What country were you educated in:
I spent my first few years in Cape Town and was educated in the UK until university.
What makes your country special:
It’s the rainbow nation. I remember hearing this phrase, coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu when I was younger. As a child, everything about it appealed to me. Rainbows, tutus: I was sold. As an adult, I was able to understand the significance of it. I am proud to be a child of the rainbow nation. South Africa is a country that still bears the scars of its history, and is working towards a future of greater equality.
What is your favourite city and why:
It couldn’t be anywhere other than Cape Town. Aside from the food, the people, the music, the weather, it’s the landscape that I love the most. How the Twelve Apostles wrap themselves around the city like they’re giving it a big hug, and those long and winding coastal drives. There is nothing that makes me happier than the drive from the airport, as you see Table Mountain appearing over the horizon. It’s as good as being greeted at arrivals by your oldest friend.
Where is your favourite place to hang out in your city:
I love Woodstock for its cafes and vintage furniture shops. It’s my favourite place for brunch. That said, if I’ve got the whole day, a drive to Franschhoek, followed by a long walk and even longer lunch is a perfect day. I’m not even a wine drinker, just the scenery and the food!
What is your favourite restaurant in your city:
Babylonstoren: everything about this place. The food, the ethos, and being a hotel junkie, the hotel! La Colombe is art on a plate. Mum and I sometimes treat ourselves with afternoon tea at The Mount Nelson Hotel.
What is your favourite gallery in your city:
The District Six Museum is a painful yet important reminder of South Africa’s past, and present. And a warning toward the future.
Tell us about your favourite African travel destination:
It’s not a favourite, because I haven’t been, but seeing the gorillas in Rwanda is right up there on my bucket list. I will have to get saving though: it’s $1500 for the day! As a freelancer, I can say that those gorillas have a rather impressive day rate.
Have any books (plays or films) changed your life:
Books, so many! Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ is a must read. Dervla Murphy’s ‘Full Tilt’ instilled a sense of adventure and I love Martha Gellhorn’s ‘A View from the Ground’. She seems to have this can-do attitude where home is wherever she lays her hat. I love that.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party (dead or alive):
How many can I have?! Nelson Mandela would be head of the table, for sure. I’d love to have the former two there, Martha Gellhorn and Dervla Murphy. Of course, Oprah would get an invite. Trevor Noah doing the pre-dinner speech and Amadou et Miriam for after dinner music. Perhaps David Gandy for some eye-candy?
Who is your style icon:
I once met an extraordinary lady in Goa, Lou-Lou Van Damme, who lives in Tamil Nadu, India. She’d lived the most extraordinary life. She was the Queen of Belgium’s personal shopper, before working as an interior designer, travelling all over the country working with hotels and private spaces. Well into her 70s she was busier and happier than she’d ever been. She flatly refused to wear makeup, even when being featured in magazines, and was always dressed head-to-do in bright flowing kaftans, what looked like kilograms of jewellery, and some very fabulous headpiece.
I feel like you have to grow into that look, but I can’t wait until I’m in my 70’s, swanning around my verandah, somewhere in the middles of nowhere, make-up free, arms weighed down by bangles, basically just not giving a fuck. I look forward to that day!
What item of clothing do you wear the most:
Jeans with any kind of shoes I can slip off (I am really enjoying the current mules trend). I like to barefoot, wherever I am, so anywhere I can kick off my shoes, sit cross-legged, and be comfortable. I’m rather fond of a leather jacket too. I have a favourite with studded shoulders which I like to call my “no new friends” jacket.
Tell us about your most extravagant fashion purchase:
A Louis Vuitton purse. I’m not really into labels, but the Louis Vuitton monogram conjures up images of travel from a bygone era. Those impossibly big and equally stylish trunks being loaded onto steam trains and boats. The purse is a modern day version of that: it’s smart, and you can fit your life in it.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life:
A watch that could stop time. Not go back or forwards, just pause. There are never enough hours in the day.
What are your guilty pleasures:
Anything made of chocolate. And massages (but I never really feel guilty about those)!
What makes Africa special to you:
That “TIA” mentality: it means something different to everyone. To me, it’s a sort of joyful acceptance; a laidback jubilance. There’s an energy to Africa, a liveliness, a freeness that isn’t as prevalent in other cultures.
If you were the [President, Leader, Prime Minister ] of your country for the day what would you do:
Reform the education system. It’s the tool required to help break the cycle of poverty. I’d make learning try and make learning to read and write more fun. Creating writing classes instead of Comprehension! Meditation practice instead of homework. Classes on how to budget effectively, on sexual health and awareness. Physical education would be on the time table every day, as well as bring back cooking classes. Basically, all the things required for learning how to be a fully functioning adult in today’s world.
Which living person do you most admire:
I often find myself watching Barak Obama’s speeches. Whatever you thought of him as a President, you have to admire his unmatched laidback attitude. He is just so cool. Even under the most unimaginable pressure. The reaction that he ignites from crowds, the rapport that he has with Joe Public. And he has a sense of humour!
Where do you see your country in 10 years time:
From the bottom of my heart, I hope that South Africa can become an influential player on a global stage. There’s no reason why it couldn’t, but as a country, they need to work towards ending corruption at the highest level. I hope that in ten years time there will be more opportunities and resources for its most vulnerable citizens and greater equality amongst its people.
How is technology changing your country:
Well, aside from the fact that just about everyone can own a smartphone today, mobile banking apps are really changing the way people send and receive money. Saving time, resources, and allowing people to track their money in a way previously not possible.
Tell us about your favourite charity, what work do they carry out:
The work that the Earth Child Project is doing is truly inspirational. Through interactive, hands-on learning they teach children (and teachers) from underprivileged areas the value of their health, that of the environment, and necessary life skills. From yoga to community gardening, they have a range of extra-curricular activities and clubs. In short, they make learning fun, and try to engage and inspire young children.
For more information go to their website: http://earthchildproject.org/ or email:
156 Main Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town, Tel: 021 7881 711
Why does the T I A project appeal to you:
Well firstly, I’m very active. I’ve recently started trying to cycle as much as possible, using it as a means to get about rather than just exercise, so I live in comfortable underwear. You’ve got to be someone really special to get me to put on anything lace! I am totally behind the responsible fashion movement, and making a conscious choice about where I buy my clothing is something that I try and do more and more. Quality over quantity!