Category Archives: Uncategorized

Failing our women & two super sisters who are fighting for them

I have some pretty amazing friends, as I mentioned before. Today, I want to push Marelise Van Der Merwe in the spotlights. Why? Because she – together with her sister Amelie – is determined to save the Saartjie Baartman Centre (SBC) in Cape Town from forced closure. How? By raising a R100.000 in ten days – R500 at a time.

What is so special about the SBC? The center – situated in Manenberg, an area ravaged by violence, gang warfare, drugs, and poverty – is very simply the only option for many women and their children to escape the chronic physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse. It is therefore the only chance to rebuild their lives. It is either that, or sleeping on the streets, or staying with their abusers. It is the horrid truth.

This center is now being threatened with closure after the Lotto has failed to pay out (other NGOs and charities are facing similar circumstances). The organisation’s immediate needs are R100.000 to get through the next couple of months. The money needs to come in before the end of May. No money = closure = 20 to 30 women and their children (all traumatized by the abuse they suffered) will be forced onto the streets or back in abusive households. Simple.

Marelise and Amelie are determined to prevent this from happening and are on a mission to raise R100.000 in the next ten days or so – R500 at a time. How? They need 20 people a day to pledge R50 (47 euro / 59 US dollar). So far, Cape Town’s two newest super heroes seem to be on track (check !!!)

One of the latest people who donated, was my own mother (Marijke Mannak) by the way. She donated R500 (well, the equivalent in euros as she lives in The Netherlands) and knowing her, she is busy spreading the word RIGHT NOW!

How can you help? First of all: spread the word. The more people know about this, the better. Secondly, make a donation. R500 is ideal, more is even better but less is fine too.

The account details are: ABSA / savings / 9156133936. Please use the reference ‘BAARTMAN’ and send proof of payment to Those who prefer to donate straight to the center, use the following details  but please don’t forget to let The Super Sisters know about your pledge so they can track the donations and post updates)

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children
First National Bank 201509
Current account 62028179415

I have written a press release about, which can be found here. Please download it, use it, and send in on to everyone you know! Let’s not fail these women!


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Chilean mineworkers: What would you do?

Thought of the day

They are free! After a period of over 2 months, the 33 Chilean mineworkers who were entrapped underground at a depth of 600 meter have been rescued! Amazing, truly genuinely amazing. To think that these guys, all employees of the San Jose mine, were considered dead and that mourning was underway when they, 17 days after the shaft’s collapse, managed to push a note to the earth’s surface. It makes you wonder whether there is a god after all. Can you imagine, being entrapped at such depth for weeks on end, with nothing but the dark and the smell of soil, sweat and murky water? My questions therefore is: what would you do if you were one of the Chilean mine workers who were rescued today? Some responses of my facebook friends:

  • Shaz D: hug family and find familiar fast food
  • Jennifer C: Find a therapist
  • Valerie F: hug family, take a bath, go to hospital to get checked out
  • Stephanie N: Hug family and then look for a bath.
  • Ronald K: check my e-mail and facebook posts lol
  • Stephanie N: … and a toothbrush
  • Miriam M: I’d hug family and friends, and go for some decent grub. And perhaps a beer. And then sleep sleep sleep sleep.
  • Glenda N: And soak in a very long very hot bath with all the trimmings!
  • Gail J: Good coffee!
  • Juriaan R: Shower and a shag
  • Aeshya K: Start writing that memoir!
  • Judy vd W: shag and a shower
  • Patrick vd M: Hug my 3 familys wich they seem to have and then contact an agent for the book and- or movierights
  • Meindert H: hug family. shower. shower again. take a bath with a sixpack of beers. sleeeeeeeeeeep. demand compensation. never go to work again.
  • Donald P: @Judy: yup and then get a good literary agent…
  • Charles K: “Bang my girlfriend and kill Chris Griffin” 😉
  • Karin S: Blink in the bright light and ask for my sunglasses. Find family and hug. Apologise that I am stinky and ask for a bath (yes, i would really apologise, how sad is that?). Cold coke and a fag. Huge plate of tasty food and lots of chocolate. Sleep. THEN shag. Then run on the mountain. THEN shower (cos bath and shower are different pleasures). No, actually, the chocolate must happen in the bath. Geez Miriam! What an interesting question – makes you think about all your priorities.
  • Michiel S: Cry and be happy!
  • Dominic L:  go on holiday with 32 women
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Posted by on October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Shit coffee, claustrophobia & pigspotter

Thought of the day

Coffee. Without at least one cup of Joe in the morning I am utterly useless. A write-off. A lost case. A menace to myself and my clients. Without it I lose my mind, patience, sense of humor, brain, keys, and everything other tool that is vital to make it through the day.

Oh, and by coffee I mean the black, fragrant liquid made from beans  and hot water, not the dreadful potion derived from chicory or some other bitter leafy vegetable. Vegetables, because that is what chicory is – rabbit food,  are meant to be eaten, and not to burn, dehydrate, grind, and turn into some beverage. Let’s be clear about that. Which ever moron one day woke up and decided that chicory is an adequate substitute for coffee  should be shot between the eyes, hung form the highest tree and fed to the sharks. A beverage derived from chicory is not (read: has NEVER been!)  anything like coffee, apart from its colour, liquid form and the fact it is served in a cup.  Chicory does not have the same lovely fragrance, it does not have the same taste, it does not have the same effect on one’s spirit, and does not contribute to my well-being. On the contrary. It turns me into a grumpy, sleepy, slow, chaotic, annoyed bitch from hell. Because that, my dear readers, is exactly what I am today. Why?  A client, apart from skimping on my already how-low-can-you-go fees, has decided to go low-budget and has ditched the bean for the veg. I almost threw up iin my mouth when I was handed over a cup of what I thought was steaming hot coffee. Now I am contemplating to bring my own flask of coffee at our next meeting. To make it through the day and to make client dearest realise that chi-co-ry is (e)vil(e). One wiff of my dark, strong, fragrant loveliness will be sufficient.

Tweets of the day

@BBCTimWillcox Huge expectation that the rescue will start before midnight. Local reports say it’s going to be 2000 local time: Yeah, I know. It is a topic I have written about before. People, look, I just can’t help myself. Being an innocent and involuntary victim of claustrophobia my heart shrieks just thinking of being entrapped underground, like these 33 Chilean mine workers have been for the past 2 months. yes, two months underground. No sunlight. No fresh air. Darkness. A collapsed shaft (what else can collapse, is my first first). Confined space. 33 people. Nowhere to go. No coffee. No soft beds. No nothing. Just you, the dirt and the worms. To me that sounds like absolute hell. So yes, I am quite chuffed that these men will be out soon. Good work, Murray & Roberts for helping out!

@IOL Pigspotter’s case referred back to cops
Pigspotter. Nah, this guy does not hunt boars for a living and neither has he a fetish for pink and perky little piglets. Nope. Pigspotter is a South African man who, via Twitter, warns traffic users for speed cameras and road blocks. The cops (“pigs”) are not particularly amused, and have vowed to take him down and to court. Reason: Pigspotter might by accident help hijackers get away by informing them about the loation of road blocks. Well, that is their excuse. Yeah – sure – what ever.


Photo of the day

This is my freshly squeezed business card! It went off to the printers today and can’t wait to have the first batch in my possession!

Business card Miriam Mannak
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Posted by on October 12, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Singing fossils, mineworkers & hungry tummies

News of the day:

Some news is no news. The fact that Neil Diamond is coming to South Africa in April 2011 for a series of concerts, for instance. Whoo-peeh-dooh. The development has left the South African press, from online to radio and everything in between, jumping for joy. The worst thing is: I have never heard as many Neil Diamond songs in as I did in the past, say, 3 hours as in in my entire life. The practically fossilized country singer, who should be playing Jeux de Boule or  crocket at an old age home instead of touring the world, has decided to  treat Johannesburg (FNB Stadium, April 2), Cape Town (April 11), Durban (April 5) and Port Elisabeth ( April 8) to some of his favourite tunes. “It will be the greatest concerts South Africa will ever see”, a radio DJ told his listeners this afternoon. I certainly hope not. That would be just utterly sad.

Tweets of the day:

@NUnl: Congo hongerigste land ter wereld:
According to the Global Hunger Index (WHI) people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are the hungriest in the whole wide world. Yes, that is right. Despite the fact the country in terms of natural resources is one of the richest countries on the planet, people living there die en masse because they simply do not have enough food to survive.Other countries where hunger levels have reached severe levels are Burundi, Eritrea and Chad. For more information about the WHI, please click here. And please think before your toss half the content of your dinner plate in the garbage bin. Because throwing away food is so unnecessary.
@bbcworld: Chile escape shaft lining ‘ready’
After two long months, the end of the rescue operation of the 33 Chilean mine workers who got trapped in a mine in San Jose, seems near. According to Murray & Roberts, the South African company which has been involved in drilling an emergency shaft to get the Chilean mine workers out, the final stage of the rescue operation will start this coming Wednesday. The Chilean mine workers are lucky in that respect. All round the world and every year hundreds of mine workers die in accidents and human errors.  In China for instance, 2631 coal miners died in 2009, down 18% from the previous year.

Photo of the day

I took this picture in Ghana, during the Third Highlevel Forum on the Effectiveness of Development Aid which took place in Accra in 2008.


photography: Miriam Mannak


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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Uncategorized


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Morphine, Peace Prize & the Transkei

News of the day:

A friend of mine has returned home with her beautiful 10-month old daughter, whom she adopted last week. They might have met only 8 days ago, mother and daughter seem to be head over heels in love with each other and inseparable. The way this little girl who was abandoned over half a year ago, reducing her chances to a future, looks at her mom is simply indescribably beautiful and heart warming.

Tweets of the day:

@DailyMaverick: Codeine’s bad rep: should it be banned? Apparently codeine infused pain killers are bad for you, and may even be fatal. Although the number of fatalities is quite low, I have decided to ditch my stash of Myprodols. The thought of morphine in my body simply does not appeal to me.

@BreakingNews: Wife Nobel Peace Prize winner says police forcing her to leave Beijing:
The reports come a few hours after Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident who was detained in December 2008 his participation with the Charter 08. Signed by hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists, the manifesto calls for political reforms, democratisation, freedom of the press and speech in China.  In June 2009 Xiaobo was arrested and charged with inciting subversion of state power, and thrown in jail for 11 years.

Photo of the day:

My photo of the day was taken in the Transkei last month during a media trip organised by Fair Trade Tourism South Africa. The girl on the picture lives near the Bulungula Lodge, by far one of my favourite spots along the Eastern Cape wild coast. It is one of the most powerful portraits I have ever shot. For more images of the Transkei and South Africa, please click here.


Photo: Miriam Mannak


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Posted by on October 11, 2010 in Uncategorized


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