Keep howling 

I always joked about how I’d never have a reason to be seen in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni; Sphiwe Giba unknowingly had other plans for me. 

I had never met the 34-year who runs and owns, Wolf and Co Cafe but by the time I walked into his restaurant, I felt like we go way back. 

He explains that we shared the same sentiment about Tsakane but he soon came to realise that what he thought was a backward township in the Styx is actually rich with history and like many forgotten places in SA, it played a major role during our political struggle. 

The restaurant wasn’t hard to find once I made it through my hour long drive to Tsakane – it’s far guys – pack a snack! The converted shipping container stands out in Ngcobo Street and despite the cold weather that particular afternoon we decided to venture there, we were welcomed with warmth.

When he described Wolf to me as a space that is never static and constantly fluid; I couldn’t have agreed more. 

After my friend, Tumi and I parked our cars, we were immediately greeted by the Bicycle Stokvel, cyclists who were gathered around imbawula warming themselves after cycling in the rain for 2 hours from Vosloorus. Once we stepped inside the container, I felt as though I’d been transported back to Tottori, Japan with the quintessential golden Maneki-neko beckoning us into the space. 


He attributed the Asian influence in both the space and the menu to his history with Asian practices – he did Tai Chi and Kung Fu back in 2013 and was also into dragon boat for training. He also loves Asian dishes and Zen influence and for those of us who miss being in the Orient, the space brings all the elements we miss together quite beautifully. 

We tried ordering some warm drinks hoping we’d be sipping on mulled wine or an Irish coffee but Sphiwe explained that Wolf is an alcohol free zone. He made the conscious decision to not have alcohol served in the space explaining that he prefers his patrons to take in the space without any lubrication. 

I opted to sip on warm pineapple tea along with Palesa and Dimpho while Tumi had her cappuccino – attributed to a slight caffeine addiction. While the guys had their lunch before heading back on their bikes, I got some time to take in the various aspects of Wolf. We found an entrepreneur working quietly on her Apple Mac while the girls and I filled the space with giggles. I distinctly remember hearing some of my favourite hip hop jams while watching the cyclists change back into the clothes they’d left to dry. 

Sphiwe is a lone wolf and he’s taken this aspect of his personality straight into his restaurant – he cooks alone and has no waitressing staff. I was a little averse to the idea but it adds a lovely personal touch when he brings out his meals and tells you what he’s prepared for you that day. 

The meals change every time and he only serves them on Friday evenings, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons so if you’re like me and get attached to a dish, don’t. He won’t be making it again. I love the element this brings to my dining experience, although I’m sad I missed out on a few dishes he’s already served over the last few weeks before I came for lunch; I have no regrets about the spicy soup the self taught cook served us on Saturday. You can taste the love and passion in each spoonful and I will definitely be back to sample more of his amazing dishes. 

While we’re eating he chats to us about how this has been a labour of love for 5 years that he finally made come true in collaboration with J&B Hive. He’d been living in downtown Joburg since his late teens and made his return to Tsakane after his 30th birthday. After looking for the perfect house, buying it, adding the shipping container; he finally built the space to what it is now. 

He hopes the space will translate his creative process and energy and will transcend creative boundaries that we sometimes find ourselves hiding behind. The vision is simple: happy faces, full bellies, more dishes, single origin coffee and live performances. 


“I want to see a safe space for creative freedom that doesn’t discriminate,” he smiled. After my experience there, I can safely say he’s well on his way there. 

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7 days later – Fresh and Clean

Firstly I’d like to declare that the breakout is purely my fault.

I’m guilty of over indulging in the marked down Easter chocolates from Woolworths and my skin is dealing with the consequences. 

Apart from that, the first 7 days of my 30-day skin challenge have been amazing. I must admit I was mostly nervous and excited about the black soap. What surprised me the most was the way the soap lathers up. The team at TRU explained that this was a chemical reaction of the main ingredient, Shea butter. The soap also contains cocoa or plantain ash which is similar to activated charcoal. The soap has a distinctive earthy smell which I like, surprisingly. 

I’d always thought that when the skin was all tight after washing with most cleansers, it meant it was squeaky clean – boy was I wrong. My poor face was tight and dry because it had been completely stripped of its natural oil due to the harsh nature of the ingredients. I had always heard that black soap dries out the skin so it’s best to use only 3 times a week but because I have very oily skin, it’s already helping to regulate the oil and my skin wasn’t feeling tight as it usually does after cleansing with most products. 

I love the Moringa infused serum; I think it’s mainly because the grape seed oil smells like raisins. Apart from loving the smell, the serum feels good on my skin. Usually after cleansing, I use an extra amount of moisturiser because my skin feels extra dry. I thought the folks at TRU were mistaken by giving me oil to put on my oily skin but then I realised that the serum doesn’t leave my skin looking shiny so it’s perfect. 

I’ve used Shea products containing West African shea butter before but this is my first time using the unrefined butter from East Africa. I’m used to body butters and lotions that have been mixed with essential oils and fragrances but it’s been surprisingly pleasant using a product that doesn’t have an overwhelming smell. 

The first week has been good so far and although I’m not expecting to see my acne gone in 7 days, I’m happy that the products have been good so far and I’m sure it will only get better. And yes I’ll stay away from the chocolates but I’m sure one won’t hurt the routine, right? 

GIVEAWAY!!

I have a TRU starter pack worth over R200 to giveaway. It contains 175g African Black Soap, 120g Shea Butter and 50ml Moringa Infused Serum. All you need to do to enter is subscribe to the blog, follow TRU and icherryefresh over on Facebook and Instagram then leave a comment about why you’d switch over to organic skincare products like the range from TRU and if you’ve already made the switch, let me know why you’re never looking back. The competition will run until the end of May and the winner will be contacted directly.

*Competition is open to followers in South Africa only. 

Fresh and Clean

Whenever the ladies at the skincare counters start asking me about my skincare routine, I start to squirm and mumble something incoherent.

Truth is, I don’t really have one. I don’t have great skin but I’ve learned to make do with what I have – I have good days where my skin almost glows and the days where breakouts are rife. Most days I’m winging it with a few pimples and some acne scars but I’ve come to make peace with the fact that I won’t be the next Garnier ambassador.

My good friends over at TRU have asked me to take part in a 30-day skincare challenge using three of their organic products namely Shea Butter, Moringa Infused Serum and African Black Soap. I’m all for a challenge but the only problem is that I don’t do well with routine which is the main reason why I don’t have a skincare routine. I get excited with a new product but soon enough it’ll join the rest of the collection of half used skincare products. So for me this challenge is, of course, about achieving great results for my skin but also keeping to the routine for the entire duration of May.


I first came across Shea Butter a few winters ago when the dryness of my skin was at its most severe. I found a body lotion in Clicks’ Oh So Heavenly range which contained Shea Butter and it worked like a dream. The brand has since discontinued this particular lotion and luckily my skin has since been better behaved during the colder months. When I recounted my little Shea Butter story to the folks at TRU, they were anything but impressed. What I didn’t know and came to learn from TRU is that not all Shea Butters are equal. 

TRU’s butter is 100% certified organic Nilotic unrefined butter which means it is creamy, soft and easy to apply onto the skin unlike its western cousin which has been described as hard and waxy. It is also rich in Vitamins A and E and has anti-aging and healing properties and is perfect for hair-to-toe use. If I didn’t have you at anti-aging, my favourite part of Shea Butter is that a small quantity goes a long way so you don’t have to keep buying new tubs as often. We’ve all established by now that bargains are my thing. 

I thought Moringa was a new diet craze and I immediately stayed away from anything that had to do with it. All I could imagine is dehydration and regret but of course I was far from the truth. The moringa plant is indigenous to various African countries including Mzansi and is high in minerals and vitamins including B and C. TRU’s skin serum is grapeseed oil infused with moringa powder and is, according to TRU, an excellent moisturiser for all skin types including acne prone, dry and mature skin. 


African Black Soap holds some form of mysticism for me. I was once told that this peculiar bar would rid me of my acne problems but it is only found in Ghana and so for the longest time I felt like I was on a quest for an elusive skin cleanser. Thanks to TRU my quest has ended and hopefully my skin woes too. The soap, which originates from West Africa, is made with pure, raw and unrefined Shea Butter. It has been used for centuries and has an abundance of benefits including anti-aging, evening out and fading skin discolourations (including acne scars) thus improving skin tone. It is a mild exfoliate with deep cleansing action and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties; this helps with soothing skin inflammation and irritations. It sounds like a magical elixir but from what I’ve seen from regular users, it is not at all a fairytale.


I’m looking forward to transforming my skin to glowing and flawless and the folks at TRU want the same for you to and have given me a TRU starter pack worth over R200. It contains 175g African Black Soap, 120g Shea Butter and 50ml Moringa Infused Serum and all you need to do is subscribe to the blog, follow TRU and icherryefresh over on Facebook and Instagram then leave a comment about why youd switch over to organic skincare products like the range from TRU and if you’ve already made the switch, let me know why you’re never looking back. The competition will run until the end of May and the winner will be contacted directly.

*Competition is open to followers in South Africa only. 

Oh snap! 

Yesterday I had fun at my first professional photoshoot. I was being shot to be featured in a plus size women’s magazine, Full Figures, which will be launched around Easter.

  
Seeing the final product made me realise how important it is for the blog to have professional images shot for outfit posts and will definitely look into investing into some more time with a professional photographer. 

   
   
This year I look forward to more fun with fashion, putting together outfits, sharing tips on where to shop for clothes that not only fit our curves but also our wallets. And all of this with a good photographer by my side! 

*ALL PHOTOS BY BOKANG RATSUBA

My First Time: Spring Fiesta

It took me a week to recover and so I can finally tell you about it! 

One thing I was told about the Spring Fiesta was that you cannot fully understand what it is until you have the full experience yourself.

You have to be there to fully understand what the energy is like here. (PHOTO: FANIE MTHUPHA).

Thanks to my friend, Nolwazi, the experience would come sooner than I had anticipated and I found myself in the midst of thousands of revellers dancing to house music that took me back to my teens. 

With over 70 acts and seven stages to choose from, we were definitely spoilt for choice and had the opportunity to sample what each stage had to offer. 

Luckily for me, Nolwazi has some cool connections and Ekurhuleni media officer, Nombuso was our guide for the evening taking us from the main Soul Candi Live stage to all the stages where we found ourselves dancing through a musical journey which took us from old school house to some dancehall and reggae, a bit of hip hop and back to the current house jams that have the crowds doing every move from slyza tsotsi to the nae nae. 

Nolwazi and I flank Nombuso as she takes us around the seven stages.

What makes the fiesta enjoyable is that it’s like a musical buffet – you choose what you like and when you no longer like it, you can move on to something else. 

 

Twins On Decks. (PHOTO: FANIE MTHUPHA).

  

Mafikozolo’s ever so stylish Nhlanhla Nciza gets the crowd going! (PHOTO: FANIE MTHUPHA).

  

DJ Clock always makes sure that sitting down is not an option. (PHOTO: FANIE MTHUPHA).

 

My main motivation that got me tagging along apart from great company and sheer curiosity at being at the fifth installment of this annual event was listening to Osunlade play. He drove the crowd insane as he took us back to songs that reminded us why we’re still loyal fans.
Each stage, as we came to learn, offered something different and from what I saw from the crowd this event will see a bigger crowd flocking to Ekurhuleni every year.

It was nothing like I had imagined and I don’t think Nolwazi and I had quite prepared ourselves for what we’d find once we got to Wild Waters and I don’t think it’s an experience we’ll be forgetting anytime soon. 

 

A selfie before we got dancing the day away!

 

*Despite the recent tirade by Osunlade on the state of black South Africans, we had a great time. While his rant may have a left me feeling bitter sweet, it still hasn’t changed the love I have for his music.