Posts Tagged With: South Africa

Picture of the Day – South Africa – Courtesy of Google Images

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South African Education Needs More

The Ministry of Education in South Africa is planning to step up efforts to improve the outcomes in education.

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Excerpt from Three Quarters


Shakaland is beautiful. I really like it. It teaches me a lot about Zulu culture. I buy Benjamin a hat, a stuffed animal for Debbie’s child and some stamps. Also just as I come in, I buy a yellow and black necklace for Daphne. I really hope she likes it. The man Olan who shows us around comes up to me first and introduces himself, and then I introduce him to Daniel. We have a wonderful walk around the village and we even go into a hut where the medicine men are and the diviners. One woman who is an apprentice diviner has her face in white paint. It is a stunning sight. I ask for a divination and the woman with the white face prepares some wood to burn and there are two established diviners, each wearing long hair. I do not even know that one of them is a man until he speaks. The diviners speak as Olan translates that no one has come with bad intentions and they wish us all a safe journey home and say we will all get back home safely. These spirits, these ancestors talking will never know how much they comfort me. Thank you. It is very spiritual, just like my friend Lisa says. I pick up a stone for her in the Zululand village. Later, I tell her that it is for making a wish. Continue reading

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Chimurenga presents a screening of Man On Ground‏

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Join us for a screening of Akin Omotoso’s Man on Ground followed by a conversation between Omotoso & Aryan Kaganof

Friday 24 February, 19h00 till 22h00 at the Gugu s’Thebe Arts and Culture Centre
cnr Washington and Church Street, Langa.

Free Entry

For more information visit

Chimurenga Magazine… who no know go know

Chimurenga 16 – Chimurenga Chronic – Out Now!

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Disney Fairy Tale in a Downtown Condo

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“I begged to see the Little Mermaid when I was young,” says Dena Burgin, a theatre performer and journalism student at Seneca@York. “[My Mom] got her hair cut and she picked us up after. Then I begged my Mom for the CD and I just sang it and sang it and this made me start singing.”

Burgin fell in love with the Little Mermaid. Later, she was offered the chance to be the Little Mermaid Princess in a production on a cruise ship for Disney.

“I said no at first because it was a cruise ship,” Burgin says. “And then I said yes because it was the Little Mermaid.”

Her performance on that cruise ship changed her life. She met a South African man named Michael who is a seaman, yachts and scuba dives. Michael was working on the ship as one of the decorated officers. He also loved the Little Mermaid. He fell in love with Burgin.
“I was a princess and he was my prince.”

Burgin and Michael knew each other for a year and then married in front of a Justice-of-the-Peace in 2006 in South Africa. They later had a traditional Italian wedding in Toronto in 2008.

Michael worked as a manager of a business when he first came to Canada. Now he works for the City of Toronto. Burgin has been a theatre performer with CanStage, she has worked for Theatre New Brunswick and Manitoba Theatre. She has also played the role of “Evita” in a musical. Among being a journalist, she is also a professional music theatre performer.
Burgin has performed in “Evil Dead” as well.

“It was great because I was in the city for nine months,” says Burgin. “That was with Drayton Entertainment. I’ve done movies for YTV, done a movie with Paris Hilton. I’ve been a working artist, definitely downtown is more inspiring than anywhere north of here which is where I grew up.”

Burgin and Michael currently lives in the CityPlace condos in the heart of downtown Toronto. They bought the condos pre-construction and waited three years for it to be built. They moved in the very beginning of April 2010.

“It was approaching exam time and it was kind of difficult,” says Burgin. “We started packing from my parents’ house. We did it really early and [Michael] was great. He did everything in one day. We got married [again] in 2008, we bought it in 2007. I was working for CanStage at the time. It took three years to get the condo ready and they said two. Everyone told me it would be delayed for nine months. We were not expecting for it to take as long.”

Burgin and Michael saved money living with Burgin’s parents.

“It was smart for both of us,” says Burgin. “Michael came with no family support, starting new career-wise. We would not have stayed under our parents’ roof for so long if we knew our condo would take so long to get ready. It got pushed another six months, then another six months. Michael had a chance to really get to know my family.

“I’m very grateful we ended up spending those three years at home. My Dad got to know him. My Dad and my Mom, he’s just as much a son as my brothers are. My Dad has a soft spot for the women in his life like me and my Mom and it was a good thing he got to know Michael.”

Now that Michael works with the City of Toronto, “his co-workers tell him that he caught Ariel,” says Burgin.

Burgin and Michael have been living in their downtown condo now for about nine to 10 months.
“We love it,” Burgin says. “Everything was always downtown for me when I was living with my parents. Now everything is up there. It is amazing to be downtown. My friends are downtown. Going up to York is an hour and a half commute. But I love the skyline, can walk outside to anywhere I need to go, I can walk to the grocery store, the library. The winter does not bother me at all. I had not ever worn a heavy jacket before; as long as you’re outfitted it is fine. I love the lights at night; I know we don’t get many stars out here, but to see the skyscrapers and the buildings. I never knew the CN Tower was lit in so many colours. At Christmas, it was red and green.”

Burgin says downtown living is something that she thinks is geared towards a younger demographic.

“Could you raise a family here? Yeah, you could.”

Burgin notes some of the pitfalls of living downtown.

“The downfall of living in a condo though is the price that you pay for a 1,000 square foot condo you could get a semi-detached house if you go further north or further east,” she does say this. “I think it is something that everyone would want to experience at one time in their life.”

Burgin says her Mom is even thinking of living in a condo downtown.

“It depends on whether they’ve done it or they haven’t done it. Everyone I meet they say at one time in their life they have wanted to live in a downtown condo. My uncle and aunt’s house caught on fire, not due to their negligence. They always wanted to live downtown and the insurance put them in a downtown condo and they found it to be a good experience.”

Burgin also notes that the cost of living is high. Her brother has a fantastic condo.

“The craftsmanship is not the way it used to be, doors are hollow, and everything is veneered these days. Craftsmanship is different these days.”

Burgin and Michael pay about $450 in condo fees a month.

“Recycling is a big thing to me, we have green bins, the pool, a barbecue, a little theatre, a dance room, party room, card room, games room, exercise room. There are cabanas for outside. Places that are not the pool area. The aesthetics of the place is gorgeous whether it is kept up over the years? It’s not like the old days. The aesthetics are beautiful though.”
Burgin has a north view.

“How many really see the water? There is only a selected few that can see the water because the condos obstruct. We have some heritage buildings just in the distance. We are on the sixth floor so it’s so high. We have a good view of the skyline because nothing will ever obstruct our view. We have a mini-park behind us too and we see everyone with their dogs. No one can really see up. It’s perfect.”

Burgin’s first time in a condo downtown was with Disney and also in college. She was up on the top floor and she hated it because she had to wait forever for the elevator to reach the top floor.

“When I went back to college I wanted to live on the sixth floor. The elevators are jammed, always high traffic, there are three and during peak hours it’s always jammed.”
Burgin’s condo has 24-hour security.

“It’s expensive. A parking spot is $30,000. We went down to one car. We had two cars.”
Burgin has advice for those looking for a downtown condo.

“If you can get away with one car that is all you need. You don’t need two cars. You’re never going to get that money back. Money on the floors is money you don’t get back. When we bought the place there were only five units left. There were only two left that fit us, one on the sixth floor and one on the sixteenth floor. There was a difference of $50,000. Our real estate agent said you’ll never going to get that money back.

“You should shop around. We bought our pre-construction. You are saving that way, but it already depreciates when you get in. You don’t know what you’re getting. Nine times out of ten it’s always smaller than you think it is.”

Burgin has an interior design background and she was going to study that. “You don’t know physically what it’s going to look like.”

Burgin also advises: “Really know who is living in that area and what kind of people are living in that building. A lot of people in the building are young and renters or young married couples with their first condo. We fit in great. Their building a daycare centre right in front of us. There are a couple of older people living in the building and they must be kicking themselves for moving in. There are parties on Friday and Saturday nights.”

For Burgin, she finds the noise-level in her condo good.

“I saw a Mike Holmes show I saw one of them and I sing all the time and I rehearse and I practice. I sing and if people can hear me and they tell me to shut up…I sing, not as loud as I would in my parents’ shower – but I sing.”

Burgin and Michael have plans for the future.

“What Michael and I, our plan is, we’ve been here about nine, 10 months and we say to ourselves that we’re going to start looking this summer for another pre-construction development. Definitely something a little bit bigger and put a down payment for a new development and then move in there or sell or rent this place out as another investment in the works. I do not want to live in a condo all my life. It has a small hotel feel or a dorm. Sometimes when I want to go throw the crash out, I always have to make sure I need to be fully clothed. Someone can be standing there waiting for the elevator. It doesn’t feel like my parents’ house.

“Getting another condo will pay off for us,” says Burgin. “As we grow and grow and grow, definitely I would like a house. Somewhere in Rosedale would be nice, it’s a goal. We talk about children, at this stage, no. Not ready yet. He gave me a cut-off. 35.”

In the end, Burgin has plenty of time.

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