Honour-bound – Part 1

I don’t normally pick up the phone if the number calling is unrecognisable or unknown, but something in my gut told me to live a little.

“Hello, is this Alan Wilson speaking?”, a passive voice asked on the other end of the line.

Though frazzled at first, I almost immediately recognized that it was Luthando, my childhood friend!

Luthando and I lost touch when we parted ways after graduating from Stellenbosch University. “What a surprise!,” I exclaimed. “It has been way too long, my friend.”

He called to invite me over for lunch as he was back in the City visiting his parents from the States.

We spoke for hours, catching up on lost time (My wife, Linda, started assuming that I was having an affair because of this).

After the phone call I instructed her to prepare our children, Matthew and James for the next day. She had no idea what my instructions were all about.

“And then? Who was that,” she frantically asked to no reply but a kiss on the forehead.

Waking up the next morning, I was more excited than usual, leaving my family utterly bewildered.

We were driving toward a destination none of them knew about.

It was a hot summers day in Gugulethu: a dusty township situated in Cape Town with a population of just over 100 000 people.

“Dad, where are we?” asked Matthew while we were stuck in traffic, waiting for somewhat 30 cows to cross the main road.

“Almost there, son.”

As I looked in my rear view mirror, I noticed James with his head glued to the window as he staring at his surroundings in amazement.

From the corner of my eye, I could also see Linda texting her best friend, Sam about where we were. “He never shares anything with me…” it read.

As we were driving I noticed a lady with a red bandana sitting in a beautiful bright yellow caravan, selling ‘amagwinya’, a local favourite. “Fresh out of the oven!” she exclaimed, with the most radiant smile imaginable.

As soon as we arrived to our destination, I could see Luthando walking hastily toward us in the car wanting to welcome us in.

“Linda, Matthew, James – meet Luthando, my best friend and man who saved my life when we were kids.”

“Come inside, come inside, you are just in time!”

“My mother cooked up a storm,” Luthando said.

Linda looked more shocked than ever, but pretended that she knew what I was talking about when I said Luthando had saved my life.

There was no space for the SUV to park, so Luthando asked the neighbours to let me park in their yard.

We were welcomed with hugs and kisses from both his parents.

The aroma of fried chicken, ‘pap’ and other delicious delicacies filled the air as we stepped into the living room. The smell was very unfamiliar to the kids but it brought back countless childhood memories for me.

“Sit down, dig in,” Luthando said.

His mother responding almost immediately: “Usile wena! Where are your manners? Allow me to say a prayer.”

This moment felt like deja vu. Exactly as it used to be.

Linda eventually started opening up. She and Mama Susan (Luthando’s mom) got along quite well after a while. It was then time for the men to hit the porch (something our fathers used to do).

The porch was quite small and still had the two old chairs from nearly 20 years ago standing on their exact same spots.

” I think you might want to be on your feet for what I’m about to tell you,” luthando said as I was about to sit down.

“I need your help. I’m in trouble.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I need money. Lots of it,” he frantically answered.

“You’re a medical doctor. You’re rich.”

“Something happened a few years ago, before I left. People want me dead. I’ve been getting death threats because these people know that I relocated. They know where I live… My cars brakes were tampered with, I was shot at whilst in a coffee shop…”

“Wait, WHAT!? Does your parents know? What did you do?”

“I killed a guy, a gangster, ” he muttered.

“My parents don’t know. Obviously they don’t know.”

“What do you even need the money for?”

“I will explain everything tomorrow, when we meet up. Please meet with me tomorrow so I can explain everything,” he said.

I reluctantly agreed.

“Linda, we need to get home, it’s getting late.”

Linda was having such a good time. She looked so happy. Mama Susan was showing her old pictures of family gatherings when me and Luthando were kids.


“Now Linda. Come on Matthew, James.”

“Sorry mama, it was nice meeting you,” Linda confusingly said.

Off we were. At full speed.

“Slow down, your family is in the car with you,” I told myself.

I was just so disappointed and hurt. He should have told me about this the minute he did it. I would have protected him. But everything happens for a reason I guess.


White privilege exists

A recent conversation with a colleague of mine sparked a sudden desire to express how I feel about the state of inequality in South Africa.

She is a white freelance journalist and has come from afar to work in Cape Town for the next couple of months. At first, I felt empathetic toward her about the fact that she had no other choice but to leave her husband and children to come and work in Cape Town so that she can provide for them. “I only see them once a week,” she said whilst we were driving toward her home.

We exchanged stories about our respective life experiences and she even grabbed out her cell phone to show me pictures of her two adorable children. “She’s only 12 but she thinks that she’s 21,” she joked about her daughter.

She then went on to speak about how her husbands contract had expired and that it was not renewed. She sounded disappointed and as if life had wronged her in some way. I felt her pain. I know what its like to feel disappointed with very little beneficial solutions to certain issues.

“That’s life,” I thought to myself.

Our conversation came to an end as we were driving in her road. Our driver pointed out that we were about to pass the house of Premier Helen Zille.

“Neighbours with Helen Zille? It can’t be,” I said to myself.

After she got out of the car I anxiously started thinking about the different types of definitions people give to “their struggle.” And no she didn’t say that she was struggling. But I could hear it in the tone of her voice. That she was not used to this type of life. Being away from her family wasn’t easy – but what about the black maid who can’t see her child at all because she has to work a seven say shift for a minimum wage – to able afford to put a zinc roof over the heads of her children who have no father figure at all?

“This is nothing compared to what I go through, even less a black person living in a shack. “Her struggle” sounds like it could be paradise to some people I know.”

How would she survive in the townships? How do people who live in the townships even survive?

This is a privilege issue – Yes, a white privilege issue. And no I’m not blaming her because of the colour of her skin. She is a nice lady and I am not racist. I blame the system. I felt a deep sense of sorrow because of the gap between what “white struggle” is and what “black struggle” is. I would have still felt this way if the roles were reversed.

But it is what is and where are where we are. There is no time for denialism – white privilege exists

With that being said, I hope change does come in the future, even if it is not during my time (hopefully it is).

To my fellow black brothers and sisters: The opportunity for you to do so has come at a rather late time in life, but – Hold on, press on, push your way forward – work against the odds and fight for a better life for your children.



Roeland Street: A city on its own


Majestic palm trees: Roeland Street

Picture by: Tamryn Christians

Roeland Street in Cape Town surely has more to offer than most people think.

Where is this unfamiliar street, one is to ask? Well, dear friend, prepare to be captivated as I take you on a journey unlike any other.

Known to be the gateway between the City Centre and de Waal Road this street boats treasures among others businesses ranging from creative graphic art studios to up new and fresh social spots for everyone to enjoy.



History is where home is: The Western Cape Archives and Records Service

Picture by: Tamryn Christians 

Have you ever wondered where your forefathers come from? Maybe bugged your parents about who your great grandparents are and if they played a part in fighting the battle against Apartheid?

Look no further!

Walking into a quiet and very neat room filled with rows upon rows of archival records, anticipation fills the air as people of all ages attempt to find out more about who they are and where they come from.

Interesting fact: The holdings at the Archives and Records Service consist of 33 000 metres of archives.



Work in progress

Picture by: Tamryn Christians

It seems as if the Amazon group is about to extend its family as they branch into another building.

Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, the group is one of the worlds leading online commerce companies. The company acts as an online platform for businesses to sell their products to potential consumers.

They have had a support presence in South Africa since 2006.


How the building is expected to look upon completion

Picture: Supplied/Business Tech



Where it all happens: Central fire station

Picture by: Tamryn Christians


IMG_20180322_123636_442 (1)


Picture by: Tamryn Christians

Situated just minutes away from the Cape Town Campus, the Roeland Street Building is the administration and research hub of the Faculty of Informatics and Design.

About 500 students and staff endure life in this place almost every weekday of the year. The Informatics and Design department is split into Public Relations Management, Journalism and Photography.

What is nice about this campus is the fact that its very convenient. Most students enjoy the isolation as it gives them space to study, away from the actual campus life/distractions!



The Kimberly Hotel
Picture: Supplied

Originally Built in 1895 as the starting point for horse-drawn carriages leaving Cape Town for the diamond town of Kimberley, the hotel and bar has been lovingly restored.

Barney’s Bar is a fascinating place where you are likely to meet some interesting people. . The big screens are there so you can cheer on the rugby or football while enjoying a cold one. It’s also worth spending a few minutes looking at all the photos and notices from back in the day


If you are looking to sit back to enjoy a scrumptious meal, or maybe just a coffee, these two places are amongst the best that Roeland Street has got to offer:

1. The Raptor Room


The nightly vibes at the Raptor Room.

Picture by: Eat Out 

Founded between two friends, Danel Maree and Amy Lilley, The Raptor is a hidden gem amongst many other.


Co-owner Danel Maree delightfully smiles at a customer as he gives his order.

Picture: Tamryn Christians

Offering tasty delectables to suit all appetites and open till late, The Raptor Room is a great spot to grab anything from after work drinks, to sit-down meals that will leave you coming back for more of their wonderful service and delicious food.


Picture by: Tamryn Christians

2. Barista Cup


Owner of Barista Cup, Gcobani Gogoba.

Picture by: Tamryn Christians

Established in 2015, young business entrepreneur and local Barista, Gcobani Gogoba said that he started out his business after working at local coffee shops in around Cape Town CBD.

Originally selling from his car in his home town, Nyanga, Gcobani opened Barista Cup next to The Cape University of Technology (CPUT).

Upon arrival one can expect the fresh smell of locally brewed coffee beans and to be drawn to buy one of the establishments famous Tuna sandwiches. Definitely a must visit!

Not convinced yet?

Check out the video below to see for yourself:

Video produced and edited by: Tamryn Christians


WATCH: Plumstead boy, 11, draws cartoons to help illiterate kids


Reece Swartz, 11, a talented cartoonist, draws his characters within minutes. He plans to create a wordless comic book. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Sitting on the patio at his home, avid cartoonist Reece Swartz, 11, effortlessly draws a number of cartoons with a pen.


The works display his vivid imagination, which he plans to use to create a wordless comic book that will appeal to children of all language groups, but most importantly to those who cannot read.

“I want my cartoons to especially reach children who can’t read and write. They must enjoy it as much as other children enjoy reading books,” the Grade 6 pupil at John Graham Primary in Plumstead said.

Reece has been drawing since he was two years old, and his passion for sketching was elevated in Grade 2, when his teacher told him to make a 3D drawing of the classroom.

It takes him less than three minutes to draw a single cartoon character. To date, he has managed to draw hundreds of different cartoon characters. “I usually just draw whatever I can think of. I think of how I can make people laugh, so there is always a funny idea behind each cartoon,” he said, while drawing one of his “characters”, who hasn’t been named yet.

His parents, Lucille and Jerome, are huge supporters of his work.

His mother said: “Because he has been doing this for quite some time now, it has become normal for myself and the rest of the family to see what he is capable of. I hope that he grows as he helps other children through his talent.”

His sister, Cleo, 22, recently posted some of his work on social media and he received many compliments and encouragement from those who saw it. Reece has entered various talent competitions at school, in which he was placed first. He said he was considering entering competitions outside of school.

The talented cartoonist is one of the top pupils in his grade, and takes a great interest in cricket, chess and swimming.

Cape Argus

[WATCH] Kensington teen donates a loaf of bread for every three goals

SPORT / 25 JANUARY 2018, 4:00PM / TAMRYN CHRISTIANSBIG HEART: Malikah Hamza donates a loaf of bread to a charity every time she scores three goals. The 13-year-old also is an ambassador of the Cape Town Big Walk taking place on March 18 as well as the Cape Argus’s #EveryDropCounts, a water saving awareness campaign. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – A Kensington teenager is going the extra mile doing something for the poor and needy and is doing so while having fun.

Malikah Hamza, a 13-year-old hockey player started her Goals for Loafs campaign three years ago.

She donates a loaf of bread to a charity every time she scores three goals. To date Hamza, has scored 1208 goals and donated over 600 loafs of bread.

 “The idea of the Goals for Loaves campaign came when I started to have the urge to make a difference. I had already scored 109 goals by this time and so decided to start the campaign with my own pocket money,” she said.
When asked who inspires her, she said her dad. “My dad has been my inspiration because of his involvement throughout my sporting career. I would not have been where I am without him motivating me.”

Hamza is also an ambassador for good causes like the Cape Town Big Walk taking place on March 18 and the Cape Argus’s #EveryDropCounts – a water saving awareness campaign.

She has been playing hockey and cricket since the age of nine and has earned her provincial colours in both sporting codes.

In addition the youngster also has firm grip on golf, soccer, water polo and swimming.

Her father, Boebie Hamza said: “I knew that Malikah would become the great sports person she is today since she was two years old.” He is the author of the soon to be released book Crossing the White Line.

“The book I intend to finish is to encourage parents to try to identify their children’s talent so that they can excel and be the best that they can be,” he said.

“Parents play a very important role in the growth of their children’s lives.

“All the sports she plays is on a senior level, and she always comes out on top. Malikah has played for a senior team since the start of her sporting career.

“One of the teams she played against was UCT, and she left the field as top goal scorer,” he said proudly.

He said that when she was nine Malikah became the youngest player to get a professional sponsorship from Mr Price Sport. She is also sponsored by Slazenger for hockey and cricket.

Head of administration at Reddam House School, Monica Dunil, where Hamza attends, said: “Malikah reminds me very much of swimmer Natalie du Toit, whom I have had the privilege of working very closely with.

“Their drive and passion seem to be on the same level.

“Malikah’s mindset is very different to those around her. She excels well in everything that she puts her mind to, sometimes without any effort. I am very proud to know her.”

Cape Argus

WATCH: Mitchells Plain Principal was Spine Road High’s success secret


HAPPY SCHOOL: Receptionist Bardis Samie, Amina Phileman, principal Riyaadh Najaar, school governing body representative Moulana Isgak Peters, Nasreen Martin and receptionist Kelly Marinus. Picture: Tamryn Christians

Cape Town – “Every recipe to success has a secret ingredient. Mr Najaar was our secret ingredient.”Those were the thoughts of a Spine Road High School governing body representative, Moulana Isgak Peters, when he described the school’s 100% matric 2017 pass rate.

Spine Road High was the only “township” school in the Western Cape to have attained a 100% pass rate and among only three other schools in the Southern district, alongside Wynberg Boys and Wynberg Girls, to do so.

“I am extremely ecstatic about the result,” Spine Road High School principal Riyaadh Najaar said through tears of joy.

“The praise goes firstly to the Almighty who has carried us through, then to the teachers for their hard work and sacrifice and also to the learners who played their part.”

The high school also managed to attain a 100% pass rate for maths and English for the first time in the school’s existence.

“We knew that they would do well but not this well. We are over the moon,” he said.

Mathematics teacher Fatiema Manuel said she was overwhelmed.“I am very proud of the learners for their hard work and efforts. Mr Najaar was by my side every step of the way as I guided the learners to this achievement,” she said.

Top learner La’eeqa Martin, 17, who obtained seven distinctions, felt ecstatic. “Honestly, I don’t even have words to describe how I feel.”

La’eeqa’s mother, Nasreen Martin, was overcome with emotion. “It wasn’t easy being a single parent, raising her on my own. She deserves this moment.”

Cape Argus

WATCH: Cape Town residents camp in the streets for minstrels


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Every year, people camp out on the streets of Cape Town to secure their spot along the route the minstrel troupes take on their Tweede Nuwejaar parade. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – More than 13 000 minstrels are expected to parade through Cape Town on Tuesday, entertaining an expected crowd of more than 50 000 people coming to watch the annual Tweede Nuwejaar (Second New Year) celebrations.

Part of the tradition includes people from around Cape Town camping out on the streets of the CBD, just to secure their place along the route of the annual parade.

Siraaj Ajam, Shahied Birch and Lameeze Birch from Mitchells Plain said they had been camping out in Adderley Street for a week to be able to support their troup, Juventus Boys Entertainment.

“We are so excited for this event that we will already be starting to plan for next year’s road march the day after this year’s one is finished. It is something that cannot be taken lightly because it is part of our culture, our identity,” said Lameeze Birch.

Widaad Fortuin has spent the last few days camping out on the streets of Cape Town. It’s a tradition that has gone on as long as she can remember. Video: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Ajam, who is one of the Juventus Boys road march leaders said his troop is all about making Cape Town ‘rock’.

“We as JBE are ready to bring the house down. As the champions of last year’s march, we will aim to bring much more than what we did because we want to take the trophy back home where it belongs,” he said.

Widaad Fortuin has been camping out on the streets of Cape Town ahead of the minstrels parade for as long as she can remember.
The parade dates back to the 1700s when the slaves in Cape Town were given one day off in the year on January 2. To celebrate, groups would dress up as minstrels, waving parasols, strumming banjos and making merry music, dancing and parading along the streets from the District Six area to the city centre.

Tapie Hendricks, 75, from Mitchells Plain, is one of the oldest supporters to camp out just to watch his favourite troupe Juventus Boys Entertainment.

“I have been coming here for quite some time now and have been camping out at the same spot for the past four years now,” he said.

Nazeema Omar, 31, from Bridgetown, is also excited about this year’s parade as her three-year-old daughter, Iqrah, will be representing Silvetown Entertainers.

“I am here because of my children. I have to make them understand where we come from and I want them to be proud of it,” she said.

Farieda Sambaba from Heideveld said that her son Ziyaad, 16, would also be participating in the parade representing Heideveld Entertainers.

The parade is expected to get under way at noon on Tuesday.

The City of Cape Town’s safety and security chief JP Smith said more than 400 policing staff would be deployed.

“We aim to make this event incident free and also to accommodate everyone involved as best as we can,” he said.
Cape Argus


Fears of a ninth festive season drowning in Cape Town


Picture: NSRI

Cape Town – It is feared a 25-year-old man who went missing while swimming at Monwabisi beach on New Year’s Day could be the ninth drowning victim in the Cape this festive season.

It follows extensive warnings issued by the NSRI about dangerous surf conditions and stronger than normal tides due to the supermoon which rises on Tuesday night. The full moon’s proximity to Earth will have an added effect to rip tides as well.

“NSRI Strandfontein, WC Government Health EMS, the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter,  Lifeguards, Law Enforcement Marine and a Law Enforcement Marine rescue craft, the SA Police Services, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, a Police Dive Unit and Metro police conducted an extensive search,” NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said about the man who went missing at Monwabisi.

“NSRI rescue swimmers and Law Enforcement Marine officers also did a sweeping line free dive search in tin an area on a beach at Monwabisi that is quite a distance away from the lifeguard protected beach area but no sign of the man has been found.

The City of Cape Town’s executive director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, said there had already been at least eight confirmed drownings in the Cape this festive season; three at Mnandi, four at Strand/Gordon’s Bay, and another at Soetwater.

Last Friday, four men and a woman were rescued by the NSRI. They had run aground on a sand bank in shallow water at Shark Bay, in the  Langebaan Lagoon.

“The sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski 5 was launched and on arrival on the scene the crew were found safe,” said Lambinon.

“Other incidents reported were in Hermanus, Jeffreys Bay, Witsand and Port Alfred. All people involved in the incidents reported at these beaches were found safe and unharmed,” said Lambinon.

Meanwhile the NSRI also confirmed that a bystander rescuer Johan Lambrecht, 46, from Strand rescued Kavish Narshi, 16, from the Southern Suburbs using a recently placed NSRI Pink Rescue Floatation Buoy at a Wilderness beach.

“An NSRI sea rescue craft was in the process of being launched and lifeguards were also activated by NSRI to respond directly to the scene using their quad bike.

“When lifeguards arrived on the scene, they confirmed that a 16-year-old male was successfully rescued from the water by a member of the public who had used an NSRI Pink Rescue Floatation Buoy that is stationed at the foot of the stairs to the beach. The teenager was not injured.”

Cape Argus

Beware of #supermoon’s effect on tides, shark activity


The supermoon rises over Cape Town. Picture: Rogan Ward/Reuters

Cape Town – Experts are warning beachgoers to expect higher tides and rip currents this festive season as the full moon is expected to be at its peak come January 2.

Bathers have also been warned to be on the lookout for sharks due to warmer water temperatures brought on by the full moon.

The founder of the African Surfers Foundation and manager of Smithy Surfboards, Ryan Smith, said 2018 was expected to have the longest full moon cycle, which would inevitably attract more sharks to the shore.

“The full moon attracts the sharks towards the shores because of the high tides. There is a mixture between high and low tides, and this is generally expected to last for about four hours every day.

“I’ve noticed strange shark activity in the False Bay region and would advise beachgoers not to swim there. If they do find themselves there, I would suggest they consult with lifeguards at all times and stay closer to larger groups of people,” he said.

Shark Spotters chief executive Sarah Waries said that although the weather didn’t have much of an effect on shark activity, the water temperature might, so beachgoers should be cautious.

“Every year we see a significant increase in shark sightings in spring and summer, which coincides with school holidays and the period when our beaches are busiest with water users. During this time, sharks change their diet from their winter feeding pattern of hunting seals around Seal Island, and generally move inshore where they search along the coastline for prey such as yellowtail, smaller sharks and rays.

“I would advise beach goers to rather move towards the Fish Hoek area where there is a shark exclusion net.

“Though there haven’t been any shark attacks in the past three years, it is important to remember that False Bay has the second largest aggregation of sharks in the world with nearly 2000 sharks spotted over a decade,” she said.

Meanwhile, the National Sea Rescue Institute has confirmed five drownings in Cape Town, with the latest incident in Soetwater, near Kommetjie.

“CPR was performed on a 63-year-old man at an education camp in Soetwater, near Kommetjie,” the NSRI said in a statement.

“The man had been diving and was later recovered after he was found floating unresponsive in the water.

“Bystanders had initiated CPR and CMR (Cape Medical Response) dispatched an ambulance and response paramedics and activated NSRI Kommetjie.

“CMR paramedics assisted by NSRI medics conducted extensive CPR efforts but sadly despite extensive CPR efforts and after all efforts to resuscitate the 63-year-old man from Athlone were exhausted on the scene, the man has been declared deceased,” the statement said.

Cape Argus

City homeless share their Christmas wish


Cape Town – The City of Cape Town said it has given 80 street people and 20 parolees temporary employment for the festive season.Mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services, JP Smith, said tthe initiative forms part of the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

“The initiative was launched in November for 80 street people living in shelters. They are working as assistants at their shelters doing cooking, cleaning and general maintenance as part of the EPWP opportunity that will continue until the end of June,” he said.

“The City has created more than 100000 work opportunities through the EPWP since 2011 and has set a target of 45000 work opportunities for the current financial year.”

On the streets of Cape Town, the homeless were asked what their one wish for Christmas was. Zamuxolo Masabalala, 45, said all he wished for this Christmas was to live in a house. “I wish all my fellow homeless friends all of the best for this Christmas. Most other people are joyful during this period but for us it is the worst because we have nobody.”

Martin Lilae, 50, who said he has been living on the streets for most of his life, said all he wanted was shelter. “I have a found a job but all I need now is a house – even if it is a Wendy house.”

Chadwin Crotz, 29, said that his wish would be to have a holiday, a much-needed break from the streets.

Ricardo Lott, 35, said that his wish was to see his first born for the first time. “The reason the mother of my child does not want me to meet my child is because I was arrested around the time he was born.”

Magadien Wentzel, 54, said he wished to see more homeless people get jobs. “If we are employed, we will be able to get off the streets,” he said.

Amelia Sampson, 32, said all she wanted was to become a better mother to her two children. “My youngest is six months and I want to be a better person for the two of them.”

Cape Argus columnist and Dignity Project ambassador Danny Oosthuizen, who has been living on the streets for three years, said: “One wish would be that we are more mindful of each other, that we would practise more tolerance. That we try to heal the wounds of the past by just being human towards each other.”

Cape Argus

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