The Most Polarizing time in Human History – Or is it?

Alone on top of Scalplock Mountain – Montana

Nature’s all about balance, being in harmony.

Boy does it feel like we’re far away from that; in the most polarised time in human history. Mainstream news and social media certainly fan these flames like the Santa Ana winds in California. But is that the truth?

Or are we doing a fabulous job of shining the spotlight on the minority of people that hold extreme views?

I think the latter. And not without reason.

If you haven’t watched The Social Dilemma yet – I highly suggest you do. In a nutshell, it’s a sobering watch revealing the ‘dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations’.

It deepened my gratitude for switching off all their notifications popping up on my phone. That was back in the day when you’d get notified about some random person poking you, never mind an arbitrary post about their meal. Trying my best to cultivate a better relationship with my phone I switched off email notifications too. Still, its a work in progress, my screen time today is 5 hours 35 minutes with 36 pickups.  

Besides actively trying to disconnect from the rubbish shovelled out daily by Facebook, Instagram, Google and mass media – I just returned from an epic 88 day cross country road trip with my beloved.

Avenue of the Giants (Redwood National Park, California) and Going to the Sun road (Glacier National Park, Montana)

Initially an escape from New York’s four-month lockdown, it became a test, in real time, of what the mainstream narrative was. Opportunities presented themselves while on the road, so we turned one month into three. We love exploring, and with National Parks open the added bonus of spending healing time in nature made it an easy decision.

I don’t believe we’ll ever have an opportunity like that again.

2020’s been a rough year. Between Covid-19, the protests and now elections in a country reportedly so divided – surely some of our interactions across 31 States covering 21 000km would expose us to this vitriol, hatred, and bitterness?

It was the complete opposite.

I know it’s just one couples experience, but all we felt was warmth, connection, and open-hearted conversations. During a time where everyone’s on high alert thanks to covid – if EVER people had reason to demonstrate these negative characteristics with their mask off, it would be now (No not that mask – the kind people use to hide who they really are!)

Covid-19 is serious. Friends and family members have had it, thankfully with no deaths yet. Some friends haven’t been as lucky, losing loved ones. A father, a gran, an aunt. The pain and heartbreak exacerbated as early travel restrictions hampered grieving with remaining family members. Understandably, they support lockdowns.

Conversely I have other friends that lost their jobs, their livelihood through no fault of their own. ‘Punished’ for pursuing their passion in an industry like tourism. A natural response is a desire for things to open back up again to ease more pain being suffered by families struggling to put food in their children’s mouth.

They’re both right.

Unfortunately, this has been politicised with people in each camp vehemently defending their position; and accusing the others of insensitivity and stupidity.

I get it. I often see my desire to be right and defend my beliefs believing them to be true. I recognise now it’s more accurate to say that too, is a work in progress. My brain likes things to be neatly organised into boxes. Scenario P fits in this box which dictates response X. In an ideal world – great. In the real world: impractical.

We don’t live in silos, rather a world interwoven where decisions ripple across the entire pond.

Both experiences are real with genuine pain and suffering. That’s what makes this situation delicate. It’s pointless arguing who’s ‘more’ right. Instead, we’re better off understanding they’re both valid and a better question to answer is: how do we integrate both parties into a solution going forward?

If I look at decisions through one lens its easy to miss the possible ramifications elsewhere. I can choose to eat poorly now – but without the proper nutrients I starve my body of the tools to do what it does best: repair, grow and defend.  

This trip gave me the opportunity to think. Covid created a massive pause for all of us. Being on the road showed me how multiple realities exist at the same time. Communicating from one perspective and ignoring another drives a wedge between us.

My clearest takeaway from all of this, is that the day we stop trying to enforce who’s right, and focus on collaboration – we might see how decisions effect people not in our position. Maybe we’ll think about prevention? It blows my mind how much money was generated out of thin air for the much needed stimulus package – but not done to create an education system that gives everyone an equal opportunity to create their own lives.

Instead of politicising Covid and trying to argue who’s right – why not recognise they both are? Where’s the leadership to put peoples lives ahead of a point of view? Where’s the leadership to respectfully tell us they don’t know 100% what this virus is doing? Where’s the humanity to build bridges of respect for each other’s position and cultivate an understanding that not everyone is being affected in the same way?

It’s a complex world we live in. We’re seeing how connected we all are and that decisions made don’t happen in isolation. Nor do they affect everyone in the same way.

As individuals we have a responsibility to understand all positions instead of vilifying any stance that’s contrary to our own. It takes more work to ‘fact check’ things as it’s called – but isn’t a family members life worth taking the time to understand nuance and the complexity of our world?

I don’t want to discount another person’s opinion that could save my family’s life – just because it comes from someone that doesn’t hold all my beliefs.

What am I doing to commit to a world that benefits others, the planet, AND myself?

Monument Valley Photo credit: Andrew Patterson

Earth is the greatest home we could ask for. I knew that before the road trip – but sitting in silence as the sun and wind danced in Monument valley stirred my soul and reminded me: This is our HOME and We all deserve a chance to enjoy her beauty.

Multiple realities are true without diminishing each others importance, in the same way multiple species co-exist in harmony in nature.

Question is: what will it take to celebrate our differences and collaborate for everyone’s benefit?

Let’s start with love and compassion, and an intention to understand the position of someone who thinks differently to us. Lets follow natures lead.

Pushing my limits; What can YOU Learn?

Table mountain

The last few months have been incredibly introspective for me.

Spending the bulk of my time alone on the mountains, in preparation for climbing Table Mountain every day next year, has allowed quality ‘me’ time.

It’s been interesting to watch myself see-saw between feeling inspired and feeling disheartened. I’ve been working aggressively through old negative behaviors – specifically self sabotage. It can creep up on you quickly and once your mind has hold of it: becomes diarrhea.

No one ever said self development was easy, and as with most things we tend to want the optimum results now without walking the path. Once again I am being taught patience and to choose gratitude for the learning’s instead of beating myself up for the fact I don’t already know it.

Over sixty hikes have taught me that and more; and I’ve quickly realised the similarities of conquering an obstacle every day, to the path of life.

Here are five insights I’ve gained:

1. One step at a time

We somehow create mountains out of molehills. Obstacles always seem to be harder, longer or even insurmountable. The trick?

Just get started.

It’s just one foot in front of the other that gets you up Table Mountain. Know your end goal but don’t focus too much on it otherwise it becomes daunting. Having an understanding of smaller targets that are easily achievable (where half way is; how many turns there are going up) diverts your attention from the total task at hand.

Interestingly enough, doing it this way has resulted in some of my fastest times up Table Mountain. You become enthused about hitting and reaching the smaller milestones rather than constantly overwhelmed by what still needs to be achieved.

2. Remain focused

I’ve almost twisted my ankle on the final few steps coming down after completing nearly 7 000 steps – why? Because I became cocky in a sense of thinking ‘ag just the last few steps who needs to concentrate’ and its exactly in that moment something happens.

Never take any step for granted.

I’m learning to become mindful not mind full. Many people have asked about what happens if I get injured next year. I believe injury happens when we are not prepared, we lose focus or is a manifestation of our own self doubt in our abilities to do what’s in front of us.

That last one I know because as a twelve year old I broke my arm two days before a football final while practicing. Why? Because I didn’t believe I was good enough to be in the team and contribute meaningfully.

Watch your thoughts carefully.

Every step we take in life must be with purpose and focus towards what we want. The moment we take our eyes off what we doing in the moment or allow self doubt to creep in is when we invite the mini disasters into our life.

3. Be grounded in appreciation and gratitude

Every climb I connect with the first step of the mountain in a show of gratitude for the fact that I not only have able legs, but a healthy body to support my climbs safely.

I have family members who’ve had to spend afternoons in bed because their bodies have been a debilitating drain on their energy. Most people I know suffer with illnesses throughout the year; some have chronic back pain. Some in wheelchairs. A few examples of things that others have to deal with daily that most take for granted.

Our bodies are our temples and one of the most sophisticated pieces of equipment on this planet. Being mindful of each step allows me to fully be present in my body and feel each step; how one tiny adjustment means I don’t feel niggles in my knees. It allows me to listen to my body and go at a pace that tests me but doesn’t put unnecessary stress on it.

To me, being active celebrates the gift this body I’ve been given is.

4. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable

JT Foxx stresses this point and this practice is helping me realise why it’s so important. Often the body feels under duress or that it’s tiring. I’m learning how we can push ourselves past that initial ‘pain’ which enables us to achieve more than we dreamed. This has helped on the really hot climbs where, taking an hour versus two, in searing heat doing strenuous exercise makes a huge difference.

It’s amazing that often my mind feel my body is on the brink of ‘sorry buddy – we need a break or we shutting down’ and yet; on most occasions doesn’t come and you can push through it.

I can tell you that this alone is the biggest lesson I’ve learned that will help me when those dark days come next year. When my body perhaps feels like it won’t manage and yet, will make it so long as I just start.

Uncomfortable just means we outside the range of what we know as normal. What we’re used to. Means we’re challenging what our own minds deem possible or impossible.

In our own minds.

Nelson Mandela said ‘it always seems impossible until its done’

Like I said – just take the first step.

5. Reward equals the risk we take

This is a biggie.

If you playing it safe and expecting to get massive returns; you living in a dream world. Small step outside comfort zone equals small reward on the other side.

Huge strides pushing your own boundaries and limitations means there’s an equal reward of learning and growth on the other side of that.

Ultimately we need to all learn to forget about everyone else (when it comes to growing) and focus on ourselves.

Am I better than I was yesterday?

What have I learned this day/week/month/year that helps me become a better person for tomorrow to push the boundaries even more?

Don’t just live with purpose – live on purpose. There’s a word we can all use every day that could transform everyone’s lives.


In yourself.

In each other.

In a better world for all.

I do. So don’t take my word for it – rather watch how I create that reality and decide if you prepared to take action for yourself.

You won’t regret it. Of that I’m certain


You won’t regret it. Of that I’m certain.



Courageous Conversations

You open your mouth to say something, perhaps challenge someone; but instead you gingerly close it shut.

We’ve all had these moments.

There’s a saying that says ‘he who is silent, agrees’.

Worth keeping that in mind for next time.

From snide racist remarks to men being sexist; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat idly by while someone mouths off about something I strongly disagree with.

I didn’t want to make it awkward at the dinner table or even worse – offend them.

The problem is, not only are you going against yourself and creating an internal dialogue that your opinion isn’t worthy; but whomever is doing the spewing will keep on doing it.

We need to be having more courageous conversations. A term a coach of mine, Simon Ekin (author of ‘The art of courage’) has coined for his new workshops. At my first one, I was inspired by the others who shared their stories of being courageous in every day conversation – and even speaking first at a ‘SaveSA’ forum with some of South Africa’s top minds.

I get the feeling that our society is in the grip of their own downward negative spiral and allow external forces, outside of their control, to affect their lives. And yet, when it comes to things they can change, they shy away.

Changing South Africa doesn’t need massive action – if every individual makes small changes, these added up collectively have a massive impact on society.

Simple case in point, I hike with a bag now because there’s rubbish on our mountains. It’s quite easy to fill a bag in forty minutes, especially on the more popular routes like Lions Head. Biggest culprits are smokers, there are hundereds of butts littering the beautiful landscape. Now imagine if each person who carelessly throws their rubbish down simply kept it in their pocket or bag until reaching the dustbin at the bottom? 

We wouldn’t need big co-ordinated clean up efforts.

Question is: surely people see these miscreants littering?

If we don’t speak up they’ll just continue to do it.

We have two great challenges in life:

  1.  To find our own voices
  2. Finding the courage to use them

Having the courage to use your voice doesn’t mean simply arguing for the sake of it or challenging everything people do because you can. It means when someone’s clearly doing you, others or the environment harm – you take a stand.

Courage is speaking to your partner about what’s not working to fix it and avoid divorce; instead of quietly hoping it gets better and get divorced anyway.

Courage is speaking out against a video of an idiot pulling women’s tops down while being filmed under the guise of ‘pranks’; instead of saying nothing at all.

Courage means being honest with friends and family if their behavior is not a positive influence anymore. 

Courage is challenging an antiquated racist mindset and getting to the root of their fears and ending the cycle of projection.

This means opening yourself up to criticism, ridicule and gossip. But you know what? I heard this from JT Foxx and I loved it: If people are talking about you behind your back – it’s because they’re behind you.

We fuel problems by constantly talking about them. If you break that cycle and focus on the positive things around us – how dramatically would this world change?

More importantly: how would your world change?

I attended a finincial education workshop for Non Profit Organsiations hosted by the Sustainable Development Network. What a privilege to be in a room with twenty six individuals who’s work is all about make other people’s lives better.

It was a double edged sword – one side I was inspired by what great work is being done in this country; but on the other dismayed that for the most part, goes unheard. Because “good news” doesn’t sell? Bullshit. 

It’s because you and I are not asking the right questions about our country, our cities, our communities.

It’s shifting though.

I feel it with my friends and the interactions I have at workshops Simon runs (worth getting hold of him to discuss) and nights like PechKucha (Japanese for chit chat) where anyone can share their passions and work they do. Starting courageous conversations. And this is happening in over 900 cities around the world.

We can change the world – you and I – let’s build on all the amazing work already being done.

All it takes is one decision. I hope you make it today

Stressed Out? Try this…


There aren’t too many things I enjoy more than being in nature.

For the first 16 years of my life I was blessed with a wonderful garden and a large park across the road from us in Sandringham. I spent most of my free time running around these open spaces barefoot having competitions with myself to see how green I could make my feet and trying to dodge massive rain drops as a thunderstorm started its onslaught..

Nowadays my challenge is how brown I can make them:


What my feet look like after camping


With that as my life’s foundation, I’ve always found time to be outside (okay there have been some big gaps in-between) – and I definitely feel it when too much time has passed since my last date with nature. It’s usually at this time I organise a trip to a wine farm: to walk barefoot on their manicured lawns – what were you thinking?!

I believe many of our problems in the world today stem from the fact that we’ve become so disassociated from nature. Disconnected. Case in point we’d rather pop some pills than sit quietly in a garden.


My folks garden


I’m in week two of my new found freedom and one of the benefits is more time for dates with nature. Just this morning I sat in my parents beautiful garden. I felt so much peace listening to the birds, watching bees fly around me from flower to flower. Just being an observer as life happened around me.

This after I met a friend for lunch at The Country Club Johannesburg in Woodmead yesterday; another oasis of peace in a bustling vibrant city. With glorious winter sunshine and a view of the Magaliesburg mountains in the distance, it was another opportunity to connect in nature. After a delicious meal she had the brilliant idea to go for a walk on the golf course. Great conversation coupled with the soothing sounds of nature meant I left feeling incredibly happy.

It’s one of the reasons I’m grateful to live in Cape Town – we have an endless supply of venues to eat and catch up with friends outside; not to mention all the hikes at our disposal.

Watching the bees I was struck by the amount that came to the flowers next to me. Us humans would have a report on how ‘inefficient’ this sales force is with more than one bee calling on the same batch of flowers. Each bee would probably be tracked and monitored with the amount of pollen brought back.

James, your performance is dipping, you’ve brought back 2% less than this time last year. You’re gonna need to work overtime this weekend to catch up.

Said no queen bee ever.

We’re all different and all have varying needs. Some people thrive on pressure that working creates for them; but we talking about the exception there not the rule. I find myself fascinated by the way life ‘just happens’. When you take a moment to watch life in motion you realise just how much of it happens every moment. Moments we’re usually absorbed by phones or glued to keyboards running reports.

I mentioned how I love to bare my feet on grass. Heaven to me quite frankly. According to Dr. Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S. on; being barefoot is a natural stress release and health booster. Makes me wonder why people don’t go for more barefoot walks first instead of paying loads of money to see a doctor only to pay even more for pharmaceuticals which, I believe, cause more harm than good.

How much time do you spend outside in green spaces?

Not everyone is blessed with gardens – true. I myself don’t have one. It just means we should make more of an effort and why not?

Just look at the amounts of categories with research that’s been done below. You can click on this link to learn more about each one of them:


Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Asthma & Respiratory Disorders
General Health
Heart Health
Hospital Recovery
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Type II Diabetes

Autism Spectrum Disorders
General Health
Nature Deficit Disorder
Type II Diabetes

I’m not saying its the best for every case; just asking what you have to lose trying it first?

How fortunate that I’ll get to be outside in nature every day next year. I might even have to try walking up barefoot on one of the days.

Nature is home

Iceland: The Adventure of My lifetime


Travelling on a whim and choosing a place based on very little personal research can be the best decision of your life.

Iceland as the final week of my European holiday turned out to be a stroke of genius.

It was a wonderful combination of being both scared and excited; focused and calm; acting like a little kid while behaving like a responsible adult. These all combined to form the perfect balance which resulted in an utterly blissful experience. Perhaps being there in the middle of winter helped bring out all of these polar (excuse the pun) opposites – a beautiful correlation to life itself and how duality exists at every turn.

Testing conditions

This was no more evident than driving in a snow-covered winter wonderland admiring the spectacular scenery and suddenly driving past an overturned car. No one inside, so hopefully just a damaged car.

The roads are so narrow with zero shoulder to pull over and admire these views, that so many great pictures are only shared when I close my eyes. Did I mention the gale-force winds? Snow and ice-covered surfaces? Add to this the fact that we drive on the left-hand side of the road in South Africa and you have yourself a driving experience similar to doing your driver’s test every time you turn on the ignition.

My flight was delayed by ninety minutes in Copenhagen because of wind in Keflavik; and I still couldn’t have had a precursor to what was coming. It would sometimes be as though I was inside a National Geographic special.

Here’s a video on why it takes us thirty minutes just to get off the plane.

“Please hold onto your door at all times when opening it in Iceland” the clerk at the car rentals casually mentions when he hands me the keys.

Oh boy.

Wind that makes the South Easter back home look like it’s using training wheels.

As we walk to my Toyota Yaris my shoes crunch the fresh snow and a feeling of anticipation comes over me that I can’t quite describe. I’ve never been somewhere this far north. This remote. This temperamental weather-wise.

They say if you don’t like the weather in Iceland; just wait five minutes.

They’d started the car earlier to warm the seat and put the heater on full blast to relieve my African skin from the Arctic bite. With both hands on the steering wheel, I take a deep breath, remind myself they drive on the right here, and let out some kind of high school kid’s whoop of excitement as though the smartest girl in school has said ‘yes’ to my dance request.

Driving challenges in the ‘Arctic circle’

Destination: Hlemmur Square hostel, Reykjavik. 49 kilometres further. I’ve already done 13 891 kilometres. What’s another 50 right?

I feel as though I’ve aged with the drive – the wind relentlessly smashes into my car and I am scared to death of sliding off the road.

GPS is usually an absolute win in a foreign place, but when the woman yells out “Left at Laugervegur” (and this is a tame name!) I still have no idea where to turn. I hold that device in my lap like a new-born baby, constantly looking down like a Blackberry user of yesteryear.

I can’t tell you how many times I have to make a U-turn where possible because I’ve missed my turn. Definitely more than twenty. At least hand brake turns are legal in Iceland (that’s a joke before you start quoting that erroneously – that was just for you mom).

Thankfully, I arrive at my destination in one piece. Now to find parking. Note to self: think about what is ‘easy’ in your life where you live and then question everything when you travel, because it will be different.

Advice: Be prepared. Or be happy to “find out as you go”. The latter is what I’m comfortable with.

Checked in and car stowed away in a nearby parking lot, I grab my friend’s camera to head into Reykjavik to practice night shots for the Northern Lights.

Reykjavik at night in December: Beautiful

I quickly realise that anybody walking around outside is a tourist. Putting myself in a local’s shoes – I’d also probably be inside wrapped up warm and in front of the television.

I push through the biting wind and meander around, finding that I am on the main strip with shops, restaurants and bars. I won’t be drinking much this week as beer is five times what we pay in South Africa. And wine? Well, that’s about ten times the price.

Just as in Austria, most streets are magically decorated with lights and homes have trees inside or lit up balconies. I even come across a building with a hologram of an elf hanging onto it for dear life.


Hostel Accommodations

I’d booked hostels and I thoroughly enjoyed my decision, meeting people from around the world and hearing their stories about travelling including Iceland to date. I get great tips on what to see – specifically Glacier Bay from C which I’ll share in a later post. He also shares his photos and videos from Black Beach on how quickly the weather changes here. Literally 2 minutes is the difference between a photo of clear black sand to the video of arctic wind with hail and snow.

Staying in a shared room with nine other people means I immediately meet some fellow travellers – K & R from the States and F from Italy. F will later tell us about his ordeal where the wind basically blew his car door off. If I hadn’t heard him tell me in person I’d never have believed this story. The car rental guy’s voice echoes in my head. Door opening will become a game of wrestling with an invisible monster on the other side.

These experiences and interactions show you just how similar we all are and I can’t stress this point enough. I look forward to one day seeing these new friends in either their home towns or mine. Nothing makes me happier than hosting people in Cape Town. The offer is always open.

It’s quite invigorating to wake up and know that every single minute that day you will see something you’ve never seen before. I’m looking forward to driving around their Golden Circle route complete with scenic views, geysers and waterfalls. I check in with the help desk first and am advised that the weather isn’t good enough to drive alone today. Disheartened, I decide to take an ‘easy’ route and visit the famous Blue Lagoon. I think it’s a wise decision and I start out just driving around aimlessly in Reykjavik. Great to have no care in the world and just go on your gut.

Today viewing a map, I now realise I basically ended up just doing a big circle that day! With no sun and no discernible land marks (mountains covered in low cloud) I really have zero direction sense. Even if the sun’s up, being from the southern hemisphere is a challenge because I’m used to seeing the sun and knowing that’s north. You can get horribly lost if you don’t catch yourself.

Where’s a co-pilot when you need one?!

I believed this before my trip and it’s an even stronger conviction I have now: everyone should travel (at least once) on their own.

There’s an incredible wonder being lost but knowing that, with a little help at any given moment, you’ll eventually find your destination. Being free from time constraints and just enjoying what your ‘alternate’ route shows you. Getting lost actually brings me more luck than anything else this trip.

Essentially? You’re only lost until you ask for help. Another beautiful correlation to life.

The benefit of travelling in winter and driving around the country means I become a quick expert at planning my time to be able to drive only during the ‘daylight’ and still see all the marvels that await me at every turn. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, museums on the volcano eruption in 2010 (it’s called Eyjafjallajökull); random plane wreck at Sólheimasandur or my final destination for the day, and base for three days, Vik – population 291.

My appreciation for all of this amplifies after spending a good ninety minutes driving on snow-covered roads at the start, following in the modern-day wagon ruts from previous cars. I take it incredibly slowly. Locals behind me must have been cursing non-stop. I don’t care. I’ve experienced how quickly things can change in life and I’m determined to not let that happen here and ruin my vacation.

So far my Iceland trip has given me an overdose of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline all at once. I’m hooked. I’m in love. I’m completely in my element.

Little do I know that the best is still to come.

Afrikaburn – Reflections of the Desert

AB 16 arrivalAnother Afrikaburn has come and gone – the Tenth addition to be precise. If you have never heard of it ( ); it’s based on the American principle of Burning Man (well actually there are ten principles –

I could spend hours talking about the diverse landscape along the drive; or the incredible artwork and sculptures on display; perhaps the unrivalled creativity with costumes on offer? But by now I am sure most of you have either heard from friends or started seeing pictures popping up continuously on your Facebook feed. So at this point what I can say is: if you haven’t been – put it on your ‘Absolute Must’ list. You need to experience it to truly understand and decide for yourself.

While you can navigate endless posts and photographs about the various experiences people have had out in the desert, there is one in particular that I’d like to chat about.

The absence of mobile phones.

The location is so remote that almost as soon as you hit the dirt road 120km from Tankwa Town, all reception and connection to the outside world is removed; like volunteering for solitary confinement in prison. Reminders of times pre 1994 when cellular phones descended like the Columbus plague on our South African shores.

The recent onset of smart phones has also meant ‘connection’ is even more at our fingertips with Whatsapp and Facebook just a tap away. This is not necessarily a bad thing; especially if, like me, you have special family and friends afar in Europe and the United States. Nothing is all bad; in fact it’s rather how we use anything that makes it good or bad. Mobile phones are no exception.

For a time, we were free and returned to the Wild West and became ‘primitive’. Or were we?

Over 11 200 people attended this year and whether I was rejuvenating at camp, strolling around the pop up town, cycling in the dust storm or dancing to the Rave Rover’s sunset funky beats; one thing stood out.

People’s heads were up.

Not hiding behind phones. No status update checks. No reading the news. No one almost walked into a street lamp because they were consumed by the dull glow of their screen.

It was magical to see people connecting the way we are supposed to; the way we used to. Talking face to face with eye contact and hand gestures; using changes in tone of voice instead of emoticons; and body language instead of our fingers. Being together and being present.

This is all magnified by the fact that one of the principles of Afrikaburn is gifting – there is no money. You walk past a camp and someone shouts out ‘How about some Champagne?’ – So of course, you stop!

In an instant you go from perfect strangers to opening up about your experiences since arriving. An opportunity for connection that otherwise would have been lost; engrossed in our phone walking by while our head is down texting; or even drinking our champagne head buried in an endless swipe of text and photos.

Of all the magic I experienced out there this is the one thing that I am going to try and keep alive in my city life. While shopping last night at a grocer I made a conscious effort to look every person I walked past in the eye – staff or customer – as I smiled and greeted them ‘hello’.

There are many people who didn’t look up or face me but the ones that did, flashed some of the happiest smiles I’ve ever seen. It’s so simple, yet we all seem to have forgotten to practice it.

The world is becoming nastier and increasingly soulless. Let’s do our part to bring back the human element again.

Let’s walk with our heads high and smile at unsuspecting strangers.

Or like the poor flies doomed to be burned: is that blue glow just too hard to resist?

What is your definition of support?


What does it actually mean? As a proud sporting nation we recently experienced one of the most humiliating and embarrassing defeats I think the world will ever see. Japan beat the Springboks. I think that equates to something like Bafana Bafana beating Brazil at the soccer world cup. As much as the defeat hurt – how some of the ‘fans’ reacted hurt even more. Yes we were disappointed. If you weren’t then I doubt your level of commitment to the team to begin with; but to hear people saying things like ‘I’m not supporting the Springboks anymore’ or ‘I’m going to start supporting the All Blacks’ revealed something to me about what the nature of ‘support’ has become to mean. There are some interesting parallels to be seen in how these attitudes affect personal relationships as well.

I believe support means being there no matter what. Through the good times and more importantly through the tough times. It’s easy to support your team (or partner) when things are going well. When you winning. It’s how most people suddenly became Manchester United fans. I believe these are the people to avoid dating (or even as friends) at all costs. Support is needed most when your team is down. Help them get back up. Things are going to go wrong and it’s not about that; it’s about how you react and ultimately rise to the challenge. We share their pain. We share their disappointment. Switching alliances at the first sign of problems reveals nothing more than your fickle nature; that when times are tough you are not someone to be counted on or trusted.

Yes the pain of losing to Japan was immense and I am sure many people decided to ‘give up’ on the boks. My question is: when we win the World Cup, and I have a gut feeling we will, what will you say then? How will your alliances to the All Blacks be affected? Will you suddenly switch back?

Let’s look at this in more detail and explore people’s decisions.

My question is what about your adopted rugby team and country do you know? Have you bothered to investigate what the New Zealanders past regarding Maoris is? Are you aware of the current state of affairs for Maoris is? Do you know the Haka? Their national anthem? The questions seek to understand your integrity and belief system and why you switch allegiances. I have no problem accepting a South African supporting the All Blacks if they can give me a better reason than ‘The All Blacks Brand of rugby is what I like’ or the old ‘because of apartheid’ line…. a statement to be discussed in another article. Simply put: supporting the All Blacks because of Apartheid nowadays is like not buying a German car because of Hitler.

My blood is green. It was when we suffered the humiliating 49-0 loss to Australia before we won the World Cup the following year. It was when we lost 52-16 to England at Twickenham only to have beaten them at their fortress every year since then and remain unbeaten to England for twelve years including handing them their 36-0 hiding in the group stages in 2007 (largest defeat to a defending World Champion side) and subsequently in final to win the 2007 World Cup.

You see, when you come to understand the true definition of support you realise no team is immune to troughs or bad patches. In fact it’s sometimes these exact things that can propel a team to heights they never knew existed. They choose to use the experience to make them a better team. Better people. Better supporters. The losses make victories that much sweeter. Rewarding.

Heart ache is a part of life. It’s how we choose to deal with it and learn from it that separates great people from the average whining mob. These instances are great reminders about why certain people are in my life; why others will be nothing more than a lesson learned on this fantastic road called life.

I find sport a very special opportunity to get insights into people and who they really are. Our boys are doing their best; and if they are not then they will not be Springboks for long. Let’s not forget that the more passionate and steadfast our support is for them – the greater the honour for them to put that green and gold jersey on becomes. Playing for your country should be the highest honour. I am one of the proudest Springbok supporters and I am even more proud since hearing about the guard of honour given to Japanese supporters at Brighton train station. Would English fans have done that? All Black fans? I have my reservations. What a moment. What respect shown in a world where we are so quick to jump to social media and air our pain. These are reasons we as South Africans are so highly respected around the world. If you travel you can proudly state ‘I am South African’ and flash that smile laced with our African suns warmth.

Let’s uphold the true definition of support. Let Springbok supporters become synonymous with that; the pinnacle.

We’re into the semis now and whether we win or come fourth – my blood is green and all I expect is those fifteen warriors to play with the passion with which we support them. For our support to be unwavering from that day on when we hold the trophy aloft for a record third time.