It seems to be that I get a musical wish granted every December. Last year I got to meet, and experience a 3-hour concert by, Wyclef Jean. Ever since my brother played Gone 'Til November for me, I've been such a fan of this hitmaker. The year before I got to meet and interview Dave Matthews - the SA-born singing star who sells out stadiums in the States. He didn't perform but he did promise that the band would come and perform here before 2010 - or at least during it. So, yay for that!
This coming December, it's going to be another big one. One of my musical favourites, The Killers, are heading to South Africa for two shows. The other night there was a little taste of their performance on The Jonathan Ross Show. It was broadcast in the UK a few months ago, but it was still a yummy little taster of what's to come...
Wonder if my other musical dreams will be granted in Decembers to come?
I got this email from Justin Nurse, whom I first met back in the day when I joined in the march to the High Court in Cape Town for his 'Black Labour' court case issue. The story about what happened to his little girl is beyond tragic and I know he has written these words for publication but I want to share this because of the message towards the end; about how he and the family are choosing to focus on her life rather than blame or get angry. Such strength and bravery in the face of something so horrible and incomprehensible.
Vanilla Charlotte Nurse 02/09/07 – 02/09/09
Statement from her parents, Justin Nurse and Camilla Colley.
Vanilla, our beautiful angel, passed away last Wednesday, on her second birthday. She lived a full, happy life. She was very much her own person, with an enthusiastic curiosity that was infectious to all those who knew, or only just met her.
Vanilla was blessed in that her life on this earth was filled with an abundance of love and vitality. Life is all that we have, and the loss of it — whether it be your own daughter, a parent, a loved one, or a favourite pet — is almost always tragic at first.
But when you begin to be able to see through your own tears, you can catch a glimpse of a prism of colourful refracted light that playfully reveals itself in a fleeting moment. And you find that the reward of truly embracing life and its challenges, day in and day out, comes from savouring each precious moment — catching as many glimpses of the rainbow as you can.
We would like to express our immense gratitude to the family, friends and complete strangers in this beautiful country and indeed, this world of ours, that have compassionately cried with us, and have expressed their grief, love and care. South Africans at home and abroad have revealed their true colours to us during this tragic time.
We are united by our tears of sorrow and our tears of joy. Displays of love, kindness and support in the form of flowers, phone calls, text messages and prayers, have touched us deeply and we can now take steps towards healing — feeling nourished, supported, held and loved by so many.
Honda SA have been gracious and empathetic in their dealings with our family. We have chosen not to focus our energies on attributing blame or cultivating anger. Why, when love and life are all around us? With time, our hurt will turn to happiness and baby steps will become confident strides.
We have chosen to celebrate the birthday that Vanilla never had by celebrating the present, every day, and with love.
Pic courtesy Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation
I love the idea of this!
As someone still making their way through the 600-odd pages of the insightful Long Walk To Freedom, I like that it's now been abridged to be accessible to children too. After all, as I've said before, Nelson Mandela is the biggest celeb of them all, so it's great to know that youngsters can learn about his roots, his early life and how he made it through 27 years of imprisonment. Author Chris van Wyk (Surely, Goodness and Mercy) did the abridging and Cape Town-based artist Paddy Bouma did the illustrations.
There's another book as well - Nelson Mandela's Favourite African Folktales - that's also currently out. A beautifully-illustrated look at some of those classic stories Madiba likes children to hear. Famous actors from around the world have added their voices to the recording of the stories - Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and many others. It also has a special message from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and original music by Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela. A must-add to any child's book collection.
As for my reading, Long Walk to Freedom sits on my bedside table as I collapse into bed, night after night. Perhaps I should take a weekend out in the bush and just finish it. Otherwise I might just have to get myself a copy of the kiddies version too.
I went to the launch of the Joburg Tourism's Spring Fever campaign yesterday - and it just hit me how many wonderful things are taking place in the City of Gold this month. I mean, don't get me wrong, I already know about many of the events taking place as I do a weekly What's On slot on David O'Sullivan's show on 702. But seeing all the festivals - 10 to be exact - in front of me, just made me smile with delight. And yes, it has a little to do with the fact that I am a huge fan of the Whisky Live event ;) Oh, and that there is also something called the Joburg Shopping Festival!
It's just the excitment of things to do. One of the reasons I love New York so much is that on any given day there is a host of things to do. Okay, look, a lot of them are also free and spontaneous, but there is nothing better than being spoilt for choice when it comes to the arts and being entertained.
Pic from Joburg Tourism Company
The lineup includes:
• The Johannesburg Shopping Festival running until the end of September
• Arts Alive! running from September 3-27 at various venues in the city.
• Soweto Festival taking place from September 24-27 at University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus
• Sanlam Fashion week running from September 16-19 at the Sandton Convention Centre.
• Taste of Joburg running from September 30 to October 4, showcasing 16 restaurants
• Soweto Food Festival taking place from October 1-4
• WineX running from October 30-November 1 at the Sandton Convention Centre
• Soweto Beer Festival running from October 30-November 1.
• FNB Whisky Live Festival taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre from November 11-14.
Now, if only I could find time to make sure I go to all ten of the events!