Exclusive Books’ budget-busting weapon

96 views September 18th, 2014 By Jacqui Thompson

by Jacqui Thompson

This is a very well-known and popular chain of over 40 book stores in South Africa with a branch in Botswana. Being a bit of a bibliophile, I think I have been to every store but recently had the pleasure of popping in for a quick three hour shopping spree at Constantia Village shopping centre and met someone who could easily be the best Exclusive Books employee ever.

Coolest, quickest salads for hot summer African days

40 views September 17th, 2014 By Dianne Bayley

sorrento-saladSouth Africans love getting out there, having a braai accompanied by fresh, cold salads on hot, balmy days. Everyone has their version of what a braai should be, but it’s always a surprise to see who brings which salad to the event!

Here are a couple of easy, quick-to-make salads to delight your guests or take along with you to the next braai you’re invited to.

Cool as a Cucumber Salad

Makes 4 servings - double up for parties


  • 2 seedless English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Whisk vinegar, sugar, oil, soy sauce, and salt together in a separate bowl; pour over cucumbers. Stir to coat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

Mpumalanga, land of the rising sun

1,318 views September 17th, 2014 By admin

mpumalangaThe sun rises on a mecca for adventure lovers, art lovers, beauty seekers, game seekers, fishermen and vast flocks of flamingo

The land of the rising sun. That’s what they call Mpumalanga. And its sun certainly has been rising in the past few years. Mpumalanga has undergone a tourism boom - and it’s not hard to see why. With easy access to the best parts of the Kruger National Park and the scenic Blyde River Canyon, as well as Swaziland and Mozambique, the province is pulling the crowds.

Mpumalanga has also become something of an artists’ haven in the past few years, and the region boasts interesting art routes, wonderful curio and craft, as well as good shopping, music and contemporary festivals and happenings. The Mozambican influence is evident in the cuisine and local culture, and there’s a good Swazi mix too! And for action adventurers, Mpumalanga has everything from gorge swinging and bungee jumping to serious 4×4 trails and river rafting.

Scenic drama

Incredible canyons and wild gorges, ancient caves and vast tracts of bushveld … there’s plenty of natural drama in Mpumalanga. The province’s greatest wonder is the 25km-long Blyde River Canyon, third largest in the world. You can also check out the world’s oldest dolomite caves - we’re talking 2 000 million years - at Sudwala, near Nelspruit. And, of course, the world-famous Kruger National Park is also at the wild heart of Mpumalanga.

As fences have gone down between Mozambican, Zimbabwean and South African national parks, the Kruger has become part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP), also known as “the world’s greatest animal kingdom”. At 35 000km2, the GLTP is being developed for 4×4 adventures, hiking, game viewing, birding, fishing and eco-tourism.

Tourism regions

Mpumalanga is divided into seven different tourism regions:

Lowveld Legogote

Lowveld Legogote includes the capital city of Nelspruit, the wild-horse town of Kaapsehoop, creative and eccentric White River and the vibey township KaNyamazane. Seat of the provincial legislature, Lowveld Legogote is the urban centre of Mpumalanga, and the best place to restock, replenish, refuel. If it all gets too much, take a quick break in the Nelspruit Botanical Garden right in the heart of the city. The incredible Sudwala Caves fall within Lowveld Legogote, and are a must-see - especially for kids!


The flagship region of Mpumalanga is the Panorama. As the name suggests, this region scores a bit fat 10 on the Scenery Scale. And it’s all because of the Blyde River Canyon. The canyon is the world’s third largest and the most “green”, that is, the most treed. Take a self-drive adventure along the Panorama Route. Scenic highlights are God’s Window, the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. The Panorama region includes the small towns of Hazyview, Sabie, Graskop and Orighstad, and the quaint little village of Pilgrim’s Rest, a living museum of the gold-rush days. Hazyview is a major gateway to the Kruger National Park, and Graskop is a thriving forestry town, known for its arts and crafts (and pancakes). The awesome Long Tom Pass goes from Sabie to Lydenberg or vice versa. It’s 57km long and it reaches 2 149m above sea level at its summit.

Wild Frontier

The imposing Mkonjwa mountains are said to be of the oldest in the world, which makes for an interesting start to the region they call the Wild Frontier. The region borders Mozambique, Swaziland and the southern tip of the Kruger National Park, and includes the historic towns of Barberton, Komatipoort, Kaapmuiden and Badplaas. Explore the cradle of geological life, walk in the footsteps of gold-diggers and fortune-seekers, relive the heady days of pioneers, garter-snapping barmaids and highway robbers. The Wild Frontier region also offers access into Swaziland, and along the N4 into Mozambique.

Highlands Meander

Mpumalanga’s Highlands Meander is South Africa’s premier fly-fishing mecca, often referred to - by reason of the number of visitors from the province’s urbanised southern neighbour, Gauteng - as Trouteng. Set among its highlands and grasslands, streams, dams and wetlands, are the little towns of Belfast, Dullstroom, Lydenberg, Waterval Boven and Onder, and Machadodorp. Famed for its charm and mountain scenery, the region has some of the subcontinent’s rarest birds, amazing wild-flower displays and excellent rock climbing, and it is a mere two hours from Gauteng on the N4.

Grass and wetlands

Mpumalanga’s best-kept secret is Chrissiesmeer, the subcontinent’s largest natural freshwater lake district. The village, situated in the central grass and wetlands region, is surrounded by 270 lakes and pans that attract more than 20 000 flamingo every year. The region borders Kwazulu-Natal and the Free State, as well as the kingdom of Swaziland, the last absolute monarchy in sub-Saharan Africa. It includes the agricultural centres of Carolina, Hendrina, Ermelo, Volksrust, Piet Retief, Amsterdam, Breyten, Lothair and Morgenzon. Chrissiesmeer also boasts a mysterious giant footprint in rock that matches one in Canada, and hosts an annual frog-watching festival in summer and stargazing festival in winter. It is a wetland of global importance and one of the premier birding spots in the country.

Cultural Heartland

Most famed for its Ndebele culture, the Cultural Heartland includes the north-western towns of Witbank, Middelburg, Siyabuswa, Groblersdal, Marble Hall and Roossenekal. You can take a self-drive route to visit cultural villages with painted houses, beadwork and arts and crafts on display. There’s also a Boer War history route for buffs.

The region is also home to assorted watersports, mainly on the Witbank Dam, the largest municipal dam in the southern hemisphere, with a catchment area of 3 540km2.

Cosmos Country

Cosmos Country is hardly the name you’d expect from a region that is the centre of South Africa’s fuel-from-coal production, but in late summer, the area redeems itself when the local cosmos flowers in a riot of pinks and whites. Cosmos Country lies in the south-western part of Mpumalanga against the Free State and Gauteng borders, and includes the towns of Secunda, Delmas, Leandra, Bethal, Standerton, Balfour and Greylingstad. East of Bethal, the areas of Carolina, Ermelo and Piet Retief are important for sheep farming, and this is also home to the Ndebele people, who are famous for their colourful house painting, beadwork and crafts.


Run Jozi with AKA!

34 views September 16th, 2014 By Nomfundo

Behind the scenes of AKA's latest offering titled Godly - also known as Run Jozi.

Behind the scenes of AKA's latest offering titled Godly - also known as Run Jozi.

AKA’s Run Jozi [Godly] music video featuring KO of Teargas fame was trending over the weekend after a world premier exclusive ‘AKA Friday’ dedication on Channel O.

Run Jozi [Godly] is the current single off the album #LEVELS which is firing up the airwaves and topping national retail charts.

#LEVELS has been No 1 on the streaming service Deezer since the album was released and held the No 1 chart position on iTunes.

Follow AKA / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook



iTunes - http://smarturl.it/AKALevels

Deezer - http://www.deezer.com/album/8023898

Music Videos:

Kontrol - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBYTL-yWSMI

Jealousy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHiD9X-_UiA

Congratulate - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8hofUKu18M

Run Jozi [Godly] - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-ADxrqcyxY

Behind The Scenes:

Run Jozi [Godly] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbgg7d2WPk


54 views September 16th, 2014 By Nomfundo

It’s apt that South Africa’s beloved “first lady of song” celebrates her birthday on Heritage Day on September 24.

As a precursor to both events and in the last Road to Joy of Jazz concert before the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, the legendary Sibongile Khumalo will be performing at Montecasino on Saturday, September 20 at 20h00.

She will be joined on stage at the Teatro at Montecasino by Kabomo Vilakazi, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Mimi Ntenjwa.

Khumalo’s singing talents range from opera to jazz, choral music and musical theatre, always grounded by traditional and folk music of South Africa. She has been lauded as one of the great singing talents of her time, and has inspired the creation of new music by South African composers, both in the classical art song as well as jazz genres. She was a Standard Bank Young Artist (SBYA) winner for music in 1993.

Standard Bank Joy of Jazz takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre from September 25 to 27.
The 2014 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz is produced by T-Musicman and brought to audiences by Standard Bank in association with the Department of Arts & Culture; the City of Joburg, Gauteng Province and South African Tourism.

Go to:
 www.facebook.com/standardbankjoyofjazz

• Tickets for Road to Standard Bank Joy of Jazz with Sibongile Khumalo and Friends at Montecasino and the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz are available through Computicket.

Could you take a digital detox?

350 views September 15th, 2014 By administrator

humanity-digital-detox-picSign outside a restaurant and (of course) posted to Facebook: “No we don’t have WiFi -talk to each other”. It strikes everyone as funny (LOL). . . until the truth of it hits home – we have stopped talking to and engaging with each other in a meaningful, fully present way. We have conversations while checking our phones or status updates – we no longer look people in the eye because we are hiding behind our phones or tablets.

Think back to a time when the family sat down to Sunday lunch or even dinner during the week; with no interruptions because it was considered rude to call people at dinner time or after 9pm.

The digital revolution has brought us a new style of communication on the largest, most accessible scale ever. I have to wonder, though, at what cost?

Technology puts information and connectivity into everyone’s hands, around the clock, every day of the year. We’ve got mobile phones, land lines, Skype, SMS, WhatsApp, Viber, , e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms putting us at the beck and call of friends, family, colleagues and potential business constantly. I know of few people who ever leave their mobile phones at home when going out for dinner, and fewer still who will ignore a call in favour of good dinner conversation.

Here’s my point: There’s a vast difference between connectivity and connectedness – and this constant flow of digital information means our real connectedness to others is on the wane. The art of consciousness and connectedness is about living in the now . . . paying attention to our dinner guests, the food, atmosphere, everything – as it is happening.

Fitness: Making your health a priority

1,048 views September 14th, 2014 By Dianne Bayley

Being physically fit enhances the quality and the length of our lives - but most of us believe that we just can’t seem to find the time to exercise. Strangely, there’s always time to lie in a hospital when low fitness levels and undiagnosed health issues cause major issues like heart attack or stroke!

Read to Rise: Giving the gift of reading

137 views September 7th, 2014 By administrator

read-to-riseCan you imagine growing up in a home without a single book?  As we lament the absence of a reading culture among South Africa’s youth, we have to deal with the fact that many of our children grow up in a home environment that does not encourage or facilitate reading.  “These children have never owned a book,” a primary school teacher in Mitchells Plain laments, “and they do not have access to libraries at school or in their community.”

These are the troubling realities that Read to Rise addresses.  Founded by husband and wife team, Athol Williams and Taryn Lock, Read to Rise works to promote youth literacy by placing a new book in the hand of every Grade 2 learner in the disadvantaged communities that they serve.  They have written and illustrated their first book, Oaky and the Sun, which is an inspirational and education book endorsed by teachers and education departments.  They chose to write a book so that they could offer it at the lowest possible cost by waiving all royalties.  They plan on writing a series of books around the Oaky character, who they hope will become synonymous with reading in South Africa.

To compensate for the absence of libraries, they developed a solution which takes the library into the classroom, the “mini-library.”  The mini-library is a brightly coloured bookshelf that contains 45 age-appropriate books in a mix of languages that reflect the learner demographics. 

Learn the lingo: South African slang

10,522 views September 6th, 2014 By admin

Even with 11 official languages - the second-largest number in the world, after India - South Africans still manage to communicate pretty well. Most of us speak English, but it’s a good idea to learn the local slang , which is sometimes a mix of several languages. Our robots are nothing like R2D2, just now doesn’t mean immediately, and babbelaas is not a shampoo.

South African slang has a unique flavour, borrowing freely from Afrikaans , a language similar to Dutch and Flemish - as well as from the country’s many African languages, colonial-era Malay and Portuguese immigrants, and the ancient tongues of the country’s deep-indigenous San Bushman and Khoe-khoe communities.

Note: In many words derived from Afrikaans, the letter “g” is pronounced in the same way as the “ch” in the Scottish “loch” or the German “achtung” - a kind of growl at the back of the throat. In the pronunciation guides below, the spelling for this sound is given as “gh”.

Springbok rugby supporter

Springbok rugby supporter

A supporter of the South African national rugby team, the Springboks. Other words you’ll need to know are Bafana Bafana, the country’s soccer team, and the Proteas, the national cricket team. (Image: South African Tourism)

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / R / S / T / U / V / W

abba - Carry a child secured to one’s back with a blanket. From the Khoi-San.

amasi (pronounced um-ah-see) - A popular drink of thick sour milk. From the isiZulu. An alternative name is maas.

apartheid (ap-art-hate) - Literally “apart-ness” in Afrikaans, apartheid was the policy of racial separation, and the resulting oppression of the black majority, implemented by the National Party from 1948 to 1990.

Gifts to buy? Support South African street artists

2,334 views September 4th, 2014 By Dianne Bayley

By Dianne Bayley

On just about every South African street corner you can find amazing bits of artwork, from recycled tin clocks to tiny geckos made of wire that sell for around R5.00 – or some 70 cents US.