sO I expeRienced a wAr

Have you ever experienced your life flash by like lightning and wonder why you’re still alive? I mean a genuine near-death experience that had the ground-splitting, Armageddon feeling like it was a walk in the park? That’s exactly how I felt last Thursday when I attended the South African National Defence Force Capability Demonstration (I’m telling you, some real “Xbox has nothing on these graphics” type stuff was happening there).

Let’s start from the beginning.

My colleagues and I were invited to a capability demonstration hosted by the SANDF which took place last week Thursday (18th of May). After we registered, confirmed our attendance and hassled our way around logistical issues (which resulted in my waking up at 4 am that morning to be at the base at 6 am), we had everything sorted and I arrived on time at Waterkloof Airforce Base.

Hawa arrived before me, so she had already signed and weighed in. After the admin processes of getting my name tag and weighing in (I swear that scale was broken, there’s no way I weight that much), I hugged Katlego (you guys probably know him from my previous post) and proceeded to the waiting area which had nothing but awesome vibes and food (yes!!!) – as you would guess, my good friend and I found heaven and stuffed our faces…

Long story cut short, we flew in the military aircraft to the Bloemfontein Military Base and arrived there to find yet again more food (I’m telling you the brownies and mini burger things were just out of this world) and we got acquainted with other media personnel from Bloem and The Citizen (her name was Amanda I think). The event started with a poetic piece “I am an African Child” and a scripture reading and opening prayer. There were a few speeches and a media briefing, then we all headed to Kimberly for the actual demonstration. Mind you, they just kept feeding us one way or another, so to date; this is my favourite event (I was punished by the food landing on my ever round tummy and other unmentionable parts).

We arrived there a bit late but just in time to see them rolling out the big machine guns and new military cars and air crafts so fast, the only way you’d know one was there, is your confirmed death. It was loud, scary, exciting and adrenaline filled but beautiful all at once. They demonstrated different tactics for airdrops and bombs. Things, however, got very real when they simulated a war for us. We experienced an actual war-zone and I won’t lie, I was shaken up by the fact that something so beautiful and raw would result in so many lives lost. It was a bittersweet experience.

The reason for the capability demonstration was to highlight the importance of having a defence force and to show how much work and effort is put into making everything function. The Army Chief lamented the fact that there is little money budgeted for the military, therefore, they are unable to progress in terms of weapons development and to further train a number of soldiers needed as well as to guarantee their safety in battle. He could not hide his anger and frustrations when he spoke about soldiers being out-skilled and outgunned by guerrilla groups in other countries. His pain was evident as he mentioned the loss of life due to the inadequate quality of the uniforms and the harsh terrain that neither soldier nor captain is ever prepared for.

Apart from the beautiful event, I was filled with a sense of sadness throughout (realising the gravity of the situation from both points of view). One of the evaluators spoke of the discipline our men and women carry when representing our country, but it was also sad to find out whenever we succeed in a battle, the opposing militant groups would take out their frustrations on neighbouring towns and villages, so all in all, nobody wins.

We were flown back home in another aircraft. It was so cold, I couldn’t manage to nap for a few minutes. I took that moment, as we were passing over beautifully lit cities beneath us, to reflect and remind myself how fortunate I am. I suppose this should and will serve as a reminder for us to keep hoping and praying for world peace (I know it’s a far-fetched theory but we have to believe in something)

I enjoyed myself thoroughly and look forward to the next one next year.

Blessings on blessings.

The carnage and noise was on another level… Made me feel like South African gamers need to up their anti with virtual reality

FOOD!!!! It was amazing!!! I won’t ever get over the way they fed us. Kudos to the chef

Hawa made some new friends (don’t worry  I’m not threatened, I’m too awesome lol)

Took a picture with a Navy Captain from Argentina who was just out of this world!!!

Here I was doing my thang with my clickety click and Hawa is doing her thing with the selfie

We found ourselves taking pictures by the “Forbidden Zones” lol… I honestly didn’t know. But here’s to World Peace

 I know I look scary but I took a pic with my brother’s superior!!! (Kabelo. You don’t know him but he works for the Airforce)
Till next time!!!

sO i atteNded A netwoRking sessioN 

Being a lifestyle blogger teaches you a lot of things, many of which do not involve travelling and fashion but things filled with substance and meaning for your readers on a deeper level. It teaches one how to help his or her readers invest their money in themselves as well as others. It also helps people understand better how things work (yes we aren’t just materialistically driven people, we care about the planet and its inhabitants too) and inform them how to make this world a better place. 

I’ve never been one to attend government-hosted gatherings, but when my good friend Hawa suggested we attend a Networking Breakfast, I didn’t want to pass up on the experience. I remember clearly stating that I would stay away from all things politics when it comes to blogging, but it was a media networking session and I was curious to know as to how ministers talk and react when it comes to the media and the likes.

I arrived in Pretoria the evening before (it was Monday, the 8th of May)and spent the night by my elder brother’s house. I wasn’t complaining, I missed my sister-in-law and nephew immensely. Tuesday morning, I was signed into the Union Buildings (honestly didn’t know they would call the entrance The Glass Doors) and I spent my free time connecting with my brother over a breakfast of noodles and chatting with his colleagues. The networking session was scheduled for 9 am that morning , so a few minutes before it was due to start, my brother escorted me to the stairs that would lead me to room 159.

Hawa arrived shortly, there was catering, so we grabbed a muffin and some fruit, sat down and we started gossiping about all the famous journalists in our midst. We felt underdressed and uninvited (I remember not laughing about this then but I’m laughing about it now).

Moving along, the session wasn’t a media briefing but more of the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) re-acquainting itself with the media (or as they prefer to call it, the Fourth Estate). They touched on a few things the department does and I was pleased to see Minister Jeff Radebe, and other official heads at the gathering. What shocked me the most was their ability to keep to political jargon even out of the spotlight! I came to accept that it’s how they speak even in their own homes and probably during social gatherings (still laughing).

I understood where they were coming from when it comes to the RDP project and other issues like Nkandla and the SASSA debacle. They also touched on how hard it is to fix mistakes made by other individuals. They are allegedly doing their best to rectify the backlog regarding people needing homes and better health care infrastructure among other things (they call it “eating the elephant one chunk at a time”).

All in all, it was boring. I struggled to stay awake but the times when I managed to concentrate, I picked up on some valuable information I would soon forget upon exiting the room once the session was over. I was also hungry. Those of you who know me well, know I love food and sitting in a quiet room for three hours was just not cutting it for me. Had it not been for Hawa sending me secret messages to keep me entertained, I would have surely fallen to my demise.

Would I do it again? Maybe when I’m older. My young attention span hasn’t figured out how to prioritise yet (trust me, I struggle at work too) and they fed us at the end so that was a bonus (kudos to the sweet potato and the chicken. Your rice tasted funny). It was an interesting experience. I’m glad I went through the processes and now I am more convinced I’ll end up as a creative writer rather than a news writer – that life is not for me shame. 

Here I am patiently waiting for the session to start so I ignore my brother, Katlego, and take a moment to indulge in some selfie action

Here I am with my good friend and fellow colleague, Hawa Mayere. Her secret message/joke sending technique is out of this world…

Don’t worry, they didn’t starve us. I just didn’t want to seem like I was there just for the food. That paw-paw was amazing though

Minister Jeff Radebe and other official heads were present at the session

Here is Hawa with her one time bae, Xoli Mngambi from ENCA … She doesn’t like him much anymore. Wonder what happened in 24 hours lol

Till next time my good people.

Blessings on blessings.