Sunday, 16 December 2012

Every time

This evening I find myself on the floor of a studio whilst my husband and his creative director add the strings to two of the songs for his debut album.

Unusual place to be on a Sunday?! Definitely... But it's the only time that would suit everybody and in the grander scheme of things... It's not bad to listen to strings... For those non muso people- I'm referring to a viola, violin and cello.

I have to document this day because my youngest was asleep on my lap, and I got to play Scrabble whilst my love attuned his ear to the way he envisions his sound.

I'm especially blessed because I feel part of the creative process because I was there at the birth of the songs and to hear how it has grown... Is simply... Awesome!

I'm bursting with pride because I'm happy to see the project coming together and his dream crystallising... and including a song that was part of our wedding.

"Every time I look into your eyes, I can't wait for us to share out lives"

Friday, 23 November 2012

Gotta love technology

In this day and age, we are no longer limited to a letter through the postal service delivered by a suitably attired postman on a bicycle... Now we are able to transcend boundaries and link through a Skype call.

I won't lie, I love Skype... Just the welcome pop-up, bottom of the screen indicating that a special someone is online is wonderful. And at this very moment my boys are chatting to somebody that we hope will be their welcome pop-up. A person that will tug upwards at the corner of their mouths when they they think of her... And this all stems from investing time in building relationship.

Here's to building relationship and technology that makes it a little bit easier.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

My new normal

My new normal involves 2 young men who have become part of our home. My new normal now means that I have to cook for 4 and ensure that it holds nutritional value for growing minds and bodies.

My new normal has honed old skills into more beneficial ones. I recall exactly where things are stored, and how to get to to them even if I'm not in the room... Now that's impressive!

Best of all my new normal means I get to learn more about my capacity for love and catch a glimpse at how much God loves us... Loves me... Even when I'm really un-lovable. That's God's normal?! Scary thought... But oh so true!

I like my new normal. I may not get it right all the time, but as I told the boys... Let's take it one day at a time... And then... Instead of a new normal... It will just be normal.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Spar Women's Challenge

Yesterday was my 5th Spar Women's Challenge and it was definitely different this year. Not only because there were 25 000 participants but because it was the first walk my newly married and I have done... Both as married women. Ah... What an adventure!!!

The Spar challenge is my standing appointment with my sister and who ever else is keen to join in. It certainly isn't about achieving a personal best-don't I sound like the pro road runner?!- it's about hanging with your girl... Or guy dressed as a girl... (Whatever floats your boat) and catching up.

I suppose the reason it deserves a post is because although the 10km route hasn't changed since last year-I have become acutely aware of how our adventure is convoluted by the choices we make. Choices and decisions that sometimes require consultation but mostly just an empathetic ear- and I like to think that that is what I am to my nearest and dearest.

This post is thus a toast to the continued walk we are on... And not just the Spar Women's Challenge!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Criticial Reflection of a book for one of my Honour's subjects

Critical Reflection of
“Diversity High: Class, Color, Culture and Character in a South African High School”
By SaloshnaVandeyar and Jonathan D. Jansen
“Sunnyside just became too black...” I was given this explanation as to why a running partner had decided to move out of Sunnyside, Pretoria and into Newlands, Pretoria after 15 years of residing in Sunnyside.  My running partner said that he was the only white face there and it just became too dangerous to live in Sunnyside.  And so the conversation continued as we trekked up a rather steep hill on our time-trial yesterday afternoon.  “People probably think you live in Eersterust or Laudium hey – since you’re Coloured but look Indian“; he asks good-naturedly as the pace slowed down considerably to give our legs some space to breathe. My response: “Yes, they do and I take great pleasure in telling them that I live in the East of Pretoria and that I speak English.” 
This conversation transpired in Afrikaans, albeit a breathless version and it made me acutely aware of how the landscape changed so suddenly for the inhabitants of HoĆ«rskool J.G. Strijdom upon the fall of the National Party.  Initially only serving the educational needs of the white working-class South Africans and shaped by the political innuendo of an Apartheid Government – these individuals still considered themselves a cut above the Black South African who was not fit to learn anything more than physical labour.  It did however put a spin on the changes faced by HoĆ«rskool JG Strijdom because “when apartheid ended, the surrounding community of whites lost this fragile social status and economic advantage and gradually found themselves living and learning alongside black residents” (Vandeyar & Jansen, 2008).
This stark reality is aptly portrayed through portraiture.  The use of portraiture as depicted by the Chapman (2007:161) in Vandeyar and Jansen (Vandeyar & Jansen, 2008) is that “researchers move beyond depictions of the half-full or half-empty glass to interrogate perceptions and behaviours that are floating around in the water”, provide the reader with a picture with distinctly bold colours showcasing successes that are achieved at the school through the various interventions that were put in place by the school principal Anita.  It also casts shadows of challenges that were faced in the form of deteriorating discipline, loss of good teachers and violence which tainted the grounds broken by staff and pupils alike.  In documenting the first hand experience of those in leadership, the reader is more attune to how decisions taken unfolded and affected teachers, students and the community alike.  Through the inclusion of photographs the layering of the school’s history also seems that much richer as it shapes a tangible timeline of how things have transformed over time.
I remember when Model C schools were opened to non-white learners.  I do not recall all the fancy words that were spoken on the news but I do remember seeing an image of a board with the word Model C written on it, to the right of the newsreader’s head.  I also remember the conversation that followed in our home. It was decided that I would be completing my Sub B year at Harmony Primary School – a local school in the coloured community of Steenberg where my grandparents lived – to attend Kirstenhof Primary School.  The excitement which ensued with preparations being made and the big day of starting school in my brown school shoes and blue blazer was wonderful.  And yet – after reading this account of Diversity High accepting Black pupils into their school and expecting the learners to “adapt or die” was perhaps not quite the same attitude I was exposed to.  This may be due to the fact that I was in an English environment which is generally considered being more open to change than the Afrikaans dominated environment. 
The “structural social change” as articulated and promoted by Anita in Vandeyar and Jansen (2008) where “an empowering school culture and social structure” was important to the way the principal exercised her “management categories” that were “intertwined, contested and messy functions within a changing school, a changing community, and a changing country” (Vandeyar & Jansen, 2008).  With cultural borders becoming more porous (Vandeyar & Jansen, 2008), change was inevitable and through efforts of including corporate companies and the surrounding community, Department of Education and sourcing experts in fields that would benefit the school were included taking Diversity High forward. 
Her efforts to make the SGB, the school’s name and staff more reflective of the school population are commendable.  It is evident that she worked tirelessly and made every effort to practice inclusion.  I did however find it a bit odd that in the changing of the school’s name from JG Strijdom to Diversity – the ceremony although attended by many, particular platform was given to Mr. Roelf Meyer and Mr. David Quale.  I realise that the purpose of their inclusion was to allay fears that Afrikaans-speaking parents may have of their diminishing cultural heritage being evident at the school and yet it speaks of how the schools identity became more fluid to suit the needs of the persons which are now in co-habitation within Diversity High.  However, I do think that a leader of colour should have been included in the fanfare of excitement in the new chapter of Diversity High, especially because a Black church minister was approached to assist in the counselling of difficult learners at a later stage in the transformation process of the school.
Things certainly have changed.  Where previously tremendous efforts were made to bridge the cultural divide through activities that encouraged “revelling in the new spaces for expression and accommodation” (Vandeyar & Jansen, 2008), it is sad to see Diversity High becoming the talk of the town for incidences of corporal punishment in July 2011 (SAPA, 2011).  I am sure that the school still continues much like other schools in an attempt to put the Lego pieces together in order to provide an environment for students and teachers to fully develop their potential and become productive citizens in the rainbow nation.
I finished the 7 km run in just under an hour with my running partner for the day.  I could not help to replay our conversation in my head, especially when he made the remark that most people prefer to serve in their own community.  I responded that most of my life has been a mixed environment and although I now find myself in a previously Afrikaans institution, I function far better in a diverse environment.  I think it further lends itself to the title of the book “Diversity High” because although it is meant to express the name of the institution – I believe that it also tells of high levels of diversity which exist and cannot be ignored.


SAPA. (2011, 07 24). Probe into horror school beating. Retrieved 03 12, 2012, from News 24:
Vandeyar, S., & Jansen, J. (2008). Diversity High: Class, Color, Culture, and Character in a South African High School. Lanham: Univerisity Press of America, INC.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Two months down the line

Yip it's two months down the line and I'm still standing(sitting) here in "Die Skip" which is the building at the University of Pretoria which looks much like the bow of a ship.  In the last month we've had the conference for the Senate. Professor Cheryl de la Rey provided members of Senate with the way forward by introducing the Strategic Plan 2025.  The plan plots the way that the Univerisity of Pretoria becomes a research intensive institution.  It may not sound all that exciting but believe you me.... listening to Prof de la Rey had me simply enthralled!  She calmly set the plan before the Senate, not really detailing the way it would be achieved. instead alluding to the fact the speakers to follow would share the particulars around the plan.  Fact is - she spoke with such serenity and conviction that I wanted to jump up and offer to be a general in her army!!!!

I was absolutely floored and needless to say I added her to my list of heroes. I told my colleagues about my excitement and went as far as to say that I should email her to thank her for "lighting my fire". 

I'm not going to lie, it's really been a continued adventure of growing up - and seeking God's face in that this environment didn't quite get me uber excited about the way forward. I was really clinging to my dream of academia and eagerly awaiting the commencement of lectures.... and then the Senate Conference happened and my imagination was captured by the tremendous opportunities that lies here at the Univeristy. 

But more specifically it made me aware on a more conscious level that we're all small cogs in a big machine... and if one of the cogs don't work - it makes it difficult for the machine to perform optimally.  I then realised that I want to make sure that my cog works well, both here at work and in my family at large.  This all as I carry on in my adventure... Tuks of niks!

P.S.  I sent Prof de la Rey an email after all and she responded!!!! Whoop whoop!!! See below:

>>> Dezlin Jacobs 2012/02/09 11:38:06 AM >>>
Dear Prof de la Rey
I would like to thank you for sharing your vision at the Senate Conference yesterday.
I am by no means part of the academic staff (yet) but I have to tell you that your calm demeanor and gentle way of putting across the plan for the next 15 years  has got me enthused to be part of the University.
I joined the staff of Academic Administration at the beginning of this year, and this after questioning God about why on Earth He would put me in an environment that could possibly strangle my enthusiasm, I now see why.
The course that you're putting this ship on is going to be superb - with many storms I am sure - but worth all the effort I am certain.  I look forward to working along side you and the rest of the crew in steering this ship and all it's passengers into academic and institutional history.
I shall keep you and the management in prayer and trust that my bit will also add to the success of this vision.
_ _ _ _

Dear Dezlin,
Thank for for taking the trouble to give me feedback. I am very pleased that you support the vision. Please pursue your career goal as we need new perspectives in the academic ranks. In the meantime, your contribution is very important. I do need prayers so thank you again.
Warm wishes,
Cheryl de la Rey