Reminiscing 1995

With the clash of the titans tomorrow, it certainly feels very reminiscent of the day before the final in 1995. It’s a big game and no matter if we win or lose, once again… this game is bringing the country together and that makes me proud to be a South African.

So with this in mind, I thought I would spend a little bit of time back in 1995 and I thought you may want to come with me! Some of the things I remember about that time were…

The films I watched
I am a BIG film fan and to be honest, I have not watched a new film in almost a year (the sad truth of being a parent!) but I spent a lot of my teenage years at the cinema and the films I recall watching in ’95 are Toy Story, Braveheart and Seven. Loved them all and I have actually watched each of these a second and maybe even a third time!

The television shows
Some of the greatest TV shows came from that time and I was obsessed with Friends, ER and X-Files. I can still hear the X-files theme song in my head!

And… Oprah looked like this!

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Miss South Africa
This was the year that Bernelee Daniell won the pageant. I absolutely love her! She is now a mom and business woman and is known for her work with the charity STEPS which raises awareness and money for people with clubbed feet which she was actually born with!

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Fashion
I may have dressed like this… T-shirt under strappy dresses and the dungarees which, surprisingly, seems to come back into fashion every now and then…

James Small
Well, he was the flavour of the year for sure and I may have been known to have a small school girl crush on him. I recall in the lead up to the final game in ’95, the Springboks made appearances at various restaurants, My mom took me to meet him and she bought a bunch of flowers for me to give to him. I thought she was crazy and dismissed the idea immediately. I mean… who gives a rugby player built like a brick shit house a bunch of flowers!! We got to the front of the queue, I shook his hand and blushed… my mom gave him the flowers and wished him luck for the game. He then leaned over the counter, thanked her and gave her a kiss… A KISS!!!… ON THE LIPS!!! Arrrggg!! How did she know!!! I did not speak to her for the rest of the day.

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Winning the trophy
Of course, this happened…

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When Joel Stransky scored that drop goal in extra time, my gran dropped to her knees and cried with sheer joy, my mom pretty much sobbed the entire match and I ran outside into the streets which came alive with people everywhere, hugging each other, crying and spraying beer everywhere. There were parties in the streets until late that night. As a girl who knew very little of the massive impact this would have for my country, I still felt the shift and it felt great!

The 1995 Springboks are here in London and will be running 2 miles around the city on Saturday morning and have invited everyone to join them. It will begin at 07.30 from Trafalgar square. I wish I could go but we have ballet class for Emily which she looks forward to but if you do go, please share your experience…

So, while I bring myself back to the present, I can’t help but feel that we all need this match. A renewed unity for us all to show the world what true ubuntu means. Of course I want us to win, like I did in 1995 but coming together, sharing the experience with each other with love and acceptance… That is true winning! So good luck Boks, the nation is behind you.

Where were you in ’95, I’d love to hear!

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Johannesburg – a family’s playground

If you thought Joburg was not a great city for small children, you couldn’t be more wrong!

It has been a while since I have posted anything. I had every intention of blogging while I was away but once I arrived in sunny SA, the quality time I was spending with family and friends simply became my priority. With that said, we managed to fit so much into our trip that my mind is bursting with blog post ideas!

We began our holiday in Joburg so Emily and I could spend time with my side of the family. I still needed to make Emily’s learning and development a priority and as the weather is so lovely, we could have really stayed at home and swam in the pool every day but I wanted her to see and do things that I remember doing as a child and Johannesburg has a lot to offer small children, more than you think…

Lifestyle Garden Centre
This is truly a wonderful place to be with children. We actually came here a few times during the holiday and Emily absolutely LOVED it here. While it’s primary purpose is a nursery with a vast selection of plants and gardening paraphernalia, they also have a wonderful home décor section as well as a large bookshop called Readers Warehouse that has an excellent children’s section and they host a number of kiddies activities in the bookstore throughout the year.

I have very vivid memories of spending many Saturday afternoons here when I was a little girl. This centre truly is a kid’s paradise!! The Silver Birch Restaurant is a multiple award winning restaurant that has pizza making facilities for kids.

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Parents can enjoy a cup of coffee while keeping an eye on their children with the jungle gym right next to the outside seating area. They also have a small funfair called Playland which has a variety of rides for children. So if you are in the Northern suburbs of Jozi, do pop in!

Joburg Zoo
Emily  is such a little animal lover and has developed a small obsession with the film Madagascar. This gave me the opportunity to show her some of the animals from the film up close and personal. The zoo is enormous and Emily’s little legs could not get us to every corner of the zoo but she was delighted with the animals we had the chance to see.

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They have family days, tours, events and dedicated feeding times for animals so the children can get involved. They also have a strong conservation and breeding programme and offer the opportunity to volunteer or adopt an animal.

One of the most popular activities is the Evening Encounters. This is to give you the chance to encounter and study the nocturnal animals in the zoo and it will certainly be on my ‘to do’ list with Emily next time we are back in South Africa.

They also have large dedicated areas for you to have a family picnic in the shade, to allow you time to recover from the South African midday heat. The Joburg Zoo, still to this day, is a wonderful day out for any family.

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Don’t forget the sunblock!

The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve “The Nearest Faraway Place”
This nature reserve is nestled in the Cradle of Humankind which is considered ‘The Home of our Ancestors’ due to its breakthrough discoveries, in this area, in the search for the origins of humankind. This in itself is another great day out for families but the nature reserve was the focus of our attention for the day. The main reason for our visit was to cuddle with the lion cubs which we had the privilege of doing. This park, in particular, is famous for its work with white lions.

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You can come with a packed picnic lunch or use their Braai/BBQ facilities at the park at no extra cost. They offer everything from restaurants, The Neck and Deck restaurant is popular amongst the avid off road cyclist as a pit stop, 4×4 experiences, game drives, and feeding times for the big cats. There is a children’s play park area for a bit of a run around and there is the animal crèche where you can encounter some of the younger animals

The park also has accommodation for those bush lovers and they will allow you to outsource activities like hot air ballooning or abseiling into the wondercave.

Once you drive through the gates and see the beautiful Springbok, Wildebeest and Zebra roaming around, you truly do not feel like you are a short drive from the busy city. It certainly is the nearest faraway place indeed.

There are so many amazing things to do with children in Johannesburg. Some restaurants offer play area facilities which are staffed so you can enjoy your meal knowing your children are being looked after.

We didn’t get to do everything but that’s ok because it means we have left a few things for next time… some of my top child friendly places for our next visit.

Jozi has proven that it is truly a city to enjoy with small children. There is plenty to see and do so… go on!! Get outdoors!!