brand anne


Mother of two, living life in small-town South Africa

Why a mother’s work is never done

Carolina Ballerina 

Just a quick rundown of my day yesterday, which made me feel like Mother of the Year:

6am: Sam throws very loud tantrum in response to a ‘No’ to a fourth rusk with his tea. (Robert, it should be noted, got up early with Sam as I’d been up with him the night before and had landed up ‘sleeping’ on Sam’s bed under my dressing gown.) Feel content and well rested. Not.

8.30am Get self ready and Nina ready for school: get her dressed, remember to pack needle for sewing and swimming things, work out what the kids will eat for lunch.

8.30am to 12.25pm: Work. Facebook. Work. Make lists. Worry about budgets and underspending. Put off meeting with Guy til tomorrow. Make another list. Shuffle papers on my desk.
12.30pm: Fetch Nina from school. Race to get to swimming lessons. Get Nina changed. Negotiate with Lucy about what snacks to eat. (Lucy is to spend the day with us as her mom is away.)

1pm: Take Nina and Lucy home and give all three children lunch, while sewing – yes! sewing! – on straps to the Tiger Lily costume I had made for Nina the night before. She had designed her own costume. How could I say no?

1.45pm: On Sam’s insistence, take him along on my second daily school run to fetch Babie and her two classmates from school. Return DVD. Consider dropping off my MTN application for data card. Realise it’s impossible.

2pm: Wrap Sarah’s birthday presents (from Lucy and Nina); get the girls to make birthday cards; get the girls and Sam dressed in fancy dress for ‘Peter Pan’ party. Make crown for Tiger Lily. Last-minute change to turn Sam from Superman to Pirate. Luckily he does not object to bandana being pink.

2.30pm Yell at children to wee, put on shoes, get warm things. Consider taking my camera to party. Fag it! I have to look after four children. Get to party at Skydivers Club. Phew! I feel like Super Mom. Sam mightly chuffed that there are some light aircraft taking off and landing. Gets into sword play immediately with older boys. Soort sook soort. Gender is a strange thing in small children. Play on jumping castle. Play Jellytot hunt. Eat cake. Pour a round of juice. Sing. Put on jerseys. Take off jerseys. Take off shoes. Pull out thorns. Put on shoes. You get the picture…

4.30pm: Tell children to finish up, it’s time to leave. Let’s go. Where’s Sam. Where’s Babie. Where’s Lucy? Where’s your jersey? No, I don’t know where you put your crown. No, you can’t eat more. Get into the car. We’re leaving! Oh, you need to pee?

5.15pm: Finally get children into car. Negotiate more sweet stuff in party packs. Get home. What’s for supper? God. I didn’t think of supper. Rolls and cheese will have to do.

6.15pm: Get Nina dressed into ballet outfit (stockings, leotard, shoes, jersey, tie up hair) and race to dress rehearsal. Hang out at dress rehearsal. Have my heart pop at sight of little people in pink, earnestly doing ballet. Love it! Wish I had read my camera manual so I’d know how to change the ISO setting. Photos great – except of my daughter who is under the spotlight and is over-exposed.

7.30pm: Leave rehearsal. Nina delighted to be out at night and see the full moon. “The moon’s my friend, Mommy.” Why? “He has a nice face.” Pick up laptop at work, thinking I’ll write up story for school walk that’s due at Grocott’s.

8pm: Get home. Bath Nina, dress Nina, read one chapter of Peter Pan. Goodnight, sleep tight.

9pm: Collapse on couch.  Robert’s made supper. Bless. No way I’m writing that story tonight…


Filed under: Motherhood, Personal

Another schizoid moment in ZA


Someone recently reminded me that democracy is hard work. It’s true. And sometimes I can’t keep up. I long for an easy existence, where edges are softer and you don’t get poked in the head — and heart — by reality every day. Sometimes it’s hard work to be South African. Lucky Dube gets shot in front of his children on the same weekend that the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup. I leave my house on a bright blue morning and there’s an old black woman going through my rubbish. There’s nothing like desperate poverty first thing in the morning to really mess you up. Happy/Sad. Proud/Ashamed. Free/Guilty. All just schizophrenic moments in our daily lives. It’s hard work living here. There’s no escaping the real stuff…

Update: 20 December 2008
Since writing this, the M&G has redesigned its site, moving things around and breaking links. Harumpf. I’ve updated this post to reflect the changes and have fixed the link to Zapiro’s cartoon.

Filed under: Personal, , , ,

Hail! The bloggers of Burma

Fascinating insight into what bloggers risked to bring news and images to the world of Burma’s Saffron Revolution: ‘Bloggers who risked all to reveal the junta’s brutal crackdown in Burma’

This is cyberactivism at its best – and most dangerous. The Bloggers of Burma are living in fear, but managed to transmit some of the most powerful images and information about the revolution before the government responded by switching off all access to the Internet.

As the Times article ends off: “… if there is ever a monument to the heroes of the Saffron Revolution it should certainly feature a statue of a skinny boy in a T-shirt and thick glasses hunched over a computer and a digital camera”.

Filed under: Blogging, , ,

Burma: raining tears

Burmese monk

It was Archibishop Desmond Tutu, of course, who brought what’s happening in Burma a little closer to my consciousness when he likened what’s been happening in Burma to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

“It is so like the rolling mass action that eventually toppled apartheid,” he said. “We admire our brave sisters and brothers in Burma/Myanmar and want them to know that we support their peaceful protests to end a vicious rule of oppression and injustice … Victory is assured. They are on the winning side, the side of freedom, justice and democracy.”

He’s said this all before, of course. But perhaps I wasn’t paying attention. Or, perhaps, it wasn’t accompanied by images like this one. This beautiful photograph is from a Guardian slideshow, and was posted by Sokari on BlackLooks. And then there’s the point, raised by Caitlin Fitzsimmons on OrganGrinder, that what makes this year’s protests different from all that has gone before is “the advent of the internet and video-capable mobile phones means that the eyes of the world are on Burma more than ever before”. Check out what’s been coming through the blogosphere.

As Fitzsimmons says: “The flow of communications to the outside world can only benefit the citizens of Burma and the brave individuals who are risking life and limb to highlight the plight of their country deserve nothing but admiration. It’s no easy job, but technology has made it a whole lot easier than it was in 1988.”

Filed under: Blogging, General, Photography, , ,