Twaddle & Twak

Rants, Raves and Everything Else!

SAFA Style! June 27, 2008

Filed under: South Africa — natalian @ 8:00 pm
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I have ranted and raged. I have purged myself of my anger towards the negativity surrounding my country and I have decided it is time to turn the tides and focus on the good.

What I love about South Africans is their sense of humour.  There is always someone looking at the lighter side of a dark situation and able to poke fun at it.  Our local comedians do a fabulous job!

I love the way in which South Africans pull together for causes close to their hearts.  Right now close friends of mine are part of a fund raising event for the Starfish Foundation.  There are two homes that I am aware of in Durban North, KZN, that are taking in abandoned babies and ladies who volunteer their time to give these little souls love and attention.  I applaud you ladies!  Tomorrow night the community of Amanzimtoti are pulling together to “Rock for Rhys” , a little boy who has been born with physical restrictions and his young single father who it tirelessly fund raising for the operations he needs to lead a normal life.  I admire this young father’s commitment and courage and applaud the local community of Amanzimtoti who are supporting him and his son to achieve their goal.

South African wine…. need I say more.  As it is winter I am enjoying the odd glass of red and one of my all time favourites is Backsberg Pinotage. 

South African Pride.  Although it goes through ebbs and flows you will find that no matter where South Africans choose to live they will always be “Proudly South African”.  Nothing beats standing in a rugby stadium and singing “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica” at an international game.  I cry every time.

South Africa – the landscape.  No matter where you are in South Africa our landscape is breathtaking. A few of my favourites is the majestic Drakensberg, the view of Table Mountain from Blouberg Strand, the smell of fynbos, the Eastern Capes long white beaches, Knysna Forests, the fiery red sunsets of the Free State and the beauty of our wildlife.

South African food.  It is very diverse due to our many cultural influences but nothing beats a good South African braai with potato salad, baked beans and garlic bread or a warm Bobotie on a cold winters evening.

I also came across this website which I found very uplifting, www.sagoodnews.co.za.  It is time we focus on the good things happening in our country and been done by our South Africans!

I know things are not ‘normal’ in our country and I am not going to stick my head in the sand and pretend that it is but the message I want to get out today is that no matter how bad things may appear to be we can’t let it take away the good that still exists. 

So, I’m going to light my braai, raise my glass of red, pump Johnny Clegg out my cd player and do it SAFA Style!

 

 

 

 

 

Changes June 23, 2008

Filed under: Immigration — natalian @ 1:20 pm
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I like to analyse things and form an opinion which I then feel the need to express.  I talk at length and generally like to discuss my point of view.  In short I am a talker.  Hubby is not a talker.  He takes action.  He will discuss things to a point, do some quite deep thinking and then he takes action.  I generally would like to talk a little more but that is because procrastination is my weakness.

Today Hubby took action.  He is tired of talking.  An email arrived in my inbox and it was a rough draft of a cover letter to start applying for positions of employment in another country.  He says that he is more scared of staying in South Africa than he is to leave.

Leaving family, friends and familiarity, I just don’t know if I am brave enough to do this.

 

 

A mood most foul! June 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — natalian @ 8:45 pm

If I was a cartoon character I would be drawn as a woman with wild curls frizzing off her head, walking briskly but stomping! Above my head would be a dark cloud.

A mood has set in here my people like a bad week of rain in the Cape.  Constant and unyielding.  I’m more snappy than a Jack Russel and have the energy of a Sloth.  Now before you start recommending pills and writing me off as a depressed housewife let me add that the mind is busy – too busy.   I wish I was not a thinker – but I am .  I think and analyse everything and when there is a lot going on there seems to be no time for the mundane activities of life.

I have had a moment… a realisation that things in my life are about to shift and that my sense of normality and everything that I find familiar is about to change.  I want to cling to the past with both hands and dig my nails in but time is like a wave and it’s rolling away and pulling me along with the currents.  I feel like I don’t belong in my present and know that a new future is calling me.  A future which will be wonderful but will leave me scarred.

Until I make peace with this future only then will I become unstuck from my present.  I’m like a computer programme that has frozen and nothing can be done with the computer until it is reset.

On the weekend we went to a local tourist trap here in KwaZulu-Natal, on leaving the establishment we passed a group of Zulu’s playing their drums, with one taking centre stage in full impi attire dancing his heart out and singing songs that I could not understand but could feel.  I watched for a moment.

Turning, I saw that Hubby had walked away with Eldest and Wee One.  I followed…. with a heavy heart and wet cheeks.

 

Picture Perfect June 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — natalian @ 8:25 pm

I wish I could look like I have fallen out of a magazine!

There are woman in this world who have been blessed with this gift of effortless beauty, they wake up and there is not a single hair out of place.  They somehow have time to lather their bodies with cream enriched with Q10 that will leave them ‘looking younger for longer ‘, have french manicures and their heels are never cracked.

I was not made to encompass effortless beauty.  God gave me thick curly hair and depending on how I sleep I may have last night’s pot scourer on my head or Bob Marley’s dreadlocks.  I have tried the ‘GHD’ whereby one literally irons your hair with a tong looking device, but it takes forever and my arms end up in spasm. I try to have painted nails, but I have no patience to wait for them to dry, so I never have that lacquered effect. It inevitably chips off and it  takes me days to repaint.  Every now and then I make a pact with myself to ensure my body is given the moisture and Q10’s it needs but I end up skipping a few nights and go to sleep feeling guilty, thinking, “You know if you have saggy skin one day it will be because you did not replenish your skin with the Q10’s….”

On Saturday, I tried once again to embody the ‘high maintenance girl’ and take myself off for a few hours of pampering.  I had a facial, which was suppose to fill my skin with goodness and moisture.  It was then off for the eyelash tint and extensions…. I thought I was going to lose my eyesight.  That hideous stuff burns!!!  I lay there with my eyes watering, my vision blurred and I thought, ” You have lost your eyesight in the name of vanity!”  Slowly the burn faded and my vision returned only for me to be shuffled off to my next “pampering” which I can honestly say was starting to feel more like torture.  I detest being ‘fussed’ with as even going to the hairdresser is a painful process for me.

I emerged with a blotchy face, red eyes and the ‘Betty Boo’ eyelash extensions teasing my eyebrows as I blinked but at least my nail polish was perfect.

As I went to sleep that night, again with no toner, moisturiser and Q10’s, I decided that every body’s skin is going to get saggy at some point, I might just get there sooner and decided to shelve my high maintenance aspirations and accept that I am a ‘low maintenance girl’.  Au Natural!

 

The ‘Good Life’ June 13, 2008

Filed under: South Africa,Uncategorized — natalian @ 3:10 pm
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It has taken me days to write this post… and as I write this I still feel unsure if I should publish it.  However my words are building up inside me and I have to vent.  I don’t like putting negativity out into the world and would prefer to write things of a positive nature but what I saw this week has led me to write the following.   I apologise to those who will berate me for my views, know that although I write what I believe to be the truth, I also feel sense of disloyalty, because I honestly wish I didn’t feel this way.

On June 10, 2008, South Africa once again made Sky News.  I watched in horror once again and once again I felt tears run down my face. 

A horrific and tragic picture of the body of a young girl, just 12 years of age, covered in red foil with just her regulation school shoes peaking out the bottom.  Her name was Emily Williams, who died instantly when the car her mother was driving her to school in was caught in a shootout.  A bullet, which entered through the back windscreen, proved fatal when it struck this little girl whose life had only just begun.  Toni Williams, the mother of this little girl described it as “instant”.

The reporter for Sky News Africa then goes to the townships and squatter camps showing how the poor are unable to surround themselves with electric fencing and armed security guards like the South African middle class and are therefore worst hit by crime.  She interviews a young mother, Evelyn, who reported her missing daughter 3 times before the police responded and is now also left mourning her child.  Her 7 year old daughter was raped and murdered.

As a mother I feel a great sadness for these woman who have had their children taken away from them in such a brutal way, I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like because even that leaves me devastated.

According to Sky, thousands in South Africa plan to march against crime.  I have seen the frustration and rage of the South African people and crime has touched my own life personally but thankfully it never ended in a funeral.  I support any effort there is to make our government sit up and take notice of what is happening in our country.  It infuriates me to learn that some politicians in our current government claim that there is no crisis when it comes to crime in South Africa.  What I found really eye opening was that Sky’s Africa Correspondent, Emma Hurd referred to South Africa as, “… one of the most dangerous places in the world outside a war zone…”

We are all shaking our heads wondering why crime is so high in South Africa, but the answer is simple, it’s poverty.  South Africa was crippled due to it’s past and we knew that after the 1994 elections we would have to rebuild our country again under the new flag.  Plans were instituted to uplift the living standards of the those previously disadvantaged with Affirmative Action, Employment Equity and BEE business deals, Educational Reforms, Labour Reforms and still 14 years later we seem to have made little progress. Why has our poverty line increased?

I believe a few factors which have kept us from joining the emerging markets of the world.  Some believe AIDS has had a significant effect as many families are losing their breadwinners to this virus leaving them destitute.  Some believe that the instability of Zimbabwe and some of our neighbouring countries have also added fuel to this fire.  As South Africa was trying to uplift it’s own people it was faced with a steady influx of immigrants, many seeing South Africa as a land of opportunity or maybe safer than staying in their own countries.  This has placed more pressure on our country’s own resources.

There are some of us who live in suburbia, our white picket fences are now solid walls with electric fencing on top, we have purchased blackout lights to see us through the times of load shedding, which may or may not return, and when we go to bed at night we punch a series of numbers into a keypad and leave our safety in the hands of a security company so that we can sleep peacefully.  We have braai’s behind these walls, friends over for tea and our children can play outside under the warmth of the African sun.  We raise our glasses of wine and joke, “another kak day in Africa hey?” and make snide comments eluding to those who have immigrated – how could they leave this!

I question what constitutes the ‘good life’?  How free are we?  I question what our sense of ‘normality’ has become.  Do we continue to look at our little lives and say we are living well, or do we look at the bigger picture – at our government, their actions, rising poverty, the crime rate and what is been done about it.

I  remember during my studies we learnt about what constituted a first, second and third world country.  One had to look at certain sectors in a country namely Safety and Security,Public Health, Public Transportation, Education, Social Services and Infrastructure.  At the time we were freshly into our new democracy and in that lecture we knew we could hardly be ‘First World’ but that we were a peripheral country, we were still falling somewhere inbetween and thankfully not ‘Third World’.  In the last fourteen years have any of these sectors, which I have mentioned above, improved in South Africa? 

  • Do you feel safe and secure in your country? 
  • Do you use our Public Health System or are you on private medical aid? 
  • Do you use Public Transportation? 
  • Are your children attending solely goverment run schools?  
  • Are your needs been met with clean water, electricity and waste removal? 

I have one or two yes’…..  the rest are all no. 

If I had to live like Evelyn, where I could not afford to live in a fortress and had to rely on an overstretched police force, would I still live in this country? 

I may be what Emma Hurd referred to as, the ‘middle class’, living in my fortress with security guards, but I have to ask myself if I was Toni Williams just driving my daughter to school like every other normal school morning and have her ripped from me by crime then am I living the ‘good life’? 

The drums of Africa will always beat in my heart but I may have to take that beat and make music with the rest of the world.

 

 

 

Sleep Deprivation June 5, 2008

Filed under: Motherhood — natalian @ 8:58 pm
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Weeks can go by and a full 8 hours of sleep becomes the average norm and then suddenly out of nowhere your youngsters throw you a curve ball, pulling you from a warm slumber.  Now that I have two little ones it seems they want to play ‘sleep relay ‘with mommy!

Firstly Wee One starts up a 3:30 ‘party hour’, I try and nestle him in our bed thinking that he will bask in the parental love, turn over and return to Boboland, but no…. playing with the duvet is far more fun! Eventually hubby pears at me with one eye and mumbles….”Is this suppose to be working?”  Obviously not!  Whip Wee One back to his cot and eventually feed him – if he is not cold, he must be hungry…. joy,  his eyes pull close and I gently place him back into his cot.  Stumble back to bed, wrap myself up like a burrito and fall back to sleep.

“Maaarmeeee I need a weeeee weeeee!”  It’s Eldest.

Hubby doesn’t stir and I know that I am back up to bat, taking one for the team. 

Sleep deprivation turns a normally coherent person to sound like a drunk, ones eyes glaze over when you sit still for longer than two minutes and its as if God has pushed the slow replay button on your daily routine.  Everything you do is slow and most of the time you actually forget what you were doing in the first place and have to start all over again!

Today my sleep deprivation caused me to be an unwilling shoplifter!  I know! A life of crime!  Not something I want to be doing here in SAFAland.  Rushing through our local toy store, buying birthday presents for Eldest, I find the milk formula brand which Wee One is drinking and apparently will be in short supply so I load up a 1.8kg can.  Now shopping with a pram is difficult especially when it is a trolley you need so I have balanced all I can off the handles and dump the 1.8kg can of milk formula in the “basket” under the pram.  Looking at my watch I see I have just enough time to pick up Eldest and still feed Wee One fruity sludge.  With packets in the boot of my car I start the long process of unclipping and clipping as I get Wee One out of the pram and into his car seat.  Now, I insisted on state of the art Italian pram which takes a degree to learn how to fold but I convinced Hubby that it was the Rolls Royce of prams and that it would last us two children.  Why then could I not get the silly thing to fold?  I mumble, toss in a few swear words for good measure and realise that I have walked out the shop without paying for said huge can of formula milk! 

Silence.

Fume! Seethe! Swear! Panic!

Toss contents of nappy bag out in boot trying to find the right receipt to phone the shop before they have security hunting me down.  Speak to the manager, apologise profusely! Phone Hubby and ask him to pick up Eldest  while unclipping and clipping Wee One back into pram, (our ‘getaway’ vehicle), run off to the Information Desk and ask for extended time on my already paid parking ticket and start speed walking to the scene of the crime.

I can walk fast – in fact I look like a marathon walker – except not very lithe and toned, catching a glimpse of myself in a shop window I see that although I am in a flap over my crime so is my entire body!  Boobs, tum and bum have got a jiggle going on and Wee One sensing the urgency of his mothers stroll holds onto the sides of the pram trying to steady himself, baby curls whipping back into the wind and sucking ferociously on his dummy.

I apologise for my crime and hand over my credit card which will once again make me an honest woman.  While I wait for the transaction to go through the Security Guard, (who must have been on his loo break when I left previously), was positioned at the door in combat stance and giving me ‘the stare’. Although the manageress is smiling at me and praising me for my honesty I have a suspicion that Security Guard was given the riot act due to my confession.

Technology lets you down when you need it most and this was the moment it was going to let me wallow a bit longer in my disgrace.  My credit card transaction would not go through as their machines were ‘offline’.  I could have left the milk and gone home but that would have been the equivalent to a guilty plea, so I stood my ground and waited for the buzz of the machine that would indicate my vindication… It came… 15 minutes later.

I made it home in time to welcome Eldest from his day of educational learning and watch Hubby race off to a very important executive meeting which he had to delay due to his delinquent wife’s faux pas.

With Eldest settled at the lunch table and Wee One in his highchair I produce a BIG SURPRISE!  Eldest has been whining for weeks for a board game, now don’t get me wrong I don’t normally indulge this form of nagging, but I decided that it would be educational for my child’s development and encourage family time.  I selected a board game which I felt would form a basis for his numerical understanding, the concept was fun and tactile which would fire the imagination and it had a ‘spinner’ which is way more fun than dice.  With the flair of a game show hostess I produce the box to my child’s eager, beaming little face.  Visions of hugs, kisses and all over excitement start flashing in my head…..

“Awwww you got the wrong one!”

Breath in…. 2;3;4; and out…. 2;3;4….

 

Immigration Nation June 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — natalian @ 1:56 pm
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Once again, a heated discussion on the weekend – the topic – a dreaded word which I wish I could add to the ‘naughty’ words list in our home. A word that fills me with dread, turns my stomach into knots and has both me and hubby talking in circles…. immigration.

This word is tired, immigration is so overused in South African conversation that I almost dread speaking to my fellow countrymen as inevitably the topic leans towards who has left, who is leaving and who is on their extended ‘holiday’ for a look, see  and discover.  We ,as South Africans, have become the ‘Immigration Nation’.  It is tough to keep ‘Proudly South African’ at the present moment as the negatives are outweighing the positives and I am filled with guilt and sadness when I start contemplating life as an immigrant. To speak freely about this topic is dangerous, there are those South Africans who will support such a decision and then there are those South Africans who will look at one as a traitor.

I envy those who have made the decision and I envy those who live in countries where they have never had to contemplate this type of decision.

Sigh! If only an Utopia existed.