young when she gave birth to Justin and had to look after him with barely any income, plus try to deal with the issues from her past. But her story is very encouraging and uplifting as she reveals the life-changing events that enabled her to become the strong woman and mother she is today. I felt really touched by this mother’s love for her son, and how she did everything possible to turn Justin into the young adult he is today. This account has changed my opinion about Justin Bieber the popstar, and helped me to see him as a young man with the ability to change many lives for the better through his mother’s positive input into his life over all these years. Justin’s story is only beginning and he still has to face all the temptations that any young man goes through, and maybe he won’t conquer them all, but I find it awesome that he has a mother who prays for him. The book is an excellent read for everyone, even those who aren’t Bieber fans. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’ this page proudly sponsored by Colinton Surgery, Colinton Road, Newlands thislife.org.za | issue 8 27
your guide to local services (take the las out of looking)
Want to advertise your business card in our next issue? Mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rebecca on 072 802 7022 or Tonya on 074 631 1070
28 thislife.org.za | issue 8
Want to advertise your business card in our next issue? Mail us on email@example.com or call Rebecca on 072 802 7022 or Tonya on 074 631 1070
thislife.org.za | issue 8 29
Want to advertise your business card in our next issue? Mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rebecca on 072 802 7022 or Tonya on 074 631 1070
Maybe we’re biased, but we assume that if our advertisers choose our mag, they must be good. However, if you don’t receive total satisfaction, please let the advertiser know and seek any recourse from them. Even though there is little we can do about your particular grievance, please do let us know of your complaint too – for our future reference 30 thislife.org.za | issue 8
life support parenting
BABIES AND TODDLERS Share the experience of motherhood at the Moms Connect baby and toddler group, with good coffee and new friends in a supportive environment. Where? Christ Church, Richmond Road, Kenilworth. Thursdays 10 to 11:30am during school term. Babies and toddlers obviously welcome too! Contact Jill Mathew: 072 329 0281 or email@example.com TEENAGERS Join other parents at the Parenting Teens course to make the most of parenting teenagers. Where? Christ Church, Richmond Road, Kenilworth. Contact Claire: 021 797 6332 or firstname.lastname@example.org
junior youth groups
WANT MORE CLARITY on where your responsibilities lie – and where they don’t? Looking to live more lightly, without comparing yourself to others? The Boundaries Course has been run for 10 years, with great results. Where? Christ Church, Richmond Road, Kenilworth. Contact Claire: 021 797 6332 or email@example.com GRIEFSHARE A recovery support group which offers help and healing for the hurt of losing someone you love. Run by St John’s Parish, Wynberg. Contact Klaus and Barbara: 021 671 4732, 082 453 9392 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also run by Meadowridge Baptist Church. Call Sue: 021 712 1218
UTX @ Emmanuel Church, Wynberg. Call Lisa: 021 762 1613 marriage Oasis @ Christ Church, Richmond Road, MARRIAGE PREPARATION A weekly Kenilworth. Call Bushy: 074 418 5865 course open to all couples, whether church members or not! Run three times a year. Where? Christ Church, Richteen youth groups mond Road, Kenilworth. Contact Claire: Ambies at Christ Church, Kenilworth. 021 797 6332 or email@example.com. Call Jared: 021 797 6332 Also at Meadowridge Baptist Church. Amplify @ Claremont Methodist Contact Sue: 021 712 1218 Church. Call Dave: 021 674 2596 Youth @ Church of the Holy Spirit, ALREADY MARRIED Fancy a weekly Kirstenhof. Call Andrew: 082 773 6405 date with your spouse – to talk privately H4K @ Emmanuel Church, Wynberg. together, be served a delicious meal and Call Nicky: 021 761 6837 have some input to encourage and G-Cubed and Sunday Nite Live challenge you in your relationship? @ St John’s Church, Wynberg (next to Recommended for all marriages, Springfield Convent). Call Keegan: whether blooming or a little parched. 072 808 2063 No need to belong to any church. Union @ Meadowridge Baptist Church. Where? Christ Church, Richmond Email firstname.lastname@example.org Road, Kenilworth. Contact Claire: 021 797 6332 or email@example.com
Looking for something new? Maybe there’s something here for YOU… divorce
BEYOND DIVORCE A series of workshops aimed at anyone who has experienced the devastation of separation or divorce. Where? Christ Church, Richmond Road, Kenilworth. Contact Claire: 021 797 6332 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Help build a house for those without! Go to www.habitat.org.za
ARE YOU WONDERING ABOUT JESUS THE JEWISH MESSIAH? For 200 years, the Church’s Ministry among the Jewish People (CMJ) has been investing in the spiritual rebirth of the Jewish people as well as presenting Jesus the Jew to Christians. To find out more, go to www.cmj-sa.org or contact Edith Sher (email@example.com), John Atkinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sue (email@example.com)
PRAYER CLINIC Anyone with physical, emotional or spiritual needs is welcome HUNGRY SCHOOLCHILDREN Care to to be prayed for by experienced prayer give up some morning time once a week counsellors from local Cape Town to help provide sandwiches and fruit for churches. Patients are usually referred by children at Westlake Primary? Contact doctors, but you can self-refer by calling Claire: firstname.lastname@example.org reception on 021 683 5867. No charge. Thursdays from 4 to 5.30pm at spirituality Medicross, 67 Rosmead Avenue, ALPHA is a fun, non-threatening course Kenilworth (not public holidays) which examines the claims of Christianity, aimed particularly at anyone who 24-HOUR PRAYER LINE Call Radio doesn’t attend church or who seeks CCFm’s Prayer Friend Line at any hour to ‘brush up’ on their spirituality. Go to of the day or night. It’s manned by www.alpha.co.za for courses around the people used to dealing with a wide country. Alternatively, contact the variety of situations. Call 021 788 3340, following churches for details of their or send your prayer request online: next course: Christ Church, Kenilworth www.ccfm.org.za (021 797 6332), Church of the Holy Spirit, Kirstenhof (021 701 3201), St John’s LUNCHTIME PRAYERS Held at Church, Wynberg (021 797 8968), Claremont Methodist Church, Thursdays Emmanuel Church, Wynberg at 1pm, for anyone who works in the (021 797 0179), St Philip’s Church, area. Call 021 674 2596 Kenwyn (021 762 8772) or Meadowridge Baptist Church (021 712 1218) MEN’S FELLOWSHIP GROUP @ Church of the Holy Spirit, Kirstenhof, SEEKING A CHURCH THAT SUITS Wednesdays from 10 to 12pm. YOU? Give St John’s Parish a go. It’s a Call Rory: 021 701 3201 lively group of six Anglican churches in the southern suburbs. To find out more, call Alison/Charlotte on 021 797 6332
thislife.org.za | issue 8 31
made in 6
(plus one for luck!)
LOOKING FOR FAB GIFTS? Try these proudly South African beauties…
1. Cufflinks, R150 By Bow Peep. Get them at Portobello Road, Kenilworth, 021 761 3736 2. Tablet/iPad cases, from R250 By Sense Unique Handbags. Get them at Fab Things, either in Harfield Village 021 672 2229, or in the Newlands Quarter, 021 686 0752 3. Hand-made newspaper gift bag made by previously unemployed lady, R5 small, R8 large. Order from Lauren, 078 227 3044, and pick up from Rondebosch or Mitchell’s Plain 4. Postcard placemats (set of 4), R225. Get them from Smitten home & life, Plumstead, 021 762 9687 5. Tina Bester ‘Fun in the kitchen’ children’s cookbook, R48. Get it from Exclusive Books countrywide 6. ‘Joy’ toybox, R220. Get it from Smitten home & life, Plumstead, 021 762 9687 7. Cushion, R80 By Monique. Get it from Portobello Road, Kenilworth, 021 761 3736 8. Crocheted hairclips, R30 By Angelpai. Get them from Smitten home & life, Plumstead, 021 762 9687 9. Deco Brooches, from R75 By Deco Collection. Get them from www.thedecocollection.co.za 10. Toiletry bags, from R245 By Veldt. Get them at Wellness Warehouse, Kloof Street, 021 487 5420, and www.veldt.co.za 11. Large vinyl adhesive wall ‘ frames’, from R320 per set. Get them at De Waal arts, 021 790 9120 or www.dewaalart.com
Printed by CTP Printers, Cape Town