Category Archives: Newsletters

September 2017: 13 stories in 9 publications

The start of a new season offers plenty of choices in the culinary world. Choose from one of the best drinks for spring or discover the dying art of creating brandy the old-fashioned way on a tour through the Klein Karoo. Celebrity chef Reuben Riffel also has a selection of the best recipes for a braai.

Speaking of celebrities, I reflect on the dangers of tabloids, while business news features Tshepo Sedumo of Grove Audio (a local company that crafts handmade boomboxes inspired by nostalgia) and entertainment news profiles Sebastian Cassie, the producer and director of Enchanted Cirque.

Slave Museum in Stone Town, Zanzibar (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

Because the holidays are just around the corner, travel news this month takes us across the world: from the rise of millennial travel (captured well in Cape Town’s new Radisson RED) to life beyond the beaches of Zanzibar and even to the adventures of Victoria Falls.

Clearly, there’s a lot to disocver if you take your time. Tommy Collard said it well in his Namib Desert Tour: “If you drive fast, you’ll see only plants and sand. But if you slow down and look closely, you’ll see that the desert is full of life. You just have to train your eyes to see it.”

August 2017: 12 stories in 8 publications

To celebrate Women’s Month, pour yourself one of the best drinks for August or learn how to make your favourite childhood dish, as I did on a trip to Kenya last year.

Speaking of holidays, hear about how the rise of Afropolitan travel can boost the South African economy; discover how to succeed as a travel blogger (as long as you don’t fall into the trap of internet addiction); and learn about how MSC Cruises, which launched its latest ship in Le Havre, is betting big on the growth of holidays at sea.

Art installation in Le Havre, northern France (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

In other news featuring inspiring women, Beth Diane Armstrong (a Standard Bank Young Artist) opens up about the creative journey to her exhibition in perpetuum; Heike le Cordeur finds inspiration in all things floral with her design business Fleur le Cordeur; Catherine Lückhoff is making waves in the online music world with NicheStreem; and Monique Rissen-Harrisberg (founder and CEO of The Voice Clinic) has tips on how to overcome the fear of public speaking.

There are more inspiring entrepreneurs all over the country, including Reel Gardening, Grove Audio, and Mellowcab. So if you want to be a success too, always remember that nothing insurmountable is standing in the way of you and your dreams.

July 2017: 12 stories in 7 publications

Winter is here but you can warm up with the best drinks for July, cook up a storm with Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (the first South African chef to receive a Michelin star), or attend the monthly Whisky Wednesday dinners at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Speaking of Cape Town, now’s also a good time to book your tickets for the spring season with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the second half of the Cape Town Concert Series. But if this is your first time attending a live performance, it’s a good idea to learn the seven rules for theatre beginners before you go.

A black-and-white ruffed lemur in Madagascar (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

In business news, Tshepo Sedumo is crafting handmade boomboxes inspired by nostalgia with Grove Audio, Jen Gurecki is using small loans to make a big impact on the lives of rural Kenyan women with Zawadisha, and career coach Ben Fanning has practical advice to help you love a job you hate.

Travel news this month takes us on a winter escape to the Tintswalo Atlantic boutique hotel in Hout Bay as well as on a laidback sailing trip with MadagasCaT Charters & Travel. Indeed, as I discovered on my train trip with Rovos Rail, taking time out to slow down and relax is the greatest luxury of all.

June 2017: 13 stories in 10 publications

It might be cold outside but you can warm up with the 10 best red wines for winter. And speaking of fine wines, Charles Back of Fairview Wine and Cheese talks about winning the annual 1659 Honorary Award (the most prestigious accolade in the wine industry) while Ntsiki Biyela reflects on her journey to becoming the first black female winemaker in South Africa.

Arts this news month comes from the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, which just wrapped up its winter symphony season but has more great performances coming up soon. Meanwhile, Mohau Modisakeng is hosting the critically acclaimed Lefa La Ntate exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg.

At the Great Pyramids of Giza (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

Travel news this month takes you on the Game of Thrones world tour through Croatia, Ireland, and Spain. You can also enjoy the culture of Cairo or hunt for the ‘little five’ on a Living Desert Tour in Swakopmund. Speaking of Africa, business news this month offers insights into marketing to the youth online while Jen Gurecki talks about how Zawadisha is providing microloans to rural Kenyan women to improve their lives.

What about you? If you’re feeling a bit worn out at this half-way point of the year, career news this month covers how to handle depression and stress at work while Tshepo Sedumo of Grove Audio has some useful job advice: “It’s good to be safe but it’s better to be happy. It might be harder to reach your goals but once it pays off everything else will follow.”

May 2017: 7 stories in 5 publications

This month’s newsletter begins with the best drinks for May and the experience of learning to make my favourite childhood dish. There’s also more food news from Siba Mtongana, who opens up about becoming an international television star.

Speaking of local heroes making it big, Chris Bertish talks about his journey across the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard. And in other travel news, I share a review of the Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Airport Hotel, tips on how to fully appreciate the greatness of Victoria Falls, and a taste of an untouched Malagasy paradise at Sakatia Lodge.

Helicopter over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by technology (like many people are these days) Zen Habits has tips on finding stillness and filtering out the noise. Meanwhile, the Harvard Business Review explains why you need quiet time and Raptitude makes a compelling argument for why you should stop watching the news.

The key is to be intentional about how we spend our precious attention. It’s also about understanding why each moment is precious. As Leo Babauta writes in Zen Habits: “As we give each activity our full loving attention, we start to appreciate each person, each object, everything around us as something worthy of respect, love, and gratitude.”

April 2017: 8 stories in 6 publications

In the mood for a holiday? This month’s travel news explores the busy streets of Nairobi and, further off the African coast, the vibrant cultures of Zanzibar. Staying in the region, Colin Murray talks about how One Horizon is using travel experiences to fund humanitarian programs.

Speaking of people making a difference, Zaid Philander shares his quest to change the world through ethical fashion at I Scream & Red. And in music news, Matthew Wild of Cape Town Opera talks about his love for the stage while Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers opens up about touring the globe.

This month’s Edgars Club Magazine columns feature the best drinks for April and why the only thing worse than being uninsured is going through the pain of filing an insurance claim. And speaking of stressful events, even though we’re only a third of the way through the year, you might be feeling the effects of job burnout and in desperate need of a break.

Khoja Mosque in Nairobi (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

What if you can’t get away? Zen Habits has five tips for when you have too much to do while Headspace has six ways to shorten your to-do list. The key is to work deliberately instead of reactively so that you only do what matters. All the rest can wait, assuming you know how to procrastinate like a pro.

So don’t be afraid to understand the psychological importance of wasting time or to discover why being lazy makes you more successful. And don’t be afraid to embrace the idea that, as much as it’s often useful to squeeze the most out of each moment, there are ways that time management might be ruining our lives.

The solution is balance. As captured well in this feature on how Darwin was a slacker and why you should be too: “Even in today’s 24/7, always-on world, we can blend work and rest together in ways that make us smarter, more creative, and happier.”

It’s all up to you.

March 2017: 10 stories in 8 publications

Summer is almost over for those of us in the southern hemisphere but there’s still time to enjoy the sunshine. So take a sip on Sxollie Cider or join Motherland Brewers at Cape Town’s brand new craft beer bar. And while we’re on the subject of good food and drinks, Andrea Mullineux talks about winning an award for winemaker of the year, Scot Kirton is serving up something special at his new Foxcroft restaurant, and my latest Edgars Club column highlights the best drinks for March.

In music news, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra is presenting four great concerts in its autumn symphony season, while Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers opens up about his ten-year journey to overnight success. And while we’re speaking about overcoming obstacles, Grant Lottering is getting ready to ride in a cycle race that almost cost him his life, while a team of medical experts have tips on fighting the rise of workplace depression and suicide.

The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at City Hall (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

Yesterday was my 31st birthday, which means that it’s now been ten years since I learned some life lessons from turning 21. Indeed, I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately and have come across several great articles that take a look at our relationship with time.

If you can’t believe that we’re already three months into the year, you might be wondering why there’s never enough time. You might even be guilty of sending one of these funny responses to overdue emails. Fortunately, there’s a great TED Talk offering guidance on how to gain control of your free time and an article showing you how to get more done by tracking your time.

Whatever might be happening in your life, it’s good to remember that the busier you are, the more you need quiet time. It’s also good to remember that all of us have the same amount of time – around 100 ten-minute blocks a day – and it’s up to us to make the most of them.

As Leo Babauta writes in Zen Habits, right now could be the moment you’ve been waiting for: “What if we stopped working for something later, and instead started paying full attention to right now? What if we stopped thinking happiness is coming soon, and tried to see what was in front of us, and find happiness in that? What if this were the moment we’ve been waiting for all along?”

It’s about time.

February 2017: 20 stories in 12 publications

It’s the month of love and there’s a lot to love about this month’s newsletter!

In the world of drinks, the Cape Wine Auction is supporting education initiatives in the winelands, Andrea Mullineux wins a Winemaker of the Year award, and my first monthly column for the Edgars Club Magazine features six drinks for Valentine’s Day. In food news, former investment banker Lentswe Bhengu is happy to be following his passion for cuisine while Giles Edwards of La Tête is proud to be included in CNN’s list of best new restaurants in the world.

Speaking of the world, there’s a lot to discover with this month’s travel stories. DJ Black Coffee opens up about how spinning the globe has changed his life, VoiceMap is offering authentic self-guided tours with its innovative app, Ghana is sharing its vibrant culture, and Mamre is giving visitors to the West Coast a taste of a town untouched by time. All you need to do is follow the traveller’s guide to luggage, pack your bags, and get ready to go!

The former home of Governor Simon van der Stel in Mamre (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

In theatre news, the three leads of West Side Story talk about their journeys to the stage while Sandra Prinsloo and John Kani  are set to appear in a local adaptation of Driving Miss Daisy. And speaking of things to get excited about, entrepreneur Zibu Masotobe is proud to be included in President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative.

Other business news covers the importance of strategic alliances when building a brand, the rise of African MBAs in business schools across the continent, the growth of fintech in the banking sector, and the risk of workplace suicide among overworked employees. Clearly, it doesn’t matter if you need expert advice for every stage of your relationship or a guide to finding your passion; remember to take care of yourself.

We all deserve a little love.

January 2017: 9 stories in 6 publications

It’s a new year and for many people that means getting back to work. In business news, Gary Joseph of the South African Supplier Diversity Council is on a mission to transform corporate supply chains. And in music news, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cape Town Concert Series are starting 2017 on a high note with a range of repertoire.

If you’re still on holiday, why not visit one of the top Airbnbs in South Africa, get immersed in local culture with an authentic travel experience from Tour2.0, or enjoy one of the six luxury lifestyle trends for 2017? Speaking of the finer things, get ready to celebrate International Brandy Alexander Day, savour one of the most memorable meals around the world, or feast on the bounty of Bushmans Kloof.

Breakfast at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

So, what do you have planned for the year? The Simple Dollar has a great guide on how to create and succeed at personal and financial goals, The Guardian has tips on how to change your habits to change your life, and The Art of Manliness is making a call for a new strenuous age.

No matter what your goals are, trust your future self. To do that, the Harvard Business Review has five steps to recover from a setback so that you don’t get caught up in the past. And Seth Godin encourages you to look ahead to the future: “When we wonder about the future, we get a chance to begin again, to set new goals, and envision bold plans.”

What will YOU do with today, tomorrow, and beyond?

December 2016: 7 stories in 6 publications

As another year comes to an end, it’s a good idea to learn how to make better decisions for your time. If you’re eating out, consider how to split a restaurant bill. And if you’re eating in? Savour the flavours from across the continent in the television series Africa on a Plate.

Speaking of travel, treat yourself to a stay at the InterContinental O.R. Tambo Airport Hotel in Johannesburg, which is the perfect prelude to luxury life at Diamonds La Gemma dell’Est Resort in Zanzibar. You could also find some inspiration from DJ Black Coffee as he shares his love for spinning the globe or from VoiceMap telling stories around the world through its innovative app.

Diamonds La Gemma dell’Est Resort in Zanzibar (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

December can also be a time of stress. Fortunately, Headspace has advice to help you avoid the slippery slope of breaking your routine, as well as a few quick tips if you’re panicking and five tips for avoiding holiday burnout.

There’s more great guidance from The Simple Dollar on the eight little things to always remember when you’re shopping, from Raptitude on how to eat less junk during the holidays, and from The Economist on why sugar is bad for you. (True story.)

Wherever you are right now, take some time to disconnect. Seth Godin has valuable recommendations on how to use your phone so that your phone doesn’t use you, while The Economist reflects on the power and meaning of silence: “[Just] as there can be inner tumult in silence, so there can be tranquillity in the thrum of activity.”

I wish you all nothing but peace.

November 2016: 15 stories in 10 publications

In arts news this month, the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg is hosting Air: Inspiration – Expiration, the final instalment in a series inspired by the four elements of the natural world. And in music news, soprano Pretty Yende is making her mark on opera stages around the world while Catherine Lückhoff of NicheStreem is connecting artists and fans with an innovative streaming app.

In business news, Robert Cialdini has six scientific strategies to unlock the power of persuasion, which might come in handy if you want to know how to be a tenderprenuer. You can also take inspiration from Vanessa Jacobs of Sow Delicious, winner of a recent Entrepreneur of the Year Award, or Neill Anthony, star of reality television show Private Chef.

Zebra crossing at Welgevonden Game Reserve (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

In the world of drinks, the new Black Cellar Club is spreading wine knowledge across Africa, David Donde shares the secret blend of success at TRUTH Coffee, and Charles Hopkins reflects on his career as cellar master at De Grendel Wine Estate. And if you’re looking for a top restaurant in South Africa, here’s the latest list from the Eat Out Awards.

It’s almost time for the holidays, which means it’s time to get away. If you’re in the mood for a luxury safari, escape to Mhondoro Game Lodge in Limpopo or Founders Lodge in the Eastern Cape. Or pick one of the top travel destinations for 2017. In the words of DJ Black Coffee: “Save money, book a flight, find a hotel, and go to a place you’ve never been. It’s such an eye-opener. You always come back a different person. And the more you do it, the more you learn.”

October 2016: 10 stories in 9 publications

In cultural news this month, the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg is hosting Air: Inspiration – Expiration, the final instalment in a series inspired by the four elements of the natural world, while the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra is performing its series of symphony concerts for spring.

Speaking of classical music, soprano Noluvuyiso Mpofu talks about winning big at the 35th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition. And in business news, Heike le Cordeur is creating innovative floral designs with Fleur le Cordeur, while Thuleka Duze’s ATG EKASI Handbags and Clothing is spreading African fashion around the world.

Bois Cheri Tea Factory in Mauritius (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)
Bois Cheri Tea plantation in Mauritius (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)

If you’re ready to go global, savour the cultures and cuisines of Delicious Mauritius. You could also discovery a new generation of South Africa’s wine talent with the Cape Winemakers Guild Protégé Programme or take a bite of DV Artisan Chocolate, the country’s first bean-to-bar chocolatier.

No matter what you have planned for the rest of the year, take the time to do it well. One of my lessons from two years of CrossFit is that we’re capable of so much more than we think. And one of my lessons from a day with fire-fighters is that we can always bring an element of bravery into our work. The world expects better of you. And you should demand better of yourself too.