Moonchild Sanelly says she kicked doors when they didn’t open

CT TOTT Moonchild main pic by Jimi Herrtage.jpg

TENACITY: Moonchild Sanelly Picture: Jim Herrtage

The blue-haired pop star, has made impressive moves in her young career. Performing with Busi Mhlongo and Madala Kunene, she is a beaming light that will illuminate for many years to come.I caught up with her this week while she was in town to record at the Red Bull Cape Town S tudios, where she spoke about her career and her upcoming performance at the Oppikoppi Festival in October. 

When you completed high school, was music the trajectory you expected for your career? When I left school, the stage was definitely the vision. Performance and my mom allowed me to be expressive, so lights, camera, and action was my life’s theme.

The R&B and pop landscape has changed a lot since you came out. What are your feelings on the scene today? I respect the power of reinvention, like Beyoncé. I think it’s one of those things where you learn ways of staying true to your art yet are creative enough for young ones to jump on and appreciate, without calling it a throwback.

At this point in your career, what would you like to accomplish? A song with US record producer, rapper, singer Diplo. My fashion school and that is after I scoop my awards in every genre that I pitch for! I plan on winning in everything I embark on. I’m patient too.

 

CT TOTT July 14  Moonchild.jpg

Picture supplied. 

If you had to select a new artist to collaborate with on a song or album, who would it be? It would be this dope male rapper and art director Oarabile Mahole aka Jay Cubed SA, from Mafikeng. Every song is conceptual and he deals with branding artists as an artist and I love Die Antwoord with my life. Aka and Anatii are fire galore. The queen Thandiswa Mazwai. There are so many Nicci Saint Bruce is a Yassssssss!

Tell us about your experience at Primavera Pro in Spain?

Life life life! You are shown over there that music is a language of its own. The appreciation, the posters as I walked into festival they love our craft. I wish we all thought super big with our careers no matter what we do.

You have been fortunate enough to perform with SA’s well respected artists. Did you think you would get to this point? Tell us about some of the highlights while working with high profile names? I was this kid who was always eager and kicked doors when they didn’t open. It’s always a tick off the bucket list of your career. I am still that character. As an artist, with each achievement there’s hope that something better is coming. I felt that with every year in my 12 years on stage. I think patience is by default as you don’t think negatively when there’s light seeping little by little. It was an honour and the journey continues.Mama Busi said to me…“ngane yam umuhle, don’t change” (My child, you are beautiful. Don’t ever change.) Can you imagine this rock star telling a young fired-up red-haired girl that!

You will be performing at Oppikoppie? How do you feel about this and what can the audience expect? New music from my ep called #1stmillion which I’ve just recorded at Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. I’ll also be sharing the stage with Luma and The Kiffness, so I am all over. You’re a pretty stylish and fashion forward individual. How important do you think image and style is when it comes to the music you’re making, as well as performing in general?Image to me is everything. You must spark an interest for people to find out what you do, before you deliver. That’s what I tell my clients. I cannot live with being invisible, the eyes are awesome.

What advice do you have for artists who are interested in producing, writing and performing but might have a hard time balancing and focusing their efforts? Believe in your art. Listen to wise counsel, in fact you may seek it. When you have a vision, you are the first one who needs to be motivated enough to hustle it t hrough. Your product is the reason for performing, so don’t lose focus, ever.

* Connect with Moonchild on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/moonchildsanelly/?hl=en

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58  https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

See more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty/fashion/chulaap-caters-for-the-woman-10346031

A new era for illustrators

Iris Apfel by Caroline Tomlinson

Iris Apfel by Caroline Tomlinson

Fashion photography surpassed fashion illustration a long time ago, but things are changing. Hand sketching and other forms of illustration are dominating the blogosphere and social media, resurrecting the art form.

Talented artists are taking to social media such as Instagram to showcase their work – sketches of runway looks, fashion editorials and famous people, reinterpreted into animation and illustrations.

Professionals and amateurs are changing the way we view fashion.

Madonna by Caroline Tomlinson

Madonna by Caroline Tomlinson

Social networking has spread around the world with remarkable speed, making it easier for people to connect and share ideas, and this has played a major role in the revival of fashion illustration, says Caroline Tomlinson.

London-based Tomlinson has worked with a number of fashion houses, upmarket retailers and photographers including Rankin, Fortnum & Mason, Marc Jacobs and Stella magazine.

Her popular inky, sassy drawings include the faces of fashion icon Iris Apfel, Madonna and rock legend Mick Jagger.

I meet her at 91 LOOP, Cape Town’s newest boutique hostel where she exhibited some of her work.

“There has been a tremendous revival of the art of fashion illustration… It’s definitely a big thing right now on Instagram, which is great because I am super busy right now,” she says.

 

Former model and illustrator Quentin Jones is one of the people who has a big following and is doing work for brands such as Chanel. “It’s amazing how social media has brought the genre into people’s radar.”

Tomlinson, who is a London art college graduate and now lives between Cape Town and London, was inspired by Roald Dahl books while growing up.

“They represent my childhood and my mom reading them to me at bedtime. That is probably my earliest acknowledgement of the illustration world”

by Caroline Tomlinson

by Caroline Tomlinson

“I went to art college, explored it more and I fell in love with it even more.

“After I did my Masters (degree), my focus shifted more to design but I have since come back to illustration… When you really love something, you can’t get over it.

“I have had my agent in London for over 10 years and it’s been quite an evolution.

“I mainly focus on fashion now, it’s a case of joining all the dots because when I wasn’t doing illustration I was doing a lot of fashion branding or fashion art direction. Now I am doing more of what I love,
instead of doing illustrations for banks, for an example,” she says.

 

It took Tomlinson about two years to refocus her portfolio from corporate work to fashion, and a move to Cape Town was just what she needed to rejuvenate her creative juices.

 

“I was in Cape Town, a long way from home and feeling a bit lost creatively. I think that is always the start of a journey when you are feeling a bit lost.

“I didn’t really know that any of this was going to happen, but then it all sort of fell into place and made sense;

“The amazing thing about Cape Town is that it gave me an opportunity to immerse myself in my work. I never had that opportunity in London and I am exceptionally grateful for that. Cape Town has been a huge part of my story and it will always be quite an important city to me,” she said.

 

Mick Jagger by by Caroline Tomlinson

Mick Jagger by by Caroline Tomlinson

Tomlinson’s signature is solid dark lines of black on white with pops of colour. She uses a mixture of techniques such as ink, charcoal, spray paint, watercolour and pencil.

Her sources of inspiration include visual bookmarking tool Pinterest, among other things.

“Sometimes I get told who to draw, but if I am doing things just for me I go with my instinct. Mick Jagger for example, is someone that I always wanted to draw. Other people such as eccentric fashion legend Iris Apfel and Emma Watson are people that inspire me by what they do, their fashion sense and what they stand for.

“They are strong characters and not superficial. They actually stand for why they are in the world of fashion, they love what they do and why it’s important,” says Tomlinson.

 

Using so many different mediums of drawing is quite a process, but it’s necessary for a perfectionist like her.

“I sometimes draw something 50 times in different mediums, scan it and then put it all together. What you see is a combination of maybe 40 or so drawings, so that at the end I have that really rich drawing that looks like it’s drawn in pencil and watercolour… which is what I really enjoy,” she says. “I do think that I can play more with colour.

Caroline Tomlinson

Caroline Tomlinson

“When I get back to Europe this summer I am planning do less commercial work for a little while and just push my own stuff because I want to play more with colour. My work has gone quite monochrome, which I love, but it would be interesting to have a bigger pop of colour,” she says.

“My drawings are not too perfect, but I hope you (the viewer) will walk away from them with a sense of energy… they should move you in some way;

 

“And also maybe with a sense of me, as they are personal. I do expose myself a little bit in my work by the very things that I have chosen to draw and the people that are very much on my radar.

“They (the illustrations) are like these little visual diaries of my interest and inspiration… you get to see a little bit of what makes me tick,” adds Tomlinson.

 

● Connect with Caroline Tomlinson on Instagram: Caroline Tomlinson

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on June 20 2016.

Coréon Dú’s ground-breaking Afro-Caribbean pop fusion.

Coreon Du. The picture is supplied by CSA Global

Coreon Du. The picture is supplied by CSA Global

Angolan musician Coréon Dú is a multi-media artist, known for generating ground breaking pop culture phenomena. He also recently launched his album, Binário, in South Africa. Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer and film-maker Andres Levin, it is a medley of beats in Portuguese, Spanish, and English, creating laid-back melodies typical of Dú’s distinctive sounds which fuse African beats with those of the Caribbean.
The album’s two singles Amor Robotico  and Bilando Kizomba made it to the top 30 on the American Billboard tropical chart.

Dú, who was raised in the US, is also being feted for his work as a creative director, writer and producer for his own telenovela titled Windeck, and his fashion line WeDú by Coréon Dú.

I speak to him about his music and influences:

What was the inspiration behind your album Binario? I always like to involve my nerdy sensibility in my albums. I wanted to keep within the sci-fi inspiration I had for my musical projects but take it somewhat further.

The reason why I chose Binário as a title, or “binary” in English, is because the word itself refers to something made of two elements. My album is a fusion of the organic and the technological.

The organic being the sounds from more traditional African music and tin sounds from genres such as Semba, Kizomba, Cumbia, Bachata, and the technological being from more urban and electronic genres such as dance, hip hop and raggaeton.

How did you get started in music? It actually started with a dream when I was about 15, and that was the point where I decided that I wanted to pursue music professionally. However, that dream was interrupted and I was only able to start pursuing music professionally almost 10 years later. I released my first album, The Coréon Experiment in 2010.

Ever since, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my work with a growing number of fans in Angola and beyond, and released a remix project called The WeDú Experiment in 2013 and my album Binário in 2014.

Coreon Du image 1

What inspires your music? I’m quite a romantic and introspective, so my greatest inspiration comes from my own experiences and from things I observe. The sounds in my music are very diverse, I’m usually seeking to create a fusion between Angolan and African sounds with what I enjoy most about other genres from abroad from both the acoustic and electronic realm.

Describe your typical fan? That’s hard to describe. I consider anyone who appreciates and supports my work a #WeDúFriend or fan. I don’t target one particular kind of audience, because art is unpredictable.

What and who was your music inspiration as a child? Michael Jackson’s music, James Bond’s fashion sense, the style of Bollywood films, and the freshness of Kuduro music which was developing at the time.

How important is developing an online community or fan base? We are in an era where communication is seamless between human and the technological aspect. Both live and online communication are essential for any artist to connect with supporters.

Describe your music in four words? Fusion, romance, humour and journey.

One of your most memorable times onstage? The first time I started performing and the audience sang along and requesting songs from my album. I was used to being an opening act for bigger artists in shows and festivals. It was a wonderful moment
to see people connecting at that level to my work for the first time.

Tell us something about you most people don’t know? I’m actually a very shy person. Most people who see me doing any public speaking, performing or even some of my
occasionally bold outfits, don’t really believe this. However, I was very shy after my pre-teen years until university. I’m still quite reserved but music has actually helped me a lot to communicate with other people.

This feature was published in the Cape Argus on July 17 2015. All pictures are by CSA Global.

‘Happy’ singer Pharrell Williams is working for a greener planet

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HE SINGS and the world claps and dances and his style is emulated by youngsters
everywhere, but lately Pharrell Williams has been using his influence to galvanise the masses to support environmental causes. It was announced yesterday that he has become the style director for Woolworths, a collaboration that will see the star and the business align their values and actions to make a difference to people and the planet.
“We hope Pharrell will help us make sustainability cool for the next generation of South Africans and help us create a better future for our children,” said Ian Moir, chief executive of Woolworths.
It’s a cause Williams has wholeheartedly embraced. In an exclusive interview in Los Angeles for Independent Media, Williams reveals he became an eco-activist because he began to realise the importance of the environment. “You realise that this is your home,” he says.
“If you can tend your lawn, field or garden, you can tend the Earth because it is the biggest lawn we have. “It’s this big rock; it’s the only thing we have. It’s our biosphere, it’s where we live… we have to think about it,” says them musician and designer, who was not wearing the vintage Vivienne Westwood mountain hat he made famous but rather a dark green cap.
“To have a corporation like Woolworths understand that and for them to have the kind of matching initiative in South Africa, in the middle of that precious gem and continent… I have to be a part of that,” he says.

Williams is spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of people knocking on his door to work with him, so what does it take for him to lend his name to a corporation or collaborate with an artist?

He says he first examines their intentions and then asks himself whether he can contribute. “If I don’t feel like there is much I can add to it, I don’t want to get in anyone’s way,” he says.

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As the creative director of Bionic Yarn, which makes ecologically sustainable yarns and fabrics from recycled plastics, he has helped forge eco collaborations with clothing manufacturers.

The biggest of these is RAW for the Oceans, an initiative that recycles plastic from the sea into G-Star denims. Addressing an event at the UN in New York last month to celebrate the International Day of Happiness, Williams highlighted the importance of
tackling climate change. He asked supporters to sign a petition to put pressure on world leaders to commit to climate action.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, he joined Nobel peace prize laureate Al Gore in announcing a Live Earth music event on June 18 to demand action on climate change. He is serving as creative director of the event taking place across all the continents, including Antarctica. Cape Town is one of the cities hosting a Live Earth concert, about which Williams says: “Expect energy and intention. There will be music that will be played with intention so you will feel it. You feel the intention.” At Davos, Williams called for the support of everyone who believes in clean lakes, rivers and oceans, who cares where their products come from and who is giving to make sure every kid gets
the best shot at a great education, an issue he regards as close to his heart.
Although Williams’s mother, Carolyn Williams, was a teacher, he has admitted
not doing well at school at first and says that words of encouragement from his teachers kept him interested.
“Don’t give up,” he advises youngsters. “Keep looking for that one spot that makes you interested in learning.”
He adds: “It’s super simple. If you figure out what you love to do, what you would do for free, that is usually where it starts.

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“Then you ask yourself: ‘Is there a way to actually service humanity while you are doing it?’ If you can, then that is a dream job.
“And if you are helping humanity at the same time, now God loves you too.” Williams feels that process starts as early as primary school. And if the Woolworths fundraising programme, MySchool, “is going to offer that, I want to be part of it”, he says.
Currently one of the judges in the eighth season of TV singing competition The Voice and with a new album out titled GIRL, Williams is a busy man – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t want to take any of it for granted,” he says. “I would rather stay focused on the work.”
He says he appreciates his success “because I know where it comes from. It comes from the seed which is the work, being curious about what you do and being appreciative to be able to collaborate with people. That is where all of this comes from”, he says.

He says he was humbled by the success of Happy, the song from the Despicable Me 2
soundtrack, and had no inkling it would become such a global phenomenon. It was
the best-selling single of last year, peaking at No 1 in the music charts of over 20
countries, and sold 12 million copies.

“You never know that,” he says, “because it’s not up to you. It’s up to the
people. “That is why I’m always saying ‘thank you’ and ‘I am so grateful’.
I really mean it. “To be supported in that way, and to the magnitude that I felt,
is humbling.”

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As we shake hands at the end of the interview, he says something which will excite
his many fans here: “I am looking forward to coming to South Africa.”
●Nontando Mposo was flown to Los Angeles courtesy of Woolworths.

This feature was first published on April 10 2015, in the following Independent Media Newspapers. The Star, Cape Argus, Pretoria News and Daily News.

About the Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival 2014 #JVFC2014

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

IT IS the last morning of 2014 and we are standing in front of the largest curtain of water in the\ world, the spectacular Victoria Falls. The 1 708m-wide sheet of falling water is an awe-inspiring sight and is deserving of its place as one of the year’s New7Wonders of Nature.

The “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (Smoke that Thunders), as the local call it, hisses and rumbles as it drops into the Zambezi Gorge. We are viewing the mighty falls from the Zimbabwean side. Just across, on the Zambian side, is Devil’s Pool – possibly the most dangerous naturallyformed pool in the world. The rock pool on Livingstone Island is on the edge of
the falls and we watch as a small group of people, led by a guide, join hands and one by one drop into the pool. From our vantage point it looks like they’re flirting with death, as only a rock barrier separates the swimmers and the cascading water.

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

“It’s the most exhilarating thing I have ever done in my life,” says Heinrich Husselmann, 33, of Parklands, of the experience. He had to swim across the Zambezi to get to the pool. “Once you get into the water, there is no turning back. We spent about five minutes in the pool, just enough to take pictures… it was definitely worth it.”

Cape Argus photographer Cindy Waxa and I are in Victoria Falls for the annual Jameson Victoria Falls Carnival, a trip sponsored by Seed Experiences.
We drove 2 920km over three nights to get there. Our adventure started at Ashanti Backpackers in Gardens on a gloomy Boxing Day morning. Our group of six included ourselves, the Africa Travel Co crew, our driver Emias Dendere, tour guide Onery Chimunda and Husselmann.

We loaded our bags into a Overland Truck, a road beast, just before 7am. The truck already contained a tent – our accommodation as we travelled – and other necessities. The long drive was broken into three overnight stays. We spent our first night at Bloemfontein’s Reyneke Park. This is where we had our first lesson in putting up a two-man tent.We were to become professional campers over the next 10 days. Our tour guide, Chimunda, a colourful personality, immediately took us under his wing. A former chef, his cooking skills became a trip highlight. He whipped up restaurant-worthy food, including breakfasts of flapjacks and French toast and dinners of pasta chicken with delicious creamy white sauce. His braaing skills were also impressive and he soon had a few pap
(maize meal) virgins sold on the thick porridge.

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

Next was a very welcomed overnight stop at the Mufasa Backpackers in Joburg, where we ditched our tents for a comfy bed. In the morning we were joined by the rest of the overlanding party, from the city and beyond. We left in a convoy of about six trucks for Camp Itumela in Palapye, Botswana, between Francistown and Gaborone.

Located near the Morupule Colliery coal mine which supplies Morupule Power Station, Botswana’s principal domestic source of electricity, the campsite is as rough as they get. The water ran out on both occasions that we were there, an unpleasant experience when there are so many people around.

Vic 4

The 850km trek to Victoria Falls the next day was an epic journey, filled with breathtaking sights. We took selfies with elephants in the Pandamatenga Game Reserve and Chimunda was on hand to give us history lessons on Botswana and its wildlife.

We arrived at Victoria Falls on December 29, minutes before departing on a steam train to the secret Steam Train Party in the bush. This is where the carnival officially commenced.

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

Tickets to the train party sold out fast, so if you are planning to attend, make sure you buy your ticket early. The vintage steam train with its turquoise and camel-colonial decor is rusty, but there was something about jamming to hot tunes on a moving train as we rushed through the Victoria Falls National Park to a location deep in the bush. On disembarking, we jumped straight on to the dance floor, where we stayed for the next five hours, dancing to the musical arrangements of talented mixers from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Local acts included DJ Acedabass and one of the carnival founders, DJ Francis.

Francis explained that the carnival started slowly as a Forest Fest in 2009. It then officially turned into a three-day carnival in 2012. “I love that there is a fusion of local and South African artists. It brings people from around the world together. People get to experience my country by blending in with the locals – who we are and how we live – as well as to enjoy the beautiful sights we have to offer,” he says.

Cape Town-based DJ Toby 2 Shoes was my favourite of the night, unleashing a mixture of “home-grown” sounds and electro beats. The Vic Falls Rest Camp, a mixture of campsites and chalets, was our home for the next four nights. Days here were filled with lounging by the pool sipping Zimbabwe’s own lager, “Zambezi” beer. At (US) $1.50 (R16.50), it was the cheapest in town since the use of the Zimbabwean dollar as an official currency was abandoned in 2009 due to skyrocketing inflation. Instead, the country uses the South African rand, the Botswana pula and the American dollar as its official currencies.

The campsite is situated along the small town’s main road that is lined with fast food outlets and tourist offices offering adventure activities.

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

The Victoria Falls are about 5km from the town centre. The next three days included the carnival’s Colour Party at the Vic Falls Farm Schools and – unlike most music festivals where there is a constant lineup of music throughout the day – we were left to our own devices to take part in the many activities Vic Falls has to offer. Husselmann describes the experience as a holiday that ended up being an adventure. Besides a dip in the Devil’s Pool, he also canoed on the Zambezi and went on a sunset cruise, which turned into a booze cruise as there was no sunset in sight. Throughout our stay the weather was humid with intermittent rain.

“I am definitely blown away by Vic Falls,” says Husselman. “The people are welcoming and friendly, I definitely want to see more of Zimbabwe such as Harare and Bulawayo. Since the Vic Falls town is a tourist destination, it is a bit expensive, but if you do what the
locals do, it’s doable.” We spent our days doing just that. We shopped at the Elephant Walk shopping village, where you can get anything from beadwork to wooden ornaments, but be prepared to do some serious negotiating. Our nights were spent at a popular local hang-out called Club Imvuvu.

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

We met locals who asked us about living in “violent” South Africa. “We hear people kill each other for nothing there,” one man said. We danced to local music and ate pap and warthog (wild pig) meat into the wee hours of the morning. We counted down to the new year listening to the soothing sounds of Zimbabwe’s Oliver “Tuku” Mtukuzi and Cape Town group Beatenberg. The rain that pelted us did not dampen our spirits. As the clock struck midnight, we screamed our lungs out to South Africa’s favourite electronic
dance act, Goldfish.

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

” We met locals who asked us about living in ‘violent’ SA. ‘We hear people kill each other for nothing there,’ one man said”

We were exhausted when we started the journey back home on January 2. After days of being on the road and living out of a small suitcase, I missed my comfortable bed and a proper hot shower. But I will definitely do it again, as the awesome people I met made the trip memorable. Charlotte Kanter, marketing manager for Seed Experiences, says about 5 000 festivalgoers attended the 2014 carnival.

“We were so happy with the global audience that descended on Vic Falls, and we hope it keeps on growing year on year. #JVFC2015 planning starts now,” says Kanter.

Photographer Cindy says… IF I WERE asked which country I would like to travel to in Africa, Zimbabwe would not have been my first choice. But when I heard about the road trip to Victoria Falls, I was keen to go as I had never slept in a tent or at a
backpackers. Driving to Zimbabwe was tiring at times but I enjoyed the scenery. I saw places that I would not have seen if I had been in a plane, and by the time we set up camp at Vic Falls I had already made a few friends. I expected empty shelves with no food, and unhappy people, but instead I was greeted by friendly, warm-hearted people who are just
trying to live a better life despite the difficulties.

 “Warm-hearted people are just trying to live a better life despite the difficulties”

Most people spoke isiNdebele, which is similar to IsiZulu, and it made me feel right at home. The music they played was mostly South African and the food, pap and meat, was familiar too. I also learnt some Zimbabwean dance and a little Shona. This trip was an eye opener to me, and as the locals would say, “Ndinorumbidza Zimbabweans” (I respect Zimbabwe).

picture by Cindy Waxa

picture by Cindy Waxa

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on January 22 2015

Walking with the crazies and rocking the daisies 2014

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MOST of us started out as strangers, but after 48 hours of Walking the Daisies and bonding over tired legs and swollen feet, we parted as friends and
fond acquaintances.

pucture by Willem Law

pucture by Willem Law                                                               

We were the more than 120 “crazies”who took on the challenge of the 53km trek from Bloubergstrand to Darling’s Cloof Wine Estate to attend the ecofriendly music and lifestyle festival, Rocking the Daisies, at the weekend.

Walking the Daisies is an annual twoday hike that was started in 2008 by Cape Town botanist Greg Nicolson, after returning from a 700km hike from Cape Town to the Namibian border. Nicolson, a UCT student at the time, was researching endangered wildflower species along the N7 road reserve. He and a friend decided to hike back up the coast to the Rocking the Daisies festival, hoping to score free festival tickets for their efforts.
“We roughed it and slept next to the road. We also didn’t plan the route but just followed the road,” he recalls. The next year the first official walk started, with just 20 people. Now dubbed the “Walk of a Lifetime” because of its scenic route, hundreds compete each year
for a spot in the event. “It’s a way for people to experience our natural heritage, and is aimed at also stimulating conversation about environmental issues,” Nicolson says. “The event draws interesting characters and over the years has been the source of many friendships and in some cases is responsible for bringing life partners together.”

picture by Willem Law

picture by Willem Law

I joined Nicolson and others at the start of the facilitated hike. The group of walkers was mostly made up of yogis – like me, vegetarians, avid hikers, hipsters who walked barefooted, and those who just wanted a good adventure.

Each of us had our own reasons for doing the walk, but the common one was
concern for the environment – and we wanted to “rock the daisies” with a clear conscience. The festival promotes recycling, alternative energy and carbon reducing plans, among other initiatives.
Gabrielle Andrews – the “mother”of the group and a lover of the outdoors who has walked Spain’s Camino Santiago – said she was participating as a personal
pilgrimage.

“The peninsula is bursting with sacred sites and we sometimes forget to celebrate the diversity of our natural resources,” says the 55-year old life coach from Constantia.
We started at the Big Bay Mall, where we left our camping gear and luggage with event partner GreenPop to transport to our overnight camp site at Silwerstroom.

With just a backpack of essentials, such as a bottle of water, energy snacks and a change of clothes, we started with a beach clean-up at Bloubergstrand, picking up litter there and all along the way. It was a clear and sunny day as we made our way along the West Coast’s shores, bordered by the N7 and R27. We walked past Kreeftebaai, Melkbos,
Brakkefontein and around the back of Koeberg.

picture by Willem Law

picture by Willem Law

Crunching sea shells and the sound of crashing ocean waves made for an awesome
experience. But the walk is not for the faint-hearted or the unfit. There were moments when everything hurt, from my glutes to my calf muscles, and times when I felt as if my legs were about to give in.

Walking on soft sandy dunes and up sandy hills almost brought me to tears, but the camaraderie and determination in the group kept me going. There was no pressure to keep up with anyone and there were adequate breaks along the way. A good pair of sneakers was essential as the terrain was rough at times, and we made sure that we lathered ourselves with sunscreen to guard against the harsh sun . Some participants hobbled along with blisters, but there were no serious injuries.
For R330, the walkers got a fully catered experience, as well an overnight stay at the beautiful Silverstroomstrand resort and a weekend pass to the festival.

picture by Willem Law

picture by Willem Law

Spotting the occasional breaching whale along the way made the experience
even more special. The highlight on our second day was a lunch stop at Mamre, where we planted a vegetable garden for the community. The garden will be tended by a group of
unemployed women who will sell the vegetables to feed their families.

For Mzoxolo Mayongo, 28, who has attended the festival several times, taking part in the walk was about seeking a new experience. “The hike makes it extra special, it’s not just about partying at the festival. This is us being conscious about environmental issues affecting our world and doing our bit to raise awareness,” he says.
On Thursday afternoon, we descended the hill towards the wine farm as victorious gladiators who had taken took on a challenge most thought crazy.

VICTORY!!! pic by Willem Law

VICTORY!!! pic by Willem Law

As Nicolson puts it: “It’s about pushing your body to its limit. It is hard and sometimes people struggle to the end with blisters, but determination will get you there”.

[This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on October 7 2014]

The 8th Rocking the Daisies Festival

With a line-up featuring Skunk Anasie, indie electro group Alt-J,  Swedish garage-rock band The Hives and Spoek Mathambo, the 8th Rocking the Daisies Festival was sold out, of course. So, about 17 000 music lovers gathered at the Cloof Wine Estate, in Darling, for a weekend of music, laughter and more music (3 to 6 October). 

Aside from the main stage, the festival had five other stages offering a line-up of artists and beats. And if you felt like taking a break from the blaring music, the Lemon Tree Stage was there to provide some comedic relief. Although there were reports of theft at some of the camping spots our camp was spared. The weather was kind  this year, which meant we could enjoy the Mainstay Beach Bar next to the lake. We danced to the sounds of Tech House by the likes of Nick Lumb, Jummy Chronic and others while sipping on Mainstay cocktails.

The highlight for this year was the new RTD mobile App. It was handy for browsing the line-up, creating your own schedule, locating your tent and car and navigating around for food and water points.

There was also RTD special Cloof Wine Estate red and white wine which was made of recyclable PET plastic bottle. It’s nice to see that the festival is getting better and better. Other performers included Boys Noize, Desmond & The Tutus, Jack Parow (who had the crowd in a trance singing along to his catchy lyrics), Dirty Skirts, Hot Water, Matthew Mole, Two Minute Puzzle, Woodstock Mafia, Bongisiwe Mabandla, Spekta, Mathew Gold and Dubmasta China. Artists pictures by photojournalist Thomas Holder of @UrbanLungProd

Skunk Anansie

Skunk Anansie

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IMG_0087 IMG_9849 IMG_9915Skunk Anansie 9697IMG_9537 (2) IMG_9688Alt J 9136 (2)Jack Parow 0494 PHFAT 0415 Reason 1238IMG_0849IMG_9278 (2)

by Thomas Holder

by Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

By Thomas Holder

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      Thanks to the RTD team, these Hunter boots we THE perfect accessory at the festival.

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Oh yeah! The Daisies ROCKED!

Oh yeah! The Daisies ROCKED!