Turns out we both liked men.

Dear friends, family and interesting creatures,

I happened upon my dearest friend, Louw’s video about being different yesterday. I’d never thought different could mask the word gay.

When I finished watching Louw’s video about coming out to his Dad, I had an ugly face cry.  I hated that Louw had felt any hurt ever.

I felt compelled to acknowledge the truth in my own life. My children’s father is gay.

I usually am very quick and witty about this subject. I say things like: (insert drum roll here)

I love gay men so much, I even married one once.

The truth is nothing like that. Truth is jest.

I would like you to watch Louw’s video, before you read the 30 things Brian is most grateful for. Perhaps it will explain to you, why I have felt an assortment of emotion, but never anger, nor blame. It’s a strange, strange world we live in Master Jack. 

I urge to you attempt to accept, embrace and have empathy for what you do not understand. I know this is not easy. Not for you, and certainly not for the person standing before you.

Thirty things I am thankful for:

There are so many ways I could look at this, so I will probably split my thirty things I am thankful for between the serious and the slightly more flippant.

  1. I am thankful for the path I have walked, for better or worse I feel I am a more authentic me.

Roughly a decade years ago my life was in turmoil. I realized whatever life I was living it was not me. Being a sometimes compulsive writer I wrote my thoughts down at the time and made a decision to try something new.

What I wrote at the time follows:

“I have never been afraid of death until now, not death itself but rather the life I will live until I die. A life lived in fear, a life that becomes banal, uninteresting even to myself” For a few months I know I lost the plot completely and drew into myself. No More.”

I will not live an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to love
so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

– Dawna Markova.

To not live an unlived life I realized was to require an absolute freedom, not bound by the shackles of my past, or the shackles of a grafted on morality.

I would rather live a life guided by that which sits deep within me. An honest life that is true to me and true to those around me.

“Accepting a freedom like that is both exciting and terrifying. How much do the points of reference on a moral compass shift, when reliant on purely one’s sense of self and who one is?”

The words above were written by a man who had been living in absolute fear and conflict with himself, deeply closeted to a point of denial.

Making a decision to seek something different, I never imagined where the journey would take me.

Today, I am a happy, out of the closet man who can fully accept me without conflict. So yes, for this I am thankful.

  1. I am thankful for my three children. Each a unique and special blessing who have walked the long path with me. Who love and accept me for who I am, flaws and all. Without them I am nothing.
  1. I am thankful for the mother of my children. Without her I would have nothing to offer this world when I am dead and gone. I hope that they each carry a piece of me, so that others will know my character even if they never met me.
  1. I am Thankful for a Grandmother who carried me in my youth. She was a mentor, a confidant and a friend. Certainly she formed part of the mould for who I am today.
  1. I am thankful for those others dear to me no longer of this earth. The lessons learned the memories cherished. For them in those dark hours I will still steal away and cry.
  1. I am thankful for past lovers. Some left me hurt, some left me poorer. Some I will carry in my heart forever. The all left me older and wiser.  I am thankful for that wisdom.
  1. I am thankful for the children along the way who I did not raise but still call me dad. It has been my privilege.
  1. I am thankful to live in a country and community that makes room for all and gives all a place in the sun.
  1. I am thankful for a small but precious circle of friends. These are the family I got to choose.
  1. I am thankful for my brother. He will always be a shining star in my life. Never on this earth could anyone be more proud of a sibling.
  1. I am thankful for late night conversations, the sharing of tears. I hold these moments sacred.
  1. I am thankful for my first love. Music. The soundtrack to my life would be an eclectic mix. Everything I have ever felt can be expressed in music, be it the lyrics or the emotion of the instruments.
  1. I am thankful for the fact I have lived over two decades in the one industry, it was foretold I could never make it in.
  1. I am thankful for those who will put themselves on a stage to perform. These courageous people who put themselves out there for our entertainment.
  1. I am thankful for the artists in the world. The ones on gallery walls and the ones on the subway walls. Creativity in all its forms inspires me.
  1. I am thankful for the moments when my mind grows still.
  1. I am thankful that in most cases we get to try again tomorrow.
  1. I am thankful for a world rich in fragrance, be it a flower, a dish to feast upon or the unique scent of a man or woman.
  1. I am thankful for the tree lined avenues I travel on my daily commute.
  1. I am thankful for the random smile of strangers.
  1. I am thankful for the animals I have loved throughout their lives. I love them still.
  1. I am thankful to the genius who first took leaves from a plant and let them steep in boiling water. Five Roses African Select is its perfect form.
  1. I am thankful for the genius who figured out fermentation. Beer or wine for me.
  1. I am thankful for the genius who figured out distillation. Vodka anyone?
  1. I am thankful for the genius who first processed a Cocoa Bean. 75% Dark chocolate for me.
  1. I am thankful for the Afrikaans language. Truly a beautiful language.
  1. I am thankful for the months that run out before the money does. Wish it happened more often.
  1. I am thankful for the nights where I beat insomnia. I wish they were more.
  1. I am thankful for “out swimming” a lot of other sperm. (Sorry I could not resist)
  1. I am thankful for any of you who took the time to read this.


May love and laughter light your days,

and warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours,

wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world

with joy that long endures.

May all life’s passing seasons

bring the best to you and yours!


With Love,


31 reasons to fall in love with @Verushka143

1-Fullscreen capture 20160906 23310 PMWomen are made of Sugar and Spice and all things nice or so they tell us in the nursery rhymes we learn as toddlers. But it is true us women are rather complex with so many different sides to us.

1) I sing in the shower and let us just say I could audition for Idols and not be laughed at. Favourite shower song is from Pitch Perfect “Titanium by David Guetta and Sia“. Reminds of how strong I am and that I am a warrior.

2) As much as I love Technology , there are certain things I prefer the old fashioned way. Books for me need to be real and not ebooks. The feel of turning crisp clean pages,the smell of new pages and the sound of pages flipping send my soul to a happy place. I always carry a book on me.Literally I can spend hours in a book shop and lose track of time. Want to impress me ? Give me a copy of your favourite book !

3) A hopeless romantic who still believes in love even though my heart looks like a patchwork quilt.

4) I love making lists. Most people have a #BucketList of places they want to travel but I have several lists which include :

a) Books to read
b) Places to eat at around the world
c) Photos to capture
d) Experiences around the world

Spice5) I love watching Bollywood movies and I get lost in the magic of romance. I do not speak the language but over the years I have picked up the language by watching movies. My mum and I have days out where we go to get our Bollywood fix.

7) My parents live in the same house for the last forty years and we have the same phone number. Crazy especially as in this day and age people are constantly on the go.

8) My first teaching job was in the ‘lil town of Ixopo in KZN. I taught and lived at a boarding school. Alan Paton was a  Headmaster at this school and this was where he wrote Cry The Beloved country.

9) Vanilla is my most favourite spice. So be it perfume, tea or coffee there is always an underlying flavour of Vanilla.

10) Going down stairs, are a nightmare for me especially if there are more than 5 steps and they are narrow. I have a phobia of falling down the stairs though once I did fall up on a flight of stairs.

11) I have a real job besides my blog. Having studied an Education degree ,I have taught in schools and in London. Currently well for the last 5 years I have been lecturing at a local TVET College. I start work at 12 midday and finish at 8pm.

12) My most favourite chocolate in the world is Lindt. More specifically the Red Lindor Balls.

13) Mildly addicted to all things British. After living in London for almost a decade I know a cup of tea is always a good idea, a fry up breakfast is the best hangover cure and YES I still watch BBC soapies.

14) Rose Gold is my favourite metal and has been for over ten years. Fell in love with this metal after I discovered I love the colour pink. Long story cut short but hard to believe that once upon a time I hated the colour pink.

15) I have a medical condition called Keloids. This means my scar tissue over heals and leave excess skin and tissue in the form of lumps on my body. I have gotten keloids from my baby injections on my arm and on my eyes from having my ears pierced with a surgical gun.

16) I have 3 tattoos and still plan on getting more.

17) I do not feel dressed unless I have a watch on. I have on some occasions worn a dead watch as the battery had died and I felt bare with it on my wrist.

18) I have been bitten by the Travel Bug and all I want to do is travel. Through my blog I have been fortunate enough to get some opportunities.

19) I take daily Chronic medication for High Blood Pressure.

20) I love cooking for my loved ones. I see myself as the Indian Nigella.

21) When ever I watch any sporting matches and hear the South African National Anthem I get goosebumps and get all teary.

22) The name of my blog is inspired by a movie called Mistress of the Spices.

23) Mad about animal print currently on my lust list is an animal print sari.

24) I started my Twitter account before I started blogging.

25) I love statement jewellery. My sense of fashion includes combining my Eastern looks with Western statement jewellery.

26) Once upon a time I had my nose pierced but removed it after 3 years.

27) After watching the Stephen King movie “IT “ as a child I am rather afraid of clowns.

28) I love taking pictures of my world and myself. I used to be very self conscious about the way I look but not anymore. Love me for all my flaws or leave me be.

29) I used to not be an animal person but that all changed when I got my first puppy four years ago and now I own 2 dogs Chai and Zara.

30) As a plus size girl I am proud to be a Brand Ambassador for Curvy Girls Chronicles which is a Body Positivity Campaign in America with ambassadors around the world.

31) Proudly South African with a deep rooted Indian cultural identity.

Twitter : http://www.twitter.com/verushka143

Instagram : http://www.instagram.com/verushka143

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/SpiceGoddessBlog

Blog : www.spicegoddess.co.za

Be Inspired !

Verushka Ramasami

From GLITTER to toast.

30 great things I’m grateful for – in absolutely no particular order of preference, except the first two.


1. My children – for the funny, the quirky, the challenging, the enduring, the different, the surprising, the everything … especially the love!!

2. My man – for his patience and his steadfast permanence, mostly when he has no clue what I’m doing (which is most of the time)!

3. Glitter (obviously!) – all colours, all the time!

4. Toast (ya – I guess that was obvious too!) – preferably rye toast, especially on cold winter mornings, with melted butter … mmmmmmmm!!!

5. My book Tribe

6. My doglets, Phoebe and Chandler

7. Tea & Coffee – such a confusing conundrum being a lover of both!

8. Notebooks – ring-bound ones

9. Actually, most stationery! I love stationery!

10. Living in a country where we have the freedom to practice what we
believe in, and to support others who might feel that this isn’t the

11. Being privileged to watch incredibly talented SA performers on-stage on a
regular basis. I don’t think people realise what amazing home-grown
talent we have in our country – they’re so busy criticising anything

12. Things we don’t even think about – the roof over our head, running water, electricity, clothes, shoes – that others only dream of.

13. Pain-free days. For anyone who suffers from any type of ‘invisible’ condition, where your pain is practically unbearable, so you just pop those pills and suffer in silence, you’ll know what I mean!!

14. My mom still being able to travel over from the UK to spend time with us.

15. The fact that we can all help anyone, change anyone’s life for the better, in an instant, at anytime (to paraphrase Anne Frank).

16. Google Maps (especially when I’m in Cape Town – sorry, telling me to ‘just look for the mountain’ doesn’t actually work for me!!!!)

17. Music that inspires me

18. Getting a good night’s sleep (rare, oh, so rare!!)

19. The incredible inspiration I get, and all the amazing, insightful things I learn from the diverse group of people I get to call my friends, both online and in real-time.

20. Emily – without her, our home and our lives wouldn’t actually operate … at all!!!

21. Soup – in all and any weather.

22. John Frieda Frizz-Ease Shampoo & Conditioner

23. Sweet peas in summertime – my favourite flowers

24. Work that fulfills and rewards.

25. Books, books, books, and more books!

… for the love of books.

26. My Kindle

27. My Cellphone

28. Garlic Bread

29. Lindor Balls

30. Lip Balm 

Blogs: www.jansbookbuzz.com 


What are you thankful for?

Abundance & Gratitude with Clairvoyant Lifestyle Blogger Neeta

1. I am Grateful for a loving husband! And our marriage of just over a year.

2: I am Grateful for the awareness and creativity I am able to share with everyone.

3: I am Grateful for my beautiful home.

4: I am Grateful for my gorgeous plants, I love my plants and that they grow.

5: I am Grateful for the ability to cook healthy meals with awareness.

6: I am Grateful to be healthy and vibrant.

7: I am Grateful for all the amazing friends I have, through blogging and media.

8: I am Grateful for the amazing diverse country and cultures I live in.

9: I am Grateful for the ability to work from Home as an entrepreneur, share my creativity with others, through art.

10: I am Grateful for amazing Neighbours and friends that are supportive and caring.

11: I am Grateful for running water and electricity, my cellphone.

12: I am Grateful for the ability to experience new adventures, through travelling and blogging.

13: I am Grateful for the best weather and sunsets in the world

14: I am Grateful for my helper, all the waiters and service providers we have in this magical country.

15: I am Grateful for my health and the ability to function in every way.

16: I am Grateful for the ability to stand out.

17: I am Grateful for the courage to drive on Jo’burgs roads, especially not coming from a big city.

18:I am Grateful for being an avid reader and learning more.

19: I am Grateful to communicate and share inspiration with everyone.

20: I am Grateful for my amazing family!

21: I am Grateful to inspire others.

22: I am Grateful for my qualification in the beauty industry.

23: I am Grateful for the ability to use my Discernment, and choose the right company for me.

24: I am Grateful for the travels and adventures I continue to go on.

25: I am Grateful I can paint and draw, create jewelry.

26: I am Grateful for the sensitivity and compassion I feel towards others.

27: I am Grateful for this magical day.

28: I am Grateful for a birthday coming up next month.

29: I am Grateful for spring, the birds chirping the love of nature.

30: I am Grateful for this journey, grateful you are reading this!

Neeta is a Lifestyle blogger, Writer, Creative Influencer & Clairvoyant

  • Blog:  Love Art By Neeta
  • Twitter: @neetaraga
  • Facebook Page: Loveartbyneeta
  • Instagram: loveartbyneeta


Laura’s World

Personally I think that there are a 100 things that I can be thankful for but here are my top 30:


1. My parents – because they show me what true love really is every single day 

2. Good hair days

3. Good health

4. My rescue cat Fluffils purring, when she gives me morning cuddles

5. Starbucks Caramel Macchiatos 

6. Wine

7. Friends I can drink wine with – any time – day or night

8. Finding a pair of stockings without a ladder in them

9. Fireplaces in Winter

10. Yellow Daffodils in the Spring

11. Silk sheets when you’ve just shaved your legs

12. Google

13. Every good book I’ve ever read

14. Cheese fondue – all kinds of cheese really

15. Music that can change my entire day – on repeat

16. Bloody Mary’s

17. When those designer shoes you’ve had your eye on for months goes on sale

18. SALES of any kind

19. A really good pillow

20. Sleeping in

21. Pizza with cream cheese and chive sauce on it

22. Patrick Mavros jewellery 

23. Zimbabwe

24. My faith

25. Travel

26. Ryan Gosling – always

27. Bach

28. A rainy day indoors

29. Homemade tomato soup

30. A relaxing bubblebath

Join me on: 

Twitter: LaurasWorldza 

Instagram: laurasworldza

Zomato: https://www.zomato.com/laurasealy

Looks like we’ve made it.

Dear friends and other interesting creatures,

Before I married @SirNoid ♡ I was a very enthusiastic amateur photographer. A year or so into our marriage, I became ill.

The things that was part of the tape that held me somewhat together during my divorce, and the years that followed, slowly started falling away.

I physically was unable to do many things and being a manic depressive, there were some deep dark days.

As we celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary later this month (24th – don’t forget) I am in a very different space physically and mentally.

No, life is not all rainbows and unicorns but I have received great medical care with thanks to SirNoid. While I still cannot sit behind a desk for 8 hours, I can do two hours at a push,twice a day with a long break between the two, which means I actually got out of bed right? Yeah!

I was asked to do a shoot in May of this year and I was incredibly nervous. I had not held a camera for 90 minutes in years. I did the shoot. I was happy with the majority of the shots but most importantly it woke up the photographer loving me.

I can feel the “seeking for an unusual perfect shot” slowly creeping back.

I enjoy doing couple shoots because I always hope to find that bubble of who they are, and shine it back to them.

So, who is next? 🙂

Jenny and Ezio

Wedding Edition:  11 May 2016

Captured by: @NocturnalWenchy #flipagram created using @flipagram 


I wish you enough,

Immediate and extended. Paula Gruben #Umbilicus 


1. My health. And all the doctors and nurses who have kept this old sack of skin, blood, and bones going the past 42 years.

2. My husband. My partner in crime since 1994.

3. My child. Best thing that ever happened to me. Period.

5. My family. Biological and adoptive. Immediate and extended. You are all precious to me.

6. My friends. Old and new. Near and far. Real-life and virtual. Thanks for letting me be me.

7. Our domestic helper, Surprise, and our gardener, Christopher.

8. Beagle Watch. Keeping our neighbourhood safe, so we can sleep at night.

9. The Democratic Alliance. For instilling a renewed confidence in the future of this beautiful country. (No need to emigrate just yet.)

10. Teachers who believed in me and inspired me (my English teacher at Westville Girls’ High, Mrs Buckley, deserves a special mention). Teachers who do the same for my son.

11. Bosses who took a chance on me, and gave me the opportunity to cut my teeth on many facets of the publishing industry: Margie Koch, John Bowles, Eureka Zandberg / Anfra Mostert, Rosanne Buchanan, Sammi-Jo Botha.

12. Amazon, CreateSpace, digital printers, and small print runs. All of which have made self-publishing a reality for indies like me.

13. A successful book launch. And all the people who came out to support me.

14. My readers. I am deeply humbled by each and every person who has taken the time to buy / read my book, and provide feedback.

15.Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and my personal blog Jozibelle. I cannot imagine how insular and boring life would be without social media and the blogosphere.

16. Woolies Foods, restaurants, takeaways. Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom.

17. Cows. Fillet steak, chocolate, cheese. Pigs. Bacon. ‘Nuff said.

18. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine. “Folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” – Abraham Lincoln

19. The rise of plus-size supermodels like Candice Huffine who make me feel better about my body, and designers who are now acknowledging and catering to us tall and curvy girls.

20. Holidays and travel. For enriching my life through first-hand experience of other countries and cultures.

21. Art, Architecture, Design, Fashion. For making the world a more beautiful place.

22. Nature. For feeding my soul. And keeping me humble.

23. Trees. Shade.

24. Rain. I am a pluviophile.

25. Aircon in my car.

26. Winter days, summer nights. Hot showers, clean sheets.

27. Music, Books, Movies, Netflix, digital cameras, smartphones.

28. Microsoft Word and Excel. Google and Wikipedia. WiFi and 4G.

29. Antihistamines and Myprodol. Psych meds and HRT.

30. Braces and Roaccutane. Makeup and hair dye. Moisturiser and sunscreen. Razors and tweezers. Pedicures by Sylvia Ngwenya – best foot massages EVER.

“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”


“Is this all there is? Nothing more?” 

Once upon a time, there was a girl child and she woke up very early in a dream forest. Some people wake up rather late in their own dream forests, but her awakening was at the dawn of her journey. She could identify the landscape early on; she could locate her place easily within the forest; and she could see her fellow travellers.

Some of the travellers were scary, some of them were not, and some were her companions in the journey. Loved, as family tends to be.

She could map her journey, look back on her past, look forward to her future, and examine her present. As is natural, people come and go when you inhabit a dream forest—some partings are easy, others hard, but each is a step in time. Dream forests always have good and bad places so that people can grow and be strong—fierce against predators and villains.

Her dream forest had given her the gift of creativity, an ability to express herself in words and pictures. Oft times, she would gather fellow dream-forest children around and regale them with impossible tales that would have everyone giggling or crying—depending on the story. Other times, she would draw and paint and visualize the dream-forest world, certain of what lay before.

One day, as she skirted the edge of the forest, looking out at the wider world beyond, a man approached from outside of the forest, beckoning to her. She went to him and he invited her to follow him out onto the plains. She had never explored the plains, the forest had always been her sanctuary, but she knew that everyone eventually ventures out onto the plains—it is simply a matter of when and how, and if they stay or go forever.

He told her that he was an inhabitant of the plains, he knew their landscape, and she should join him there—which she did. He became her guide to the plains because she didn’t know the terrain. He drew her further and further away from the forest into his world, until she could no longer see it, and her dream forest was but a distant memory. Sometimes she would hear the call, from far away, but he would turn her around to face the plains again.

Together, they wandered the plains. She was his helpmeet, and handservant. He fought battles to establish his place on the plains, they had two children, who knew only the plains. And she could no longer remember the beauty of the forest, although in her dreams at night the images came to wave a ghostly hand across her mind.


At times, she would rebel and make a move to go back to the dream forest, but he would drag her back to the sun-seared plains, where water was as scarce as a loving touch.

Decades passed. She could feel the bindings of the plains around her body growing ever tighter, as they lost their suppleness and bit into her flesh. In their travels as a family, she would often stare with longing as they would edge close to the dream forest, but as much as she could see its shape and outline, she could not reach its nurturing shade.

One night, as she stood with a friend, she lifted her eyes to the sky and stars above the plains and asked, “Is this all there is? Nothing more?” Her friend knew, because her friend was also a reluctant plains traveller. But her friend did not know how to console her.

The bindings grew tighter. She realized that one day they would cut flesh. And one day they did. A small cut, easily patched over.

But then another cut, and another, a bit deeper this time, like word swords. This one was harder to heal, but it eventually did. The journey continued, but now she was beginning to tire. Every step became an effort. Every move drained her soul. She kept a smile stuck on her face, but the glue was not holding very well.

One day, the dryness of the landscape, the lack of care on the bindings, caused them to cut really deep, in many places. The word swords danced like evil gremlins. The symbols of connection were discarded, and she said to herself, “No more! I am not a dweller of these plains! There is no water of life here!”

She cut the painful bindings, and they flew off her like the skin of a snake that sheds. The man laughed and said she would never survive the plains on her own, that she lacked the skills and ability to negotiate the dry, barren landscape.

She turned to him and said, “This is not my land, it does not nourish. I am going to the dream forest.” And she turned her head to the horizon, knowing that the journey would be arduous before she would find the mountains and trees that were the landscape of her youthful mind. His laughter echoed behind her, but she stayed the course, until she could no longer hear his mirth.

Just as the journey away from the forest took so long, so too did the journey to reach the landscape that birthed her. But small signs along the way showed her that she was nearing her goal.

A rare flower here, a soft stream there. Beauty and abundance beckoned. She resurrected the skills she had forgotten, she exercised her mind and her spirit, she grew stronger and more certain.

Until one day, there it was: the dream forest at the far edge of the horizon. She hurried on now. She could smell the moisture and life of the forest. And best of all, it was not the very same forest of her youth, but a more mature, richer, deeper place. Just as she had changed in her absence, so too had it, promising more reward and greater happiness.

And so she returned a richer person to the world she had left behind: artist, mother, writer, creator, lover, life-giver.


Fiona Tipping is a Designer • Artist • Writer • Human Being • Mom • Sister • Friend • Networker. She resides in Great Brak River, Western Cape, South Africa


Girls With Curls

Nappyversary*, shrinkage**, BC***, LOC****. Just some of the many terms that have become part of my natural hair discourse since dumping the ‘creamy crack’ (chemical relaxers) and, literally and figuratively, embracing my roots twelve years ago.

1-Fullscreen capture 20160829 12715 PMI had started researching issues of slavery, oppression, Apartheid, class and race for my third year mini-thesis “Representations of ‘Coloured’ Women on Stage”. The bigger issues are too much to go into here. But the scales fell from my eyes as I realised that centuries of societal conditioning, no pun intended, had me hating my hair as it grew out of my scalp! I saw within my own community how beauty and worth in women were directly linked to the straightness of their hair and European features, rather than the naturally kinky-curly hair and African/Creole features.

Well, this all kicked off my personal revolution. I ‘returned’ to my natural hair, giving up the seasonal chemical trip to the hairdressers, the weekly rolling in and blowing out of hair, and wearing a swirlkouse at night (pantyhose cut and tied, swirled around the hair and used to hold the straightness overnight). I also gave up being scared of getting my hair wet or even close to mist or inclement weather, lest it mince (frizz)! I started to acknowledge or try to understand all my cultural roots and those of ‘my people’. More importantly, I started to care about what I thought about MY hair, not others’ opinions.

I officially entered the entertainment industry a year later in a tribute show where my fabulous, new afro shouted out my debutante arrival! At castings, I was usually the only brown girl with hair like mine. Walking around my hometown of Cape Town, I’d get asked if I was Brazilian or American – so strange was it to see someone embracing their natural hair. Acquaintances or old family friends would brazenly ask when I was going to “sort my hair out”. Other female friends dealt with family or partners telling them they looked ugly with their natural hair.

Fast forward to the present day and the world at large is seeing a move to people of colour loving themselves as is! The Natural Hair Movement is part of that revolution as more and more women are seen sporting their natural afros and curls, from business to the government. Natural hair salons are sprouting up all over, tailor-made products are everywhere and the myriad of supportive natural hair forums make it so much easier for the women of colour who choose to embrace it.

So, aluta continua, Naturalistas!”

*The anniversary of going natural
**When the curl coils up on itself when it’s dry, making your hair appear shorter than when wet
*** Big Chop, cutting off all chemically-treated hair
****Liquid, Oil, Cream – a combo of products to get the curls popping

You can reach Chantal Stanfield on:

Twitter – @chantalstan

Instagram – @chantal.stanfield


Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories.

Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me: wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,


For some reason, I can still touch my toes.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall
Sometimes I don’t like what I see in you at all…”

30 years ago, I don’t think I had a clear idea of what my body looked like. I might have envied some of the lithe, swan-necked “It-girls” who floated ethereally around campus, but I was too busy stomping my way angrily out of the horror movie that had been my childhood.


Taken in the States in late 1993. I thought I was obese! If only I was as fat now, as I thought I was then!

My body was merely a container that transported me, took my brain to lectures, helped me emote my way through my drama classes and tried to stay awake nights at the security phone-bank job that was essential to my financial survival. As to what it looked like, that was somewhat irrelevant.

My wardrobe staples were tracksuits and takkies. My other uniform consisted of a voluminous ankle-length skirt, a much-loved hand-me-down from a distant relative that I would pair with one of two holy thrift-store sweaters. My boyfriend would beg me to let him dress me, to not hide my body (no surprise that he’s now the co-owner of the largest costume hire company in Southern Africa – and married to a man), but I had no interest.

I remember being in a production that went to Grahamstown and then months later, travelled to the Market Theatre. Someone who’d seen me in both cities, came to comment on how much weight I’d lost in the time between, and all I could do was stare at them as if they were insane. I’d had absolutely no idea. Weight didn’t factor into my concept of self. My terrible twin/best friend with whom I was joined at the hip since first-year drama-school, suffered from anorexia and my idea of trying to help her get over it, was to eat for her. I was aware of her losing the hair on her head and sprouting it on her forearms instead, but personally, I was never one for scales, and obviously lacked a certain self-awareness.

Somewhere along the line, that changed. Maybe it coincided with my move to the States, becoming a gym-rat and trying to start a career in Hollywood, but somehow a scale made it’s way into my bathroom and its daily fluctuations began to rule my reality. I had a recurring role on a show called “City of Angels” with Blair Underwood and Viola Davis (yes, THAT Viola), and I recall going to Vancouver during the shoot, and enjoying a lovely meal which was rounded off (pun intended) with dessert. The meal was barely over before I was overcome with an attack of anxiety so profound that I promptly found the nearest treadmill to try and run away from the calories I’d just ingested. I firmly believed that that one meal would stop me from fitting into my character’s wardrobe after the weekend.

So, many years and BMI extremes later (including, dropping below 48kg during times of emotional duress), I’m living proof that diets don’t work. I’ve Master-cleansed and eaten lean, taken pills and gone to the gym twice daily. A few years ago the Dukan Diet helped me to shed 10kgs for a movie, and I managed to keep it off for a long time. However, after this last year where my regular running sessions fell victim to frequent sinus infections, bouts of bronchitis, multiple courses of antibiotics, cortisone, sessions of nebulizing, etc, and a final diagnosis of Asthma, most of those 10 kilos have snuck back and I find myself middle-aged and sporting the dreaded middle-age-spread. And the only thing firm about me, is my belief that diets don’t work.

I need to start the uphill climb back to health, so together with starting chronic asthma meds, a few weeks ago, I restarted my yoga practice and I’ve been on my mat between 4 and 5 times a week ever since. I, who once trained for rollerblade marathons, taught cardio-kick classes and could effortlessly touch my toes (okay, for some reason, I can still touch my toes), felt like I was going to die. My belly-rolls compressed painfully into my chin, felt like an elephant sitting on my chest and made it impossible to breathe. Every joint creaked and complained, and yet, I kept going back. I show up and keep my eyes and my practice on my mat. Now, less than a month later, I am amazed at how our bodies forgive us for our multitude of sins. I do what I can and I thank this body for giving me a chance at a do-over. And an interesting thing is happening. I haven’t really lost weight, but I’m stronger. I’m standing taller, stretching deeper and each day I become more flexible as I listen to what my body wants. I can now do headstands, those shoulder-stands aren’t nearly as impossible, and my breath-capacity is increasing.

If I’m honest, I’ll admit that for most of the last 20 years, when I’ve weighed more, I’ve felt less than. I feel so much better about myself when I’m leaner. My clothes fit better. I feel confident, even sexy. I’m not comfortable when I’m “coloring outside the lines”, when my bra-straps cut painfully into my shoulders and my usually quirky style of dress consists of whatever fits. In a strange contradiction, when my body takes up less space, I feel like I have more of a right to my place in the world.

And yet… as an activist, I sit myself down and lecture myself about the fact that we are not our bodies. I want to bookmark all the body-positive blogs and frequent the fat-girl-yoga IG feeds. I’m trying to be kinder to myself – as kind as I am to other buxom, big-boned beauties, or to the skinny waifs who will always look prepubescent, but are no less woman. The irony is, I can see other women’s inner and outer beauty so clearly, but I’m myopic when it comes to seeing mine. Maybe my chosen career creates this kind of body dysmorphia, but I’m going to keep insisting that a woman’s worth does not lie in the numbers on a scale, or the size on a clothes-tag. It lies in how we love, our empathy, compassion, strength, resilience, our creativity, in how many times we get up when life knocks us down, in the grace, or galumphiness, with which we navigate our daily challenges. That, to me, seems closer to the truth and I’m going to keep repeating it to myself till I finally, whole-heartedly, believe it.

I’m going to keep pounding into my brain the fact that even when I think my body, reflected in the mirror, is too much, I, am more than enough.

Sandi Schultz is a South African actress best known for her role as Dr Jennifer Adams in the Afrikaans language soapie Binnelanders.

You can find her on




Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories.

Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me: wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,