Thursday, 31 May 2012

You're invited to breakfast with Helen Zille

I've blogged about the work that Third Thursday does before - so this post is to get you excited to make a booking for our 2012 event: a fundraising breakfast with the one and only Helen Zille. Here's the important info, before I give you the background:

Date etc: 14 July 2012, at 7am sharp
Venue: The Hilton Hotel, Sandton
Cost: R250pp, including breakfast and beverages
To book: email Helen Pournara
Reason 1 why you should buy a ticket or a table-full of tickets to our event:
We don't let our speakers charge us for their time, and we don't keep any silly 'admin fees' - so every penny that we raise will go to the Mthimkhulu Stimulation Centre in Soweto. This centre is run by volunteers who provide a place of safety for underprivileged mentally handicapped chlidren, so that their parents can go to work safe in the knowledge that their children are being properly cared for. The Centre receives government grants, when the government remembers to pay them, but they depend heavily on the kindness of donors for their day to day needs.

The funds that we raise at the breakfast will be used to buy the Centre a wheelchair-friendly vehicle, so that the parents don't have to struggle with taxis to get their children to the school. We need R450 000 to do this - so every penny helps.

Reason 2 why you should buy a ticket or a table-full of tickets to our event:
There are so many people in South Africa that need help, in so many different ways. Sometimes it's difficult to know where to start - and it's the South African Way to want to muck in and help. If you don't know where you can make a difference - this is a good place to start - by supporting our drive (no pun intended) to equip the centre with a vehicle that will help so much. 

Reason 3 why you should buy a ticket or a table-full of tickets to our event: 
You get to eat a damn fine breakfast in one of Sandton's most beautiful hotels, while listening to one of the country's most iconic women speak about her life and experiences. No politics in sight.

And just for fun - a few "Did You Know" items about Ms Zille:
- She exposed the truth about Steve Biko's death in her role as journalist at the Rand Daily Mail.
- She speaks four languages.
- She attended Johannesburg's St Mary's School for Girls.
- She and her husband offered their home as a safe haven for political activists in the 1980s.
- She was arrested for being in the 'wrong area' in the early 1980s, and was given a suspended prison sentence.
- She was such a thorn in the side of the then government that she and her then-two-year-old son had to go into hiding.

Want to find out more? Book your ticket now!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Get up and do something about it - #TBDZA

I was going through my blog history (other people call it procrastination), and I came across this post , that I wrote nearly two years ago, about the Twitter Blanket Drive. In this post, I mentioned what I great idea it was, and how I'd love to meet the person behind it, one @MelanieMinnar.

Fast forward two years, and hey, look what's happened: not only did I meet Melanie, I met her at my son's school, where her son is in the same year, and our boys have become friends. And not only did she make a huge success of the inaugural Twitter Blanket Drive in 2010, she kept it going last year, and has gone biggerbetterfastermore in 2012, by making it a national campaign.

And all this, as a mom to two boys who works a full day as general manager for a busy Johannesburg agency. Respect, much? Huge.

So... here's the deal. Instead of sitting at home wailing about the people who are going to be suffering in the cold outside this winter, while you're wrapped in your blankets on top of your electric blanket, get yourself out to the shops and buy some blankets - Game has some for as little as R20 at the moment, but go wild - skip buying takeaways for dinner this weekend, and spend the money on making someone warm instead. Have a look in your cupboards to see if there are any blankets or warm clothes that you don't use any more, and set them aside too. And then have a look at the #TBDZA website to find a drop off point near you.

You'll find that there are venues across the country that are hosting 'Tweetups' on 26 May, but several of them, such as Higher Ground restaurant, will accept donations any time from now - and they'll give you a free coffee to say thank you for your efforts.

The donations will be distributed via several official charities, so you know that your kindness will be shared where it's needed the most.

So - two things:

1 Get up off your couch and do something about the plight of your fellow South Africans. It's not difficult, it's not expensive, and it's an opportunity to meet other people who care about their fellow citizens the future of our country.

2 Thank you, Melanie, for making this happen. You are proof that if you need something huge done, give it to a busy person! You and your network of friends and colleagues that have organised this are an inspiration to the rest of us. If everyone out there committed to doing something positive, even if it's just a fraction of the size of the #TBDZA, South Africa, and the world, would be a much better place.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Every mom needs a cheerleader

I wrote this for JoziKids:

Kerry Haggard is the mom of the two most beautiful boys that ever there were. She is also the blessed daughter of the most awesome mom that ever there was.

One of my favourite blogs is written by Lisa-Jo, a South African who lives in Washington in the US. She is of the firm opinion that every mom needs a cheerleader, and she’s just published “The Cheerleader for Tired Moms,” an ebook collection of some of her favourite blog posts.

For Mother’s Day this year, I’d like to suggest that we take up Lisa-Jo’s challenge, and become cheerleaders for one another.

Being a mom is tougher than any professional sport out there. We’ve got to be the coaches who teach and encourage our offspring at every turn, motivating them to do their best, to try harder, to practice more, to go the extra mile.

Then, when they don’t perhaps achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves, it’s our task to provide guidance and sage advice, helping them to deal with disappointment.

We’re the taxi drivers, the food providers, the wardrobe custodians, the homework supervisors and the peacekeepers between siblings. We eachknow just how much goes into a day of raising a child, and with the greatest of respect to professional sportsmen – they get to leave the training field and go home at the end of the day. Being a mom is a 24/7 job, and a lot of the time, we feel like we’re still in training anyway – do you know a mom who is completely comfortable that her parenting skills are perfect?

Just like in sport, there are armchair critics of the work we moms do. And, I’m sad to say, some of the cruelest critics are other moms. In fact, I think it’s an official sport in some school parking lots, and should be banned right up there with pitbull fighting and knife fights – it does as much damage.

So here’s what I’d like to challenge you to do this Mother’s Day: Don’t criticize the moms around you. None of us is perfect, but we’re all working really hard to do the best that we possibly can for our children. Ring up a mom you know and admire – it could be your own mom, your mother in law, or a friend, and tell them what a fantastic job they’re doing or have done with their child or children. Be specific in the compliment you give them, and mean what you say. Maybe point out a parenting lesson that you have learned from them, or how you’ve been inspired by something that they have done. I’m very sure that your words will last longer than any flowers or chocolate – and you’ll have made the kind of personal contact that rebuilds friendships in our age of social media fatigue.

Happy Mother’s Day!