Satyagraha celebrates Gandhi

On 2 October 2019 the world celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi.

Satyagraha House in Orchards, Johannesburg, a place where Gandhi lived for almost two years, is now a museum and a lovely little lodging place in pleasant surrounds. They played host to an event honouring Gandhi on the anniversary of his birth.

Kirti Menon is the great-granddaughter of Mohandas Gandhi and she paid personal tribute to her ancestral responsibility. Her talk was the highlight of the afternoon for me.

Satyagraha refers to the peaceful resistance to political policies which Gandhi encouraged his followers to adopt. Satyagraha House is a peaceful sanctuary which offers scrumptious vegetarian food and environmentally friendly shelter. It is NOT, sadly, wheelchair friendly. It is a place well worth visiting and a suitable place to have your international visitors reside while in Johannesburg. Small functions can also be accommodated.

It was an afternoon of reflection on the legacy of one of the great peacemakers of the 20th Century. Interestingly, although he was nominated five times, Gandhi never won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Kirti Menon pays tribute to her great grandffather.

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The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The Tiger Who Came to Tea is one of the best selling children’s books of all time. The story is short and the plot is simple. Written and illustrated by Judith Kerr, it was first published in 1968.

David Wood, well known for adapting children’s books into musical theatre productions, did the adaptation of this one.

There are all sorts of conspiracy theories, denied by Kerr herself, that the tiger represents the Nazis, but of that there is no hint in this charming theatrical production, directed for the National Children’s Theatre by Matthew Counihan and Coba-Maryn Wilsenach, with musical direction by Dale Scheepers, costumes by Sarah Roberts, sets by Stan Knight and lighting by Jane Gosnell.

Chante Ras as the mother, Naledi Seele as Sophie, and Marvin Molepo as the tiger

The versatile and talented cast includes Marvin Molepo, Brandon Matthew Otto, Chante’ Ras and child actors from NCT workshops.

It is a work well suited to small children, although some of the very small ones were frightened by the tiger who turns out to be entirely benign, apart from the economic ruin he visited on the family. The NCT recommends children four and up as a suitable age for theatre, but some children do cope well earlier (one of my two nieces loved theatre from about two years old, while the other didn’t cope until she was about five – no reflection on their intelligence).

I saw the show almost at the end of the run (29 September 2019) but if you can manage to get tickets before it closes, do so.

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Khan Morbee at the Balalaika

Khan Morbee is the frontman, singer songwriter,for The Parletones.

He will be performing at the Balalaika pop up theatre at the Balalaika Hotel on Friday 4 October 2019.

Feel free to wear appropriate make-up. 🙂

I will be there. He is fabulous. Seriously.

The press release has this to say: ” Singer-songwriter Kahn Morbee, (41 years old) is probably best known as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the indie rock band, “The Parlotones”, will be live in concert with a full band, for one night only, on 4th October. The Parlotones won no less than 9 South African Music Awards. Khan went on his own in 2014 and released his first solo album in 2015 having been part of the original band (The Parlotones since 1998). He released his second album in 2017. He was born in Belgium and he and his sister were raised by their gran. “

Tickets can be bought through Computicket on 011 484 0204 or from the hotel itself on 011 322 5000 or Jeanette 083 264 4874.

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The Zip Zap Circus – South Africa’s Youth Heritage

The Zip Zap Circus School is a Cape Town based school for circus arts. No animals involved at all for those who hate circuses with animals.

The Zip Zap Circus stars are going to be performing “Journey Beyond – Symphonic Circus”at the Joburg Theatre for three nights only – 19, 20 and 21 September 2019, together with the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra.

This double youth bill makes for a great outing for young people at the start of the school holidays and before the Heritage Day long weekend.

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Young Picasso

If one were to ask a non-art fundi to name five artists, Picasso (1881-1973) would probably feature on all the lists.  He is well known, as is his distinctive and legible signature.

Of course, most of us non-art fundis know more about Picasso’s later life than his early life, and Young Picasso is, as the title suggests, about Picasso’s life and work until he is about 25 years of age.

I found it fascinating to follow in Picasso’s footsteps as he makes his way from Malaga to Barcelona, Madrid and Paris, from his juvenile genius, through a scandalous personal life and his famous blue and rose periods.  South Africans who saw the Picasso exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery will be interested to see how the movie details his African inspired works.

The start of Picasso’s famed “Blue Period” was brought on by the death of his good friend, Carlos Casagemas, who shot himself in a restaurant in Paris in 1901 after a potential love affair with one of the models he and Picasso used went sour.

One of the many “talking heads” (art fundis) for this exhibition is Olivier Picasso, the grandson of the artist, who talks about his grandfather endearingly as “Pablo”.

The movie starts with a very precocious seascape painted by Picasso, the son of an art teacher, at the age of seven and runs up until 1907 with the early cubist prototype, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon with just a hint of Guernica to whet the appetite for more.

The movie releases at Cinema Nouveau movie houses throughout South Africa on 1 June 2019.  It has a running time of 85 minutes.

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Really Feely Farm

A friend’s baby is a year old and I haven’t made an effort to get to see her in real life as opposed to Facebook where I am kept up to date on all the happenings in their lives. Ok, the public worthy happenings.

Go on, you do want to open it

I am seeing my friend and her baby tonight. I am taking a gift of the above book. It is one of those adorable books that demands that even adults touch and feel the rich textures which accompany the simple text on every page.

City children often only know farm animals through books, and in this one little ones can meet a feathery chicken and feel its bumpy skin, a woolly sheep, a bristly pig, a yellow fluffy duckling with a smooth beak, and a calf.

The book is made of board and it is really sturdy for little hands and it offers so much cuteness to touch. This apparently develops fine motor skills in little ones.

The farmyard and its creatures are one of the classic themes for young children, and this one is sure to delight my friend’s child (I will be mortified if the child takes one look at the book and refuses to read for another three years, but I know that won’t happen).

There are other books in this series if it is the hit I think it is going to be.

Really Feely Farm is published by DK books in April 2017 and is available through Penguin Random House in South Africa at approximately R130.00. The ISBN is 9780241268056.

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Albert Hammond, a lifetime of memories

Joburg audiences are going to have to schlepp to Pretoria, though

Press release below:

Singer, songwriter and record producer, Albert Hammond is a prolific music industry giant, who has written commercially successful songs for some of the biggest names in the Music Industry, including Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Glen Campbell. Julio Iglesias, to name a few.

A solo singer in his own right, Hammond will be returning to South Africa in March for five shows in four different cities.

Hammond is a regular visitor of our beautiful country, and over the last decade, has frequented different cities in South Africa to serenade audiences with classic hits like It Never Rains in Southern California, Free Electric Band, I’m a Train and Peacemaker.

This is the very reason Charl Van Heyningen Enterprises decided to bring him back: “Hammond is one of the greatest song-writers of our time. Audiences love him and it is time for Stellenbosch, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and P.E. to experience this music heavy weight”, says Producer Charl Van Heyningen.

Hammond has collaborated most notably with songwriters Mike HazlewoodJohn BettisDiane Warren as well as Holly KnightCarole Bayer Sager.

He wrote commercially successful singles for artists including Celine DionJoe DolanAretha FranklinWhitney HoustonDiana RossLeo SayerTina TurnerGlen CampbellJulio IglesiasWillie Nelson, and Bonnie Tyler, and bands Ace of BaseAir Supply,  Blue MinkChicagoHeartLiving in a BoxThe CarpentersThe HolliesThe PipkinsStarship, and Westlife. Notable songs co-written by Hammond include “Make Me an Island” and “You’re Such a Good Looking Woman” by Joe Dolan, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship, “One Moment in Time” sung by Whitney Houston, “The Air That I Breathe“, a hit for The Hollies, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” a Julio Iglesias/Willie Nelson duet, and “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer. In 2015 he received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection.

As a solo singer, his biggest (and only Top 20) Billboard hit was “It Never Rains in Southern California“, #5 US 1972. Other songs of his include “Down by the River“, “The Free Electric Band“, “I’m a Train“, “When I’m Gone” and others. For a time he was part of the formation The Family Dogg, with whom he had the hit “A Way of Life“. He has also produced for a number of artists.

Albert Hammond will be performing on the following dates in the following cities:

3 & 4 March: Spier Amphitheatre, Stellenbosch. Shows start at 8:30pm

6 March 2019: Feather Market Hall, Port Elizabeth. Show starts at 7:30pm.

8 March 2019: Kopanong Kovsiekerk, Bloemfontein. Show starts at 7:30pm

10 March 2019: Sun Arena @ Time Square, Pretoria. Show starts at 5pm

Ticket prices vary depending on the venue and there are group booking specials.

Book your tickets via Computicket to avoid missing out:

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