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Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn't need muscle to defend yourself. Take part in self-defence classes to be safe.

Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn’t need muscle to defend yourself.

 

During heritage month the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) offered free self defence classes for women and girls.

I had only heard about it on the radio and was lucky enough to catch where and when it would take place. So on a Saturday morning I made my way over to Oude Molen in the hope to find the class.

Organised by the Yes We Can Sport & Jazz Foundation they had a great gym facility and quite a big group of women battling it out. Some of the women were devoted regulars, who had attended all the classes already offered, and helped teaching others to defend themselves.

 

I had taken part in self defence classes also in Germany, but yet again, I would soon learn that South Africa is of a different calibre:

Whereas in Germany the key to the self-defence class was to learn that there’s always a way to free yourself from the attacker, that was it, as it was assumed once free you can run away.

However, in South Africa, that is not enough: While we also learned that no matter what debacle you’re in, you can always fight back your attacker, here it doesn’t stop with running away:
The risk that your assailant will attack you again is too high. So we went a step further and also learned how to hurt people. Because in South Africa, fending someone off won’t help: You also have to incapacitate them before running away.

 

In a country with the highest rape rate in the world, and the most women being killed by their partners, this should not come as a surprise.

But to me it is.

Will I ever ‘get used’ to the high crime rate in South Africa? Where when your home got burgled the police tells you to be more vigilant? Or where the police is not even reachable and all you get on the emergency number is that ‘our agents are busy right now’?

Here in South Africa us women have to overcome our own caring nature and learn how to injure others physically, so that when the assault happens, we are prepared.

Well then, if that’s what it takes, let’s get training:

Check out the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) for their classes. As their slogan rightly says: Make the attacker your victim!

 

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Step 1: Insert rat into flowerpot

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

 

Step 2: Adjust flowerpot to rat’s liking

 

Step 3: Let rat settle

 

Voila! Rat has grown a little – maybe 😉

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

 

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Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

 

I always enjoy visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium.

 

But do yourself a favour and go on a night / behind the scenes tour at the aquarium.

You’ll look at the displays with all new eyes:

 

The night tour has a calm and relaxing feel to it, without the hustle and bustle of the day visitors.

Lights are dimmed, because also fish need their sleep.

The information displays are switched off, which points all the focus on the tanks and their inhabitants.

With the surroundings in complete darkness, you might get lost a little like in a fun fair labyrinth.

Fun effects in daylight turn into startling surprises at twilight.

 

The behind the scenes tour is actually more worthwhile during day, as then the kitchen is still open.

Yes, the fish have their own kitchen, as maintaining the tanks is a large scale operation with its own water recycling and air filtration system the size of a wastewater treatment plant.

The aquarium offers a lot to learn and accordingly even features a classroom, designed to make studying fun with open fish tanks in the middle of hexagon tables for groups.

You can even train diving, as submerging into the tunnel tank counts as a logged dive for scuba certification.

 

As a member of the Two Oceans Aquarium you get access to a range of awesome events such as sleepovers and yacht trips.

Alternatively check the Two Oceans Aquarium blog for the latest happenings.

 

Being prompted to check out 'New Groups' for nothing: Why am I alerted to 'Suggested Groups' when then there aren't any?

Being prompted to check out ‘New Groups’ for nothing: Why am I alerted to ‘Suggested Groups’ when then there aren’t any?

Lately I’m being prompted all sorts of things on Facebook: To link Instagram, to link groups, to create a new post, to keep up the likes… It keeps me busy.

Especially as half of these alerts are outdated or simply fake:

Facebook keeps on alerting me about the same thing, for example I’m constantly alerted about my inbox, as if it sits on a timer set to bug me at regular intervals. I’ve actioned on that message long time ago, but I’m still being bugged about it.

But the worst is to be alerted about something that turns out to be nothing:

Facebook offers me to check ‘Suggested Groups’. Yet, when I do it tells me: “We don’t have any suggestions at the moment.” The red ’20+’ alert is however still hovering next to my ‘New Groups’, urging me to click on it.

Dark patterns at work. 😮

 

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In the middle of a busy city and yet it's possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to the people, not cars.

A busy city road and yet it’s possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to people, not cars.

I’m a fan of Open Streets since I first participated with the 100 in 1 Day initiative in 2013. See the photos: 100 in 1 day at Open Streets in Obs.

We hosted a Giant FREE content swap & Digital Be-In intervention where we set up free wifi on the streets to close the digital divide and offered anyone who came along to access it with their device and swap some bits and bytes.
We had great content donated from music by Hrh Spinsista Mitzi to edutainment by OGLE Media kiosks that could be freely downloaded. It was great fun, read the press release: Bitswap event takes free digital content sharing to the streets.

Since then I visited most Open Streets events and took some more photos in 2015Fun Activities at Open Streets Bree Street.

I enjoy Open Streets, because there’s always something fun to do and great performances to watch.

This year Open Streets took place just up the road from us, it was the biggest yet with 5km of Main Road (Cape Town’s M4) reserved for people and closed to motorised vehicles.

So I popped by, but with no intention to take pictures. Although I did: Open Streets Cape Town: More often please!

Because this time it was such a peaceful event:

5km is a long stretch to fill with activities, so there were patches where nothing special was going on besides that the road was closed to traffic and people reclaimed the streets in their own way.

Where usually I’d be met by taxi drivers shouting, angry people hooting, bikes cutting corners, busses coming life threatening close, pedestrians and general chaos in between, this time a scenery of peaceful serene flow welcomed me.

Even though there were no rules, everyone was so relaxed, no-one was in each other’s way; space was so open, everyone could move freely without worries; a colourful variety of people and people-powered forms of transport mixed and intermingled like everyone took part in one long dance.
It was lovely. Every now and then I’d be like: What do you hear? Nothing? Exactly!
The only loud sounds came from people playing or making or singing music, which invited to move from one street party to the next.

Children were playing and cycling, scooting and jumping, or just simply sitting down. The asphalt covered in chalk drawings.
Couples went for a stroll, families came for their afternoon walk. A lot of people walked their dogs.
Many just came out to have a look and stayed, caught up in a conversation with their neighbour or bumping into some friends.

If you wanted to get inspired about non-motorised transport, here you could see it all: roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, longboards, bmx, holland, mountain and lying bicycles, wheelchairs, onewheel, scooters and hoverboards, you name it.

All in all it was such a pleasant experience, we should do this more often: How about every Sunday? 🙂

 

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The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

 

While the radio was talking about the Jazz Masters Tribute at the Artscape Theatre Centre, just around the corner at the Arena a very different kind of event took place.

 

The real deal

But that was not apparent to me at first, because I was late: I had booked the ticket over 3 months ago and the time had changed. This meant I entered the performance with very little context: My knowledge about it had fainted to ‘something to do with prisoners’, and because I had missed the introduction, that was all I was left with.

So I just opened up all my senses to make sense of what was unfolding on stage.

Two things sprung out at me after only a short while:
–  The performance was highly emotionally charged.
–  The acting was somewhat unprofessional but in a very human way.

It dawned on me that this might be the real deal: That these were real offenders, sharing their own personal story through a platform provided to them as part of their rehabilitation: the theatre.

And indeed: During interval lovely Janine next to me explained these were all real prisoners currently in jail and pointed out the guards on duty, who I had not seen in the darkness and now noticed were many.

Watching the next performance I realised that the provided context made little difference: I was just as much taken on a rollercoaster of emotions from laughing and crying, to cheering and applauding profound truths.

The audience was moved and responsive, from secretly wiping tears away to snapping fingers in agreement.

The message was clearly stated in the last poem: Nothing That is Human is Alien.

And that is really what we learned that night: A glimpse into the human side of offenders, past stereotypes and prejudices. Raw and real. Touching to the core.

These are real people who deserve real chances.

 

How can we help?

This was the question circling our minds, as this had been the last performance of this year’s group and it meant for everyone: ‘back to normal’, but what is ‘normal’ in these circumstances.

A discussion opened up in the theatre and continued in even more depth in the women’s bathroom resulting in these suggestions:

–  Don’t judge.
–  Share the message.
–  Provide space for theatre and rehearsal.
–  Support outreach programmes for offenders.
–  Bring more outreach programmes to prisons.

 

Driving home they announced on the radio that after the interval they’d get back to the Jazz Masters concert at the Artscape. I had just left and already this was how everything went back to ‘normal’ for me.

But of course there is more we can do:

 

Get involved

For another amazing example on how acting helps rehabilitate offenders listen to this podcast about the Prison Performing Arts initiative.

This just shows that theatre works as a crime prevention intervention. And why not? Why do we pay actors millions of bucks for faking it when we could use a fraction of the money to upskill people who can tell the real story?

So support future productions of The Making of a Criminal:

Follow the Help I Am Free cultural outreach project: https://www.facebook.com/HelpIAmFree.

Like the NGO Nicro (the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders): https://www.facebook.com/NICROSouthAfrica.

Donate to their crowdfunding campaign: http://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/the-making-of-a-criminal-part-2.

 

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Painting the Ranzani Design Salt & Pepper Grinders is very meditative work. The focus lies on getting the colour contrasts neat.

A calm and collected environment is established by bringing order and discipline to the paint job.

Unless you’ve got pet rats! Their curiosity knows no boundaries.

Even the paint – non-toxic of course – gets examined with some funny results:

Blue rattie paw prints everywhere! 😮

 

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Michael Ventura

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