Many meals ago, when I was wooed by a wine writer, I quickly learned that generous amounts of delicious wine is best accompanied by slobberfuls of decadent food. So during our romantic interludes we ate our way from Cape Town inner city’s very ra ra! Restaurants, to the secret grungy city spots and the food belly of the Franschhoek Valley.

Not only did I learn that a good wine had ‘legs’, a ‘nose’, and that blind tasting doesn’t mean you are sipping blindfolded, but I learned to truly appreciate what sets a mediocre meal apart from a gastronomical feast.oro signage170514_resized

Oroboros in Muizenberg ticks every single box. As we parked our car and started walking to the restaurant, I went into olfactory overdrive. It was as if we were transported to the streets of Morocco. The heady scent of freshly crushed and roasted spices came wafting out of Oroboros, which in turn made my tastebuds quiver. Small, cozy, and filled with bohemian artworks and décor, it has a very welcoming atmosphere. The waiting and bar staff are quick, efficient, and seem to actually like working there -which is a bit of a rare thing these days.20150912_170446

Oh but the food! We went there hungry but only managed the mezze platter and the West Coast Mussels. The portions are very generous and the variety of textures and flavours in the platter fill you up quick. Every dish on the platter seems to have been lovingly crafted by chef Craig Biggar. The chalkboard menu is small with a taste for most, which I like, as it often means the chef has perfected each dish.

JacquesresizedOwner Jacques de Klerk is a great host with a sort of bohemian glam, rock star vibe about him, which makes him intriguing to chat to as he dashes from table to table entertaining his people. I loved it when he served us olives drenched in oil, garlic and -I think – I tasted fragrant Rosemary. He served it piping hot and freshly oven-roasted, “because I just couldn’t wait.” Plenty of seating outside, especially for the last of the die hard smokers.

We managed to escape the shooters, it is a festive place on a Friday night, but Jacques –luckily- hooked us with his fresh, zingy Margharitas. The passion is tangible. I cannot wait to go back.georgezed

Oroboros Tapas Bar 082 925-1073; 2 York St, Muizenberg, Western Cape, South Africa

Theatre Review: Laugh the Buffalo.

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


I have been dreaming about those 10 day silent retreat meditation courses. Imagine 10 days shielded from cars, sirens, phones, Facebook, and that tiny but greedy Twitter bird screaming to be fed. I imagine the only sounds heard would be the delicate crunch of fat happy cows grazing in evergreen fields and the gentle gurgle of a silver mountain stream. A very zen looking couple of an indistinguishable age will lead us into a trance with a nod of their graceful heads and we will remain thus, only occasionally, to the sound of a gong, we’d take a break to nibble on some organic, spring water hydrated organic vegetables harvested by their home-schooled children in hemp sarongs. 

An agent of the secret police on a training mission does not really quite fit in with this picture and that is only part of what makes Andrew Buckland’s one man performance so unusual, hilarious and farcical. Part Mister Bean, part Pink Panther, but thoroughly South African, our secret agent man, Buckland, stationed at the silence retreat is not the sharpest tool in the box. Perhaps that is exactly why he is the one chosen to sniff out a whistle-blower in hiding. Of course, all this spying and conniving needs to be done in silence. Our man bends over backwards, falls over his own feet and becomes a one-man comedy of multiple errors in his quest to uncover the truth. Initially everything slowly starts unraveling and then it all abruptly falls apart when The Buffalo God arrives.

Buckland who is a veteran performer, director and writer uses his prolific acting, miming and clowning skills to tell the hilarious tale of the hapless secret police agent. The plot is interesting enough but it is really his energetic and perfectly timed physical antics on the stage that steals the show. A very minimalist stage design focuses the attention on Buckland’s perfectly theatre trained body. He hops, flips, bends his limbs and as if by magic he transforms himself into the various characters. He is chilling as he becomes the sickening Buffalo God and then only seconds later he has the audience roaring with laughter as he turns into giant pair of lips.

Much credit has to go to award-winning director Janet Buckland. They have teamed up again to create the perfect dynamic and energetic performance. The direction of the play feels as natural as breathing with every gesture and word perfectly keeping the tightrope taut as we are carried away by the story. 

The themes at play are serious: the potential impact of the Protection of Information Act on a nation that refuses, or are too ignorant, to act on it and the deeply satirical depiction of pathological politicians bloated by greed and high on power.  He rapidly fires social and political comment at the audience in as much through his words as his body language. A great feat of this play is Buckland’s ability to play the hilarity and seriousness of the situation off against each other with a cleverly balanced performance. Laugh the Buffalo is especially relevant now that our country’s dear politicians are gearing up for the election. They are wearing shiny suits, double faces, dance in the streets and make golden promises with forked tongues.  Truth really is stranger than fiction right now. Buckland’s hilarious tale tells many bitter truths but at least he has the grace to take the sting out of it.

His original plays have won a total of twenty national and international theatre awards. He received a Standard Bank Standing Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival this year in recognition of the significant and long-standing contribution he has made to the theatre industry,

Laugh the Buffalo is a clever, fun and intellectually layered performance by a highly skilled performer clearly deeply passionate about his craft. We should all go and have a laugh with Buckland and then buy our politicians a one way ticket to a faraway silence retreat.

 Laugh the Buffalo runs until 30 November at 8.15 pm at The Baxter Theatre. Tickets for performances from Tuesday to Thursday cost R130 and on Friday and Saturdays they cost R150. Bookings through Computicket 0861 915 8000 or


I have to confess that I am a Godfrey Johnson groupie. I follow him all over the Mother City whenever I can. I loved him in the little launderette/theatre, Tabula Rasa, his lovely voice mingling with the smell of fresh laundry. He was phenomenal at Beefcakes as he strutted his stuff in Tainted Love with Christine Weir. And that is just licking the tip of the iceberg.

His current show, Mr Johnson Presents, at the gorgeous Kalk Bay theatre certainly does not disappoint.  Johnson has this uncanny ability of mixing pathos with humour and a good dollop of sauciness within the change of a key on the piano – which by the way – he has mastered.  On the night we were there, we were treated to a mix of his own work as well as the work of renowned artists such as Prince, Leonard Cohen, and Pet Shop Boys. It is however his rendition of Brel’s, If You Go Away, that floors me every time. Johnson presents this song with so much heartbreaking emotion that it feels as if the audience is holding its breath throughout.  However it is mostly giggles and gags as he puts his own spin on classic songs. Kalk Bay theatre is perfect for this intimate production. It feels as if Johnson is sitting in your lounge and is playing just for you.  It makes for a wonderful night out at the theatre. In fact, go early to avoid the traffic and grab a bite at the harbour or at the theatre itself.Image

Some of his one man shows include, “Alice sal Regkom”,The Importance of Being Harnessed”,”Songs my Lover Forgot to Sing to Me”, “Flirting with Coward”,”Behind Every Man”,”Stories of Crime and Passion” and “The Shadow of Brel”.

Mr Johnson Presents is on at Kalk Bay Theatre until 26 October.

To book visit

Imagine seeing your children only once a year, or once a month. It used to be common practice in South Africa, for some it still is, to have your domestic servant live in your house or in a tiny little room at the back of the house for the better part of the month or year. She did everything, including raising your children like her own. It was ‘normal’ to see a black woman with a white baby strapped to her back hanging up the washing, or doing the ironing. What she could not do is raise her own children. The job, zeitgeist, and long-distances did not allow that.


Pic by Ella Nahmedova

Creator and director of A Woman in Waiting, Yaël Farber, aptly describe these women as stoic; “they seemed to have the waiting thread knitted inextricably into the fabric of their souls.”  He goes on to say, “women have always been the filters for a society: the vessels through which the pain of a community flows.” A Woman in Waiting tells the story of one such woman, Thembi Mtshali-Jones.

And between this accomplished actress, the director and all the designers of the production, this woman’s heartbreaking story springs to life. Mtshali-Jones has a long and impressive record as television, film and stage actress.  And she can sing. Beautifully. She has recorded several albums. She uses all her talents to bring this stoic woman’s story to us.  To see her longing for her child as she cares for the madam’s little one is just tragic and indicative of cruel times. The first 50 minutes of the play is mesmerizing. Clever props assist Mtshali-Jones’ storytelling as she herself effortlessly slips in and out of the various characters. She is incredible as she transforms herself into a little girl. It is flawless up to the final few minutes where the story, for me, became a little too self-indulgent. However for the most part, it is a magical piece of theatre making and a provocative story that has to be told and heard. It is beautifully written with great sensitivity and the evocative stage lighting enhances the performance.

A Woman in Waiting is on at the Baxter Theatre until Saturday.

If you are keen on cycling the 2014 Indian Adventure, from the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, to the southern tip of India at Kanyakumari, this is a book you really should have on your list. Image


Oliver Balch is fascinated by the transitional India, or the New India, as he calls it. He has travelled to the country numerous times and during his latest exploration he follows the curious trail of entrepreneurs and successful modern Indians as they embrace the ever-changing landscape. Not only is it a well-researched and informed read, but it is also brilliantly written in a very engaging manner that neither judges nor belittles the people he meets. From billionaire self-starters and mavericks, to rag pickers and teah wallahs, Balch searches for the characters behind India’s expansion of its middle classes: the everyday man who has created an extraordinary life for himself.  The people that Balch meets are colorful, creative and truly inventive. They see obstacles as challenges and meet them with a gleeful approach. They are experimental and fearless.


Through numerous interviews, expertly captured by Balch, whispers of ancient India can be heard as the New India bubbles and boils to a vivid life. There’s a lot of detail in the book. It is not a quick read but rather a slow languorous journey of meeting people who offer us, through the empathic eyes of a professional journalist, insights into an ever-changing country. Balch has clearly taken no shortcuts whilst capturing India’s zeitgeist.  A must read.

Book Review – In Patagonia (Vintage Bruce Chatwin)

Posted: August 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

“The book that redefined travel writing”, reads a comment in the Guardian. Another review by prolific travel writer, William Dalrymple, states, “The pendulum of fashion has swung against Chatwin”.Image


In Patagonia was published in 1977. Is it dated? I have to disagree with Dalrymple. Chatwin’s writes carefully pared prose about roughshod characters and peculiar places vividly painted from a unique perspective. Dangerous and intriguing encounters in foreign landscapes, brought to life from the pen of a gifted writer, will surely never become dated.


The first chapter is a real cracker. Chatwin, the child, becomes obsessed with an old leathery bit of skin stuck onto a card with a rusty pin – his granny’s possession. She tells him it was from a brontosaurus. He goes on to tell the story of how this alleged Patagonian brontosaurus fell into a glacier, and was trapped in a ‘prison of blue ice’, until it was discovered by his granny’s cousin Charley, who shipped the skin to her house. Chatwin never took possession of the much desired treasure. After granny’s death his mom carelessly threw it out. But his fascination with Patagonia kept growing when the first tremours of the Cold War were felt and he figured Patagonia as the safest place on earth.  And so it all begins.


The book is divided into short chapters. Obviously they’re all linked to make one travelogue, but you may isolate one or two and read them as a short, short story: just a few pages opening with a meeting of an odd character, or a glimpse into the life of one drought-stricken family desperate to elk out a living, whom he meets on his travels. “At every place I came to it wasn’t a question of hunting for the story, it was a question of the story coming at you,” writes Chatwin. Ingenious, dangerous, capricious, daring, heroic and desperate: you get to discover Patagonia through the people he meets along his journey.


One of my favourite characters is the adventurer and self-styled sheriff, Martin Sheffield. Rumoured to look a bit like Hemmingway, Sheffield suffered from gold-fever, womanising, and general drunkenness. He went to Patagonia with only a white mare and an Alsatian for company – ‘Poor as Job’. He would do anything to find his personal Klondike: most of it illegal. “He shot trout from the rivers, a cigarette packet from the police commissioner’s mouth; and had the habit of picking off ladies’ high-heels”, writes Chatwin.

Yes, maybe Dalrymple is right after all, they don’t make them like Sheffield, or Chatwin, anymore.


1.  Don’t be a voyeur. The Punta is a sexy sweaty Garifuna dance style practiced in Belize. It sort of involves you and your partner shaking your hips and thighs at each other at a relentless pace. Visit a bar, have a typical Belizean Rum cocktail, get off your butt, and ask the barman/lady to teach you the Punta. They are generally happy to oblige. It’s a lot of fun, a great work out, and it can be your new party trick back home.   Image


2.  Don’t dive the Blue Hole. Ok if you’re a commercial junkie, love crowds, and you just want to tick it off your braglist. Go for it.  Sure you can see it from outer space with the naked eye, and it looks pretty gorgeous from the outside. But the water circulation is poor, therefore not much sea life about, and at $250 for 3 dives it will take a neat chunk out of your budget.

Rather opt for Shark-Ray Alley & Hol Chan Marine Reserve (Northern Cayes and Atolls). Also great for snorkeling: guaranteed to see schools of large stingrays and nurse sharks.

Or Caye Caulker (Northern Cayes and Atolls): Easy accessible snorkeling, very laid back and much less crowded than its popular neighbor, Ambergris Caye.

After a hectic cycle on the Doomsday Ride,, I needed to get away from the crowds. I found great snorkeling all along the islands next to the village of Hopkins, deep in the south of Belize. Affordable and few crowds. Book your SCUBA or snorkeling trip with Hamanasi Adventures for the best support and great crew.

3.  Don’t go abseiling down waterfalls – IF you have just cycled over 2700km. Rather opt for cave tubing. “Butts up!” is a national slogan in Belize. It comes from the screech of your tour guide as you are gliding along, butt hanging down in icy water, through a dark cave on an inflated tyre, and there’s a shallow rocky area approaching. After all the cycling your butt needs a rest, this is a non-strenuous way to learn about the Mayan culture.

4.  Don’t stay in Belize City for long. A day should be enough. It’s busy, a bit pricey, dirty, and I did not feel all too safe roaming through the streets. Generally the city is used as the centre from where all adventures depart.  Rather head out and visit the temples, or a jaguar retreat. There are luxury spas aplenty if that’s your scene. Generally the further you go away from the city, the more authentic your experience.

5. Don’t think you will have lunch in a tropical forest, next to an ancient Mayan temple, surrounded by the sounds of howler monkeys and parrots. Unless you are on the of course. They know people who know people. On the last day of the tour cyclists ambled through the ruins, blessed the site with rum and enjoyed an impromptu meal next to the Lamanai temple.

You better Belize it!

More info on this incredible adventure here: