Tag Archive: tbv


i crawled into bed sometime after 2 this morning… Exhausted, challenged, frustrated, reflective, inspired, hopeful. It had been a long, packed day.

The night before had seen 11 of us sharing a meal and then sitting outside in our tiny courtyard, wrestling with the idea of what it means to Live Simply. Continue reading

If you’re married, then probably every day there is at least one thing that happens that makes you just smile and know why you married that particular person.

But on some days the thing is more obvious and the smile is much bigger.

i have had a bit of a history with airport dressing-up ever since i was greeted in the Durban airport by two of my friends [and two of their friends] in full-on Teletubby costumes many years ago and you can read more about that over hereSince then we’ve seen Hare Krishnas and photoshopped heads onto pregnant bodies and a lot more.

This year when we flew back to Oakland for a month’s visit and camp speak we were greeted by our former housemate, Aaron Ruff, in the full-on Hello Kitty suit that HE HAD MADE for Halloween:


Yes, that is a giant paper mache head. Only thing is Aaron misjudged the time it might take us to get through customs and so he was stuck in that thing – scared he’s have it off when we came through – for a whopping two to three hours. Can you say sweatfest?

Anyways, this week Aaron and his wife Sarah were coming to South Africa and so naturally we had to return the favour. But how do you beat Hello Kitty? Okay, you can’t, let’s be honest, but how can you make a valiant attempt?


The irony of me, as a good mate reminded me this week, is that i hate dressing up for parties, but give me an airport… and so we tried to crowd source and store source and it was Christmas and we weren’t finding anything and then finally in the dying moments of the day before we managed a combination of Majash Dress-up box vibes [cos everyone should have a dress-up box] and Improv Meg Industrial theatre human bee suit [which i discovered was for someone at least half a person smaller than me]

i came up with the idea for Name Signs and used my Heart Radio name and outsourced the other [thankx Wayne Eaves] and we ended up looking like this:

There is nothing quite like your wife shouting, “Testicle!” at passing by strangers who have just stepped off a plane for forty-five minutes straight. Or even better was when she was calling out to guys passing by, “Hugh Jass?” and i was desperately hoping they could see the sign in my hands [i was more than half blind from hair and eye-patch in that costume]

At one point tbV turned to me and said, “Hey, we should come and do this every week, even when we’re not meeting people here.”

And that was the moment i knew that i had married a good one.


[For a growing list of Highlight moments from my life, click here]

wall 1

So much good stuff happening all over the internet the last two weeks in terms of helping us understand some of the challenges we are facing.

i stumbled upon this in the Warehouse’s most recent newsletter and wanted to share it with you as some really practical steps for moving forwards together. These steps apparently emerged from a conversation between Linda Martindale, Caroline Powell and my wife, tbV [the beautiful Val]. We have heard a lot about Reconciliation [making relationships right] but not nearly enough about Restitution [making situations/contexts right] so this feels really helpful. Continue reading

The last two days have been a blur of action and comment and conversation and reporting and trying to figure out exactly what is what and who is who in the whole South African #FeesMustFall movement. It is complicated and tricky and confusing and yet SO SO IMPORTANT and so it is up to each one of us to do the best we can in terms of figuring out our understanding and our involvement. Here are just a few hopefully helpful things out of many to get us closer to that: Continue reading


i LOVE that description of Generosity – being open-handed.

We experienced that this week. tbV had a conversation with one of the car guards down the road from us and found out that he had a baby daughter and some issues with getting formula for her. She stuck up a question on Facebook for her paediatrician friends and had a whole host of answers and suggestions [and volunteers of assistance and even resource-gathering] within the hour.

The day before we were seeking a chess set for her gran. We managed to get one from my folks but offers of sets via Facebook were also fast and furious.

My friend Kari shared an article on my Facebook wall today titled, ‘Expanding your Circle of Care in which someone started a Facebook group to buy an old man who frequented Subway in the States a sandwich every day as thanks for his participation in World War II.

And obviously tbV is working for Common Change and if you haven’t yet considered whether that might be a great way for you and some friends to experiment with doing Giving in a different way, then you should connect with her and invite her out for coffee. [Slash sushi!]

i like the idea the article lays out about expanding your circles of care to include those who don’t look like you – finding creative ways to extend generosity across race and culture lines in a way that doesn’t promote co-dependence but rather mutual upliftment, feels to me like one of the ways forward as a country. And especially a practical way for people who have benefitted from previous injustices to act towards redressing the wrongs and working towards greater equality and balance.

Thoughts? Ideas? Any ways you have experienced this working in the lives of those around you?

Mumford and Fish

Mumford and Fish

These are three of my best friends: Dunc, Majay and Rob. And missing from that pic is Reegs who is also one of my longest life buddies. And of course my wife, the beautiful Val [aka tbV, which so many of you keep thinking stands for The Lovely Val because of, um, the B, obviously] who made this photo [taken at my 40th after these clowns performed a satirical rendition of one of my favourite Mumford songs complete with homemade pizza box guitar and changed up lyrics] possible, plus of course let’s not forget the boob cake. Continue reading

Do you speak Xhosa?

One of the signs of privilege in a country is the expectation that everyone else will address you in your mother tongue. This is typically true for white english-speakers in South Africa and not even remotely for black mother tongue Xhosa speakers. i would hate to find out the statistics for white people who can’t even say the basics of “Hello” “What is your name?” “My name is…” in an African language but fortunately this i can do.

But not much more. My isiXhosa is, how you say, ncinci.

And that is embarrassing. Or it should be. And is. And should be!

But the training wheels are going on this bike.


As these beautiful words greeted me in my inbox this morning:

Many thanks for your booking and welcome on board!

You and Valerie are signed up for Course 1: Essential Social Xhosa starting on Tuesday evening, August 25th at 6pm. It runs for six consecutive weeks, ending on September 29th. Please arrive a few minutes early to settle in with a cup of tea or coffee before we begin!

The cost is R1380 per person. This amount includes tuition, materials (handbook, workbook, audio CD and pocket phrase book), weekly recap emails, refreshments and an attendance certificate, as long as you have attended a minimum of five out of the six lessons.

That’s right, tbV and i are going back to school. And the reason for this post is not so much to brag about it [because this does feel shamefully, horribly late – i think i have known for a long time this was necessary but really had the idea kicked into absolutely necessary on our recent trip to the states and then a mate from Durban had a conversation with me on Facebook that felt like the accountability needed to just kick it into gear – but the reason for this post is to invite you to join us]

WE NEED [or could really use] YOU!

Since writing this post, our friend Al Gardener has jumped in and so we have moved to the Tuesday one so we can do it together and there are still a couple of spaces…

So if any of you have had this gnawing at your minds, here is a boot-to-the-stomach wake up call and opportunity to put your hand up and come and learn with us. i honestly believe that if we are serious about reconciliation and restitution and unity in this country, then one of the very first steps we need to do is at least make an attempt to learn the African language that is most prevalent in the area we live.

i’m pretty nervous, i won’t lie. What if i suck? What if the words don’t stick? What if i don’t get it? But the importance and necessity outweighs the need and i am just RIDICULOUSLY SORRY AND ASHAMED that i have waited this long. Ndicela uxolo. But i am going to face my fear and will be going with Dwight on this one…

Old Dog can learn New Tricks

If you wanna come play with these Andersons, visit www.xhosafundis.co.za and sign up for the class starting in the evening on Tuesday 25th of August.

Overdue, but not too late… [With big thankx to Megan Furniss for the reference]

[For the next post written two weeks into the Xhosa learning, click here]

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