Is Luck Overrated?

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What do you mean by “Luck”?

We often wish someone “good luck” in their various endeavours. By this we mean to wish them to be successful in whatever they are about to do. However, if you ask whether luck is overrated, you need to first ask yourself what exactly it is you mean by “luck”. Often the same people who wished someone luck will be angry or jealous when they do reach their goals or are successful. As if wishing them luck is simply pretence and you really wish that they’d fail.

Many will then, out of jealousy, try to break the lucky/successful person down – even spreading lies and rumours to say that the person doesn’t actually deserve their success or didn’t work for it. As if you should have the last say about a person’s success or failure. You want to act as if anyone could reach that level of success if you only took the same shortcut the lucky person got to take. You wish to have “instant success”, not “success you deserve after all the work you’ve put into it behind the scenes”.

Who, after all, wouldn’t want instant success without having to have put hours into reaching that success and be the lucky one who made it? The various inspirational quotes which are sent around each day certainly contribute to this as well. It makes me think of a quote in Wee Free Men by T. Pratchett: “If you trust in yourself… and believe in your dreams… and follow your star… you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy”. We all want the luck to be instantly successful, but few are willing to really put the work into what they want to achieve.

We’ve turned luck into a mythological force that chooses random people to become successful overnight – a force that is just too spiteful to choose me and instead chooses them. But waiting for luck to come your way and fulfil your desires is like wanting to be a successful artist/photographer/CEO/athlete or whatever your goal is, by sitting in a corner doing nothing and waiting for someone to come and ask you out of the blue to suddenly be one of these things. Working towards being lucky, however, means working at it every moment that you can and looking for ways in which you can take your skills further.

Instead of not wishing someone good luck/success, we should rather let go of the petty jealousies we want to hold against each other and work towards our own success. After all, if you know how much work someone else has put into reaching their goals, you should be proud of them, not angry and jealous of them. Rather learn from them than break them down.


Author: Carin Marais

Carin Marais writes web articles, guest and blog posts, and fiction. With interests ranging from pop culture and technology to literature, mythology and archaeology, her writing covers diverse subjects. To contact Carin for articles and guest posts, or to read her work, go to her home page, her blog Hersenskim or follow her on @CarinMarais.

Xenophobia – stop the hate now!

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The Horrible Face of Xenophobia

Xenophobia once again reared its ugly head in South Africa. Social media is ablaze with horrific photos and eyewitness accounts of foreigners being intimidated and even killed by mobs of machete wielding thugs. Bloodthirsty mobs gang up on foreigners, loot their shops, steal their belongings and threaten them with violent deaths. Foreigners, fearing for their lives, run for all they’re worth with only their clothes on their backs. They’re stabbed, burned and slaughtered on the streets – for trying to eke out a living here and calling our country their new home.

News reports sent across the globe portray South Africans as a hateful, intolerant and murderous bunch.  It’s hard to comprehend how someone can stab or burn another human being to death. Who’s to blame? The jeering onlookers? The photo journalists that are vying for close-up shots of the macabre scenes? The foreigner who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time? The crazed murderer who metes out a sentence he thinks is justifiable?

What motivates a person to barbarically kill a man who pleads for his life – and that in full view of spectators and cameras? Where does this anger and hate come from? Is it because some foreigners are guilty of criminal activities such as prostitution and drug trafficking and communities are fed up with what’s going on on their doorsteps? Is it because some foreigners take up jobs natives feel they were supposed to get? Is it because some foreigners come to South Africa with nothing but hope and then, through entrepreneurial willpower, guts and sheer hard work, manage to build up successful small businesses and make a decent living?

Then there’s the herd mentality that seems to egg mobs on to commit acts no human being in his right mind would ever contemplate of doing on his own, like pouring petrol over someone and setting him to light. Why do ordinary people become like wild animals when they operate in groups? Look at the faces of looting people – they seem to enjoy what they’re doing!

A lot of debate and action are needed to understand and curtail xenophobia as well as mob mentality. As a nation we cannot tolerate violence in any form and we should stand united against it at all cost. Xenophobia should have no place in the hearts of a rainbow nation. Also, mobs should know they‘re not above the law because they operate in numbers. You’re not faceless when you’re part of a mob – your face may just be plastered on tomorrow’s newspapers!

Pursue your own economy

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Why create your own economy?

What is hindering you from actively pursuing your own economy? With living costs seemingly skyrocketing out of control and the world still largely suffering from post-2008 financial blues, most of us are considering ways to up our incomes. Wishing for additional revenue and actually doing what needs to be done to earn extra income are two separate things. Do you have what it takes to roll up your sleeves and take charge of your own economy?

Hesitant to go solo?

You may regard stepping out into the unknown and taking chances as risky behaviour. You may fear failure and don’t want to put what little security you have on the line. Going solo and investing your talent, skills or money into a project you hope people will want to invest in, can be quite daunting. What if things don’t work out? What if you find yourself to be way over your head with no idea how to get out of troubled waters?

Stop! Such thinking will get you nowhere. It’ll only gnaw away at your self-confidence and drain your energy. You’ll convince yourself you’re a loser before you’ve even attempted to test your business idea and you’ll end up throwing money after projects you don’t believe in.

Co-create for success

The revolutionary Indivineur Program by Willem Gous takes all the anxiety out of going solo and risking hard-earned capital. It embraces a very low, minimum risk strategy and encourages co-creation. Individuals share their resources and know-how to explore various business concepts and ideas. Best of all, Indivineurship teaches you to recognize and utilize that which you’re already successfully applying in your life, thus minimizing risk.

Take charge of your own economy and refuse to be a victim of the economy. Take control of your financial future and claim the financially free life you and your family deserve. Pursue a future of financial stability today.

How to improve yourself and your society

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How to improve yourself … and your society

Rhodes must go – but into a discussion not a pile of rubble 

The current “Rhodes must go” debacle has been characterised by ill-informed and absurdly sweeping statements. I was in company where I overheard arguments ranging from A: “He was an abuser of women. He beat them” to B: “If it were not for him the Zimbabweans would not be so well educated.”

         Three not-so-easy rules: How to Improve yourself 


Allow me for a moment to refer to our beloved Madiba’s methodology: “Be the change you want to see” and “get to know your enemy.” While he was on Robben Island his comrades expected him to hate Afrikaans, the language of his oppressors. Instead he learnt Afrikaans, and spoke out against the blanket judgement that increases the divide. He understood deeply that language is tied up with identity and that Afrikaner anger was fed by the disenfranchisement of their culture by British colonialism. In the same way the Sharpeville disaster was sparked by language issues.

Rhodes’ 1894 Glen Grey Act, the forerunner of Apartheid, disenfranchised Afrikaners as much as it did Black and /Xham people. Along with Milner he engineered the Anglo Boer War to steal the gold of South Africa and with the help of their henchman Kitchener, destroyed the livelihood and nearly pulled off the genocide of the Afrikaner nation.

Rhodes imposed hut and labour taxes on blacks to force them into the cash economy, forcing 11,000 black miners into inhumane, dog-patrolled compounds with legal flogging of “disobedient” black labourers through the notorious “strop bill” that facilitated the continued supply of labour to his mines, and impoverished the black population, hence the famous insult by Mark Twain: “I admire Rhodes, I frankly confess it; and when his time comes I shall buy a piece of the rope for a keepsake”. While premier of the Cape colony Rhodes introduced social segregation for non-whites in schools, hospitals, theatres, prisons and public transport and forced blacks to carry passes. It is time that people realise that.

He dispossessed black people in Zimbabwe and Zambia through armed conquest, stealing 3.5 million square miles of black ancestral lands in one of the most ruthless “land-grabs” in modern history. By 1890 Mashonaland had been seized, while farming claims had been staked out in Matabeleland by 1896. Rhodes’ British South Africa Company gave itself the right to half of the loot, the rest being shared out among the odd assortment of settlers, freebooters and adventurers. The huge herds of Ndebele cattle were divided between these armed thugs and the British South Africa Company. Rhodes’ mercenaries stripped and stole the land of the Shona. He cleverly used imperial resources to line his own pockets, missionaries (among them the Moffats) to do his dirty work, men (he was homosexual) that he favoured with position, attention and material gain to manipulate documents, and orated endlessly on the subject of British superiority in order to cover up his own motives:

Addressing the House of Assembly in 1887, in Cape Town, he said:
“I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings ( Afrikaners, Black and Khoi-khoi Africans) what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence; look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. (He means employment of British citizens) I contend that every acre added to our territory means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence ……’

Olive Schreiner wrote a devastating critique of his ruthless imperial methods in her 1897 novel, Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonaland, which attacked British imperialism and racism in South Africa, championed the causes of the Boers and Black people and published a photograph of the hanging of the Ndebele leaders who had been tricked. She was called a liar and ostracised. When the Anglo Boer War broke out in 1899, the English burned her house and her manuscripts because of her public support of the Afrikaner cause.

The Matabele are descendants of a faction among the Zulu who fled north during the reign of Shaka, following the mfecane (crushing) or difaqane (scattering), one of the most horrific chapters in the history of South Africa. Mzilikazi led his followers away from Zulu territory in the late 1830s; they settled in western Zimbabwe but claimed sovereignty of a much wider area. Let us not romanticise black history prior to colonialism. The mfecane tragedy was caused by a combination of factors: long term drought meant that people moved in search of food and fought over meagre supplies, and huge changes in the Nguni groups’ social systems resulted in political and military changes that ultimately resulted in the development of the great Zulu nation. By 1825 one and a half million people were wandering across southern Africa. Shaka built a powerful empire with a vast army in less than two decades, and refugee groups (resulting from his drive to power) escaped, invading present day Botswana. The Ndebele, fleeing ahead of Shaka’s impi, settled in present day Zimbabwe, along the way absorbing others but also destroying many, among them the Pedi Empire of King Thulane. The Makololo, Sotho-Tswana speakers, pushed north, forcing the Xhosa off their lands; the Xhosa expanded into Khoi-khoi lands, and they in turn retreated into the desert. Add into this diaspora the Afrikaners’ Great Trek. Since the Afrikaner nation as a nation did not remotely yet exist, the disparate members of a Dutch speaking (but not necessarily from Dutch extraction) tribe born on African soil from Scottish, Portuguese and German sailors, Malay slaves, French Protestants fleeing religious persecution, and /Xham nomads fled the injustices of British rule. By the time of Shaka’s assassination by his half brother Dingane in 1828, no group of people in southern Africa were living in their original lands. Cannibalism had been rife over vast areas.

Rhodes’ friend Jameson is suspected of having poisoned King Lobengula of the Ndebele and Rhodes made Lobengula’s son his gardener in Cape Town. His famous party trick when receiving guests was to ask this gardener in which year he (Rhodes) had murdered his father. By no stretch of the imagination can Rhodes be called a mere product of his Imperial time: He was of himself a wicked and greedy megalomaniac. But for heaven’s sake, let us examine real history!


Tragedy on a vast scale struck southern Africa in the early 1800’s. The Mandela noted that in spite of the fact that one of the most notorious genocide attempts in modern history was perpetrated in German, nobody has suggested that German should be wiped off the face of the earth. He knew that destruction engenders destruction and prevents the essential component of a free society: Open discussion.   

OF COURSE, as Afrikaner I have some glee in the downfall of the evil visionary Rhodes. The forces that shaped our society go back much further than 1948 and ceasing from the neat and over-generalised blaming of Apartheid as the source of all evil, is much overdue.  But surely there are more creative ways of protest than to fling excrement at his statue. The mindless actions surrounding the very necessary narrative would cause Rhodes to rub his hands in complacent enjoyment as it seems to support his claims. As he infamously put it: “I prefer land to niggers . . . the natives are like children. They are just emerging from barbarism [and] one should kill as many niggers as possible.”

However, should we not rather put a cage around his statue, and add some snarling dogs? Turn it into installation art and TALK about it? It is easy to break down things; it is much harder to build things, including ourselves. When we destroy something we destroy a part of ourselves. When we selectively remove parts of our history, we can never honestly look at who we have become.


The Round Table Movement was used to set up what is today known as the Rhodes Trust and Rhodes Scholarship. Until the late 1970s it excluded women. To give these institutions legitimacy in Black eyes, in 2002, the name of Nelson Mandela was added to Rhodes’ scholarship and foundation, including naming a building in the Cape Town city centre after him and Mandela. I, for one (and it seemed until recently that I was the only one) found that pairing hugely offensive. The insult to Mandela whose selflessness remains a lesson to us all, went unremarked by most, and my objections were of course suspect because as an Afrikaner I had forfeited the right to any opinion that does not reinforce Afrikaner guilt.  However, isn’t it wonderful that this evil genius, Rhodes, died young, and that now his considerable fortune can be put to good use? Let his estate fund students and provide bursaries and libraries and universities. It’s the least he can do to make very modest amends.

Rhodes’ Trust and Foundation were originally meant to recruit American and Commonwealth Anglophiles for imperialist projects in Africa. The Round Table Movement spawned multinational such as Rio Tinto Zinc, Anglo-American, Lonrho and, of course, DeBeers. In May 1909, a mining conglomerate was formed in London and named the ‘London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company Limited’ or Lonrho. (‘’Rhodesian”- which is from ‘Rhodes’). In 1999, Lonrho changed its name to Lonmin, the same company which in August 2012 connived with some within the leadership of our country to have 34 workers killed. Isn’t it time we checked out exactly who the shareholders are?

ONE CAN ONLY IMPROVE SOCIETY BY IMPROVING ONESELF: Be informed, build up rather than take down, and discern what is ‘baby’ and what is ‘bathwater’. Be rigorous with yourself and hold yourself to the same standards that you hold others.  Racism and greed are not confined to any one ethnic group. Society will improve itself if we improve ourselves.

Author: Suenel Bruwer Holloway is a playwright, poet, speech writer, translator and editor as well as guest writer. She specializes in satirical social commentary, the arts, education, book reviews and three course picnics. She comes from a long line of hat wearers.

Suenel is available for guest posts and can be contacted at the e-mail address provided.



An Easter Tradition

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Traditional Easter Food

The pickled fish tradition lives on either as custom passed down by their parents or because they consider eating meat on Good Friday as “unholy”. Most people are totally oblivious of where the tradition originated, but the absence of facts don’t stop them from following the tradition.

Surprise your family with scrumptious Eater Pickled fish, using this recipe courtesy of the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market. You’ll be their hero for a long time to come. Perhaps until next Easter, when you’ll have to make it again.

Easter Pickled Fish Recipe for 4


400g – 500g hake or any firm white fish
2t (10ml) Seasoned Sea Salt
2T (30ml) flour
Canola oil
2 onions, finely sliced into rings
½ cup (125ml) water
½ cup (125ml) cider or white wine vinegar
1t (5ml) turmeric
1t (5ml) Seasoned Sea Salt
1 x 200ml Yogurt with 1T curry mix
Fresh coriander


Cut the fish into bite sized pieces and season with salt. Heat oil in a frying pan, coat the fish in flour and fry for about ten minutes or until cooked. Set aside. Combine the onions, vinegar, water, turmeric and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Place cooled fish in a deep casserole or large jar and pour the sauce over. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve with curried yoghurt and fresh coriander.

To completely blow their minds, also give them:

Easter Hot Cross Buns

These spicy Easter pastries are delicious.


2 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 cups all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup raisins, currants, or golden raisins (or a mix)
Finely grated zest of half an orange
1/4 heaping teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
2 teaspoons fine salt
3 1/2 tablespoons castor sugar
1 medium egg
3 1/2 tablespoons butter


In a bowl, combine the flours, water, milk, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the egg and butter and mix to a sticky dough.

Add the dried fruit, orange zest, and spices and knead until silky and smooth. Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Deflate the risen dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into rounds and dust with flour. Place on a floured board, cover with plastic or cloth, and leave for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C. For the crosses, whisk together flour and water until smooth, then transfer to a pastry bag and snip off the end to make a fine hole. Pipe a cross on top of each bun, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Melt jam and water in a pan. Brush over the buns to glaze as you take them from the oven.

Now see if you don’t get the biggest Easter egg ever!