My godchild is cheeky.
She’s 11, and has more than enough to say for herself. Full of witticisms, that one.
The other day she was moaning to my mom about something. Ouma, fast approaching 80, was irritable and clearly at her wit’s end when she snapped at Leake: “Just do whatever you want”.
To which Leake replied: “When a lady says ‘Do whatever you want’, rather take a deep breath and do nothing.” What’s that saying? Out of the mouths of babes... It was also she who one day said to the poor Labrador: “Stand aside, you are in my beauty space”. And told her father that they needed a bigger car because then her sisters could sit “there at the back in Hartenbos” and she could be “right at the front in Stellenbosch” in her own peaceful zone whenever the family went anywhere.
(Quick footnote: Ouma also speaks her mind. Recently, she and Leake were sleeping over and just before bedtime my mom prayed out loud for the two of them. Leake must have started fidgeting because in mid-prayer my mom suddenly admonished her in her stern Ouma voice: “Leake, sit still so I can finish praying”. She then carried on calmly in her church voice, listing all the people in need of care from up above.)
But back to my godchild’s first pearl of wisdom: “Rather take a deep breath...” Good advice for the beginning of a new year, wouldn’t you agree? I think we’d better prepare ourselves for a few hiccups in 2019, what with an upcoming national election, the rand taking strain, and the petrol price continuing to soar...
But I love it here. And there’s certainly no shortage of beauty. Just take a look at the gorgeous beach homes in this issue: Jacobsbaai, Langebaan, Agulhas, Stilbaai and a little spot in Scarborough near Cape Point.
Then there’s Ramona Afonso’s garden in Johannesburg. What a wonderful surprise! She and her husband were the runners-up in our 2017 Fix it with Flair competition and when Elza, our Jo’burg photographer, took pictures of their kitchen back then, she phoned us excitedly afterwards to say: “Never mind the kitchen, you should see their garden!”. And sure enough, this family’s creative touch is evident both inside and outside their home. Ramona even cooked up a feast for us – she’s clearly artistic on all fronts (check out page 102).
Another highlight of this issue is a reader’s letter about a beautiful garden in the township of Sharpeville. Suzette Nortjé writes about how she accidentally discovered a lovely oasis there and has taken plants and other garden goodies to Samuel Thokoa because she found his space so inspiring.
We all talk and write and complain too much about how bad everything is, and it’s probably inevitable. But this is the year we should try to focus on the good things in life. Hanneli Denner summed it up so neatly when describing her dream home in Jacobsbaai. “We are so content here. We only have one life and we believe in living it! Seize the day!”
I hope this will also be true for you.