Sunday, February 27, 2011

If I were boss..

My friend Jo described the ideal boss as a psychologist, an inspiration, a disciplinarian, a sometime friend, an organizer, often a technician, sometimes a policeman and checker-upper. That is quite a list of characteristics which seem so out of reach to me. At this point in my life I probably could say that I have the organisation trait, so I have a way to go.

If I were boss I would love to surprise people in positive ways. Such as give them a surprise bonus on a month that they did a really great job, if they seem majorly stressed arrange a weekend away with their partner and/or family. I would make sure that the organisation is family focussed so that there is a large amount of support for parents.

During my internship at Media24 last year I started up a Mother’s Forum so that mothers could voice their concerns and give their opinions on how the company could support them more. They came up with some interesting ideas:

  1. On site day care
  2. Sick room for children
  3. 1 day a month off for any Dr’s/dentist appointments and any admin tasks that a day of leave is normally take for.
  4. Subsidised babysitting services
  5. Subsidised au pair help for homework
  6. Subsidised meals for 4 sold at the cafeteria

I do hope that some action will be taken to address their requests but often in a big corporate people’s voices can be lost along the way.

Local project - Iziko lo lwazi, learning and earning

There are so many fantastic local projects that are being run around Cape Town. Iziko lo lwazi is just one that took my interest. I went to visit the organisation in Hout Bay and interviewed the ladies who started the organisation 9 years ago.

Iziko lo Lwazi is a vibrant and dynamic non-profit organisation in Hout Bay which empowers women from the township of Imizamo Yethu through employment and education. The organisation’s aim is to create a sustainable business that can ultimately be run by the woman who work there.

The crafters make high quality hand-made paper, paper products such as journals, cards, photo albums as well as fine beaded goods which are sold locally and internationally. Volunteer, Caryn Eigner, the women themselves and often the purchaser develop the crafts designs and provide the creative inspiration.  The hand-made recycled paper has unique additions which make the various colours. Paper is produced from rooibos tea, maize, alien reeds, horse, camel and elephant dung. Washed up seaweed from the Atlantic beaches produces an especially beautiful natural coloured paper.  Dedicated volunteers Jean Fairhead and Jenni Fleetwood often scour the beaches after storms. Jean , according to Jenni, is never without her shovel, whether it be to shovel dung or seaweed.

Iziko lo Lwazi craft workers began as an adult literacy programme 9 years ago, offering free English lessons in the library at the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu. Initially the main objective of this project was to improve English language skills in order for women to improve their chances of finding employment. Jean Fairhead initiated this project when she became aware of how many people were unemployed and how difficult finding employment was with inadequate English communication skills.  English is still taught at Iziko lo Lwazi by trained volunteers Jenni Fleetwood, Lee Ruffel as well as Jean Fairhead.

However, it soon became evident that education was seen as a luxury when food needed to be put on the table and that learners needed to learn and earn at the same time. Paper making was the first project the organisation began. It was started from humble beginnings by Jean Fairhead. Hand-made paper was prepared in a tin tub with no facilities or premises within Imizamo Yethu. Several years on, Iziko lo lwazi now operates out of two refurbished containers donated by the Freddy Hirsch Group, a Wendy house that houses the craft shop and a garage within the grounds of the Hout Bay Community Cultural Centre where the array of crafts are made and sold.

Iziko lo lwazi crafters project impacts the community by providing fundamental tools to support living and encourages all aspects of community development. The organisation empowers women from rural backgrounds to support their families and themselves. Apart from teaching women crafting and entrepreneurship skills, it also provides education on TB and rape awareness. Selling the crafts at the Hout Bay Lions Market provides an opportunity for the women to improve their numeracy and marketing skills.

Iziko Lo lwazi currently supports 16 permanent crafters and this number rises to 35 when large orders are made. As a result, sometimes as many as 10 dependants per crafter are supported by this project.

Iziko lo Lwazis’ recent successful showcasing at the 2009 Design Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre was a significant achievement for all concerned in this project. Displaying their beautiful crafts alongside the big names in design was a great encouragement for the crafters.

Jean envisages Iziko developing with crafters being trained as supervisors supported by grants the project receives. In this way, the responsibility for running the organisation can increasingly be shifted onto the women working in the project. She believes that in order to facilitate this process 3 things are needed – increased funding, bigger orders and more publicity.  The bigger orders would help to streamline production by allowing crafters to become really experienced at making one product exceptionally well.

Iziko lo lwazi has provided opportunities for many women to improve their lives.  Volunteer, Jenni Fleetwood, tells the story of a woman crafter who set up a small shop within the township, Imizamo Yethu from the money she had earned while working at Iziko lo lwazi. With the money she earned from this enterprise she was able to become a trained health worker which she continues to do today.

Iziko lo lwazi’s craft shop at the Hout Bay Community Cultural Centre is open from 8.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. On Sundays they have a stall at the Hout Bay Lions Craft Market. Iziko lo lwazi is a registered Non Profit organisation and donors receive tax reductions.

This project has grown from a few women making paper in a tin bath in a township 9 years ago to a thriving project producing high quality items worthy of the prestigious Design Indaba. Iziko lo lwazi is growing from strength to strength, providing new skills, opportunities and hope for the community.

Nokhaya Ndude and Nosiphiwo Masekwana ladies who are supported by the Iziko lo lwazi project.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two people walk out of a building (airport) and into a story

27 February 2007 was the day my friend, Ella and I arrived in London to begin our Gap year. At the airport we went our separate ways, she was off to work at a pub up North with a group of our school friends and I was off on my own mission. I had decided that I wanted my weekends to explore Europe and so I wanted a 9 - 5 job. After much searching I landed a job working for ARK. It was an office job I thoroughly enjoyed and my boss was engaged to Uma Thurman. (Whoa!)

In 2007, I had the best year of my life, freedom she was mine!

Ella and I went our separate ways and so created our own stories which we still share and laugh about today.

Last Day of school with the friends who all took a Gap year

Arriving at Heathrow

The London adventure 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eat like Royalty

Really good food, good portions, quirky decor and funky 60's red aproned, vogue- looking waitresses sums up the best burger join in Cape Town - Royale Eatery. One of my favourite places to grab dinner while listening to French Jazz and a lighter shade of Trip-Hop. There are 30 mouth watering burgers on the menu and they offer a great range of sides, my favourite being the sweet potatoe chips. Royale Eatery is situated at the end of Long Street which makes it a great people watching venue. Their Twilight special is something to smile about  with 7 burger options going at R30.00 from 16.00 - 17.45. Apparently Salma Hayek has her burgers at Royale, pity I keep missing her..

Royale Eatery
Open: Monday to Saturday 12 pm to 11 pm
Location: 273 Long Street, Cape Town

Phone Number: +27 (0)21 422 4536

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No longer a foreign idea

A cousin of mine who lives in Australia has two children. He is a single, gay man who wanted children and so arranged a surrogate mother to have them. She helped him twice and he now has a gorgeous red haired boy and  a little blonde princess. At first this idea sounded quite foreign to me. The family set up may be non traditional but it works and it's made me a bit more careful before I judge things that at first sound strange to me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Designer PR

Public Relations is my field of study. It's been great to study a degree which provides a solid base for various career options. You could almost say PR is like a multi- functional- life- design tool. My design is rather cryptic at the moment but from my experience I definitely don't want to work at a massive corporate where you end up getting lost in the hive of employees. According to Funky on average a person spends 128 months of their life at work, so one might as well design your life well enough to enjoy the ride.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Smelentine's Day.

Some people may not want to be reminded that cupid day is just around the corner. If you have someone to share it with or not this blog may still interest you. Personally I love the excuse to think of something special to do with friends or ‘the boyf’. I tend to do quite a bit of research. Last year on Valentine’s Day I arranged a cocktail boat cruise and then dinner at Wang Thai on Lagoon Beach, a hit! This year I’m back to a student budget and so decent research is vital. Requirements for this year being in the wine lands, original, romantic and budget friendly.  With not much trouble at all I came across the Chabivin Champagne and MCC House situated beneath the Helderberg Mountains in Stellenbosch. A relatively new wine farm which offers, only on Valentines Day, moonlight picnics for 2 which includes a bottle MCC and live classical music seated around the eucalyptus amphitheatre. This is it! When I contacted them to book they informed me that they are limiting it to 12 picnics – this feels exclusive, I love it!  For more information about Chabivin please click the link -

Friday, February 4, 2011

I am...

So this is my first post in the blogger world! I'm finding this slightly pressurising that perhaps I should be drinking a glass of wine while typing and once done with my blog I  should be heading out in a 'little number' wearing dangerous heels, Sarah Jessica Parker style. Instead I am sitting on my bed on another ridiculously hot afternoon in Cape Town and really wish no one was home so I could do birthday suit style. Maybe I should be a birthday suit blogger..
I am a student who absolutely loves living in the Western Cape with all that it has to offer, the only drawback being a student budget. My blog will be partly made up of my random thoughts as well as some information about awesome adventures that you can have around the Western Cape, without breaking your student bank card.