Animals crossing
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The consulting business that I run leads me on excursions into Pretoria about 3 times a week and into the surrounds of Johannesburg on a regular basis. Utilising the network of freeways in Gauteng is an essential component of my business travel. The drive to Pretoria takes about 40 to 45 minutes, regardless of whether I leave home in peak hour or not. Not so long ago the same return drive chewed up somewhere between 2 and 3 hours of my day. Not anymore.

The difference is this: the (nearly) completed Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project has change my life. Since late 2011 I have enjoyed the benefits associated with our expanded Freeways. This is one of the main reasons why I purchased my SANRAL e-tag today, ahead of the 30th April commencement of tolling. It’s not a popular decision I’ve made. In the midst of the public upheaval around the tolling, it’s a decision that I’m not expecting many people to understand either. Read the rest of this entry »

A South African beggar using YouTube as a gimmickSometimes our country is so sad that all we can do is smile.

One of the most common experiences while driving up to a traffic light is seeing a beggar standing there making a (sometimes) heartfelt plea for your small change. The majority of us have developed a fine skill in ignoring them. Stare straight ahead as if you’re contemplating life deeply, right? Or we give them a cursory wave of the hand indicating that we have no money for them, which they know is untrue, just like our conscience does.

The variety of the beggar’s plea is testament to the inventiveness (and desperation) of those in poverty. I came across this “YouTube” beggar today in Pretoria. His innovation made me smile and immediately reach for my wallet.  Read the rest of this entry »

Picture of Daniel CholesToday is Daniel James Choles’s second birthday.

We had an amazing morning with him opening his presents. A few months ago, at Christmas time, the value in a present was not the present itself, but the wrapping paper. Today however, the wrapping paper was secondary because he knew there was a present for him inside. He pulled off the wrapping with gusto and then adorned each gift with a series of wow’s, wowee’s and ooh’s.

He may not understand the significance of this day as a life milestone, but I do. It is also the second anniversary of my fatherhood. Read the rest of this entry »

I subscribe to a daily reflection from Richard Rohr. Yesterday’s edition got me thinking (quite morbidly) about death. It said this:

We fear nothingness. That’s why we fear death, of course, which feels like nothingness. Death is the shocking realization that everything I thought was me, everything I held onto so desperately, was finally nothing.

Now, I find myself thinking about death quite often. No, not in a suicidal way, but in a way that wrestles with what death means, what comes after it, why it means so much and why we try to evade its inevitable clutch so much? Read the rest of this entry »

As a small business owner there are some statistics that I’ve come across over the last few days that have caught my attention.

  1. Roughly 65% of people employed in South Africa are employed within businesses of less than 50 employees
  2. Roughly 43% of people employed in South Africa are within businesses of 5 or less employees
  3. 6 million South Africans are self-employed i.e. only 1 employee

I was astounded by these figures. They fly in the face of the assumption that big companies are the major employers in the country. The South African economy rests on the shoulders of very small businesses. Read the rest of this entry »

For a while I’ve had a growing conviction that atheism, in it’s modern day form (as espoused by militants proponents such as Dawkins) is in fact a religious movement, bar the belief in the divine and supernatural. I will one day collate the reasons why I believe this, but for now here’s an important one.

In reading Albert Einstein’s biography by Walter Isaacson, the chapter “Einsten’s God” provides some answers to the question he was plagued with again and again by adoring fans who wanted to know if he believed in God. Here, in this chapter, lie some quotes by Einstein that articulate some of what I’ve been sensing about the New Atheism (religious) movement: Read the rest of this entry »

A bumper sticker caught my eye as I was driving to a client today. It read: No one actually gives a shit what you think!

This got me thinking (again) about what Richard Rohr has to say about the two stages of life, narcism, ego development and whether we think we are the centre of the world. For a toddler, they have to be the centre of the world. It’s a prerequisite for ego and identity development. It’s the incessant “Look at me, look at me!” of toddlers at play. Daniel, at nearly two, is all about that. His daily word count is made up primarily of “Look Daddy!”, repeated ad nauseum. He jumps. Look Daddy. He sits. Look Daddy. He goes to sleep. Look Daddy.
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This year has kicked off with a flourish and I’ve been left with a few sensations of things that were brewing in my sub-conscious over the holidays (that I would have ordinarily reflected upon and processed while sitting on the beach, but alas, parenting requirements too precedence).

What has been lurking below the surface is best described as a feeling of loss regarding novelty. Let me give you an example. I love epic movies. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy  was a serious highlight for me during the years in which they were released. There is just something about the opening scens of an epic movie that move me! Movies just don’t move me like that anymore. The novelty of that experience has now become, well, bland. I’ve been drawn to Richard Rohr’s teachings on Adult Christianity where he teaches about the two stages of life and spirituality. I’ve now realised that feeling associated with a loss of novelty in life is actually a symptom of my transition into the second stage of my life.  Read the rest of this entry »

I woke up on the 1st of January, jumped onto my mountain bike (yes, that’s how low key our New Year’s Eve was!) and  wondered what the year ahead would entail as I pedaled through the majestic contours of Ballito. Ordinarily one would consider possible New Year’s resolutions during the course of December, in the build up to the coming year. However, I’ve discovered that parenting changes that oft loved practice. Holidays are no longer the contemplation filled retreats that they used to be with long walks on the beach. They are instead now action packed sojourns, allowing precious little time for one to recede into the cognitive hallways of reflection and thinking.

One aspect of 2012 I chose to influence, knowing full well that the majority of the year would escape my will and end up panning out the way it will, was to refurbish my portal into the interweb. And so, thanks to the design prowess of Anthony van Beek, the new look is open to the world … enjoy.

If we are ‘friends’ on Facebook I’m really quite interested in what you think & what you’re up to, but it often means I’ve got to be exposed to EVERYTHING you’re up to. This is potentially a very good thing. If you’re a friend that lives overseas we don’t get to see each other much (or at all) so I thrive on your updates. I feel privileged to be alive in this day and age, one in which we can enjoy unprecedented connectedness in the face of geographic constraints.

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