Padkos and poker nights in Paternoster

Picture of fishing boats in Paternoster in the Western Cape
The Paternoster main beach is home to a colourful collection of fishing boats belonging to the locals who make their living from the sea. Picture: Janine Du Jour

We made the most of the public holidays in the last week of April and spent four days in beautiful Paternoster on the West Coast. My mom was down from KwaZulu-Natal and wanted to explore this charming fishing village, which she had visited briefly during her last trip. Continue reading

Glass and glamour: A new way to see plates and bowls

Picture of Fanglasstic glass bowls and serving dishes
From candle holders and egg cups to plates and platters, the folks at Fanglasstic have found innovative ways to capture the beauty of coloured glass. Picture: Janine Du Jour

The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of our favourite places to hang out during the summer months in Cape Town. We usually plan our trips there to coincide with the last Sunday of the month so we can also explore the craft market which is held opposite the garden. Continue reading

Butterfly World: A place to spread your wings

One of my daughter’s favourite places to visit is Butterfly World in Klapmuts, outside Stellenbosch. It’s less than an hour from Cape Town and gives young and old an opportunity to experience some of South Africa’s most beautiful butterflies, as well as their winged cousins from as far afield as China, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The tropical garden is climate-controlled and the air is warm and humid all year round. It has to be, for the sake of its inhabitants, but the balmy conditions also make it the perfect spot for humans to indulge their natural curiosity in summer and winter!

Birds, snakes, lizards, tortoises, monkeys, spiders, scorpions and squirrels can also be found and there is a lovely park for the children to enjoy. Hungry? Tuck into traditional South African fare and some Cape Malay favourites at the Butterfly World café, which is very reasonably priced and boasts a hearty breakfast and brunch menu.

Butterfly World is located on the R44 just off the N1 highway in Klapmuts, near Stellenbosch. It is open from Monday to Sunday, 09h00 to 17h00, and the entrance fee varies. Call them on +27 (0)21 875 5628 for more information.


It’s Evita’s Perron, darling!

If you’re ever in the scenic Western Cape town of Darling, make sure you stop and visit Evita se Perron, where Evita Bezuidenhout (the alter ego of theatre giant Pieter-Dirk Uys) offers a frank and funny look at South African life, style and politics.

You can see a show (usually one at lunch and one at dinner), have a bite to eat, pick up souvenirs in the gift shop or marvel at some of the country’s most famous faces as you’ve never seen them before – in mosaic, in Tannie Evita’s one-of-a-kind garden.

Evita se Perron is located at the Old Darling Station, 8 Arcadia Street, Darling. Give her a call on +27 22 492 2851 or visit the website, for more information.


Nokuthula Sikakana’s recipe for success

Nokuthula Sikakana runs her catering business, Bheka Ukuthula Catering & Functions, from a small office at the Pinetown Railway Station. From humble beginnings, she has built a successful enterprise which can now boast having catered jobs for numerous high-profile clients and government departments.

The first thing that strikes you as you enter the building is the buzz of activity. There are people cooking, cleaning and transporting catering equipment all over. When I interviewed her, Ms Sikakana had just completed a two-day catering job for the Department of Transport and there was much sorting out to be done. But she was warm and friendly despite her obviously full schedule.

Ms Sikakana has always had an interest in cooking: she used to cook for her family, friends and church congregation. She began catering small functions in the early 1990s and operated out of her garage. But after a few bigger projects, she realised that she didn’t have the knowledge or specific skills needed to run her business properly. She then undertook a course at Cato Manor Technical College, where she acquired the necessary business expertise. Her initiative was relocated to the current premises in 1997 and has been doing well ever since.

Ms Sikakana started her business with a minimal amount of money and has gradually worked her way up, buying equipment and hiring employees as she is able. Her operation handles everything from the food to the decoration required for an event. She presently has a permanent staff of 10 people, but hires additional helpers on a casual basis when there is a big function to attend to.

One of the biggest challenges of her job is meeting the expectations of her clients and developing a menu and decor style especially suited to their needs. Advertising for the business is largely word of mouth and Ms Sikakana says she likes to make everything perfect so that the event goes off without any hitches. One of the perks is meeting new people on a daily basis, even some as high-profile as government ministers and other officials.

Because competition in the catering industry is so intense, Ms Sikakana explains that providing a value-added service is vital to keep clients happy. “Competition is necessary to keep businesses on their toes,” she says. She maintains that “going the extra mile” is the best way to ensure that her clients are satisfied and keep coming back to her business.

Ms Sikakana believes that certain personal qualities are necessary to run your own business. She advocates determination, perseverance, a strong heart, good communication skills, flexibility and friendliness as imperative to success. She also says that the support of family and friends makes a big difference when things aren’t going your way or sometimes when you just need a little encouragement. She advises potential young entrepreneurs to be prepared to work hard. She also recommends investing money for future business requirements and being realistic about business goals. From the catering side, she says that good food at reasonable prices has been her key to success. Despite the Zulu name of the venture – Bheka Ukuthula, which means “look for peace” – Ms Sikakana’s business provides a variety of different kinds of culinary delights and isn’t culture-specific. This ensures a broad spectrum of clientele and a wider appeal.

It seems as though Ms Sikakana has a winning formula. With catering events like the World Veterans’ Athletic Launch (1996), the Non-Aligned Movement Media Bash (1998) and the Commonwealth Media Bash (1999) to her credit, things look promising for the future. She and her staff are currently preparing for the World Conference on Racism – they have been asked by the National Land Affairs Department to provide three meals a day to approximately 4000 people. Definitely an unenviable task, but one which will undoubtedly be handled in the professional and caring manner which is epitomised by this charming lady.

  • This profile piece was originally published in Career Counsel in August 2001.

Precious Mthembu is reaching for the stars

When she’s not taking a rare break in front of the television, you’ll find netball enthusiast Precious Mthembu hard at work, or hard at play. She seems to be one of those young people with a zest for life and an unlimited supply of energy – even listening to her speak of all her sporting interests is enough to wear you out!

As a Grade 10 pupil at Danville Park Girls’ High School, Precious is kept busy by a demanding academic and sporting schedule, but a quick look at her list of achievements in both areas proves she’s a genuine all-rounder. While balancing a subject package of English, Zulu, Biology, Geography, Mathematics and Typing and an extra-mural timetable of sporting activities including netball, basketball, softball, cross-country, athletics and action cricket, Precious somehow still finds the time to go to La Lucia Mall and watch a movie or hang out with her friends.

Precious was born in Botha’s Hill, but moved to the Durban North area in 1995. She says that unfortunately some of the schools she attended in her early school career weren’t equipped with the necessary sporting facilities, and she felt there was a lack of inspiration and a lack of support for pupils. Nevertheless, her passion for sport was always there and she says her mother continued to encourage her to be the best she could be, and to strive to achieve her goals.

Precious first became interested in netball while she was at Virginia Primary School and her love of the game hasn’t diminished so far. She presently plays First Team netball at Danville Park and occupies the Goal Defence position – not really surprising since she’s quite tall! She and the other team members recently went on a tour to the Cape, where they met the South African netball side. Precious explains how the ladies coached them, gave them some vital playing tips and advised them on how to improve their techniques on the court. During this time, she was given one of the Most Improved Player awards – no mean feat since other schools from Pretoria, Pietermaritzburg and Kingsway were also part of the training tournament.

Precious’ talents have not gone unnoticed. She has represented KwaZulu-Natal for netball, basketball and softball, and this year was chosen for the U17 Zonal (Durban North) netball team. At school, she was presented with Quarter Colours awards for her performance in athletics and cross country, as well as Half Colours awards for netball, basketball and softball. She is also the vice-captain of her basketball team, having been nominated and subsequently elected by fellow players. On the academic front, Precious came first in her class last year and is the current Class Captain.

When she finds a moment to relax, Precious enjoys watching NBA and Gladiators – she even reckons that she’d ace the elimination round if she ever made it onto the show! Precious says she loves her sport because it helps to maintain a healthy body and mind, and allows her to travel to different places and meet new people. She dreams of becoming a top-notch basketball player overseas, but is also interested in pursuing a career in sports management when she’s finished school. She advises all aspiring sports stars to take every available opportunity, never be afraid to try, and always remember that there are people to help and encourage you along the way. Sounds like good counsel from a young woman on the road to success.

  • This profile piece was originally published in Career Counsel in July 2001.