Monthly Archives: December 2006

A South African Christmas

23rd of December: Eating chocolate and rum-raisin ice cream in the sun. Temperature: 28°CChristmas feelings: None

24th of December: Getting up very late after a busy week, taking a shower. Making a fruit salad of apples, oranges, bananas, pineapples, and raisins. In my family fruit salad is one of the traditional desserts for Christmas Eve even if nobody knows why. Later in the afternoon: Making a Stollen (traditional German Christmas cake) adapted to South African shopping opportunities. For two Stollen take: 500 gr flour, instant yeast, 100 gr sugar, some salt – mix it. Add 20ir0 ml hand warm milk, one egg and 50 gr margarine (I couldn’t get unsalted butter) – stir very good and let the dough raise for something like 50 minutes. Cut the peeled skin of a lemon and an orange very fine, add finely cut candid cherries and raisins to the dough and, if you like it, some chopped almonds. Make two stretched cakes (can’t say this better) and spread margarine on them. Bake at 180°C for 40 minutes, let cool down before covering with icing sugar and decorating with candid cherries. Evening: Helping one of my neighbours, Xoliswa, preparing several salads for the following day. Coming home late.

25th of December: Having breakfast with Stollen and fruit salad. Slight Christmas feeling. Going to Xoliswa’s house for a traditional celebration her son is having. He wants to thank his ancestors for guiding him through the process of becoming a man, for being an adult now, and for having a good job. The whole family comes together to spend the day chatting, laughing, eating and drinking. The drinks: a lot of alcohol, among them the traditional African beer Umqombothi, which you can enjoy the fifth time you try it (acquired taste). The food: a lot of salads – bean salad, beetroot salad, rice salad, noodle salad, and, of course, meat. Very nice feeling to be with a family and other neighbours but getting tired of Xhosa after some hours. Spending the rest of the evening in front of the TV.

26th of December: Getting up late after waking up several times at night because one neighbour is playing music very loud throughout the night… Shower, eating the rest of the fruit salad… Ironing, cooking, writing these emails and posts I should have written last week, still some sewing to do… Nice day.


I prepared an interesting post for today and now the computer refuses to accept my USB… We had a party in the language school because it is a custom that the leaving students bring something to drink and to eat. One of them brought four bottles of wine – good white wine…

I will try tomorrow 😉

Hollywood is calling

Today’s exercise: Pitch your idea for a new film to Hollywood studio executives. Any genre you like.

Chosen title: To the moon

Settings: Nice house in one of this “clean”, unrecognisable suburbs. Family with two kids – a five year old girl and a mean 10 year old boy, a turtle and a cat. In the house lives also a mouse family with six little mice. In two weeks, the ‘human’ family will have a huge big party and so they buy a lot of groceries. Among others there bought a cheese wheel which is now standing on the highest kitchen board.

Action: The mouse father dreams to go to the cheese moon. But:
1st problem: The moon is far away, the mouse has to cross the launch, than go through the kitchen and to climb the highest kitchen board.
2nd problem: The mean little boy who puts traps for the mice and puts sometimes the turtle into a box so that it cannot escape.
3rd problem: Obviously, the cat.

Happening: Several unsuccessful tries with a lot of running, pursuing and escapes in the last second. The cat and the boy are on team, the girl, the turtle and the mice the other. The last evening before the party, the turtle is distracting the boy and the cat while the girl helps the mouse family to get to the moon using a fishing pole and a small plastic cube.

Last picture:A half moon shining through the kitchen window on a cheesy half moon.

Anybody an idea how much I could take for this script? Just in case…

Unnecessary item

One thing you do not need to bring with you when you come to Cape Town especially when you come in summer time (= European winter time): an umbrella.

Why not? – It does not rain this often and when it rains it is usually far to windy for an umbrella to be of use. That’s why.

Unnecessary knowledge

Did you know that in opera, arias are not only for soprano singers but for all voices, i.e. bass, tenor, alto etc.?


I learned this here in South Africa.

Practical application? – None.

Love it!

Courage and cowardice

Yesterday, I started my English classes. Since the center I am working in is closed for the Christmas/Summer holidays I needed something to do and to improve my English seemed a good choice. I am particularly eager to get a deeper knowledge of grammar and especially tenses… But that is not the topic.

New start. Yesterday: first day in the language school. One teacher got nearly robbed on his way to school. Result: discussing the security issue over an hour. Nearly everyone knows someone or heard about someone who was robbed in Cape Town.

When I told them (after having asked me what I am doing here, where I life and so on) that I am staying in a township where the nephew of a neighbour was shot and a young woman killed a few weeks ago, they told me that I am very courageous.

The truth is that I am a coward. I have always been a coward and I do not feel courageous at all. I know that a township is not the safest place on earth but as long as I am with somebody, I feel always safe.

Some people also ask me if I do not feel afraid to sleep there. The answer is no. I feel perfectly safe in the house. Perhaps I am not afraid because I try to think not toooo much about this. The vast majority of people living in the townships are honest, warm hearted and hard working people. And in my hosting family I am the 6th or 7th intern. Nothing ever happen to anyone of them. Why should something happen to me?

I do not want an answer to this question 😉 

Extremly frustrating

You know that you have comments and emails but you cannnot check them.

How did I know – Internet acces from a friends mobile phone.

Why can’t I check them – denying access to my email account.