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…

Corona for Change

Is it really only a fortnight since the world changed completely? A couple of weeks before that schools closed, sports events were cancelled and poetry evenings abandoned, in an attempt to prevent people gathering and spreading the Corona Virus.  Here, just a few of the many and varied Midlands initiatives to cope with the challenges…

Kim Wiggett

“Your tomatoes are fantastic”, a customer at the local Reko market tells Kim Wiggett.  Kim already knows this because her dogs, Rusty and Freddie, love snacking on her tomatoes. After years of listening to podcasts, to relieve the tedium of her hour-long commute to and from a crazy corporate job, Kim decided to change her…

Gladiolus

This year’s weather conditions seem to have suited the Gladiolus family particularly well as many species are flowering profusely. In Europe ‘Glads’ (originally South African) have been cultivated for over 250 years, they are popular garden plants and commonly used by florists around the world.  The genus name Gladiolus  comes from the Latin gladius, meaning…

Orange Desmodium

Desmodium repandum Forget the Big Five or the Tallest Tree, it’s the little things in the forest that are really fascinating. Desmodium repandum is found all over Africa and is flowering in the Midlands at the moment. Although the flowers are tiny – less than 15mm – it is hard to miss the bright orange-red…

Senzakahle

As often happens in small towns, one major manufacturer employs a lot of people, and when this business relocates or closes, many are left desperate.  The women who lead Senzakahle Co-Op in Mooi River, Zodwa Khoza and Sylvia Ntuli, had been employed at Mooi River Textiles since 1981 and 1974 respectively.  Both women excelled at,…

Autumn – isikhathi sokuvuna

You will know that Autumn is on the way when you feel a delicious chill around your ankles and the leaves of exotic planes and pin oaks turn scarlet, cinnamon and purple before falling. You can almost feel time passing in the air. It is time to relax and tune into the natural cycles, slow…

Dragon Fruit

Local legend has it that dragons sleep beneath the rolling hills of the Midlands.  As the morning mist creeps along the valleys and the early sun paints the hilltops pink, it is easy to believe in magic. Urban escapees, Mark and Fiona Hodgson, have been captivated by the area, adding to the mystery by creating…

Reko Rings

Supermarkets are marvellous as providing anonymity. The pre-cut stir fry pack bears little resemblance to an actual cabbage (let alone gives any hint of the bees that pollinated the flower), and it is very hard to imagine a lamb chop attached to a little sheep.  If customers got to meet the people who produced their…

Locavore’s Guide to Planet Midlands

Do you know who produced the ingredients in your lunch? Every meal I eat I am able to thank almost everyone personally for the contribution they made to my plate of food. Not forgetting the butterflies, rivers, bees, farm workers, sunshine and shop keepers that all played a role before the ingredients got to my…