South African Book Fair

This year’s edition of the South African Book Fair (SABF) was launched last week under the theme : #ourstories. The SABF will be held in Newtown at Museum Africa from 08-10 September and the organizers promise that every aspect of the South African Book Fair has a story that someone can definitely relate to: Women’s issues, Race issues, Gender Issues, Sexuality, Religion, Children’s Issues, Cooking and the Economy.

Entrance to the South African Book Fair is free, with only just a few key sessions that available for R30, R60, R100 and R250 and space to the sessions is limited so if you are keen on the below, you are advised to book as soon as possible.

Some of the available sessions include interactions with the following:

  • Zakes Mda
  • Deon Meyer
  • Athambile Masola
  • Ayòbámi Adébáyò
  • Lola Shoneyin
  • Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ
  • Bibi Bakare-Yusuf
  • Koleka Putuma
  • Lebo Mashile
  • Marah Louw
  • Ferial Haffajee
  • Sindiwe Magona
  • Makhosazana Xaba
  • Hugh Masekela

South African book fair

Scholarly publishers from Wits, UCT, UNISA, UP and others will explore the importance of scholarly publishing at the Research Lane. There will also be Test Kitchens and cooking demonstrations with:

  • Sydda Essop
  • Antonia de Luca
  • Mpho Tshukudu
  • Yemisi Aribisala

For more information, please view the programme here: or follow @NBW_SA on twitter


When we were young we looked forward to having our own money and not having to ask adults for it. Now that we are adults, we are faced with the responsibility that comes with having this ‘own money’ and most of us nobody told us that it comes with so many aspects!

Honestly you might have heard this a thousand times, to win at this money thing, we need to get the basics right (determining your cash flow, budgeting, creating several income streams and paying off debt) AND to be financially literate (read, research, educate yourself and be well informed about finances).

Getting these two things to be part of our money life, is called investing in yourself and it’s the kind of investment everyone should invest in, whether you are not yet wealthy or already wealthy. My point is, the most valuable thing money can buy is financial freedom and we want to get there and stay there.

The journey to financial freedom is not a one-way; there are several ways and each person needs to choose one that works for them. I am the kind of girl that believes in having my own funds, the word “funds” have become more than just about money to me.

Funds to me are having a portfolio of different investments, investing in my education, career, business, property and financial markets…to name a few. I’ve discovered that I am an investor at heart even (story for another day), investing is just part of my personality. It is important to identify where you ‘fit in’ in the financial world because we are all affected by money. So I am on #TeamFunds.


As an investment educator I get a lot of questions about investing in the JSE from those interested in making money out of investing in listed companies. You would think since there’s so much information about this, interested people are participating in ‘owning’ the Economy of SA but not really.

Here are simple summarized tips to get you started:

  1. Make sure you actually have the money to invest, even if it’s an extra R300 (it’s not expensive to start investing, there are shares for R50 or less)
  2. Decide on the investment goal: how much risk you are comfortable to take and how long you want to invest for.
  3. Decide how much and how often you want to invest, for example, monthly (e.g R500 a month) or a lump sum (e.g R30 000), or a combination of both.
  4. Choose the most appropriate FSB registered Broker for your needs, consider broker fees and convenience
  5. Put together your FICA documents (ID, proof of residence, etc)
  6. Choose an investment product to invest in – speak to an FSB registered financial advisor if you are not sure or not informed/investment-educated.

And voila, you’re participating in the economy by investing and not just consuming! There’s a bit of money you make by investing and more with time, so patience and risk tolerance is key.


Yes Chica, this is just another way a girl can have funds…

If you’d like to chat more, you can get hold of me at the below contact details:

By Palesa Lengolo CAIB (SA)
Investment Educator at Palengo Holdings


I used to pride myself in being a domestic goddess. For a 27-year-old woman, who lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment with no kids or pet, I’d go as far as taking pictures of my place when I was done cleaning every Saturday afternoon. I’d stand back, look at the shiny bookshelf and freshly mopped floor and think to myself, “Girl, you did well.”


But I’m a 27-year-old career woman. This is prime time career-building time for me. These are the years where I can afford to put in an extra hour or so at work, study part time, and sign up for any other extra mural activity that tickles my fancy.
Do I ever get tired? You bet. Did I ever tell anyone that I’m exhausted? Not really. You see, there’s an unexplainable feeling of guilt that comes with independence. Being a multi-faceted woman, an #IAmBoth girl, is tiring.
To chase your dreams, hang out with friends and dance until the club closes, and still make it to the second service at Church and keep a clean house drains your every ounce of energy.

So then I wondered, who deserves help? Who can allow themselve to give in, and buckle from the pressures of a long day at work, and wallow in their self-pity? I ask because, as a 27-year-old woman with no child or pet, I often feel guilty for outsourcing help. You see, on paper, I have no reason to be tired. I have a full-time job – a proper 9-to-5 – and I live in a one-bedroom apartment, and I have a car. Hell, I don’t even cook if I don’t want to. *Cue UberEats* The day I stopped defining myself by the things I am not, is the day I allowed myself to seek help. Am I a bad person for paying for the services of a cleaner to come to my apartment once a week to make it sparkle on my behalf?

A conversation with a friend emancipated me from this blush-inducing shame. “I work too hard to worry about mopping my floors now,” she said about getting help.
So, I followed suit. My helper, Nomvula, is God-sent. At a surface level, having her to step in means I don’t have to worry about ironing my clothes or remember where I keep the feather duster.
And, on a personal front, it’s allowed me to sleep better, cry about being exhausted from work and school without worrying if my laundry is done, and focus on the things that make me an #IAmBoth fanatic. I love my job. I also love a clean house. And as frivolous a subject as this may seem to many, outsourcing help is one of the best things I have ever made.

The way I used to glorify domesticity is a trap I set for myself. There are no brownie points or gold medals for “doing it all”. Look, it’s absolutely okay to want to do everything yourself, but it’s also okay to not to.
You shouldn’t be crucified for wanting to live your best life while someone else worries about running a well-oiled household for you.

Hi. I’m Zethu. I am both, and I have help.

Do you?


In Vuyi’s first article about our #IAmBoth campaign, we asked you, our readers, a couple of questions on how you embody being both and below are the responses we received from Lerato Musi.

Lerato is 27 years old, she works in advertising and loves to read books in her spare time.

How do you embody “being both” in your life?
Lerato: I am coming up in my career and I work in the alcohol space where I’m generally the target market (on paper). Because of that, I’m highly involved in the strategies and concept phases on campaigns, and I am quite bomb ass at that. I am client interfacing and it works well to my strengths. (Confidence on a 100)

On weekends, when I’m not lazy, I go out with my friends and I twerk the hell out of the dance floor, drink my gin and take bomb ass selfies. I am forever in short dresses and stuff because I work hard for this body. On Monday, I wake up, slay and repeat.

How are you a multi-faceted Queen in your private space?

Lerato: As mentioned above, I love running and reading books so I have started a book club and a running movement for unfit ladies around me under the #BlackGirlsRunSA. We haven’t fully participated in both platforms lately as life just got busy for everyone. I tweet about #HoeIsLife and post a review on a Malcolm Gladwell book the next day.

What does being both mean to you?

It’s quite fascinating to be able to be both and do it so well. I am not confined by anyone’s view of me and I live my everyday with the notion that whoever has placed me in a certain box won’t find me there.I absolutely love the women who embrace being both and see them being amazing at it.

Lerato is on twitter @Lerato_Kea


Guest Feature

I am not great with make-up application. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking good. It just requires too much time and effort and there is a huge part of me that is a “get up and go” girl. However, here I am on this particular Friday night, standing in front of the mirror, patting myself on the back because I managed to apply the concealer perfectly and my eyebrows are that of godly standards. I love what I see. I slip into my nude courts and do one last vosho in front of the mirror. It’s the first time in 3 months my girls and I get a chance to paint the town red together and my skimpy denim shorts and I cannot wait. I enjoy clubbing. I love dancing in heels. I do not tire. I am on my feet from the minute I arrive up until the minute I leave. This Friday will be no different.

12 pm on a sunny Sunday afternoon and I am standing outside the church door greeting churchgoers as they exit the church building. A smile accompanied by a firm yet warm handshake and a reassuring smile greets everyone I manage to reach. A chuckle here, a hug there, a girly giggle shared with a familiar face, a high-5 with a Sunday school scholar and my “stay well, stay blessed” air kisses are brought to an abrupt end by the pastor calling for a quick meeting with all members of the church youth leadership. As I make my way to my car after the meeting, fulfilled and happy, I am caught off guard by a fellow youth member whispering in my ear, “ mmm, I heard you were at the club on Friday night drinking champagne twerking to “Oe Batla Kae”. I tell him that he is invited to join us the next time we go, get in my car and drive off with a smile. A smile that speaks of how grateful and happy I am that my God gave me the opportunity to experience a great night out with my friends on Friday night, rest on Saturday and be in His Presence on Sunday. I love church. I love God.  Oh, what a faithful God have I.

The Bible, which I was raised on, speaks of how God can take the shape of anything that He is required to be at any given moment in order to serve a purpose. He is our parent, our friend, a sibling, a teacher and a place of refuge. He can be the tree that grants you shade on a hot December morning during a failed jogging attempt, the airbag that saves you through a nearly fatal car accident, the stranger that pops up out of nowhere when a strange man follows you in an isolated part of town, a friend’s unexpected text/phone call when you feel lonely and alone, a little girl’s compliment when you feel ugly and a woman you meet in the club bathroom who tells you how amazingly beautiful you are. If I am made in His Image, how can I be expected to be one dimensional?

I speak with great pride when I speak about God. I love Him. I believe that He knew me before I was born, before I was formed in my mother’s womb. I do not believe that a being who is made up of so much love would want to deprive me of a full life filled with multiple experiences. I believe that all these abilities and talents that He gave me are to be fully explored and utilised ( an ode to the Parable of Talents in the book of Matthew). Do you know how great of a talent it is to be able to  vosho in 6 inch heels without falling over? From 11pm up until 5 am the next day? Do you know how great of a task it is to get through university and pass with distinctions? Do you know how great of a feat it is to have people entrust you with their deepest secrets and desires because they believe that God has placed you in their lives to minister to them? Do you know how big a talent it is to be able to drive a tractor, help my father with the garden, livestock, the building of the shed with ease AND reverse park the van with groceries at family occasions? Do you know how great a talent it is to be able to enjoy The Real Housewives of Atlanta and snap my fingers at Kenya (she doesn’t have to see nor hear me. Oksalayo…) and engage confidently in conversations on race, politics, and sexuality, economics and gender binaries? I reckon God would be disappointed if I chose to focus on only one of these abilities of mine and not thoroughly enjoy how multifaceted I am. That would be a sad day in heaven.


What society fails to realise is that, its obsession with boxing women is a disservice to itself. Of  all the women I have met, it is the ones that one cannot ascribe to a particular box that have left an indelible mark. I have had the most insightful conversations with women I have met in club bathrooms. I have had the most fun out on the streets with friends I have met at a prayer group or home cell. I am not any less virtuous just because I really enjoy a good bottle of wine ( or 3…), nor am I any less fun just because I am a fervent churchgoer. I am a nerd, committed to my school work, an absolute lover of books but I love learning from Cardi B and Rihanna too. I do not want to choose and should not be expected to choose.

My name is Katlego and I am a Born-again Christian, a brilliant Law student, a master tractor driver, a closet Durban’s Finest aspiring back-up dancer, an aspiring Sunday school teacher, a future Harvard graduate and a member of “Yho mngani, siyeka nini”.

My name is Katlego and I am everything.


Guest Feature

I was recently watching Khanyi Dlomo and Johanna Mukoki’s interview on Real Talk with Anele titled “Heels in the boardroom” in which Anele posed the following question to Khanyi: “You moved overseas twice, once to work for SA tourism in Paris and then to do your MBA at Harvard and you have kids – how did you manage that”

Khanyi mentioned she was overseas for 4 years and visited her kids every 6 weeks. The decision for her to move was easy as it contributed to her growth. Johanna spoke about travelling with her young baby when she was starting her business “Travel with Fair”. Something that Johanna said that stuck with me that her daughter admires her energy of being able to move from the boardroom to a school play with vigour. Anele herself has travelled to New York for work with her son and helper.

I also recently attended a women talk at which one of the ladies works for a multinational and travels to different locations whilst her children and husband are in Canada.

I work in a team of 6 people and 4 of the 5 females are mothers (myself included) and recently a client required assistance on a project out of town and a comment was made that so and so “can’t” go because she has a small child. This comment was made 1. By a female with no kids and 2. Without consulting the mother/employee in question.

This had my blood boiling (thankfully I was not the employee in question because I’d probably be fired now for my big mouth LOL) because over the years I have seen so many working moms being side-lined from certain positions or projects because they have kids.

The comment upset me more because no one bothered to consult with the working mom to find out about whether she would manage to be away from the kids.

I am a mother to a beautiful little girl and I am a professional by day and a business owner by night #IAmBoth. I am very honest with myself that the struggle is real to keep the balance right without making one aspect of my life suffer over another.


Working moms are constantly fighting the balance of needing to be stimulated, challenged and to feel like they are adding value in the work place, but also want to see their children more than the average, full-time working mother.

It is a constant battle between staying late to meet a deadline and having to rush to a school concert.

I am a firm believer that with proper planning, a great support structure (at home and at the office) you can do both seamlessly MOST of the time.

I am blessed to have a great support structure at home and to work for a company that allows for flexible working arrangements. However I will be honest to say I do not always get the balance right and there is constantly the guilt that comes with leaving the team in the middle of a deadline to attend a swimming gala.

Khanyi Dlomo likened the balance with the Sun “The sun shines everywhere but not at the same time. If it is dark on the one side, it is light on the one side of the world”. You will not have the sun rushing to go light up the other side – wherever it is, it is there fully. Same goes with dedication to one aspect whilst “being both” that the full attention sustains the one aspect while you focus one another aspect.

  • #IAmBoth because my decision to have a child did not diminish my ability to be a professional in my chosen field.
  • #IAmBoth because I want to inspire my girl child to aspire to be the best in any field she chooses to follow.

Being both means I am able to be a loving and supportive mother and a success professional in my chosen field. These are two roles that I absolutely cherish together with all other roles I hold, such as being a daughter, friend and lover.

To all working moms, let us embrace Being Both and celebrate both roles with their successes and challenges.




“Black women need to start the hashtag #ICanBeBoth where we post ourselves with degrees, at graduation, sitting in your office, being successful etc. alongside pics of us partying, twerking, dancing, having fun as normal human beings do. Because this idea that you are either a hoe or a sophisticated woman is toxic as hell… I can be both a sexual being and a role model / educator at the same damn time” – Unknown

Women’s Month is looming, and it’s the one month where we get to celebrate women and all that it means to be a woman. I’m of the belief that every day is Women’s day, surely… However, we indulge the idea of a month built around celebrating our prowess and power as women – as moguls, as homemakers, as sisters and all of our other equally rewarding roles in society and our personal journeys.

CHICA brings a capsule of articles this Women’s Month centred on the empowering and emancipating concept of “BEING BOTH”. #IAmBoth is a concept based on the existing tag #ICanBeBoth and the notion that as women, we are multi-faceted and we can be anything that we want in any social setting. Women can be both! The idea of “being both” is centred on disrupting the dichotomies that exist around our roles as women. Life is not an either/or choice as a woman – I can slay in the boardroom and be the most fervent partygoer and the life of the night scene. I can be sexual and spiritual. We don’t have to choose.

Nonhlanhla Qwabe or as most of us identify her, Skolopad, is a representation of what being both can mean, as a woman. She’s a new entertainer who has most vividly captured our attention as a musician with interesting outfit choices. Skolopad is also a nurse and when she’s not entertaining she carries her life out as Nurse Nonhlanhla Qwabe. On the lifestyle TV programme, Motswako, Skolopad explains that when she is on the stage and attending events she is Skolopad, when she is at Dihlabeng Hospital carrying out her day job she is Nurse Qwabe and when she is at home being a mother to her son, she is Nonhlanhla. That’s exactly it! We don’t have to choose as women, we can fulfil any role that we want to and we definitely are multi-dimensional.


This Women’s month we will be running a series of articles under the banner of #IAmBoth, and we would like to invite our readers’ contributions.

CHICA is built on the hallmark of inspiring conversations among women, and learning from each other. We’re a community, and our voice is as important as that of our readers; and to that end, we want to hear from you!

  • How do you embody “being both” in your life?
  • How are you a multi-faceted Queen in your private space?
  • What does being both mean to you?

Email article submissions to and we will publish your article.

By Vuyi


Women In Music Workshop

House vocalist Thiwe Mbola just announced that she will be hosting a a workshop to bring together up and coming female artists together with a panel of women who work within the business of music in SA. The workshop, which will be held on Wednesday 9 August 2017 aims to educate and empower female artists in order for them to make decisions that will positively impact their careers in the long run.

Women In Music Workshop

The Women in music workshop will be held at the Music Connection in Craighall, Johannesburg and boasts a panel of experienced women who have been working behind the scenes for years. The names on the panel include:

  1. Native Rhythms MD and Co-owner Velile Sithole
  2. Senior Associate at Ncube Incorporated, Manaileng Maphike
  3. Content Manager for Slikour OnLife, SpokenPriestess; Artist & Events Manager, Bhoza Mphela;
  4. Publicist and brand manager Bonnie Meslane;
  5. SAMRO research & queries consultant, Oratile Ntsoe,
  6. Stylist and founder of women’s clothing range Charme Couture, Katlego Tshabangu
  7.  “The unknown woman behind known brands” Lerato Masepe

The panel will focus on issues such as contracts, publishing, audience development, how to make the digital space work for you, artist management, PR, image and branding.

The entry to the workshop is free, however booking is essential as space is limited. Confirmation to the workshop guarantees a slot at the showcase later in the evening of August 9th, taking place at Winnies Soul & Jazz in Sandton. The showcase will give the young talent a platform to bring their “A-game” on stage to impress seasoned producers and record company executives, for those hoping to get a deal.

For more information, please contact Thiwe Mbola on

Miss Salon London

I have attended a lot of events in my career as a Blogger but few of them left me feeling as good as Destiny Magazine’s celebration of their July 2017 cover.

Miss Salon London

The issue features the owners of nail and beauty salons, Miss Salon London , Ego Iwegbu, Azania Mosaka and Linda Jangulo. The trio own and manage 3 salons; Parkhurst (Azania), Morninside (Linda) and Menlyn (Ego) and co-own MsLondon Mineral Cosmetics, which is now stocked in Woolworths.

Miss Salon London

I really enjoyed reading the interview and finding out about how they met, how they run their businesses and some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of the greatness that will become of the Miss Salon London story. Oh, and I loved getting to know their different personalities, Ego is the crazy one you call when there’s a problem you need to get resolve, Linda is the believer who prays over everything and I got the sense that Azania is somewhere in between those two characters.

I laughed at one part of the interview where Ego talks about having moved from the UK to SA because her then husband had gotten a job here. She says they were only supposed to be in SA for two years … ” Then I fell in love with SA and my ex husband fell in love with someone else so I decided to stay.” lol.

Now read the issue for what else they had to say… back to the event:

The ladies and Ndalo Media CEO, Khanyi Dhlomo were dressed in fabulous black.

This event was truly beautiful and it was inspiring to be in the presence of such dynamic women, I want more and more of these sort of gatherings.

The event was held at Signature Restaurant and for someone who likes things, it was actually my first time there and I loved, loved the food! The ostrich fillet was divine, and so was the decor…

As @KatlehoT put it on twitter:

“Celebrating a black owned brand at a black owned restaurant organized by a black owned media company.”

Talk about excellence!!

Yummy welcome drinks, courtesy of their drinks sponsor Absolut.

Ndalo Media’s Strategic Marketing Manager, Onke Dumeko welcoming the guests.

And of course, a word or two from Khanyi Dhlomo.

You can watch snippets of her address below:

I will not gush again over her… you know how I feel.

The cover girls were also interviewed by Destiny’s Editor-In-Chief, Sheena Adams and I loved what they had to share.

Miss Salon London

Listen below:



You can check out more videos and pictures of the amazing event by checking the #DestinyJulyIssue hashtag on social media. We left inspired, well fed and counting down to the next cover party!

By LeloB

Destiny Miss Salon London

Miss Salon London

Two oceans

A few months ago I conquered the streets of Cape Town (on foot) by completing the Old Mutual Two Oceans 56KM Ultra Marathon (OMTOM). I am still in awe of how I managed a whole 56KMs of running despite the multiple injuries that plagued my body, which, also holds very novice experience in long distance running. Somewhere between completing only two full marathons (42.2KM) and one 50KM Ultra marathon, I decided that it was time to face my biggest challenge yet, so I signed up for OMTOM (eek).  If you must know some things about this race is that it is dubbed the most beautiful in the world but, it is also incredibly tough. I, for one, can certainly attest to that after being completely mesmerized by the scenic route which holds a difficulty rating of 5 (out of 5), according to By definition, races of this rating are “unashamedly difficult”. With a few months of training, a severe case of anxiety, lots of research conducted, a dose of excitement and plenty of will to succeed, I found myself at the starting line of what has now become a race that will forever be etched into my soul.

Two oceansPhotocredit: Stuart.

Needless to say, running 56KM is no child’s play, that’s a given, but the race’s difficulty rating is what made me nervous the most. Moreso because the last time I ran a race of the same rating (Soweto Marathon), I dehydrated, almost collapsed and had to walk the second half. I subsequently missed my target by 20 minutes; I was completely devastated. Months later, I see the utter disappointment and struggle I experienced then resurface in the form of a crippling case of pre-race anxiety. OMTOM was no different. In an effort to alleviate my anxiety, I sought out for people who shared my finish time target and held the promise of pushing me to the end no matter what. After forming running alliances in the days leading up to race day, my plans completely bombed out at the start as fishing for my mates in what appeared to be a dark sea of 11, 000 ultra-marathon entrants proved to be an impossible task.  Minutes before the start, I began to accept that that perhaps OMTOM was a giant that I would have to tackle on my own (panic). So I did, well, kind of.

The gun went off promptly at 06:30 and off we went. As per every other race, the start was quite jammed and made for a slow one.  Within the first couple of KMs, many a runner came flying past me; I found myself needing to constantly remind myself not to feed into the hype and to rather run my own race. The route profile suggested that the first 28KMs were quite flat with the second half being really tough, which necessitated a “reserve energy for later” run approach. So I followed suit.  As I crossed the  1 KM mark, the sad reality of how far I still needed to go threatened to intimidate me. That was when I decided to break the race into mini milestones to make it more manageable for me. My milestones were:

  • get to the halfway mark (28KMs)
  • endure the hilly Chapman’s Peak (30KM to 36KM) – the first real challenge
  • get to the marathon mark and beat my personal best time of 04:33 (whilst reserving energy for Constantia Nek)
  • survive Constantia Nek- the hardest part of the race between 40KM-50KM
  • get to the 53KM mark- where my running mates had a cheering point set up,
  • finish between 06:00 to 06:15 (cut off was 7 hours).



The race started on Main Road, a long road that meanders for most of the first half.  As the name suggests, the race boasts breath-taking views of both the Indian and Atlantic respectively- that is what I looked forward to the most. The Indian Ocean unveiled itself to us in Muizenburg around the 15KM mark. What a beaut! Whilst taking the beauty of the ocean in, I bumped into a group of guys who appeared to be running at the same pace as I was. Their race numbers also suggested they had some experience with OMTOM, so I started running with them to make sure that I had pace setters (in case I ever fatigued). All I did was greet them and start running besides them; this seemed to grant me automatic entry into what appeared to be their own running ‘bus’. These guys ran with me until the half way mark and through our journey, grabbed water for me, waited for me in moments that I slowed down to reserve energy and were adamant to run with me until the marathon mark. Did I mention that they did not know me at all? This, was the recurring theme in my race and attested to how unmatched the comraderie amongst runners is. Somewhere in their race, in spite of their own goals, their prerogative became to push a stranger to the 42.2KM mark. How remarkable. We parted ways at the half-way mark due to a difference in running strategies. In my mind, I had conquered my first milestone and needed some much deserved rest and for them, aluta continua it seemed. I never saw these guys again but I will be forever grateful for their role in getting me closer to the finish. I was incredibly proud of my average pace of 05:45 min/km over 28KM. I was relieved to have crossed the half way mark but, this seemed to be short-lived as the reality of the challenges to come dawned on me.

Source: Jetline

The first challenge met me at the 30KM mark- Chapman’s Peak. An enormous rocky mountain towering over a perpetually inclining and snaking road, with the view of the Atlantic Ocean nestled on the left.  There are no words that could possibly do the beauty of Chapman’s justice. It is the kind of beauty that affirms that there truly is a God and that He is indeed magnificent. The beauty serves as a much needed distraction from the climbing that needs to be done to reach the actual Peak- 180m above sea level. The snaking uphill also boasts a full view of how far one needs to run in order to reach what one would assume is the summit of the hill. I found myself bargaining with my mis-aligned pelvis and cramping legs. I pleaded for them to just carry me to the top where we would get some relief from the steepness of the perpetuating hill. I soon learnt that this route encompassed a serious of hills, whose summits only served as the bottom of another snaking incline. This, along with the camber of the road, the strong winds and the view of runners that I had left behind catching up to me threatened to break my spirit. I was fatigued, the hill seemed unmanageable, my pace dropped to 7min/km and I felt tested. An emotional-wound inducing, never-ending horror story suffices as a description of what was an encapsulating beauty. This is when, for the first time in the race, the need to dig up some strength from deep within surfaced. In between praying hard, wrestling with negative thoughts from the challenge I was facing, resting on the flat parts, running and walking through the tumultuous hills, eventually the sounds of the band signaled that the Peak was near. I cannot begin to describe the relief that permeated through my entire body in that moment. With another milestone completed, an even bigger challenge lay ahead. “Let’s just get to the marathon mark”, I told myself.

I reached the full marathon mark (42.2KM) at 04:18. Proud to say that I shaved off 15 minutes from my best marathon time. I was elated and from then took the time to really recover and mentally gather myself for Constantia Nek, which, is the hardest part of the race. With the pain I had endured on what I thought was an easier climb in comparison in the back of my head, I realized that Constantia Nek would be a monster. And, I was right.  Constantia Nek was painfully hard!!!! Moreso because the inclines I was climbing over were not visible to me but the rate at which I was fatiguing, the heaviness on my legs and the cramps that began on my left foot suggested that I was on this monstrous steep. Thoughts of giving up and going for a later target time presented themselves to me in waves. The sub 6-hour bus passed me and I struggled to keep up with them as my pace dropped to 9mins/km. I was alone, discouraged and felt defeated. All the strength and fitness that I had accumulated through months of training seemed to subside so, I started to let go of my target time. I just wanted to finish, nomatter how long it took. I allowed myself the liberty to walk as much as I could as I literally could not run anymore. The adrenalin rush and the energy from my supplements wore off almost immediately and no matter what I took in, nothing seemed to work. It was so tough, I haven’t recovered emotionally. I started to seek out any kind of inspiration that would help to keep me going as my own mind started to falter. At this point, a member from NRC, saw me and uttered, “don’t give up, Sisi. Keep going”. And, so I did.

Forty Six KM in, and the peak of Constantia Nek was finally reached. The viewers on the sidelines seemed to only be cheering for the people they knew (unlike at Om Die Dam where everyone seemed to be calling out your name and offering all sorts of treats on the road). I became even hungrier to reach the 53KM mark where I knew mates from Thesis Run Cru, NRC, Braamfie Runners and the 94 had a cheer point. The desperation of needing to see familiar faces with only a few KMs to go was what kept me going. Somewhere in between the downhill slope, I gained my strength back. Again, I took the liberty of running with an unbeknownst lady who seemed to be way stronger than me. We ran together for a while. Together, we ran past the 6 hour bus that had ran ahead of us on the tumultuous inclines. I would walk water points, she would run past. As soon as I started running, I would catch up to her as she walked and she began to run with me. Unspoken partnerships. I lost her again, just before the 50KM mark where, I beat my personal record at 05:18- shaving 9 minutes off my 50KM time. Somewhere between 53KM & 54KM, the swarm of familiar faces starting to run with me and offer words of support marked the cheer point. It was much-needed and much appreciated. Despite my fatigue, this experience injected the need to finish what I had started and for once, it seemed possible.


With 1KM to go, I met up with my ‘running partner’ again. With the view of the finish only a few 100m ahead, we were both taken over by excitement. It all seemed possible. We were strong, averaging just under 6mins/ km. We sprinted towards the finish but, after a while, she was going too fast for me and I watched myself fall out of our pace and fell behind. Suddenly, she grabbed my hand and said “you’re slipping, let’s go”. I literally held on to her hand until the finish. I don’t think I had ever held onto someone’s hand that tight. As we ran past the crowds on the sidelines, we were welcomed with a countdown from the speaker- as I looked up, I realized the clock had not reached the 06:00 mark. I was shocked. “Am I really about to finish a sub-6 OMTOM?”, I thought. And yes, indeed myself and Zandile (which I later discovered was her name) finished OMTOM 2017 hand in hand at a time of 05:54:54. As we crossed the finish line, a myriad of feelings came over me. 1. I couldn’t believe that a stranger was so invested in getting me through, 2. I finished OMTOM (finally after much struggle) and 3. I did it an entire 20 minutes ahead of my target. I couldn’t believe it. I must’ve thanked her 1000 times.

two oceans

Running is not easy at all. There comes a time when you need to muster a strength that is nestled deep within and another, where your internal reservoirs are not enough and somehow, someone is always there is drive you further. I am still in shock of my time as I had felt underprepared and completely anxious.  In retrospect, the waves of anxiety and fear of failure are the very thing that fueled me. You train for a race for months on end and on race day, you only have that one chance to meet yourself on the other side of your dreams- there are no retakes in that moment. I have since developed an even greater respect for all runners, all training that is done and most of all for my body. I ran for 6 hours with a long-standing injury on my archilles heal, developed an injury on my left foot during the race and somehow managed to finish the race in one piece. With the picturesque mountains serving as a perpetual background to the journey through Newlands, Muizenburg, Fishhoek, Noordhoek, Chapman’s Peak and HoutBay, it was truly an incredible way to explore the Mother City and truly, the most beautiful marathon in the world.  

By Lerato