<img src="oppikoppi.jpg" alt="Oppikoppi" width="300" height="300">

OPPIKOPPI – Limpopo’s Star Quality Line-up

5-7 August 2015 Festival

It is almost impossible to imagine that in the beleaguered mining area of Limpopo Province there was a burst of cultural riches that is distinctive, eclectic and top-notch. Despite the many festivals that have sprung into life since, Opppikoppi still pulls in the crowds and still manages to offer bands and individual performers of quality.

It is most encouraging, if ironic, that this festival takes place near the mining town of Northam. The mining industry has become almost iconic of the deep divisions that exist in our country. People that walk on gold still do not have basic services. People that risk their lives for platinum do not share in the profits. The economic divide is a gaping ravine that sadly finds expression along racial lines. The truth is that in reality and by law many if not most of the shareholders of the mining conglomerates are black, the police that have to ‘correct’ political and economic fault-lines are black, and the unions that engage in power-play are black. But we seldom take note of an inevitable cultural reaction in the soul of groups. Perhaps the only way to really address these deep-seated problems in the secret life of the psyche is through the arts. Music is, after all, the food of love … and not only romantic love: Oppikoppi may yet facilitate the building of a few of the bridges that we need to span the divide.

Just look at the bands- what can be more original and mixed than the following?

The Black Cat Bones: blues rock

Gogol Bordello: gypsy punks with origins in Ukraine

BCUC (Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness): A seven-piece ensemble that mixes psych funk rock and Zulu tribal influences.

Japan and I: three-piece ska band recently returned from playing Primavera in Barcelona.

Johnny Clegg: musical wonder, intrepid breaker of new ground, cultural anomaly who somehow managed to assimilate several cultures without loss of self.

Let the good times roll and the diversity rock our souls. Oppikoppi gives one hope that our land may still be healed – through the arts.

Ref: Alistair Anderson’s 7 August 2015 Article in

IT’S August, which means it is time for Oppikoppi, SA’s most eclectic festival.

The festival, which takes place near the mining town of Northam, Limpopo province, runs from August 5-9 this year.

Here are five bands worth watching:

1. The Black Cat Bones

This blues rock band are on a roll. They gig as often as a zombie raids a morgue in search of brains. That’s weekly. Expect to enjoy a highly proficient rock act command a stage.

2. Gogol Bordello

These gypsy punks with origins in Ukraine are truly fantastic performers. Watch the vibrant show that they deliver.

3. BCUC (Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness)

This seven-piece musical ensemble is a refreshing mix of psych funk rock with Zulu tribal influences.

4. Japan and I

One of SA’s most beloved ska bands returns to Oppikoppi, fresh from playing Primavera in Barcelona. Expect this three-piece band to get people stomping.

5. Johnny Clegg

He is being granted a special tribute this weekend. Clegg has not played Oppikoppi before, which is astounding since he is a South African musical troubadour.

Oppikoppi was launched in 1995 and has taken place every August since. The festival has developed its own identity, which is what brings the crowds year after year.

August 07 2015, 10:48


<img src="velfie.jpg" alt="Velfie" width="300" height="200">

Selfie versus Velfie

Just when you thought that nothing could top the selfie, the velfie has hit the world. Now it is no longer enough to pout provocatively, you need to actually move around! Jokes aside though, the selfie itself I find a wonderful invention as now it’s not silly or taboo, when alone or in a group of two, to point a camera at yourself and capture the moment. Now it’s common place and almost encouraged!

The same will follow with the velfie phenomenon. Groups of people will now be seen walking, talking, laughing, and filming at the same time.

In essence, the concept itself is great, but with social media, and media at large, poking fun at both these forms of photography, it’s difficult to take them seriously. They are actually hugely practical! We live in a digital age, and everything in our lives is visual. Hardly strange that we would want to document all important (and non-important) occasions in this way! If you haven’t yet tried it, give yourself a treat. Reach for your cellphone, pucker up those lips, and say, #VELFIE!

“Amigos Para Siempre” – Friends for Life

<img src="friends.jpg" alt="Friends" width="300" height="200">

Blood Thicker than Water?

Sometimes friends can be closer than any relative could ever be. Life is hard and even more so when you have to weather the storms all by yourself. Nothing will make a bad situation better than the empathy of a friend. We can hardly ever thank our friends enough for their valuable contributions in our lives.

If we are lucky enough, there might be a whole bunch of them colouring our world throughout all life stages and ages. The “crazy fun bunch”, the “listeners”, the “talkers”, the ones intellectually challenging us, the blatant honest ones, those “fair weathered friends” and even the more modern “online friend”, just to name a few types. They all come into our lives at just the right time for the right purpose. 

That one Special Friend

Most of us at least have that one best friend with whom you can share your wildest dreams and deepest secrets; someone you can trust with your life. Your dearest “bestie” who lays snuggly in your heart like no other friend. Your best friend will support you, no matter what and will always stand by you. You never have to worry about jealousy or dressing up for this one, will always be forgiven and never be judged. Truly someone worth their weight in gold, which makes you the richest person in the whole wide world! If you are fortunate enough with such a friend, you have to be an even better one and never ever let them go. 

Colleagues: Friend or Foe?

Come to think of it, we spend the greater portion of our day amongst our colleagues. Surely we would rather have them as friends, or at least friendly acquaintances, than as rivals. This is the one place to find the widest range of personalities. Sadly, most usually relate easier with the more friendly ones than the quiet, shy one who usually has the makings of the bests of friends. Some of the most beautiful of friendships are born in the workplace.

BE a Friend

It is certainly not the end of the world if you feel all alone without a good friend at this stage. It might be the beginning of a whole new world for you. Who wouldn’t dread starting in a new workplace or moving to a new town, which can be some kind of loneliness. So, if you don’t have a friend, then be one! There will always someone in need of a true friend. 

Then there is the question of what type of friend we actually are, of course. We have to choose our friends wisely and be an exemplary friend ourselves. Remember, we are known (and labelled) by the company we keep. A friend can either make or break us. Doing nothing to help when a friend steps out of place, doesn’t do either any favour. By covering for him/her not to get into trouble, will only make matters worse. True friends will step up and stand for what is right. 

Quotes to sum it all up

“The only way to have a friend is to be one” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable” – David Tyson Gentry

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything” – Muhammad Ali




Author: Maritha Koortzen

The author writes to various websites and newspapers mostly on Health and Social Issues. She also talks at Ladies Events about Health and Wellness.

Feel free to contact her for any freelance writing.




Nkandla – Security Marvel

<img src="nkandla.jpg" alt="Nkandla" width="138" height="92">

A bovine security marvel

One cannot help but to marvel at the seemingly endless supply of wisdom and entertainment that emanate from Nkandla, possibly the most heavily state subsidized private home in the world. Nkandla, via various eminent spokesmen, continues to educate us on matters such as pronunciation, firefighting, erosion control and livestock assisted security.  The livestock buttressing achievement is a most amazing security feature devised by security experts to ensure that our nation’s most important citizen relax peacefully when taking a break from his hectic schedule. Pretty soon it will also enable him to retire in blissful peace together with his extended flock of family and friends.

The use of livestock to secure a national key point may baffle the ordinary man in the street. History tells us that during the ancient Zulu wars, the impis cleverly used their cattle skin shields to surprise the enemy, fooling them into believing that the shields were actually cattle peacefully grazing. This tactic was historically used on the offensive. Applying the principle in the defensive, the experts nowadays reason that one can use cattle just as effectively to fool potential transgressors into believing that the cows in the culvert are actually the customary protective shields. Remarkable finding indeed.

On television we have also witnessed some goats roaming the premises.  This however comes as no surprise. Even if poorly schooled in security matters rural folk can readily explain this bleating safety feature. Goats prune trees and trim away dense vegetation that may possibly shield clandestine intruders from view attempting to enter the hallowed grounds.

Geese and kiewietjies (plovers) are amazingly alert birds, especially at night. Traditionally the alertness of geese sleeping close to houses and barns were appreciated as an excellent early warning system. That we all know.  It is not clear if there are indeed some geese in the defensive livestock arsenal of Nkandla but we note that another unique defense measure for this potential battlefield is the use of the humble chicken to enhance the security arrangements.  None of the many images of Nkandla that we see ad nauseam in the papers and on television displayed any of the roosters presumably perched on top of the many rondawels, surveilling the enclosure and ready to sound the alarm. Nkandla does not reveal its night time secrets.

How does one pronounce cock-a-doodle-doo correctly?




Author: Oupa Spek

10 Reasons to enjoy your Easter holidays in Durban

What Durban offers for Easter

As most holiday cities in South Africa, Durban is as friendly as they come. During Easter, which is autumn in SA, the climate in KwaZulu-Natal is perfect for holiday time. Why not enjoy Easter with you family in Durban this year?

Here are ten reasons to consider:

1.    Hit the beach. Durban is renowned for its fabulous family beaches. For some the attraction is the thought of lazing around on the white sands and for others catching the waves will do it. During Easter it is not as jam-packed as during the Christmas holidays and the worst heat have subsided. Still, don’t forget the sunscreen and hats.

2.    Pack a picnic. Durban offers some outstanding nature parks which include the botanical and Japanese Gardens. African flowers are breathtakingly beautiful. These parks offer a huge assortment of our very best indigenous fauna. Imagine a relaxing day in the beauty of Mother Nature.

3.    Rickshaw rides. This is something that will bring out your inner child. These traditional and very colourful Rickshaws are a landmark in Durban. A short trip in one of these man-drawn buggies reminds of an early means of travel in the area. This is an opportunity for sightseeing, family bonding and chomping Easter eggs at the same time.

4.    Roller-blading. Gliding along the Golden Mile, the paved paths along the beach or the roller rink, accessibly situated for kids to use while parents do shopping. So pack the skates, mom.

5.    Become adventurous. In the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean you can swim down into the amazing underwater world with only your wetsuit and aqua lung. No phones or pagers, just you and the splendour of the Indian Ocean. Spectacular coral reefs make this an exceptional location for diving and snorkeling.

6.    Visit the snake park. See a variety of indigenous snakes from the lurking boomslang to the spitting cobra, as well as some imported species. This will be a spellbinding experience. On weekends, feeding of snakes and crocodiles can be seen.

7.    Go on Safari. Spend a day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Wildlife Reserve on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, positioned conveniently in the heart of Zululand. An amazing way to get close to the wild species of South Africa.

8.    Get to know Ushaka.  Durban’s very own top-notch saltwater aquarium, Ushaka Marine World. More than 30 indoor and outdoor exhibits offers fun and delight for everyone.

9.    A paradise of Birds. Umgeni River Bird Park yields birds that you only see in story books, in every colour of the rainbow. It’s enough to brighten up a whole day for the whole family.

10. Remember the reason for Easter. Be sure that your family remembers what Easter actually symbolizes. Visit one of many church denominations, to share in the celebrations of Easter.


What type is your Special Date?

<img src="special date.jpg" alt="Special date" width="300" height="243">

Character Types of some Special dates

We all have our quirks, good and bad, and it’s only human to reminisce after a date. What characteristics the person has. Can you live with it? Would you like to pursue the relationship?

Using the insects of Mother Nature, here are ways to describe some of the Special dates you may encounter:

The Moth

The Moth can be spotted on a Special date by the drab clothes, and how the attention is almost obsessively focused on the person they are with. The adore everything you say, hang onto your lips, and are constantly flittering around you. You will ALWAYS have their attention. Not a moment’s rest, no private space…

The Worm

The Worm on a Special date can’t be too bad. Or can it? Eating every morsel, savoring copious amounts of wine, digging into a rich desert, fingering the cheese board and lapping up every little morsel, downing the coffee loaded with sugar, the cognac…. Your typical hedonist. If you love cooking, this date is the perfect start to a culinary exploration.

The Larva

You are trying your utmost best to get the conversation started. Monotone answers, a dull look in the eyes. Not saying much, making this Special date last for-e-ver! Perhaps you are dealing with a very shy person, or someone who has never explored their social skills. Whatever the reason, this is not going to be an easy date, and I can assure you, not an easy relationship.

The Butterfly

Do you feel attracted to this person because of who they are, making them beautiful to look at? Bright and interesting, flirty…but nice. If you can determine that this is a Special date that will not flitter from flower to flower, I reckon a beautiful relationship can blossom from this.

And if you feel the butterfly within emerging because of this person, go for it!

Fifty Shades of Grey Magic?

<img src="fifty shades of grey.jpg" alt="Fifty shades of grey" width="300" height="200">

Fifty Shades of Grey

These four words alone will invoke fifty shades of curiosity! First question you will be asked – have you read the books? You will answer either a) yes or b) no. Should your answer be a) you will be asked if you have watched the movie and if not, when you intend doing so. Should your answer be b) you will be lambasted fervently and have one, two or even three books shoved in your hands amongst strict instructions to get reading!

I personally have read the first book, albeit only half. I must be honest and say that I was slightly disappointed after all the uproar. Yes the writing style was great and the content racy, but it did not hold my attention.

But it has for millions of men and women alike over the past few years. So what is the attraction all about? Well it’s about the concept of being open to sexual experimentation. What our parents taught us was badoo all those years ago. About not being a slave to what society tells us is acceptable, or not acceptable. Exploration, tantalization and pushing the boundaries.

Not deprivation and violence as our religious leaders would have us believe, and our politicians. But being open to experiment sexually with our partners and loved ones and know that our bodies are not dirty. What our bodies crave and what satisfies us is not to be ashamed of but to be celebrated.

How liberatingly delicious is the thought? So take your boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, lover, husband and wife, and go and let your guard down. Eliminate cheating and discontent and get back to basics or pleasure, satisfaction and love making! Let your fifty shades come out in YOUR bedroom! Happy watching

The Perfect Valentine Date

<img src="Valentine.jpg" alt="Valentine" width="300" height="201">

Tips for planning a perfect Valentine date

It’s once again time to organize your yearly Valentine date and you are at your wits’ end trying to think of something new and original. Red roses, a romantic card and dinner for two have become predictable, boring and unoriginal. Why not pull out all the stops and plan an all day Valentine date?

Plan ahead!

This year, Valentine’s day is on a Saturday, so most people will have the entire day to celebrate love and romance. However, you need to make sure that the entire day passes without a single hitch. This means planning ahead. Here are a few pointers:


Make a list of possible venues. It may be best to spend the day at a single location. Travelling from one venue to another is stressful and it wastes time. Consider the activities and amenities available at each venue. For example, if you are considering the beach, make sure you choose one where there is a restaurant and clean bathrooms available within easy walking distance. Perhaps you want the entire day to be a surprise, but it can turn out to be terrible if she does not like the venue. You may want to at least ask her what her preferences are. You can still surprise her in many ways on the big day.


With the venue sorted out, design a program for the day. Once she finds out that you have taken the trouble to carefully plan your time together, she will realize that you consider time spent with her precious and that you do not intend to waste a minute of it. A word of warning, though! Do not cram the day with so many activities that she will feel rushed and harassed. Romance has a slow and leisurely pace.


Make sure that she will at no time be embarrassed simply because she did not take a change of clothes, or because she is dressed inappropriately, for example. Make her a list of items she may want to take on the date.

The recipe for a truly romantic Valentine date lies in careful and thoughtful planning. Why not start straight away?

Yours Truly, Your Valentine

<img src="Valentine.jpg" alt="Valentine" width="300" height="200">


With these famous last words Saint Valentine signed his farewell letter to the blind daughter of one of his judges, Asterius, before his three part execution. He was a Roman priest in a challenging time around the year 270, when polygamy was very popular. Emperor Claudias II, hostile to the church, believed that unmarried men made better soldiers and therefore prohibited young people to marry. Valentine on the other hand, secretly married anyone in the church who was attracted to the Christian faith. For that, he was convicted, imprisoned and executed. As legend would have it, he prayed and healed the young blind girl while in prison and Asterius himself became a Christian as result.


As Juliet said in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: “Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.”

For these two young lovebirds, their family feuds and -names were the biggest obstacles to their ‘Happily Ever After’. We all know in what terrible tragedy it all ended. Unlike what many might believe, you are not your family, neither your family name. You shouldn’t be like them if you don’t want to. You are you, unique in your own way. Juliet wanted Romeo to give up his family name. How many sadly lost the love of their life, simply because they made the wrong choice in the eyes of their parents or family?

Then there are certain cases where anyone can see how wrong a specific relationship is. It would only be natural to want to “save” someone from obvious disaster. Is it really such a noble thing to do? After all, no-one can tell for certain what the future holds. Shouldn’t we all be free to make our own choices (and mistakes) in life?


This is what Saint Valentine stood for and he too paid a terrible price. He wanted love to conquer in the end, no matter what. Isn’t this how we should celebrate Valentines’ Day? A very famous anti-war slogan from the 1960’s hippy era was “Make Love, Not War”. They would argue that no-one ever died from love. Well, literally or figurative spoken, they had a point. On the other hand, dissolute love could result in HIV AIDS and well, from that you could die in the end. Although the Roman priest paid with his life for his belief in pure love and marriage, this day will always be our reminder.


Other than Romeo and Juliet, most people care very much for a name. We see it as something really important, our special identity. To have a city, town, street or anything else linked to your name, is a great honour. Saint Valentine stood steadfast in his faith. For his noble deeds, he was honoured with a special holiday.


In modern times, love and romance are celebrated worldwide on Valentine’s Day. It depicts the freedom to choose and love who we want. It became such a wondrous, mysterious occasion where we not only honour Saint Valentine, but love itself. What a glorious festival of true love! Let us rather love each other instead of fight. Why not celebrate every single day as Valentine’s Day!

 In modern times you should not go without decent Insurance cover.

Valentine’s Day: How to propose.

<img src="Valentine's.jpg" alt="Valentine's" width="300" height="200">

VALENTINE’S DAY PROPOSALS – Romantic ways to pop the question

More marriage proposals occur on Valentine’s Day than on any other day of the year. The 14th February proposal rate is not surprising, of course, so the challenge is to find an original, unique way of popping the question. On the one hand one does not want to move to far from the traditional because the day lends itself to custom and the outward expressions of romantic love. On the other hand, one wants the occasion to be true to the personalities of the people involved and to honour the special character of a specific relationship.


1.    Hide the ring in food. People have swallowed, choked, spat, landed in hospital and ended up marrying the surgeon who saved their lives instead of the guy who proposed.

2.    Propose in a crowd or in front of other people, unless you are very, very sure you will be accepted. People have said yes because they wanted to avoid embarrassment, resented getting married because they felt coerced by the presence of family or colleagues or married the psychologist who had to deal with their dislike of surprises.

3.    Go down on your knee if you have an old injury and can’t get up, the lawn is soggy or you are wearing white or planning to go out afterwards. People have ended up marrying the dry cleaner who understands that they feel upset that the raw silk trousers they brought their fiancée from India is stained beyond repair.


1.    Indulge in the treasure hunt build-up. Use the fourteen days leading up to “The Day” to prepare the love of your life for the moment. A series of daily gifts placed in surprising places – a coat pocket, balanced on the steering wheel, on the pillow to be discovered at bedtime, in the ‘fridge where it is impossible to miss when you get milk for the morning coffee.

2.    Sweets and more sweets. Fortune cookies and love message candies are ideal. On the actual day, shower her with ones that say “Marry Me”. Cards can do the trick too, but sweets or cupcakes are better and … well, sweeter.

3.    Music is the food of love, so play on! For fourteen days, send links to shared favourites or songs that really get the message across. U Tube has a placed this possibility within the reach of those with even the most unusual tastes in music, so find it!