The Old Mushroom Farm

For 15 years, Nick Crooks grew button and black mushrooms in the tunnels on the farm along the Karkloof Road.  To begin with, he didn’t have much idea about mushrooms, but with research and determination, he created a thriving business, which he sold to the staff (in the form of a management buyout) in 2006. …

Ursinia tenuiloba

umuthi wezifuba Burnt grassland is dotted with cheerful clumps of this little daisy which open their faces to the sun each day.  Each flower is on a single stalk, but the clump produces many flowers.  The yellow petals are pinkish red underneath and it looks completely different when the flowers start to droop. The leaves…

Young Writers

Young Authors Book Initiative (YABI), created by dynamo duo Lungile and Makhubalo Ikaneng, encourages reading and teaches basic writing skills. “By putting the writing process in young people’s hands, we hope to demystify the written word and make it accessible to them. We want to show the learners that books are not difficult products written…

The Cavern Community

After lunch at The Cavern you shouldn’t be surprised to hear the bar lady humming a beautiful tune or strains of Maskandi wafting down the passage from the kitchen.  Pot washer, Sakhile Nqubuka, sings bass in the Cavern Choir and loves to drown the noise of clattering pans with song.   The Cavern Choir started many…

Midlands Takes it Slow

Just like millions of people across the globe, the sudden lockdown in South Africa threw up unprecedented challenges, but interesting opportunities too.  In the diverse KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, the responses were also diverse.  Some restaurants and small producers could not manage to wait it out, while others rose to the challenge creatively.  It soon became abundantly…

Justice Hakata

“Let’s go make some music”, Justice Hakata beckons as a dozen teenagers spill out of the minibus.  They don’t need encouragement to follow him to the practice room. “You know the drill. Communicate with one another and build on your performance from last week.” Justice gets the beat going on a Djembe drum and soon…

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbows have been popping up all over during the Covid-19 crisis – bright moments, shared with strangers, as many of us struggle with the current reality.  Across the world, International Yarn Bomb Day is celebrated on 11 June, where public spaces are wrapped in colourful, creative fibre hugs.  Traditionally poles, walls and fences have been…

Slondile Mlhongo

Who remembers life before cell phones?  Slondile Mhlongo does. While employed as a teacher at a farm school in Kamberg, she applied for a post in Greytown.  The only way to contact her was by phoning the farmer, who passed the message to the school principal.  As it was the weekend, the principal could not…

Con Roux

Many South Africans dread the thought of breaking down on the side of the road.  Not Con Roux, Commercial Manager of N3TC since 2002. “Some of my most memorable experiences have been when plans go awry,” he smiles. He remembers the day his tyre punctured on a dirt road beyond Mooi River after he had…

Forest Pink Hibiscus

Hibiscus penduncularis, indola ebomvu This dainty Hibiscus is flowering profusely pink on these glorious autumn days.  Naturally found in coastal forests, it thrives in semi-shade and is fast-growing, making it a must for a frost-free garden. The bright pink flowers, shaped like bells, produce a lot of pollen attracting many butterflies including Charaxes, nymphs, commodores…