Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 14 March 2016

Sinoloxo - We Have Peace

Following on from the vigil I attended on Saturday.

I have donated to the fund to raise awareness for Sinoxolo and to support her family and the wider community.

Please consider donating too if you can.

Facebook Page for ongoing awareness and fundraising Sinoxolo - We have Peace

And the page for Vigil for Sinoxolo

Men are what their mothers made them...

South Africa is weeping. 
I am weeping.

There have been too many terrible incidents too close to home recently for me to ignore. It has been impossible not to be profoundly affected.

Just in my little circle here in Cape Town:

A month ago, a friend arrived home to find her beautiful, sweet and innocent 17-year-old daughter naked, drugged and raped on their lounge floor. She went to school as usual that day, and has no memory of anything after that. That could have been any one of my friends.

A week ago a 16-year-old girl was jogging in Tokai Forest with  her family. A safe and happy place many of us have visited often as children and with our children. Feeling safe and secure and enjoying this wonderful wholesome bit of enclosed nature where children can run and roam and enjoy some freedom. We have let our own little ones run and cycle off ahead, knowing we'd easily find them as we walk and chat with friends behind them... So Franziska ran on, agreeing to meet with her mom a short while later at the end of the trail. A perfectly normal thing to do there... only she wasn't so lucky that day. Her simple afternoon run would be the last thing she ever did as she was savagely attacked, strangled and raped to death by 3-4 men, who acted alarmingly fast and horrendously brutally and unconscionably. Later they were caught when they tried to sell her phone for R200. That could have been my sister or her 5-year-old daughter, she lives a few hundred meters from there and walks in the forest often.

The next day a 28-year-old woman was running on the path below Rhodes Memorial between UCT & Newlands forest. I know that path well. I run exactly there every week. Usually at dusk, always alone. And often I stop by a bushy section just above Princess Anne Ave and duck next to the bush to take a quick pee. Yes, I stop and pull my pants down and squat in the shadows off the path. Read that sentence again... So last Tuesday a women was running this exact path, in that exact spot, and she was grabbed, beaten and dragged up into the forest, raped and held captive for 24-hours, before she managed to escape. It turns out this is the 3rd incident there this year, there is a serial rapist preying on women in the area. That so easily could have been ME! :(

With all the grief, shock and outrage following these events last week, it emerged that another brutal and horrific rape and murder had taken place the week before. Sinoxolo a 19-year-old from Khayelitsha was using the communal toilets one night, and was brutally raped and murdered and her head and clothes shoved into the toilet. She was left there, dead, to be found by her cousin in the morning as she came to do her ablutions.

Except no one knew about Sinoxolo. Because in the depths of the townships life is tough. The community is used to suffering, and hardship. They know that when they speak; demanding, asking or pleading for help, nothing happens. Sinoxolo's family received no support. No grief or trauma counselling, no police investigation, no follow-up, no nothing. Her brother is devastated, her mom defeated in grief. They cannot bury their beloved daughter and sister as they have nothing. Instead her mom needs to walk to that toilet where her daughter was found naked, violated and dead, and use those same unsanitary, and now unbearable on every level, toilets. Mourning her daughter, and still fearing for her own safety and life.

This was all too much. Too much to ignore, or leave for someone else to sort out.

So when Kerry Nelson spoke out on Thursday and said she wanted to arrange a vigil to honour Sinoxolo and help her family in Khayelitshe on Saturday. I knew I had to participate. 

I felt sad, helpless, hopeless, fearful and horrified. All of that turned into ANGER. Why is this happening? Who does this kind of thing? What is causing this in our societies?? Something is systemically wrong. These are not normal actions of normal people. Our moral and community fibre is breaking down, we are not breeding good people.

My sister and I attended the vigil on Saturday. To show support and solidarity, because #AllLivesMatter. Standing there in the dust, and leaking water from the communal toilets, surrounded by a small group of real people from all over, untied by compassion and outrage I was moved. Sinoxolo must not have lost her life in vain. May this be a turning point. Enough. No more.

While we stood there feeling grief and sadness and imagining what that poor girl went through, I also felt huge responsibility. It's hard not to feel anger towards men in this situation. But that's not fair. Men are not inherently bad. And imagine what life must be like for a young (especially black) guy? He is by default assumed to be bad. How do you live with most people automatically suspicious of and fearful of you? What must that do to your self-esteem?? I imagine it must be a bit of a self-feeding cycle. If you assuming I am up to no good, and suspect me of misdoings, I might as well be up to no good. Right...?

So as the mother of 3 sons. I am sad and scared. Sad that my boys might be seen as 'bad' and 'evil' just because they are males. Sacred that I carry a huge responsibility to raise them right and well as their mother. What if one of MY sons turns out to be one of these men who perpetrates these heinous crimes!??

I own that it IS my responsibility to breed GOOD MEN. Because the truth is peace of earth begins at birth, and how our boys (and girls) are born and parented in this first primally formative weeks and months of life is crucial to their neurological development. It dictates whether they bond, trust, feel safe secure and develop empathy and compassion.

Studies show that psychopaths often have deep-seated psychological issues which reach all the way back to infancy (and probably pregnancy and birth).

I feel the responsibility for this lies with us all as a community but starts with each on of us.

Mothers raise your daughters to be strong and sensible.
Mothers raise your sons to be sensitive and sensible.

It starts with us.
May the next generation be better.

Tips for raising good men:

How To Raise Sons Who Respect Women

I have donated to the fund to raise awareness for Sinoxolo and to support her family and the wider community.

Please consider donating too if you can.

Facebook Page for ongoing awareness and fundraising Sinoxolo - We have Peace
And the page for Vigil for Sinoxolo

Friday, 11 March 2016



Angry that Tokai Forest is no longer safe. That a place which for decades and decades has been a fun, free and safe place for all types to hang out and relax and exercise and socialise is now a place of fear. Where our daughters are savagely raped and brutally murdered.

Angry that Newlands Forest/Rhodes Memorial/UCT is no longer safe. Places where people go to STUDY and also to exercise, unwind and clear their heads are no longer safe. Our women and friends are hunted down like game, battered, abducted, held hostage, raped and relentlessly attacked.

Angry that places of basic sanitation and hygiene are not safe. Places where people are forced to go, to perform the basic human ablutions, are now filled with fear with terror. Where girls will be aggressively raped, strangled and murdered in cold blood... And left for the next person to find when they come to use the toilet.

Angry that friends find their daughters drugged and raped in their homes when they get home....


I am angry, and I want change.

I will be joining a group of ordinary moms who are sick of this shit, and sick of our girls, sisters and friends being raped and murdered and ultimately devalued.

We'll be gathering in Khayelitsha on Saturday to stand in solidarity for the girls losing their lives there. Because every life matters and even ONE lost is too many!

So I am turning my sadness, shock and horror into anger and action and doing SOMETHING.
Are you?

Friday, 25 December 2015

The Elves of Christmas in review

These Christmas Elves have been visiting me every year for 10 years now.

I love it and look forward to, and treasure, these photos every year!

This is how they have evolved through the years...






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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

On 6 Dec (9 days behind the official date) we hosted Thanksgiving in Cape Town 2015.​​

About 40 friends and family joined us to eat, drink and be merry and most importantly be thankful and show gratitude for the many blessings in our lives.
As is customary during the dinner festivities we went around and allowed everyone to say a few words of thanks as they wished. It was completely optional. I REALLY didn't think either of my boys would speak - a good few adults were too shy to - but they both did! They stood up in front of all those people, many of which they don't know and:

Quinn: Said that he had just come back from a really tough 10 day hike at school*, and that after only getting very limited supplies of powdered soya mince and powdered mash etc and starving most of the time for 10 days that he is very grateful for home and FOOD! And also for for Nathaniel's heart op being successful and for his amazing recovery since.

Griffin: Said he is grateful for me and all the time and effort I am putting into all his end of Grade 7 stuff and getting him ready for high school and all the money being spent on his schooling. That when I am busy with the baby, Quinn will help out with cooking and make dinner. And for having his baby brother.

I'm so impressed that neither mentioned technology, or consumer goods at all. xxx

*More so Quinn's group Journey apparently got old/wrong maps and had a very bad start to their journey. Their guide was new and completely inexperienced too. So they got horribly lost and went the wrong way walking 20+km extra on the first day or 2 and taking 2-3 days to find any of the proper scheduled activities, so they ran out of food and missed a lot of the fun stuff. The group morale was VERY low and they had one boy who stopped eating or drinking, and another who was very unfit and slow and they had to carry all of these 2's stuff for them. In the end they had an intervention and 4 of the group gave up, left and went home early. Quinn says he had the option to quit, but chose to stick it out and finish. And he did. Apparently by the end he had been largely instrumental in turning the group's spirit around and they finished as one of the groups with the strongest vibe. And ended up loving it. I am VERY proud of him for that. What a great life lesson right there!


​My gratitude for this year:
There is a Swedish proverb that says "Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow." I think this sums up my experience and learnings this year.

As I started to reflect on this past year to count my blessings and think about what I am thankful for so many thoughts and feelings came up. I realised that behind that which I am thankful for is deep, raw and very real emotion. There came the realisation that despite the good it's been a really difficult year where much has been quite chaotic and in flux.

Some really significant and traumatic things have happened that have shaken us to our core. Things that are not easy to cope with at all. And yet we all did.
We have all survived, strived and even thrived despite all the challenges and so I have realised that it is the social bonds and the support given through the good AND bad stuff that strengthen us, and that make the joy that much sweeter and the deep sorrows to be bearable.

So am really grateful for the bonds:
-        Of family.
-        Of our tribe here in Cantoria. Lead by our King Andrew and his little Prince Nathaniel.
-        Of my big boys Quinn & Griffin who are my life's pride.
-        Of my extended family of parents, sisters and their families
-        Of Andrew's father and siblings.
-        And of course the very special bond of friends both near and far.

I am thankful:

That my boys Quinn & Griffin remain wonderfully easy going, and excellent big brothers to Nathaniel.

That we got to take little Nathaniel to go see his America family in the states and especially Grandpa Lou in Florida.

That despite the extra chaos it brings; that our lives have been rich and full of visits of family and friends from all over the world.

And I really am grateful that I have a home full of boys (including the cat and dog) that understand, support and tolerate me (most of the time).

To end off some wisdom from another Swedish proverb which says:
"Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours"

Merry Christmas one and all!

It's that time of year again....

I hope that you have a wonderful Festive Season, celebrating in whatever way you do.

May you have plenty of time to have fun, relax, enjoy friends and family, and good food and drinks.

I hope 2015 has been a good year for you and that 2016 is even better!

With much love
Jane and all the boys in my life

Monday, 7 September 2015

Nathaniel is ONE, so time to get myself back... *ENTER BANTING*

Long ramble below, but the question is in BOLD below, so please just read and answer that if you don't want to read the rest..? THANKS.
So I'm doing a Banting type thing. Not super strict as I don't have a lot of weight to lose, and I don't think I am insulin resistant (yet), but I had got into a terrible habit and downhill spiral of simple-carb addiction. So while I have always eaten well and consciously previously, in the past year since living here and having baby, I would eat sweets, cakes, biscuits etc. pretty much with abandon. And for the most part my metabolism could handle it - because of breastfeeding. YAY! So no harm really. But I got to the point that I was almost justifying eating so much crap. 'About to exercise, so some chocolate is fine!', 'I just exercised so this muesli bar is good'... blah blah bullshit.

Anyway, with running 50-60km a week, and BF'ing and not getting enough sleep I was always tired and/or hungry and because I can't sleep when I want or need to caffeine and sugar are the quickest and easiest 'drugs' to try to 'buy' energy.

But then I started weaning, and then injured my heel at around the same time. Now that doesn't mean I did nothing. I went to the gym EVERY DAY (to do yoga, pilates, power-plate, circuit whatever I could). I tried to eat less, and found I was less hungry anyway without all that cardio. Yet I started gaining weight and bloat, esp around my middle, and alarmingly fast too! I literally put on 2-3kgs in a week or 2!! And I wasn't being a pig (well not overtly anyway). If I am honest I was still eating a fair amount of crap in there. (Don't tell A I called his brownies 'crap') ;)

So I decided something had to change and that my body must actually be a bit out of whack. I guess a pregnancy, breastfeeding and diet change, weaning etc etc over 40 will do that to you huh?!

Watching 'That Sugar Film', Spring season starting, Weaning baby, and him turning 1 years old (I can really no longer use the excuse that 'I have just had a baby' I haven't!) and wanting to FEEL good in and about myself and and and seemed the perfect timing to consciously make a change.

I started last Tuesday and have gradually improved each day with being more conscious and aware of what I am eating and then adjusting that to make better choices. I am by no means doing the whole proper Banting thing, but I am eating 100% more consciously and probably 90% more healthily (in the Banting definition of that).

I am not yet at the point of thinking beans, chickpeas, peanut, raisin, tomato sauce or 70& Dark Chocolate etc are 'bad', but as and when I have that kind of thing I do it in moderation and consciously and I think that's good.

I have successfully, and easily passed up on cupcakes, biscuits, muffins, toast, potato, Lindor chocolates, brownies, cookies, jam, cereal, left over party sweets, Tim-Tams, Nutella.... My life and this house is just FULL of this stuff! Even the YUMMY Butternut Panzeroti everyone else ate last night (I was going to eat it and then though, nah, I really don't need it at all). PLUS I have stopped just eating what the baby discards - which is big for me and I think I did that impulsively without even really noticing!

And I have discovered my heel can cope with spinning so I have some cardio back too which helps in all sorts of ways also. BUT I am not ravenous from it or out of control guzzling carbs, YAY.

For me a BIG mind shift is to thinking and believing that Fats and Oils are OK! I would previously have done low carb AND low fat. I steam veggies, fry without oil, use only lean eat etc. SO actually adding olive oil and butter to stuff I would usually have cooked and eaten plain is a bit of a mind shift for me, but I am giving it a try.

2 things I have noticed so far:
- I used to flavour my foods a LOT. Heaps of salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Now I am seeming not to do it and am just eating stuff quite plain and liking the actual taste of the thing.
- And things taste DELICIOUS. A and I shared an omelette yesterday and the spinach and tomato inside it tasted DIVINE. I couldn't stop commenting on it. I am sure it WAS delicious, but do think a week or 2 ago it would have tasted that good to me. I think more so my taste buds have become more sensitive again and I can tastes and appreciate flavours better.
I had a cappuccino too with no sugar/sweetener or anything and I liked the taste of that too. Last week I would have been reluctant to drink it.

So anyway this is starting to make sense and I can't refute that even though I didn't get either of my usual lie-ins this week-end, I was willing and able to wake up when baby did and don't feel drained and exhausted any more, and I think that was probably mostly carb hang-over now..? And I don't feel hungry, irritable, fuzzy headed all the time either. So I want to give this a decent go now, since I think I am over the initial hump and it's making sense and seems to really 'work'.

So my question is:
Do you HAVE to eat breakfast??
- I'm more of a cup or 2 of coffee when I wake up person. I don't want to eat until about 10-11am anyway (even on high carbs) so now I am really not hungry when I wake up...
Yesterday I went to do a 90-min spin-class at 08:30am and then did a 90-min yoga class after that and only ate at 12:30. But felt fine doing that.
- So can you skip breakfast and eat later on (mid-morning or early lunch) whether you are exercising or not, or is breakfast considered important and really necessary for some reason?