‘Off the Cuff’ with Author, Deborah Kirsten

Off the Cuff with Debbie Kirsten

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA — Author, Deborah Kirsten’s autobiography, Chai tea & Ginger beer was penned from her unique experience as the wife of international cricketer and coach, Gary Kirsten. A sought after motivational speaker, Deborah lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children. She reveals some candid gems with JN.

My secret pleasure is … A big slice of lemon meringue pie, a good ‘chic flick’ (romantic comedy) and my journal.

My first job was … I guess that would be teaching Sunday school at the age of about thirteen (but of course, that was unpaid). My first paid job was waitressing in a restaurant.

Author, DEBORAH KIRSTEN with husband, GaryMy most annoying habits are … My husband would have a field day with this question. He would definitely say never hanging the car keys on the key hook. (It completely mystifies him why I bought a special hook for keys and then never hang the keys there). Other annoying habits are my tendency to accumulate clutter and my inability to pass up a good bargain!

A clear childhood memory is … Crossing a flooding mountain river stream with my family. We all linked arms to support one another. I learnt a lot about life that day and the strength of a family when they stick together and support one another.

What makes me nervous is … Driving on a cliff edge or through a mountainous pass. Having had a few bad car accidents, cars generally make me nervous. Also, watching my sons play rugby.

The best advice my parents gave me was … In everything put God first and He will direct your steps.

If I weren’t an author, I’d be … My trained profession is a primary school teacher – I love teaching. But if truth be told I’ve always dreamt about being an actress or a singer.

I’m most thankful for … My relationship with Jesus, my husband, my children, my extended family and my girlfriends.

My favourite meal is … Without a doubt, lamb chops and crispy fresh vegetables… and maybe cheesecake to finish it off.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … I have tried and tried to substitute green tea for ordinary tea or coffee – but I just can’t. It really is quite revolting.

Debbie Kirsten's three favourite books

Books I love … Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Traveling Light by Max Lucado and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Songs that resonate … Lifesong by Casting Crowns

and Better Together by Jack Johnson

My ‘happy place’ is … Our little cottage on the banks of the Breede River. It is far from the city with only the sound of the birds. When we go there, life is lived simply – there is no TV and no cell phone reception. The kids play in the mud and the water. We all fish and have good wholesome family fun time together.

My most embarrassing memory is … Thinking how ‘super cool’ I used to try and act as a teenager when attempting to impress boys.

My hidden skill is … Fishing and playing marbles (my sons always boast to their friends that I used to beat all the boys at marbles when I was a kid – it’s quite true!) I also fancy myself as a bit of a ‘handyman’.

If I were a dog, I’d be a … A golden retriever … definitely not a poodle or a yappy little thing. I’d also be sure to demand a bath once a week.

It’s a bit corny, but I love … The part in the movie when the guy kisses the girl. I always get goose-bumps and all teary. The boys in my house think it’s hysterical … but secretly I know they love that part too!

I’m most at peace when … I’m in a space where I can feel the tangible presence and love of my Father God. This is often in nature and away from the noise of the city. I am also incredibly peaceful when I’m with my beloved husband and my three children – anywhere on planet earth.

The country I’d love to visit … I would love to visit Thailand.

Favourite quote … “I am but the pen in God’s hand, He is the Author of my story” – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa1 (1)

Connect with Deborah


Chai tea & Ginger beer Facebook Page



Aussie, actually now in Kindle and Audible version

South African born, Lois Nicholls and her daughter Lara, have produced a book on the trials and tribulations of migrating to Australia from South Africa.

Called Aussie, actually, the book is an honest and humorous account of life as new Australians. “My intention was to relay our 12-year sojourn through a series of thoughts and anecdotes to help other migrants realise they are not alone.

People often assume the transition from one country to another is seamless, but there are many difficulties one encounters along the way. There are also many humorous episodes when misunderstanding language or cultural norms.
My Boston-born American sister-in-law lived in Australia for three years before returning to Los Angeles and found some of the Australian quirks very amusing. She couldn’t believe, for example, that people actually froze their chicken carcasses in summer so they didn’t propagate a bin full of maggots!” says Lois.
Lara illustrated each chapter with cartoons after she was given a brief outline of the content.“I’ve always loved drawing so my mum asked me to have a go at sketching some cartoons. It was great fun coming up with different drawings and I really enjoyed seeing my pictures when the book was printed.” says Lara.
Aussie, actually also captures the heartache of leaving familiar surroundings, family and friends to make a new start in a foreign country. Written from Lois’s personal perception as a young migrant wife and mother, it tells the warts and all story of the family’s journey.

“Some may say it’s too honest but from the feedback I’ve received so far, people have found it funny and poignant. Migrants of all nationalities have said they relate to the struggles and triumphs. They say they appreciate the honesty as so many people don’t speak about their tribulations – they put on a brave face.” says Lois.

A NEW updated eBook edition with five extra chapters, is now available on Amazon.

It’s also available on Audible.com

Aussie, actually, was originally published by Impact Unlimited Books in Australia in 2008 – www.loisnicholls.com.au

KwaZulu-Natal – lots to love!

No matter how long I have lived away from South Africa, my love for the country never wanes. While our recent trip was limited to four weeks in KwaZulu-Natal, there was enough to feed the soul … until next time.

I love …

· Samoosas – piled high at the Karkloof Farmer’s Market … definitely worth returning for
· A R15 Nino’s breakfast in Durbs if you’re seated by 9am … the screech of tyres as would-be patrons frantically try and make the early bird deadline
· renegade zebras rubbing their rumps on lamp posts and walls at a Howick Lifestyle Village
· the creativity of Moyo – the African fusion restaurant on Durban’s Ushaka Pier
· Hot Horlicks on the menu and thatched roof at Piggly Wiggly on the Midland’s Meander
· Colourful grasshopper on Mount Currie
· The KZN countryside
· Oupa Hans’ pickled Peppadews
· Tsonga Handmade Farm – near the rural village of Lidgetton, where 160 women gather daily to create shoes, handbags and other accessories
· Local craftsman, Calson Mangeni, selling his iron works of art at the Karkloof Farmer’s Market
· Corner Post restaurant in Howick … their home-grown marinated olives sold at the Karkloof monthly farmer’s market are sublime … restaurant sample lunch time specials include char-grilled Greenfields skirt steak (rare) with a glass of house wine, beer or soda for just R60
· The sound of hadadas settling for the night
· The call of a dove
· Guinea fowl
· Nguni hide handbag bought in the Drakensberg and owned by friend, coveted by me
· Fish and chips at the Calabash Restaurant opposite Midmar Dam
· The Everything Shop on the road to Midmar Dam which lives up to its name, selling everything from potjie pots to pellet guns.
· Cycling along Durban’s upgraded beachfront with its post world cup wide promenade
· Durban’s new Moses Mabhida Soccer Stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup
· The disarming friendliness of small town locals

Forever favourites:

· Family
· Old friends
· Zambuk
· Wimpy wholemeal bread toasted chicken mayonnaise sandwiches with Famous Wimpy coffee … admittedly a bit daggy, but can’t help myself
· Cream soda floats
· A generous assortment of condiments on restaurant tables … it may seem like no big deal for locals, but believe me, it’s a novelty finding tobasco sauce on the table when living in a land where a measly sachet of tomato sauce costs 60cents
· Tomato Fritos
· Doodle nuts
· Giant beaded Madiba figure outside Jo’burg airport curio shop
· Mr Price Home – especially their locally designed cushions depicting South African themes
· Bovril (not the beefy stock brand but the unique taste that teams deliciously with cheese).
· Nederberg Edelrood
· Beaded milk jug covers
· Catties
· Chewy dried peaches that still taste of summer, ditto dried mango

Andrew Shedlock talks about ‘Shedders Cricket Academy’

JournoNews caught up with born-and-bred Durbanite and well-known cricket coach, Andrew Shedlock, who runs the highly successful Shedders Cricket Academy in Durban North, KZN, South Africa. The Academy specializes in cricket coaching for all age groups from beginners to Club and even Provincial Players.

What does Shedders Cricket Academy do?

Shedders Cricket Academy caters for age groups from six years old onward. With the school boys I mainly concentrate on one-on-one coaching and this is for all ability levels, from beginners to boys that are more advanced. Another branch of my Academy is for boys who have left school and they spend a year with me. Here the emphasis is to improve the cricketing skills with the ‘hope’ of going onto play provincial cricket. They complete a Level 1 coaching course as well as an umpiring and scoring course. During cricket season they also coach a team at the school where my Academy is based, Northwood High School.

What major lessons have you learnt running your own business?

Major lessons I have learnt in my profession is that although the youngsters are different in character, ability, skill etc., they all require the same amount of attention, motivation and encouragement. Coach or teach each boy with passion and always remember the ones with less skill and ability are as enthusiastic as the better ones. My motto is that after each session that a boy has with me he must go away with the feeling that he cannot wait to come back to ‘Shedders’.

How do you manage to balance family and business commitments?

Balance between family and work commitments is sometimes difficult because of the hours I work. I also coach the 1st team at Northwood High School and a Club. During cricket season I can have a seven-day week with a school game on Saturday and Club game on a Sunday. During the week bar Friday, I sometimes only get home after 7.30pm. I make sure that during the week I have a time slot available for my son Ross because sometimes in my profession one can get caught up so often in other peoples’ children and you forget about your own. One thing I make sure of is that I try never to miss any of my kids’ school activities. I have a very understanding and wonderful wife (she is also a teacher by profession) so I am very fortunate that they understand my work.

You’ve seen Durban grow over the last few years, what do you love about living there?

Durban is a wonderful place to live, close to the sea and the mountains (although I don’t spend enough time at the mountains) Summers are warm and winters are mild. Always been a Durban boy!!

Favourite holiday desitnation?

We are ‘locals’ at Pumula Beach Resort, down the South Coast of KZN. It’s such a relaxing and enjoyable place to be on holiday – the kids love it as they are entertained 24/7. One can just relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of work. The management and staff are friendly, the setting is stunning and the food is unbelievable.

What restaurants would you say are ‘a must’ in Durban? Why?

Scoozi’s because they cater for the kids. Gabby’z – for the food and the vibe. These two are my favourite – I am a funny guy – find something I like and stick to it. My wife always says I must ‘experiment’ more.

What’s a normal ‘day at the office’ for you?

Normal day at the office for me is: take kids to school first thing in the morning, then I go to gym. Start coaching at 9.30am and usually have about an hour break between 12.00pm and 1.00pm. Back to coaching usually around 1.00pm and finish anytime from 6.00pm -7.30pm in the evening, depending on the season i.e. summer or winter. Summer is cricket season, so the hours are longer. During winter I also coach on a Saturday morning but in summer, my weekends are taken up by cricket matches, for school and club.

What or who inspires you?

My love and passion for my work inspires me. I can say this with all honesty – there is never a day when I wake up and not want to go to work because I don’t enjoy what I do. To work with young children and teenagers must be the most rewarding profession anyone can wish for. When it involves sport and being active, there’s nothing better. To see youngsters improve and perform gives me the greatest thrill. I just enjoy working with kids, no matter what age, ability, skill etc.

What do you do to keep fit and healthy?

I try and train every day before I start coaching – used to enjoy my running but injuries have finally caught up with me. Now I enjoy my spinning.

Any hobbies, things you enjoy outside work?

I have always enjoyed my horse racing from a very early age but have never been a gambler, in fact I don’t gamble (which a lot of people find strange with my passion and knowledge of horse racing). I have always enjoyed the thrill of the sport; I think the horse is an amazing animal. I am a huge Sharks follower. Other than that being involved in sport all my life, I am a big follower of all sports.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I am very happy and content with my work at the moment. I would like to see my Academy grow but that will come with hard work. I have a lovely family, a great job and would not change it for anything at the moment. If the opportunity did arise for me to coach at a higher level, I would definitely jump at the opportunity.

Shedders Cricket Academy

Proud Dad, Andrew, watches his young son, Ross’s bowling action in the nets.

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