The story of
It’s time for
FESTIVE FLAIR WITH OUR
SHOPPING, PEOPLE AND LIFESTYLE IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
12 Stinkhout Crescent, Mbombela
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Alita Steenkamp 083-695-5308
Liezel Lüneburg 083-287-2225
Lindi Botha 082-494-8005
Mia Louw 073-389-9761
Belinda Erasmus 082-567-0596
Mia Louw 073-389-9761
Tanya Erasmus 083-778-7725
Geraldine Reyneke • Andile Mthethwa
Jess Steyn • May Nel • Matthew Booth
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Why don’t you...
04 Indulge in a festive lunch, savour some bubbly, or visit
a Christmas market
05 Brilliant books for the holidays
06 Catch a tan, drink gin or help to save the planet
10 Ace-ing it!
12 Celebrating 50 shades of pink
13 A pawesome birthday party
14 Gin-spired! We speak to Tanya Cruse about gin o’clock
18 Vuyani Baloyi is making her mark
20 Theresa Prinsloo has music in her genes
22 When the stars come out to play
24 Our annual giveaway calendar
FOOD & DRINK
26 The rhythm of Rio
28 Summer in the Lowveld!
30 A festive feast
32 Mark the season with our Christmassy DIY
34 Dancing to the rising sun
36 Born in the heart
40 Italian passion
28 We’re all about wine!
48 We are giving away a hamper of the most
agréable French cult beauty products
Photographed by Lumé Reiter
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 03
A hot date!
Pencil these events into your December diary right now!
If you have a date for our diary, email the info at least a month in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re so excited for
Bubbly & Lifestyle Experience!
This champagne, MCC and wine
event at the Lowveld National
Botanical Garden brings a
new generation of trendsetters
together, connecting them to
the sophistication of lifestyle
products and to one another. The
theme is “Dress to Impress”. Tickets
can be bought online (www.
mpumalangamcc.co.za) or at the
gates which open at 11am. Make
sure to experience the bubbliest
event this season.
The Xela College Design
Show is one glittering event
not to be missed. Held at Emnotweni
in Mbombela from 6pm to 9pm, it
showcases the exceptional talent of
past and present students. Tickets
cost R100 and can be bought via
‘Tis the season to be jolly.
And we’re ever so jolly
about Little Karoo’s Christmas
market. This quaint coffee shop in
Mbombela offers visitors live music,
fabulous stalls, art, fresh produce,
tasty food and drinks. There is bound
to be something for everyone. The
event is from 3pm to 9pm. Details:
Join us for the sixth
Mpumalanga Gospel Music
Awards at AFM Communio Church
in Mbombela. Tickets cost R200
for general access and R450 for VIP.
They can be purchased through
Computicket. This prestigious event
starts at 6pm.
We just love the I Love Local
Market at the Lowveld
National Botanical Garden. This
country market, from 9am to 1pm,
encourages visitors to browse for
that something special from a wide
variety of local traders. You’ll find
scrumptious eats, gin tasting, fresh
veggies, herbs and plants, delicious
homemade products, leather and
woodwork, books, clothing and so
much more. Free entry to market
visitors. Details: Peta on 082-331-0712
08 25 28
It’s going to be a white
Christmas at eBundu Lodge
outside Mbombela! You’re invited
to a fabulous festive lunch at 12pm.
It costs R420 per person, and kids
aged between five and 12 pay R195.
Booking is essential. Details: 013-758-
1222 or email@example.com.
It’s the most wonderful time of the
year. Hotel Numbi in Hazyview is
offering a Christmas lunch, served
between 12pm and 2pm. Adults
pay R285 and kids aged between
six and 15 pay R95. Younger than
six eat free of charge. Don’t forget
to book. Details: 013-737-7301.
It’s time to get the party
started with the Ama 2000
Music Festival at KaNyamazane
Stadium. Book your tickets at
Computicket: R200 for general access
and R1 000 for VIP. Gates open at 3pm.
Cooler boxes are welcome - free entry
before 6pm, afterwards festivalgoers
pay R100. Details: 072-258-0623.
04 Get It Lowveld December 2019
A trio of brilliant books for the holidays
Joy of joys! A new Jojo Moyes, just in time for the
holidays. Inspired by a remarkable true story, the
book is described as “the unforgettable journey of
five extraordinary women living in extraordinary
and perilous times”. The Giver of Stars is the story
of Alice Wright, who leaves England for America,
only to discover that swapping suburbia for being
the wife of an American businessman and living in
the wild mountains of Kentucky isn’t, actually, the
answer to her prayers. Then she meets Margery
O’Hara, a woman who isn’t afraid of anything, and
a woman on a mission! The pair, along with three
others, join up and, ignoring obvious dangers and
loads of social disapproval, travel hundreds of miles a week to deliver books to
isolated families. When a body is found in the mountains, and one of the group
becomes a suspect, their new friendship is put to the test. The Giver of Stars is
unputdownable. Penguin, R270.
Ever since reading the marvellous Don’t Let’s Go to the
Dogs Tonight, we’ve pounced on any new Alexandra
Fuller with delight (unlike her mother, who thinks they’re
“dreadful”). Just released is Travel Light, Move Fast, a
tribute to Alexandra’s father, who died unexpectedly and
dramatically in Budapest. Read in equal parts of envy and
horror - her parents launched from one calamity to the
next, fuelled with gin and in a haze of cigarette smoke,
along with the children, a handful of dogs and a collection
of orange Le Creuset pots - the memoir jumps from present
to past. Alexandra tells of the lessons her father taught her,
about life, love, loss and tragedy. Lessons that led her to cope
with the loss of her father, of the fallout with her sister, and of
the final bereavement she reveals in the last chapter, when you may find yourself
holding the book further away than normal so as to distance yourself from the
grief she pours into the pages. Brilliantly written, heartbreaking, and often laughout-loud
funny. Not much more you need from a great read, really.
Profile Books, R300.
Also well worth reading...
If there was ever anyone as glam as the marvellous Jackie Kennedy Onassis, it was
her sister, Lee. One the most iconic women of her time, and the favourite of their
rakish father, she lived in the shadow of her older sister, their mother’s favourite.
Both had a keen eye for beauty in fashion, design, painting, music, dance,
sculpture, poetry, and both were talented artists. But they, although extremely
close, were hugely competitive and their relationship had rivalry and jealousy.
When Jackie died and her will was read, Lee discovered that cash bequests were
left to family, friends and staff, but nothing to her. “I have made no provision in this
my will for my sister, Lee B Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have
already done so during my lifetime,’” it read. The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Sam
Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, who had interviews with Lee, explores the
tragedy and glamour of these two fascinating women. HarperCollins, R310.
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 00
Indulgent ice lollies and ambrosian gin
When you’re all hyped up for the holiday
vibe, it’s often difficult to fall asleep. Say
hello to Duo Calm Soothing Sleep. One pill
before bedtime promotes healthy sleep by
regulating your circadian (day/night) rhythm.
R445 from fusionlabsonline.com.
We are super excited to be launching the
Jenna Clifford Celebratory Crackers in the
Lowveld! The gift of sharing with someone
special. It takes two to crack it, adds fun
with a bang along with the beauty of the
contents. Brenda and Jenna’s friendship
stems back to 15 years ago when Brenda’s
twins attended Summer’s (Jenna’s
daughter) birthday party. This “Cracker”
concept has been a dream of Jenna’s for
quite some time and we are thrilled to
bring these Celebration Crackers to the
ORDER your festive season or special occasion cracker with us.
Contact us on 011 523 6600 / Brenda Archdeacon on 082 820 9855
Conceptualised on Clifton 4th beach in 2014,
Granadilla is a swimwear, beach accessory and
summer-loving brand that embodies the energetic
spirit of Cape Town summers. Focusing mainly on
premium swim shorts for men, it now offers kiddies
shorts and women’s cozzies, too. All featuring
a locally inspired design, while staying on the
forefront of fashion, culture and most importantly
- a summer attitude. Available at A Brief Affair at
Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, White River. Swim
shorts - long or short style: R790, kiddies shorts:
R590. Ladies cozzies also available.
Endless summer days call for
the perfect drink
Bloedlemoen is the first blood orange gin
in the world. With the fruit locally sourced
in the Cape, this is contemporary, London
dry-style gin is distilled using 10 botanicals.
Now, just in time for endless summer
days, Bloedlemoen Gin has added a new
variant to its collection... Bloedlemoen
Amber, with the addition of a selection
of locally forged fynbos and honeybush.
Amber is warmer, sweeter and spicy, and
is excellent enjoyed neat, on the rocks or
with a cut of orange zest and a splash of
tonic. R399 a bottle.
06 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Fancy an orange lolly?
Makes 4 x 85ml ice lollies. Juice of 5-6 large
oranges (roughly 500ml); a squeeze of fresh
lime juice (Note: You will need 4 x 85ml ice lolly
moulds and flat lolly sticks). • Mix the fresh orange juice
with the squeeze of fresh lime juice, tasting and adjusting
to your liking. • Pour into lolly moulds until each one is 3/4
full. • Place moulds upright in the freezer for about an hour
before poking sticks into each mould. Freeze for a further 3 hours or
preferably overnight. • Remove moulds from freezer and briefly dip them
into hot water, then gently pull the lollies out and serve immediately.
Recipe from Jude’s Ice Cream & Desserts.
Hot days. Sultry nights. Sexy swimwear and
slip dresses. Which all, obviously, scream tan.
We’re massive fans of the Caribbeantan brand.
Think products that are good for you, good for
our planet, and cruelty-free! You’ll find them at
Dis-Chem and Clicks, select independent stores, as
well as online at www.caribbeantan.online.
Zero just happened
Zero waste. Zero plastic.
Zero cruelty. We’re mad
about the new Zero Bar shampoo... a
proudly local product that’s concentrated, water-free, plasticfree
and cruelty-free. Designed to last through between 55
and 70 hair washes, outlasting most bottled shampoos, there
are four to choose from (called the four Bar Bros)... an Argean
bar, Jojoba, the Moringa bar and Wild Desert Melon. All four
have loads of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and promise to
clean, enrich, moisturise, condition, shine, strengthen, nourish,
soothe and repair. Only available on line at the moment, they
cost R75 each, or R300 for a pack (all the same, or one of each).
Celebrate the holiday
season with Clarins
for a Christmas full of
Immerse yourself in the magic of Christmas
at each step of this holiday season: a playful
moment, from preparation to celebration.
|Let’s prepare for a
It’s time to pamper yourself and
your loved ones with comforting care!
An iconic product to boost your youth
from R995* for 30ml
For more than
60 years, nature has
inspired our every
is why over 250
plant extracts infuse
Put the spring back into your skin
Extra-Firming Deluxe Collection
R2,150* | Valued at R2,820
Something for Dad...
Clarins Men Hydration Collection
R815* | Valued at R980
Discover more at clarins.co.za and participating Clarins beauty counters.
For you. About you.
*Recommended Retail Selling Price
|Find the perfect gift!
The countdown has begun.
Your playful spirit is awake, ready to hunt
some memorable gifts for your family.
Let it Glow! Let it Glow!
Bright Plus Gift Set
R910* | Valued at R1,500
The gift of youthful skin
R830* | Valued at R1,330
Mommy’s kissing Santa Claus
if she gets this Holiday Beauty Cracker
R320* | Valued at R495
| Get ready to celebrate!
Christmas magic is alive! Complete your
look with the perfect make-up.
All eye want for Christmas
Wonder Perfect 4D Gift
R380* | Valued at R545
A must-have for kiss me lips
Beautiful Lips Collection
R600* | Valued at R680
The perfect cocktail to revitalise your skin
from R625* for 100ml
CHOOSE 3 COMPLIMENTARY SAMPLES WITH EVERY ONLINE ORDER AT CLARINS.CO.ZA
Matthew Gibbons and Marcus Wagner
Debby Gunn-Henderson and Christa Matthee
Samkelo Nkosi, Nomvuyo Mlimi and Vusi Masai
The recent grand opening of ACE Retail in Riverside
Park, Mbombela was a night to remember. Bubbly
was handed out as guests eagerly anticipated
what was to come. ACE didn’t disappoint, offering
a whole new dimension to the Lowveld packaging
Nerine du Plessis, Pieter Geringer and Lisa-Marie Pretorius
Angelo and Lula Paschalides
Denzel and Phindiwe Sophie
10 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Eurika Mogane, Marchel Kruger, Pauline Moller and
Mariolise le Roux
Adelaide Mashego, Beate Dednam and Goitsi Tsolanku
Shades of pink
The CANSA Tea was back with a bang as this year’s
theme enticed hostesses to pull out all the stops
and celebrate love, light and survival, to coincide
with Jenna Clifford’s 60th birthday.
Jenna Clifford and Brenda Archdeacon
Ramphosi Shawe, Linda Mokoena
and Mandisa Mthembu
Carlien van der Walt, Juliana Sierra, Michelle Sierra
and Marilyn Terry
Megan Palmer with Brenda and Sarah Archdeacon
12 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Chene Sevenster and Dylan du Toit
Werner and Lanthe Oosthuizen
Great fun was had by all at Pro-Life Pet Rescue,
Rehabilitation and Adoption Agency’s eighth
birthday celebrations! Every year the event
attracts young and old, and this year saw the
addition of the Lowveld Market.
Abraham le Roux, Pieter Jansen van
Vuuren, Michael Benade and Hugo
072 For bookings 380 0466
For 013 bookings
380 757 1014 0466
013 757 1014
Dawie and Elize Annandale
Eric and Vanessa Strydom
ALL THE WAY!
They say that dynamite comes in small packages, and after spending a little
time with Tanya Cruse, you may well have to concede the point. Petite and
soft-spoken, she packs a wallop of enthusiasm and determination into life
that is quite breathtaking and inspiring.
14 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Mother of two gorgeous boys, Carter and
Sloan, and wife to Hylton, she is also the
founder and owner of Dollie Gin Company,
a local brand of infused gin that is taking the
Lowveld by storm. Dollie first came about
because Tanya was asked to serve drinks at
a cricket match, the perfect place, obviously,
for G&Ts. This got her to thinking about the
endless possibilities gin presents, and she
started making Dollie, infused with a variety
of flavours, as a treat for thirsty friends and
family. Along with this, came the iconic
Dollie caravan, which Tanya later sold to
make way for a sleeker travelling companion - her well-stocked and expertly
renovated Land Rover, a well-known (and well-supported) fixture at many a
It doesn’t end there. The Landie went the way of the caravan, making way
for something far more glam and Tanya’s newest adventure, Gin & Co, which
recently opened its doors at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River. If ever
there was a place to while away the long and lazy Lowveld afternoons, this
is it. Gin & Co’s crisp and sleek lines have you thinking you are in an exclusive,
high-class club, until you sink into the plush slate-grey sofa and take your first
sip of an ice-cold gin, a Dollie perhaps, rooibos-infused, with a sprig of rosemary
and slice of grapefruit. The world and its troubles slip away in the aftermath of
fluorescent tonic bubbles, as they fizz and pop merrily, refreshing and relaxing
in turns. This is the life.
At the moment, Dollie Gin is infused
with flavour, not distilled, which is
partly why Gin & Co came about.
“While Gin & Co means the start of
actually fermenting the gin, along
with a few other tasty tipples, it’s
not only about just Dollie anymore,
that’s what the ‘& Co’ is all about,”
A few months ago, she decided to
take over Rottcher Wineries after the
sad and untimely passing of Frank
Theron, her friend and mentor, and
the prospect, while frightening, is
also exhilarating. “Frank was the one
who initially helped me get started,”
she muses. “Initially, I worked in
conjunction with him, learning the
ways of the distillery. The dream
was to grow it, and expand the gin
side. After his death, I gave it much
thought and decided to carry on
alone, bring the vision to life. I spoke
to Frank’s family and they agreed that
I buy Rottcher Wineries and carry on
Carter, Tanya and Sloan Cruse
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 15
Text: MELLISSA BUSHBY. Photographer: LUMÉ REITER
as we had planned. Rottcher Wineries
started off in 1959 and is a Lowveld
icon, so I have big shoes to fill.
“Some of Frank’s old stock is still left
and people clamour to get hold
of it before it’s all gone. One of the
batches of wooded citrus gin, made
in conjunction with smoked French
oak chips, is particularly scrumptious.
It was left in a little longer than usual
because Frank wanted to explain
part of the process to me, but we
were in the bush at the time. The
few days extra that he waited made
all the difference. It has a subtle,
almost burnt-caramel flavour coming
“Sadly, there is very little left, and
many of the recipes, especially for the
orange wines, are lost, so it really will
be a huge learning curve, starting
from scratch in a way. Certainly a
mammoth challenge but one I feel I
am able to do. Support from friends
and family has been amazing, and my
team, Angela, Hlobi, Melusi, Mduduzi
and Queen are a godsend, as much a
part of Gin & Co as I am. And it helps
that I love what I am doing.”
That is fortunate, because Gin & Co
keeps Tanya on her toes constantly.
“I never realised we would be as
busy as we are,” she says. “We have
plenty of people milling about the
centre who pop in for a gin tasting
or a cold, refreshing drink. Also, we
do everything ourselves here, from
bottling to labelling. The stock in the
The gorgeous Gin & Co
Melusi Nyoka and Hlobisile Ntila
16 Get It Lowveld December 2019
shop is steadily growing. We have
an excellent boutique wine and
champagne selection and a few of
the well-known local beers are also
available, and we intend on having
wine and gin on tap soon. We also
have a large variety of craft spirits.”
Indeed, the array of colours,
beautifully designed labels and
eclectic bottles, mixed with the
botanicals, fruits and spices on
display almost make you feel as if you
have wandered into a mysterious
perfume shop, an Aladdin’s cave of
pretty treasures filled with jars and
‘I love to
the essence of
this with a hint
and loves a sprig of rosemary and slice of orange or grapefruit, blueberry with
pimento is deliciously enhanced by thyme and a handful of fresh figs, and the
strawberry with wild basil requires nothing more than fresh strawberries and
perhaps a sliver or two of cucumber,” says Tanya. “Gin is so versatile, it can be
savoury or sweet, and the mixer you choose also comes into play as yet another
element. The current favourite is peach lemonade, which flies out of the shop.
Everyone loves the pink tonic as well.”
For the tee-totallers there’s Tanya’s popular tonic cordial, handmade with fruit
and spices, and a much-loved favourite, Dollies Gin Jam, is something you really
want to get hold of. There is nothing quite like hot-buttered toast slathered in
this delightfully decadent blueberry and strawberry gin-infused preserve. Or
scones, with lashings of cream and a healthy dollop of jam, if that’s more your
While you would have thought the craft gin fad would have moved on by now,
it’s very clear it’s here to stay. It seems to grow and change, adapt and transform
constantly. Just when you think it’s all been done, a new deep blue or pretty
pink, beautifully bottled, high-end brand appears. Gin certainly has come a long
way since its early days of being known as “mother’s ruin”, and it’s certainly stood
the test of time.
So whether you like it with a sprig of seaweed and scatter of salt flakes, or
straight up, shaken not stirred, here’s to gin, and to Gin & Co. Tanya and her team
are simply fabulous, but fair warning - once you have walked in those doors,
you’ll find you may never want to leave.
bottles of exotic tastes and smells.
“Gin is a wonderful thing,” Tanya
says. “There is just so much you
can do with it, from adding flavour
combinations to the gin itself, not
to mention the accompaniments
which you garnish it with, from bay
leaves, peppercorns and rosemary,
to strawberries, blueberries and the
traditional cucumber. They are now
experimenting with tomato and sea
salt - imagine that combination!”
Yum. That sounds like something any
self-respecting gin lover would quaff
in a heartbeat. “I love to experiment
with the different flavours, mixing the
essence of this with a hint of that and
testing to see which flavours marry
well and which just don’t belong
together. For example, the Dollie
Rooibos is paired with lemongrass
Tanya and Hylton Cruse
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 17
Advocate Vulani Baloyi of Mbombela is a true inspiration.
We visit her to find out how she balances
her professional life and being a single mother.
18 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Text: Liezel Lüneburg. Photographer: TANYA ERASMUS
Vulani grew up in
the rural village of
Mhinga near Malamulele
and is extremely proud
of her Tsonga heritage.
She was raised by parents
Eric and Maria Baloyi, though her
mother sadly passed away when
she was 11 years old.
Vulani remembers her childhood
as a happy place where she was
raised in a caring environment by
not only loving parents, but also
an extended family. When listening
to her talking about family and
growing up, the real meaning of
“it takes a village to raise a child”
She attended Kheto Nxumayo
Agricultural High School in
Siyandhani Village close to Giyani,
capital of the former Gazankulu.
“For some reason my father saw fit
to enrol me in an agricultural high
school. It was quite an experience,
but, I must add, no fun learning
how to slaughter animals!”
Her father (76), a retired policeman,
is a force to be reckoned with and
has made his own mark in the
history of South Africa. In 2018
the president, Cyril Ramaphosa,
awarded him the Order of
Ikhamanga for his contribution
to the development of boxing in
Vulani proudly tells how he has
not only trained numerous young
boxers through the years, but also
produced professional ones, such
as Cassius Baloyi, Isaac Hlatshwayo
and Jeffrey Mathebula. No wonder
he has raised a strong, independent
woman who is more than capable
of changing the world wherever
After finishing matric, Vulani first
attended the University of Durban
Westville and later on the University
of Zululand where she obtained a
B.Juris degree. She is an academic at
heart, and also boasts both an LLB
degree and a master’s degree in law.
Her curriculum vitae is impressive,
and all her accomplishments and
qualifications are just too numerous
to include in one article, although
we cannot help but mention a
few. She holds a post-graduate
diploma in international law, which
she obtained as a full-time student
from the University of Melbourne
Vulani also boasts a vast knowledge
of land reform, environmental
law, indigenous law,
corporate governance, human
resources, contracts and financial
At present, she is director of legal
services at the Mpumalanga
Provincial Treasury. Vulani is quite
satisfied with what the department
love of law in
would like to
return to it’
has accomplished. “My 11th year
with the department also marks
the 11th year in which we have
received a clean audit,” she says.
And we all know that this is no
easy feat, and something to be
really proud of!
Notwithstanding the successes
achieved by the provincial treasury,
there are still many challenges
faced by municipalities, and
according to Vulani, they are
working hard to streamline all
processes and expenditure.
Although she enjoys doing what
she does, she would like to return
to teaching when the occasion
presents itself. “From 2003 to 2006,
I worked as a senior lecturer and
coordinator at the Department
of Environmental, Management
and Mining Law at the University
of Limpopo’s School of Law,”
Vulani says. “I enjoyed teaching
and establishing a love of law in
students, and would like to return
to the world of academics, where I
fit in perfectly as a lifelong student
But she is not only making her
mark as a highly qualified legal
eagle. She is also a single mother
of Andile (23), a BCom intern, and
RJ (10), who she describes as
“the man of the house”. “It is
extremely important to raise
young men who are ready to
take their positions in life with full
responsibility,” she says.
“Men who do not take responsibility
are a huge challenge in
the modern world and in many
instances the problem lies with the
parents. Boys should know that
women play a very prominent role
on all levels of society and that
they need support.” According to
her, it is also important to teach
boys that household tasks are not
only the responsibility of women.
But how does Vulani balance a
very busy professional schedule on
the one hand and being a mother
on the other? “I try to keep my
professional worries and stress at
work while spending quality time
with my children when I am at
home.” This must not be easy, but
Vulani is an example of the fact
that this is indeed possible.
When asked whether she plans
to stay in South Africa despite the
present worries, Vulani is adamant
that she has a role to play in
combating the difficulties, not only
through sharing her knowledge,
but also through her involvement
in community work.
Vulani can be contacted at 333arj1@
Vulani is dressed by Daphney
Makhubela of Lady Billions,
Make-up by Jessica of Effortless
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 19
Text: ALITA STEENKAMP. Photographer: TANYA ERASMUS
One thing is for sure: if music is embedded in your genes, sooner or later it will
catch up with you. Theresa Prinsloo still clearly remembers the day when the
beautiful old piano belonging to one of her ancestors, Rocco C de Villiers, arrived at
their house in Pretoria as part of her father’s inheritance.
Born a De Villiers, Theresa remembers
various excellent musicians in her
father’s extended family. Musicians
like Elise de Villiers, a world-renowned
violinist, and ML de Villiers, the
composer who wrote the music for
CJ Langenhoven’s “The Call of South
Africa” that is still part of our national
“I was only four years old, but I still
remember touching the white keys
of that piano and deciding there and
then that the only thing in life I would
like to do is to play the piano, and
that is what I still do today,” Theresa
says. “Later on, I also dreamt of playing
my own harp, but it still took quite a while before I learnt to master the harp
during my studies at the University of Pretoria.”
Theresa is well-known in Mbombela as a wonderful virtuoso pianist as well as
an excellent harpist and music teacher. She has a lot of musical students from
various schools in Mbombela and at this year’s eisteddfod, like previous years,
hers excelled. She and two of her students, playing a harp trio, bowled the
judges over and received 100% for their performance.
Although she always wanted to become a concert pianist, things didn’t go as
planned. She had quite an exciting life being an air hostess, flying to Paris very
often to study at a Parisian conservatory. Theresa was later married, but things
didn’t work out as planned and she divorced, after which she started teaching.
She then got promoted to a position of Inspector of Music, a job she really
loved, but eventually got tired of all the stress, and returned to teaching.
One day, while sitting in her office in Pretoria, she received a call from Gerrit
Haarhoff. Theresa had been at school with his sisters and so knew him. He
20 Get It Lowveld December 2019
asked her on a date, which was quite
a surprise, as she knew Gerrit was
practising medicine in Ireland. He told
her that he was returning to enrol his
daughter at the university, adding
that he had waited 29 years for the
opportunity to take her on a date.
The date went well, and the rest is
history. For a certain period, Gerrit
only saw her when he returned to
South Africa during holidays, but in
2011 he told her that he was moving
back to Mbombela and opening a
practice. Their relationship blossomed
and a few years ago they were
“Gerrit had to work hard to build
his own practice in Mbombela, but
people soon started to respect him.
When he started his research for his
book, Forgotten Tracks and Trails of the
Escarpment and the Lowveld, I loved
to go with him on all his searches. I
would pack a picnic basket, take a
bottle of wine and we drove for
many kilometres along the escarpment
to find the old transport
routes of more than 100 years ago.
It was quite an adventure and we
were delighted when the book was
published in 2018.
“When I moved to Mbombela, I
decided to continue teaching and
was quite excited by the wonderful
talent that I found here. I started
off with classes in the afternoon at
Laerskool Laeveld, and ever since I
have had a waiting list of pupils who
would like to come for piano and
harp classes. I enjoy every minute of
my work,” she says.
The moment that Theresa enters
a room, it is as if the whole place
comes alive. She is always dressed
beautifully and confesses that she
loves the beautiful things in life. The
children at Curro Nelspruit, where
she teaches music as an outdoor
activity, think she is quite funky. She
also loves to perform and often
gets a chance with events like the
Wakkerstroom Musical Festival, our
local Innibos National Arts Festival
or even small home concerts.
After chatting to Theresa, it is clear
why she lights up the darkest
day: she loves what she does, and
even a career as a concert pianist
wouldn’t have been as rewarding.
“The other day I read something
that the conductor Benjamin
Zander said,” Theresa says. ”‘I have
a definition of success. For me, it’s
very simple. It’s not about wealth
and fame and power. It’s about how
many shining eyes I have around
me.’ When I read these words,
I immediately realised that it is
exactly how I feel.
“When a student of mine is sitting
behind the piano or playing the
harp, and I see how his or her eyes
light up after I have made a positive
remark; it gives me tremendous
joy! It is wonderful to know that by
doing something, like playing the
piano or harp, or painting a picture,
I manage to brighten someone’s
day. That is a wonderful gift that I
will always treasure.”
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 21
Sparkling eyes... we’re besotted with
this Clarins Eyeshadow... and admit
this season we’re wearing it day
and night. Because... holidays!
R355 from Mopani.
Silver or gold? One of each please! Essence Shine Last and Go gel varnish
in a sparkling silver (shade 28) or glam gold (shade 40), R29,95 each from
Dis-Chem. • Four AMAZING shimmery shades in this Sorbet Eye to Eye
Smoky Jo eyeshadow quad. R179,95 from Sorbet salons or sorbet.co.za.
A touch of midnight blue always attracts
(the right kind of ) attention. Try NYX
Chromatic Lip Gloss in Midnight Chaos
(R179,99 from Clicks), and Mavala Crayon
Lumiere Eye Shadow in Bleu Saphir (R187
We’re wearing just one
fragrance this festive
season... and it’s Azzaro
Wanted Girl. A floral
it’s massively desirable.
Available from Mopani.
Compiled by KYM ARGO. photographer: MEGAN BRETT
TheraVine Face Relaxant
Ampoules are great for reducing the
appearance of wrinkles, especially
those on the forehead and around
the eyes. Each ampoule contains
a ready-to-use dose. Simply twist,
squeeze, apply and bye-bye lines!
R872 from theravine.co.za.
22 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Perfect party-ready looks need great prep. We’re fans of this Vichy trio... Aqualia
Thermal Dynamic Hydration Pot Light Cream (R395), LiftActiv Supreme
Serum 10 (R575) and Mineral 89, a daily booster which fortifies and plumps
(R450). Available from Mopani.
Three of the six pretty party shades in NYX Ultimate Edit
eye palette, R240 from Clicks.
When the stars
come out to play
Midnight skies and twinkling stars... we’re in the mood to
party. And this festive season we’re going to shine!
in shade 60,
Malva Mini Nail Colour in Austin... a lovely shiny silver. R87 from Dis-Chem and Woolworth. • Wrinkles. Firmness. Radiance.
Dark Circles. Puffiness. Tick, tick and tick. All sorted with Filorga NCEF-Reverse Eyes, a supreme, multi-correction eye cream
that really does work. Beautifully! R1 115 from Edgars and Clicks. • Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish really
is a game-changer in the realm of exfoliators... it’s by far one of the best we’ve ever tried. This face scrub polishes your skin to
a gorgeous, silky softness... pores and dark spots are visibly reduced. LOVE! R995 from dermastore.co.za. • For gorgeous hair...
Biosense Spoil Super Powerful Oil, R280 from splush.co.za/brand/biosense.
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 23
1 DECEMBER 2019
the perfect Christmas gift
Ingredients: • 1 cup sugar • 1/3 cup mineral oil
• 2 tsp corn syrup • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
• 1 drop green or blue food colouring.
Directions: Mix the ingredients together,
adjusting peppermint oil to your liking. Decant
into a pretty jar, add a ribbon and voila!
2 DECEMBER 2019
To win a set each of Pasabahce glass
dinner plates, classic stemmed glasses
and elegant flute glasses from Valencia,
see the Get It Facebook page.
Prize only valid for this specific day.
5 DECEMBER 2019
6 DECEMBER 2019
To win a Heliocare SPF 50 spray from Nelspruit
Laser Clinic, see the Get It Facebook page.
Prize only valid for this specific day.
To win a R500 voucher towards a new
watch (R500 or more), visit the Get It
Facebook page. Prize only valid for this
9 DECEMBER 2019
To win a back-and-neck massage, gel toes, and
cut and blow from Face to the Wind, see the
Get It Facebook page. Prize only valid
for this specific day.
10 DECEMBER 2019
To win a R1 000 Polo voucher from
Nevills, see the Get It Facebook page.
Prize only valid for this specific day.
13 DECEMBER 2019
14 DECEMBER 2019
To win a R500 voucher for a treatment of your choice at Sorbet The Grove,
see the Get It Facebook page. Prize must be redeemed before 31 January 2020.
Prize only valid for this specific day.
Do a secret gift exchange! Everyone makes
something small and personal, wraps it up
and puts it under the tree, with their name
on. Each person’s name gets written on a
piece of paper, which all get thrown in a
hat, and each family member picks one.
It is once again time for our fabulous festive giveaways! We have
10 awesome prizes up for grabs, for 10 days. To enter, find the
relevant post on our Facebook page - Get It Lowveld - on the day
that it is active, like it, tag a friend, and invite a friend to like our
page, and you’ll go into the daily draw. Winners will be announced
at the end of each day. Good luck!
3 DECEMBER 2019
To win a fragrance of your choice from
Mopani, see the Get It Facebook page.
Prize only valid for this specific day.
4 DECEMBER 2019
To win an Express Facial & Humankind
OPI Polish Pedicure from Bodycure, see
the Get It Facebook page.
Prize only valid for this specific day.
7 DECEMBER 2019 8 DECEMBER 2019
Bubbly margaritas for Christmas!
Ingredients: • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice • 1 cup silver tequila
• 1/2 cup orange liqueur • 1 bottle champagne (about 3 cups)
• Lime wedges, for rim • Salt, for rim.
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir
well. Run lime wedges around the rim of each champagne
flute and dip the rims in coarse salt. Divide margaritas
between flutes and garnish with lime wedges.
Make a huge pot of popcorn and indulge in a
favourite Christmas movie classic marathon.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas
Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas,
The Polar Express, Scrooge,
and You’ve Got Mail, to mention a few.
11 DECEMBER 2019
12 DECEMBER 2019
To win a full body massage from Je Ne
Sais Quoi, see the Get It Facebook page.
Prize only valid for this specific day.
To win a Greenway Woods
meal voucher for four people
to the value of R1 000,
including a bottle of wine,
see the Get It Facebook page.
Prize only valid for this
15 DECEMBER 2019
In Iceland, the tradition known as
jólabókaflóð, phonetically pronounced
yo-la-bok-a-flot, encompasses the
exchange of books on Christmas Eve,
which everyone then spends the
evening reading. We think this is the
perfect run-up to Christmas Day!
16 DECEMBER 2019
“T’was the night before Christmas, when
all through the house, not a creature was
stirring, not even a mouse.”
- Clement Clarke Moore
The rhythm of
Text: Mellissa Bushby. Photographer: Belinda Erasmus
The annual Night of 1000 Stars is an event that Lowvelders clamour to be a part of.
Always glitzy and glamorous, it really is an evening of fun, food and festivity, with
the added bonus of being all about giving, as the event raises funds for Cansa.
The theme this year was Rio
Rhythms, and as always, the locals
really went to town. There were
exotic dancers, fire twirlers, feathers
and fabulous outfits, with bright
colours everywhere you looked. A
few improvisations were in order due
to the rainy and cold weather, but
quick thinking saw the party moved
from the traditional street to under a
roof, the walkway of which was lined
with burning braziers, taking the chill
off and giving the event a definite
exotic ambience. The music was true
26 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Rio; the sultry upbeat sounds of Vaya Con Dios among other things, perfectly
performed by Natascha C, creating a foot-stomping, hip-swaying vibe.
The main feature of the night, the food, was as spectacular as ever. The aim of
each restaurant is to feed their nominated table a starter, main and dessert,
and at the end of the evening the judges decide which of the restaurants
came out tops, not only regarding the courses but also overall. Tables are
beautifully decked out and each host takes care of their customers as if they
were in their signature restaurant.
This year’s winners
Starter: Orange | Main: Zest | Dessert: Doppio Zero | Overall: Doppio
Zero. We had a chat with the respective figureheads of these esteemed
establishments, and found out a little of what makes this event a mustdo
for these well-known local eateries every year.
Lee-Ann Heine von Zweel and her staff put their hearts into
everything, and it shows. They have participated in Night of
1000 Stars since its inception, cancer having impacted on the
lives of almost everyone in some way, making it a cause close
to Lee-Ann’s heart. Orange has a certain flair, and this comes
through in the dishes they prepare, although they do see the
event as an opportunity to try something a little new. The
food is created to fit in with the theme, and the entire team
get behind the effort to ensure creative, upmarket dishes are
offered to their guests. This year’s winning dish was a scrumptiously
tasty salmon roulade. The Orange team stuck to the
Rio theme to make it visually stunning, it was a bright, vibrant
taste experience. Lee-Ann believes that teamwork is what
puts Orange in the top three. “My team are always incredible
at pulling together and making each year memorable. We
truly have fun doing this, and it is near to all our hearts, which
makes it that much greater to take part,” she says.
GT Lundie and Zest are no strangers to the Lowveld
food scene. Zest has participated since 2007, and
having suffered the loss of his dad to cancer last
year, GT supports Cansa whenever possible. GT
and his team adapt their dishes to suit the subject;
it’s a great time to try new recipes and cuisine,
especially from different countries. Their main
consisted of a feijoada, vinagrete, coxinha/pork belly
with black bean stew, Brazilian vinaigrette salsa and
croquette - a classic Brazilian dish with a Zest twist.
They are no strangers to themed dinners. They have
a monthly wine tasting where guests get to pair a
variety of food and wines. GT believes the secret to
their success is in the consistency of their food, and
the fact that they keep abreast of current trends,
locally and abroad. “After all,” he says, “they say you
are only as good as your last meal.”
They are the new kid on the block, and despite never
having done a Night of 1000 Stars dinner before, they got
into the swing of things very quickly. Alistair Chawdwick,
manager at Doppio Zero, jumped at the chance to take
part for a number of reasons. Apart from it being for a
good cause (Doppio Zero does a fair amount of charity
work as a brand), being a part of the community is
imperative, as far as Alistair is concerned. The Doppio Zero
policy is one of no compromise when it comes to quality,
and a definite feather in their cap is that they cater for
everyone. They experimented in-house before deciding
on their dishes, and their menu was decided on after
careful consideration. Their winning dish was a cheesecake
with marshmallow fluff and berry compote, with a focus
on fresh ingredients, baked on the day of the event.
“We believe in guests, not customers,” says Alistair. “The
Doppio Zero policy is to reflect passion and innovation
through our food.”
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 27
Zesty grapefruit with just a hint of bitterness. This summer we’re
drinking the just-launched Fitch & Leeds grapefruit tonic. This coralhued
drink with a delicate fizz is perfect for those who’re avoiding
alcohol… a slice of grapefruit, a sprig of thyme, loads of ice and
you’ve a refreshing mocktail. For those who like a little merriment in
their glass, it’s also really great with premium vodka or tequila. And
it’s sensational for a crisp, refreshing G&T. Try it with Hope on Hopkins
African Botanical Gin, with a few muddled berries and mint. Bliss.
Lovely at lunchtime in the sun, fabulous for sundowners… it’s our
new fave! Around R55 for a six-pack of cans, R50 for a four-pack of glass
bottles. Details: fitchleedes.co.za.
Fitch & Leedes grapefruit tonic cocktails
Six Dogs Karoo Gin
• Six Dogs Karoo Gin • Fitch & Leedes grapefruit tonic
• 1 red chilli • 1 lime • Tabasco • Simple syrup (optional).
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine: half a red chilli, juice of 1
lime, a splash of Tabasco, 1 part simple syrup and 1 part Six Dogs Karoo
Gin. Shake well and pour into a glass filled with ice. Top with Fitch &
Leedes grapefruit tonic and garnish with sliced red chillies.
28 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Low alcohol. Low calories. Great taste. What’s
not to love? This summer we’re being sensible.
We’re still celebrating everything summer has to
offer with lovely wines, but we’re choosing ones
with lighter alcohol levels and fewer calories.
Without, obviously, sacrificing quality or taste.
First on our list to try is the Robertson Winery
Light Cultivar Range, which is showing off
great new designs, too. With just around 9%
alcohol instead of the average 12 or 13%,
there’s a Sauvignon Blanc 2019, a Chenin Blanc
2019, a Pinotage Rosé and a Merlot. All around
R50 to R55. Details: robertsonwinery.co.za. We
have a hamper of the Robertson Winery Light
Cultivar Range, plus a lovely yoga mat, up for
grabs. Send your details to competitions@
getitlowveld.co.za with Robertson in the
subject line. Competition ends January 6, 2020.
IN THE LOWVELD!
The perfect time to kick back with a glass of bubbly,
scrummy wine or ice-cold cocktail and watch the
magnificent African sunset.
This season we’re loving and suggesting
the Kleine Zalze Méthode Cap Classique
Chardonnay Pinot Noir Vintage Brut
2013. This old-world style sparkling
wine is full-bodied. Drink it on its own
or with food... it pairs beautifully with
oysters, fresh pan-seared fish or a
cheese board. Around R225 a bottle
from good bottle stores.
its 70th anniversary.
A true South African
original that’s stood the
test of time. It wasn’t
until 2004 that it became
readily available to us
here at home. For many
Roodeberg still conjures
up fond memories of
people, places and
This “little darling’’ charms with notes of watermelon,
papaya and strawberry
We’re having a little love affair with rosé wines at
the moment, and have fallen head over heels with
Gabriëlskloof’s Rosebud Rosé. This dry, light and deliciously
moreish Provençal-style rosé has equal amounts of Syrah
and Viognier, and is described as the “little darling” of
Gabriëlskloof’s estate range. It’s lovely to drink by itself, but
also pairs well with light dishes. Buy it online for around R80 a
bottle. Details: www.gabrielskloof.co.za.
We’re sweet on Skyline
We’re fans of a semi-sweet wine... it’s
best chilled, topped with soda and
served with ice, it’s a classic match with
rich liver pâté or parfait, and is brilliant
with desserts... The just-released Skyline
Late Harvest is a delicious option...
Around R49,99 a bottle, and R134,99 for
the convenient three-litre bag-in-a-box.
Fancy winning a sweet prize? We’ve got
a Skyline hamper to give away... half a
dozen bottles of Skyline and a pair of
sunnies in an eye-catching shopping
your details to
Skyline in the
ends January 6,
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 29
If ever there was a time to drink, eat and be
merry, it’s now. And on the menu? A feast of
baked cheese, glazed ham and chocolate tart.
You’ll need: 100g frozen cranberries;
150g Staffords cranberry jelly;
1 tsp chilli flakes; one 250g wheel
of Camembert or Brie cheese; 50g
walnuts; 3 sprigs rosemary.
To make: Preheat oven to 180˚C. In a
small saucepan combine the frozen
cranberries, 100g Staffords cranberry
jelly and chilli flakes. Cook over low
heat until the cranberries are soft
and the sauce has thickened slightly,
about 5 minutes. Set aside.
On a baking tray, score the wheel
of cheese in a 2cm by 2cm pattern.
In the grooves insert the rosemary
leaves... do this evenly throughout
the wheel. Spread 50g of Staffords
cranberry jelly evenly over top of the
wheel. Tie a piece of kitchen twine
around the outside to prevent it
breaking apart too early. Sprinkle the
walnuts around it.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until it
has become soft in the middle. This
will vary depending on the age of
the cheese. Remove from oven and
place on a serving dish. Spoon over
some of the cranberry chilli sauce
and place the rest in a dish to serve
on the side. Sprinkle with toasted
walnuts and more fresh rosemary if
Serve immediately with crusty sliced
bread like sourdough or baguette.
30 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Honey mustard glazed ham
You’ll need: 3kg leg of ham, trimmed and skin
removed; 1 cup smooth orange marmalade;
quarter of a cup Staffords honey; half a cup
orange juice; 3 tbs Staffords Dijon mustard;
cloves for studding; sage for garnish.
To make: Preheat oven to 180˚C. In a
saucepan combine the marmalade, honey,
orange juice and mustard. Cook over low
heat until the glaze has thickened slightly -
around 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside but do not
allow to cool completely. If needed reheat
over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Score the
trimmed leg of ham into a 2cm diamond
pattern. Push a single clove Into the centre
of each diamond. Only stud the top of the
ham, or whichever side you’ll be presenting.
Place on a rack above a lined baking sheet.
Generously brush ham with glaze and place
on the lowest rack of the oven. Every 10
minutes remove it from the oven, rotate
and brush on more glaze. Repeat this until
the ham is golden brown, about 40 to 60
minutes, depending on the oven. If the top
begins to brown too quickly, loosely place
a piece of tinfoil over top. Once cooked,
remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve on a
large dish (sliced or whole) and garnish with
Chocolate raspberry tart
You’ll need: Chocolate pastry - 170g cake flour; 50g icing sugar;
60ml cocoa powder; 2ml salt;100g cold butter, cubed; 1 egg yolk;
60ml water. Filling - 200g raspberries; 500ml cream; 60g caster
sugar; 100g Staffords milk choc disks; 150g Staffords dark choc
disks; 5ml Staffords vanilla extract with seeds; 3 eggs, lightly
whisked; 10ml cocoa powder, for dusting.
To make: For the chocolate pastry, sift the flour, cocoa powder
and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and add salt. Add cold butter
and work into the flour, using your fingertips, until mixture
resembles breadcrumbs. Beat egg yolk with water, add to the
flour mixture and mix until dough comes together. Turn out onto
a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap
in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then roll the
pastry out on a lightly flour-dusted surface and line a 25cm loosebottomed
tart tin. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Preheat oven
to 190°C. Blind bake the pastry case for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove
from oven and allow to cool.
To make the filling, reduce the oven temperature to 160°C.
Reserve a third of the raspberries for decoration and use
remainder to line the baked tart case. Place the cream and sugar
in a pan and gently bring to the boil. Stir until sugar dissolves,
then remove from heat, add milk choc disks, dark choc disks and
vanilla extract with seeds and stir until smooth. Allow to cool for
5 minutes, then stir in the eggs. Transfer the tart case to a baking
sheet and pour chocolate filling over raspberries. Bake the tart
for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the filling is cooked but still slightly
wobbly in the middle. Allow to cool at room temperature until
set. Decorate with remaining raspberries and a dusting of cocoa
powder round the edges.
For more holiday recipes,
Festive cooking - hells bells, any cooking - is easier (and tastier) when you use the condiments, baking and specialty
products from the Staffords range. From baking to braaiing, going fancy or keeping it simple, there’s a Staffords product
that will add a little extra punch. You’ll find them at your local supermarket.
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 31
Text: Lindi Botha. Photographer: Matthys Ferreira
To ring in the cheer
this festive season,
BUCO has created
two DIY projects
that can be crafted
at home during the
holidays. Gather the
family, host a craft
day and add some
extra festive glee to
While nothing quite makes a
statement like a ceiling-high fir tree,
this no-fuss, modern creation adds
extra sparkle to an entrance hall,
office reception or a small apartment
limited on space.
You will need
• 2x pine cleats cut to 80cm in length
for the sides • 1x pine cleat cut 45cm
in length for the base • Laminated
pine cut to 77cm in length by 12cm
wide and 2cm thick for the foot
piece • 2x dowel sticks cut to the
following lengths: 6cm, 13cm, 24cm
and 34cm • 10x 14mm cup hooks
• Fast-set wood glue • 5 wood screws.
32 Get It Lowveld December 2019
1. Cut the wood to size, making sure
the ends are cut at an angle to fit
together to form a triangle.
2. Drill holes where the dowel sticks
fit in to the sides of the tree.
3. Sand the wood with a sand block.
4. Put the dowel sticks in place with
glue on the one side and fit the other
side onto the dowel sticks, followed
by the base. All planks must be glued
first and allowed to dry.
5. Screw the planks together to keep
6. Glue the triangle to the foot piece.
Once dry, screw the foot piece in to
7. Screw the cup hooks into the
dowel sticks where you want to hang
your decorations. If you struggle to
screw them in, make a small indent
with a drill.
8. Hang your decorations.
As an alternative to a festive wreath,
this Christmas sign can brighten
up your front door, mantelpiece or
and open spot where some cheer is
You will need
• 2x laminated pine cut 20cm wide
and 50cm in length, with the top
corners cut off. • Vinyl stickers with
Merry Christmas wording. These can
be printed at any printing store in
Mbombela. Be sure to take the cut
planks in to match the size. • Sisal
rope of 1m in length, cut in half.
• Christmas ribbon. • Sanding block.
• Paint or wood stain of your choice if
you are colouring the wood.
1. Once the wood is cut, drill a hole in
the top of the two pieces to thread
through the rope. 2. Sand with the
sand block. 3. If you are colouring
the wood, paint or stain it with wood
stain and allow to dry. 4. Stick on the
stickers. 5. Thread through the sisal
rope. 6. Tie the Christmas ribbon at
the top into a neat bow.
BUCO has collaborated with Get It to bring you a creative project each month. All
items can be bought in store and assistants are on hand to cut any wood to size. Like
its Facebook page, BUCO Nelspruit, to stay up to date with craft workshops offered in
store. These make for crafty end-year functions, team building, kitchen teas or a lady’s
BUCO GETIT49 NH
BUCO GETIT 14NH
Boogie away THE
At first glance, Secret Sunrise seems like
a medley of dance, aerobics and yoga,
but it’s so much more. Kerri Dunshea
and Tash Cope tell us why you should be
dancing with them at their next event.
34 Get It Lowveld December 2019
Text and photographer: Mia Louw
A group of people has gathered
at the Pear Orchard picnic
site in Kaapsehoop. It is the
second day of the Kaapsehoop
Wild Horse Festival, and Secret
Sunrise Lowveld joins in on the
family fun. Fifteen participants
are given wireless headsets,
before the facilitators, Tash and
Kerri, lead them through an
hour of breathing, movement,
stretching and dance.
Through the headphones, the
first few songs ease the group
into a comfortable rhythm, as
Kerri starts facilitating. “Take a
minute to feel the grass under
your feet and the sunshine on
your skin,” she says in a soothing
tone. “Practice the attitude of
gratitude.” People from all walks
of life are encouraged to dress
up in fun, comfortable clothes
and celebrate the sunrise.
Starting off with smooth jazzy
tunes by The Kiffness, Too
Blessed To Be Stressed, the
song choices often reflect the
ethos of the event. The playlist
moves on to some more upbeat
golden oldies by Roxette,
slowly increasing the pace to
trancy tunes. As a herd of wild
horses gathers at the weir to
drink, Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony”
booms through the headsets.
Kerri gallops from side to side,
singing “Pony Pony” instead.
Secret Sunrise was born under
the African sky. “It started in
Zambia, probably about eight
years ago. The idea came from a team
building event. No one wanted to get
out of bed after a night of partying,
so the organisers started playing
vibey music really loudly. All of a
sudden everyone woke up and came
out of their tents,” Tash explains.
They started doing it more often,
but the sound became a problem
- that is when they incorporated
the earphones. “That changed the
dimension as well. It is more private.”
‘Take a minute
to feel the
your feet and
on your skin’
It has become a global community
and platform which follows sunrises
(and sunsets), while celebrating life
through movement, connection
Today you can attend a Secret Sunrise
in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban,
the Eastern Cape, the Garden Route,
in the Lowveld and abroad. Tash and
Kerri started Secret Sunrise Lowveld
in May 2018. “We kicked it off at the
Uplands Festival. I literally just came
from my training that day,” Kerri
Kerri Dunshea high fives a participant while Tash Cope looks on the session
explains. “You have to go through facilitation training to be an instructor. It’s all
about the methodology we incorporate - what to say and what not to say.”
Currently, at least one event per month is hosted, but they are aiming to
increase it. “We had loads in September. It was spring and it doesn't rain - I
wanted to use this time of the year to organise as many as possible.” It costs
R100 per session, which lasts an hour and the group usually varies between
20 and 35 people. “Every time it is a great party, no matter who comes or how
many people join,” Tash adds.
Using wireless headsets also means the events can be hosted outside in nature,
in tranquil spaces, without disturbing anyone else who might be enjoying a
picnic. “This one is right up there, under the top three,” she smiles, referring to
her best-loved locations in the Lowveld. “And Bundu Lodge was amazing, the
view is incredible.” The Lowveld National Botanical Garden is another one of
her favourite spots, and the Soccer Ball reservoir in Mbombela has a gorgeous
view. “I went there and cleaned up the area the day before. When it is clean, it is
Tash and Kerri usually plan the events two months in advance and those eager
The dancing starts at 8am in Kaapsehoop
to join can keep an eye on their
Facebook and Instagram pages for
dates and locations. They also do
special events, like birthday parties,
corporate events and team building.
“I’ve even had a 15-minute icebreaker
at a Women’s Day event,” Tash shares.
They also do outreach events.
“I recently was at the E3 Youth
Development Hub,” she explains. “It
was aimed at teenagers and young
adults trying to find work. They were
going through a skills development
process, doing a creative thinking
workshop. I just helped them keep
the creative juices flowing - this helps
you to lose inhibitions.”
If you are a spectator at Secret
Sunrise and can’t hear the beats, it
can be a rather comical sight. People
seemingly dancing to no music.
Earlier this year there was a viral
video on social media, with the title:
“Neighbours are having a silent disco
BBQ”. It shows three men in a tiny
backyard with headsets on, filmed
from their neighbour’s window as
they dance to their heart’s content
while braaiing. “Everyone tagged me
in that post and said: this is what you
look like,” Tash giggles.
They are also planning on launching
Sunrise Yoga events, where they
will offer a full hour of yoga with
headsets. Kerri is a yoga teacher
and artist, while Tash does financial
advice. “But I’ve always loved dancing.
I did ballet, ballroom and pole
dancing - you name it.” As someone
who is aware of the everyday
stresses of our modern lives, Tash
praises Secret Sunrise for its positive
influence in dealing with stress.
“I used to get upset if I didn’t get
eight hours of sleep. It would ruin my
entire day, but now I’m at peace with
the world. It influences your thinking
patterns - accepting realities for what
they are and not trying to change
them,” she smiles. “This morning I
arrived here very tired - not lus for
it - but once you’ve done it, you feel
like a new person. You can deal with
anything the day presents.”
Contact Tash on 072-530-9795
or visit Secret Sunrise Lowveld on
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 35
Katy and Benjamin, Rafi, (back) Jasmine, Anastasia and Yolande Muller
36 Get It Lowveld December 2019
o B rn
Katy Muller was only 12 years old when, after viewing a documentary
about orphans in Africa, promptly announced to her mother that one day
she was going to go to Africa, adopt those children and care for them.
She couldn’t have foreseen that this declaration would indeed materialise,
leading her to leave her home in the UK and settle with four adopted
children outside White River.
Text: LIndI BOTHA
There is no denying that Katy’s
greatest joy is derived from seeing
kids happy. With two biological
children, Jasmine (11) and Benjamin
(one year and eight months) and
four adopted ones, Yolande (20),
and siblings Anastasia (23), Rafi (26)
and Silvestre (29), Katy could have
adopted schools more had she been
given the chance.
“As a child I watched the TV
programme The Waltons and they
had a big family. I always knew that
was what I wanted and dreamt of
having at least 10 kids of my own
when I was grown up,” she laughs.
The plight of children has been near
to Katy’s heart from a young age, as
she spent her school holidays helping
out at a playgroup her mother ran for
Answering a call to service, Katy
studied to be a nurse, specialising
in special needs children. “While
I was studying I saw the news
about the Romanian war and all
the children who had ended up in
orphanages - mostly handicapped.
The government was supposed to
look after them, but they didn’t and
the children were in a terrible state.
People were flocking there to help
and I went as well.
“The orphanage I worked in in
Romania was horrific. The plight of
the lost and forgotten children really
moved me and that’s when I realised
that adoption was the way to go.
That country made me realise how
fortunate I had been growing up and
how much need there was out there
to give back and give children a good
home who didn’t have one. It really
cemented the idea that adoption can
help those in need.”
From Romania Katy moved on to
Brazil and worked with street kids to
try and rehabilitate them. While she
was there, she read about the floods
in Mozambique and the dire state in
which the children in the orphanages
were. “I sobbed my eyes out and just
knew I had to go and help. So I ended
up at an orphanage with around 500
children, with no baby house so all
the children were just wandering
around. I was only supposed to be
there for six weeks to help out, but
as it turned out, I met my children
and ended up staying 17 years,” Katy
states with a smile.
She relates how one little girl stole
her heart. “Anastasia was three years
old and she had the most beautiful
big eyes. Visitors to the orphanage
would come and go, pick her up for
a while and then put her down and
she would be left wandering around
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 37
Tedes Matola, and Anastasia, Yolande, Emile and Benjamin, Katy, Jasmine,
Rafi and Silvestre Muller. Tedes, who although was not officially adopted,
is very much part of the family.
looking rather bereft. So I decided
to take her in and start caring for her
and just love her like a mum would.
“About a week later another little girl
appeared at my door looking for her
sister. That was Rafi and I took her in
as well. Then a month later they told
me they had a brother, Silvestre! I just
shook my head because I had already
fallen in love with the two little girls
and now there was a brother too. So
in he came as well and we were like
Katy soon met the children’s dad,
who regularly came to visit them at
the orphanage. Their mom had died
of malaria and their father was too
old to care for them, and so he took
them to the orphanage. He and Katy
became good friends, and when the
time came, he gave her his blessing
to adopt the three siblings.
“Not long after, a man showed up on
my doorstep saying that he heard I
took in children. He then asked me
to take care of his granddaughter,
Yolande, as her parents had died. She
was such a darling I couldn’t help but
love her instantly.”
At that stage Katy was still single,
and with four kids in tow, she took
another courageous step to leave
the orphanage where she had been
working and set up another in Matola
where there was a need for one. “I
left with all four the children, which
was a miracle in itself because it was
unheard of for a missionary to leave
with any children. But it was just the
38 Get It Lowveld December 2019
way God’s plan worked and I was
soon able to complete the adoption
process for all of them.”
Shortly after Katy met her soon-to-be
husband, Emile, at church. “I told him I
come as a package with four children
and he said no problem. I said, you
must be joking - you don’t know
what that really means! But he was
adamant and it wasn’t long before we
Adoption is all
‘I want you,
I love you, I
“We were then blessed with a child of
our own, Jasmine. Unfortunately she
has learning difficulties so we had to
move to South Africa to get her into
a better school where she could be
taught in English. We settled down
outside White River three years ago.
I then had Benjamin, bringing our
family to eight.”
Katy muses about her “rainbow”
family, with her being British, her
husband South African, four of
the children Mozambican and the
other two something in-between.
But through the joy there are also
challenges, not the least being the
transracial nature of their family.
“When you walk through the mall
with all the children in tow, you
attract a lot of stares. Everyone wants
to know who the kids are and why
you have them. Sometimes you
get a good reaction, sometimes
not. But I see more and more
transracial families and it has become
increasingly normal, which helps.”
She notes that as an adoptive parent,
it can be an emotional journey as
you often wonder if your children
are reacting a certain way because
of how you brought them up or
whether it is part of their DNA and
has nothing to do with you. “You
wonder when they act out if it is
because they don’t love you as
much because you are not their
biological mother or because they
are being normal, difficult teenagers.
But ultimately whether they are your
adopted kids or biological, you have
challenges to face and so do they.
You go through ups and downs just
as you would with your biological
children. That’s life.
“But I always tell them that while
they weren’t born in my tummy, they
were born in my heart. Adoption is all
about saying ‘I want you, I love you, I
choose you’. It is just as profound as
spending nine months in the womb.
And my dream for them is to see
them do well in life and have the
same opportunities as anyone else.”
Creek on the map
Little remains of the Italian heritage of Low’s Creek and the community of settlers
that coloured the landscape with fruit and vegetable farming in the 1900s to
1980s. But Giovanna Secco, one of the last remaining Italian settlers, has upheld
her family’s passion for farming, turning Low’s Creek into a hub of papaya and
Text and photographer: Lindi Botha
orn in Australia of Italian descent,
Giovanna has stayed true to her roots,
placing family above everything and
carving out an existence through
hard work, perseverance and a lust
Spending most of her childhood in Australia,
the family was cast back to Italy for a brief time
to care for her grandmother when she fell ill.
En route back to Australia, family responsibility
guided them to South Africa when Giovanna’s
aunt passed away, leaving a thriving farm that
needed to be taken care of before the family
could return home. They started working on
Kudu Farm in Low’s Creek on January 1, 1970.
Considering the volatility of the era, the family
was warned not to invest too much into the
country, as the outlook was not positive. “But my
aunt wanted the legacy of her family and the
farm to carry on, so we just continued with the
papayas and vegetables being cultivated.”
Giovanna’s father started planting mangoes, and
she recalls asking him why he is planting fruit
that the family would not be there to harvest in
five years’ time. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, if we are
not here someone else will be here to pick the
mangoes.’ And we are still picking them! We don’t
plant commercially anymore, but we have kept
a few that my father planted and they are not
going anywhere.” After four years Giovanna and
her brother, Dennis, were plunged even further
into the farming business when her father took
a step back and handed over the reins. Then in
1993, Dennis made the move back to Australia
with his family, but continued commuting to
The Catholic church at Tonetti still stands today
40 Get It Lowveld December 2019
and from South Africa. Giovanna
remained to ensure the upkeep of
the farm would continue and grow.
Looking back at her flight into
farming, she laughs. “It’s not that I
had an interest in it. It was more like
being thrown into the ocean and told
to swim or you will drown. It wasn’t
a choice!” But Giovanna admits that
her success is personality-driven as
well. “You can put me in the middle
of Russia and I will survive. I just enjoy
the moment and don’t complain
about where I am.
“My dad was an extremely positive,
determined person. He had a major
influence on me. My mother died
when we were very young so we
were brought up by my dad and my
aunts. They also had a big impact on
my life because they were all very
strong, positive women. They taught
us never to give up.”
Her son, Walter, chimes in that
Giovanna, even at her age, is a
steadfast, determined worker. “If there
is work to be done, my mom is right
there in the field with the workers. It’s
very much a feet-on-the-ground work
ethic.” He joined the business 11 years
ago and Giovanna is grateful for the
knowledge, experience and energy
he brings to the farm. Both of Walter’s
siblings, Ivan and Antonietta, are also
involved in the business, continuing
with the farm’s family-driven legacy.
Giovanna muses that Italian families
are very integrated and form closeknit
communities, hence the Italian
village that grew in the valley from
Low’s Creek to Kaapmuiden in the
“There were various families that
came from Italy to settle here.
One family would come over and
send word that there were job
opportunities, great weather and
good soil. Bit by bit one family
member would sponsor the next to
come down. They would buy farms
together and once they were on their
feet, would buy their own.
“One of the more well-known families,
the Tonettis, built a sawmill, a railway
line and a church at Tonetti, just off
the Low’s Creek road. The church is
still standing today and many of the
families are buried in the churchyard.”
Giovanna mentions how back
in the day, every evening was
an opportunity for the Italian
community to get together and let
their hair down. “Those days all the
houses were built along the railway
line, so each evening all the families
would walk along the railway to one
of the houses to play cards. The next
night they would go to the next
home in line and so it would carry on.”
Sadly, most of the families moved
on and Giovanna is one of the last
left of the original Italian descendants.
Having used the opportunity to
buy farms as they came up for sale,
she and the family have not only
been able to expand the papaya
production, but pioneered the
macadamia nut industry in
‘If there is
work to be
done, my mom
is right there in
the field with
It’s very much
With the first macadamia trees
planted in 1998, she admits that the
whole process was trial and error
as no localised information was
available at the time. “We were told
macadamias wouldn’t work in Low’s
Creek as the climate is not conducive.
But it is similar to areas in Australia
where production is very successful.
“So with a few back and forth trips
between South Africa and Australia,
Sign to Tonetti, just off the Low’s
we got our orchards going with help
of agronomists to guide us.” Nearly
a decade later, production was at
a level where Giovanna could set
up their own processing factory,
Ivory Macadamias. “We believe in
adding value. By processing our own
products it gave us a much better
depth of understanding about the
nuts, the different varieties, markets
and our own problems from a
December 2019 Get It Lowveld 41
production point of view.
“When you send your nuts to another
factory and you get a report back
that details quality issues with yours,
it’s easy to say, 'But that can’t be; my
nuts are the best'. But by processing
ourselves we can understand what
the problems are firsthand and work
towards improving our harvest. It’s a
lot more work, but that’s just how we
like to operate,” she smiles.
With a great concern for offering
quality nuts, Giovanna took the
decision to market macs under
the Ivory Macadamias label locally.
They are one of the few producers
who do so, as 98% of the nuts
are exported. “I find the quality of
macadamia nuts sold locally are often
of such bad quality it is tantamount
to selling rotten tomatoes! But in
approaching the supermarkets we
were told the price was too high
to stock better quality. The prices
are high, but consumers need to
understand what quality macadamias
taste like - otherwise they will never
Kudu Farms stretches over much of Low’s Creek,
as it has expanded over the years
be willing to pay for a quality nut. The bad quality being sold is promoting a
self-destructive local industry, giving macadamias a bad name. So we decided
sell our own nuts locally so that there is good quality available. We supply the
nougat industry, and make macadamia paste, oil and roasted nuts.”
While Giovanna’s stopover in South Africa in 1970 became a lifelong
commitment, much of her family is still based in Australia. Asked why she has
not considered completing the journey back down under, she answers, “My
dad lived and worked in so many different countries and he always said South
Africa is heaven on earth. You can go wherever you like - there will be difficulties
everywhere, but all things considered South Africa is still paradise. And when it
comes to rugby I shout for SA!”
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Lowveld wishes all our readers a very merry Christmas!
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48 Get It Lowveld December 2019