Monday, August 30, 2010

King Konyagi

Our dearest little kitten has now officially, hit his teens. The typical signs of adolescence are beginning to show: He has become more independent, opting for long outings in the garden rather than the comforts of the couch; he’s not that keen on our affection, as recent hugs and kisses have been returned with outstretched claws and loud meows. But with his coming of age comes a handsome cat…and look just how regal he is, after enjoying a Sunday afternoon nap.

Frangipani x

do it

a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do........

bad day at the office, you feel puffy around the mid-tummy, none of your clothes even match.....  and you've come to conclusion is that you need the tender hands of a man.

.....dress comfortably, cause you gonna be naked and need easy access, swoop your hair up in a rough ponytail, cause it's gonna come loose anyway, grab your slipslops, cause you ain't gonna need that either.....
no make-up, cause it's dark, be ready for beautiful music filling the room, dim lights.....

and then the masseuse stepped in and massage your body till it tingles.....

treat yourselves ladies, you deserve it, go for a massage and spoil your self to a light, healthy lunch and a strawberry and mint juice.

you are beautiful. all of you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Loving straightforwardly

There has been a lot of talk, reflections and musings about love going around.  Love and hurt. The intense kind of hurt most ironically caused
Off course the topic of conversation over many a bottles of wine has been about the above and relationships of all kind. What goes wrong, what you do to make it right, when to let it go, when to fight...
Frustratingly, I am still non the wiser, but all of this love talk, recent events in my own life and and trying times with friends has made me wonder about this addictive anomaly.  And then I stumbled across this poem written by the Chilean Communist writer Pablo Neruda...

"I do not love you as if you were salt rose or topaz or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance rise from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride.
so I love you because I know not other way
than this:  where I does not exist, not you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep"

I don't know if it is possible to love like this..."straightforwardly, without complexities or pride", but these words are just so hauntingly beautiful it makes me want to cry.  And for now the words are promise enough.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The phenomenon of the single ladies

All the single ladies,
now put your hands up, up in the club…I am sure there are many!

At a girls night a few weeks back the topic of being over 25 and single with no prospects coming up. With red wine glasses in hand and beautiful plates of home cooked food the topic was explored.

Present in the room we had 7 girls;
-        - all with atleast one (some three) university degrees
-        - all with successful careers
-        - all living on their own with their own houses
-        - all capable of running a household
-        - all slender and goodlooking
-        - all fun and confident
-        - all intelligent and interesting
-        - all polite and definitely marriage material

Four had experienced recent painful breakups( and single ofcourse), two were single and only one of these 7, highly eligible girls had a prospect of tying the knot in the near future.

Now, this might look like an isolated incident but in I have atleast 8 more friends in completely different circles and countries over the age of 30 (some nearing 40) that answer to all the above criteria.

One of the reasons we mulled over (while sipping gluhwein) was that as women we experience so much pressure to be independent and successful that we maybe intimidate the boys (maybe the mere mention of ‘boys’ are the problem where are then men?)? We are all so focused on getting ahead that when we stop to look around the boys (men) have been left behind?

And the results are scary, for society and for women. A recent article in Fairlady called I chose to be a single parent  quoted this scary statistc ;
“According to last year’s AMPS, 64% of the 1,8 million women with children under the age of two are single.”

64% ?Interesting stat. Where have all the good men gone?
Sitting at another dinner table another ‘single lady’ (aged 35+) proclaimed that if she is not married in the next year she will have a baby on her own.

This is not an isolated incident as the article states;
When Lynn Giles hit 37, her biological clock started ticking loudly and, with no relationship in sight, she investigated other options.”

So looks like our options are either raise a child on your own or, revert back to the 1950’s style of being a woman (housewife);

Step 1: As a housewife of the 1950's you won't be required to hold a job outside the home. In fact you really won't be allowed to because it would be an insult to the male of the family for not being able to provide for his wife and family! So relax and buy a box of bonbon' s

Step 13: Now it's time for you to go to the bedroom, turn down the covers, fluff the pillows, take a quick shower and put on a pretty nightie, put on fresh makeup, do your hair again down this time and call for hubby to come to bed.

You read while he relaxes and when he is ready for a little fun you will be just as ready and excited he is giving you his time.

Oh,oh...he is tired now and finished. He rolls over, goes to sleep and you slip away to the bathroom to put on fresh makeup in case he wakes in the middle of the night and sees your face.

You must always look your very best!

Hmmm…not really what we have been taught hey? So all the bra burning was in vain?

In the famous last words of Beyonce; If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it. Boys, we need some men!


Monday, August 23, 2010

goodness, what is it with these responsible parent

I don't know, maybe I'm missing the point - why oh why do we have such responsible parent around?
For goodness sake, this is hysterical....!

Impi took this picture yesterday when he came back from the Farm.


the little kid's chair is tied to the back of the motorbike with mpira (inner tube) and he's just hanging ten.... no problem what so ever.

see.. the parents both have helmets but, no, oh no, not the little child at the back.

Who do you think  we should send this to - will anybody even do anything about this?

~desert rose~

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Zanzibar o Zanzibar"

Ettiene Le Roux was one of the most influential and also controversial South-African writers and a key member of the “Sestigers” literary movement. His work often contained mythological elements and he specifically had a weird fascination with dwarfs and the goddess Isis. Le Roux was silent for 4 years before Magersfontein O Magersfontein saw the light which contained very few of the fascinating creatures of his earlier works. The novel plays off in Magersfontein where in December 1899, Generaal Cronje and De La Rey defeated the British troops during the Black Week of the Second Boer War.

So what does any of this have to do with Zanzibar? ABSOLUTELY nothing, except for the one fact that because of the content of the novel and the way in which it differed from his earlier works, Magersfontein O Magersfontein needs to be pronounced with a certain type of melancholic, yet authoritive voice…well, at least in my mind! Something like the infamous, speculating Hamlet quote “Do be, or not to be”… “Magersfontein o Magerfontein”…get it? And THAT is how “Zanzibar O Zanzibar” should be uttered. For no other reason than I think it is the right way to do it! This most exotic, most alluring, most magical island conjures up so much emotion, a little nostalgia and a hint of respect is required.  So, after the above useless piece of information…all together now…”Zanzibar O Zanzibar”…sigh…

I spent a glorious two days with friends at the Tanzanite Beach Resort in Nungwi, right in the north of the island. The beautiful and bizarre elements that made up the weekend ranged from (claimed) Rohypnol infused trances, camp fires, Lady Gaga (not the real deal), snorkeling in the bluest water imaginable, Cinderella losing her shoe in the ocean and Prince Charming failing miserably to find it, a fish braai on the beach, MC Hammer, sea urchins, Osama freakishly appearing in a lighter, mini breads and off course Konyagi - the drink, not the cat.

Back in Dar life resumes as normal and it is good. But I do think longingly about the island of slaves, spices and sunsets..."Zanibar O Zanzibar"...


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rocking the African skies

This past weekend a bunch of cool kids from Dar went to Zanzibar for a weekend of wine, snorkeling, Konyagi and Nungwi’s white sandy beaches at Tanzanite Beach Resort . The journey there is a quick twenty-minute flight on one of Coastal Aviation’s scheduled flights in a comfortable twelve-seater aircraft that provides panoramic views of the archipelago’s aquamarine coastline.

To others, like myself, flying is a more nightmarish experience. On this trip the flight was particularly turbulent…well, in my mind.  I was clearly the only one experiencing discomfort as I saw the other passengers smile and giggle at me through a teary-eyed [read: terrified] gaze. Just ahead to my right sat an older mzee who was on a business trip, his leather briefcase next to his side. After one stomach-churning bump he turned back to me with kind reassurance in his wrinkly grin and said: “Don’t worry dada, this is normal” (huh, really?!) and then he added with a wink: “Africa Rocks!”

And with that my fear dissipated, if only momentarily, and I thought: Yes, Africa does Rock! Rocking high in the African skies, I realized that we are incredibly fortunate to be experiencing this continent in all her beauty…and to be living in this beautiful country. We can spend weekends on a place as magnificent as Zanzibar. We can rub our feet dirty in the red earth. We can eat her fruit. And we can feel her presence in the breeze…

Frangipanin x

The Black Box of the 20s

2009/2010 have been difficult years. We joke about it but a quarter life crisis according to the NYTimes is a reality. Reading the article What Is It About 20-Somethings? most of the content rang true with me; especially this part;

"The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation."

So will the 30s be the new 20s as your 20s are now more like adolescence?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


                                                                      (Google Images)

Gotta love a potjie!! My inner bush girl is tagging at me in "whale language" - yyyooouuuu neeedddd tttoooo ccccoooookk ooonnnnn aaaa ffiiiiirrreeeee.....

I miss it, oh my soul, I miss the bush. There is nothing like the smell of fire. Even food cooked over an open fire just tastes better for some reason.

I know I've done a recipe of a potjie before, but this one is also a complete winner!!

This is a Chicken & Sweet Potato Potjie

- Grab your bottle of wine (and a glass, it won't look professional if you drink out of the bottle infront of your guests, you need them impress them)


10 chicken pieces - pan fried in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper the whole rigmarole
10 baby potatoes - halved
3 big sweet potatoes (the red ones) cut in thick slices
lots of garlic chopped
2 onions chopped roughly
dried apricots

- Splash a swig of olive oil and add a knob of butter in the potjie
- Then pack everything in layers and cook for about 30 - 40  mins......
- Watch that it doesn't burn - pour wine in if you are in doubt, can't go wrong


1 cup chutney - MRS. BALLSSSSSSSS
1/2 cup tomatosauce
4 pieces star anise
2 - 3 tsp sugar
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup mustard seeds

- Combine all the ingredients in a jug and pour over your potjie which is simmering on the fire.
- Let this simmer for about 10 - 15 mins - DON'T STIR!

Enjoy your wine (and remember season with salt and pepper) and enjoy this lovely dish!

~desert rose~

Lead SA

I am spending lots of time in traffic listening to the radio, yesterday evening on the way home the on radio DJ said that he has started greeting beggars on the way home. In the past he didn't even look at them. 

It is strange how things happen but LEADSA an initiative recently launched by the SA press has the same principles of the Star Fish Story entry last month.

Their call to action states;

"We have lost respect for each other, for the elderly, for the young, for women. We have lost
respect for the poor and for the sick. We have lost respect for our country’s laws, and for those
who wrote them. We have lost respect for the downtrodden, for refugees, for those who we don’t
necessarily agree with. We have lost respect for the moral, while giving in to the material.

We have lost respect for our own future.

Now is the time for you to stand up. If you care about yourself, your family, your neighbours, your
friends, your colleagues - about South Africa, you must stand up.

Stand up for what’s right.
Stand up for the law.
Stand up for decency, compassion, and respect.
Stand up for the future you want for your family.
Stand up for your community.
Stand up, and lead South Africa.

Not soon. Not just now. Now. Because if you don’t, who will?"

We all have the power to make a difference, so never think your contribution is to small, it makes a difference to that one person.

For the full call to action


Friday, August 13, 2010

Houston we have a problem

I am sitting on my bed trying to decide what to write about.  Konyagi is torturing an ant.
Inspiration evades me completely.  It has been for while and I don't understand why?!  I am experiencing one of the most emotionally charged years of my life!  This turning 30 thing is profound!  I am loving it and also hating it!
I have intensely become aware of certain things about me that I don't like, that I need to accept or that I need to change.  I have also settled into my own skin like never before. The contradiction of it all is enough to exhaust even the most severe narcissist!
I mean, the words should be dripping from my every pore...tortured creative soul and all that! But is all "frightfully unsettling"...

Well, my bags are packed for a weekend to Zanzibar, the island of slaves and spices.  I am hoping to come back bursting with poetry and verse!  If the writers block continues after that, Houston we have a problem.  Watch this space...


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Finding Nemo: Part one

One beautiful sunshiny day, a fresh gust of wind appeared to be exciting things in Dar for a little banana and a flower. With a little nudge and a convincing sway the two little spirits found themselves embarking on an underwater adventure. The first tentative steps to frolicking in the water were made with flippers afoot and tanks on back.

A goggled Andizi and flippered Frangipani began the pool session of the diving course at Sea Breeze Marine , making an elegant entry amidst the splashing children. Settled in the turquoise waters, it was time to deflate our BDC’s and down…. And then, we took our first breaths underwater. Inhale. Silence. Bubbles. Exhale. More bubbles. And then even more bubbles! It was an experience that can be likened to nothing one has experienced in life, as terrestrial, before. Panicked at first, one slowly begins to trust the equipment, and that is where the amusement began…After completing the various module exercises, the best dive buddy one could ask for[read: Andizi] and myself, swam around the pool forsaking the traditional signals for infinitely more expressive and jovial gestures. Much to our amazement we could laugh really hard and comfortably under the water too!

With the pool sessions done and the open seas waiting, the little banana and flower are on the brink of finding Nemo. Part two of the underwater adventure continues after a weekend frolic on Zanzibar.

Badei x 


A little piece of Stonetown in Jozi

My much loved painting of the streets of Stonetown, Zanzibar has finally found a home! A perfect place on the landing wall with a light perfectly positioned.

The Salsa teacher bought this painting on a random saturday morning excursion ( usually ended with mani's and pedi's at Lemon with a glass of wine from the English). Among all the different paintings this one really stood out.

After acquiring a new housemate the painting was banished to the washroom, and much to my delight she arrived at my house one night painting under one arm (and of course a bottle wine in the other).

So it came to have a cherished place in my house. When the time came to pack a life of 3 years into a suitcase the painting was one of the first to have space.

So now, every time I come home, I have my little piece of Stonetown in Jozi.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

A week in Scotland...

                                                                                                  (Google Images)

Champagne on tap, picturesque villages, old castles, Loch Ness monsters, lush green fields with sheep scattered all over, beautiful meals, medieval costumes, live guitar music, roaring fireplaces, sound of Flower of Scotland on the bagpipes, Gaelic crosses, Highland games, kilts, tartans, Edinburgh, history, laughter…… a week in Scotland

~desert rose~

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The times they are a changin'...

As you would have noticed, there has been quite a bit of change on the blog.
Firstly (and very very sadly) Hibiscus and Maisha have both left dusty Dar and settled in the civilized ways of Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively.
It was hard saying goodbye to two dear friends and we miss them terrible, but as Maisha herself wrote: "I asked a good friend, who was born here how she handles people coming in and out of her life. She had quite an interesting outlook on it all; she finds it refreshing to have this constant ebb and flow of new and old faces. I tend to agree with her, I think we open ourselves up more to meet new and different people we would usually not have spent time with, and in doing so you discover things about yourself."
And I am happy to announce that they are both very much alive and kicking in their new abodes.  While Maisha continues to delight us with reflections on life in Johannesburg vs Dar es Salaam, Hibiscus has decided to focus a bit more on her culinary career.  Go check out this immensely talented girls' stuff at  But do look out for her monthly recipes on this blog - she just can't leave us completely...yet!

As for myself and Frangipani, there has been hook-ups and break-ups, disasters and delight!  After some uncertain months we are back in Dar for at least another year and very much excited for what lies ahead.  We have settled into a nice routine with the boys next door (we provide food, they provide vino) and with the addition of a couple of pieces of furniture (and off course Konyagi!) we are comfortable in Dar indeed!

Through all the chaos, the teary fair wells, the heartache and the drama, Desert Rose has been our constant reminder that sanity does still exist and eventually prevails!  Always ready to feed us with a lasagna in the oven or console us over a glass/bottle of wine, she has an ability to make things better or at least seem better than they appear!  Is that another of the wise gifts that come with motherhood?  Speaking of which...if all else fails, there is always Moo to give you a hug or tell you a story about a "hipopipopotimus" that is bound to make the world a better place!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A spring in my step...

Standing on our balcony this morning as the golden sun emerged from the lavender clouds, I noticed that the humble tree outside our apartment had undergone a magical transformation…Yesterday evening I laid under the tree catching my breath after a run. I contemplated the striking simplicity of the dry branch and dreary bud: a detailed silhouette against the powder blue sky that would make for a beautiful graphic on one of my designs.

As the sun rose this morning the buds had opened, revealing a shoot of virescent leaves and a floret of pink. Overnight life has appeared where there seemed to be none before. The world has changed a little, and spring has arrived. I never thought I would experience a changing of the seasons in Dar, but the beauty lies in the details…

Life has its seasons too. As does the heart. “No winter lasts forever, and no spring skips its turn” and it is in the subtleties that I can feel a spring in my step as I move from one season to the next.