Category Archives: Patriot

House Madeline – a concept house

Concept:~ {An abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances}

It is finally happening. At long last we are going to build our dream home! At times it seemed like our dream was just going to stay that…a whiff…a dream. But even when all the odds were against us, we managed to persevere and push through.

Our fascination with this build started 5 years ago. Read about it here and here.  We fell in love with a tin can…a shipping container…and knew this was part of God’s plan in sending us to Johannesburg. Container housing was still a fairly new concept in South Africa in 2010, although in certain countries it was already rife and accepted.  The whole concept of debt-free and off-the-grid living immediately struck a cord with us.

Earlier this year we secured a piece of land in Florida, Johannesburg, and if all goes according to plan…our first 2 containers will be delivered next week! I wish you can understand how excited and thrilled we really are.

The land in Florida

The land in Florida

At long last we can build a concept home that could be a solution to our country’s dire housing problem. Have you spared a thought to the destitute and homeless lately? I haven’t lived on the streets thus I cannot fully comprehend how bad it must be.

We are humbled. We feel blessed and grateful that God chose us for this work. Everyone has a work to do. Each one of us must fulfill our God-given purpose. I cannot wait to finally start on mine!

I have started a new blog for this specific purpose. It is new…I should upload a few pics shortly.

www.housemadeline.wordpress.com

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Letter to an unsuspecting thief

Thief/skelm/trouble-maker/ bandit/crook/outlaw _{A criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it.}

Dear thief

Thanks to you, we now have electric fencing.  My fellow Joburgers cynically frown and me when they hear we have been living without all this time.

 

leaving.detailelectric

Ironically the ticking of the energizer box is lulling me to sleep.  The very same thing I have been fighting is now a source of comfort.  Who would have thought that we would go to measures this extreme?  After all, I am just a girl from the Winelands.  Where I am from, people don’t even have security bars on their windows. People literally don’t lock their doors at night.  And why should that be unusual?  The thieves I encountered back there were literally small town fry.  They would steal my broom or a few logs of wood from my pile in the back yard to make a fire for the night.  Sounds harmless yes, but it still doesn’t make it right.

What would bring you to the place that makes you think it is ok to steal, or to commit a crime? What happened in your life that would incite you to break and enter a stranger’s property and invade their privacy? You convince yourself that I am better off than you, and at the time of going through my personal belongings, you do it because you feel a sense of entitlement…you feel it is ok to take from me?

Have you ever considered that I am just also the average South African? Trying to live an honest and respectable life? I am also just trying to give my children the best life I can. And yes, I realise you will try and defend your actions and justify it by saying I am more privileged than you.  What does that mean? How do you define privileged? Yes I was privileged to have parents that cared for me. My parents have always lived a modest life.  They have always tried their best to give us a good life.  They reared us to be honest and hardworking.  We never lived lavishly and my father still makes an honest living as a builder.  He believes in using his skill and trade to put food on the table.  And if you knew his background…he had all the reason in the world to become a criminal.  But he chose not to.  Let me focus on the words chose, or choose, or choices.

You see, life consists of making decisions and choices every day.  It is a part of life.  Some are so trivial and insignificant, we don’t even think about making them.  Others are life-changing; choosing your life partner, where to live and what job to take.  And yes, maybe you haven’t been offered a job.  But maybe you haven’t really tried to work your God-given gift? I am sure you are nifty with your hands.  After all, you managed to swiftly break my security gate’s lock? You have a very clever and crafty mind.  So crafty, you manage to escape our wonderful enforcers of the law time and time again.

You chose to steal from me on three occasions this year alone.  And every time you caught me off-guard…totally unsuspecting (and maybe naive).

You think to yourself: “Aaah man, they have insurance…they are sorted!” It is not that simple.  Have you considered how your acts of violation have affected me and my family? Did you stop to consider how your actions would affect the mental well-being of my daughter when she found out you took her school shoes that her aunty bought for her so lovingly? And the stupid act of taking her well-deserved Certificate of Achievement she received earlier this year for academic progress? Have you considered that her name is on the piece of paper and that unlike the TV you took, you cannot sell it?  It is of absolute no value to you!

As a 1st grader, she took part in the athletics for the first time in her life.  And you had the audacity to steal her bronze medal she received for 3rd place.

Have you considered that she is just a child?  How long do you think you can keep up this dishonest lifestyle? Do you ever stop to consider that the choices you make have repercussions? And yes, you haven’t been caught.  Unfortunately you will get caught one day.  Have you thought about how that would influence the family you support by living your dishonest lifestyle?

prison-bars

Think about how your children will grow up without their daddy because he is in prison. They could end up resenting you for putting them under the same curse and cycle. Children need their fathers to affirm them and their self-worth.  Without your verbal affirmation, they might become a statistic just like you…a person with no positive social impact…an outcast.

I know your life is a mess.  I know you think I have no clue what you have been through.  You think I have had it easy.  Boy, you have no idea! Life is challenging!  We all make our way on this highway of life, and we all get thrown curveballs, but we all choose how we want to live it.  Sometimes we make mistakes…but there is always grace to correct it.

In short…I get you.  I hear you.  I want you to hear me…I choose to forgive you.

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Hopefield wind farm – hope to 70 000 families

My family and I had to travel home about 2 weeks ago to attend my Granny’s funeral.  Ryce Phillipa Damonse (nee Ryan), passed on at the age of 100.  At the same time, it is a sad time for our family as well as a celebrated one.  I will write more on her life as time goes on.

So we had the opportunity to visit our beloved Cape Province again.  It will always be my home. Wow…it is breathtakingly beautiful.  You have to see it, to experience it.  The towering mountains, the rolling hills, the rusty-colored vineyards…truly magnificent.

Photo 2014-05-01, 1 10 45 PM (1)

Our backyard…this is the view from the house my hubby grew up in

On one of our day trips we went to the West-Coast.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an enormous wind farm just outside Hopefield.  It was so impressive, almost eerie.

Photo 2014-05-01, 2 33 26 PM

Enormous wind turbines

As we came closer these tall structures in the middle of nowhere, almost intimidated us.  They gently, but productively whipped in the wind, apparently generating enough electricity to power 70 000 low-income homes, or 29 000 medium income homes!

This is extraordinary for South Africa.  We face so many socio-economic challenges, and times have shown that we need innovative solutions to eradicate poverty.  This is the first of a few such farms that will assist in decreasing the demand on the national electricity grid.  Exciting news!

Read more about this fascinating project over here.

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Why I can sleep in tomorrow…

Sharpeville (Photo: Baileys African History Archives; Corbis; Avusa Archives)

21 March: Human Rights Day

On this day in 1960 the police killed 69 people at Sharpeville who were participating in a protest against the pass laws. Many were shot in the back. The carnage made world headlines. Four days later the government banned black political organizations, many leaders were arrested or went into exile. During the Apartheid era there were human rights abuses by all sides; Human Rights Day is but one step to ensure that the people of South Africa are aware of their human rights and to ensure that such abuses never again occur. (http://africanhistory.about.com)

So this day we remember all those who gave up their lives so I can live a better life.  I don’t take it lightly.  I salute you!

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The story behind the day…

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

National Women’s Day is an annual public holiday in South Africa on August 9. This commemorates the national march of women on this day in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the “pass”, special identification documents which curtailed an African’s freedom of movement during the apartheid era.

Women marching

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950.

They left bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom’s office doors. Outside they stood silently for 30 minutes, many with their children on their backs. Those who were working for Whites as nannies were carrying their white charges with them. The women sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.). In the 54 years since, the phrase (or its latest incarnation: “you strike a woman, you strike a rock”) has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa.

Strong women

The march was led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn.

Other participants included Frances Baard, a statue of whom was unveiled by Northern Cape Premier Hazel Jenkins in Kimberley(Frances Baard District Municipality) on National Women’s Day 2009.

What I have learned from these remarkable ladies is that my actions today may impact history for ever.  I need to stand for what I believe in and take action if I am discriminated against…or if someone I know is suffering.  We women have strength beyond comparison.  We can do whatever we put our minds to.

We are the rock of our families, they depend on us.  Take time this week and refresh yourself.  We also need to take a break in order to continue the good work.


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10 Reasons why I love Jozi

Jozi on the move

If you told me a few years ago that I would move to Johannesburg in 2010, I would have refused to believe you.  I always vowed never to trade my beloved Cape Province for another…especially not crime-ridden Gauteng.

One of my friends, Yvette lived in Jozi for close to 7 years with her husband, Ronwyn Hughes.  Each time we would visit them the discussion would come up.  For years they would pose the question: “Why don’t you guys move up to the city…it’s not as bad as they say it is.”  I couldn’t understand their obsession with this place.  Everything was so fast and literally furious.  The rat race was unbearable as well as the traffic!

However, if God has plans for you, there’s no fighting it.  So we moved to the city of gold in April 2010, completely by faith.

Having moved countless times, we have literally married the nomadic lifestyle.  Thus we naturally settled in.  It was our first move to another province and although we were sad to be away from our family, it was exciting.

New prospects…new beginnings, a new start…  so we learned to love it.  And as the Hughes’ pointed out…it is not as bad as they say.

  1. Yes, there is traffic…all the time.  It is bad and the pollution is suffocative.  However, there are six million trees in Johannesburg. On satellite pictures, the city looks like a rain forest, albeit man-made. There are 1.2 million trees within the parks and on the pavements, and 4.8 million in private gardens throughout the suburbs.

Jozi trees

  1. Joburg’s suburbs are beautiful.  The houses are palatial and the gardens are very well kept.
  1. What it lacks in a sea, it makes up in a few dams namely the Emmarentia Dam and Zoo Lake among others.
  1. My opinion is that people are more open to change that in my home province.  Please note: this is based on my personal experience.
  1. The city is magnificent!  I love the buildings and their history.  I have been doing some reading regarding.
    When gold was discovered in the area in 1886 , Johannesburg sprang up from the veld as a rowdy mining camp. The city will be 125 years old this year.
  1. Jozi raised world-players such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu amongst others.  They lived in Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

Vilakazi Street, Soweto

  1. Johannesburg houses a few cities.  The FNB Soccer City and Gold Reef city.  Soccer city was the flagship venue for the FIFA World Cup 2010.  It hosted both the opening match and the final.  Gold Reef City Theme Park, a living attraction that documents the gold rush and the birth of Jozi (Johannesburg), and the place to learn more about the city’s fascinating history of grit, glory and gold.

FNB Soccer City

  1. I love the winters here.  Temperatures sometimes go below freeze point, but the sun would be shining.  I can’t say the same for summers…I hate the thunderstorms!
  1. Surprisingly I have grown used to the street vendors.  Especially the ones that sell hand-made products.  I love their quality offering and how they encapsulate the city in their work.
  1. The city has a certain pulse and it’s addictive.  The inner city buzzes with people from all over Africa that gives it a raw energy that I like.  It truly is a melting pot of people, cultures and opinions.

Melting pot

There are many more reasons why I love Joburg, maybe even more why I should hate it.  The crime rate is probably the city’s most famous liability, the traffic is a nightmare and the road works have been dragging for years…but it has the Gautrain, Africa’s first speed train.

You see…whenever I hear of something negative about the place I now call home, I am quick to think of a positive.  I guess its part of being a nomad.  You learn to adapt and see the positive about your new home town.  It is a great survival instinct.

Oh, you want to know what I think of the new tollgate system?  Right now, I try not to think about it.  We as South African’s have amazing coping abilities.  I will drive myself by this motto: I’ll drive less, talk less, work more and try to create a better country! 😉

What do you like about your hometown or city! Please share!


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Me go home

Tata Madiba

Today is our beloved Madiba’s 93rd birthday.  Many congratulations on this great milestone Tata!  I am reminded of how unselfish you were in your lifetime.  From now on I will be motivated by your mantra: “Lead by example”. Apparently he is spending his special day with his family in his hometown, Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

This makes me miss my hometown and family.  I live adjacent to the N1 in Johannesburg.  So everyday I see thousands of cars pass on their way.  Some enter the city after hours of driving from wherever.  Some go south.  My home lay south.  My hometown, Paarl.

N1 South

The last time we drove down was on 8 March 2011 as read here.  The road to Paarl is 1332 km’s far.  It is long and fairly boring.  It takes approximately 14 hours if you keep to the travel plan.

Since we have kids we would typically leave after dusk to get them to sleep through most of the journey.  I would have them bathed and in their pajamas.  I would be prepared with ready-made bottles for Kirsten.  I would pack enough drinking water, juice, snacks and ‘padkos’ (food for the road).  I am reminded of the padkos we had when I was younger.  Typically the food will be packed in a ‘koekblik’ which is a cake tin.  My mom or my granny would pack cream crackers with cheese and boiled eggs.  Usually they will pack it the night before resulting in saggy crackers and blue eggs by the time you eat them!  Good times!

Padkos

When we are driving from Joburg to Cape Town our first stop would be Bloemfontein to fill up the tank.  We would stretch, change nappies and have a toilet break for about 20 minutes.   Our next big stops would be Colesburg (which is more or less in the middle of the journey) and Beaufort-West.

We try to keep awake by talking, playing lots of music and resting at the scheduled stops.  By morning light we would be so tired and excited to get home we would just push all the way through to Paarl.

Morning light

Open road

Then at last we would see our beloved blue mountains…

Worcester valley

Paarl Valley

My beloved valley lies ahead!  If all goes well, we will be going to the wedding of our dear friend, Edwellan at the end of October.  He is getting married to Ashley’s cousin, Yvette.  We cannot wait to see them and all our family!

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We are the world

I always find it interesting when travelling to see how our cities’ architecture have been shaped by European influence.

Residential flats, Barcelona - Spain

Old building, Joburg - South Africa

Big Ben, London - UK (photo Alan Hutchison)

City Hall, Cape Town - South Africa

Acropolis, Athens - Greece

Monte Casino, Joburg - South Africa

Ironically, I am struggling to “find” our style.  I mean South African style.  Our cities and towns are crowded with Tuscan Villa’s that don’t reflect our uniqueness at all.  If you think you found a house or building that encompass our style, please take a picture and send it to me!

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This was our day…

Today is June, 16th, a significant day in our history as a country.  You can read the full history right here.

We went to see the production, Alice in Wonderland, at the People’s Theatre at Johannesburg Theatre. This was really exciting as this would be the girls’ debut to theatre.

Show is about to start!

The guys and girls after the show

Our dear actor-friend, Solomon Cupido (on the left), is part of the cast.  Soon you would be able to see him in the new movie, “Ek joke net.”  which opens on 24 June at Nu Metro Cinema’s nationwide.  Check it out!

So after the show we decided to get together and have a braai since we were in the holiday spirit.  Solomon’s family were also visiting from Paarl, so before the braai we decided to take a whirl-wind tour of Soweto like we always do.

Wow…what a day it turned out to be?  We didn’t realise it would be such a brilliant day. We started out in Freedom Square in Kliptown, moved over to Regina Mundi church, then to Hector Pietersen Museum.  All these places were packed with people attending commemoration events…it was emotional and humbling.  Here follows our day in a photo story:

Jozi on the move (pic taken while driving in the car)

The Walter Sisulu Square (Freedom Charter)

Sundial in Freedom Tower

Freedom Charter

Eternal Flame (sadly not in working order)

Regina Mundi Church

Impressive interior of the church

Stained glass windows

Statue of Jesus in foyer

The story of Soweto

Hector Pietersen Museum

Struggle

Freedom

Democracy

Sjoe, I am still reeling.  It is so humbling to think and remember all our heroes of the past. I thank you…I thank you for your suffering and sacrifice.  Actually my words don’t do you justice.  Let me just keep quiet and remember you.

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My love affair…

Chelsea at the beach

Kirsten at the beach

These pictures give new meaning to the words “beach bums”.  I always try to get posterior pics of the girls when they pick up shells at the beach.  Aren’t they cute?

It’s holiday’s like these that I miss home and the beach the most.  Johannesburg is 588 km’s from the closest beach which is in Durban.  That is sad, taking into account that I used to be 45 minutes away from the beach when I stayed in Paarl, in the Western Cape.

Sometimes I feel I have nothing in common with this city.  Then there are days when I love it.  I guess I have a stormy love affair with the city of gold.  Ah well…I can always try the dams of Joburg?  I have been to Emmerentia Dam, Florida lake and then the big one…Hartebeespoortdam, which technically is not part of Joburg but situated in the North West Province.

I know for sure…you can’t compare the two cities to each other.  They are so different. The one is temperamental with 4 seasons in a day.  The other is fierce and fiery with thunderstorms that make you shiver.  The one is calm and easy…the other is fast-paced and driven.  I guess I am fortunate to have the best of both worlds.  I love my South Africa!

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