Bushman’s Tea

Athrixia phylicoides Common name: Bushman’s tea, Zulu names: ishayelo, iphephetha, Xhosa name: icholocholo, Sotho name: Sephomolo. This member of the Daisy family flowers for much of the year and is certainly a pleasant find in the grasslands as they turn gold in late summer. Found throughout Eastern South Africa in rocky areas, on the edges…

Babanetse

Clearly, Elsie Madlala is an accomplished seamstress and astute businesswoman.  Neat uniforms, flamboyant African dresses and promotional t-shirts are stacked high in the storeroom of Babanentse headquarters in Bruntville, Mooi River.  At the top of the hill at the Siqalo creche that her sister, Aletta Mpangase runs, learners are dressed in blue uniforms that Aletta…

Summer Squash

Mid-summer is the season where dainty courgettes become mammoth marrows almost overnight.  There are over 800 species in the squash (Cucurbita) family, with tendrils that climb and sprawl at an astonishing speed, producing masses of fruit.  Such abundance calls for creative ways to use them up. Dovehouse Organic Farm Shop stocks a wide selection of…

Zandile Sikhakane

A chance encounter in the Impendle Library changed a few lives. That’s the sort of thing that happens in small country towns. Keen reader Zandile Sihakane was delighted when a library opened in the main street of Impendle where she has lived all her life.  Before that, there were just no books around and accessing…

Balloon Cottonbush

Gomphocarpus physocarpus Common Names: Milkweed, Balloon Cottonbush; Afrikaans: Balbossie; Sotho: Lebegane; Zulu: umsingalwesalukazi This grassland plant thrives in disturbed areas, reaching 2m high and seeding freely. It has reputation as a weed in some areas.  Certainly worth growing in a mixed border for the interest and height it adds, without taking up too much space,…

Themba Memela

When Themba Memela first heard about Funda Nenja, he couldn’t believe his luck. “Dogs are my favourite animals in the whole world,” he recalls, “so I decided to take my old dog Xoki and have a look.”  They were hooked from day one, with Themba pleased to find like-minded animal lovers in his neighbourhood and…

Thami Sokhela

Most teachers in their fifties are feeling weary and starting to think about retirement. Not Thami Sokhela. After 27 years at Shea O’Connor School in Nottingham Road (18 years as principal), he chose to move to crowded Bruntville Primary, in the heart of the township. “Many of the farming families were moved to the township,…

Potato Season

Amidst all the seasonal silliness, one thing we are serious about is organic potatoes. Root vegetables easily absorb pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides from the soil. Pesticides may be applied to conventionally grown potatoes and absorbed into the flesh.  Of course, you could peel your potatoes to reduce the risk of consuming toxins, but as 50%…

Story of a Small Town

Despite the rain, two hundred people gathered for the premiere screening of Story of a Small Town: Howick last weekend. The wet weather was perfect, as the focus of the film was on water, something which unites everyone. Story of a Small Town: Howick is part of a series of six documentary films to be…

Deli Masango

Deli Masango loves to dance. Growing up in the midlands countryside there was always singing and dancing in her home. “We made our own music,” remembers Deli. “My parents loved music, especially cultural music, so I know all the traditional Zulu songs.”   This was certainly a great grounding for her new career with Music Voyage,…