#Hack.Jozi Challenge: Get paid for innovative ideas

28 views February 25th, 2015 By Dianne Bayley

city-of-joburgThe City of Johannesburg has launched the #Hack.Jozi Challenge, calling on citizens to submit ideas that will turn Jozi into the city they want to live in.

Says Zolani Matebese, the head of broadband at the City of Johannesburg: “Your digital solution to a problem in Jozi could be the ticket to launching your start-up. With prizes valued at R5-million at stake, the #Hack.Jozi Challenge wants to find the most innovative digital ideas to enrich the lives of the people of Jo’burg.”

Participants don’t need to have technical experience, as the campaign is seen as an opportunity to formulate partnerships. #Hack.Jozi could assist idea-makers to find technical partners who can help them move forward to the next round, should their idea be selected.

Application takes the form of a YouTube video and online application form. The deadline for entries is 6 March 2015.

Issues that can be addressed include everything from access to healthcare to affordable education. “If you have an idea about how you can use technology to help your community, we want to hear from you,” says Matebese.

No quick-fix for electricity blues

35 views February 25th, 2015 By Dianne Bayley

ae-electricity-usageBy IT-Online

While stakeholders scramble to “put out fires” and keep the lights on, the South African Alternative Energy Association (SAAEA) has warned that there can be no quick fix to South Africa’s power crisis.

Speaking ahead of the Power-Gen Africa and DistribuTech Africa power generation and distribution conferences to be held in Cape Town later this year, Alwyn Smith, spokesman for the SAAEA, says any fix will take years.

Touring Johannesburg, the City of Gold

194 views February 19th, 2015 By Dianne Bayley


By Dianne Bayley

I was fortunate enough to have a visitor from Minneapolis in the USA stay with me for a week in early January 2015. It gave me a chance to behave like a tourist in my own province – and it’s something I’ll be trying to do as often as possible from now on.

Eastern Cape: Home of the ‘Big Seven’

3,800 views February 12th, 2015 By administrator

eastern-capeHome to the only ‘big seven’ reserve in South Africa, the Eastern Cape also offers an incredible variety of plant life and exquisitely beautiful scenery.

It is also South Africa’s second biggest - and most biologically diverse - province. From the arid plains of the Karoo to the bright green or snow-capped southern Drakensberg and the turquoise lagoons of the Wild Coast, there is much to see - and all of it is beautiful.

Possibly the most interesting aspect of the Eastern Cape is the fact that it has only fairly recently become a major game-viewing destination. The Greater Addo Elephant National Park - which was proclaimed in the 1930s to protect the then last 11 elephants remaining in the area - has become a noted safari destination, and was enlarged to stretch from Algoa Bay (including some offshore Islands) to the Zuurberg Mountains.

Foodie paradise at Jackson’s Real Food Market

266 views February 10th, 2015 By Jacqui Thompson

By Jacqui Thompson

For lovers of artisanal goodies this store is paradise. The store has a natural charm and it’s easy to imagine it nestled in a valley between sun-drenched crops and green pastures filled with gambolling farm animals.

Lessons from a dog lover

87 views February 4th, 2015 By Kenneth Davison

By Kenneth Davison

There comes a time in all relationships when a couple wants to move to the next level. That level is different for everyone but a while back my wife and I decided it was time, time to get a puppy. There was a small premise that keeping a puppy alive would bode well for a child, but we also needed to get a furry companion.

Puppies running

In the six months since we first laid eyes on our little Amber, we have discovered a lot about ourselves, our relationship and about raising a dog. I am inclined to say it is a bit difficult, especially considering that time is not a resource that we have in abundance. Below are some of the lessons and places that we have found to make raising a puppy better for us.

Lesson 1: Puppy school is a must

We were informed by other puppy parents that puppy school made the world of difference. Dogs need to learn to be dogs and learn to become obedient. With that, we attended the Confident Canine puppy school that operates out of Randburg Central Sports Complex. The trainer, Heidi Olivier, enlightened us on some remarkable insights about dogs. She also taught us the basics of taking care of the puppy and having fun together.

Lesson 2: Obedience school changed our relationship

Obedience school was the next logical step from puppy school and we didn’t hesitate to enrol. By the time Amber was able to attend, she had started getting a bit naughty. Heidi Olivier also ran the obedience school with some capable partners and we learnt a number of important tricks and techniques to help build our relationship with our dog. The fascinating thing is that there are subtle behavioural things which a dog can pick up, which we may not even be aware of, which greatly impact the dog’s learning and obedience.

Lesson 3: Dogs need exercise, discipline and love, in that order

This is a quote from a good friend of mine when I was complaining about Amber’s naughtiness one day. It made my wife and I realise that we may not be exercising our dog enough, or exposing her to enough new smells. We have made an agreement that at least one walk a day is needed, but we also try to go to new places every week. Two of the best places we have been to are Randburg Sports Complex and Emmarentia Dam.

The Randburg Sports Complex has a lot of space to walk and run dogs (when there is no sport). We were able to let Amber run off her lead on the cricket and soccer fields, where she was also able to play with other dogs.

Emmarentia Dam has a superb area for dogs to run and explore and where most owners seem to allow their dogs to run. This makes such a difference to the dog’s holistic well-being. Amber was able to smell everything and play with other dogs and people. Activities such as these can be seen to make an impact on the dog, and they must be done.

Heidi Olivier:

Email: confidentcanine@gmail.com

Cell:  082 331 1576

Randburg Sports Complex

Address: Cnr Silverpine Avenue and Republic Road, Randburg

Emmarentia Dam

Address: Tin Avenue, Emmarentia (for the dog friendly part)

Poker series back at Emerald Resort & Casino

80 views February 4th, 2015 By admin


The Vaal region’s legendary action packed live poker tournament series, Emerald Poker Series (EPS), returns home for a three day event from 5 to 8 February 2015.

“We are pleased to announce the return of EPS,” says Tanuja Gangabishun, Marketing Executive at Emerald Resort & Casino. “EPS is one of the casino’s premier events hosted during the year and is traditionally attended by some of South Africa’s top competing poker players.”

Arniston: Gem of the Western Cape

119 views February 4th, 2015 By administrator


By Jacqui Freeman

I love living in the Western Cape – there is a wealth of fabulous places to visit and discover and things to do and see. Last weekend’s discovery is one of the best yet! We took the scenic route to Arniston, (named after the ill-fated ship that was wrecked on the rocks) expecting to find a typical sea-side fishing village, but found paradise. I don’t want to ruin the surprise if it’s on your bucket-list to visit, but I’ll share some of my impressions.

This tiny fishing town is so quaint , with loads of old-world charm, characterised by lime-washed, thatched cottages and just the nicest, friendliest people I’ve ever met.  Long stretches of white beaches flank the warm Indian ocean, there are loads of rock pools filled with strange sea critters, caves to explore and hidden grottoes to find.

We stayed overnight in the Arniston Spa Hotel – what a treat! Fabulous food, really good service and a beautiful room overlooking the sea, topped off with a glorious back massage in the opulent and serene spa.

The only negative thing I can say about Arniston, is that we didn’t make our stay longer. I’m already booking my next trip – one night just wasn’t enough.

‘Snow’ skiing in Johannesburg - fun for the whole family!

120 views January 30th, 2015 By Jacqui Thompson

by Jacqui Thompson

ski-friLooking for something different to do one evening I booked an hour’s lesson for a group of us at Avalanche, a ski school in Fourways.

Mike was our instructor and he quickly sorted out large Terminator-style snap on ski boots for everyone. We’d been asked to wear comfy trousers and bring along thick socks. Some of us had dabbled on real slopes and some were absolute beginners but had been assured we would enjoy the slope.

Clumping out of the dressing chilling area to the base of the slope, which stretches to a height of about three storeys and protrudes from the building, it was rather strange to be in the middle of a shopping centre with nary a snow-capped mountain range or fir tree in sight. Nevertheless we were determined to give it a go. Who needs all that pesky beautiful scenery!

In lieu of snow there’s a long swathe of white plastic carpet roughly resembling plastic grass. When watered with little recessed jets it gets fairly slippery. Mike began teaching us the snow plough - ski tips almost touching and soft knees - after we stepped sideways up the gentle lower part of the slope. An experienced Austrian skier was there for some slope time and he easily zoomed between our clutch of inexperienced skiers. He probably slitted his eyes and pretended we were trees.  The place also offers bum boarding and tubing (a lot easier than skiing I’m sure) for corporate or kiddies parties and snowboarding lessons for all levels.

After gaining confidence some of the group grabbed the tow rope, it’s too much of a stretch to call it a ski lift as you have to wear thick industrial gloves and just hang on until you reach the point you want to get off, and went higher up the slope.  With enough speed from the very top of the slope it is possible to ramp and even get airborne. None of us did that. Not intentionally anyway. My upper body strength was insufficient to even get me halfway up the slope and I just hung on to the rope as the rope slipped through my gloves until I flopped off onto the slope. I couldn’t make those lofty heights! But by the end of the hour’s lesson we could all wobble our way through left and right hand turns.

The slope is a lot slower than real snow so it does make it easy for Beginner’s to gain confidence quickly and Mike definitely knows how to teach people on skis for the first time how to do it. They have a coffee/tea / snack/pizza area adjacent to the office and it does try to emulate a vibey post piste stop, but being indoors and with it being a hot Joburg night it didn’t quite pull it off.

Prices are reasonable, with an hourly cost starting at R250 for a Refresher session and they cater for levels of experience up to Intermediate. If you are a pro you are on your own. There are packages for lessons, kiddies parties and corporates to hire the venue and the slope. Being indoors means it is not a weather-dependent activity which is a bonus.

I’d definitely recommend it for people not sure if they want to spend thousands on getting to Europe and then paying for ski lessons in forex. And it’s a fun night out if you want to do something physical and fun.
You’ll find them at No.1 Mezzanine Level, Cedar Square Shopping Centre, Cedar Road, Fourways. Booking essential on 011 467 2426 or info@avalanche.co.za GPS co-ordinates: S 26.00789, E 28.00564 or got to www.avalanche.co.za for more info.

Durban January 2015: Madame Zingara, Affordable Art Show

195 views January 8th, 2015 By Dianne Bayley


Affordable Art Show

Running until 17 January 2015 is the Affordable Art Show, hosted by Artspace at 3 Millar Road, Durban. The Affordable Art Show puts original and high quality artwork within the reach of almost every art lover, with pieces on sale for R3 500 and less.

Get there before it closes. Contact details:

Karen Bradtke, Director
Claus Bradtke, Manager
Tel: 031-312 0793
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri 9h00-17h00
Sat and Pub Hols 9h00-14h00

Madame Zingara’s Forever After Tour

Durban will also be home to the incredible Madame Zingara’s Forever After Tour. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Madame Zingara show, it’ll probably be the best git you give yourself all year! It’s decadent dining, showstopping cirque entertainment and an evening to remember.

The extravaganza runs from 22 January to 22 April at Suncoast. For more information, visit www.madamezingara.com - seriously, KZNers - you don’t want to miss this one!