All posts filed under: Pick of the Week

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, …

Introducing a community choral project: Voxi

Over the past three years Cape Town-based Nic Paton has been hard at work on a community choral collective entitled Voxi – an intriguing, warm, spacious set of songs exploring ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions with ‘awe, yearning, and gratitude’. Voxi’s tagline is ‘exploring sacred song spaces’. So perhaps this comforting album is something timely, given this week of mourning for Nelson Mandela. The album has a number of fascinating and moving back stories. For example ‘Fully Grey’ (featuring the exciting, angelic voice of his daughter Gemma) was penned by Alison MacPhail who died at 28 but whose dearest goal was to become old, wrinkled and grey. And ‘Abwoon‘, the Aramaic ‘Our Father‘ might unintentionally be a reverent tribute to Madiba, ‘Tata, Father of the Nation.‘ Out of a sense of artistic and spiritual journey, they have developed a unique sacred music referencing varied traditions from the Psalmists to the Post/Modern, using six languages. Now available on iTunes and other outlets, it’s a veritable gift for Christmas 2013. Visit voxichoir.net to hear, see and read more.

Turning 50 – ‘Elle’ of a lot of pressure

THERE’S BEEN a lot written lately about Elle turning 50 next year. I take an interest because I am almost the same vintage and so, share a certain affinity with the magnificently proportioned and ageless model known as The Body. In case you’re wondering, the aforementioned tag justifiably stuck after her five cover appearances on the iconic Sports Illustrated magazine. I was born in July ‘63 – my friend Elle in March ’64 – which makes us a mere 8 months apart. We both finished school in ‘81 so could, theoretically, have been classmates. We could have enjoyed the same movies – For Your Eyes Only, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Raiders of the Lost Ark … remember those? We probably listened to the same music, boogied on the disco floor to Blondie’s Call Me, went through a phase of schoolgirl anarchy with Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall – and slow-danced to Captain and Tennille’s Do That to Me One More Time … aah, the memories. The similarity, I am sad to say, …

The Intouchables

One of my favourite movies of the year, The Intouchables tells the story of a wealthy aristocrat quadriplegic who hires the services of a young, seemingly inappropriate young carer from the wrong side of the tracks. Brazenly flouting politically correct protocol, the previously unemployed and inexperienced carer proves a tonic for his patient. Through his unorthodox methods, he opens his eyes to a world he thought he could no longer be a part of. An unlikely bond is formed by the two and through a series of often amusing, often heart-warming episodes; they embark on a heart-warming journey, each learning valuable life lessons from the other. The movie is based on a true story which makes it all the more appealing. Don’t miss it. The Intouchables is a French sub-titled film. Directors:  Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano Writers:  Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano Stars: François Cluzet and Omar Sy

‘Off the Cuff’ with Surfschool Teacher, Leighton Higgo

Born and bred in Durban, South Africa, Leighton Higgo is the owner of Sunshine Coast Surfschools in the state of Queensland, Australia. Since relocating to Australia in 1986 he has devoted his energies into a number of ventures – working in middle management (retail), for a non-profit community organisation focused on people with a disability, lecturing in Health and Fitness, running his personal and group training business, and doing what he loves best … teaching people the wonderful sport of surfing! My secret pleasure is … close to white sand and salt water My first job was … check-out chick while still at school My most annoying habits are … using too many pots when cooking A clear childhood memory is … resigning from Scouts aged 8 What makes me really nervous is … conflict in the workplace The best advice my parents gave me was … whatever makes you happy If I wasn’t a teacher, I’d be … a very bad actor I’m most thankful for … my family time My favourite meal is …

‘Off the Cuff’ with Sue Segar

Sue Segar is an accomplished Cape Town-based freelance writer.  Prior to freelancing, she worked as a political reporter for many years and is now a sought after contributor to a variety of South African newspapers and magazines as well as JournoNews. My secret pleasure is … reading flaky magazines at the hairdresser and seeing if I can tear the pages I like out and keep them … My first job was … as a cub reporter on the Natal Witness in Pietermaritzburg, during the varsity holidays.  My most annoying habits are … biting my nails, smoking, breaking bits off rusks to pretend to myself that I am not eating the whole delicious buttermilky thing … A clear childhood memory is … running along paths in the Drakensberg mountains with my beloved friend Lois and my brothers and dad. What makes me really nervous is … the thought of being old and lonely with my kids living in Australia or something. Thank goodness for dachshunds. The best advice my parents gave me was … enjoy your …

Off the Cuff with artist, Deb Mostert

Contemporary visual artist, Deb Mostert lives and works from her home studio on the Ipswich/Brisbane border, Queensland, Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia. To date she’s exhibited at 10 solo shows and been involved in more than 30 Group shows in a variety of exhibition spaces ranging from commercial galleries to Regional Galleries in Australia. Her main focus this year has been to get alongside people who lost possessions during the devastating Brisbane summer floods of 2011 and document their stories of loss and recovery through paintings and text. Should you wish to partner with Deb on this project and contribute to her target of over $3,000, visit http://pozible.com/floodobjectsproject. My secret pleasure is … shopping for fusty old books in second hand shops to add to my collection of fusty old books. My first job was … as a paste up artist back in the 80’s when ‘cut and paste’ was literally that. With a scalpel and rubber cement glue. Love the smell of rubber …