Science says you would do the same

rat roads

The Rwandan genocide has long held a morbid fascination for me. It’s one of the few places I would qualify as a “dark tourist” meaning that I would tour sites of the genocide such as the churches where the bones of those killed while they sought sanctuary still lie, or the schools where the dead have been fossilised by lime where they were struck down.

I recently finished reading fellow journalist Jacques Pauws book on the subject, Rat Roads. I would consider him one of the foremost experts of the genocide. While the world was watching South Africa peacefully coming out of years of racial oppression in 1994, Pauw was traversing the Virungas where he smelled the death first-hand.

The book is a profile of Kennedy Gihana, a rebel soldier in the genocide who later walked (Pauw estimates it was 17 million steps) to South Africa. This is a gripping, moving, horrifying, tear-jerking story that just makes you realise how privileged you really are. Kennedy endured things beyond the human imagination, and is now a lawyer in South Africa and a member of the Rwandan National Congress (a political party based in South Africa, seeking to bring an end to the rule of incumbent Rwandan president Kagame)

Pauw makes the very true point that studies on genocides and the nature of evil across the world show us that we can’t judge the perpetrators in these situations, because put in the same conditions we all have the potential to do the same.

The book is long and the first half is rather gory, but it will shock and open your eyes, make you feel compassion and destroy any prejudice and preconceived ideas you may hold.

Pair it with something strong (I’m thinking double Jack on the rocks) or the Arabella Merlot, strong enough to get you through.

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They are back!!

Switchfoot are finally back after touring the globe. These cali-surfer dudes have returned with sounds swoonier than ever. Here is one of their first offerings off their new album. This melodious track stays true to their roots and echos with a deep sentiment I have to agree with, that Love Alone is worth the Fight. Keep your eye’s peeled for shots of the Mother City in this video. Their tour and worldwide surfing mission has been turned into a documentary titled Fading West, which I’m looking forward to seeing. Happy Monday.

Throwback Thursday

Sometimes life gets the better of us (which is also why I haven’t posted on this blog for awhile) and sometimes we need to take a step back and return to our roots.

That’s why this #ThrowbackThursday song is P.O.D’s Alive (what ever happened to them by the way?). Because before I was a material girl, I was a little fifteen year old with a big heart and big hope that this song encapsulates for me (don’t worry she’s still inside my head, she’s just a bit skinnier now).

Throwback Thursday

Ready to head back to the nineties? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this song. When the first few riffs start to play, most people are immediately thrown into a timewarp, taking them back to that time and place, that relationship, that moment. This is the power of Eagle Eye Cherry’s Save tonight. For me, it takes me back to my Matric year (it had been around a while by then) but as part of our final day of high school our grade changed the lyrics and sang back to the rest of the girls we were leaving behind. What’s your memory?

Thursday Throwback

I absolutely adore this song off the Juno movie soundtrack. It’s a beautiful love story of potentials, what could happen if said girl meets wooing boy at the statue in an hour. It reminds me very much of The Shins Pink Bullets (which is actually my favorite song of all time, if I had to just pick one). It is the oh-so-wistful Piazza New York catcher from the Glasgow based, Beetles-sounding indie pop group Belle and Sebastian (sadly for some reason they never made an official music video).

Spring brings all things new

The season of new things is upon us in SA, and fortunately that means there are a bunch of great new songs to go with it. There is a brand new ColdPlay (Atlas) from the 2nd Hunger Games film, there is a new Arcade Fire track, and yes, even the controversial new Miley Cyrus track, which I have to admit is a really beautiful song and could have been a brilliant music video without the sexual overtones. Here for your listening pleasure is the new Kings of Leon, and I’m loving the upbeat swing for spring.

Now all I need is a new Florence and the Machine…

Start your week like a champion

I looooovvvvee Katy Perry (yeah whatever, mentally I’m still a pimply, chubby teenage girl who secretly adores the cool kids). I love that she’s not afraid to be herself, and her “triumph in spite of circumstances” kind of attitude, which this song perfectly embodies. It’s a great way to get your week started! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the new album has in store and this video is typically Katy-cute

Life’s a great adventure, isn’t it?

Recently I attended a talk hosted by Africa’s last great explorer, Kingsley Holgate. Sitting two rows from the front, after a short video clip documenting his recent adventures, Holgate proceeded to transport his audience very far from the Mother City. “We’re going on a trip. For the next few minutes we are not sitting here, but we are in the Kalahari huddled in our camp chairs around the fire and we are going to tell a story, because around the campfire is the best place to tell a story isn’t it? It crackles and dances in front of us, and in the distance you can hear the jackals call.”

Holgate proceeds to regale us with stories of Africa, which he fondly refers to as “Mama Africa” the craziest place on earth. He strokes his beard as he enthusiastically recounts how he deterred men with AK47’s by stuttering, pretendeding to be drunk, “ wwwould yooou l-like a co.. like a co…a Fanta?”

Holgate has traversed the continent backwards. He’s best known for his iconic team of Land Rovers and his beaded calabash delivering mosquito nets to vulnerable African communities where a child dies from malaria every minute. He has been to the most dangerous places on earth, including Somalia and Libya where he sampled illegally brewed alcohol with SA expats. He is one of the best story tellers I have yet heard, and he is both fearless and inspiring. His story telling is as messy and as colourful as a map of Africa.

But Holgate doesn’t adventure without reason. He has made the delivery of these vital anti-malaria supplies his mission in life, and has recently taken on a new challenge: to raise funds and awareness for the rhino. On a recent trip, Holgate and his team drove between Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa’s Kruger National Park. These are the very areas where the rhino poachers come from. Holgate says that there are young men drinking and playing pool in these destitute villages now being funded by Asian Ivory buyers. “It’s not just about the toll on the rhino’s. One little girl we met has had both her brothers killed by anti-poaching units. Many of these children have never even seen a rhino.”

Holgate is a great, flamboyant and boisterous character. If you ever get a chance, go to one his talks, support his work, read his books or even go on one of his trips!

Davide gets to meet his hero/inspiration Kingsley Holgate

Davide gets to meet his hero/inspiration Kingsley Holgate

Life’s too short to drink crap coffee

The next best thing after wine is coffee. I am an absolute coffee snob, I can tell you where the nearest roasteries are within a 20km radius of my office. I drink it black, no sugar. I’m hardcore 🙂

So when I was invited to a coffee tasting by word of mouth agency, Have you Heard, of course I said yes. We were treated to an evening of tea, coffee and baked goods tasting. I love tea too, in fact, I’m a chain tea drinker at work and I have a coaster which plugs in like a USB and keeps my tea warm.

The two most important things I learned from this evening is 1) Rooibos we get in tea bags tastes nothing like the honey-deliciousness they brewed for us at O’ways Tea Café Claremont, and 2) Cape Town bloggers are pretentious, I hope to never be one (in that sense).

Then they brought out the most amazing brewing machine! It looks like something you would find in Dexters Laboratory and was a marvel to watch! This is extreme coffee brewing, and I’m so getting one for Christmas!

 

Is this machine not amazing?

Is this machine not amazing?

The baked goods I was tempted with. Rule 1 in journo: distrust those who feed you

The baked goods I was tempted with. Rule 1 in journo: distrust those who feed you

This man kept talking about the "energy"of the tea
This man kept talking about the “energy”of the tea

 

A juxtaposition can sometimes set things straight

lewis

I think I’ve read just about every C.S Lewis book. Really I have (even the arb one based on Greek mythology- until we have faces) I have read Narnia a bazillion times (I counted) and That Hideous Strength twice.  The first time I read Mere Christianity I was in high school, I found it dense and couldn’t remember much from it, so I thought it was about time to give it a bash again.

The fact is that C.S Lewis is to modern Christians what St Paul was to the early church. There is little you can disagree with in his writings, and in particular this book, in which he logically sets out the argument for Christianity. It’s a particularly compelling argument when you understand that for most of his life, Lewis was an avid atheist, and has thus personally wrestled with the issues he discusses here.

He uses simple and relatable analogies to explain some of the hardest questions about the Christian faith, and makes light of issues which have divided the church for centuries. He is very open minded in his writing, which is incredibly refreshing. And, of course, as one of his most quotable works, it’s hard to not get something from this book, whether you believe in Christ or not.

I read it in the early mornings, and so mostly drank coffee or (on occasion) hot chocolate while working through it.