The country cries

A mere few days after Oscar Pistorious is sent to prison for actions which included a firearm South Africans are reeling at another sport star in the news because of gun violence. Unfortunately, this time, the violence was fatally directed at him.

Bafana Bafana Captain, Senzo Meyiwa, has become another victim of the senseless violence we have in this country. People across South Africa, and even internationally, are saddened by this tragedy. A young talent and leader taken in his prime.

Everyone is sad, and everyone is on it. I agree that we should be and this has shaken me more than I would imagine. I think my reaction is two fold 1) A know South African son has been taken. As I’ve said before, famous South Africans “belong” to us and we take pride in their achievements. It’s horrible that an icon has been brought down and we will certainly mourn his passing. 2) A massive reward is being offered and the countries top detective will investigate. Which is fair enough, but I can’t help but be torn apart on behalf of all other “anonymous” South Africans who have also suffered to violence and murder this weekend and weekends and weekdays previous, and who will not get this type of backing and attention.

While Senzo’s death has brought a lot of attention to crime and violence I only hope that this man hunt will propel forward the bigger debates and bigger long terms actions against the core issues: Availability of illegal weapons, crimes against women, the desperation of the youth, unemployment, the hate that festers in some hearts. A hate we can not seem to manage and abate. People do not just want to rob out of desperation (something which I can actually sympathise with BTW) but they also want to kill. My stuff I can replace but I can not replace my friends and family. Leave our lives intact please.

At a press conference at the South African Football Association there was mention of a Senzo Meyiwa law which will help address these questions. I just hope this tragedy will have the follow through required to eventually lead to a positive difference

In the meantime, South Africans are just going to have to be sad and lock ourselves into our homes even more tightly. Sigh.

Santa Shoebox project 2014

thisonebutterfly

Being generous and kind makes people feel good. It’s heart warming to know you’ve made a difference in someone, or an animal’s, life. Unfortunately it’s sometimes difficult to know where to give, or even what to give. I personally don’t really like giving money because I don’t know how it gets spent. I prefer giving items which I know go to a specific good use.

So, I was very interested to learn about the Santa Shoebox project in South Africa (http://santashoebox.co.za/). This project collects shoeboxes filled with gifts, stationery and toiletries for underprivileged children throughout South Africa. It’s a project that has been running for a few years now and the positive impact they have on these children is clear. It’s a great project and I encourage everyone to join. They are aiming to reach 100 000 children this year so they need a lot of people to pledge.

You…

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Jo’burg, reveal your secrets

Yesterday (2 Oct 2014) marked the start of the ABSA Johannesburg Festival with the theme Go To Town. The festival focuses on getting people to enjoy the inner city again an celebrate its revival.

Jo’burg is a city rich in history and beautiful buildings and architecture, it is very undervalued as such though. As people moved out the inner city a lot of this was forgotten and literally abandoned which is clearly very sad. Jo’burg is the city of gold, we should cherish it.

So, enter the festival and a lot of great events paired with it. As I love the city I took the opportunity to attend the opening of a new venue TheSheds@ 1Fox. The name says it all. This massive space is basically an old shed in the city. Some parts date back to before the Boer Wars and is thought to be one of the oldest existing industrial buildings in JHB. It was used for this purpose for years until it was eventually left dormant and empty.

The Johannesburg Land Company purchased it at some stage in the hope of redeveloping it and its neighbouring buildings in the future. Well, enter two Jo’burgers: Jan Roode of Happy Me and Gerald Garner of Spaces & Places – JoburgPlaces, who “discovered” the building and in 2014 signed a long term lease so they could try their hand at something potentially awesome.

I got a taste of that potential last night and dare I say I really enjoyed it. The space is now essentially a food and hand made goodie market coupled with an entertainment and band area. There is soooo much space in this old relic and their vision just makes it all fit together. It’s very eclectic and somewhat rustic but it is very cool.

The courtyard between The Sheds and an old brick factory

To my delight some of the original building fixtures are still in place and I marvelled at the old wooden doors and the tall brick factories next door. Buildings with history and spirit make me happy and this shed had plenty of that.

My friends and I dined on Smoque street food of brisket and pork belly while enjoying great craft beer and being entertained by a folksie type band. What more could one want really.

1fox view from the top - Photo by L Snyman The bar area

This place is a gem and I hope people see the potential and book gigs and parties and bands and weddings and markets and birthday parties and whatever right there. Right there in “scary” Jo’burg city where things are beautiful and life is rich.

Don’t wait. Just go.