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The Expressos

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October 2016

Natural hair, shouldn’t care

High school learners made international headlines for protesting for the right to wear their hair naturally. The learners faced arrest and backlash from the school’s administration.

Students at Pretoria Girls High School protested in response to the school’s treatment of young Black womxn and their restrictions on Black hair, prompting the hashtag #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh. The protests garnered international attention, being documented by international media organisations such as Mic, Attn:, and The Huffington Post and gaining support from celebrities like Solange Knowles.

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Pupils at Pretoria Girls High School are fighting to wear their hair naturally. Image: Phill Magakoe/IOL.

Continue reading “Natural hair, shouldn’t care”

Expressing your stress

7 ways to relieve stress (creatively)

Stress is an emotion we all experience when we feel something has become too much for us. It is a mental message from our body telling us that it is time to take a chill pill!  Every so often stress can be detrimental to our health and often causes physical and psychological illnesses, which becomes even more stressful since we are unable to perform. Discovering ways to manage stress can actually just supplement the stress and become equally time consuming.

With 2016 coming to an end, students are dealing with final exam stress and the working class is dealing with deadlines and a heavy workload before getting your boss to sign off the request for Christmas vacation! Doing two things at once might just help you cross a few extra things off your to-do list, so I have attentively gathered a list of seven ways you can relieve stress (without a stress ball) and express your creative side at the same time.

  • Invest in a mini Zen-Garden

As a child, I would watch my sister use her little Zen garden after school and I was quite amused by the fact that someone would actually gift her something that I considered a very peculiar item. So I decided to do some research around this.

The ‘Zen’ tradition is commonly known for expressing mindfulness, peace of mind and letting go of the negatives that surround you. Creating your own mini Zen garden is a useful way to bring about some of these qualities in your life. The expressive part is that you can design the mini garden in your own personal way and add a touch of what you are feeling through the design of your garden. A mini Zen garden generally comes with stone, sand, gravel and a mini rake. Some also come with miniature plants or a miniature Buddha. The size varies but they are never bigger than an A4 page, which makes it easy to keep on your desk or bedside table.  You can purchase one of these for about R130 at bookstores, home stores or online! Ps; if you don’t want to spend any money, you can find a free desktop zen garden or an app for iOS and Android.

Alternatively, you can learn to make your own by watching this video.

  • Writing in a journal

 As children, many of us had diaries in which we would write a few daily rants about the girl who was nasty to us at school or our secret crush. This was because writing is an outlet that anyone can use. It is simple and accessible. Journal writing has been used as a form of therapy prescribed by psychologist to those experiencing mental distress, so why not pick up a pen and jot down some feelings? By making yourself aware of what happened in your day or by writing down a few thoughts, you will find that this makes tackling the next day easier. Especially if you aren’t one to share your work stress with a loved one, a journal will be you best friend and you might even get to know yourself a little better.  Admittedly, I find it hard to write down what I feel, because once you put pen to paper, seeing the words on a page make it real. It puts your emotions or distress in the real world, and sometimes this is difficult to deal with. But on the other hand, this is also a better reason to do it because you can then deal with the issue instead of blocking it out.

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  • Dancing

This one might seem a bit weird and maybe even seem daunting. But I don’t mean join a class and become a professional dancer. I simply mean just put some music on after your long day, lock your room door and shake off the stress! Dancing has been known to have the power to take your mind of the ‘now’ and help you enter a new world. Taylor Swift explains how to shake if off pretty well, so if you are stuck for some music options then this might be a great start.

  • Colouring In

At least one person we all know of is a colourer, this has to be a good sign, right? One of The Expresso’s first series were about the benefits of adult colouring. Adult colouring is a new craze and it doesn’t go unsupported. Plenty of research and experience has encouraged adults to partake in this activity. Adult colouring creates a peaceful and serene environment and the colourer feels at ease with themselves. It is ideal for stress relief and you can personalise it to suit your mood. Take a look at our series for more scientific facts and testimonials from passionate adult colourers. Colouring books are easy to carry around with you so they’re perfect to take to work and they are well priced. You can pay between R30-R100 for a colouring book from any bookstore.

  • Marbling

Marbling is a simple yet beautiful form of art. It is not the most popular art form but it provides the similar comfort and peace of mind as colouring in does. But if you find colour pencils or crayons a bit too juvenile, this is definitely for you. Marbling is similar to tie-dye, it is the art of printing multi-coloured swirl-like patterns on any piece of material using little tubes filled with paint and inserting tiny droplets of the paint onto an oil or water like base.

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You can either place a paper on top of this liquid (which now has your pattern) or any form of material. The stress relief comes from the creation of a unique pattern, some find it relaxing to mix and create colours. The best part is that you could print coasters or plates and keep them around the house. They can even be used as gifts, how nifty! When I was in high-school, my mother would watch DIY shows on TV and she used to help my sisters and I make the things she learnt about. One of which was marbling items.  The only downfall is that you have to be at home to do this and it gets a bit addictive. Marbling sets sell for about R125 at any art or stationary store.

  • Yoga

Yoga is one of the most common forms of stress-relief for the working class women. Some take a class at the gym or they try it at home. It is also very useful for men but a but mostly favoured by women. Yoga helps one find inner peace and assists you in separating yourself from reality. It is also beneficial for physical health and even weight loss. If you don’t have a gym subscription, you can use your smartphone to download a free app which will guide you through a step by step yoga session. You can practice this in your office (with the door closed) or in your bedroom, it might even be a good idea to try your garden or balcony. If you do not have a smartphone, you can google a workout session step by step diagram and stick it up onto your wall.

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  • Gardening

Gardening is a hobby and a pastime that creates mindfulness. It helps you become aware of your surroundings and the combination of fresh air and sunlight releases toxins in your brain that assist with relaxation. The mental focus one invests when taking care of a few plants is enough to set the cause of your stress aside for a few minutes. Gardening doesn’t have to be growing tomatoes or pumpkins! It can simply be having a few small plants in your garden or balcony and taking care of them. You could also invest in a bonsai or an orchid and dedicate some of your time to growing it beautifully. One of our Expressos is a passionate gardener, take a look at one of her pieces to learn more.

 

Written by Khinali Bagwandeen

 

 

 

 

A big heart in a small town

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The Cederberg mountain range elongates its monstrous, supple arms around a quaint town, rooted in the stomach of the rocky giant. An assemblage of houses peep out amongst the streams of trees running through each and every alleyway of this destination. This green cluster of foliage is more prevalent on the outskirts of the town, due to the innumerable bodies of coloured dots hanging on the branches like earrings.

Welcome to Citrusdal, which not only homes numerous citrus trees, but also a big heart in this speck on the world map.

If the earth has a keenness for you, perhaps it would exhale a breeze in the direction of your adventures and miraculously scoop you onto a road rhyming with…

The R303. At the end of this road, after you have been engulfed in the rip tide of trees, tractors and friendly farm workers, you will find the biggest attraction of Citrusdal: The Baths.

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“Goeiemore Meneer, het U ‘n bespreking?” says the ‘sleutel-man’ of the main entrance to the Baths. With a smile brighter than the fruit overpopulating the town almost touching his ears, Hermanus Koopman enthusiastically leapfrogs out of his office. His clipboard follows his swift movements, almost like a bee stalking the scent of a sunflower, while he disappears around the stationary vehicle, jotting down the necessary details before suddenly hopping back into his lookout spot. The robotic walky-talky voice awaits the instruction to open the gate and beckon its visitors in.

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The excitement of floating around in 43° Celsius water springs cannot outshine the friendliness of the gatekeeper, leaving everyone with either a smile or a ‘grappie’ so humorous that retelling it will not do it justice.

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‘Citrusdale is my huis. Dit is my geboorte plek. Hoe langer ek op ‘n ander plek bly, dit is nie vir my lekker nie. Ek dink teveel hierna toe.’

One of 12 children, Hermanus has lived here for approximately 54 years. He worked for carpenters in Cape Town for six years when he was younger but says, ‘die stad se lewe is nie so lekker nie. In die platteland is dit skoon maar in die stad is dit vol rook.’ In 1986, Citrusdale and its fresh air running alongside drew Hermanus back like gravity, being the perfect place where he could raise his three children with his wife, Susana Koopman, who have been married for 34 years.

“Ek is trots op my werk en het baie lief vir dit,” says Hermanus comfortably.

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After working on the citrus farms for 17 years as a production manager, where he lost his one finger to an accident with a grinder, Hermanus first started working temporarily as the guard at The Baths’ gate before being offered a permanent position. “Ek het eers nie geweet hoe om met mense te werk nie en toe besluit ek dat nie streng moet wees of kwaad lyk nie,” explains Hermanus when talking about developing his social abilities working with guests. His invitingly warm nature emanates from every corner of his soul, inviting the visitors to his office as a refreshing break on their way to explore the natural beauty of Citrusdale. “Vir my is dit so lekker as hulle hier kom en dan sê hulle vir my dat hulle my later gaan sien,” says Hermanus.

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Looking through the office’s window, a small body with lava-red pants bolts excitedly towards the building. “Oupa het jy die heater gesteel?” enquires Shanee Friedericks while making her daily escape (or visit) from her pre-primary school, closely situated to the gate and where her grandmother works as a teacher. “Ek het nie baie vriende nie. My familie is my vriende. Ons praat so lekker dat ons vergeet om ons goed te doen,” says Hermanus contently when reflecting on the rock that grounds his colossal mountain of a heart; his family. His family tree was large enough to extend two extra branches and make loving space for a young brother and sister whose mother is going through rehabilitation for drug abuse. He always has ample love clustered in his heart, enough to share in the lives of these two children. Hermanus says, “Ek het baie lief geraak vir hulle”.

“Citrusdale gee mens vryheid.” The freedom embedded in the town’s lifestyle allows Hermanus to express his appreciation and fondness for nature. Growing his own rhubarb, carrots, watermelon, cabbage, beans, onion and spanspek in his garden, Hermanus has to keep guard over his garden gifts, otherwise his wife shouts, “Oompie, kyk hoe eet die bobbejaan jou laaste waartlemoen.”

Illustrating his love of improving his culinary skills, he enjoys making fish dishes, especially because ‘visvang is eintlik my hobby’. Barbels, bass and yellow fishes cease to greet their neighbours in the Olifantsrivier when they nibble on the frogs Oompie caught as bait. His grandchildren enjoy chasing the fishes away when he is trying to catch dinner, whereas in the past, his children used to accompany him on buchu picking expeditions. Climbing each intricate crevice of the mountain, finding the plant with the ‘blaartjies wat blink’, the children would follow and shout, “Pappa kom help my hierso,” with Oompie replying, “nee, ek het nie vir jou gesê om saam te kom nie.” But sometimes, the alone time is necessary. On Saturday afternoons after work, he grabs his ‘kierie’ and vanishes into the mountain’s body, getting lost in its existence, no excuse necessary.

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Not being able to attend church as often as he wishes due to transportation difficulties, Hermanus practices his religion through the way he chooses to enjoy and respect the world. Citrusdale’s very own Snow White, nature’s way is ingrained in him, innately pushing him to live for the earth and from the earth. If he is not busy rescuing the stray puppies wandering the roads, he is calming someone when a bee is hovering nearby by saying, “Nee, los hom. Hy sal jou nie steek nie. Net as jy vir hom gaan waai.”

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This might be a holiday destination for many, but Citrusdale is home to Oompie. For Hermanus, home is a place where family can harmoniously grow and love, together. He has no plans for moving as his heart is firmly set in the Cederberg stone.

 

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“Ek gaan sterwe hier”.

 

 

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