Author: Sue Segar

Wild Olive African Artisans – a fragrance of hope

Eight years ago, when Romanian Mădălina Bhatia arrived in Cape Town to live with her South African partner, she was fascinated with what she found. “I spent the first year looking around, trying to figure out why there were no lions in the streets and why people didn’t live in the bush, because that is what we hear … “Then I started really learning and observing,” says Bhatia, who works under the name Mărioara de la Țară. What she learnt amazed and appalled her and it was what she learnt from her domestic worker, Nokubonga Liwani that kicked off a journey which saw Bhatia acquiring the business, Wild Olive. Now called the Wild Olive African Artisan Apothecary and Artistic Perfumery, the business, which sells a range of artisanal soaps, fragrances, bath oils and other body products, made up of exquisite African and other essences, recently opened the doors of its city store at 29 Pepper Street. This is the third shop – there is one in the Cape Quarter and another in Bucharest. For Bhatia, …

Travels with my son

Thomas and I are incredulous. And it’s not because we are soaked through our clothes, from the spray of Victoria Falls. No, we are gobsmacked because we have just seen our first fifty trillion dollar note. We are standing outside the Zambezi Blues River Cafe, a shady haven of a restaurant in the small town of Victoria Falls, having just strolled up into town from the falls. A very charming man is asking for R100 in exchange for a large wad of Zimbabwean dollar notes. In his substantial pile are a couple of fifty trillion dollar notes, a few for five hundred million dollars and some for two hundred thousand dollars. My favourite is the pretty purple note for fifty million dollars. ”Will this money buy us a coke and a hamburger at the Wimpy?” I ask the man, thinking it’s worth a hundred bucks just to be able to touch such large denominations. ”Of course,” says Mr Charming and the deal is done. ”Here Tom, have fifty trillion dollars,” I say nonchalantly, tossing him …

A couple’s journey into parenthood

Cape Town writer Lisa Lazarus doesn’t mince her words when explaining why she wrote The Book of Jacob—her joint memoir of a couple’s journey into parenthood. ”I wrote it because I was cross, in truth I was furious—the book really burst out of me,” she said at the recent launch of the book, which was co-written with her husband, UCT philosophy teacher Greg Fried. ”It was this feeling that sparked the book, like I’d been conned in some way.” Everyone who has been through the joy and trauma of having a child will relate to Lisa’s sentiment, knowing that, with the exhilaration of the beloved precious bundle comes a great deal of hard work, deep feelings of failure and loss—and many sleepless nights. Her husband has this to say: ”The Book of Jacob doesn’t look like the other books in the parenting section. The other books are in bright colours, red, orange, green, with cute infants and serene or laughing parents, books pleading to be adored. Our volume, with its haunting, silvery gleam, like a …

My Freedom Day triumph

Five, four, three, two, one … By the time our relay team eventually started the 7,5 km race from Robben Island to Bloubergstrand on Sunday, the suspense had become unbearable. Already the race had been postponed by a day because of rainy weather. Now, our 10.30 start had been delayed by more than three hours because of serious fog. We were not amused. Being full of adrenalin with nowhere to go is no fun. We had dropped our first swimmer to catch the ferry to Robben Island and then launched our boat at the Waterfront. We set out — the remaining three swimmers, our skipper and a second — to the island. Things were not looking good. The fog was so bad that we could barely see in front of us. Our GPS helped. Then came the interminable wait. “Freedom Swim delayed due to fog. Wait for next SMS.” Then: “Fog is lifting. Expect an 11 am start. Wait for next SMS.” Then further delays until we ran out of jokes, rusks and conversation. Tension …

Exotic Quirimbas Archipelago, Northern Mozambique

Sue Segar, recently travelled to the remote and exotic Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique. What do Daniel Craig, David Rothschild and Tokyo Sexwale have in common? Well, one thing, I gathered on a recent trip, is that they have all discovered Mozambique. In particular, they have been captivated by the remote Quirimbas Archipelago, a vast chain of 32 offshore coral islands which runs for some 250 km along the country’s northern coastline. In fact, so captivated is our new Human Settlements minister that he recently bought his own island, called Quilalea, in this relatively little-known paradise. Till recently, the small island of Quilalea boasted the most expensive luxury resort in Mozambique, but Tokyo, who reportedly bought it for $20 million, will keep it for the private use of his family and friends. Flying over the islands in a small plane recently, it was easy to see why this compelling archipelago is increasingly being described as the ”New Maldives”. And why the Rothschilds bring their friends and have invested hugely in the area. It explained why …

Goodwill visit to Central Africa

Sue Segar spent a week traveling with senior members of the South African National Defence Force on the annual goodwill visit to soldiers deployed in the Central African Republic, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo. We exit the airport building and walk into smouldering heat and a throng of beggars carrying dangly-legged beggars on their backs. We are told to keep walking and not to engage. Go straight to the vehicle, we do not want any diplomatic incidents says the general in charge. We know that we can be glad we have come through the diplomatic entrance – people have been known to part with hundreds of dollars just to make it through the crooked bureacracy from airplane to taxi. Welcome to Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Leopoldville, once nicknamed ”Kin la Belle” (Kinshasa The Beautiful), and now known as ”Kin la Poubelle” (Kinshasa the dustbin.) Whatever you do, do not take any photographs of airports, soldiers, policemen. And, if you think the Parisiens are hostile and unfriendly, try the …