Lara Kirsten

Playing in the Desert Last month, Lara Kirsten wrapped her precious piano in blankets, tied it up with sturdy rope, loaded it in the back of a bakkie and headed into the desert.  “I couldn’t resist,” she says “the theme for Afrikaburn this year was PLAY. I am a pianist, I love to play, I…

African Almond

Prunus africana Common names: Red Stickwood, African Almond, Afrikaans: rooistinkhout; Zulu: Inyazangoma-elimnyama, umdumezulu; Xhosa: uMkakase Just when most exotic trees around us have lost all their leaves, the Prunus Africana sprouts a whole lot of shiny, new ones.  They are particularly spectacular as the rising sun catches their under sides and turns the tree in to…

Mr Ahmed

During the 1950’s Mr Ahmed Suleman and his family lived on the corner of Gush and Main Roads in Howick, where they ran a General Store. Nowadays, he trades in the park (Market Square) opposite,  three times a week.   “I am almost back where I started!” he says with a smile. The Group Areas Act…

Antonia Mkhabela

Educators passionate about environmental issues are not that common in our schools. This is a pity, because a healthy environment is essential for a healthy community, and if nothing else, our teachers are building citizens capable of contributing to future society. “Understanding basic ecology and how the earth works is most important and helps learners…

Cape Parrots

Every year, for the past 20 years, volunteers spend chilly early mornings and evenings watching out for Cape Parrots. In 2017 the Cape Parrot Big Birding Day takes place on the afternoon of the 6th and morning of the 7th May. Flocks of Cape Parrots (Poicephalus robustus) are a regular sighting in the Midlands as…

Sacred Stones

The Midlands is full of surprises, secrets lurk in unexpected places and hidden treasures are uncovered by those with a keen eye for the unusual. The Standing Stones of Karkloof are a perfect example. Karkloof residents have begun mapping areas of important natural and cultural heritage. One of these is the intriguing Standing Stones site,…

Superbug – Zinhle Msimang

“You are all beautiful small creatures and need to believe in yourselves,” Zinhle Msimang tells the group of Grade 6 learners who have spent that last 20 minutes describing how ugly they feel. To facilitate discussions about puberty and self-esteem, Zinhle, who is also known as the SuperBug in the Midlands Meander Education Project (MMEP),…

Fana Sithole

While smiles usually come standard when one fills up with fuel, Fana Sithole’s smile is a wide grin and the conversation is interesting too. Fana has been manning the pumps at The Everything Store for 10 years. While Fana was still at school, his parents died and he had to take on the responsibility of…

Midlands Barter Markets

The revolution has begun! In the past couple of years, barter markets have begun to flourish in the Midlands. Many of us feel overwhelmed by the speed and chaos of modern life and are searching for a slower, more considered and mindful way of living.  While we may have plenty of money, often we don’t…

A Long Table for Lunch

The mist settled on our wine glasses and made the salads sparkle at the Long Table Lunch hosted by Erica Brown of Sōlfood in Karkloof last weekend. A light drizzle was not enough to deter enthusiastic foodies from enjoying her vegetarian feast surrounded by verdant hills, with a beautiful valley view of Albert Falls Dam….

Traveller’s Joy

Clematis brachiata Common Name: Traveller’s Joy; Xhosa name: ityolo; Zulu Name: ihlonzo leziduli; Sotho Name: morarana-oa-mafehlo; Afrikaans name: Lemoenbloeisels Driving along Midlands roads besides forest or grassland, this scrambler can be seen spilling out of trees and climbing over rocks, during Autumn.  The twining stems can climb up to 5m through the trees and bear…

Frisbee is for Girls!

Heather Martin recalls wondering if she should be brave enough to introduce something new at Pinetown Girls High. As a teacher, she needed to get involved in school sport and had helped with basketball and volleyball but her heart really was in the sport she played regularly – Ultimate Frisbee. She had concerns – “What…