ATKV Oesfees (Harvest Festival) 2013

It is the start of the best season in the wine industry. Annual harvest festivals will soon be filling our diaries and, as usual, it will be a difficult pick to squeeze in as many as possible.

Last year I was fortunate enough to attend a number of them and my favorite by far was the one held at Idiom. I certainly can’t wait to see what they will do this year.

The one, which will definitely take top preference for me though, is the 6th Annual ATKV Oesfees to be held at Solms Delta, Franschhoek on 23 March 2013. It promises to be a fantastic affair with more than 100 uniquely South African performers on stage. Some of the big names include Emo Adams, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Valiant Swart Band and Claire Johnson. Besides them, I am also looking forward to seeing internet sensation spoon-slide guitarist Hannes Coetzee. I was fortunate enough to see Hannes in action during the Kalahari Karoo Blues presented by David Kramer and fell in love with his unique style.

Solms Delta is indeed the perfect venue for this festival. A kiddies area will be available for under 12’s with a Carnival Circus theme, which is guaranteed to keep them occupied. Mom and dad can indulge to their hearts content in the fantastic traditional South African and Cape style foods to be prepared by the ever popular Fyndraai Restaurant.

Of course, no harvest festival is complete without savoring the local wines on offer! Here again, Solms Delta comes to the party and deliver way beyond expectations. Their uniquely blended Rhone style varietals stay true to the Cape with names such as Hiervandaan, Vastrap, Langarm and Gemoedsrus. The Solms-Astor Cape Jazz Shiraz is another one of my favorites and an absolute crowd pleaser. Apart from food and wine, their contributions to the economy and environment are admirable. The Annual Harvest Festival is held to bring together farm workers and farm owners to thank them for their hard work during the year.

For Solms Delta however, it goes beyond just an annual festival. They have two trusts in place to look after the needs of workers and farm residents under the watchful eye of a full-time social worker. It is evident that the economic well being of the community carries a lot of fruit with the farm owners.

In terms of the environment, they recently joined the 110% Green Campaign as their flagship project. The 3 branches of their project consist of recycling, a worm farm and the Dik Delta Garden project.

So, if this year you are looking to attend a harvest festival, which impacts on the community for more than just a day, make your way to Solms Delta.

For more information visit their website http://www.solmsdelta.co.za or via Twitter on: @solms_delta #oesfees. For early bird ticket discounts visit their Facebook page Facebook.com/SolmsDelta.

Who needs the motivation, motivate the masses!

So there is this global awareness, a new consciousness so to speak, to focus more on personal growth and motivation.
I first really started paying attention to this when I read The Celestine Prophecy in January of 2011. The Secret, The Power, The Magic, Excuse me, your life is waiting and many others followed. The one that really brought home the message, however, was The Docu-movie, What the bleep do we know. It all boils down to the same thing: what you put out is what you get back! Your thoughts, words and actions work on a sub-molecular level and determine the energy that you put out. Energy is magnetic, hence the more negativity you put out, the more negativity you will get back! Guaranteed! Now I follow Og Mandino, Paolo Coelho, Robin Sharma and many more.

I have never been a Negative Nelly as I have always found negativity to just be such a waste of time and energy. However, after the Law of Attraction hit home, I really started to pay attention to the energy I put out. Looking back over the past two years I can definitely see that the times when things were not going according to plan, were also the times where I had allowed despair, sorrow and other energy stealing factors to take over. The majority of the time, the times when things went exactly according to plan, where the times when I was basking in sheer gratitude!

Everyday I make a conscious move to replace negatives with positives. Don’t get me wrong, I still have things that don’t go according to plan. I just see them as inconveniences instead of problems and find a positive to focus on. The positive does not have to relate to the issue at hand, it can be something as simple as the fact that you can feel the breeze on your skin! Try it, it gets easier the more you do it and you will be surprised at the results!

In December my mom came to visit and she told me to get The Leader Without A Title. I haven’t got round to that yet. Imagine my sheer joy yesterday when I learned that Robin Sharma will be here in the Mother City for his Lead Without A Title conference for one day only in February! I nearly jumped out of my skin with joy!

First thing this morning I got onto finding out more about the tickets. In less than 5 minutes my spirit was crushed! Jacques and I would have to save for nearly half a year to be able to afford the tickets. In this day and age with the economy being what it is, who can really afford the luxury of paying more than 3 months rent, as it is for us, to attend a conference. As someone commented today: that’s why it is better to just read the books. Sure, the books help, but can you imagine the impact of hearing it first hand?! Wow, it would be truly life changing!

That got me thinking. You know the saying that the rich are getting richer, well does this then also apply to motivation? Does only the already powerful and successful have the right to receive life changing motivation? What about the poor, desperate and depressed? What about the hopefuls, the dreamers yearning for a touch of the Midas Gold? Are they not the ones who need it most?

Yes I understand that these guys have worked all their lives to get to where they are. Yes I get that their words are so powerful, they are so sought after that they deserve a damn good paycheck.

But what about the masses? Won’t we see a turn around in the global attitude and ultimately economies if the guys at the bottom of the food chain could be inspired?

I guess for now I would have to simply rely on fate to see whether I am destined to win tickets to the conference. If it’s meant to be destiny will find away.

Stay motivated, stay positive – you hold the key to turning your life around! Believe, have faith and take control of the energy you put out! Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

Kalahari Karoo (not so) Blues

 How blessed we were to be able to attend opening night of the Kalahari Karoo Blues presented by David Kramer! 

Today our heart beats to the rhythm of Africa and our souls rejoice in the knowledge that we are African!  David Kramer thoroughly deserves a number of awards for this masterpiece, a “national geographic” tour into the historical African and South African music!

 

The Baxter Theatre was packed with such a mix of our beautiful rainbow nation, but we were all united through the African rhythms.  I sincerely hope that the remaining 8 shows will be sold out! 

 

David opened the show with the following phrase:  “This is the Baxter, normally it’s full of music and drama, but tonight it’s full of David Kramer and anything can happen!”. And did it all happen!  It was the most sincere and unpretentious show I had ever seen.

 

The line up consist of:

 

David Kramer as we all came to know and love him.  Those red shoes shining bright and making every one of his, very agile, steps clearly visible.  Man, can he move!  At one point he was playing his guitar while bent over so low that the bottom of the guitar was sweeping the stage!  He does not seem to get any older and will put most of us to shame on the dance floor.  

 

Die Sonskynsusters, Elsbeth Davids and Ruth Hector, whose appearance strongly reminded me of old ladies on their way to church.  The hems of their beautiful dresses gently swaying to the rhythm of their hips, church hats completing the respectable look.  My favorite performance of the night had to be Ruth’s rendition of Calvinia.  A heart wrenching tribute to Helena Kleingeld.  She had me in tears and left goose bumps on all.

 

Aunty Mary Kriel from Vredendal, clad in traditional Namaqua dress complete with “voortrekker kappie” and apron, strums / drums a medium sized coffee tin.  She started of slowly with her first song.  However, when we applauded her  inspiration soared and she went straight into another, more upbeat song.  The Kalahari spirit kicked in and took over.  At this point David helplessly threw his hands in the air and sat back down.  She was an absolute winner and he new better than to try and stop her.  The longer she sang the more daring her Riel dancing became and Hannes Coetzee and Outeng Piet spontaneously joined her in dance.     

 

Hannes Coetzee is no stranger to performing arts.  He became a youtube sensation for his slide spoon method of playing the guitar.  At over 60 he and David were, jokingly, trying to outdo each other at winning the “Salusa45” prize for who could dance and perform the longest!  He took a trip with David to Seattle in 2010 to teach his slide spoon method.  It turns out that the Dolly Parton band are huge fans of his.  Another accolade to his name is that Grammy winning folk group, Carolina Chocolate Drops, will this year be recording his song Mahala.    

 

Then there are the 3 artists from Botswana: Outeng Piet, Ronnie Moipaloi and Babsi (didn’t get his surname unfortunately).  Only Outeng Piet could speak English and Ronnie does not understand a word of English.  David was visibly nervous throughout the show and it was clear that he didn’t know what the audience would make of their songs in a completely foreign language.  His nervousness was in vain.  Their musical abilities drew us in and made us part of their heritage.

 

Outeng Piet was dressed in buckskin and I guess the best way to describe him would be as an Energizer Bunny!  For the life of him he could not sit still and was constantly getting up to dance to the other performers music.  I found it beautiful that, even though he understands no Afrikaans, he completely merged with their music and was thoroughly enjoying himself.  He gave the most heartfelt thank you to the audience.  He plays the one-stringed segaba, which kind of looks like a shovel turned sideways and slung over the shoulder.  He produces the most haunting sounds from it.  Something like a rusty windmill turning in the wind.  He sings mainly to give HIV education to kids.  His first song was about the necessity of using condoms.  His second song had me in stitches.  It is a very funny narrative of the milk man who should never wear a cap while milking (circumcision) and never put the milk straight in your mouth, but in a bucket first (condomize!).  It was great fun.

 

Ronnie is the other internet sensation in the cast.  It took David the better part of 2 years to track him down after he first saw him on youtube.  It was well worth it.  He plays the notes on the guitar much like one would play the piano, with the hands playing from the top, rather than from the bottom as you normally would, even using his elbow at times.  Sometimes he does all of this with the guitar held behind his head, the back of the guitar facing the back of his head!  Very talented indeed.  He sang a song called “Marakaras” meaning miracle and as David said 2013 is a year of miracles and wonders.

 

Babsi in his pristine white suit, who is at 80 also the oldest of the cast, lit up the stage with his performance.   He plays the tendjoro. a 3 stringed guitar made of a Castrol oil can which he plays with a bow made of branch.  It sounds so much like a violin and you could easily mistake it for being a one.

 

The show came to an end with the 3 Botswana performers combining their three instruments as an orchestra, David, Aunty Mary and Hannes doing a traditional Riel Dance and Die Sonskynsusters gently swaying to the melody.  As I closed my eyes, I could easily imagine myself sitting in a remote. village with a fire crackling in front of me.

 

A most magical evening, one we will not forget.  The culmination of 12 years work for David, a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

 

Cape Town, get to the Baxter!  The show runs until the 19th of January and it is worth every cent and more.

 

Thank you David!  You have reminded us of our African roots.

Taste and Tweet!

Despite having BlackBerry maps as well as printed directions from the Baxter’s website and Google Maps, we had a slight friendly banter on the way to the event: men, woman and directions. Oi, those three just don’t go together! All’s well that ends well and we arrived with plenty of time to spare.

With it being our first time at the Baxter Theatre we were blown away by the sheer size of it as well as the décor. Of course we were looking for someone to take a photo of us, but for some reason none of the Baxter personnel, and I mean nobody, are allowed to take photos. Strange but true! We eventually managed to find someone willing to take this photo.

Photo1

On arrival we were met by the marketing manager, Fahiem, a delightfully friendly guy! When he heard that we were from Somerset West he turned to Deon and Leon, tasting staff from Solms Delta, and said; “Get these guys a dop, they’ve come ALL the way from Somerset West!” (only about 30 minutes away!). As luck would have it, he also had his seat right next to us and he was an absolute encyclopedia of information throughout. Thanks Fahiem, you’ve added some extra sparkle to the night!

Taste and Tweet!?! Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what this is, until last night I’ve never heard of it either, but what a brilliant concept. You can get some more info on it here or on twitter at #tasteandtweet. What it boils down to is that a group of like minded people get together taste the food and wine on offer and then tweet their opinion. That then gives others the opportunity to connect on a social level with people that they might never have met and to discover new places and know what to expect in terms of the food and wine on offer. One of the first questions asked to everyone who arrived was: do you tweet?! It was a tweeting frenzy and they even had a projector up to the side so everyone could see what the others were tweeting! It turned out to be so much fun with everyone trying to out-tweet each other.

Photo2

The main attraction, the reason for actually being there, the food and wine, ensured that everyone had a lot to say!

The food part of the Taste and Tweet was presented by Chef Shaun from Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms Delta. The menu consisted of the most divine canapés: Mini Cajun Beef minute steak on roosterkoek with wild herb pesto, vegetable samosa, sesame tandoori chicken and vegetable skewers, Cape style sausage rolls and (my personal favorite) Blue cheese and caramelised onion puff tart! Yes, it all was as mouthwateringly good as it sounds! If this is any indication of the food on offer at Fyndraai, I will definitely be going there in the near future!

The wine part was presented by Solms Delta. They had a wide variety of excellent quality wines on offer at ridiculously good prices. I would definitely recommend making a stop at the estate whenever you are in the Franschhoek area. The top two that we enjoyed most were Hiervandaan and the Shiraz bubbly. The bubbly also turned out to be the crowds winner of the night and priced at only R80.00 per bottle it is sure to sell like hotcakes!

Leon and Deon who were in charge of tastings at the light whites (Deon) and dry wines (Leon) added so much to the feel of the evening with their knowledge, personality and friendliness. I especially enjoyed Leon with his rich descriptions of the wine, his explanation of the cultivars and what they bring to the wine. He is an absolute gem and I would do a wine tour with him any day!

The food and wine created an atmosphere of relaxation, indulgence and laughter and definitely set us all in good spirits for the show to follow.

The highest level of compliments needs to go to the organizers, Chef Shaun and the Solms Delta staff.

You have brought everything together beautifully to ensure a most memorable evening!

A night at the theatre

Wow, what a fantastic evening it was. There is so much to be said that I’ve decided to do this in three posts:

1 How it came about (will be covered in this post)
2 Taste and Tweet
3 Kalahari Karoo (not so) Blues!

How it came about!

As you all know by now, I am a huge believer in The Law of Attraction. Again, this week I saw it working for me.

On Tuesday morning, on the way to work, we saw an old VW Kombi and got reminiscing about the old David Kramer TV ads. Do you still remember those! Jacques has been a fan of his since forever and we said that it would be nice to see him perform “one day”. Step One in the Law of Attraction: Put the wheels in motion.

During the course of the day, I came across a competition by Wine Extra, whom I have been following for some time now. The prize: Double tickets from Solms Delta to see Kalahari Karoo Blues presented by the legend himself: David Kramer at the Baxter Theatre! Needless to say, I immediately entered and started the long wait! Step Two: Believe and wait for it to come to you.

The competition was due to close at 4PM on the day with winners to be announced shortly thereafter. Well, I must have checked my BlackBerry about 100 times between 4PM and 11PM. When I arrived at work on Wednesday morning, my enthusiasm got the better of me and I sent them a message enquiring about the winners. I nearly jumped out my skin when they announced a bit later that I had won. Step Three: Show gratitude!

Jacques was extremely happy and of course, impressed by my winning skills, which once again managed to ensure something which was guaranteed to be a cracker of a night.

So a huge thank you to Wine Extra and Solms Delta for a fab night!

Are you a “Giver” or a “Taker”?

Wow, can’t believe that the first week of 2013 has come and gone! Time really seems to be flying.

At the end of last year I promised myself that I would make a note for every day of this year to remind we what I did on each day. That way I can at least go back to notes when memory fails me and I am inevitably struck with that “what did I do with my time this week / month / year”. So far so good!

So what seems to be the hottest topic of discussion at the moment? Without a shadow of a doubt, it would be the death toll on our roads over the festive period. The untimely and unnecessary passing of Burry Stander made him, to me at least, the face of SA’s deadliest season on the road.

My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones. Watching his wife speak on TV News gave me a huge amount respect for her and the rest of the family. Standing up in the face of this horrible situation takes a whole lot of courage and for that they should be commended!

Someone today drew a shocking comparison: 1500 people dead on our roads in the past month equates to 5, yes 5, Boeing 747’s crashing! If we had to have 5 of these crashes in a month, governments across the globe would halt air traffic and leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the problem. Yet, every day people carry on doing what they do. Parents leave kids if they don’t want to wear safety belts, just to avoid a tantrum. Drunken drivers keep driving, because our courts are too full and when they eventually appear, give a weak excuse and walk off with a warning! We require drastic action! No more speeding fines, fines for reckless driving, drunken driving and the like. Give traffic officials the right to revoke licenses, give the offenders community service to work with paramedic crews and accident scene clean up crews. Do something, anything! We are way beyond the point where talking and reprimanding and TV ads are going to work. Obviously these guys don’t give a damn whether “Pappa is waiting” in prison. They are above that. They are untouchable!

What is the real problem here? For me it goes much further than merely a traffic offense or a mugging. The problem with traffic offenders, rapists, murderers and society in general lies in a matter of a lack of respect.

I think the definition for these terms (respect and self respect) need to be revisited by all of us. What does respect mean to you? Here are the definitions given by http://www.thefreedictionary.com

re·spect  (r-spkt)
tr.v. re·spect·ed, re·spect·ing, re·spects
1. To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
2. To avoid violation of or interference with: respect the speed limit.
3. To relate or refer to; concern.
n.
1. A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem. See Synonyms at regard.
2. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
3. Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.
4. respects Polite expressions of consideration or deference: pay one’s respects.
5. A particular aspect, feature, or detail: In many respects this is an important decision.
6. Usage Problem Relation; reference. See Usage Note at regard.
[From Middle English, regard, from Old French, from Latin respectus, from past participle of respicere, to look back at, regard : re-, re- + specere, to look at; see spek- in Indo-European roots.]

self-re·spect (slfr-spkt)
n.
Due respect for oneself, one’s character, and one’s conduct.

Now, I may be wrong here, and please feel free to comment, the problem with society in general is nothing other than a complete and utter disrespect.

Disrespect for self, disrespect for others.

I’ve breached the topic of respect with a number of people in the past and the most shockingly the majority of them are of the view that:
A) Respect is earned not given
B) As long as I respect myself others don’t matter! What!?! I think you are misjudging self respect for your bloated ego!

If I respect myself and others I will not have unprotected sex and fall pregnant / give or receive some unwanted disease.

If I respect others I will not get drunk and then further inflate my ego by insisting that I can get everyone home safely.

If I resect myself and others I will not speed to get to that appointment that I’m late for, I will get my arse out off bed earlier.

The list goes on and on.

The problem is that we are so engulfed in ego that our vision of everything around us, human, animal and nature alike, is so blurred that we can’t really see.

Where does this overly inflated ego come from then? Well it goes back to the way we were brought up and this, my friends, is the point where I want to tear out my hair and scream Wake Up!!!!!

In 10 to 15 years from now we are faced with a catastrophic problem!

We are raising a generation of “takers”. We are raising our kids with an unhealthy sense of entitlement.

We are raising our kids to believe that we shouldn’t speed (unless mommy is late for her appointment). We shouldn’t drink and drive (unless daddy needs to take us home after we spent the day at a friends house to braai and watch the game). We shouldn’t take something that doesn’t necessarily belong to us (unless its a parking spot at the mall and we’ve been driving around for 10 minutes and who does he think he is to cut in front off me!). We shouldn’t lie and cheat and kill (unless your name is Gita on a family show).

I’m sure you get the picture.

It really is time that each and every one of us take a long, hard look at ourselves and how we treat everyone and every situation.

Let’s start to raise a generation of “givers” instead.

Maybe, just maybe, in doing so we can start to make a difference and look forward to a festive season instead of a period of grief.

365 pages to be filled

What a year it has been!?!

I am very excited to see the end of this year and to welcome 2013. Not because this year has been all bad, not at all! 2012 held many a good moment, believe you me!

For some reason, I don’t know why, I am filled with this huge excitement about the year to come.

Constantly throughout today, I’ve found myself contemplating the year that was. The ups and downs. The roller coaster ride that was 2012.

We (Jacques and I) started out the year unemployed and homeless. Literally homeless. New Years Eve was sent camping out (illegally!), fighting each other and fighting to get paid, making up, getting some money together and pulling an all-nighter!

From there it got better and worse and better again. On the upside there was new jobs, a new home, new friends, seeing my mom again, having Luke back with me, Nathan Bjorn being added to the family, Jacques and I building a stronger foundation for our relationship and finally falling pregnant!

On the down side we had quitting jobs, losing friends, money issues, car issues, fighting over non-sense and a miscarriage! Yet, here we are, still madly in love and with big plans for the year ahead.

I also find myself thinking of others. My family and loved ones, friends and those I don’t even know. I’ve been thinking about how much I have to be grateful for and thinking of those and wits-end. For so many people this time of the year is one of despair, a time of sadness and many give up.

I can’t change the world, that much I know. However, I can try to make a difference in someone else’s life.

New Years resolutions? Well, I don’t know about that. We all seem to have these grand plans at the start of the year that never bear fruit. Through my contemplation, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will not make any grand resolutions for this year. Only 3 things will I do:

1. First and foremost: stop, breath and think before I act / re-act.

How many times do we sit back and think: I could have said that differently, I could have handled that better, I could have… Friends, remember that each second wasted is a second you will never have back. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This age old rule applies not only to physics, but to each and every situation you face daily! So many conflicts and stressful situations can be avoided if we follow this simple rule: stop, breath and think!

2. Live in gratitude and love completely.

This is something I’ve been doing for a while now and will continue to do this year: every morning and every night spend just a couple of minutes to think about everything you have to be grateful for and give thanks for it. Gratitude not only for the big things, but everything. When last did you go to bed and felt a real, humbling gratitude for your pillow, for instance? Really feel it, give in to the feeling and say thanks. I saw a billboard the other day: What if you woke up one morning and all you have is that which you gave thanks for the previous night? Really got me thinking!

Part of this gratitude is to give in to the feeling of love. Love for the things and people that you have. Love for the sunshine on your skin, love for the trees you drive past every day. Love fully and completely. No hesitation, no fear, no regret. Give in to love and see how it can transform your life. It is an integral part of the Law of Attraction, what you most focus on is what you will get back. Focus on fear and more fearful things will come to you. Focus on gratitude and more gratitude creating situations will come your way.

3. Follow my dreams.

Wow, a big one and probably the most difficult one to tackle. It’s so easy to tell someone to go for what they want. Doing it however, now that’s a completely different ballgame altogether! So often we allow things to get in the way. I don’t have the time, skills, money, resources, whatever, to make it work. Bla-bla-bla!!!! I’ve used these and many more excuses countless times. Thinking about this, I’ve come to realize that the biggest killer of our dreams are nothing but a tiny four-letter word: FEAR!!!

We allow fear to intrude on our dreams, steal our passion, suck the life out of what makes us happy.

Fear of failure
Fear of loss
Fear of rejection
Fear of ridicule
Fear of being different
Fear of going against the norm
Fear of ……
Fear of ……
Fear of ……

I’ve spent countless hours reading motivational, inspirational and self-help blogs. I think I probably have the longest newsletter subscription list in history! This year I will focus on just 5 of them and actually follow through on what I learn from them.

I’m not saying that I will reach all my dreams and goals in this year, but I sure am going to put in some real effort and say bye-bye fear. You are no longer my Master!

Well guys and gals, have a good one! Whatever you may be doing this year, do it to the full, to the best of your ability!

Today starts a new book with 365 blank pages, pages just waiting for you to write on.

Oh yeah, while you are writing your story, don’t allow anyone else to hold the pen! (PS not my wise words, but one of the many good quotes I saw this year)

May 2013 be a blessed one for one and all, filled with love, joy, peace and God’s grace!