The free newsletter aimed at fostering goodwill among residents, merchants and visitors to Melville
Letter from the Editor
Hallelujah for the new Consumer Protection Act. I have long called myself a consumer activist and I complain often but I also issue praise and say thank you when it’s due. Recently I experienced both excellent and appalling service.
I like recommendations so when I heard Talk Radio 702’s David O’ Sullivan mention a chap called Owen who was prepared to collect garbage during the Pikitup strike, I called him. Owen and his side-kick Vusi arrived promptly, and efficiently loaded their bakkie. Without being asked, they reassured me they had access to a dump still accepting rubbish. I recommended these young entrepreneurs to many people who were equally satisfied. Cherry on the top was an sms from Owen thanking me for all the referrals.
I was not so lucky on two other fronts. The first concerned our faulty Intercoms. With the name of a technician provided by a local locksmith, I made the call and the techie advised that while he could repair one of the Intercoms, the other had to be replaced. He returned the next afternoon and did the job for which he charged R1 100 which I noted included two call-outs. Adding insult to injury when the problem persisted, he said there would be another call-out fee as only the new device was covered for three months. While I had no intention of repeating this experience, I felt the locksmith ought to be informed although naturally I did not hold him responsible. He volunteered to take care of the problem – never to be heard from again.
The other annoyance came after experiencing repeated problems with my television. I contacted a chap recommended by Multichoice who arrived the same day, cut a wire – which appeared to do the trick – and left 15 minutes later R380 the richer. Within days the same problem recurred and I called him again. He said he would charge another call-out fee (R380). When I objected, he graphically told me where to get off.
Enter Multichoice again. Ever helpful, Dumisani took responsibility for the rude technician and sent out a courtesy team to investigate the problem. Their diagnosis was an aerial problem but as they were not insured to scale the roof, I needed a paid technician. I was given another name by Dumisani and Edwin arrived the same day filled with the enthusiasm of being newly self-employed after years as an employee. He concurred with the Multichoice team and true to his word returned the following day to install a new aerial – without charging a repeat call-out – and fingers crossed, he did the trick. What a pleasure after months of irritation.
Nog ‘n piep: Peter the plumber was recommended on these pages by a resident and he too has proved a godsend. After assessing a leak, he advised that we should call in a leak detector (an expensive exercise, incidentally) whose gas appears to have dislodged the problem. Peter returned and pronounced that for the moment it posed no problem. I offered to pay for his call-out times but he refused. Now that is the kind of service that makes one go back another time.
But for the moment, may the gods prevail and prevent further domestic meltdowns.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Charles Moore gives his all to 50/50
- Jane Griffiths defines an organic lifestyle
- Meet Mike Baillie of Greenpeace
- Jacques Clifford takes local issues online
- Christine Pretorius visits Lindfield House
- Suzaan Heyns is a hot new fashion spot
- Trish Burton is remembered
- Credits and contact details
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NO HALF MEASURES
Devotees of the long running SABC TV programme 50/50 decried its departure, but it was not dead. Melville’s Charles Moore was at the ready to steer the series on its new course.
“As a young independent producer from Cape Town with only two years experience, I was quite intimidated coming up to fast-paced Jo’burg,” Charles recalls of his induction as a freelance insert producer on the programme in 1986.
“I was in awe of experienced filmmakers, game rangers and environmentalists,” he says. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would one day be in the driving seat.”
It was in 1984 that Danie van der Walt launched what is now one of the world’s longest running environmental TV programmes. In 2010, Charles was invited to take over as series producer and had some qualms.
“I felt totally unqualified for what would be my first full-time job in over 20 years and I didn’t relish the prospect too much,” he says.
Good sense prevailed and straight away Charles started putting his own stamp on the show. To expand it to a wider audience, he introduced new slots including a youth segment. Issues driven, 50/50 takes on the hard stuff and Charles believes they have played no small part in stories relating to mining and fracking.
Charles remains concerned about the extent of threats to the environment. These include corrupt developers and mining companies, the deterioration of water sources and wildlife habitat, climate change, and over population – a subject he says no-one wants to discuss.
“I sometimes go home feeling like ‘ek kan nie meer nie’,” says Charles. “But once I get to Melville I stroll around the corner into 7th street and wash away the day with friends, and I realise there is life outside of 50|50.”
Watch the second season of 50/50 on Monday nights at 19h30 on SABC 2.
ORGANIC IS A WAY OF LIFE
Jane Griffithstakes issue with the wholesale use of the term ‘organic’.
Marketers are very quick to jump on a bandwagon – a few years ago I saw a label on a blanket that reassured the buyer that the product was 100% virgin acrylic!
And now the same thing is happening with the word organic. So what does an organic vegetable garden really mean? Organic gardening is nothing new – in fact it is a very old way of gardening. It is the way all farming and gardening was before the advent of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
You might think that gardening organically just means replacing synthetic pesticides or fertilisers with organic ones. However, there is much more to it than that. Organic gardening is a natural, holistic and commonsense approach to gardening. It is more of a philosophy than a gardening style. Organic gardeners see gardens as part of a natural cycle, starting with the soil and including the people, wildlife and insects.
Our aim is to work in harmony with natural systems and to minimise and replenish the resources that the garden consumes. And one of the most important resources in our climate is water. In the past, wars were fought over salt and graphite. Currently, wars are being fought over oil. In the very near future, wars will be fought over water.
It is time to start thinking about our water supply and how we can save, harvest and recycle as much as we can. I am in the process of having JoJo tanks installed to harvest rainwater from my roof: 1mm of rain falling on one square meter of roof will supply 1 litre of water. I have a large roof and all those litres currently wash away down the storm water drain – but I am really looking forward to the next rains when instead they will be saved into my tanks.
I am also installing a grey water system. The water from the basin, shower and bathwater will be stored in a JoJo tank and fed into a drip irrigation system to water my vegetables. These investments will very quickly pay for themselves as I will use less municipal water and be less reliant on it. It is something we should all be putting on our “to do” lists.
Jane Griffiths is the author of Jane’s Delicious Garden and Jane’s Delicious Kitchen published by Sunbird Publishers, a division of Jonathan Ball Publishers.
A GREEN IMPORT
Mike Baillie is Greenpeace Africa’s new online editor at their Richmond headquarters. A passionate eco-activist, Mike is a recent migrant from Cape Town. Suzanne Brenner posed some questions.
What is your background?
I studied at Rhodes University for a B Journalism degree and an MA in Politics before moving to Cape Town where I worked for Touchline media, a magazine company with titles like Men’s Health and Sports Illustrated.
What attracted you to Greenpeace?
Greenpeace has had some phenomenal victories through activities that include simply bearing witness to environmental injustice as well as actions which physically prevent environmental destruction. I can’t wait for there to be more of them in South Africa.
Was it easy making the career transition?
Greenpeace was a natural progression in terms of work and things I’m passionate about. At Touchline I was also working on websites, which I do at Greenpeace though I also do a lot of writing and get to help with really exciting campaigns.
Where do you live?
In a flat in Killarney with my girlfriend and our cat, Mona.
Are you enjoying Johannesburg?
I’ve found the people very friendly. I think often South Africans are so blocked off from each other – behind walls, in cars, and in office cubicles – that we’ve become very suspicious, even scared of others. Riding my mountain bike allows me to break down a few of these walls. I can greet people and actually chat to the newspaper man, or the woman waiting for a taxi.
What thoughts of Melville?
I love how communal the suburb is. People seem a lot more relaxed here than they do in other parts of the city. And I love that the restaurants aren’t all clumped together in a soul-less mall.
To learn more about Greenpeace Africa go to www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/ or follow Mike on Twitter @MikeBaillie.
LOCAL IS LEKKER ONLINE
If the name Jacques Clifford rings a bell, it should. For six years he wrote about the highs and lows of local issues in the Northcliff Melville Times and now he is Caxton’s online editor.
Born in Johannesburg, Jacques attended Laerskool Louw Geldenhuys in Linden and following in his father’s footsteps, he went on to Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies) in Pretoria as a ‘koshuis’ boy (boarder).
“I excelled in sport and a big highlight for me was touring Australia and New Zealand with the school’s 1st rugby team,” he says. “I was fortunate to be part of an extraordinary sporting generation at Affies, which included AB de Villiers, Pierre Spies, Wynand Olivier, Fourie du Preez and Jacques Rudolph.”
After school, Jacques returned to Johannesburg and studied journalism at then RAU (now UJ). “I was blessed to get a job at Caxton with the Northcliff Melville Times a week before writing my final exam paper,” says Jacques, “and I started with the company on 15 November 2005.”
This year Jacques was promoted to head up Caxton’s first online website which he welcomed with open arms. “It’s a huge new challenge for me and long overdue,” he says frankly, “and I’m very excited about what lies ahead.”
That doesn’t mean he’s given up his sports’ media ambitions after missing out on a job at SuperSport earlier this year. With due confidence, Jacques adds: “I definitely plan to work for them in the future.”
Go to www.looklocal.co.za to see what’s potting in your area.
ONCE UPON A TIME
For an out of the ordinary experience, look no further than Lindfield House in Auckland Park writes Christine Pretorius.
Miss Katherine Love, historian and curator, has lived in Lindfield House for close on 50 years.
A 1½ hour tour through this Herbert Baker house always leaves me speechless, enriched, and not quite ready to face the 21st Century. Miss Love is not only an expert on textile renovations and Victorian handicrafts but on virtually any aspect of Victorian life.
Dressed as a Victorian parlour maid in grey before noon and in black after lunch, she guides us through a treasure trove. She entertains her audience with stories about Victorian times as illustrated in the 22 rooms of Lindfield House.
There’s a music room with old pianos, an opulent dining room, an enchanting children’s nursery wing, an exquisite library and a young lady’s bedroom which includes an outfit ready for the opera. One can almost hear delicate size 4 shoes in the passage.
The furniture is just as it would have been when the house was first occupied. The dining table is set with the best porcelain; the kitchen has Mrs Beaton’s cook book open and ready for the cook to start the evening meal and in the children’s day nursery, the toys are just as the offspring would have left them.
Sometimes Miss Love is joined by the knowledgeable and charming butler, Pierre Roestorff, resplendent in embroidered jacket and moustache. I like to think that I’m the record holder for visits to Lindfield House – 12 at the last count – and at the drop of a hat I’ll be there again.
In addition to Lindfield House’s permanent exhibition, a display of Victorian wedding dresses runs until the end of July. Daily tours cost between R40 and R90 and are by appointment only. Phone Miss Love on 011 726 2932.
STYLE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Melville’s fashion options are growing. The fashion house Suzaan Heyns is already proving a great addition to the 9th Street shopping precinct.
“The store is about a lifestyle, art, jewellery, ceramics, interior design, and of course fashion,” says designer Suzaan Heyns.
After attending the University of Johannesburg, Suzaan won an Elle magazine scholarship to study at the London International School of Fashion in Rosebank which launched her new career.
Suzaan’s university friends, sisters Moira Jensen and Olivia Flowerday, have long been followers of the Suzaan Heyns style, and as investors in the company they are co-owners of the shop.
Part of their rationale for choosing Melville was the existing hub of designer stores Black Coffee, Superella and Entropy and all the other stores in the immediate vicinity. “The perfect Saturday for me,” says Suzaan, “is going shopping for fashion, antiques, for art, wine, to have something great to eat, have a look through books, and to purchase something for my house. This spot offers such an experience.”
Suzaan welcomes the escape from her studio to interact with customers outside the shop with a good cup of coffee. Curious onlookers who wonder about the gold skulls of the shop’s décor may or may not be appeased by the explanation. “They are juxtaposed against the nude walls,” says Suzaan. “It is femininity versus the darker side of nature.”
Also on display are a number of hands made by Ceramic Matters and which are lit to appear as if they are reaching downwards to the customers.
Apart from the eponymous label, Suzaan Heyns also features other designers including Adriaan Hugo of Dokter and Misses, Marc Jacobs sunglasses, the UK based shoe label FINSK and jewellery by Ivka Cica.
Suzaan Heyns is located on 9th Street near Rustenburg Road, opposite the Bamboo Centre. Phone Moira Jensen on 076 110 1918.
Trish Burton’s untimely death in March shocked many residents of Melville and most had not even met her in person. Suzanne Brenner pays tribute.
Trish became synonymous with her email address and was often simply referred to as ‘Idube’, the communications address for the Melville Residents Association.
Trish was mindful of complaints from residents who felt they were being bombarded with information but they must surely now feel her loss in the absence of constant updates about this suburb.
The story of how Trish joined the MRA committee has been reported elsewhere but it’s worth retelling as it aptly captures the nature of the woman.
I knew Trish from Zoo Lake Bowling Club where she’d been the no-nonsense bar manager and we were on nodding terms. I bumped into her in the parking lot of Campus Square. She confronted me about the recently launched Melville Residents Association, of which I was a serving member.
Often brash in manner, she did not beat about the bush and told me “they” were not doing enough. Irked, I replied that “they” were “all of us” and I challenged her to come on board. And she did. What’s more, she outlasted all on the first committee and served the community until the day she died.
Richard Tait, the MRA’s first chairman, now based in Mauritius, remembers Trish well:
“Trish was one of those selfless people quite content to stay behind the scenes but working tirelessly for the community. How she had the patience to keep up the emails and to deal with often irate correspondents, I’ll never know.”
Editor’s note: Trish shied away from the camera, so few recent photos exist. I selected this one supplied by Jillian Ferri because it captures the spirit of Trish Burton at play at a Melville community gathering.
Suzanne’s service recommendations:
AERIAL & SATELLITE installations. Edwin of Dreamfinders: 074 675 2305.
GARDENER available on weekends.For a whirlwind weeder, planter, patio and gutter cleaner, small painting and building jobs: John 083 428 7406.
PLUMBER. Peter at Pee Plumbing: 083 463 7323.
PRUNINGand garden services. Richard Shabangu: 073 281 8016 or 084 622 4758.
REFUSE REMOVER & handyman. Owen: 078 334 4753.
PROWRITE WRITING SERVICES for all your outsourced writing needs. Contact Suzanne on 011 482 1072 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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