Until it happens to you

Source: southafricatoday.net

Source: southafricatoday.net

I have lived in South Africa for my entire life (not counting the time I was young and carefree in Barcelona).

For my entire life, I have always lived in houses with burglar proofed windows and have always known to always lock the door (and the burglar proof gate outside the door) when going out (even if it’s just to hang the laundry outside to dry). I have always lived in a house with an alarm system with strategically placed panic buttons all over the house.

Before buying my first car, the first thing I did was check all the car insurance websites for their lists on the most hijacked cars in South Africa and hence made a note to avoid all VW’s and Toyota Yaris models. I have always known that my car would have to be fit with a tracking device and paid a hefty amount for the “anti-smash and grab” window tint as I was advised by everyone at the time. I am that girl that knows that when driving through Jo’ burg at night (after 8pm really), we don’t stop at the traffic light – rather, all intersections are treated as four way stops so as to avoid giving potential car hijackers a chance to get to you at the traffic light.

I am that girl that triple checks my rear view mirror to make sure no one is following me when I drive home at night and checks even more that no one snuck into the garage after I drove in (and while I wait for the garage to close). I have done all of this sub-consciously my entire life. My friends living overseas felt the need once to highlight the fact that it’s not normal to be so paranoid. And yes, I completely agreed with them but my response was a simple “what else can we do?” As this is a product of the country we live in – South Africa is recognised as one of the most violent and unsafe countries in the world. The 2015 crime statistics released this year need no further explanations – South Africans do not feel safe at all.

Nonetheless, this paranoia we live in – it’s our “normal”. And for all of my adult life, I have lived like this and mercifully, never experienced a hijacking or house break-in until of course, last Monday night when a group of men decided it was my turn to experience this side of South Africa.

  • Physically we are ok. The police and the armed response team were spectacular on the night – honestly, we were all surprised by the swift and efficient response of the SAPS in particular.
  • Mentally and emotionally – I’m not ok. It’s not easy to describe how such an incident can shake you to the core. After my constant paranoia and meticulously making sure that I don’t place myself in danger – the simple act of driving into a driveway has now become something that causes heart palpitations.

Crime has always been “that thing” that happened to others and I would also say what’s expected of me when I heard of such a story – “at least no one was hurt”, ” we thank God you are all ok”, ” this crime is getting worse” etc. etc. I never really understood how much it rocks your life – really, my entire sense of safety and security is gone. Worse this happened in my driveway in my new home where I’m supposed to feel safe and secure. Electric fences, fancy sensors, panic buttons – all of that didn’t help. Hence I find myself asking everyone (including the professional trauma counsellor) – what now? How do I move on from this?

I am yet to receive a response that has truly dealt with the heightened sense of fear I am battling with.

So tell me dear readers, what do we do now that “the normal” has changed?

On losing weight (again) :(

I have a very unfortunate confession to make. I’ve fallen off the #TeamFitness wagon  😦

Ya, sad times I know.

After starting off the year continuing with my #TeamFitness banter on an all time high and joining boot-camp after boot-camp, I managed to keep a sane head and a decent-ish body prior to wedding event number one (aka umkhehlo/membeso – yes, yes, I will write a post on this soon)

It went downhill after that.

I hurt my back after a boot-camp session (this was mid-August). I ignored the niggly jolt of pain I felt every time I took a step or picked up weights during a gym session and obviously, I hurt my back even more. The doctor strongly advised me avoid the gym for about two weeks to give my back time to heal. And like the good listener I am, I took his advice. I liked the advice so much that here I am (almost) three months later still avoiding the gym 🙂

Hahahaha, I am pitiful.

So the combination of extended gym avoidance, bad eating habits and post wedding comfort eating had me looking in the mirror this weekend and almost bursting into tears. I have come to accept that I have extra junk in the trunk.

homer-weight Sigh.

I don’t even want to know how much extra junk there is in this trunk. All I know is that I have given myself an end of March 2016 deadline to lose it.

So it’s back to road running (which is easier to do as I now live in the ‘burbs), back to morning spinning classes, back to bootcamp (have already signed up for the 11 January camp), back to all my infused water concoctions.

Homer- diet

Lol, doesn’t this sound like an early New Year’s resolution?

Aside: Looking forward to someone saying this to me next year 🙂

simpsons_after weight loss

Aside of the aside: I do not own the images pasted in this blog – all were Googled.

On the long silence (again)

So this happened…


Siyabonga Nkosi

Siyabonga Shembe

[Pic courtesy of: Wedding photographer – http://www.sawepmedia.co.za ]


Side note:

As I have been informed by a friend – it’s been one month. Yes, I am that bride that has forgotten that she has been married for a month 🙂 lol – if I forgot, I know for sure that TTO forgot too. Happy one month to us!

On the long silence

Silence 1

So it has been some time since I last opened a blank white page on Word and started typing a blog post. We all know how scary the blank white page is but it is exceptionally intimidating after close to  10 months of silence. Trying to get back into this blogging world again – a part of me misses it. Another part is scared of it – having an opinion on anything and everything can be tiring. Another part of me is doing this after the countless emails asking me why I no longer blog (thank you friends!) and there is also a part of me only doing this today because I am kinda sorta bored 🙂
So here I am 10 months later. A lot has changed.
I will try to post separate blog posts on all the interesting tidbits – moving out of home, moving BACK home, going through the lobola process, finalising said process, and finally part 1 of the traditional wedding shindig I’m having this year (two more parts to go!). There have also been other changes – buying a house (to all the south Africans – I promise to tell you how we should all stop being Steve’s and move away from Beep Bank); and “fighting the good fight” as a civil servant (THE best decision I ever made).
And let’s not forget about the constant book club shindigs, jozi explorations (even added Pretoria to the list) and of course – a few tidbits about TTO  Joking on the last one – no more stories about TTO!
A lot has changed over the past year. Putting it down on paper has made me realise that it has been a hectic year with a lot of growth and tears and rehashing of a few fears I thought I had conquered and conquering new ones.
Hope you will be patient with me as I find my way again on these blogging streets.
The Simple Girl

Happiness is…


It’s been a while since I last did this…the five things which have made me a happy girl recently are:

5. No more engagement parties, bridal showers,  weddings, etc. etc. etc.

Two close friends got married one week apart from each other and I somehow managed to survive it all and still retain my friendships with both girls (even though my budget took a beat down :/).

This is what happens when your Nigerian friend asks you to be a bridesmaid:


And this is what happens when an Ugandan marries a South African (as borrowed from @aaliac):


Fun times ladies and congratulations to you both!

4. Lillies

I had these “little” beauties in my place for a while – the flat smelt amazing.


3. Laundry week-ends at my mum’s house

It’s been a month since I moved out of home but I still go back over the week-ends to sort out my laundry. LOL – I am spoilt yes. The best part of the laundry week-end is going home to mama’s cooking. I definitely appreciate it more now that I don’t get a home-cooked plate of food every night.

And yes, I never leave home without stock-piling on enough cooked food to last me until Wednesday (sometimes even Thursday if I only nibble at something…)

2. Furniture!

Growing up is not moving out of home and finally living on your own.

No, no.

It’s when you finally buy a couch and dining table – that’s when you have finally grown up. In between shopping for the constant stream of gifts for the above mentioned weddings, I have spent my weekends trawling the clearance centres of various furniture shops to find pieces that I love AND meet my very tight budget constraint. Glad to report that I have succeeded and even though the flat is still not up to standard, I at least no longer have to host “bring your own chair” parties 🙂

1. TTO

The Tall One,

The one that makes me laugh,

The one that picked me up and swept me off my feet (literally and figuratively!)

My go-to guy,

My furniture mover,

My best friend,

My shoulder to cry on, and

Now soon to be life partner 🙂



High tea date: 54 on Bath

I finally had a chance to go for high tea with the fam at 54 on Bath. I have been trying to book a high tea afternoon at this place for a while after reading blog after blog rave about it. We set out for an afternoon to stuff our tummies silly on my mother’s birthday. The lady of the day was dressed to the nines as usual


I was unfortunately in jeans and converse sneakers as I had spent the majority of my day moving out of home.

The venue is beautiful. And opulent. Very high tea-ish darling 🙂 And  those couches!


Food: there are scones then there are SCONES. 54 on Bath has SCONES (I forgot to take a photo, forgive me!).


You know that silence that follows when everyone is enjoying their food? That’s the silence that followed when we started eating the scones. So yummy.

Unfortunately that is all my mother and brother enjoyed 😦 there were of course a large variety of treats but it wasn’t to their liking – everything was apparently too sweet. Sigh. And unfortunately, we arrived on a day wherethe high tea was served with mainly sweet treats (with a single savoury dish). So as much as I loved the pretty venue with the fancy teas and dee-lish scones, it was an average day out for my mother and brother.





Would I recommend 54 on Bath?

Hmmm, I’m not sure. I loved the food at Moemas but hated the crappy view of the parking lot. I loved the venue this time but felt slightly underwhelmed by the food :/

My brother's reaction says it all

My brother’s reaction says it all

Book Club chronicles – Talks about the ‘Otherness’ at Wang Thai

I may not have mentioned this before (or maybe I have) but the RASTA book club/supper club/ hang-out-together-and-stuff-ourselves-silly club is originally made up of a group of five aah-mazing ladies (myself included). Book club is however open to anyone that meets our so-called standards (i.e. can read and willing to pay ridiculous amount of money for food), so we have included two equally amazing ladies in the group. One of which is guest post blogger, Rukayat , also known as the voice of all Nigerians 🙂

Yes, I like to stereotype people.
And how fitting it was that we have the “voice of all Nigerians” as a member of our book club when we are reading “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This was the second time I read the book. And it was as good as the first time. Chimamanda has managed to put a more human face on the horrors of the Biafra War and any other war generally. She has the wonderful gift of constantly reminding her readers about the bigger picture as told by each of her characters. I honestly fall in love with her writing each time I read her books.
And so I came prepared to impress everyone with my analysis of the book – you know, using my well prepared paragraph as typed out above :). Little did I know that book club leader of the night is an economist by day but a social science professor by night. See exhibit A below:

Some discussion points for tomorrow’s book club shindig:

1) The purpose of oscillating between the early and late 1960s

2) The choice of the three characters through which story is narrated (Ugwu, Olanna and Richard)

3) The perceptions of the three main classes of people living in Nigeria of one another and themselves (former British colonists, educated middle-class black Nigerians and lower-class Nigerians)

4) The ways in which the war made Nigerians both unequal and equal

5) How Adichi captures the horror of war so well (eg. physical, psychological, emotional)

6) The role of collective trauma in creating and/or cementing identity and the ‘otherness’ of this process

(excuse pretentious social science speak)


The Otherness?!?

The otherness

The look on my face when I read these questions

WTF is the otherness”???

Yikes, I need to get new friends that aren’t such over-achievers.
Needless to say, we were all saved from admitting that we k now nothing about the otherness” when Nigerian Voice of the night gave us her perspective on the Biafra War, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and all other issues affecting young Nigerians. It was by far the most productive and most “intellectual” book club night by far. We actually talked about the book and issues raised in the book for at least an hour.

A WHOLE HOUR!!! Hehehe, our “book club” may finally be a book club after all – and it only took reading Chimamanda to get us talking about the book.

However, worry not dear reader, our priorities are still in place – we did not forget to eat 🙂 and get wedding gossip from our two newly engaged ladies. Hehe, old habits won’t go away. Wang Thai is surprisingly affordable (not extremely cheap but not as expensive as other places in Sandton) with really good food.

Wang Thai_2


Wang Thai

Was it the best Thai food I’ve eaten? Not really – I still prefer Sai Thai in Cyrildene.




I’m back (again)!

Dancing 3

I’m back 🙂

Back to writing about the random things I see around me, back to sharing bookclub chronicles, back to ranting about things no one cares about.

Life has been kinda sorta hectic over the past few weeks. I have changed jobs, moved out of home, started posting sappy pics on Instagram, decided to rock my short hair, etc. etc. etc.

And yes, you read that correctly – I moved out of home.

Shock, horror, #didSheReallyDoIt??

Yes, I did. I am now flying solo, facing the big bad world all on my own. All I have to my name is a bed, fridge and beautiful rug. No TV, no radio, silence everywhere around me. My new bosses have benefitted from this state of affairs because without a TV, I have nothing else to do but work :/

Sigh, more posts on this new state of affairs will follow soon!

I have learnt my lesson (from the last apology…) and won’t promise anything this time. I will however say this – cheer up, I’m back 🙂

Simple Girl

Happiness is…

Books, books, books!!20140526_103737

Books for a special cause make me happier


But working with colleagues that support charitable causes that involve books make me an incredibly happy girl.

We started a book-drive at work to help the SiyaKhula Education Foundation collect more books for their library in Diepsloot.



In a matter of eight days we had collected over 80 books and R3000 cash (equivalent to 30 books written in English and 20 books in Isizulu/Sepedi)



A very good way to start the week I think 🙂


Happiness is…

happiness is

5. Home improvements
I spent the past week in a house looking like this…


My bedroom 😦


My mum’s room…

Painting is the worst thing to have happened to us. THE WORST.

Thank goodness we are done with it for the next two years :/

4. Delayed election updates
I should have posted this two weeks ago when all South Africans were riding on the election high but alas, number five happened to me.
Voting day was quite a special day. We waited in line for close to two hours before making our mark. And unlike the clever lady below – we were completely unprepared. No camping chair, no umbrella, no sunscreen, no water – nothing.

The super-prepared young lady came ready to make her mark

The super-prepared young lady came ready to make her mark

3. Weekend in KwaZulu-Natal
This is one province that I don’t get tired of. If I could earn a Johannesburg salary in Durban – I would move in a heartbeat. How can you not be at peace in such a beautiful part of the country?





2. Autumn in Joburg
Even though this means I can no longer run in the evenings and always need to have a cardigan in the handbag, Joburg is looking gorgeous.


1. Cooking class fun
A detailed post on this night will follow soon. I am proud to say that I can now make prawn fritters and Thai coconut pudding! Wuhoo!!!

The wonderful palte of food at the end of the night!

The wonderful plate of food at the end of the night!

Forget the fact that I burnt meat in the kitchen – the smoke was so bad that half of the class was coughing hysterically while I tried to figure out where the stove switch was…
No lies – this unfortunately did happen.

Totes embarrassing.