Monday, August 27, 2012


Here is a funny thing. I met Riaan is Segefield, just before he went down to Sedgefield he worked here at Makutsi. Before I moved to Sedgefield, I managed a small farm just outside Stellenbosch. Riaan is now back at Makutsi and I am going back to the same farm near Stellenbosch. It has been an incredible and adventurous journey together, from Sedgefield on the Garden Route to Vaalwater in Limpopo, then to Khula Dhama in the Eastern Cape and so on. It was a five year journey to get back to exactly where we started.

What I like about Makutsi Game Farm (where Riaan works) is the fact that they do not have any green claims, yet they supply their own kitchen (for real) with organic veggies from their massive and well kept gardens. They do not use pool chemicals and they (I do not like this but it is the greener option) hunt /slaughter their own meat, although at least half the Webber Family (owners at Makutsi) seem to be vegetarians.

Here are some photo’s we (Riaan and I) took at Makutsi and surrounding area, I took most of the “tamed” photo’s and Riaan photographed the dangerous animals, Warthogs and Giraffe are not dangerous animals…

 A Massive Baobab tree

Giyani, an area just outside Tzaneen

The end of the Drakensberg mountain range;  looks more like a lion than a Dragon, but maybe I just have lions on the brain at the moment.

Lioness, not looking too friendly

Swimming pool at Makutsi

New born calf, cattle is as much part of the African landscape as the wild animals; actually the lioness in the above picture was photographed while she was “spying” in the cattle.

Giraffes - Kameelperde

Cheetah- Jagluiperd

                                               Guinefowl - Tarentaal

Rondawel (Round Thatched hut) at Makutsi

Saddle up and ride – Riaan

Warthog – Vlakvark

Last but not least, Rhino and birdy friends

Next stop Stellenbosch and Riaan is staying here. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

HOEDSPRUIT and other small towns

The Hat (Hoed) in Hoedspruit

Hoedspruit - Which means “hat fountain”, when translated, but should not be translated, is situated just to the west for Kruger National Park.

Wild country, hot humid country, I love it! But I have always had this love/hate relationship with small towns. Goodness I have lives in a few, Vaalwater, Sedgefield, Keimouth and a few more.

I am going to stick my neck out and profile these little towns and it does not seem to matter whether they are on the coast or inland. I am mentioning this because I once had the perception that people in coastal towns are as a rule more liberal in their ways and thinking, but this only seem to apply to cities. This is obviously just my opinion and many may differ. .

Hoespruit is rather unique in one specific way. It does not have a Township, like almost every other town or city in South Africa (Township is that place where the very poor, normally people of colour, lives). Hoedspuit was basically established as an Air force base for the old South African Air force. It was strategically picked to be very difficult to access. It is pretty much surrounded by Private game reserves and Kruger National Park on one side. To get to Hoedspuit, you have a few access roads, but getting their through the bush means you had to face the Big five (Lions, Rhino and the lot). There is still an air force base here, but not nearly as active. It is still surrounded by reserves on all sides, which does not leave much space for expansion or Township.

With all these privately owned reserves and (horror of horrors) hunting business also unfortunately still booming, there is a lot of wealth around.

This is also very fertile lands and people grow Mangoes and all sort of other fruits. Apart from that it is truly a breathtaking part of the country. Majestic Mountains, like Mariepskop and Blyde towering over everything. Then there is an almost tropical climate for most of the year. It is also amazing in the sense that every drive to town is a game drive, you are guaranteed to see at least some baboons and buck, sometimes even lions.

Blyde Mountains


Near Hoedspruit


Most of the small town are rather beautiful, although that does not quite include Vaalwater, flat dusty dirty little town. The surrounding area is a very different story.

So how is Hoespruit similar to most other small towns?

I think it is mostly in the mentality of the people. Every little town seem to have a few families that basically believe they own the place, mostly because they have always lived there (never climbed out from under their rock) and perceive it as their “religious right” to enforce their ideas and believes on the whole town. A lot of small town have far too many churches for the population, Sedgefield had something like 6 churches, while only two schools and two (one descent) Grocery stores.

Then there are the crosses! Keimouth has one, so did Sedge and so does many many other small towns. You are forces to look at the thing, whether you like it or not. I once raised the question about who exactly is paying for the electricity for that monstrosity, seeing that it is (in a county with an Electricity crisis) shining all night long. I am still waiting for that answer, but I suspect it is probably the rate and tax payers of the town. At least Hoespruit does not have one of those, yet. The poor can go cook their food on fire, but we will waste electricity all night, in the name of god...

Basically you have the extreme conservative, who believe in an invisible man in the sky, ruling the roost and the really sad part is that most of them live in fear of this invisible god of theirs. Vaalwater was the real funny one, at eight on a Sunday morning everybody is in church, by eleven they are all in the bar at the Vaalwater Hotel.

In all these towns the “ruling clans” as I call them, hold a few other rather strange beliefs. Keimouth, Vaalwater and Hoedspruit are full of religious hunters (killers) and according to them their god made these beautiful creates so that they can kill them. What wicked weird god is it that these people believe in? But you do not dare ask that question, because then it is you that is insulting god... seriously!

We all run down to the Hoedspruit (and Vaalwater) Wildsfees (Wildlife festival), where copious amount of carcass is consumed, any kind of animal from Bushbuck harts to Lion liver is tasted and chewed on, and then we go bitch like crazy, on the Hoedspruit Town face book page because somebody left a doggy in a hot car... (Yes the person that left the doggy in a hot car is an ass, but the Moonie clannies can insult, shame and ridicule whoever they like, but how dare anybody question them?)
I simply asked the lady (on face book) if she does not think this is all a bit hypocritical. All hell broke loose, I am of very low IQ, I am an internet troll etc etc and I was ungrouped. The moral of the story, if you do not agree with the clan members you are out! I use the words clan because they have the big house and the game farm and the expensive cars, but the head is still in a cave.

It is like going to an Anti poaching rally and there you wave around our genuine crocodile leather handbag in fury... and you see nothing strange about it.

I have also been banned from a Restaurant in town and this was honestly not because of bad behaviour, the owner and his little clan simply did not like me daring to question some of their “fact” and the way they generally treat people of colour. The fact is this place and many other small towns still exist in this time warp, where it is still okay to call a person of colour a kaffir and if you dare disagree with this mentality you are out...  Similar things happened in Vaalwater.

I fully understand that I am a bit of a rebel (sometimes with and sometimes without a course), but I just do not get these people and they obviously do not get me. Lucky thing is that I live way out of town and only go there when absolutely needed. I guess I am lucky in the sense that I normally only live near these towns and not in them. 

I dislike cities, but I also deeply dislike small town mentality, the story of my life...

Friday, August 24, 2012


I feel like a Ping Pong ball.
Before I bounce off again, here are a few ironies about my whole Eco community experience.
  • 1.   One of the major factors in Eco communities is to supplying the community with food, without supporting commercial agriculture; the irony is that I went hungry at times.
  • 2.   Another idea behind the communities is to create freedom from a suppressive system, yet at times l felt like nothing more than a slave.
  • 3.   There is also apparently an attempt at looking at the forms of governance that enslave people, but quite frankly, these communities are run more like dictatorships. The money always has the last say.
  • 4.   It is suppose to be a peaceful lifestyle, with less fear, yet I have never been so worries about my possession, the few I have left.
Why is it so very difficult to create community? This is a question Kate (an American Volunteer) and I debated. The fact is this, as long as there is money and a monitory system, there will be slaves and masters, I will bet you anything that if I had money to invest at any of these communities, I would have been treated very differently. In a sense I was lucky not to have money, I might actually have invested and that would have been a big mistake.
I do admire the attempt but sadly the community and sustainability situation in South Africa is still in infant shoes.
I also do know that it will be very unfair of me to judge all communities according to what I have seen, this is just my experience.
Be in the moment. That is the one thing I have learned and partly mastered in the last year. The last years has been tough on the  body, but it has also been a spiritual journey, but then everything can be a spiritual journey. The “ be in the moment” started at KD with the Buddhist meditation, which I still think is to “religious” for my liking, but it opened that “be in the moment” door. Then at rainbow I met Aumji and he introduced me to Eckhart Tolle and The Power of Now. I also watched some of the Oprah book club footage, from his other/newer book (can’t think of the name now). I use to see old Oprah darling as a Presstitute, haven’t seen any of her stuff in about 3 years. This lady changed tremendously (or maybe I changed and stopped being judgmental?), she owns her own media company, which means she is not owned by the big media.

Riaan and I also develop the habit of telling each other to “come back”, when the ego took over, this is a great help. Without this “tool” I do not think our relationship would have survived the last year. I am so blessed to have such
wonderful partner.
This “be in the moments” thing is the first step in the creative process, you start creating “in the moment”, Awareness of the moment and the now, what you are thinking and how you are reacting. Is it ego or It?
Thank you for all the people involved, you played your part as I played mine in this wonderful cosmic dance we call life. There were some great times and wonderful experiences, but some made me mad and some made me sad, but especially the ones that made me mad, they helped me to practice to stay in the moment. Okay, I failed once or twice, right here at the end of my stay at Rainbow, the ego got the better and I actually shouted at Samantha.
The anticipation is worse than the actual event. When we worry, we are not in the moment, we are normally somewhere in the feature and we are “creating” negative outcome. Then you drive yourself insane and make yourself sick with worry and then the joke, that “bad thing” never happens, but you still went through all the anxiety and stress, as if it happened. The other extreme, we often spend so much time fretting and regretting the past, which we cannot change, which makes this act pointless and an energy thief.

Chasing the green dragon, that is the name of this blog and like all dragons, including myself, the dragon is a wonderfully magical creature, but it is also a just a myth....


Painting by Jill, Jill is Dale's mother and she also lives at Zuvuya
If we have 100 percent people making 10 percent change to their lifestyle, we will achieve much more than when 10 percent gives 100 percent, not so?
As I am writing this, I am sitting in a house in Johannesburg, which obviously means I am not at Rainbow anymore.

I do want to make it clear that there are wonderfully creative, beautiful and caring people at Zuvuya, it is just the whole Rainbow thing that did not work for me or them… Zuvuya has various residents/homestead and Rainbow is just one of them.

Painting in Thina's house

Maybe I am a softy, maybe I have just realized that you do not have to be extreme to be green, unless you want to, but then some people seem to confuse green with extreme. I mean do you have to be 2 miles from the toilet, I have no problem with compost toilets, but seriously maintenance is important.

Then there is the other story about food, the irony is that I have never been this hungry in my entire life.  I am officially sick of muesli and water! Big thanks to Evelyn and William for sometimes feeding me some “pap”. (Pap is a Maize/corn porridge eaten by very many diverse cultural groups in Southern Africa). My current weight is 46 kg, according to Google that is 101 lb.  I have never been big, but this is ridiculous.
It was not just lack of food that caused this. There is a permanent bitching and fighting between Sam and Shine which makes the atmosphere in the house/communal space (where we cook and eat and work) unbearable and as if that is not enough there is always a desperate for attention Oriah in the mix. I am not saying this to be mean, it is just a fact, I am very sensitive to energies and this was just too much. We sing happy songs about loving each other and circling together, but in reality all I saw was anger and frustration, more like sukkeling together (sukkeling is the Afrikaans word for struggling).

Houses on the hill. Dale's house in the back, with his mom's house to the right and 
Thina's house to the left
Here is another harsh fact, none of the so called eco communities/self sustainable setups I have visited are even near 30 percent there, and I do admire the attempt, but stop fooling yourself.  I do hope I only visited the bad ones, if what I have seen is the future options we have, we are so doomed. Nice to have your own spinach and cabbage, but can you seriously live off that alone?
Here is the bit I do not get - All these communities are trying to attract people, but when you get there you are treated nothing better than a slave, how exactly will that attract people? 

Jo's house
Yes I am very disillusioned with the whole eco living thing. In what I have experience there are two trains of thought about the Eco community. The first group wants to sit and sing little songs and have long meeting where feeling and thoughts are discussed day in and day out - the whole happy clappy moony thing. This is not wrong or right, it is just not for me.
Then there are those that just want to live a more natural lifestyle. They know who their neighbors are and they share certain resources and yes you get together once in a while and discuss things, but everybody have their own private space and live their own lives. This second group is more my cup of tea, but for now I have altogether had enough.
The other problem is that many of the investors in communities in South Africa are from overseas, there are two groups here, firstly those who lost interest, but are reluctant to let go of their property in Africa, these communities eventually just fall apart. The second group see themselves as some sort of “saviors of Africa” while all they really do is re-enslave the locals.
There was also a little incident just before I left. I might or might not have mentioned this, but there is nowhere to keep anything save so I had no choice but to leave some of my packed stuff in a half built Yurt. When I went to fetch it, the contents of the container was unceremoniously dumped and the container was missing. This got blamed on the children and Shine found the contained in the bushed below the house. I know my pillows and some item of clothing are gone, but I haven’t really had time to fully access what is missing, but apart from mentioning it here, I will just let it go and leave the whole thing to cause and effect (karma) to sort out.

The house where Thomas and Carina stays

I intent is still the same, I want to live a more sustainable way of live, but it is not as easy or as cheap as I thought. I can no longer afford this Internship, I am not getting paid and I am paying for the Internet. Bizarre! What are these people smoking?

I am going up to Hoedspruit, where Riaan is making a real difference by looking after our Rhino’s. Then I do not know... 

Friday, August 10, 2012


Ying Yang house

This is about the coldest I have ever been in my entire live. The world is white, wet and windy and I simply do not have the clothes for this sort of weather, at least I have Water boots!

I basically need two resources to do my jobs (market the Eco-tourism and work on proposals), namely power and internet and some quiet office space is always nice. None of these are supplied by the Homestead anymore, there was an incident with a guy that came around and took panels and parts from the solar system, I do not know the fact around what and why, so I am not going there. The fact is I now have an arrangement with Kevan, he has a cabin here with solar and all and he is not here for most of the time. He kindly allows me use his power and space. Then there is the internet connection which I am now paying for myself, because I hate the stress and bitching every time I use a bundle or two, but get the name and brand out there! The WESSA things is also just not happening, I have been able to use their Wi-Fi only twice so far. I built a website for the Rainbow homestead and all I get is a bitching about the bundles!

Kevan's Cabin / my Office

Yes, I am being a bit of a bitch myself today, but yesterday was the cherry on top! I am in my freezer (caravan) with Hella and Eloir (both volunteer with Dale), trying to get over the shock of the blizzard and snow happening. This is only the second time in my live I am experiencing snow, you can keep the stuff! Anyway then I realize it is dripping all over my bed and into some of the cupboard space and while I am trying to get over this new shock of a wet bed and clothes in this weather.

Samantha shows up and carries on and on and on about the fact that it is working hours and I am wasting her time and money (generator was running and everybody was charging stuff and seeking warmth in the house, which is also the office, which is also the schoolroom, which is also the kitchen….). so apart from the fact that I do not have power, unless the generator is running, which happened for the very first time yesterday, I also have to make do with whatever space available, no proper work space, unless I go to Kevan’s place. 

Then I am extremely confused about this whole "working hours" thing, it seems to be 24/7, because meeting happens all the time, whenever the mood takes Samantha,  any time of day of night, so maybe they should rather be kept during working hours too, seeing that there is such a thing?

Shine came to help me lower the roof and water proof my freezer and Thina (another resident here at Zuvuya) kindly offered me a dry bed for the night. Thank you ThIna and Shine for showing some community spirit.

I think the balance got lost somewhere. My to do list is endless and growing by the day and on the other side there is non-existing resources to perform these tasks, so the expectations become unreasonable.  I was never under the impression that there will be unlimited internet and plenty power, but there is a difference between limited and none… 

I also use my laptop for work and them I get the one hour left on my battery to do my stuff, like writing this blog. There is a laptop here, but it is one of those miniature ones and already Shine and Sam are both using that.

Blazing Blizzards, took this photo through the window, to scared to go out...

We are all dealing with extremes at the moment and I am aware of the fact that Samantha is also taking a lot of strain, we are all on top of each other and it gets to much and they are sacrificing a lot of their private space for communal space and I know this is testing at the best of times, I have been the other side of this situation, in the house at KD.

I do believe in the Volutourism project, I love the idea and everything is in place, we just need the volunteers. I managed to secure us a month long advertisement (free because we are a NPO) in the Online Guardian newspaper in the UK, we got twelve inquiries in two days, now we just have to get them here… this creates income for me, the homestead, individuals and home owners in Impendle and it also benefits the schools.

I am also in the process of registering the Voluntourism program on various websites and updating existing ones. All this is done with personal internet, own computer and power from Kevan. Thank you Kevan for showing community spirit and helping a desperate person to at least get some productive work done.

I agree with Evelyn, horrible stuff!

The above was all written last night and this morning it is still snowing, remember I said I asked for snow on my birthday, well the snow came exactly a month later, 8 August, be careful what you wish for!

There is still a blizzard blowing, everything is shaking and the roof of the whole Tree nursery collapsed from the weight of the snow and before we could actually do a damage assessment, the half built yurt blew over and fell on top of the already destroyed roof of the nursery. Dale’s shoe workshop is under water, Thina’s balcony collapsed and there are two big fallen trees blocking the road.

Kate (US Volunteer) and Oriah facing the forces

Shade net on top of trees and Yurt on top of shade net..

We adults are feeling frustrated and cramped up and taking it out on each other, but the horses and the children actually seem to be enjoying the crazy weather. I must admit, I enjoyed taking photos of all and everything in the snow. I did not sleep at Thina place last night, but I will probably be sleeping there tonight because some more melted snow got into the caravan and now it is all good and damp and the window got broken by a falling branch.

Now this is a winter garden

We were going to go to Impendle and do the Home stay with Zanele, at her house (that is now Kate, one of our volunteers from Columbia USA and me), but because of the madness in weather and two trees across the road, this is not going to happen this week. I am looking forward to this visit. I am marketing the whole eco-tourism, I should experience it myself. It will also be great to meet Zanele.

Horsing around 

At the moment the closest compost toilet is closed to be cleaned and now I have to walk up the hill and almost out the gate, but it is all good, I call it my long walk to freedom….