Category Archives: South Africa

AureLie’s and a storm

AureLie’s Health and Lifestyle Cafe came highly recommended and it didn’t disappoint.  There aren’t many vegetarian eating places in Joburg, so when I hear about a new one I’m there in a flash. So today, my friend K. and I went there for lunch.

It’s situated in the new Waterfall Estate in Kyalami and easy to reach either via the N1 (Allandale offramp) or the R55 from Woodmead. Much of this large estate is still under construction as people buy land to build homes there. The roads were the first things to be built, so getting in and out of there is a breeze.

AureLie's Health and Lifestyle Cafe, Waterfall Estate, Kyalami
AureLie’s Health and Lifestyle Cafe, Waterfall Estate, Kyalami

The menu is quite extensive, with freshly squeezed juices (I had the Vitamin Booster), smoothies, wraps, salads, focaccia, and so much more. Not many eating places offer vegetarian burgers, and AureLie’s has a large selection. I settled on the the My Favourite focaccia instead with (amongst others) roasted aubergine, honey, wallnuts, rocket and goats cheese.

My Favourite Focaccia
My Favourite Focaccia

K had a yummy Rosa salad, presented in a gorgeous bowl.

Rosa Salad
Rosa Salad

AureLie’s is on a higher level than the surroundings and the area provides wonderful views eastwards towards Kempton Park, and northwards towards Pretoria. During our after-lunch walk we observed the approaching storm, and decided to rush home because it looked rather nasty…and it was nasty (more about this later).

The approaching thunderstorm - you can see 3 of them towards the north
The approaching thunderstorm – you can see 3 of them towards the north

The thunderstorms towards the east.

Approaching thunderstorms to the east
Approaching thunderstorms to the east

After dropping off K, the rain started. As I approached Alberton, the rain fell harder and visibility dropped to just a few meters. Surface water made driving not so easy and the water levels started to rise on the surface of the roadway. The little stream at the bottom of my street had broken its banks, so I had to do a U-turn to reach home through the top road.

It’s still raining outside albeit softly now. The back garden is looking green and lush, the tomato plants and other vegetables are loving the constant watering. The pool is filled to the top. The front garden is waterlogged. But in this land of scarce natural water resources, I am not complaining.

The seasons are changing once again

It’s been raining pretty much the whole week. Not the usual highveld summer thunderstorms that come in the afternoon, shower down, and then go away, leaving the ground dry once again. Instead the rain has been softly and continuously falling. Clouds are low and leaden. There is mist in the mornings.  For a province that enjoys sun light for most of the year, this time can be quite bleak.

The ground is waterlogged, saturated. There’s been floods in certain low lying areas of the province. People have lost their homes in the floods, those people who least need to have their homes swept away by the rising waters.

Pot holes have started to appear, slashing the tyres of the non-vigilant driver. Work crews have tried to work in the rain to repair the pot holes. Faulty traffic lights are a regular occurrence.

Temperatures have started to drop, boots and long sleeved tops have started to make an appearance in department stores. But the shops still have summer clothes on sale. The incongruity of all.

Soon the leaves will start to fall off the trees. Soon, the grass will be dry and the landscapes will become brown. Veld fire season will start, and the smell of the veld fire will once again remind me of my childhood in Mozambique.

This  is the begining of autumn; even though we’ll still have some scorching days, the earth is preparing itself for another change of season.

Admissions of a closet political analyst

This year marks the 20th year of South Africa’s young democracy. I have vivid remembrances of that day in 1994, the first time the majority of South Africans were able to vote for the first time. People stood in long snaking queues for hours. Nobody minded because those hours were nothing compared to the decades of struggle it took to get South Africa to that point.

This year, on the 7th May, we have another National election, and it’s the first time the “born frees” (those born after 1994) will be exercising their vote.  The website of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa states that 80.5% of the eligible voting population are registered to vote.

Yesterday I spoke to an expat couple from Spain who said that voter turnout on election days in Spain has been gradually dropping due to various reasons, not least of which is dissatisfaction at the government’s handling of the country’s financial situation.

Out of the 80.5% registered voters in South Africa, we will only find out on the 7th May how many actually turn up to vote on the day. I hope that, unlike Spain and other European countries, many South Africans will exercise their right to vote and turn up at the polls on the day.

I admit to being a news geek and addicted to politics, locally and around the world. I have kept up to date with the unfolding situation in the Ukraine, and been more than alarmed at the reports coming out of Venezuela.

And that’s just this week, adding to the woes of a world increasingly at odds with itself.  I majored in Political Science at university, and once, a long, young and naive time ago, I still thought of doing something with it. I don’t regret never having gone into a related field, although I sometimes toy with the idea of going into politics.

But that idea is short-lived because I have no illusions about the sacrifices and compromises even well intentioned politicians have to make. So I’m happy remaining a closet political analyst.

Shapes, light and shadow in Freedom Park

I recently visited Freedom Park. It is worth a visit for many reasons. It sits on a hill overlooking Pretoria and provides a spectacular view of the city. There’s a lot that I like about Freedom Park, not least of which is the acknowledgement and celebration of our heritage as a diverse South African nation.

I was struck by the naturalness of the building materials, the merging into the environment and beautiful shapes in the construction of the facility.

Freedom Park – I love these stark angles and the play of light and dark, sun and shadow


Freedom Park – natural stonework on the wall, blue sky, shade, curves and lines

It was there that I met a sangoma who had some very interesting stories to tell. We sat there, like kids, listening in fascination, as she demystified the modality. I don’t know why people are afraid of them, or why they are looked down upon as a lesser form of healing. Like all modalities, there are the good sangomas and the ones that aren’t good and prey on human fears (remember those flyers that are handed out at robots promising all sorts of improbable things). Like homeopathy, naturopathy and chinese medicine, to mention but a few, it has its protocols, processes and materials for healing (e.g. herbs). There are cultural belief systems surrounding sangomas, ancient ones. I wouldn’t hesitate to make use of one. A whole lot of us went home with her business card :-).