#win a ticket #jazzart presents ARCHIVES at the Baxter theatre #dance

The Artscape Theatre in Cape Town is where Jazzart, a contemporary dance NPO will be celebrating the graduation of the first class that has been training for the last 3 years.

These performers are all young and agile and passionate about the dance.

The multi-award winning contemporary dance theatre company, Jazzart, will host a memorable send-off for its graduating group of eleven dedicated trainees by staging Archives, a compilation of three works choreographed by three generations of Jazzart artistic directors – Sifiso Kweyama, Jacqueline Manyaapelo, and Alfred Hinkel.

The works represent the evolution of this Not-For-Profit-Organisation (NPO), paying homage to its legacy while boldly presenting a glimpse of the exciting future before it, and the South African contemporary dance scene as a whole.

Archives will run on 22 June and 23 June 2018 at the Artscape theatre, Cape Town.

The works Jazzart presents are generally acknowledged by local and international audiences, as being of exceptional quality and significance.  The 2018 Winter Season programme is no different and is set to captivate theatregoers and inspire them.  Here’s what can be expected:

Infinite Reflections from Sifiso Kweyama’s springs from the personal experiences of the graduates themselves.  Kweyama as choreographer and resident artistic director, skilfully weaves the individual journeys of his students and their experiences over the three-year training period, into a seamless narrative that will hold the attention of audiences. (Kweyama trained at Jazzart between 1993 – 1999, returning to the company as Artistic Director in 2015.  This is his first graduation class).


Seya (Joy) has been reimagined and reworked by Jacqueline Manyaapelo, who last choreographed the piece in 2013. Inspired by the title track of Malian singer, Oumou Sangare’s, album, the piece performed by the all-female ensemble delves into African rituals and rhythms and is a Joyful, freeing, energetic physical salute to life and living.

Vrugte (Fruits), conceptualised and directed by Alfred Hinkel, and brought to fruition by the three male dancers in the company, is the full-bodied harvest of countless years of nature and nurture, the rewards reaped in the autumn of a life fully lived and could easily be an allegory for Hinkel’s time at Jazzart, which itself is bearing fruit through this graduation and its evolvement.

Commenting on the selection of works that will be presented, current Jazzart Artistic Director, Sifiso Kweyama said: “Jazzart as both a training institute and a performing dance company, has spent the last three years concentrating on a new vision.  As South Africa transforms, so must we, and in this year of centenary where we celebrate the late great Nelson Mandela, we felt it pertinent to also reflect and pay homage to our own recent past, while at the same time making a bold statement as to where we are headed.

“Contemporary dance in South Africa is exciting and appealing and I believe these three pieces amply reflect this.  I am privileged to be able to share them with the audience and thank my colleagues and especially Jazzart’s dancers for their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication to perfecting their craft – they all have a bright future ahead of them. Congratulations Class of 2018!”

The importance of the transformative dance programmes provided by Jazzart cannot be under-estimated.  Dance is a strong and growing medium to promote social cohesion, provide an outlet for self-expression and generate a variety of long-term career prospects across a host of disciplines within the overall structure of dance.  Jazzart also offers a series of outreach programmes that embrace rhythm as a fundamental for teaching self-discipline, teamwork and self-development.

Archives will be presented in the Artscape Theatre on Friday 22 June 2018 (19h30) and two performances on Saturday 23 June 2018 (15h00 and 19h30). Tickets cost R100 for adults, R50 for scholars or the season special of R150 for 2 tickets. Tickets are available at Computicket 0861 915 8000 or www.computicket.com Proceeds from ticket sales and support go towards expanding Jazzart’s training programme and into establishing further outreach partnerships.


THE FIRST LUCKY PERSON WHO SHARES THIS POST ON THEIR FACEBOOK or SOCIAL MEDIA page will be the recipient of a set of four tickets.

Lucky winner’s ticket will be left at Computicket box office at Artscape.  Winner will be announced on this FB page. nikimalherbe.

highlights of the franschhoek literary festival

With less than twenty four hours at my disposal this time at my annual literary feast –  the 2018 Fransschoek Literary Festival – I hung around briefly in the EB pop up book section in the Town Hall, to scan the new lists of books. One day, when I own my book shop (in my dreams) I won’t have to pick up one book and then another and then walk around with it, turning each over briefly in my hands to see if it fits as if it were a piece of clothing, only to put it down again and repeat the process with another, finally showing up at the cashier with my one precious purchase. I can just have them all.

While walking in this zombie type state, with a book or five in hand, I glanced up and saw a woman sitting with her legs curled up under her body, like a cat, reading Jen Thorpe’s book Feminism Is – South Africans speak their truth. I turned back to the bulging shelves again, my eye scanning a whole hoard of books I desperately coveted and then thought to sit for a minute with the Porcupine sponsored wine in hand. Perhaps the ‘hair of the dog’ would assist my dilemma.

With my one purchase, Kate Furnivall’s Betrayal (I had to buy something relevant to one of my talks I had just attended, the wonderful panel discussion with Michelle Magwood and Kate Mosse) I sat down on the couch next to the curled up stranger and stroked the cover of my new purchase softly, like the hands of a young lover who didn’t want to wake her partner.

‘So, what do you think of that book, so far?’ I heard myself asking, noticing that she had barely started it.

‘I’m loving it’ she said, smiling an easy smile, edging her feet off the couch and getting up at the same time. She was planted right next to me, before my sip of Porcupine Rose had properly left my lips.

She pulled out her file and pen and paper and said, ‘Let’s talk’. Oh heavens, I thought. Bliss. Someone I can talk books to!

That’s the pure magic of the Franschhoek Literary Festival: books and wine and meeting new readers and engaging with authors and learning new things all the time. And in a beautiful setting.

I’ve now lost count of the number of festivals I’ve attended. Each has been different and added its riches. I recall vividly the first few, being in awe of the authors and wondering why they did it. I’ve listened to fascinating lectures on politics and law and publishing but mostly I’m fascinated by writers and how they do it. Why they do it and how they do it and what inspires them to write about the things and places and people they do. Trying to understand if fiction is really far from the truth, and what it’s like to sit on stage and talk about your book. Oh, to be one of those, I used to think.

But not anymore. That fire in my heart that burns and fuels the words that crawl out onto my page has little to do with anyone else other than what I need to write. What I’m learning about writing and books and people and life is that it’s not easy to be writer because you really do put yourself out there. Whatever it is you write about. Whether it’s historical fiction, or literary non-fiction or misery memoirs or books about some guy that went to America (‘ah, was that you?’ they ask), you expose yourself in so many ways and people start to look at you differently and dissect all the little parts of you and that’s quite hard. Not everyone will like what you write, or how you write. Or even like you.

But it matters not how many are going to like it. Yes, it would be decent if I earned a little living from what I love but of course, publishers publish books that they believe are going to earn a living for them too.

My new friend on that couch emailed me the next day and said she’d ordered my book. It’s out of print in the bookshops and badly formatted on Amazon (I got tired in the end) but she found it somewhere online. I don’t know why and I don’t know if she’s going to like it but it matters not.

It was the highlight of this festival for me. Meeting just one person who was genuinely interested in my story.

Funny how it only takes one person?

But then some other highlights:

  • Meeting Tracy Going (her new book Brutal Legacy) in person. She is more gorgeous in real life than I imagined.
  • Listening to Kate Mosse’s research and inspiration and family history. She was so passionate and excited about her work. She writes HUGE, long, historical fiction. I loved her!
  • Getting a hug from fellow author Steven Boykie Sidley in the street when I introduced myself as a FB friend. His mission was to give all his FB friends a hug as a greeting.
  • Staying at our fabulous usual spot and being greeted by the warm welcome of Ronelle who runs it. I love warm, happy, passionate people that hug.
  • Did I mention dinner out with my favourite person?

‘Til next one and next time



an extraordinary evening of music. a tale in pics.

It was while sitting in an exquisite salon of the Casa Labia in Muizenberg on Saturday morning,


listening to a lecture on the life of Chopin by my musical mentor and inspirer of the classics, Elizabeth Handley, that the thought struck:  just as we still listen to the genius of Chopin, down at the very tip of Africa, 170 years after his death, so do I truly believe that the music of Martin Scherzinger’s compositions will be enjoyed for centuries to follow. Such is the complexity and excitement of his compositions.


It was a remarkable and memorable evening on Thursday just past. A few months in the planning after finally re-uniting with our old primary school friend Martin, whom we had last seen about 40 years ago, we gathered around to listen to the pianist Robert Mitchell who has been collaborating with Martin for some time now.  Bobby, who has a keen interest in the music of Schumann himself, played three compositions of Martin’s, three etudes which were all equally complex and intriguing and deeply influenced by Chopin as follows:

Etude #2: The Horse is not Mine: A Hobby Horse

Etude #5: Chopi Chopin

Etude #14 Mbiras of Saint- Gervais

Bobby then embarked upon three of the extraordinary movements of Schumann’s Piano Concerto #1.

We were lucky to have had them to ourselves for the evening as the reason for their visit to South Africa was in fact as part of Mandela’s Centenary Celebrations, to perform at the Iziko museum the following evening.


Apart from popping in to SA, Martin spends his time between New York and Berlin as  Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU and according to his online bio, works on “sound, music, media and politics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a particular focus on music of Europe, Africa, and America, as well as global biographies of sound and other ephemera circulating in geographically-remote regions.

The research includes the examination of links between political economy and digital sound technologies, poetics of copyright law in diverse socio-technical environments, relations between aesthetics and censorship, sensory limits of mass-mediated music, mathematical geometries of musical time, histories of sound in philosophy, and the politics of biotechnification.

Fascinating work.

Bobby who is originally from the Netherlands, is currently based in Germany though has spent much time in the States.


It was a superb gathering of old friends and family and an enriching display of musical magic.


My great thanks to Wade Bales of Wade Bales Wine Society who very generously had no hesitation in sponsoring delicious wine for the occasion.





And then there’s that wonderful story…

about the fisherman and the businessman.

Various origins and sources are cited as to the origins of this story and there are one or two variations.

Here is the one I found which accorded most with the one I remembered, written supposedly by Paulo Coelho though I don’t recall that he was the original author:


There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.

As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.

The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.

The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.

“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”

The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

The fisherman asks, “And after that?”

pic of fish

The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”


Brilliant isn’t it? I thought a lot about this story when I came back from Stanford the last time.

Part of me thinks I want a simple life. Escape from traffic and robots and busy parking lots and too many people. Too much pressure! I thought a cottage in Stanford would create those sporadic scenes of simplicity but I got caught up with reality. That’s the problem with life: simple reality. The reality of rands and cents going out and out and out and needing a little more to come in ‘cos there are mouths to feed and minds to educate and places to explore and we supposedly have longer life expectancies and so then the promise of someone handling it all since I live in a different town and it’s difficult to change bed linen and toilet rolls when you’re about 150kms away each time and then it was all just complicated and messy. And I was taken for a complete ride.

I spent a slightly frazzled time there a few weeks ago, trying to understand village life and who’s friends with who and whether rules of life operate differently in a small town compared to the big city. Whether that so-called illusive ‘simple’ life was only reserved for a few? Whether compassion and equity are compatible concepts? Simple fairness?

Perhaps it’s that marvelous life lesson that says that wherever you go, there you are! And light bulbs need replacing and paint starts to peel after all.

We all want a little more peace. Peace in our minds, peace in our lives, peace in the world. ( I’m sure I’ve written this somewhere before)

I came home and decided to move on. I didn’t feel like that vengeful attitude anymore. I don’t like that feeling. But I also needed to try and recover at least some of what I lost. Some of the ‘big business feel’ that the businessman suggested to the fisherman and I sat up ’til 2am putting together an online rental site, finding nice pics, describing my piece of paradise so that others could enjoy it too – for a little fee of course.

And I was so excited about the little fees. A friend had shown me how lucrative it all could be. And I felt I wanted a piece of it too but as we drove back up the coast again a few weeks later, I wondered whether I’d ever really be that businessman.

If truth be told, I‘ll always be the fisherman.

Fishermen and businessmen.

Which one are you?

I’d like to speculate here and tell you my other story.

But not on this blog!

Til then!




Better than a walk in the park. A walk on the beach.

The Perlemoen Trail.

One unconsciously enjoyable aspect about walking along the coast close to the sea with a group of women is that one never seems to tire of it or certainly I never did. The rhythm of the breaking waves and the accompany soft mist it breathes into the air every few seconds is like a heart that beats without instruction. This is the beauty of the outdoors: our bond with nature brought about just by being part of it, being surrounded by it which elicits in most humans, an unquestionable sense of calm and wonder.

Combine that with a guide who stops and explains the origins or purpose of the marine plant life and little sea animals found along the seashore and a chattering bunch of wonderful women with whom you can share intimate or funny stories when you want to and there’s a sure a recipe for goodness.

The so-called ‘hike’ was really more of a beach stroll, with only a moderate little uphill path on our last day when we made our last 6kms walk from the Gansbaai harbour to De Kelders. For the rest it was virtually flat the whole way and the paths were either jeep tracks next to the coast or the wonderful hard clean sand of the beach.

Here’s a brief summary of the Beachcomber trail run by Jason Stonehewer whose knowledge and passion for Pearly Beach and its surrounds was plain to see.


Jason explaining Perlemoen creatures


DAY 1:

After delicious platters of prawns and some nostalgic Sultans of Swing numbers from the resident musician at the local pub the eve before, we started the day wrapped up tight from the chilly wind. We were dropped off at a point about 12- 15kms past Pearly Beach and made our way towards Quoin Point Nature Reserve and Die Dam.


Day 1: Starting off down the beach


The terrain was easy-going, the bits of info on red bait, rock formations and plant life fascinating. Lunch which consisted of nuts and nutty snacks, fruit and the most delicious wraps was enjoyed with a warm flask of tea all supplied by our Beachcomber hosts.

We ended the walk at about 3pm and were ferried back to our quaint guest house, Pearly Shells for a beer or a lie down with a book or whatever we felt like. It was a super place and definitely worth coming back to for another visit.

Dinner that evening was at another local spot and equally delicious. Large dishes of chicken pie and an assortment of salads. At the one end of the long table, I sat in between two of our group who I knew vaguely at the start but had learnt much by dessert.  We all have our own stories.  Such different stories, each our own. And how judgmental we are of others when we don’t know each others stories. Life in story.

DAY 2:


Incredible sunrise at guest house, Pearly Shells


The weather started a little cloudy but I was pleased for the suggestion to pop in a pair of shorts just in case! This time our walk took us from a spot about 17kms away from Pearly Beach and we made our way back there. Interesting stops along the way revealed a one time holiday resort which had failed the requisite environmental impact assessment and was covered, over the years, by the shifting dunes.


The remains of a holiday resort


Highlights included a fresh water spring and then the most ideal swimming spot where a few stripped off quickly and dived into the somewhat salty, but invigorating water.


Warmish salty sea where we could almost float


Without doubt, (apart from the swim!) my best part of the walk was the feeling of the cool hard sand on my bare feet and in between my toes, and the occasional creep of the gentle water when I ventured closer to the sea. This I learned  (from the husband of a couple who had joined us, and who happened to have been an old friend I had last seen more than twenty years ago, the sister of a digs friend at varsity,  and thus an added highlight for me!) was commonly referred to as ‘grounding’ and is vital to calm your mind and recharge your energy. Feeling both present in your body and connected to the earth allows you to re-align yourself physically and not only elevates your mood but is proven to expand your heart and spirit. Apparently it’s also known as earthing and has a balancing effect on the nervous system.

I can vouch for that. That little stretch of bare foot walking with sand on my soles, lightened my spirit and lifted my soul. I didn’t want it to end.


On sole, in soul. (Photocredit; Lisa, thank you)


A stop at the Pearly Beach shop at the end of the walk for an incredible assortment of wares for sale –  literally any type of gift or gadget imaginable , and then after a short rest, sundowners on the beach.


A stunning sun set


Tonight was party night! Supper at the club where the main dish was fish and /or calamari and chips but there was no way we were going to miss another ‘Rooibier opskop’. So back we were, us middle aged mums, having somehow caught the attention of the local fisherman who appeared en masse in the fishing village for a big fishing competition and insisted that we dance with them – plenty brandy and cokes accompanying the happy vibe!

DAY 3:


DAY 3 Start. Different vegetation entirely



Our last walk was a short 6km or 7km walk from Gansbaai along the path of entirely different vegetation, being greener and lush, past a beautiful tidal pool and quaint little  milkwood forest and around Stanford’s Cove. It ending at some caves which we were told had been privately bought and specially constructed for a proposed hotel but currently on hold due to a property dispute.


Entrance to cave under lock and key


We ventured in briefly and surveyed the stalagmites and stalactites and even bravely all turned off our torches for a few minutes to experience real pitch black deep darkness. At once eerie and entirely soothing is how it felt for me. But when a bat flashed past my ear I was ready to leave.

Our hike ended at a delightful little coffee stop in De Kelders where we shared our last meal and said our goodbyes.

I can highly recommend this little piece of paradise. Our footprints will surely have been covered over already but the memories made and friendships fostered will be with me always.

Here are some details:



Jason Stonehewer

Cell no +27 (0) 728904317

e-mail info@beachcomberguide.co.za

ducking and diving in Stanford

I told you there’s no such thing as the quiet country life,’ says my husband. ‘You are delusional. ‘You think you’re just gonna hang out there and sit by the river and write books? There’s no such thing. Life is work.’

My husband is usually right. He’s pretty smart. But that’s not one of the reasons I married him because heaven knows the women in our family are strong women. My mother and her sisters. Always right. And if you try to gauge anything from my previous post ‘Why living a life of Opulence is a good idea’ you’d probably also believe that I married him because I knew he would be a good provider. But how could I know that? When I married him we were on equal terms. A few years out of law school, equal earners. No, not true. Not equal earners. He’s always earned more than I, even right ab initio (ie right from the very start!) because… because… I don’t know… because he’s a male I think? Or also because he started off in a fancy corporate firm and I started in a small old law firm in Plein Street, where I would dodge the homeless in the doorway and tried to ignore the calls of ‘rendabeg, renda bego tomaties’ (A rand a bag of tomatoes) outside my dirty window.

But I think largely because he’s male. Funny thing that. How long ago that I started working as a lawyer? 1990. And still we fight hard for that gender gap. Gosh we women have to keep fighting hard. Fighting for this, fighting for that. Fighting for equality and equal rights, fighting to make ensure we don’t get left behind, let’s get to those 50/50 stats in leadership for women in the world, on boards of companies and in high positions, fighting to hold it all together, our marriages, our careers, our children, our FACES! They start getting these lines and our boobs start to sag and so we fight with ourselves! We start to fight off the younger women with the perky boobs and the big careers ahead of them because they look so …so…powerful (careful what we say here about judging women, too beautiful, too rich, too thin, too clever…see this wonderful article by Elana Ferranti that my wonderful women friend shared with me.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/17/elena-ferrante-even-after-century-of-feminism-cant-be-ourselves (this beautiful pic is from the article in the GUARDIAN)womeninforest

Enough already, I don’t want to be fighting anymore. I have it all. And I do. There is not a single woman that I know in the world, not Megan Markle or Angela Merkel or that woman who is an international best- selling author because none of them, not one of them has it all. I do. I have it all. I have a passionate marriage, children I adore, an education, a more than comfortable life and opportunities that others could only dream of. My husband tells me all the time how wonderful he thinks I am.

But he also says that I’m emotional and senses a frustration. And he’s right. I told you he’s usually right. Because I am that, thank heavens! Imagine being unemotional- how awful!

But frustrated? Yes I am frustrated. I’m frustrated about many things and I’m trying so hard to keep to the topic of what I want to write about here but I think it’s probably going to be a bit messy.

Bear with me will you?

I’m frustrated with the feminist thing for one because this feminism thing about wanting equality and equal opportunities isn’t working for me like I thought it would. I’ve written a lot about it in my last book and I don’t want to explain it hear ‘cos it’s too long and complicated. If you want to know more, please offer to publish my book. Did I mention frustrated?

But at the moment, I’m also extremely frustrated about something and this is where it goes. I’ve been DYING to use that superb quote of Anne Lamott’s you know…” if you didn’t want me to write about you should have behaved better” and I think I may even have done so in my book but I’m doing it again here ‘cos it fits perfectly.

So here begins my story. I’m calling it ‘ducking and diving in Stanford’.

It was in October 2016 when I put my boxer puppy in my car and drove out to Stanford to meet an agent. I had been to a writer’s retreat the month before and made up my mind. Stanford. I loved this peaceful, sleepy village, next to the river where I could get away and break away and find a part of me (this is such annoying phrase in the women’s space, isn’t it, that #metime, thing, ‘cmon), write maybe sometimes alone, enjoy seeing the children disconnected and unplugged and free from the world, no TV, no WIFI, enjoy a quiet romantic weekend on my own maybe, with my hubby. We wouldn’t have to go all the time, but it would be so nice to have a little place of our own to go. And if we didn’t go, we could rent it out, let it become an income- producing asset, rather than just a weekend getaway place. No indulgences here, just a life style kind of investment.

You see, the thing is this. Since I was a little girl, I was taught that I had to seek out my place in the world. Be strong, be independent, work hard, get the best education, move on, work hard, be smart, save money, invest well, marry well, have children and keep going, just have it all, do it all. You can, you’re strong, intelligent, go for it. Go!

And I did. I did. I tried all these things. And then suddenly, years later, many years later, I found I had kind of lost my power. I had actually lost my power. How did that happen? What power, you ask? My financial power. My power that made me feel that what I did mattered. Not that I didn’t feel like I didn’t matter to anyone. I did. I know I did. I was the most important person to so many people. I am the most important person to so many people: my husband, my children. Even still my own aging parents. We know that. The world knows this. The most important things in the whole world are people who have significance to other people. Yes, food and shelter and trees and nature- oh, please, please, bring the rain and clean our planet and change the status of corruption and make it world peace- but people.

But when you give up too much of what makes you powerful – your financial freedom- you lose a little power. For whatever reason. Whether by choice or circumstance or whatever. Now. This is a hectic debate and one which I didn’t plan to go into detail here, – I told you this post would be messy, but I want to say it here because it’s the truth. My truth and my story and what I see around me. The reason that so many women struggle with the combination of marriage/work/children thing is because when you give up your supposed ‘equal’ earning power as a woman to combine it with a family, then one of you in your marriage partnership – usually the one earning the most is implicitly entitled to a greater part of the decision- making process when it comes to the big decisions. It’s just how it is. Let’s for argument sake, say, that in most cases, it’s the male. In most families that I know, the male is the major breadwinner and despite the women working and earning and having an equal marriage where decisions are jointly made and everything is shared and equally plotted and planned and discussed, the person who holds the (unspoken yet incontrovertible) power is always the one who contributes the most financially. It’s what dictates who gets the lion’s share in life in so many respects, like efficient access to justice. Only the wealthy seem to get their day in court.

Right on the other side of the story is the plight of the poor male. He also gets pushed to work hard and study hard and stop messing around with that bloody rugby ball and go back and study, and do well, and save hard and study more and find a nice wife so she can give you a nice life (shame, after a few years you may want to find a newer model ‘cos her boobs are sagging and she’ll whine a lot about the kids and not earn so well) but keep going and make more money and invest well ‘cos the kids now need to be educated and don’t forget about retirement and inflation and ja. You get what I’m saying.

There’s a whole lot more to add to Feminism and South African’s telling their true stories but they haven’t yet heard mine. This is only half of the stories. I’m never going to give up trying.

I’m already a few thousand words into my next, by the way. I think it’s going to be called Betty and Me, a few years on. Here’s what I’ve been scribbling in and being EMOTIONAL about. Ag, us poor women.

A big digression.

Back to my story of Stanford. I promise to provide a summary of this article at the end. I know it’s unedited. It’s just a blog.

It was time to TAKE BACK MY POWER. I came home from that meeting in Stanford and told my husband I’m buying a little cottage in Stanford. He just about freaked. I had dragged him around the country for years. Up the passes to Tulbach and Montagu, and down the coasts and onto the beaches of Hermanus, to a beautiful farm in Paardeberg where I could become a ‘real woman and make stewed fruit and really nice home-cooked stews ’ and to the caves and crevices in the Cedarberg, convincing him that ‘even that little pile of bricks could look nice with a little imagination’. I just wanted something. Something of my own. I had sold my little property I had worked hard for when we got married and pooled all our assets.

He had too.

We started our married life together, equally in all respects.

I was never going to be able to make enough ON MY OWN again to afford it myself but I was equally determined that this was one of my decisions.

It was hard talk. It was a long night. But we made it and we finally bought Stanford. Together. He had to balance his interests of providing for our large family, securing our future investments with proper, safe, clever investment decisions, accommodating his wife’s whimsical vision of a romantic country life and containing her determined new writing ambitions.

She was re-inventing herself. Again. From bright eyed keen law student, to professional career woman, good –income earner to wife, mother of 1, then mother to 2, then 3, then 4, (yes it’s more than the average I know) then, heaven’s what now? Back to work, what work? Let’s study a  little more, flexi-time you say? They’re not paying me enough! Who’s gonna look after the kids? I want to look after the kids! But I also want to work and what about that #metime????

Stanford is a quiet town in the heart of the Overberg with plenty of water. On a river and surrounded by mountains. We’ve owned it now for just over a year. When I first bought it, he hadn’t even seen it yet but he trusted me. He trusted me. He wanted to make me happy and he tries so hard. I love him unconditionally for that. I also don’t love him so much when I feel that he’s not trying.

But he trusts me implicitly and I trust him implicitly. I know that everything he does, he does for the good of our family and that’s about the best anyone could be.

He’s also the most honest person I know. Ethical and honest. And I hope that some of these values will rub off on our children. Our son and three daughters. And also that they will learn the value of hard work.

It’s all hard work. Even in the country. Because when I first negotiated the contract and dealt with the previous owner, I suddenly had all these unpleasant, hard issues to deal with. For some odd reason, he saw me as a useless woman and tried to breach our contract. He’d included certain things as fixtures and fittings and I knew that (I was using my lawyer skills) and he knew that (was an accountant) and he starting being extremely unethical. He stole my property!We nearly got to the court steps. It was most unpleasant. Hard work.

But I won in the end and I was damn pleased with myself.

And suddenly it was happening all over again. This time, it’s a woman. I’ve trusted her for over a year with my precious property that I fought so hard for. And worked so hard for. I trusted her with it all. She ran a FB page, managed the booking sites, managed the rentals and managed my property for me. But I never checked on it all, despite many, many, many queries of delayed and late and incorrect invoices. It never really made sense to me, what she said. How can someone cancel at the last minute? Are you sure my booking was not two days but three? Why is payment taking so long? Didn’t I ask you to please confirm my booking as soon as possible? You haven’t confirmed with me? Why do you take so long to reply to my emails? I thought it was an Airbnb booking but it shows a Travelground booking? Oh, now it’s a private booking? Why does my booking schedule show a different rate? Why don’t you let me contact the tenants- I just want to check they’re okay? And why didn’t you tell me about the tenants that were there last weekend? They’re not on your schedule? So it’s never happened before?

You will note that my FB page WILLOW COTTAGE has been deleted. She deleted it when I asked her to make me the contact person. No. She just deleted it. It’s gone. Like WILLOW COTTAGE on Airbnb and Travelground. It’s been deleted. I cannot track the details of any bookings over the last year. And I’m sure I asked her really nicely not to. Just change the details, I’ll take over and just please pay me back my money. And we can both move on.

Stanford is a small village and a beautiful place to visit. Please come back. I’d love to meet you.

I’m sure she never meant anything intentionally BUT if she didn’t want me to write about it all, she should have behaved better.


If you HAVE ever stayed in my cottage and want to tell me all about it, please do because I’m not sure if you have been there or not!

If you EVER WANT to stay in my precious cottage, please contact me directly via this BLOG. I’d love to have you.

Even, better, if you want to follow more on this BLOG, then join me on my journey of life and sign up!

I’m going to be updating it soon with new categories and pictures and things  and supposed to be online doing a blog boosting course with funds I have never received !


We never stop learning!

Til then!


#stanford #stanfordtourism #writing #feminism #thepresidentskeepers #stanfordkeepers





Why a life of Opulence is a good idea

When I turned 21, my mum gave me a choice: a trip away with her and her new husband or a 21st birthday party. Guess which I took? Actually, as luck would have it, I was in for a party both ways as, while I wedged my way down the passage between the seats of the little shuttle bus at the airport having just landed, I saw only boys. Lots of them. Can you imagine the luck? There I was, girl alone stranded on an island in the Indian Ocean with a bunch of boys who were on an entire week’s bachelor breakaway party. It’s the stuff of dreams.

Now. Let’s first get a few things straight here. Though it took a few days for the bachelor boys to understand my age and agenda and hence tailor make their trip carefully around this, letting me tag along on their scuba diving course and the odd snorkeling trip, there were many times I was the third wheel: on the golf course, on the beach and most often at dinner. And it was at one of these first few dinners, that my age and inexperience in regard to the precious wine, which my mum had brought with in her luggage was the defining factor.

‘Would you like something else to drink?’ she would say, ‘you are not going to appreciate this wine, it’s much too good for you.’

I’ve been in therapy ever since.

No, this is not true. It’s been a long- standing favorite family joke and I now agree with her, entirely.

Wine is something you learn to appreciate the older you get. It’s like the appeal of grey haired men and the sage wisdom of years having been lived.

I cannot profess to know a huge amount about wine other than there are those I instinctively love and those I don’t. I  do know quite a lot more than a boyfriend I had -many years back- who leant over my page squinting at the answers on my multiple choice answer sheet after a four week Masters Course  which he still failed and I passed, but that doesn’t say much about my knowledge of wine but rather that I was sufficiently in love with him to let him share my answers.

More recently I had the fortune of attending a fun tasting session in a small vineyard in the middle of Tuscany somewhere but that too doesn’t say much about my wine knowledge either.

But what I now realize is that knowledge is not a pre-requisite for Opulence.

For Opulence is simply about a grandiose taste. I cannot recall having tasted anything so smooth, so beautifully blueberry fragrant (or was it raspberry? Or even both?) , so pleasingly lacking in any bitterness and I felt not a smidgen of a dull headache which wine- and particularly red wine- tends to leave the next morning.

I deliberately didn’t read the label to see what I could blindly and honestly get of the bouquet but here is the lowdown on wine called Opulence:

  • it is an organic wine which I believe means that it is essentially free of any herbicides, pesticides or any added, unnatural substance and is thus kinder to the environment
  • the colour was a clear warm, brick red which slid easily down the side of the glass after swirling, commonly known as having ‘good legs’ or not as I recall amongst wine experts. Usually a more full- bodied wine would have ‘good legs’. This was a lighter bodied one and truly delicious .
Legs” in a wine glass are the tears that stream down the side of the glass after you swirl it. … The way the legs fall usually has to do with the level of alcohol in the wine and the speed at which it evaporates, which means, in easier terms, that thicker and slower legs can indicate a higher alcohol level.



  • there was something else in the bouquet which I couldn’t quite work out but it was almost like perfume. I loved it. I equated it to the slightly, exciting momentary whiff of something clean and wonderful like when you opened those little sachets of hand cleanser on an aeroplane in the old days. Do you remember those?

The word ‘opulence’ is associated with wealth and velvety plush cushions. It is synonymous with grand and expensive and fancy.

I have no idea what the bottle costs but I can assure you of one thing, I think I have finally become of an age to really live a life of OPULENCE and I plan to do so. REGULARLY.

The wine was sampled as a trade exchange for Merriment & Co, a new innovative liquor company bringing new brands into South Africa.