READ Educational Trust

Celebrated on 3 February 2021, World Read Aloud Day highlights the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories; even more so for our younger children.

In a world where COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on life as we knew it, the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector has been hit particularly hard. After months of lockdown, very few preschools, play groups and creches opened again, for financial reasons.1

Now, more than ever, even the simplest activity like reading aloud to young children is priceless in this extraordinary context.

Photos from World Read Aloud Day celebration in 2018!

Reading aloud also boosts confidence, helps children cope better with anxiety, develops memory and expands children’s worlds. It supports healthy brain development that forms a priceless foundation for success at school and beyond.

Early literacy skills include handling books, being able to name books, knowing how stories work, recognising sounds and letters, growing vocabulary and sharpening listening skills. All of these are imparted when a caring adult or teen reads aloud to younger children. 

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day in 2019!

Established in 1979, READ Educational Trust is a non-profit organisation that operates broadly in the education and literacy sectors across South Africa. READ works alongside the Department of Education to implement teacher training and literacy projects in schools.

Over the years, various tools have proven extremely successful in promoting literacy. The READ ALOUD MAGIC BOX SETS are vital in encouraging reading aloud, and all the benefits this activity holds.

Each of three box sets contains 12 beautifully designed books filled with attention-grabbing, adventure-filled stories set in Africa. These stories revolve around children and animals discovering the world in which they live.

These sets are a priceless investment, not only in terms of serving to build children’s vocabulary, but in terms of facilitating quality time with the little ones. Set A is aimed at children aged 4 – 7; Set B is suited to kids aged 5 – 8 and Set C is for children aged 6 – 9. All three sets are available online at All profits are ploughed back into promoting literacy.

In addition, READ Educational Trust has a series of audio books which can be downloaded from the website : which parents, guardians and older siblings can play for children.  It’s a super affordable way of sharing stories with the family and mimics reading aloud.

Visit and to find out more and join the conversations on:






Book Review: Lost Daughter by Ali Mercer

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

Lost Daughter is the story of three very different women who join a support group where they are the only members. They are separated from their children for very real and emotional taxing reasons.


The main storyline concentrates on Rachel. Rachel is separated from her artist husband and they have a teenage daughter. There are insinuations that Rachel had done something so horrid that she is trusted to only sees her daughter on a Saturday Her estranged husband appears to make all decisions regarding their child. There are many references to Rachel’s mental health and how this influences her ability to care for her child.

Continue reading “Book Review: Lost Daughter by Ali Mercer”

Mishandel, misbruik, misken by Carla van der Spuy

Mishandel, misbruik, miskenMishandel, misbruik, misken by Carla van der Spuy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I often receive books for review from publishers or authors but this book, I purchased. I was wondering why I have not heard anything about it, not a whisper. Now I know why.

Like other South Africans I have read the story of Joey Haarhoff and Gert van Rooyen in newspapers for many years. They are suspected of abducting and killing six teenage girls in 1988/1989. Gert very cowardly shot Joey before killing himself before police could arrest them. Were it not for these names I would not have purchased a copy of the book.

There is no doubt that Amor van der Westhuyzen had a horrific, abusive childhood and that it would manifest itself in many ways as she became an adult. That said, for me, the book lacked substance. At some point Amor picks up on a behavioural science of placing people into boxes based on behaviour and it appears that she believes this as black and white truth. Later, the reading of what people’s characteristics are according to their physical appearance was actually laughable and irritated me immensely.

I am sincerely happy for Amor van der Westhuyzen that she has faced her demons and that she is living a happy life within a successful marriage and has her own business. Sadly, this book will only be purchased because of the fascination the public remains to have with Joey Haarhoff and Gert van Rooyen.

I have just purchased another book written by Carla van der Spuy, so my disappointment in the book is not with the author. I think she did the best she could with the content she had to work with.

I wish you enough,


A book where fiction, raw truth and courage meet.

Umbilicus: An autobiographical novelUmbilicus: An autobiographical novel by Paula Gruben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The character, Charlotte and I are roughly the same age. I could identify with the person, the culture, the language and what living in South Africa was like as a teenager growing up during the time period the book is written in.

Many of us question who we are, what we are about, what are our details? .. and what am I going to be when I grow up? Charlotte is no different, except that Charlotte knows she is adopted and therefore has some extra questions that need answers.

I found Charlotte to be a strong character, honest about her weaknesses and flaws and open to forgiveness and truth. Charlotte’s adoptive parents showed a little less emotion than I expected to the subject matter. They seem emotionally unavailable and cold to her needs throughout the book and I questioned why they adopted two children at all.

Continue reading “A book where fiction, raw truth and courage meet.”

A Transgender Life

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

On the evening of the launch,  I purchased a copy of Anastacia Thomson’s book,  “A Transgender Life in South Africa” .

The book is a first hand account of a woman, who was assigned male at birth, due to external genitalia.

Continue reading “A Transgender Life”

5 Night Plan: A guide to strong and grounded relationships – REVIEW

5 Night Plan: A guide to strong and grounded relationships

Rich Simmonds’s 5 Night plan, truly does holds up an honest mirror in the face of relationships. Embrace the view.

– Dr Steve Maraboli New York, USA

Rich Simmonds 5 Night Plan suggests a fresh perspective on relationships and how to approach a potential long-term, concrete romantic relationship.

Personally I think the book is more suited to adults in their 30’s who is tired of wasting time dating, hoping to find “the one” and start their happily ever after. What I really loved about the book is that even in an established relationship, the topics written about is relevant regardless if you are in the beginning stages of getting to know a potential partner, or perhaps need to kick-start a long-term love.

Rich Simmonds is a gifted communicator and a master when it comes to emotional intelligence in my opinion. Reading about consistency, quality time, communication, trust, commitment, forgiveness and my favourite chapter that deals with “My intentions, your perception” is all aspects we should apply in our daily lives. We would be happier for it!

The 5 Night Plan does not get a four star rating from me because I am mentioned in the acknowledgement section. The book has nuggets of gold hidden in 86 pages. It is the kind of book where I use a soft pencil and underline in purple the parts that speak to my heart.

If you want to challenge your thinking and are in the dating game especially, or your relationship has fallen flat – read the book.

1-16 February 2014 021

5 Night Plan is available both in print and on Kindle.

I wish you enough,

WenchLogo - Copy


Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

I ran into @FerdiWG and his gorgeous wife @DianiGernandt at @joburgtheatre and asked what they are working on. Two of the most sincere, truly abundantly talented, down to earth people I have ever met. We spoke a bit and I asked @FerdiWG to forward me some details.

I have many teenagers in my life so, promoting a teen move – WHOOP! – I was very interested, but also protective of what the content will be… however knowing the persons behind the movie, I felt complete ease to give this movie my full support. Amazing what character can do for a couple. 🙂  @FerdiWG & @DianiGernandt – who you are speak louder than words.

I am sharing all the info available I have at present. I would love for you to share, follow, like, shout from the mountain tops – ENJOY! Help promote South African talented – PROUDLY!


Four random teenagers are pulled together by fate when they discover the two things they have in common: Superpowers! …..and one sinister neighbourhood mom. #SCARS is a teen adventure film in the vein of “I am number four” meets “The Breakfast Club” directed by the talented Ferdinand Gernandt.

Vanessa, a manipulative and sickly science-hungry woman discovers a cure in the DNA of Shane,  a young attractive but rebellious teenager and his easily seduced father, Cameron. Her desire to heal her physical condition spawns a secret science procedure that leaves any victim with a mysterious super ability.

Chloe, a soft risk-averse 15 year old girl learns that she can immobilize any form of aggression and at the same time present an answer to her victim’s deepest question. After a demoralizing experience at the school dance, Sepo, a fat, insignificant 14-year-old Zulu boy notices he has been cursed with invisibility. The hard-ass Ariana is almost raped when she is rescued by her ability to read material history. She escapes by using her attacker’s own knife against him.

Shane did not fall prey under the experimental claws of Vanessa. He was born with the ability to hear other people’s thoughts and the only thing that can free him from the noises in his head is playing on his guitar.

The supernatural plot unfolds in an array of events; Cameron is kidnapped, Chloe sets out to rescue, Fritz, her prince charming, Sepo embraces his new talent and uses his invisibility to overcome rivalry, Ariana is swept into Vanessa’s evil conspiracy, Shane learns to accept the voices in his head as they lead him to his father.

Will these four teenagers use their powers for bad or will they pull together and muster their gifts for the good in order to save their town and cease Vanessa’s unorthodox and sinister science program.

A bit about FADCreationS

FADcreationS CC was founded by producer Ferdinand Gernandt. In just a few years he has produced, directed, written & choreographed numerous projects: PRETVILLE – the musical with actors Steve Hofmeyr, Anette Engelbrecht, Emo Adams, Liz Meiring and Terrence Bridget. Indigenous Film distributors is the domestic distributor. PRETVILLE won a TEMPO award.  8 DAYS, an American feature film taking a stand against sex-trafficking with actors Todd Terry, Anthony a Kung and director Jaco Booyens – releases 2014. STERLOPERS a kykNET series to be aired locally April 2014 with actors Andre Scwartz, Philip Moolman, Nadia Beukes and Marno vd Merwe. LINE OUT – the movie musical in development with After Eden Pictures and DreamVision USA. SKOUSPEL, the biggest local stage spectacular in the Sun City Superbowl with actors/singers Kurt Darren, Nianell, Nicholis Louw, Elvis Blue and Chris Chameleon.

The Company’s goal is to produce high-quality films that entertain, delight, inspire and inform. Ferdinand has consistently accomplished that goal and they take great pride in his reputation for operating with creativity, integrity and a undauntable stand for quality and fun. Ferdinand is committed to ensuring a creative environment for every person who works on his projects. He recognizes that their production team from cast to crew is the cornerstone of their enterprise, and they value each and every member of their team.

The goal of every FADCreationS project is to transform culture through uplifting entertainment. #SCARS fulfils that mandate by providing a thought-provoking, entertaining film. The result of #SCARS  will be creating life-long memorable characters that teens and adults can connect with, relate to, cheer for and learn from.

#SCARS the movie, established as an PTY (LTD), provides us the greatest tax and operational advantages based on the nature of our business, taking advantage of the generous South African film industry incentives.

In addition to creating quality projects, we are one hundred percent committed to having each and every film generate a healthy profit for our investors.

A storyteller has to have a point of view that is unique. I have an extensive diversity of experience, stretching over 18 years, which allows me to hone in on my own unique point of view/voice – And expanding my social circle is a great place for anyone to start.

#SCARS has a collective, a band of brothers so-to-speak, people who can consistently and autonomously deliver a product and who has consistently been working together.

We do what we love.

What your contribution means

“Art gives our lives context.  It helps us understand the culture that makes us who we are.  And, if you are lucky, one day you may be able to shape the culture that influenced you” – Adi Shankar

By contributing to our project you won’t only receive exciting perks that go with your generous pledge BUT you will also be part of two causes: Providing a safe platform for teenagers who want to have a career in the film-industry and secondly, Help heal the SCARS of our youth through entertainment!

Entertainment is the number one element we can use to target our young. By providing uplifting and inspiring entertainment to this market we can influence their minds, attitudes and shape our culture. We can help break the paradigms that affect their decision-making and also their future.

FADCreationS’ passion, focus and calling is the development and encouragement of our up-and-coming young artists; to provide multiple platforms for their training and to nurture the creative talents that will undoubtedly become the future of our industry and country.

I believe we are created to reign, to rule and be victorious in all we do. Why not guide the young to get up, look up and never give up!

BIO: Ferdinand Gernandt

Ferdinand completed his studies in Musical Theatre at Pretoria Technikon in 1999. Soon after he joined “African Footprint” for three years (704 performances) as part of the original cast, touring abroad to Atlanta, Georgia, USA and performed at the “Royal Variety Performance” in 2000, London.

He also performed for “Celebrity Cruise Lines” and “Princess Cruises” as singer/dancer and guest entertainer for two years. On Ferdinand’s return to South Africa he choreographed and starred in “Best of the boys – Calendar Boys” as lead vocalist at the Performer Theatre, following he choreographed “Duke” for Tswane University of Technology (TUT) for their annual DanceSeason in 2005. Other Shows include: “7’Tease Fever”.

“The Wizard of Oz” “Vodacom CEO Awards 2005” Fred Casely in “Chicago” the Musical “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” Galileo understudy in “We Will Rock You” “The King and I” and wowed audiences as the John Travolta character Tony Manero in the West End hit Musical “Saturday Night Fever”.

He is proud to have been part of the Department of Education’s board of Chief Examiners of dance from 2008 to 2011. Ferdinand is co-owner and founder with his wife, Diani, of their entertainment company FADCreationS, which specializes in providing Performing opportunities through triple thread workshop programs, Hands-on guidance through a 6 month mentorship program, School production services – conceptualizing, direction, choreography, vocal arrangement, sound, lighting etc. Showreel assembling for every artist, showcasing each artist’s specific strengths, Screenwriting for shorts as well as features, Film initiatives countrywide aimed at our young adults portraying vibrant and sound moral values

Projects include: Nianell – Sand en Water CD launch, Innibos Kunstefees 2011 only to name but a few.

Recently, he choreographed the Afrikaans 50’s movie musical “Pretville” Produced by Hartiwood Films.

His TV experience also include: “Villa Rosa” “Generations” & “Isidingo”

Ferdinand’s short film screenplay “Uit die Kaskenades” got commissioned for production for kykNET’s Silwerskerm Filmfees which landed in the TOP 10 out of 450 other scripts. His screenplay and brainchild “LINE OUT – the movie musical” is in development with DreamVision and After Eden Pictures, USA.

He was also part of the Pop-Classical Crossover vocal band “IL Quinto”  (2009 – 2010) which has recorded songs with Taylor Dayne, Paul Potts and Udo Mechels and also performed with Elvis Blue, Lira, Rina Hugo, Jak de Priester and Bobby van Jaarsveld.

Ferdinand has a true need to give back to the young, up and coming performers and joined the South African Talent Championship (SATCH) as their Talent Ambassador and Head Scout, to be in direct contact with USA’s “Actors, Models and Talent for Christ” (AMTC) to give the South African youngsters a platform to reach and fulfil their dreams globally.

The “Broadway Performance Showcase Experience” is an initiative to create a sound platform for our young artists in South Africa and Ferdinand acts as producer, director and choreographer of this yearly project.

Ferdinand has been involved in the following projects: “The Road Warrior” a Short Film by Brian Mitchell, “Debuut – PILOT” an Afrikaans GLee kykNET Series and “Starlight Express” as one of the main characters, Electra. 8 DAYS IMDB credit as writer for this feature film, produced by After Eden Pictures USA.

I wish you enough,

Wenchy x

An Appetite for Peas

An Appetite for PeasAn Appetite for Peas by Casey B. Dolan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As many good things start, reading Casey’s book was mentioned in a tweet. After chatting to Casey and finding her delightfully real, the review was on!

“An Appetite for Peas” is Casey’s journey in becoming who she is today within herself, coming to terms with an imperfect childhood, how much need humans have to be wanted …. and dare I say loved as well as her realising her professional aspirations.

Being gorgeous (have you seen this girl?) – FHM’s 2nd hottest woman didn’t excite me, as I will never be a FHM anything – so massive jealousy there! However, when you read her feelings regarding, why she made the decisions she made, you come to understand that all that glitters is not gold.

Casey writes about young sexuality and the power she felt it had over the male species. Believe it not, as a teenager I was not the size of a large African country, and identified with her writing 100%. I too used sensual and seductive charms to make me feel powerful, wanted, loved, – and unfortunately as she agrees, it leaves one empty.

I did laugh and cry reading the book because her writing is real. She doesn’t write clinically about sex, neither sleazy. She found a middle ground without taking away from either. She writes about complex family relationships and being a child  of divorce with truth. I found her accounts quite touching to be honest. The good and the bad. The happy and the sad. The heartache and the joy. Our stories have many shared emotions.

I admired her determination in getting what she wanted, a career on radio and how hard she fought for what is clearly her passion. One would have thought that being so gorgeous you just get everything on a plate, but I guess not. A bit of a wake up call there for me. Oh so thin, gorgeous people also have issues and problems?

Total admiration that she wrote what she did while the characters are all still very much alive. Although they are given nicknames, I am very sure the characters know who they are – I think that takes courage…. one of the main reasons I have not written my story as I have been asked so often to do. I am waiting for people to die! LOL

Besides that the characters are very real people, she also develops them well to the reader and often gives insight that perhaps only came to her as an adult. Again, I identified with that.

Two things that bothered me about the book: a) There were chapters where it felt like the writing was ‘jumping’ a bit from one place to the next. I soon found my footing again, but it was distracting. b) I would have loved to see photographs, because yes, I am nosey – but one can understand not including such… 🙂

I enjoyed the read and would recommend it. It is one of those books where you put it down and you think, “I am not the only one.”

Coffee as agreed, next time you in Jozi Casey!

I wish you enough,

Drug Muled: Sixteen Years in a Thai Prison

Drug Muled:  Sixteen Years in a Thai PrisonDrug Muled: Sixteen Years in a Thai Prison by Joanne Joseph

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought the book because I am friends with the publisher, on Face Book, and I read how it was flying off the shelves in bookstores. I could not find it available in a Kindle version which was annoying, so I did get the soft cover.

This turned out to be a good thing as my daughter, Victoria (13) was visiting on the weekend, picked up the book and finished it by the next day. I heard her laughter next door, as well as the silence and I felt happy that books could take her on an emotional journey.

Once I also settled down to read “Drug Muled” I finished the same day. I did not enjoy the style of writing as it was very simplistic reading in terms of language and comprehension and I felt could do with some “meat”. Victoria and I agreed it is difficult to say we enjoyed the book because of the subject matter. How do you enjoy reading about a horrific act of evil done to a person, which in turn affects dozens of people in its aftermath?

I must admit, after reading the book, I never want to visit Thailand. Not for anything.

I found it hard at times to follow the sequence of events, or how exactly the relationship between the embassy and prison worked. What I did however fully grasp was the love Vanessa shared for her daughter, the devotion of friendship (because I have once shared such of powerful bond) that she could ask a friend to raise her child, and the difficulty adjusting to life outside of such a rigid, cruel structure for so many years.

It was mentioned on Face Book, that the book should perhaps be a compulsory read for high school students, which I would agree with. There is much one can learn about being a naïve young girl, believing in first love. People are both evil and good, and you may be surprised who stands by you when the chips are down. Perhaps the most overwhelming of them all, the difficulty in trying to forgive the people who had framed Vanessa (which is never mentioned in the book) and her acceptance of the years of her life she has lost.

It does leave one thinking.


View all my reviews

“I would die for you, but I won’t live for you.”

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


Usually, I have much to say, but this book was far too delicate for me to even suggest I could discuss character building and such. It’s a rose petal. Smell. Savour. Remember.

Wow! The book is geared to the young adult market I presume, but it captivated me immediately. It was beautiful in its innocence, beauty, hopes and dreams.

There were so many quotes. Moments where I just sat and breathed in the beauty.

I cried many times.

“That’s when Sam grabbed my hand. “I love this song!” She led me to the dance floor. And she started dancing. And I started dancing. It was a fast song, so I wasn’t very good, but she didn’t seem to mind. We were just dancing, and that was enough. The song ended, and then a slow one came on. She looked at me. I looked at her. Then, she took my hands and pulled me in to dance slow. I don’t know how to dance slow very well either, but I do know how to sway. Her whisper smelled like cranberry juice and vodka. “I looked for you in the parking lot today.” I hoped mine still smelled like toothpaste. “I was looking for you, too.” Then, we were quiet for the rest of the song. She held me a little closer. I held her a little closer. And we kept dancing. It was the one time all day that I really wanted the clock to stop. And just be there for a long time.”
 — Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Truly recommend this book for 15+ (although my 13 year old read it, she is not quite your average 13-year-old reader.)

“I couldn’t believe Sam actually got me a present because I honestly thought the “I love you” was it.”
— Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

I wish you… infinity.

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