Mpho ntholeng red wine

Wine, the sweet nectar of the gods, enjoyed by ancient civilisations, paupers; Marie Antoinette and the bourgeoisie and today by sophisticated and even Big Mac munching, KFC loving palates with smart phones in hand. Most have explored and ventured into drinking wine but as with everything in life we all drink it differently and for different reasons.

There is a great taboo about box wines among most urban South Africans- and no urban in this context does not mean black, don’t read what’s not written. This mistrust of box wines stems from a “Pap sak” and cheap wine culture in University or College that had most whaling in bathrooms on many a night. Now for those who are not familiar Pap Sak is a cheap wine, often white that was sold in boxes. In recent times they even done away with the box probably to save costs and as a result have made it even less appealing- rightfully so! It should however be noted that one can buy good quality box wines that can be enjoyed by even the most sophisticated palates; this option can be a reasonably priced entry point into your wine journey with friends.

However before you boldly step out and venture into the world of box wine or any wine for that matter let me begin by taking you through the different wine types and for purposes of clever banter at the dinner table also present you with some wine history and facts to impress any wine snob. Given that neither you nor I are going to be wine farmers we just need to be equipped with the basics to tell one type from another. I will point out some easy to remember basics and leave the rest to the barrels and farmers of Stellenbosch and Franschoek; South Africa’s prime wine region and home to Beyerskloof wines famous for their Pinotage and the beautiful Anthonij Rupert farms that produce the most amazing Pinot Grigio under the name Tera Del Capo or take your pick from their signature Anthonij Rupert wines portfolio. One farm that is well worth a visit is the Leopard Leap Family Vineyards in Franschoek, great wine paired with amazing food and at a reasonable cost. It is an occasion that will truly fill you with joie de vivre!

I digress, back to the matter at hand wine types; below is a list of the different varieties of wine beginning with the red ones and followed by the white, quick note: as a rule of thumb the darker the wine the darker the meat thought there are exceptions.

Red-wine varieties:

Wine 101 Icookart

Syrah (or Shiraz)

(Sah-ra or Shi-raz) Syrah and Shiraz are two names for the same variety. Europe vintners only use the name Syrah.

Food pairings: Meat like steak, beef, wild game, venison and stews. Cold winter night warmer

Wine Pairing

Typical taste: aromas and flavours of wild black fruit (such as blackcurrant), with overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat. The abundance of fruit sensations is often complemented by warm alcohol. Toffee notes if present come not from the fruit but from the wine having rested in oak barrels. 


(Mare-lo) Easy to drink. The softness of Merlot has made it an “introducing” wine for new red-wine drinkers.

Food pairings: Lamb chops and stews, a great wine for slow cooking red meat.

Typical taste: Typical scents include black cherry, plums and herbal flavours. The texture is round but a middle palate gap is common. The Merlot type of wine is less rough than Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet sauvignon

(Ca-burr-nay so-veen-yaw) Widely accepted as one of the world’s best varieties.. It usually undergoes oak treatment.

Food pairings: Best with simply prepared red meat.

wine pairing

Typical taste: Full-bodied, but firm and gripping when young.

With age, polyphenols polymerize: the grip fades away. The rich currant qualities of the Cabernet Sauvignon wine change and bell pepper notes remain.  Vanilla notes if present come not from the fruit but from the oak treatment. 



Food pairings: All types of meat-based meals like Spaghetti Bolognese. Malbec suits Mexican, Cajun, and Indian dishes.

Typical taste: Malbec’s characteristics vary greatly depending on where it is grown and how it is transformed. Generally it produces an easy-drinking style, well coloured wine that tastes of plums, berries, and spice. Malbec is often blended with other varieties such as cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and petit verdot to make Bordeaux style wines 

Pinot noir

(Pee-know na-wahr) One of the noblest red wine grapes. Pinot noir is difficult to grow, rarely blended, with no roughness.

Food pairings: Excellent with grilled salmon, chicken, lamb and Japanese dishes (notably sushi rolls). PS: The exception

Typical taste: Very much unlike Cabernet Sauvignon. The structure is delicate and fresh. The aromatics are very fruity (cherry, strawberry, plum), often with notes of tea-leaf, damp earth, or worn leather. Yes damp earth or “earthy undertones”


(Zin-fan-dell) Perhaps the world’s most versatile wine grape, making everything from blush wine (White Zinfandel), to rich, heavy reds.

Food pairings: Very much depends on the freshness/heaviness of the wine; tomato-sauce pasta, pizza, and grilled and barbecued meats.

Typical taste: Often a zesty flavour with berry and pepper.



Food pairings: A good choice for Italian and other Mediterranean-style cuisines.

Typical taste: The primary style is medium-bodied with fresh berry and plum flavours.


(Bar-bear-a) Not as popular as Merlot but with similar attributes.

Food pairings: Barbera wines are versatile they match many dishes, including tomato sauces based dishes.

Typical taste: Juicy black cherry and plum fruit, a silky texture and acidity. 

Red wine is an acquired tasted and my advice is that you acquire the taste as soon as possible as few things give the palate such illustrious pleasure. You are now better equipped to pair red wine with food and know the different types, I rather hope that is the case because next time we delve into the world of white wines; do join me as we conclude this figurative journey.

Coming up will be Part Two and in it we explore the different variations of White Wine and suggested food pairings. Read HERE

By Mpho Ntholeng

icook art wine mpho

About Mpho:

Mpho has always had a passion for food, being a self taught cook with a keen sense for flavours.  He now embarks on a journey that will see him combine his entrepreneurial business experience with his passion for food through his iCookArt brand.

You can get in touch with Mpho through Twitter & Instagram: @iCookArt




White Wine

Part Two: 

In part one we looked at the different red wine types and food pairings.  As promised, we now conclude with an exploration of the white wines. Wikipedia says a grape is a fruity berry of the woody vines of the botanical genus Vitus- now here is the important bit– grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making wine. There are many other things produced from grapes but for our purpose it begins and ends with the wine making.

Now before I continue, I thought it prudent that I provide a useless fact but interesting none the less.

Marylin Monroe once took a bath in Champagne, it is said she used 350 bottles – that’s a whole new definition of a bubble bath. Useless fact and dry humour out the way, now let’s take a look at white wine variations and their food pairings. 


(Shar-do-nay) Chardonnay was the most popular white grape through the 1990’s. It can be made sparkling or still.

Food pairings: A good choice for fish even salmon and chicken dishes.

Typical taste:  Chardonnay wines are often wider-bodied and more velvety than other types of dry whites, with rich citrus lemon, grapefruit flavours. Fermenting in new oak barrels adds a buttery tone like vanilla, toast, coconut, toffee.

Sauvignon Blanc

(So-veen-yawn Blah)

Food pairings: A versatile food wine for seafood, poultry, and salads.

White Wine

Typical taste: Sauvignon Blanc normally shows a herbal character suggesting bell pepper or freshly mown grass. The dominating flavours range from sour green fruits of apples, pears and gooseberries through to tropical fruits of melon, mango and blackcurrant



Food pairings: Semillon goes with fish but there are many better matches. Serve dry Semillon with clams, mussels, or pasta salad.

Typical taste: The wine varietal features distinct fig-like character. Semillon is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc to delimit its strong berry-like flavors.


(Mos-cato) The Moscato variety belongs to the muscat family of grapes – and so do moscatel and muscat ottonel.

Food pairings: Moscato shows best on its own without food but sweet wines will pair with dessert.

Typical taste: often sweet and always fruity, with a characteristic grapefruity and musky aroma. Moscato wines are easily recognizable to anyone who has tasted a Muscat table grape.

Pinot grigio

(Pee-no gree-zo)

Food pairings: Versatile.

Typical taste: Crisp, dry wines with good acid “bite” typically suited to Thai and spicy food.



Food pairings: Gewürztraminer is ideal for sipping. It can fit Asian food, pork and grilled sausages.

Typical taste: Fruity flavours with aromas of rose petals, peaches, lychees, and allspice. A Gewürztraminer seems generally not as refreshing as other types of dry whites.



Food pairings: dry versions go well with fish, chicken and pork dishes. The crispiness of a Riesling works very well with tuna and salmon while the acidity level intermingles with the cuts through the layers of spicier.

Typical taste: Riesling wines are much lighter than Chardonnay wines. The aromas generally include fresh apples. The Riesling variety expresses itself very differently depending on the district and the winemaking. Rieslings should taste fresh. If they do, then they might also prove tastier and tastier as they age.

Chenin Blanc


Food pairings: Pork, chicken, fish and salads.

White wine

Typical taste: A light-bodied white wine similar to both Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. What makes Chenin Blanc wine unique is its ability to taste amazing either as a sweet or dry wine. Chenin Blanc is a fresh fruity wine which is refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

I hope after part one and two of our wine introduction you now know a little more about wine types, thanks to my trusted source the French Scout.

The next step in your wine expedition is to go out there and drink wine, savour the tastes and flavours as they wash over your taste buds and tingle your senses. Find the brands you like and stick with them, a Chenin Blanc as a type produced by one farm might be better tasting to you than another; so explore the types of wine from different wineries and find your ideal combination.

Few things connect us to our world and to past times in history like wine; there has never been a greater excuse to order a bottle of wine or start a collection as when one is discovering the ancient and modern tastes of wine.

Just imagine; Caesar and Cleopatra could have enjoyed that same taste that is cascading down your throat like a velvety silky texture on your skin; Louis XVI could have been holding a glass of Chardonnay as he was denying his people fresh bread and Churchill could have had a glass of Merlot on his table when he wrote his defining speech of the second world war “We shall fight them on the beaches”.

Ah but to taste history; to share a glass of wine with the past, book in hand and kids in bed or to rekindle a love affair with your partner over a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Whichever window it opens or connections it renews in your life, wine; all types of wine have a place in your home. Even if it is  to cook with, a glass of wine is the only sous chef I need in my kitchen and the only affair approved by marriage.

As the Polish say, Na Zdrowie, cheers to good health.

By Mpho Ntholeng

icook art wine mpho

About Mpho:

Mpho has always had a passion for food, being a self taught cook with a keen sense for flavours.  He now embarks on a journey that will see him combine his entrepreneurial business experience with his passion for food through his iCookArt brand.

You can get in touch with Mpho via Twitter & Instagram: @iCookArt



Money saving tips

 Money saving tips you can start implementing today!


From shuffling Finance Ministers to interest rate hikes, DStv subscriptions going up, Eskom hikes and-and-and, I think it’s safe to say that South Africa has had it’s fair share of depressing news when it comes to that thing we all love called money. For most I think it doesn’t help that our salaries are not increasing at the same rate, right? All the sads.

Personally, even under these tough economic times, I still want to be able to have Friday night drinks with my girls, go for an odd spa treatment, a weekend away with bae and order a quarter chicken meal, lemon & herb with extra sauce at Nandos. I would like to think that this can be done, right?

Since the beginning of 2016, it’s been interesting to see how serious everyone is about saving. In all honesty, if you have not joined this train, it will be late for you. So let’s help each other out and get the “fak’imali uzoboba” train going. Having looked at different financial experts’ advice and the average Joe’s efforts, here is a summary of some of the conventional and not so conventional routes that South Africans have taken to save for that holiday or that dreaded rainy day.

  1. Money box

The last I saw one of these things being put to good use, I was… in primary school? We all know that our grandparents always felt safer leaving money under their mattresses and frankly, I think it’s quite a cute way of putting money way. It also helps teach parents to educate their children about the value of a dime. Killing two birds with one stone.

  1. MMM Global & Kipi

Now this gets a bit tricky purely because these two organisations are not seen in the best of lights but many have seen great results. Both work on similar models. MMM and Kipi are communities where people help each other. They give you a technical basic program, which helps millions of participants worldwide to find those who NEED help and those who are ready to PROVIDE help for FREE. MMM, however, is said to also include a 30% increase monthly on money deposited. This type of pyramid scheme is considered risky and may not always be the best way to go about saving money. Make sure you read your T’s & C’s carefully with this one. Also see my previous post in which I detail how these work HERE.

  1. Smart shopping

Try and downgrade your brand purchases a bit. Going for the cheapest product is a bit over the top but how about dropping a brand level on whatever you can and the overall price drops by roughly 30%. Most times you are only paying for the branded packaging anyway.

  1. The good ol’ Stokvel

Creating a stokvel with your girls (or guys) and decide on what your financial goals are, is a great way to prove that two heads are better than one. And in this case, two (or more) wallets are better than one. By saving as a group, the peer pressure will force you to save. Pooled money can earn better returns, at a lower cost. Banks offer higher interest rates on bigger amounts and banking costs are lowered (or in some cases, free) if the amount is large enough. On your own, your couple of randelas won’t get the same treatment.

  1. Satrix

For the long-term thinkers, Satrix has investment options that allow you to take part in investing in the JSE Top 40. Satrix is a leading provider of passive investment products in South Africa, with more than R50bn in assets under management invested in its wide range of retail and institutional offerings. Satrix manages index-tracking portfolios for its segregated mandates, Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) and Unit Trusts. If you are looking to make a quick buck, then this may not be the one for you. Check it out their website HERE.

  1. Wait for your favourite item to go on sale

RISK ALERT on this one ladies. My mom has always taught me to buy what I want, the moment I see it. This is because I may not find it should I come back a day or two later. All the fashionistas may ignore this one and I totally understand BUT, how sad is it to see an item you just bought for the full price go on sale? Heart wrenching. I am a patient girl and personally, waiting a tad bit longer to see those four large red letters makes all the difference to my bank balance. When you do make the purchase, use cash or trash the idea.

  1. Cancel all memberships you are not using

Debit orders crush the soul every month. If you are not at the gym regularly, there really is no need to continue with your gym subscription. Should you wish to have access to gym facilities, enquire at your nearest gym about their “month to month” policy. This way, on months you do not use the gym, you do not have to pay. In an ideal world, home workout is the best, but we are not living in an ideal world right? If you do decide to cancel your membership, you can download apps like Sworkit which has a number of easy-for-home workout plans for whatever amount of time you want to put in.

  1. Mama’s lunch box

Having to buy food at work every day is not helping your budget at all. Rather make more for dinner and take some for lunch instead of spending R50 on lunch daily. R50 for 20 days leaves your bank balance R1000 dented. Start with buying ispykos on Friday’s as a treat and later not feeling the need to buy food during lunch. Your company cafeterias may hate me for this one but it has got to be done.

Thanks to Old Mutual and Women24 for some cools tips too.

These are just a few ways in which we can combat the broke demon that wants to attack us every now and then. Prevention is better than cure. I am pretty sure you may have your own saving tips, so why not share them with us? I sure could use whatever tip that exists and know a lot of other women would too.

By Keagi

Returning Natural Hair

Considering going back to natural hair?

Yay!!! Just do it.

You’ll get to experience your hair on a new level. It won’t be easy at first and only because you aren’t familiar with caring for afro hair.

I find this a little hilarious; the hair we were naturally born with is usually seen as difficult to care for. I blame the creamy crack and hair extensions but asikho lapho, not today anyway.

I’m hoping your answer to my question is a yes and if so, then this post is for you.

Natural hair

There are 2 ways of going about being natural. You can either big chop or transition. Big chop is cutting everything off and growing your natural hair. Transitioning is when you grow out your natural hair while keeping your relaxed hair (I transitioned for a year and then cut off the relaxed hair) Big chop is probably the easiest way. Unlike transitioning you are dealing with one texture of hair. I know some ladies look really great with the short hair but if that’s not for you then transitioning is an option. Transitioning isn’t bad once you know what to do. I had no idea what I was doing so my hair was always tied up. Just so you don’t struggle like I did here are a few tips on managing the transitioning process:

  1. Pre poo (put oil on hair before a wash) you can use any carrier oil e.g. castor, olive or coconut oil
  2. Use a conditioning shampoo to avoid stripping your hair too much.
  3. Wash your hair in sections. This will mean your hair will tangle a lot less. I normally separate my hair into 4 sections. When it was shorter I did 6
  4. Use a lot of conditioner after the wash so that your hair has slip, this will result in less breakage when you’re detangling and it adds moisture to your hair.
  5. Deep condition weekly if possible. Deep conditioning helps keep your new growth and relaxed hair healthy.
  6. Do a protein treatment whenever your hair strands feel like they are getting weak. You can get a store bought protein treatment or you can mix your own.
  7. Lastly, flat twist your hair or keep it cornrows. This is known as protective styling and it minimises breakage which in turn means you are retaining length.

I would advise you avoid using heat but I know it’s not that easy so use the cool setting on your dryer and always us a heat protector.

Going natural is not work it’s just something we aren’t familiar with, be patient. Ask other naturals what products they use whether store bought or home-made you will find something that agrees with your hair texture. Check the internet, youtube has tons of videos on going natural and caring for natural hair. Ask me questions as well; I am more than willing to share what I’ve learnt on my journey to healthy hair.

P.S Healthy hair over length

By Noni 

Confessions of an urban african

Let’s see if you can identify with some of my confessions

1) Where I grew up, people were given nicknames like sdudla  (fatty), sasch/mnyaman (black), stixx (skinny), magepgep/zinyo (tooth gap), sphongo (forehead). I never knew it was bullying or ‘name calling’ until I got to English schools. I’m still not so sure about that.

2) It’s only okay when other black people use the nicknames mentioned above.

3) Castor oil, brooklax and the green bar sunlight soap take me back to a dark place in my life.

4) My hair is a political topic; please don’t have that chat with me unless you have sensible points.

5) My entire family thinks of time as approximate rather than absolute, so 10am means ‘ngabo 10’; somewhere around that hour BUT definitely not after 11 because then its late tjo.

6) I find that most black people know that one malume who is always R2 away from happiness.

7) By some reflex, I give ‘high 5s’ when I laugh very hard.

8) I strongly believe that there is NO MASTER OF PRONUNCIATION – so allow.

9) I know a certain mama who hides the chicken at weddings, birthday parties and funerals.

10) It really doesn’t impress me when people act like they can speak my language by saying two words and thinking it’s cute. Get it right or kindly please practise somewhere else. Kindly.

11) Stop telling me that your dogs are friendly & they’ll only chase me if I run. I run because they chase me and I prefer human friends, thanks.

12) Mandela is not another word for ‘my conscious’. I don’t make oaths in Mandela’s name so trying to use the Mandela card to appeal to my ‘inner person’ means nothing to me.

13) I always secretly wanted to watch ‘Yizo Yizo’ when it aired but my mom was not about my vibe. Now that I’m older and totally can; I still don’t because she’s in my head.

14) When I was younger, I thought blocking my nose while speaking in Zulu and or speaking in Zulu using a posh accent (like saying mpukaarney instead of mpukani) meant I was speaking in English

I would love to hear your confessions 🙂

By Nozipho Mpanza

Every morning I wake up and without fail, I spend the first twenty minutes trying to decide what to wear and what look I am going for on the specific day. No matter how late I run, I have yet to shed this terrible habit. This daily predicament got me thinking about which wardrobe essentials make it easier to have a wardrobe of clothes that work together and allow for a variety of different outfit combinations. These are the top 5 staple and splurge wardrobe items that every girl should look into investing in…

  1. A classic white, button-up shirt.

It goes without saying that a crisp white shirt is a definite staple for the career girl. This is a splurge item, in my eyes and worth pulling out those hard earned Randelas for. Think of fashion and beauty mogul, Carolina Hererra’s signature white shirt. The white shirt is versatile and a commanding piece of clothing, and the more white shirts in your wardrobe the better. Variations include a tie up white shirt, a ¾ sleeve button up shirt, a satin feel material and the list goes on… White shirts are a classic and will never go out of style.

Carolina Herrera White Shirt Collection
  1. The classic black pencil skirt.

Nothing in the world can replace the confidence one gets from a classic, well-fitting pencil skirt. In a corporate setting, I would draw emphasis to darker colours or neutral tones – these are your blacks, greys, fawns, navies and brown colour palettes. Of all these colours, the black pencil skirt is a definite must-have. The pencil skirt should be work-appropriate length (shorter than tea length but long enough to convey professionalism and observe that it is a corporate environment). The skirt should accentuate our curvaceous lady bits but still leave something to the imagination. The classic pencil skirt can be paired with a shirt and blazer for a very serious look, or a nice t-shirt for a smart casual look.

Black pencil skirt from Zara via
  1. Well-fitting formal pants

Formal slacks are another staple item and a wardrobe-rescuer. Similar to the pencil skirt, darker colours and more neutral ones allow for the greatest combinations. One can literally match a pair of black, grey, khaki and navy pants with almost any top under the sky. With the introduction of fashion fads like colour blocking, more and more women have embraced a more vibrant colour palette into their wardrobe – this is great, but like everything should be executed in moderation. We don’t want you mistaken for Bozo the Clown in the boardroom. The classic colour wheel is great at providing guidance in terms of colour combinations. A bright colour will usually work better with a muted pastel or neutral shade in a workplace set-up. In addition to formal slacks, basic good-quality chinos are also great as office wear and allow for a wide variety of pairing. Retailers such as Spanish clothing labels Mango and Zara have a wide selection of work pants and basic chinos at less than premium prices. Chain stores like Edgars also provide work pants under house labels Charter Club and Kelso Formal.

Many pants are from European chains and do not comfortably accommodate our African shapes, do not be shy to fork out a few extra Rands for a tailor to tweak a chain-store item to fit you like a glove. A good fit goes a long way.

Formal black pants via
Formal black pants via
  1. A pair of nude coloured heels,

Nude heels are all the rage, and deservedly so. A good pair of nude heels is a definite must-have in a corporate lady’s wardrobe. The beige tone of a nude heel matches across the colour spectrum and wraps up the outfit in a nice, clean tone. I would personally advise a mid-heel for the work environment, platform heels and super high “Steve Madden”-esque heels are great for social setting, but may not be as suitable in the corporate environment.

Nude heels via
  1. A well-tailored suit jacket or blazer

What honour would this list have without the inclusion of a classic suit jacket or blazer? A work blazer differs to a casual blazer in the way it has been made and in its’ structure; a good work blazer is structured at the shoulder and falls close to the mid hip region, mostly. It has a firm collar and is made from good material. Blazers are a life-saver and swinging a blazer over what could have been a boring outfit sometimes saves the day.

Blazers are a lot of fun and work across dresses, skirts, pants and jeans; they add a much need pizzazz and glam to a girl’s outfit. I don’t think one could ever have enough blazers, the more the merrier. Blazers can be a splurge item, and it is worthwhile considering splurging on a few good suit jackets for those formal events and when you want to kick ass in the boardroom. Again, retailers such as Zara and Mango have a reasonable selection of blazers. New Swedish retailer H&M also has a few good blazers in the affordable section. Premium blazers are available from more high-end retailers and are worth considering when one has a few extra Rands.

Slim classic blazer via

Also worthy of considering apart from this list is a good assortment of shift dresses, cardigans, sweaters and the like. What would you put onto your list of five must-have corporate wardrobe items, and why?

By Vuyi Zondi


Finally, we are live! Welcome to CHICA

I hope you will like us enough to make us your new home. I have so many hopes and dreams for this platform but on top of that list is that you, African woman, will find a place you can come to, and just be!

Part of the reason I created CHICA is because I have regular moments of loneliness. Yes, true story,!

So I thought, if I, who knows so many people, can feel lonely in this big Jozi, how many other women out there experience the same loneliness? I want CHICA to close that gap. I want us to make friends here, to build a community of women who love. Women who share, teach, laugh, cry together, disagree, support one another and again, just love. I want us to have FUN, through the stories we will share and I guess more than anything, I want CHICA to make a difference in your life. A positive difference. That is one thing I am not apologetic about: We are going to be annoyingly positive, so if negativity is your vibe, you have come to the wrong place 🙂

I love the internet and social media because it connected me with the CHICA team. It all started with this post I put out on Twitter & Instagram a couple of months ago:


It resulted in multiple responses, but at the end, I got to to assemble a team of such dope women & a dude and they will be responsible for making CHICA what I hope it will be to you. You can meet this incredible team HERE. 

It is not just about our voice though, if you feel you have an interesting story you’d like to share with our community, drop us a line and we have put together some guidelines of the kind of content we would like to receive from you. This is your platform, as much as it is ours, so help us make it great.

we can do it chicaWe hope to extend our sisterhood beyond just online. We are planning to host quarterly roundtable discussions where we invite you, our reader, to join us in tackling topics that are making waves in our lives. Not just serious topics, but now and again, we want to get together and have fun! Drink wine (wine newbie alert lol) dance and be silly.

I also thought that the Love Conference would be a better fit on this platform than it was on Just Curious. Hopefully JC can continue to host the JC Awards, while CHICA hosts the Love Conference.

Sometimes we’ll party and other times we’ll pray together and for one another, in other words, we are going to be everything the world told us women cannot be. Expect to hear the male perspective as well now and again because we LOVE men at CHICA and accept that we don’t live on an island.

This is quite a long intro but I’d like to stress, CHICA is not perfect, this is all new to most of us so if you have ideas you don’t mind sharing on how we can make this a better place, we are keen to hear them so please let us know.

So have a look around the site, I hope you like the content and what we have to share. Also let us know what you would like to see more/less of. Our goal is to make this as interesting as possible, and as we say HERE, we promise NOT to be boring.

Welcome to & we hope you enjoy the ride 🙂



Refund on our Parents Promises

Collecting A Refund On The Dreams Sold To Our Parents

It is undeniable that the landscape of student politics in South Africa has shifted in unprecedented paradigms over the past few months. With every month there has been a new headline, protests that have shaken the country and national news has uttered the voice of the students on various platforms. It can be noted that the sentiments of students do not represent those of the entire country.

I have often heard fellow students saying that they have received warnings from their parents to refrain from partaking in this ‘madness’. It seems that even as statues fall, policies change, fees stabilize and management negotiates, the students cannot be pleased. Authorities are perplexed by the fact that even when all student demands are met; when everything has been given to them, they are not satisfied.

parents fees promises

So the question becomes, “South African university student body, what do you want? What is the real problem here?” Because Rhodes has fallen, Stellenbosch is open, fees are not rising yet there are still cries and protests. So, what is the problem here?
Perhaps our problem is the gratitude that our parents showed to ‘the system’ when they reclaimed what was theirs. They believed in the victory and they began to silence themselves on further issues because they were appreciative of what they thought that they had been given. The ideals of the freedom charter: All were allowed to vote, live as they please, love who they please, work as they desire, the doors of learning were open to all.

Our problem is that it is believed that we should be grateful for what we have because it was given to us through the struggles of the legends of the past. GIVEN-this is the word, along with its connotation that enrages us the most.

A gift?

The gift of education: “Dear South African Youth, here lies the gift of free and unconditional tertiary education, open to all who wish to learn. Please handle with care”
Instructions for use: You need to beat the odds and attain incredibly high marks for this gift to be of real value for you. Those marks don’t mean that you will be able to use your gift; this gift is only redeemable if you are wealthy enough to pay an institution to teach you. But do not be dismayed, you might be lucky enough to get a bursary which is essentially a key that will allow you to redeem this gift we give. You will probably need to pay it back but that will be discussed in due time, just remember to be grateful.
Please remember that your gift speaks English so in order for it to really work for you, you will need to speak polished English by the time you consider using it or else you find it will be hard for you to use. It will probably take you 5 years before you begin to reap the fruits of your gift. You may be hungry, tired, alone, overwhelmed and hard pressed in the process but remember to be grateful because this gift is rare.
Other than all of that, it’s easy to use. Good luck.
Student: “Can I ask a few questions”?
Respondent: “No, don’t be ungrateful; this gift is way beyond the imagination of your forefathers. You are incredibly blessed. Don’t waste this; remember how precious this is.”
Student: “Uhhm thanks”

And so the expectation is gratitude because dare the students speak out and discredit the work or their forefathers. “This is not what Mandela fought for”. “What are these radicals doing to the Mandela legacy of peace and tolerance”? Perhaps the real problem is that when the gates of learning were opened to all, the anticipation was not for students to walk through and to analyse with such rigour and intensity.
So essentially our problem is the mind-set of the systems that surround education; that because equity and freedom has been given; we should behave-at the very least. The problem has never been statues or fees or courses. Until the structures change, this will have to be the gift that keeps on giving and so I urge you Santa to stock up on this gift because the youth of this nation has been far too good for far too long. It’s honestly time to cash in on our gifts.

By Nozipho Mpanza

Ponzi Scheme

Nothing feels greater than having financial freedom. Unfortunately, this form of happiness is not afforded to everybody and this leads to us all striving to achieve it, one way or another. See, I have no issues with everyone looking for this sort of freedom but at what cost?

I know you saw “Power of the P” and automatically thought of something else, ne? I know you were. But no, this is not a story about blessers and the blessed but more about Ponzi & pyramid schemes. These organisations are nothing new to us. Ponzi & pyramid schemes have existed for the longest time but the discovery of 2 popular schemes; Kipi and MMM have led to many discussions recently.

Mass hysteria will have one questioning a lot of things without facts, so I thought it a good idea to help you guys out with simplified knowledge of these concepts. Are they the same? Are they different? Let’s see…

What is a Ponzi scheme?

Ponzi Scheme Pyramid

I know that everyone knows a Ponzi scheme to be a scam and quick money making game. It’s quite interesting though that this concept has a history of it’s own. The Ponzi scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, a clerk in Boston who first orchestrated such a scheme in 1919. The aim of the Ponzi scheme is to pay interest to early investors using the funds contributed by the late investors. The idea is sold to “investors” by promising high returns on their investment that they can’t find anywhere else on the market.

With such schemes, there is never really a business or tangible profit generation. The success of Ponzi schemes lies in the referrals that encourage others to join the scheme. After some time, due to the fact that there is no clear business or investment strategy being followed & the lack of new investors, the scheme then sees little returns. This leads a lot of investors to withdrawing their funds from the scheme and in the end, the scheme collapses.

What is a Pyramid scheme?

Very similar to the Ponzi scheme, the pyramid scheme too, runs on a top-down business model that does not sell a real service or product. The main person or company that starts the scheme, later recruits new investors. The idea of the pyramid scheme is so each investor directly benefits, depending on how many new investors are recruited. The person at the top of the pyramid scheme may not have access to all the money in it, but benefit from a portion of all the money that goes into the scheme. The returns decrease, the further down you are in the pyramid.  From the day the scam is initiated, a pyramid scheme’s liabilities exceed its assets.

The virtual stokvel

A benefit society, fraternal benefit society or fraternal benefit order is a society, an organization or a voluntary association formed to provide mutual aid, benefit, for instance insurance for relief from sundry difficulties.

Stokvels are not a new concept to us either, especially as African people. With a stokvel, by contributing a fixed amount every month, a group of people get together to save their money, earning interest on it, and choosing to distribute it as and when agreed upon by the group.

In an article by Business Day, it is noted that even though stokvels may be seen as old and uncool, more and more young people are warming up to the idea of pooling their money together to save for a common purpose; be it a holiday or to invest in a business. Research by African Response last year estimated that stokvels in SA were worth about R25bn, with 8.6-million members in about 421,000 stokvels in 2015 alone. Clearly there is a market for stokvels, especially now that we are faced with tough economic times as South Africans.

These stokvels seem to be becoming more virtual than the once a month lunch meetings, having wine with the ladies in our stokvel uniforms.

Business Tech reported in January, of the eyebrows raised by banks on these “online stokvels” that are high yield investment programs (HYIP). In the article, Business Tech says that despite its reputation for being exactly that – groups such as MMM claim not to be HYIP, saying it is merely a “community of helpful citizens”.

As transactions are “person to person” and there is “no formal organization” and “no central bank account”, the group claims to be “perfectly legal”.

So, what is the problem here?

Schemes such as MMM do not hide the fact that there may be risks with joining the online stokvel. Every viable system has its own pluses, minuses as well as risks and MMM is no different. The most unfavorable thing that can happen to the MMM system, is its restart – restart in the event of a large-scale panic. Restarts in the Russian MMM occurred in 2011 and 2012, which was caused by both objective and subjective circumstances and reasons. However, it was not the collapse of the system, but only its restart. Immediately, everything starts over, and the participants have the opportunity to quickly recover their losses. It requires a certain psychological strength and a breakup of stereotypes, but such decision is safe enough. In addition, there are special concessionary assistance programs offered to those who were affected by the change, in terms of the amount of interest, bonuses and deposit terms, says MMM Global.

The downfall of the Republic of Bitcoin – Not so much of MMM

In the last few weeks, MMM has been under fire in the media, with naysayers warning its users of its possible collapse. Thousands of MMM Global participants across the country have been anxious about losing their investments following the network’s announcement last week that it was shutting down one of its schemes, known as the Republic of Bitcoin (RB).

MMM Global announced on its Facebook page just over a week ago that the RB, which offered monthly returns of 100%, was an experiment and it failed. “We regret to inform you that we have to close down the Republic of Bitcoin. It was an experiment, and, unfortunately, it failed.

Following these news, eNCA’s Money Man, Arabile Gumede took to the Twitter streets to educate South Africans on how to spot a Ponzi scheme and this is some of what he had to say:


Ponzi Scheme Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi SchemePonzi scheme

Are you a member of an online stokvel?

Have you benefited or lost any money from Kipi or MMM? Share your stories with us, I would love to know. 

By @Keagi_M

Natural hair journey

This is my second attempt at going natural. The first time was back in December 2007 I chopped off all my hair because of guy stress lol. It didn’t work out so well the first time because I had no idea what I was doing and I eventually slapped on the creamy crack (hair relaxer).

Fast forward to October 2013, this was when I had my last hair relaxer in prep for my JHB trip to attend the Rihanna concert. Around this time my hair was long but it was very unhealthy. I used to flat iron it probably every other day and I wasn’t using a heat protector. I basically fried my hair. My scalp was damaged and I had so much dandruff. It was just nasty.

Between November and December 2013, Pam tweeted about going natural and how bad the creamy crack was for us. This was when I finally committed to going natural, her tweets were the final push for me.

I was due for a relaxer in December 2013 but I chose not to go through with it. The plan was to grow out my hair until it was at a length I could live with and then cut off the relaxed hair. I later learnt the term for that process was transitioning.
Transitioning was hard for me. I didn’t know the dos and don’ts so basically I was at war with 2 textures which proved really difficult.
I had no idea there were ways to make this process easier or where to get the information so my hair was always in a ponytail and I hated wash days because I honestly could not deal with the 2 textures.

So in Feb 2015 when my virgin hair reached pondo length I chopped the relaxed hair off. I was so happy when I had my big chop because it was the start of a new life for my hair and I later realised it would give me new life as well. I researched ways to care for my afro on the internet and found that there was a lot of information out there. So much that if you’re not careful you’ll get overwhelmed and quit altogether.

Until a year ago I’ve only ever loved my hair when it was relaxed but I now realise how boring my relaxed hair was. It was so average. Glad I’m done with average because my afro surprises me all the time. It does its own thing and I love it!

I have come to realise that Afro hair is absolutely beautiful and it is never boring. The trick is to learn how to take care of it.

I want to share what I know and help you bring out the bold fro in you so in the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned as well as answer questions about how I grew my afro and what products I used. I’m not an expert so I can only share about my experience.

Have you tried growing your afro? What has been your experience?

By @NoniMsi