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Santa Shoebox project 2014

Being generous and kind makes people feel good. It’s heart warming to know you’ve made a difference in someone, or an animal’s, life. Unfortunately it’s sometimes difficult to know where to give, or even what to give. I personally don’t really like giving money because I don’t know how it gets spent. I prefer giving items which I know go to a specific good use.

So, I was very interested to learn about the Santa Shoebox project in South Africa ( This project collects shoeboxes filled with gifts, stationery and toiletries for underprivileged children throughout South Africa. It’s a project that has been running for a few years now and the positive impact they have on these children is clear. It’s a great project and I encourage everyone to join. They are aiming to reach 100 000 children this year so they need a lot of people to pledge.

You can register online, choose the child you want to pledge to and then pack you box and drop it off at a pre-allocated point at the end of Oct (they’ll send you all the details). It’s very easy. I’ve signed up to make shoeboxes for three children with year. I’ve also volunteered to help at the collection point.
However, if you don’t live near a collection point or are from overseas this year they have the option to donate virtual boxes in partnership with Checkers ( It’s even easier. The virtual donation is R350 which really isn’t a lot to make a child happy and feel valued and loved.

Please join me


Uphold the ban on dog racing


The South African Government have tabled a proposal in the Government Gazette to reintroduce Dog Racing (GOVERNMENT GAZETTE (23 MAY 2014) NO 37653: DRAFT NATIONAL GAMBLING NORMS AND STANDARDS – GREYHOUND RACING).


Standing against this is a no brainer. The animals are treated horrendously and a lot of them die or are “exposed of” before they even reach the race course. Please make your voice heard and write to Dear Mr Nkoatse Ernest Mashamaite (Fax number: 012 394 2054 E-mail: making your objections clear.


Dog racing has been illegal since 1949 and this should be upheld.

For more info visit

. You can even make your objection on-line by simply filling in the petition form. Please react as soon as possible as the deadline for public feedback is looming.


Coming sooner than later: Predator friendly meat

I can’t even pretend to be vegan. I love meat and probably wouldn’t be able to give it up easily even though I absolutely love veggies and fruit. It’s just not going to happen. However, I do try and consume my meat responsibly. I will not eat grain fed beef and will only eat free range. I go as far as to only buy meat from my parents’ butcher in Bethlehem in the Free State because I know how the cows are treated in the area. You drive past them in their hundreds on your way through there and they are all in the sunshine happily munching grass. That’s how it should be.

These are factors I’ve been aware of for years but I did fail to notice another important issue. That in a lot of cases stock farmers are killing predators because they believe these predators are after their animals. And, quite frankly, they are not wrong. Domesticated animals are easy gain for Cheetahs, Leopard and Eagles and any other form of wild predators that might be living in the farms foothills and grasslands. Farmers have often hunted and killed these animals by horrific means which makes my enjoyment of meat come at an even greater environmental cost.

I’ve always known this happens but I only took heed when I watched a very interesting feature on the South African Environmental programme 50/50 on 26 May.  The programme highlighted and initiative environmental groups, farmers and even retailers (in this case Woolworths) are working together to implement which should help stem this disgraceful predator killings. The solution is ridiculously simple: raise huge dogs alongside your livestock who will then scare off just about any animal who thinks your farm is a take out.

These dogs consider the heard their family and therefore protect them with their lives. It is their responsibility and some Cheetah or even Lion be damned. Visit for more information.

The project is slowly gaining momentum and has proven success. It is for this reason that Woolworths are investing a lot of money over the next few years to help implement this programme amongst farmers they use. They want to ensure that the meat the sell was not at the expense of our beautiful predators.

So, look out for more information on these projects and try support retailers who support these initiatives. A lot of people can not afford the luxury at the moment but at least the conversation has started and hopefully will really take off when farmers learn that dogs are a fairly inexpensive and cruel free way to keep livestock safe.

“Awareness bracelets”


“Awareness bracelets” is my generic term for the bracelets you can buy just about anywhere in South Africa these days in order to raise awareness and money for a cause. I think they’re a great tool as the money you spend on them goes to a good cause and, provided you wear them, they serve as a constant reminder of what needs attention in this world.

As per the picture I have three that I wear everyday. They have become part of who I am and I feel lost without them. The red, black and white one is in support of Anti-Rhino Poaching efforts. The pink, black and white one is for Helping Hands a Children’s charity and the pink bank resembles a bra strap because it’s for breast cancer awareness.

The pink band was my first which I got in a magazine a few years ago as part of a campaign they were running. At the time I decided to wear it for the duration of the campaign – which I did with pleasure. It came off a few times after that as I’m not big on jewellery, but then I found myself putting it on more and more and eventually it just stayed.

The Rhino bracelet followed about a year later. I feel very strongly about anti-Rhino Poaching efforts and despise the people who poach these stunning creatures and hate even more the people who somehow justify buying the products from the horns. So yup, bracelet goes everywhere with me and I have been asked several times what it represents and I eagerly tell people.

The Helping Hands bracelet graced my arm in December 2013. It was part of a batch of Awareness Bracelets I bought for friends and family as part of their Christmas presents. I felt that giving each of them a bracelet was a way for me to further contribute to the various causes and raise awareness with people who matter to me. Each person got one of the following bracelets: Helping Hands, Cheetah Conservation, Wild Dog Conservation, Anti-Rhino Poaching and Helping Hands. I can’t proudly say that they now all wear theirs’ but my mom has hers stuck on her fridge so that’s something.

I would like to encourage everyone to buy bracelets for causes they feel passionate about. Buy for yourself, buy for yourself.

Other than the bracelets I’ve bought I know there are ones for Flora conservation, Marine Conservation and a project to get bicycles to children living in underprivileged communities who have a long way to go to school. These are all great causes who could really benefit from you buying a bracelet for R40 – R 45. Even better is if you can try wear the bracelet to raise on-going awareness and encourage others to support causes. 

Bracelets can be bought from various outlets including Woolworths, Exclusive Books and Clicks.

Don’t forget that these bracelets also create employment for the communities who make them so that’s another reason to buy. Just do it.


To live through times like these

As the election dawns I just want to say that I think it’s going to be a very interesting election. In many ways this is the most important election since 1994. Not because I predict a change in government but because people want a change non-the-less and are able to really weigh up their options this year. Support for the ruling party has been affected by a lack of delivery in 20 years of democracy and Nkandla and the squandering associated with it.

Also, as a more radical party EFF is appealing to a desperate youth because the education and job creation policies of the current government have let them down. So much for the “born frees” having all the opportunities one could ever want from a “new” South Africa. It’s quite sickening really.

For hard working, mostly comfortable, tax paying people like me the post election prospects might seem a bit bleak but I have to say I’m weirdly excited. This election is going to be interesting. What people really want will be known and who am I to fret about that. I have no doubt that the ANC will win and EFF will do better than expected but maybe the DA will get some ground and be able to prove that good governance can go a long way. Not that I think the DA is the ultimate solution but they’re my best bet at the moment.

But I will say this: If the DA does gain ground again they must use the opportunity to initiate real and radical solutions. No more open air toilets Helen. That press is bad for business even if you’d believe that no publicity is bad publicity. Take steps to make every South African see that you have the good of the whole nation at heart.

One of South Africa’s biggest problems is that so many people just aren’t politically and economically savvy. Most people can’t fathom how much money R 200 million Rand really is and how much the presidents house really cost us. It’s even a stretch for me and I’m informed and educated. It’s a butt load, I know that much. Most people don’t understand  that prolonged strikes hurt the economy and whatever extra they get is offset by the fact that they haven’t been paid for months and the fact that exchange rate goes down the toilet and everything gets more expensive. Plus, we can’t create jobs without money and growth and overseas investors are a lot more confident in countries without problems.

I know my views here are somewhat narrow but I can’t pretend to understand all these matters in depth. But it makes sense to me. So, if we can get a political party to truly explain these matters to everyone we may end up with a more productive and successful country. Is it too much to hope for? No, but it may not happen in my lifetime

In the meantime I will make my voice known with cross on Wednesday 7 May and see what else happens at he polls. Watch the news, it’s going to be good viewing



India is nearly cosmetics cruelty-free

As per my previous post ( ) I think it’s very important to be conscious of what goes into you beauty products. Whether it’s in the actual chemical components or the process. The environment and animals are at risk if you don’t take note of this matter and choose to support products that do the right thing in this respect.

Considering this, I was delighted to learn this morning that India is in the processing of tabling a Rule which will make the Indian Cosmetics Industry cruelty-free. This is an exciting prospect and the great thing is that the Rule is now open for public comment. You can visit the Humane Society International’s website for more details and to sign the petition showing your support.

Testing cosmetics on animals has been proved unnecessary so supporting this cause is really a no brainer. It will not inconvenience you or your make-up loving family member in any way.

Sochi Olympics of Shame

The Sochi Olympics has been controversial for many reasons. I am not watching it in protest. All the issues raised are important but the one that detests me is the mass culling of thousands of street dogs in Sochi. I can fully appreciate that the city does not want all these dogs around but it’s an issue which should have been addressed Loooooooong before international visitors graced your doorstep. Then the issue could have been dealt with humanely and in a structured manner. Hundreds of the dogs they have now culled would never even have been born if they simply had a good process in place. That would have been easier to stomach. But instead, they essentially left the matter to the last minute and so thousands of dogs were poisoned by a private company. Most of them suffered a painful death in the name of unity and progress and peace. Disgusting. This whole situation is exasperated by the fact that the Olympic Committee knew what was going on. They say they can not control the host nation but quite frankly, their terms and conditions say they can. They are also guilty of this despicable act. The Humane Society International has taken this travesty to heart and would like to prevent something like this even happening again. Visit to read more about this important issue and consider signing the petition. No animal should have to be terminated because they spoil our image.