Friday, 11 December 2015

A Namibian Christmas | Part 1 - DYI Spiral snowflake

When Martha Mukaiwa asked me to put together a DIY  Christmas feature for The Weekender, my brain went into overdrive. Though being a self proclaimed doer – this year hasn't had much time for DIYing until now. We spent the afternoon talking about creativity, writing, the importance of taking breaks, and making things with your hands.

In this 6 part feature, I've put together a DIY Christmas special inspired by the Namibian summer holiday. This first post is about making a spiral snowflake. It's about 36°C away from snowing but these ornaments look incredible nonetheless. You don't need much, some paper and a few stationery bits. 

I'd love to see what you made so share your images with me via Instagram - tanyaturi or Twitter - @tanya_turi


  • 6 x A4 sheet of normal paper
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • A stapler and staples
  • Glue stick
  • Tape 
  • Fish line or thread

1. Place the sheets into a landscape format and fold the long side at a 90 degree angle.

2. Cut off the rectangle, you'll be left with a folded triangle. Unfold to make it a square. 

3. Mark the long edge of the triangle at 2cm intervals using a pencil and ruler.
4. Measure a guideline 1cm in from the start of the triangle traced to the top.
5. Using the 2cm pencil markers, trace parallel lines from the markers to meet with the guideline. 

6. Cut along the lines, stopping at the guideline.

7. Carefully unfold the triangle to reveal a square with equal slits. 

8. Fold together the inner two slits, securing with glue or tape. Use your finger as a support to help create the spacing.

9. Fold the shape over and repeat on the other side with the second set of slits – the spirals will start to form.

10. Continue on each side, always folding the shape over and glue the slits in the opposite direction as the previous.
11. Your final spiral shape will now take this form. Repeat this 6 times until you've made all the spiral shapes. If you like, combine these with additional full snowflake shapes, which you may hang from the ceiling.

12. Final steps – Putting it all together. Carefully staple the bottom of 2 spirals together.

13. Continue by adding a third and securing all three together.
14. Continue with all 6 spirals until you have a full snowflake.

15. To secure the final shape and give it some real structural integrity, staple each spiral to the other about half way. You'll see that the joining outer slits align.

16. Finally, if you'd like to hang up the snowflake, secure fish line, thread or thin ribbon through the second outer slit on one of the spiral corner. Secure with a thumbtack in the ceiling.
I've had some of these shapes up in studio for over 2 years now. They really hold their shape incredibly well and shouldn't set off the alarm when hanging from the ceiling.

Photography by Rémy Ngamije |

A Namibian Christmas | Part 2 – Paper reef

I've taken inspiration from our dry landscape to make this reef of golden hues. It does require some time and patience so set aside three hours or so – you won't be disappointed by the outcome.

  • An A3 piece of light cardboard or A4 for a smaller reef
  • A dinner and side plate, a compass or rotary cutter will also do
  • A pencil and fineliner pen (optional)
  • A ruler
  • A pair of scissors
  • A small piece of paper
  • A selection of paper for the leaves – at least 4 sheets of A4. One type of paper will also do
  • A stapler
  • Staples
  • Press-stick or double sided tape or a ribbon

  • Work in stages. Complete one whole process like cutting the leaves before moving onto stapling. 
  • Slightly thicker paper is best for the leaves to hold the shape, but don't go too thick as it'll be hard to work with.

STEPS 1 – 5
1. Place the dinner plate in the middle of the A3 sheet and draw an out circle for the guide.
2. Place the side plate in the centre and repeat.

3. Using a ruler, draw a cross section in the middle circle.

4. Fold along one of the lines and cut through, repeating on both lines.

5. Cut around the inner circle, you'll be left with the outside edge about 5 to 7cm wide.

STEPS 6 – 8
6. Draw a leave shape onto a piece of paper about 5cm long and 3cm wide. Cut it out. This will be your guide to cut out the rest of the leaves. For a reef this size, you'll need about four sheets of A4.

7. Fold the leaves length-wise to create more character and shape, instead of just the flat shapes. 

8. Pinch the leaves together at the bottom as shown. This will lift the leave off the back base.

 STEPS 9 – 12
9. Staple the leaf to the base, making sure to staple over and into the leave – securing it properly to the base.

10. Overlap a second leaf and keep stapling.

11. As you start to stack the leave over each other, cover the staples of the previous set.

12. Mix and match different paper types to create and even distribution of colours and textures along the reef.
STEPS 13 – 14
13. Carefully lift the first and last set of leaves underneath each other to cover the staples.

14. Once done, secure to the wall with double-side tape or a ribbon. It'll also look impressive as a centre piece.
Photography by Rémy Ngamije |

A Namibian Christmas | Part 3 – Afrofuturist medallions

These Afrofuturist inspired medallions are striking and so simple to make.
Use them as tree, present or table decorations.

I used this geometric light-weight wrapping paper by Skinny laMinx, though any patterned paper will do.

  • A selection of light-weight papers
  • A pair of scissors
  • A stapler

  1. Fold and cut a square of any size (using the directions in the spiral snowflake post).
  2. Fold the square in half, quarters and eighths until you have a zig-zag accordion fan, with equal sections.
  3. Fold the entire section in half and staple in the centre.
  4. Repeat this to make 2 equal sections. 
  5. Carefully cut triangular sections into the ends and sides of the folded sections. Repeat the pattern on both sides to create a symmetrical medallion. Experiment with different cuts and angles for interesting shapes. 
  6. Carefully open each section into a circular fan shape. Fasten each section at the ends with tape or a stapler to make the finished circular medallion.

Photography by Rémy Ngamije |

A Namibian Christmas | Part 4 – Graphic DIY wrapping paper

Add a personal touch to your gifts by making your own wrapping paper. These are inspired by the monochrome trend and Namibia's ekipa handcraft. It's not about being perfect, so explore your creative side and be surprised by what you come up with. A great activity for kids, too.

Using A3 sketch or regular print paper, draw repeating patterns with permanent markers and wrap with a complimentary ribbon.

  • Using two permanent markers of different thickness draw overlapping circles of different sizes or crossed lines in random directions.
  • For an on-trend typographic approach, write a Christmas message from left to right, with each line almost touching.
  • Using Tipex or White-Out, draw patterns and shapes onto black paper or light cardboard. Wrap the present first for a clear drawing area.
  • Explore the haberdashery section of material or stationery shops for fun interesting ribbons or make your own using permanent markers, fabric paint, and a steady hand. 
  • For larger presents, use roles of brown paper. 

A Namibian Christmas | Part 5 – Banana & cinnamon ice cream

Complete simplicity – this healthy banana and cinnamon ice cream is a perfect dessert for Christmas lunch or an afternoon treat. No fancy machines or stirring needed. This recipe makes about 1L.

  • 4-5 ripe chopped bananas, 5mm slices.
  • 500g Bulgarian or plain yogurt or plain Oshikandela
  • 60ml or 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or one vanilla pod
  1. ​Freeze the chopped bananas for 4 to 5 hours in a freezable container or a clean empty ice cream container.
  2. Using a food processors or hand blender, blend all the ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Pour back into the container and refreeze until set.
  4. Serve scoops in sugar cones (available from Spar, Windhoek) or in dessert bowls with a drizzle of honey​. For a Namibian twist, add Hansa Speculatius biscuits.
Photography by Rémy Ngamije |

A Namibian Christmas | Part 6 – Ginger Bliss

Christmas in the southern hemisphere is more soaring centigrade than Santa and being in the midst of an El Niño drought doesn't make for much festive cheer. If the heat has you down, try this zingy refreshing ginger syrup recipe – a great sun-downer alternative to Rock Shandy.


  • 225g of fresh ginger
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 cups of water
  1. ​Rinse and chop the ginger into 2mm slices then cut across to make slithers.
    For a darker syrup, keep the skin on, else peel the ginger using a kitchen peeler.
  2. ​Mix all the ingredients together and gently bring to the boil in in a non-corrosive pot.
  3. Gently simmer for 45min to an hour, allowing to cool completely, covered. 
  4. Strain the syrup from the solid ginger pieces into a suitable bottom or jar.
  5. Refrigerate for up to a week. 
To make a ginger spritzer, mix to taste with soda water and finish off with ice and a slice of lemon. Add rum or vodka for a Dark and Stormy or Russian Mule alcoholic. 
Great over vanilla ice cream, fruit salad and muesli. 
Add to stir fry with a splash of soy sauce. 

Pour into a glass bottom with a ribbon and label as a home-made Christmas gift.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Femtech | Igniting Tech start-ups

Here's a little article  I penned about my Femtech experience for the City of Windhoek's June Aloe Newsletter. Thank you to the ever-passionate Leonora Joodt,Section Head of SME Development and Promotion for this opportunity. You honour me with your request :)

Since graduation from the programme I've put some new systems in place moving my design business from a lifestyle to a growth business - YAY! Some of these changes include, drum roll, being registered with the Social Security Commission as an employer, with my first full time employee and moving to a new office space three times the size. I've also added to the bottom line by securing larger projects but perhaps THE BOTTOM line warrants a post of its own.

Just because you have a business doesn't mean you know how to run it. It's never easy juggling the technician, manager, entrepreneur roles. You have to plan, dream, believe and do all at once.

If you're a woman entrepreneur based in Southern Africa looking to grow your business I can HIGHLY recommend the Femtech promgramme.

Igniting business knowledge through Femtech
By Tanya Turipamwe Stroh, Graphic designer, entrepreneur, lecturer and blogger

The first really cold winter morning of 2014 descended upon Windhoek on 20 May, but this didn't deter a group of more than 20 enthusiastic women entrepreneurs from all walks of life, whom had gathered at the Community Development Centre in Katutura, as part of the Femtech training programme. Femtech is “an experiential learning programme for women-owned technology-enabled start-ups” and is being hosted as the second of its kind, in collaboration with the City of Windhoek, Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre and the Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) programme.

Cups of coffee and enthusiastic meet and greets between “femmies” were settled by Leonora Joodt, Section Head of the SME Development and Promotion for the City of Windhoek as she introduced herself, along with the training facilitators, namely Claudine Mouton from SMEs Compete, Prisca, Leah and Tina.

We were lucky enough to have with us, Dr Jill Sawers, co-founders of the Femtech programme and moderator for this specific workshop. As a consultant and founder of a business incubation centre, to mention a few, Jill welcomed us to the program citing its successes , which would soon become apparent to everyone in the room. After her introduction we were introduced to Silas Neweka, SAID Country Coordinator for Namibia, who gave a presentation on the role of SAIS and the plethora of innovative projects that the organization is backing. It was amazing to see how much is being done by grass roots and government organization alike, to improve entrepreneurship and innovation in Namibia and Africa at large. Namibia is playing an active role in this transformation and the onus is on entrepreneurs to capitalise on these opportunities.

At the root of the Femtech programme, and much of what we experienced through the first week of training, is “modularised experiential learning offering which places emphasis on practical learning although basic theoretical content.” Each day was filled with progressively more challenging activities and exercises, ranging from positioning statements, to marketing, business cycles, product innovation, social media and even visualisation techniques. As someone with a holistic education background, I really appreciated how all the material presented was backed up by either individual or exercises, sharing ideas in small and large groups and Q&A’s. After each exercise there was an opportunity to reflect on the exercise and new knowledge gained – with specific attention to how it can be applied to each of our own businesses. The range of different learning techniques employed was relevant and engaging, often starting with a humorous energizer exercise. Each module was presented by a knowledgeable facilitator, keeping the pace of the workshop quick and applicable to our own businesses. Golden nuggets of knowledge, in the form of AHA! sticky notes were posted to the wall as the days progressed and aplenty they were.

A few of my favourite included:
  • Sustainability moves a lifestyle business to growth business
  • Own your business but share the work
  • What problem is my product or service solving?
  • Know who you’re pitching to. What’s the objective of your pitch?
  • Know your product
  • Innovation comes with energy
As someone with a postgraduate degree, I was initially concerned that perhaps some of the material might be rather obvious to me. But in initially applying for course I realised, as entrepreneurs – we’re often so consumed with get work done that we neglect the real business side of things. Where you are in the business cycle, what are your unique selling points, are you targeting the right market segment, do you have the correct systems in place and most importantly for me – how can you take your business from a “lifestyle business” to a “growth business”. These are all question that need to be answered by any entrepreneur about their business. To my surprise, there was a term for the very thing that I’d been struggling with in the past 2 years! Who knew? And that’s just it – business innovation is about sharing ideas but also problems with another starters or mentors. If you vocalise your business problem – more often than not, there is another business experiencing the exact same issue, and ten to one, they’ll have a solution for you.

The Femtech training had me feeling invisible as both an entrepreneur and a woman. Three days after the first workshop ended, I attended a strategic brand development meeting for middle and senior managers of Namibia’s largest hotel – one of my clients. While planning for the presentation I was really able to draw in some of the key touch points of the Femtech training. Some of these included unique selling points, cost management, brand consistency and working systems structure, which I could weave into my presentation that mostly dealt with corporate identify design. It made me realise again, how business can and should imitate life. Everything is connected and the Femtech programme has proven that in only the first week of training.

Femtech participants are currently completing assignments and meeting with their business mentors.
The second week of training will take place from 15 to 17 July 2014.

Graduation programme

Graduation shenanigans with my fellow Femmie Monica Lopez from Soakuddly

Femmies to Transfer Skills
By Mandisa Rasmeni for the Namibia Economist 

The second intake of FEMMIES graduated from the FEMTECH experiential learning programme on Wednesday, where sixteen women entrepreneurs that went through an intensive four month programme graduated. The group were trained on different aspects that included how to identify their target market, work with cash flow, evaluation of their business and how to deal with obstacles they face in their businesses.

Utete Karimbue Mupaine,Chairperson of Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Trust, who read the speech on behalf of the Hon. Councillor Moses Shiikwa, Chairperson of the Management Committee of the City of Windhoek, said that this is the time when women should be honoured for their hard work and talents.” “Educational attainment and economic participation are the key constituents in ensuring the empowerment of women, therefore it is essential for empowering women in all spheres of our society, as a vital element of strong economic growth in any country,” she added.

Dr Jill Sawers, Director of FEMTECH said with emotion,every time she flies above Africa, she can see only the scattering of lights, which is very different from Europe where there is light every where, therefore with programmes like this Africa is being given light one women at a time.“Therefore FEMMIES go into your communities and pass the light on,” she said. Elisabeth Kivimaki, Counsellor for Private Sector Development, Finnish Embassy encouraged the women to do their best to make it big and succeed in the business world and to look up to female role models that have inspired them locally and internationally. FEMTECH Namibia is a collaboration between FEMTECH (Pty)Ltd South Africa and the Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre in Windhoek. Financial support was provided by the Trust of the Bokamoso Entrepreneurial Centre and Southern African Innovation Support Programme (SAIS), a development partnership between the Government of Finland and the Governments of Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Windhoek Ambassador Search 2014

A thousand thank you's to  Page Ten Productions which filmed and produced this Windhoek Ambassador Search 2014 film clip about my nomination. You are been gentle ethnographers and this video is such a gift! All the bits and piece came together beautifully in the end - I feel so blessed.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Windhoek Ambassadors

It's a little tricky to articulate my thoughts and feelings for being nominated as a Windhoek Ambassador, in the sense that the response has been so supportive and encouraging, a little overwhelming in fact. It's with gratitude and humility that I thank everyone who's been voting, sharing, calling and stopping me randomly in grocery stores for congratulations. :-)

There is still much to be done in the arts community and in communities all around us. Perhaps a little cliche, yet change really does start with us. Sharing our knowledge and self is a call to higher purpose.

To vote for me in the Windhoek Ambassador Art's Category, SMS 21 to 76060 or follow the link to vote.
Please make sure to have a look at all the Ambassadors and their indefatigable work!

One (wo)man, one vote. Namibian only.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


I loved the innocence of this little girl in the park, fascinated by the simplicity of bubbles. Follow me on Instagram.

Knowing when to let go.
Air really;
captured in a pocket
For a moment.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Going Remote

Going Remote is the feature article in published in SME Gazette February 2014 by yours truly.


Change is the only constant, and Heraclitus’s famous words couldn’t be truer in the information age, where things change at a more rapid pace than lighting-speed internet connections. Entrepreneurs and employees alike are finding that there’s increasingly more to do and less time to do it in. Time is money and ASAP have become company mantras but lest we forget – we’re still only human. The traditional 8 to 5 at one dedicated office is no longer the only solution for getting things done. SME Gazette’s Tanya Turipamwe Stroh looks at new working trends, as effective business tools for SMEs in the digital revolution.


The information age, kick-started by the digital revolution has drastically changed the world’s economies, which are increasingly focused on technical industries. More and more companies and SMEs alike, need savvy wunderkinder who know their way around software. With the dawn of email, user-interfaces and mouse clicks, we’ve been able to complete more tasks, more effectively – literally packing more into our workday. Though, along with the increased demands in workload, so has the demand for quality of life. The Namibian Labour Act 2007 puts ordinary working hours at a maximum of 45 hours per week. That is 9 hours a day for 5 days or 8 hours a day for more than 5 days a week – there are of course exceptions.

Commuting has become a fact of daily life, as many Windhoek, Rehoboth and Okahandja residents will agree. Windhoek roads between 06.30 and 08.00am are not smooth sailing anymore, raising questions of city planning and better public transport systems. There is also a looming increase in petrol and taxi prices, with a large chunk of one’s pay-check going to transport and fuel costs alone.

With all these demands considered, there has been a shift in working trends, away from the industrial revolution model, towards more flexible hours and local of work, namely flexitime and telecommuting. What are these and can they be used effectively in Namibia?


Flexitime is essentially a variable work schedule. Commonly, it includes core hours, where employees are expected to be at work, typically from 11 am to 3 pm, while the remainder of the hours are flexible in the sense that the employee determines the hours that they work. There are several different combinations for flexitime, e.g. clocking in at 9am and leaving at 6pm, every day or every other day. Other options include an extended lunch break of 2 hours, requiring employees to be in earlier and leave later, or even working extra hours on each day, earning Fridays off. Flexitime does not reduce the number of work hours but rather re-distributes them more favourably.

What is the major benefit of flexitime? In short – better quality of life. Employees feel empowered. Flexible hours mean that employees can more effectively integrate work with their daily lives, like dealing with care giving of children or parents, pursuing further studies, volunteering or even exercise and errands. Successful flexitime models mean that it is a win-win situation for both the employer and employee. Basically, happy people equal happy employees.

 Research suggests that employees are more likely to work for companies that offer flexitime and this is especially true of women, as they are often the primary caregiver in families. Sometimes it is simply a talent issue. Millennials entering the job market have started expecting flexitime as a given while employers offer it so as to hold onto their top talent pool.

Give an Inch... 

So how does it work? Human resource specialists suggest that companies should have a generic flexitime policy that includes detailed requirements depending on a particular position and job description. Policies should be clearly communicated to staff so that there is no sense of favouritism. The most successful policies mean that business goals are met while staff get the work times they want. Protocol requirements can be set for specific jobs, for example to-do-list completion or checking into the office with phone calls. Employers need to set clear targets and employees in turn need to know how they will meet them. Written agreements, clear contracts and job descriptions are vital to establishing the do’s and don’ts of flexitime.

Other schools of thought regarding flexitime argue that only specific staff and jobs are eligible for flexitime, due to its nature. Staff under probation or those who have issues regarding punctuality or performance with an inability to work independently are not good candidates.

Working remotely 

Along with flexitime goes flexi place, also known as telecommuting or working remotely. Essentially, this means that staff can choose where they work. This could be from home offices, communal meeting rooms or even coffee shops. This allows staff to complete their work in personally more conducive spaces. Again, with the changing nature of technology, this kind of work might include anything from creative thinking to serious problem solving. It is almost a sort of headspace which employees need to get into. Busy offices are not always the most conducive environments with constant phone calls, meeting requests and interruptions. Of course other places may also interfere with productivity, but personal working environments might be more likely to get staff cracking on the job. Working remotely requires effective time management, a good internet connection, cloud file storage and a secure network, particularly for more data of a sensitive nature.

Competitively speaking, it also means that employers can access and commission a pool of talent via the internet, which may not be otherwise physically possible. With the internet, there is no longer a reason why you cannot hire employees two continents away. This includes anyone from journalists to software programmers, from graphic designers to engineers.

As utopic as working remotely sounds – there are critics arguing that it isn’t good for productivity and working in face-to-face teams. Personal errands like laundry or watching sitcom re-runs can easily get in the way at the cost of work. Recently Yahoo! CEO, Marrisa Meyer announced that Yahoo! employees would no longer be able to work remotely, citing issues of unproductivity in the large software company. The HR memo stated: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Finally, while teleportation is not a reality just yet, flexitime and working remotely seems a good interim solution when implemented correctly. A trial run may be a good start. Keep close tabs on meeting business goals, HR insight and the state of employees, to determine the outcomes. Work methods are no longer set in the proverbial grind stone.

While Namibia isn’t always an early adopter, SMEs may consider combining new and traditional work methods in keeping with the ever changing times.


SME Gazette asked entrepreneurs Alastair Aspara and Mark Mushiva, both based in Windhoek about whether flexitime and working remotely is a realistic solution for business in Namibia. 

Alastair Aspara 

Electrical engineer, project consultant and co-founder of ARC - a project, development and engineering consultancy. 

In engineering, the current industry practice involves the engineer doing regular supervision, involving site inspection, installation recommendations and written engineering instructions. This practice requires engineers to travel (sometimes) vast distances to get to site. Email and the posting of photographs have introduced the concept of remote site management, which reduces the hours taken for progress inspection, improving overall communication. It is now imagined that mobile technology and intelligent software can assist in real time progress monitoring by using mobile phone sensor technology to compare the real time progress, through converting 2D pictures to 3D, and comparing progress with the 3D model progression. This, combined with current project management techniques, represents a very new way of managing construction processes. These new techniques can greatly reduce the traditionally high cost of disbursement travelling budgets for professional services. Namibia is a large country with vast geographical distances between towns and it is also a very centralised nation, with key resources often only found in its capital. Namibia is the ideal landscape for the implementation of this technology.

Mark Mushiva 
Researcher, user interface software developer and co-founder of The Tech Guys, an innovation hub.

Working remotely pretty much depends on the type of work that you do. Namibia still lacks the skills and communal spaces which are conducive to working remotely. Some jobs might need on-site client feedback and correspondence, as the job is being done in increments. Clients in this regard may have a harder time articulating clear requirements over the internet. The whole industry really needs a cultural change. The challenge is to bridge business goals and customer needs with effective requirements engineering. Working remotely and meeting business goals is a fungible concept really. Flexible work ethics supports innovation – it’s the classical open workshop Menlo approach. The approach encourages small teams, usually in pairs, working together on a given problem by means of story cards and a large work bulletin board. Each card details the job to be completed focusing on the exact business value. Though, for more clear methods, goals and process scenarios, a more traditional approach is needed. In short – you can’t make jet engines at home.

FACT BOX: Useful links
• Jason Fried and David Hanson, founders of 37 Signals are firm believers in flexitime and working remotely. They’ve co-penned two recent books on the topics, namely REWORK – Change the way you work forever and REMOTE – Office not required – two excellent resources on the topics for any entrepreneur or starter.

Making things easy
Base Camp and Asana are  great project management tool. Both let’s you plan, share, prioritise and complete tasks in the simples of ways.

Take your work with you
Cloud tools like Base Camp, Dropbox and Google Drive will allow you to share and store work online for easy access.

Skype, Google Hangouts and Campfire allow for group chats and calls. Most smart phones allow you to have a video call. Research has shown that employees who are seen are more likely to receive promotions and leadership positions.

Missed something?
See the October 2013 SME Gazette feature article on time management. It deals with issues of routines, deadlines and workflows – all essential tools for SMEs considering flexitime and working remotely.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

La Brocante – second hand at first class

Since 2012, I've been designing the SME Gazette. Last month I got to flex my writing muscles by penning a restaurant review as well as the feature article on flextime and working remotely. Thank you to the editor Servaas van den Bosch for the super opportunity!

"Namibia's premier SME Publication The SME Gazette is Namibia’s foremost publication for SMEs. We deliver relevant, up-to-date and detailed news directly to the doorstep of several thousand SMEs and business development agencies. We recognise the amazing potential that SMEs have in building the economy and celebrate entrepreneurs as the pioneers of industrialisation. The SME Gazette offers controversial stories, breaking news, interviews, profiles, business tips by business giants, information on events & trainings and news from business development agencies and financial institutions. The SME Gazette is free of charge and available in print and electronic form. We offer competitive advertising rates and have a special tariff for SMEs." 

La Brocante – second hand at first class
By Tanya Turipamwe Stroh

Walking into the great architectural hall at La Brocante leaves me with a curious feeling of awe and
wonder. The faded emerald walls, wooden trusses, proscenium and fresco, are all reminiscent of a
bygone era, where I would have been addressed as Fraulein Stroh. I find myself replying: “Toto, I've a
feeling we're not in Windhuk anymore” – except I am. The year is 1906 and I’m in the historic
entertainment hall of Windhoek’s first hotel the Gruner Kranz.

In every nook and cranny are themed displays of quirky vintage goods, antique furniture and modern
knick knacks, carefully curated by manager and industrial Steffan Loubser. La Brocante, French for the
second hand trade, has brought back a new lease of life to building in the form of a vintage store and

Set under a shaded passage with mismatched furniture and potted herbs, it’s the sort of ambiance where
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the garden gnome come to life. The lunch crowd is almost as eclectic as
the wares on offer. Middle-aged corporate suits, moms and kids and the up-and-coming, which arrive, eat
and leave in under 20 minutes flat. Some patrons are obvious regulars, arriving just before 1pm, taking up
a table and dashing to fill their plates with the Daily Speedy Buffet.

The large chalk board details the specials of the day. Stuffed chicken breast, pork schnitzel or hake fillet.
My friend and I both opt for the buffet special, a selection of hot cold foods priced at N$16.00 per 100g.
The moreish spread, set up inside the hall, almost ubiquitously becomes part of the display. The hot
choices included chicken curry with rice, beef lasagne, fish and veggie skewers and a hake quiche. Cold
options included adventurous vegetable salads and mixed green salad goodies.

I appreciated the pops of flavour with regards to the cold salad choices. Raisons in the coleslaw, the
roasted butternut salad spread with capers, thinly sliced red onion and mixed seeds, though I found the
sundried tomatoes too chunky. The green been, carrot and baby potato salad was perfectly cooked with
each veggie still crunchy.

Robust flavours and textures were aplenty in each dish, with additional seasoning hardly required. A
waitress is on hand to assist, weighing your plate, though I did feel a little clumsy, negotiating the lifting of
lids, while dishing and holding my plate at the same time.

Don’t expect huge amounts of each portion, and I feel rightfully so. If it’s done – it’s done, so come early
to avoid depleted serving dishes. My plate came to a total N$35.00 for a decent lunch portion – a good
option for the more frugal foodie. The service was to the point, with orders and empty plates arriving and
leaving the table quickly.

At La Brocante, it would seem that you can have your cake and eat it too. For dessert I order the Cake
Trio to share. Three smaller slices of cake, apparently for those who can’t decide. Variety is the spice of
life I say. This has me thinking, why don’t more establishments have this option? The 3 precisely-cut cake
slices, with pear garnish, are served at just the right temperature. Small details count.

Stefan makes a turn at the table, enthusiastically enquiring as to which one is best. The cheesecake is
the winner. I admit to my friend, under breathe, that it may well be better than my own, Grade 6 baking
competition winning entry. A good balance of texture – the clean cream cheese filling offset by a crunchy
caramel base, works well as a palette cleanser. The cinnamon carrot cake is a close second with the
chocolate cake trailing in at third – a little too sweet for my liking, though I did like the coffee flavoured
icing set between the two layers.

A la carte options included sarmies and salads from N$16 to N$50. Breakfast choices are plenty too
ranging from pastries to poached and soufflé eggs.

Windhoekers will agree - coffee shops open after 5pm seem to be the extinct species Coffea Arabician.
On Thursday evenings, La Brocante is the exception, offering the working masses a chance to unwind
with wine, pizza and music played from LP records. Wine is provided by Barrel and Grove, another gem
in the complex, just adjacent to the café. If wine isn’t your thing, there’s a good selection of freshly
squeezed juices to put back the pep into your step. I had the refreshing apple and lemon juice, complete
with faux bamboo-illustrated straw.

The pros don’t stop there. The café also has a children’s playing corner, free 4G WIFI, colour printing on
request and takeaways. Short on time but still want to eat-in? La Brocante will prepare your order, ready
to serve by the time you arrive. Orders should be placed by 11am with your expected time of arrival. (I get
the impression that some serious consideration went into the “Things we want to offer our guests”
brainstorming session. 10 points.

La Brocante seems to think of everything. If you’re looking to escape - time travel included, leisurely
coffee sessions, a remote office in a quiet corner of town or an efficient eating-on-the run-experience, La
Brocante has an offering to keep you returning time and again...since 1906.

Old Gruner Kranz Hotel Complex, Macadam Street, Auspannplatz, Windhoek (Across Obeco)

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 08.30 to 17.00
Thursdays: 08.30 to 19.00
Saturdays: 09.00 to 13.30

Steffan Loubser
Phone: 081 621 8395
Facebook: La Brocante

Since going to press La Brocante has extended its trading hours on Thursdays to 21.00

Friday, 28 February 2014

Designing The Bare Mask Experience

About two year ago I found myself in the courtyard of the Collage of the Arts bearing witness to the theatrical wonder of Blessing Mbonabi. My sister, Junelle Stroh, had long spoken of his talents and on this evening I was stirred by both their performances in Journey into the Other Side of the Night. As actors, they could both hold me, in a single moment of air, suspense and the human condition. The now moment. Since then, they've both gone onto countless productions including Theatre Sports and Blessing has been honored with a hat trick of accolades at the Namibian Film and Theatre awards.

When Junelle approached me to design the poster for a project titled The Bare Mask Experience, I was all ears. The experience was essentially a double feature theatre performance, in the hallmark style of a comedy and a drama - both written by Blessing.

With their encouraging open ended brief and a single iPhone photograph, I set forth to create a faceted face of human experience. Stark graphic images were created combining Blessing's portrait combined with comedic and tragic theatre masks to create a new realm of persona, prevelant in his play. A simple red line and type set in Futura completed the poster.

Thank you to Junelle and Blessing for a wonderful opportunity to create some engaging work!
The Bare Mask Experience is showing till Saturday at the Collage of the Arts Theatre School.

Martha Mukaiwa, my favourite arts journalist had this to say about the production.

Don’t miss ‘The Bare Mask Experience’
Martha Mukaiwa

 Blessing Mbonambi writes a play like he’s writing a screwball comedy that just happens to be linked to an after intermission film with about as much levity as a Darren Aronofsky picture.

Like his award-winning reimagining of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, Blessing’s ‘The Bare Mask Experience’ is designed like a movie but plays out on stage, thus creating an intriguing hybrid of film conventions made hilarious by the immediacy of theatre. Playing fast and fantastic with music, montage and a little sprinkling of self-reference, ‘The Teachers’, the first play in this double feature, is funny, fun and explodes the talents of comedienne Junelle Stroh and dazzling newcomer Mari-louise Labuschagne.

 Junelle’s star rises with her ability to pull uproarious faces while doing the strangest things with her extremities.

 Stealing the show in her comedic niche as Miss Saunders, a bitter actress turned drama teacher, Junelle sets the mood with a cynical soliloquy that laments the realities of having a dream of working with Woody Allen to seeing that dream devolve into fourth grade productions of ‘Simba in Otjumuise’.

 Acting as the yin to her disenchanted yang is Miss Martin, an enthusiastic and slightly desperate teacher who has seen the horrors of minimum wage and takes up a newly available drama teaching job at Miss Saunders’ school.

 In this Mari-louise Labuschagne bursts onto the scene in an energetic ball of wide eyes, big smiles and glowing skin that is a marvel to behold. Effortlessly transforming from grinning optimism to the dejection of budget cuts, Mari-louise is certainly here, happening and hopefully working on much more.

True to terrific form, Blessing stars as the principal in the production and while he has some laugh-worthy meltdowns, the writer-director steps back somewhat and lets the comedic chemistry between Junelle and Mari-louise bubble over to exceedingly entertaining results.

 Starring an intense and enflamed Blessing as the poet and a petrifying Risto Nghambe as Beelzebub, who is somewhat Darth Vader in voice, Morpheus in coat and Joker in make up, ‘Journey into the Other Side of the Night’ is a violent, vocal and mostly furious existential rumination that showcases the depth of Blessing’s poetic mind in lines like “the sun dried up and the lilies don’t shine.”

 At times a little esoteric and a little underdeveloped in terms of character, particularly with regard to Helouis Goraseb’s sultry role as Lust, juxtaposed with a surprisingly timid turn by Junelle Stroh who plays an angel, ‘Journey to the Other Side of the Night’ suffers due to not enough back-story and minimal plot that boasts brilliant clusters of words but prompts very little audience investment in the characters. Still, it is strangely engulfing. One catches what they can, shrinks under the red light and the gin-soaked voice of Risto Nghambe while immersing themselves in the depths of discomfort and ellipsis. With regard to staging, Blessing and stage manager Taryn Markus are fearless.

 Beginning the action outside, taking it through dance interludes under helium balloons by Alicia Brandt and Mari-louise Labuschagne before showcasing the theatre mask mimicking production of comedy and tragedy right in the heart of the theatre, the play redefines the use of theatre space and pushes the boundaries of what is suitable on stage.

‘The Bare Mask Experience’ is what happens when you combine hard work with pure passion. It’s written by a man who can reference Tennessee William just as easily as he can slot in some Max Richter. Cheesy as it may sound, Blessing is without a doubt a blessing to local theatre. As a writer he gives the talent smart, funny material to present smart, funny productions. As an actor he is alternately fun and fearless and as a creative he is nothing less than luminous.

‘The Bare Mask Experience’ is running at The Theatre School at 63 Robert Mugabe Avenue between 25 and 28 February at 19h00. The final show will be a matinee on 1 March at 14h00. Tickets are N$50 and will be available at the door. For more information, call 081 834 5640. – @marth_vader on Twitter
Article from The Namibian

Friday, 21 February 2014

Sneak Peek | Shaping a shared world

World Design Capital 2014 is in full swing, with Cape Town in the grips of yellow design fever.Several projects already in full swing and there's a plethora of design related programs, pitches and presentation underway. (See what I did with the P there.)The first of which is the SHAPING A SHARED WORLD exhibition. A collaborative Arts, Design and Technology Student Exhibition, with students from CPUT and Aalto University.

Among these, is good friend and fellow graphic designer, Clara Schnack. Clara's thesis project Games from the Tree, focuses on traditional African games and how they can be packaged and played outside the traditional context. A great project for aesthetics but also design thinking, in a social, academic and practical context.

The exhibition is taking place in the Homecoming Centre of the District Six Museum, a very special location in it's own right. Here's a sneak peek from earlier today as we were setting up the space. Since, we've broken nails, torn jeans and spent way too much on parking but it's ALL been so worth it. I can't wait to blog about the opening night and share Clara's amazing Games from the Tree thesis project with you. Watch this space - but first - Cape Friends of Calligraphy and Design Indaba.

About the exhibition:

This joint exhibition is an interpretation of the ten megatrends towards 2020. It is based on and inspired by the 2013 exhibition of Aalto University’s annual graduation show Masters of Aalto in Helsinki, Finland, curated by designer Arni Aromaa.  This exhibition responds to the question on “How can we create the future we want?”. It showcases the innovative works from two Higher Education Institutions – one from the North and the other from the South. From two World Design Capitals: Helsinki and Cape Town.

As our world is constantly screaming out its needs and wants, it reveals an endless stream of moral dilemmas, opportunities and tough challenges. How do we make the right call, build the right things or plant the right approach? These are the questions that have shaped our exhibition. The answers from both Aalto University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology graduating students are as wildly diverse as they are on point. Dismantling the false barriers between science, design, art, politics and myriad of other disciplines means arming oneself with formidable resources to transform the world. These students are already shaping the future – and you can see the seeds of revolution right here. From imagine that
Here for the full WDC2014 Calender.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Style never goes out of fashion

It would seem that those ol' 30-for-30 posts, back in the day was good practice! Vakwetu Style and Craizy Daisy has penned 2 posts on my style. Namibian Fashion Police much?

Thank you to the always stylishSean Kamati from Vakwetu Style for featuring me on Street Style today. (Thanks for the kick under the bum - needed that ;-) It's all love.) Full post here.

 Unbeknownst to me, Craizy Daisy did a blog post on fashion at the NAFTAs (Namibian Film & Theatre Awards). A friend also sent me a link to me say: "I saw this on a blog and I knew you had made it....." Thank you for the wonderful compliment Gareth! Full post here.

 So - the pressure is on to materialize, no pun intended, a fabulous look for this year's awards. Here's holding thumbs for nominations on Everything Happens for a Reason and Soul Taker.
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