Category Archives: Jozi places

The art of giving this Christmas

It’s that time of the year again, when we eat too much, drink too much and spend too much money. Well, most of us in any case. For a huge portion of our population, it is a time where people feel the most at loss, especially when it comes to making it a special time for their children.

Enter Dlala Nje’s annual Christmas Party. These guys run a cultural games emporium in Ponte City for the children of Hillbrow and surrounds and throw a Christmas party for these kids every year. They provide a space for children to have fun in a safe environment and enjoy all sorts of activities for the afternoon. They even get a present each and a chance to sit on Santa’s lap!

For a lot of these children, this will be the only Christmas fun that they experience and the only gift that they receive. Orphanages in the area are also invited and it is an afternoon of (mad) fun with face painting, crafts, cupcakes, jumping castles, performances and of course, presents!

We managed to collect about 1000 gifts from many kind hearts (which wasn’t enough!) and spent our afternoon madly helping out with the party. There were so many smiling faces and I am so happy to have been a part of such an amazing initiative. I have all the time in the world for these guys and their cause.

Here are some pictures from the day. I hope that you will be there next year too, to help make a child smile, as Madiba would have liked it!

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” – Nelson Mandela

Dlala Nje

Apparently this is me as an angel – bless!

Dlala Nje 2

What counts in life

Dlala Nje 1

It’s not a party ’til there’s a jumping castle

Dlala Nje 4

DJ rocking the decks

Dlala Nje 5

When making angels turned into making binoculars

Dlala Nje 6

THIS is the coolest car in the world. He was so chuffed with his gift!

Dlala NJe 7

So proud of her snow man Christmas tree decoration

Dlala Nje 3

Face painting is always a hit – even when we have no idea what to paint or how!

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Something creative for your Saturday afternoons – Mosaics at Marmalade

If you’re like me and struggle to find a good creative outlet, it’s great to be helped along the way.

On the weekend, I went to a mosaic afternoon at Marmalade in Chartwell. The afternoon is made of snacks, drinks, conversation and creating your own mosaic piece. A very chilled out and creative way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Marmalade is a ‘country cottage shop’ with all sorts of country-style pieces, gorgeous little girls’ dresses as well as distressed furniture (I have my eye on their headboards). It’s the love-child of Genevieve de Freitas, who started making wooden photo frames in her garage and grew her business into the little gem that it is today.

Marmalade Mosaics 2

Marmalade Shop. The veranda is the mosaic area.

Their mosaic afternoons happen every Saturday, from 2pm – 5pm, and the cost is R250. They’re also on Facebook as Marmalade. I’m hoping my piece was good enough to make it to their page – we kind of forced Gen to take photos of our work and tell us that it’s lovely, so we’ll see…

It’s also not just an adult activity, they cater for children as well and have a playground in the garden. It’s really peaceful and quaint – I’m glad I experienced it and will be back for more (after my mosaic mirror frame actually turned out quite lovely). I’m going to put my mirror up in my new home as a reminder that we need to slow down and let some creativity out once in a while (with wine and cheese, of course). It’s good for the soul.

Marmalade Mosaics 3

Getting inspiration from the tiles

Marmalade 7

The mosaic table

Putting the idea together

Putting the pieces together

Grouting!

Grouting!

Starting to look good...

Starting to look good…

The final product. Not too bad for novices, right?

The final product. Not too bad for novices, right?

 

 

 

 


Look at my guns, boet

Life is hectic. Especially at this time of the year. I don’t know about you, but with me it seems like everyone woke up to the fact that they haven’t achieved everything they intended to this year, and need to squish it all into the last month. I have been insanely busy.

Sometimes we just need a boost to get us through.

I recently attended the XS Power Drink launch at Jozi X – an adventure centre in Bryanston which I’ve been wanting to attempt for a long time (due to lazy friends, I hadn’t been to the park up until then).

We were told to “dress comfortably for an afternoon of adventure”. So I promptly asked if we were going to win prizes from our activities (of which the answer was “Yes, awesome prizes”) and thus rocked up in full gym gear, ready to win. Because I like to win. I must win.

Popcorncandi

A few of these babies later, I was ready to WIN the obstacle course, which they reckon was pretty mild, but it was HARD, people, HARD.Lemon_Straight300dpi

JoziX

Fuelled with all the energy stuff that they pack into these drinks, I obviously beat the big guy I was up against, because I am a machine. I mean, check out these guns!

Popcorncandi2

Popcorncandi3

And yes, my team won (obvs). I think we probably had more XS Power Drinks than the other guys…

Popcorncandi Winning

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So the low-down on the drink itself? It tastes good (unlike other energy drinks out there), is low in calories, contains no sugar and is high in Vitamin B. It’s available only from Amway – you can get it online at www.amway.co.za. It’s available in SA in Electric Lemon Blast and Tropical Blast flavours (I enjoyed both and then enjoyed both again).

*All photos courtesy of XS Power Drink and Fleishman, you can contact me for more details.


Make a big difference this Christmas with Dlala Nje

The guys down at Dlala Nje in Ponte City are hosting their annual Christmas party for the children living there and in the surrounding areas and orphanages of Hillbrow, Yeoville and Berea on 6 December 2013.

[If you haven’t already heard of these guys, do yourself a favour and explore their website. Two “white okes” move into Ponte City and start making a difference in the lives of the community – it’s unreal what they have accomplished and how they have changed the perceptions of inner city Joburg.]

Nonetheless, the matter at hand is the Christmas party. Last year’s party was a rip-roaring success and you will not believe the amount of hopeful little faces playing outside on the concrete, getting their faces painted and waiting in line to sit on Santa’s lap and get a present (likely the only present they received for Christmas).

I wrote about the experience last year too – check it out here.

This year’s season is upon us and we’d LOVE for some support in the form of gifts or even volunteers to help on the day (second hand toys are also welcome). Please get in touch with them directly, or me, if you would like to help out. It will make such a difference to their lives – you just don’t realise it yet.


Life should be a street party

Fete De La Musique

Fete de la Musique 2013 – Melville

I fell into the Melville Music Festival (Fete de la Musique, which happens annually) at the last minute yesterday and was struck by how few friendly and chilled out street parties we have in this big bad city of ours.  Walking up the street in Old Melville, we encountered the most fabulous, fun and funky vibes streaming out of every restaurant, shop and street corner. People were friendly and happy (and not falling over, drunk or fighting) and just happy to hang out and take it all in, beer in plastic cups and all.

That is what life should be like.

SadHappyCrazy spewed out the most profound thought of the week, while we were sitting at our plastic-covered table in the middle of the street, mesmorised by the goings-on around us:

“Life should be a street party”

I totally agree.


There are bigger things in life than #FirstWorldProblems

I had the most eye-opening Mandela Day experience with Dlala Nje last Thursday. In the midst of having a ‘woe is me’ few days, I pulled it all together and went to help Dlala Nje out with their Hillbrow blanket walk and party for the Ponte kids at Maboneng.

We started the afternoon off by taking some blankets to those living in a park near Ponte City, hailed “Junkie Park” for obvious reasons. There is only one word to describe what I saw and experienced: HECTIC. These people literally live in the park and are hopelessly addicted to a drug or few. Walking in there was like walking into heavy smog, although it was a clear day. Desperate eyes look at you – the kind of desperation that I have never (and will never have) experienced in my life. Behind those eyes was darkness. It was chilling. They swarmed us as we started to hand out blankets. Desperate.

As we walked away from there, someone called out “they’re only going to sell those for drugs, you know”. They’re probably right. At least the sold blanket will end up keeping someone warm, I guess.

Next up was to round up the kids living in Ponte Towers and to go on a walk through Hillbrow, handing out blankets to the homeless along the way. More desperate eyes were met. People fought with each other for them. For a BLANKET. It was touching to see the kids take the blankets off their backs (it was a pretty chilly afternoon) and give it to those that needed it more than them. We dodged man-holes along the way (the covers are stolen to sell to scrap metal dealers) and stopped kids from falling into sewerage. This is their neighbourhood.

When we reached Fox Street, where the Maboneng District had prepared a party for the kids in the area, the little boy next to me lit up when he saw the jumping castle. “Is that a jumping castle?” he said. “Yes, it’s lots of fun, hey?” “I don’t know, I’ve never been on one.” He was ordered to immediately take his shoes off and jump on. He ran for that jumping castle, with the biggest holes in his socks I have ever seen (he might as well have not been wearing any), with pure joy that I have not seen in a long time.

I left there feeling humbled and emotional. And grateful for the life that I have. My woes were small in comparison to what so many people in our country experience and overcome every single day of their lives.

If every one of us just gave something to the desperate community on our doorstep, or even better, helped to empower others, it will go a long way in making our country more bearable for a lot of people. Pay it forward.

There are bigger things in life than #FirstWorldProblems.


We Are One Colour Festival, Joburg-style

In case you have been living under a rock, Joburg has been buzzing with We Are One Festival talk. The event took place yesterday afternoon at Emmarentia Dam and painted the usually quiet park into a bright and vibrant festival of colour and music.

A simple Google search will show you more than enough form the festival, but here is my take, seeing that I have not done an event review in a while.

The event is based loosely on the Hindu Holi Festival, which celebrates ‘the season of bloom’ and is also a religious celebration, dubbed ‘The Festival of Colour’. The main feature of the We Are One event was colour explosions of brightly coloured powder on the hour, every hour, while EDM DJ’s entertain the masses all afternoon.

Awesome!

Hands down, the messiest (and most colourful) festival I have ever attended, it was loads of fun getting down and dirty with the coloured powder. As the first one in Johannesburg, it went down very well. The bar and toilet situation was… well… less than desirable, though, so I’m hoping that gets a bit more attention next year and I’ll be more than happy to go again! Give me a VIP section and I’ll be over the moon…

Other than feeling like I’d snorted rainbows all day yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon of colour and madness.

As for the religious outrages about this event, it was not a religious festival, it was an afternoon of madness and colour with some EDM going down too. No need to get all uppity about it. Merely a very cool party with a very cool theme.

Not a lot of pics from me this time, I’m afraid – my dainty little white iPhone did not cope very well in the powder storms, but seeing the photography that came out of the day yesterday is phenomenal!

Explosions of colour at the We Are One festival in Johanesburg

Explosions of colour at the We Are One festival in Johannesburg