Cape Flats teen ballet whizz needs your help


Cape Town – A teen from Hanover Park, Cape Town, is one step away from fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer.

Faakhir Bestman, 13, has been awarded a scholarship by The Christopher Kindo Dance Scholarship, a project of the Applauz Arts Initiative, to attend the National School of the Arts in Joburg next year.

But, he needs help to do so.

Faakhir will be attending the arts school for his entire high school career and while his first year of study in 2018 has been covered by the scholarship, he still needs funds to get there, and for other expenses.

“The school fees amounts to R50 000 (per year),” creative director of Applauz Arts Initiative Natalia da Rocha said. “This amount is sorted for next year but then he has another four years of school to go after that.

“He is also in need of a lot of other things such as stationery, a school uniform, his ballet gear and other necessary apparel for his stay. There is also his flight expenses. He needs to come home during certain holidays. Five years away from home is a long time.

“Faakhir is an exceptional dancer with a passion for what he does. We cannot afford to not support him in this venture of his,” she said. Faakhir Bestman, 13, and friends from his Helmon Walk, Hanover Park, neighbourhood are ecstatic that he won the inaugural Christopher Kindo Dance Scholarship. Picture: Brenton Geach/African News Agency (ANA)

Faakhir is set to leave on January 16 to begin his schooling the next day.

“Faakhir will be leaving his grandmother behind to take care of his siblings. She, as a pensioner needs the help of the community too,” Da Rocha said.

Faakhir has been dancing for four years.

“I would really like to thank everyone who has supported me thus far,” he said.

“I am doing this for my sister because she is fully paralysed and I would like to take care of her. I hope that the community can get involved in helping me reach my dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. I will really appreciate every bit of assistance.”

Hanover Park teen Faakhir Bestman has been awarded a scholarship to study at the National School of the Arts in Joburg, but needs financial assistance along the way. Picture: Facebook

Principal of the Eoan Dance Group, of which Bestman is a member, Abida Medel said that Faakhir is most deserving of this scholarship.

“He is not only talented but he has become a role model and a beacon of light to all at the group as well as in his community. He is humble, has a wonderful stage presence and he has the ability to learn choreography and take it beyond the steps given to him.

“It’s bitter-sweet for all the teachers and his peers at the Eoan Group but it’s too great an opportunity to overlook. Faakhir deserves the help of the community,” she said.

To help Faakhir with his expenses, contact Applauz Arts Initiative at To help assist with ballet gear email Nigel Lucas at and for school uniform items, Dominic Paulsen at

Alternatively contact The Eoan Group on 021 637 1268.

Cape Argus


Artist Yvette is presenting a pretty sobering picture


CLEAN SLATE: Yvette Hess with one of her paintings. Picture: Candice Miller
Cape Town – It has been exactly 150 days since mental health activist Yvette Hess, 31, from Mossel Bay, realised she was an alcoholic. Two months after battling to quit drinking, she discovered that painting can help with the process.“I initially concluded that I had a problem when I decided that I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about mental health disorders. I realised that I was too unfit and needed to let go of certain habits. Drinking was one of those habits,” said Hess.

“At first I was in denial because even though drinking was part of my daily routine, I didn’t drink to get drunk. I just drank because it made me feel good. I would even hide the bottles in my cupboard so my husband couldn’t find it, as I was ashamed,” she said.

After being diagnosed with depression, bipolar and anxiety disorder, Hess discovered her new-found passion – painting – at a psychiatric clinic in Durbanville after her third major depressive episode.

“Since I got married in 2012, I was admitted to different psychiatric hospitals every year, for three weeks at a time, but my husband has always remained supportive and loving. About two years ago, I decided to paint as it was part of the recreational activities offered at the clinics.

Being sober for 122 days, Hess said she now feels she has a greater sense of self- control and self-awareness. “All the baggage I have I can now put onto a canvas, but I don’t feel bad about it like I used to with alcohol. It’s liberating. When life hands me lemons, I paint them.”

Her art now goes for up to R5000 as she is saving to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on World Mental Health Day in 2019. “The trip I am planning is to raise awareness about the various mental health disorders people are faced with. I will be climbing with 14 other activists with different types of mental health disorders,” she said.

Hess’s art also made it into The South African Artist magazine’s three-year art calendar. “I am so excited and feel blessed, as I just started painting, and my work is already being recognised on such a big scale,” she said.

Follow Yvette on her website or

Cape Argus

Family reeling as 10-month-old baby is killed in hit-and-run

Cape Town – A 10-month-old baby from Malibu, Eerste River, was killed in an apparent hit-and-run accident at Sunrise Circle in Muizenberg on Saturday night.Chloe Louw was with her parents Andre and Lee-ann Louw and 14-year-old cousin, and were on their way home after visiting family in Ocean View.

The uncle of Chloe, Denver Bowers, said the family was devastated about the loss of the baby “who just came into our lives recently”.

“When I received the call from my brother in-law Andre between 8pm and 9pm, he said a white bakkie had swerved into them and that the baby was in a critical condition. We were devastated when we found out later that night that Chloe had passed away.

“Chloe was sitting on her mother’s lap in the back seat of the car and my 14-year-old niece, Tasha Abrahams, was sitting in front with my brother-in law. The bakkie came from the opposite direction as my brother was driving toward Beach Road. After coming around the circle it swerved into their car on the side where Chloe and her mother were sitting. The drivers of the bakkie fled and ran toward the bushes.”

This weekend also saw at least 14 people arrested on drunk driving charges on Western Cape roads. Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said they have also issued fines of R18 700 for traffic-related offences. “There have been no reports of fatalities on the roads thus far.”

Cape Argus


Minibus driver safest transporter of pupils


WINNER: Moegamat Fuad Roopen is congratulated by fellow scholar transport drivers.
Cape Town – Moegamat Fuad Roopen, 65, from Colorado, Mitchells Plain, has been declared the safest driver who transports school children for 2017, and was given a new minibus at the awards ceremony at the Athlone Civic Centre.Childsafe SA, a campaign of the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of SA (CAPFSA), which launched a Safe Travel to School Programme, said the new minibus was worth R395 000.

Roopen said the safety and security of the pupils he transported was his main concern.

“For the last eight years I was driving with a Venture but I just found out that I have this van at the moment. I always keep a distance with my vehicle. I always keep my distance at the robots, you know those three lines, I always stay behind the line and the speed bump. I don’t rush over the speed bumps and other safety measures,” he said.

Roopen is a participant driver in the Safe Travel to School Programme, which is aimed at developing cohorts of safe scholar transport drivers through a comprehensive intervention programme which includes monitoring driver behaviour, frequent eye and health checks, as well as first aid, defensive driving and incentives.

“There are currently over 600 drivers on the programme driving more than 8 000 children to school and back in Cape Town every day,” said Childsafe SA spokesperson Kay Jaffer.

According to statistics, about 17 000 people die on our roads every year – of these 3 000 are children.

The drivers and participants of this initiative operate from Atlantis to Mitchells Plain, from Khayelitsha to the southern suburbs, as well as the northern suburbs. The drivers of 17 special needs schools are also on the programme, driving children who are especially vulnerable. Runners-up received cash prizes and petrol vouchers.

Cape Argus


Christmas – The worst time of the year


When I look to the left and I look to the right, I see a world that is filled with hypocrisy. I say this because we always tend to judge each other based on the assumption that our sins are smaller than the next person’s.

Homeless people have it the worst.

“What did he/she do to get there?” is the question that gets to me the most.

You see, my dear friend, change is something we all want. How would you feel if someone questioned you about your deepest darkest sins?


Today, as I walked through the busy streets of Cape Town, looking for the ‘lesser’ half of our society, I struggled to find them. And it’s not because they were lazing around, but rather because the worst time of the year has come for them – Christmas season.

I asked the homeless people of Cape Town a question most of us would easily take for granted: “If there were one thing for Christmas you wish you could do/have, what would it be?”

Many of you reading this are probably thinking the worst, but rest assured that their answers will melt your heart onto the face of this earth, and hopefully encourage you to avoid being silly. Maybe just look around a little while longer – It takes time to appreciate the real blessings in life.

Their responses were as follows:

Zamuxolo Masabalala, 45 said that 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,” he said.

Justin Diedericks, 22 has been living on the streets since he was 16 years old. “If I could make one wish for this Christmas it would be to reconcile with my family. It was my birthday on the 16th December and I could not celebrate it with anybody. Christmas is a time of reconciliation and family and that is all that I want.”

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

Chadwin Crotz, 29 said that his wish for this Christmas would be to go on vacation. A much needed break from the streets.

Ricardo Lott, 35, said that his wish for this Christmas is to see his first born child 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. All I want is to meet him.”

Magadien Wentzel, 54, said that he wishes 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 that all she wanted this Christmas was to become a better mother to her two children. “My youngest is 6 months and I want to be a better person for the two of them.”

Cape Argus columnist Danny Oosthuizen, who has been living on the streets for 3 years now said: “One wish would be that we are more mindful of each other, that we would practice more tolerance. That we try to heal the wounds of the past by just being human towards each other.”

Have a blessed Christmas, friends.



Hard work pays off for #SpringQueen2017


The audience at the Miss Spring Queen 2017 event held at Athlone Stadium had a whale of a time. Picture: Jack Lestrade/ANA Pictures
Cape Town – Lusanda Ntintili, 23, was crowned Spring Queen 2017 at a lively event attended by thousands at the Athlone Stadium.Ntintili, a trainee fashion co-ordinator at Trade Call Investments Apparel in Eppindust, was chosen among 47 finalists.

The Spring Queen competition is a yearly event organised by the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu).

Originally from Johannesburg, Ntintili said she entered the competition after a dare from friends.

“I had no idea that I would make it this far, let alone win, but being in this competition has taught me a lot,” she said.

Lusanda Ntintili was crowned Miss Spring Queen 2017 held at Athlone Stadium. She is passionate about local workers’ plight. Picture: Jack Lestrade/ANA Picture

She has an honours degree in fashion design and said she had two jobs while she was studying.

“If you want to enter this competition you must not be a stranger to hard work,” she added. Ntintili also stressed that the local fashion trade needs to be recognised, secured and honoured.

“The fact that the industry is shrinking and losing its standing is what made me become more passionate about this pageant. A discussion needs to be held about what can be done for the industry and factory workers.”

This year’s event was hosted by the Heart 104.9 FM breakfast trio Aden Thomas, Julian Naidoo and Tapfuma Makina. They kicked things off by introducing opening acts from Sactwu’s own talent winners between 2014 and 2016.

Before the main event, Sactwu’s Got Talent saw six contestants battle it out in song and dance.

Cape Argus

Bad Blood by Will Storr a political masterpiece


Award winning journalist and novelist, Will Storr whose features  have appeared in various publications, including the Guardian, The Times, the Observer, GQ, Marie Claire and the Sydney Morning Herald. He has received many awards for his astounding work. As any other great journalists should, he hasn’t revealed much about his personal life.

Bad Blood by Will Storr is one of the few books that I have read and did not want to let go. In the beginning of the book he writes about a Russian guy by the name of Alexander Litvinenko. Hmmm Russians always have stuff happening to them, so I knew I was in for a good story. Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive poison. This particular poison somehow found its way into his green tea. At the beginning of the story, Litvinenko assumed that assassins one way or another managed to put poison into the tea that he drank. And he was right! After a long battle of trying to stay alive, he eventually died. I found this surprising because I was expecting a happy ending for him. Nevertheless, the fact that I was caught by surprising shows how intriguing the story was.

The book is well written and I think it would make for a very interesting feature. The writer, Will Storr makes the unusual story line come to life with his creative style of writing. It felt as if I was watching a movie – but with my imagination. It’s just so captivating. The story brings to light a lot about what is actually happening in Russia, especially with Vladimir Putin as president. The blatant method of telling the story is brilliant. This is what I assume Storr was hoping to do.

As a journalist I feel motivated by this book. Motivated to move to Russia!

On the more serious side of things though, I would recommend every aspiring journalist to read this book, just to be inspired and to know journalism for what it really is – a platform to seek and expose the truth, especially in a political context.


South African Journalists as Media Endorsers


IMG-20171020-WA0000Journalists at Parliament

Practicing journalism in a democratic country like South Africa is one of the most strenuous and difficult tasks, and more so than most people may perceive.

According to journalist Wandiswa Ntengento, journalists have gone from being treasured to becoming enemies of the people and government. In reality however, journalists are playing a key part in exposing corruption and ultimately show no favour for those who are in power. This sadly does not include every journalist/media organisation on the block.

Ntengento said that the shift in media trends can be dealt with once the issue of press freedom is prioritised.

The Press Code of South Africa states that the media exists to serve society. The essential part to realising the promise of democracy is their freedom which provides for independent scrutiny of the forces that shape society.

In section 16 of the Bill of Rights in the press code states that everyone has the right to freedom of expression but does not extend to propaganda for war, incitement of violence Advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

This section in the press code has been put under immense magnification when it comes to the way journalists report and what it is that they choose for the general public to see.

Over the many years that the industry has expounded and grown, more and more journalists have become media endorsing agents and lobbyists to certain political parties/interest groups.

According to author Natalie Hyde Clarke, South African ethics in media is a topic of heated discussion and is clearly a challenge to those who are working in a field where it is important to understand.

There are many ethical boxes we can put journalists in. Deontology and Teleology is two of the most relevant ethical boxes journalists are often put in. Deontology is most frequently referred to as duty based ethics which addresses the motives behind a decision or an action instead of the consequences thereof whereas teleology is the complete opposite. Other than the description given above, deontological ethics can be described as a more fair, accurate and honest way of dealing with situations in any type of situation.  The Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others what you want them to do unto you,’ is a simpler way of defining what it is and why it is the best ethical branch to base decisions on in journalism. Teleology can also be referred to or described as the greatest happiness principle as it justifies an action or decision made based on the greatest happiness to the least amount of pain. In a country like South Africa, this may not be the best way to go about things because not all actions or decisions made will be justifiable at the end of the day. Sometimes journalists can miscalculate because of their own hidden agendas and ultimately do more harm than good.

This however, does not mean that all journalists will adhere to or choose the best way to ethical decision making.

Many journalists, editors and even media houses have found themselves going via the route that didn’t at all adhere to the ethical conduct and duties assigned to them.

A fine example of this is when former COO of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng decided that the SABC should mostly air good news stories. In addition to that, he ordered that the broadcaster not air violent protests or any content that may harm the reputation of the ruling party in South Africa. In this situation it is clear that the former COO based his decision on teleological ethics. He considered how the country would view the ruling party and also the consequences of what would be broadcasted instead of being honest, accurate and fulfilling the mandate of the press code and his general duty towards the country.

The sad and scary fact about the media is that even though there are rules and guidelines directing journalists to producing the right and in most cases objective content, everyone has a choice about what to print, air or publish.  Not everyone will follow the rules, because everyone has different agendas and motives. Some of the rules are even bent in silence. Look at CNN and Fox News during the Trump elections for example. Fox News aired favourable content for the then president candidate and CNN did the opposite. Up till today, as a member of the public it is easy to discern who is for whom. To cover their backs and hide their biased opinions, the media will always ‘leave it up to their audience to make up their minds’ about a specific interest group or political party.

The question of whether or not the industry has somewhat shifted to being based on focusing on the consequences of an action rather than focusing on the motives behind certain actions is ultimately what separates a real journalist from a ‘PR practitioner.’

The truth doesn’t need to be covered up. If it’s out there, journalists should allow it to defend itself.


Tags: Journalism, ethics, political parties, endorsements, deontology, teleology, decision making, duties




Food insecurity a problem


Picture: Jeffrey Abrahams (IOL)

In many rural communities in Cape Town today, there is thousands if not millions of people who go without food or who struggle to survive and eat a proper meal on a daily basis.

This reality has led to many socio economic problems arising throughout the Mother City. There are many reasons for this, but the two which stood out the most for me is a lack in income and food wastage.

In 2011, according to a survey done by Queen’s University and AFSUN, the most common forms of labour in poor rural areas were domestic work, skilled manual labour and service sector work.

It has been proven time and time again that a lack of food or a certain type of food can highly affect the way any human being functions and lives, and furthermore, even their life span.

It was also found that most affordable, high in protein foods were among that which were least consumed. According to the survey, among the possible reasons for this is that making these foods is time consuming, which leads to high energy costs.

Another shocking statistic was that a whopping 88% of households stated that they had been without food in previous months due to unaffordability.

Even with these sad statistics, according to a news article written by the Cape Times, over 10 million tons goes to waste every year. In the article it goes further to say that WFF South Africa’s new Food and Waste said that fruits, vegetables and other foods high in protein make up 70% of the wastage and loss.

Those who tend to waste food because they simply don’t need it need to think twice before doing so, especially mainstream food outlets.

As a journalist, I believe that each and every citizen has an impeccable role to play when it comes to bettering and fostering a healthier and more conscious and just food system.

And many are already starting to play their part by handing out meals and even offering counselling to those in need.

The high unemployment rates needs to be addressed and everyone who is able to, can contribute to such an initiative. One fact that I think many people do not grasp is that it is very difficult to find strength and reason to live a better and ‘healthier’ life when your living conditions is unbearable.


Doing something as simple, yet as effective as motivating those who feel dismayed about the conditions they are living in is one of the best gifts any human being can offer another. It is important to understand that every word that one utters has the ability to either break or build someone up.

Cape school’s Olympic pool dream within reach


Cape Town – Spine Road High School in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, has raised R1 million with the aim of building the school’s first Olympic size-swimming pool.Principal Riyaadh Najaar said they have been planning the pool for the past five years.

“We have since raised R1m to build it at the back of the school and with the assistance of willing organisations, this dream can become a reality sooner (than later).

“We had three Western Province swimmers who attended this school but they could not pursue their dreams due to a lack of a swimming pool. With the swimming pool I also want to expose our children to other water sports such as water polo.

“Why can’t our children play water polo? It does not mean because our children are from Mitchells Plain that they cannot play these sports. We need to bring the amenities to our communities.

“We want to expose kids from disadvantaged areas to the same kind of opportunities the rest of the children in the country is exposed to.

“It is of utmost importance that the school and the community have access to what will essentially lead them to having a better future.The playing fields are not level, and we want to change that. We have approached funders to support the initiative before, but they did not want to sponsor it, but we are not giving up. If we can gain more interest from the government and like-minded organisations, we can make this happen.”

Najaar also plans to start an alumni group for the school.

LEVELLING PLAYING FIELDS: Principal Riyaadh Najaar. Picture: Courtney Africa

“I am also planning to start an alumni group for the school in order for ex-students to plough back. The alumni will be there to motivate and encourage pupils to dream the impossible. People like Dale Santon (ex-Springbok rugby player), who was a learner at the school, is one of those people who has ploughed back, and has done enormous things for the school.”

Spine Road High School is known for its academic excellence and was the first (in the area) to build an education centre. They became the first school to obtain above 80% for a matric pass rate and, later, the first school to get a 100% pass rate on the Cape Flats.

Spine Road High School has become one of the Cape Flats most sought-after schools in Mitchells Plain.

Najaar said that the school managed to raise funds by hosting events in the school hall. “We have had market days, cake sales, talent shows and even cut down on unnecessary spending. All this has been happening since 2010,” he said.

Rayaan Ismail, parent of Aqeelah Ismail, said he was happy the school wants to build a pool. “I fully support Mr Najaar because he has the children’s best interests at heart.”

Grade 9 pupil Anushqa Kandan said a pool was a great idea as “those who have a passion for swimming will then have the opportunity to pursue their dreams”.

Cape Argus

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