Pies and pretty things 

Cooking calms me. When it is not perceived as a task it then becomes rather pleasurable. 

Growing up, all things associated with the kitchen were chores. The worst of these being the dishes. Even if there were two mugs, a few plates and spoons, squeezing diswashing liquid into the sink pained you. Dish washing was so horrendous a task you would ration it into three (3) parts. “I wash, you dry”, and drag someone else into the kitchen to pack them away.  Our parents must have looked on in horror at a growing generation who found defeat in stroking pieces of porcelain with a dish cloth! How could possibly handle a giant piece of metal with four wheels attached to it some day? 

In our home, cooking was a skill that one had to grasp by the age of eight (8), latest nine (9). My sister and I would alternate all week, and fight each friday when it was time to prepare for the Sabbath. We’d each list what we had supposedly prepared the friday before, adding all sorts of fantastical dishes to the list in an attempt to make our toils seem so heavy, that it would be gravely unfair to be made to do it again. This must be the reason I have issues with odd numbers. 

We have not yet established all the problems of this here dynamic.  Here is what I feel was the nail to the culinary coffin. My mom has been a vegetarian for about 25 or so years. At some points in her journey she adopted a vegan diet. My father however, was the extreme opposite, and enjoyed his meat product. This left is children with a constant swing vote which was mostly driven by craving, but at times by what my mom chose to include on the grocery list. 

I have no issues with a varied diet, none at all. My problem was that both parties expected a well balanced meal each evening, which left you cooking double the ordinarily required amount. So you would spend 20 minutes staring at two different pots of rice, for one evening’s sitting. Daunting does not begin to describe it.  

I needed an out so I found on in pasta. No one knew that whole wheat pasta existed at that point so the starch option was standard to all. Id create the same base and in the other pot substitute the vegetarian option with soy mince. This worked of course until my family realized that, that is all I ever prepared! 

I did explore in the kitchen, just as to know how far my skills did stretch, but my attitude towards cooking was tainted. Until recently…

My husband has always known that I can cook and bake. But, this was a basic chore, and these were mediocre meals until I learned what cooking means to me. 

I consider myself a ‘foodie’. I enjoy good food, I am knowledgeable about food and I have a relatively strong pallet. (Will blog about super tasters soon). Being able to add the preparation of good food to this list pleases me. I now cook and bake because I enjoy it. Immensely! I won’t deny the moments where the aim was simply to impress my husband lest he forget that he married a winner hahaha. 

Below is a display of desserts I prepared recently. A pumkin pie and an apple crumble. The recipes are not my own so I will not share them. This is simply testament that I have discovered the beauty in food and art in cooking. Despite the trauma of soy products. 

   

 

Loyiso MacDonald – Asaman 

Loyiso MacDonald is a South African theatre and television actor. He is also my husband and friend. Asaman sits down with him…

   

What was your favorite story as a child growing up? 

The three musketeers. A story filled with adventure, recklessness, courage and action. It’s the perfect ‘boy’ story really 

If you could describe the art of acting in one sentence, what would it be?

Acting is fully and unselfishly submersing one’s self into your imagination, in order to serve the telling of a story. 

In many interviews you have explained how you quit your day job in order for you to pursue acting. Is there any other career path you would have been willing to follow? 

The simple answer is no. It was acting or nothing. 

Asaman discusses the influence of men on a younger generation of men. Which male figure influenced who you are today the most? 

My father. I learnt a lot through his honest approach to life. He was never shy about the mistakes he had made in life, and I choose to live my life in the same way. 

People are more familiar with the chatacters you play, more than who Loyiso really is. Which chatacter can /do you relate to and how? 

In a way all of them. I have a unique connection to the characters I play, for many different reasons. Mainly, being an actor or rather playing a character is a very emotional experience, and even though I may not relate to a character’s specific experience, I can relate in some way to the emotion experienced. In other words I can empathize with all the characters I have played. 

You got married at what some would consider a young age, any regrets? 

No, I have no regrets. 

How has married life altered what would typically be your choices in terms of work and your social life? 

What social life?

 Married life comes with its own new and wonderful experiences, which can only improve how I work and how I approach my work. 

Why did you agree to be part of the Asaman campaign? 

Asaman is a unique venture, in that it seeks to galvanize men to work together, by sharing experiences and knowledge for the betterment of the community. 


I will limit my comments about Loyiso because I am mostly bias for obvious reasons. What I will attest to is his work ethic and his being grounded. 

This industry breeds all sorts of personality alterations. Loyiso has remained constant. 

Asaman is not a platform for me to share in my heart’s joys, so I will end here.  

 

#Asaman 

Photography by Aaron & Hur   



Nipho Mohlala – Asaman 

Asaman meets with 23 year old  Nhlakanipho Mohlala. He candidly shares his story.     

Tell me 3 things people do not know about you, which you feel they should  

I talk in my sleep (or so Im told). 

I am not comfortable with confrontation. 

I am fascinated by human behavior so when I am around people, I keep quiet and analyze them 

You recently graduated from University. Tell me about your qualification and the institution you attended

Yes, I was studying Commercial accounting at the University of Johannesburg and now I am studying Management accounting through CIMA.  We all know what this means? I’m supposed to to get a job and sit in a small office and take orders from someone with a Bcom Honors degree and live a routine lifestyle. Well, that is actually the plan for now, until I am properly settled in Johannesburg and I no longer have to rely on bursary funding.

Is what you studied for what you had always wished to pursue?

  Yes, I think it is which is why I am studying further. I just enjoy doing other things on the side. I don’t want to limit myself, I want to do everything I CAN do. If I have the time, why not?

  What is your involvement with Aaron & Hur?

  Well, as you already know that Aaron & Hur is a creative digital agency which is owned by a friend of mine (I plan to co-own it in future). So when it all started I enjoyed watching them do their work. With me coming from an accounting background I was forced to handle the finances. Until recently when I was allowed to start editing, producing videos and managing social media pages, which I must say has been a lot of fun. 

The Asaman campaign is aimed at creating support for young men. Did you receive a support system that you felt was adequate growing up?  

Well I grew up living with my mom and grandmother. I never really spent a lot of time with my dad, well he was really supportive, he played his role as a father. But, I am really glad I did not live with my father. That man is just like me, that amount of ‘weirdness’ under one roof would have been to much for his wife and kids. Okay, back to the support system. I would say it was adequate, because my mother was the one who taught me how to be a man. I had to learn that at an early age. I learnt how woman should be treated, what they like, what makes them happy and what makes them cringe. Those little things taught me to be a man. 

  From your experiences with men around you, what do you feel you can do better now for future generations? 

The men I grew up around believe that all men should do is work work work. Yes, there is nothing wrong with working for your family but in order to be a ‘close to perfect’ modern day man, your lifestyle should balance. Which is what I want to achieve. A healthy body, an educated mind and a fulfilled spirit. The modern day man should to take care of his body, must be hungry for knowledge and always try to be better than the man he was yesterday. Lastly, he must believe in something. I believe in God, and I believe faith is all a man needs when all else fails. 

What inspires you to get up and work each morning?  

I want to see my mother retire at 50. She’s turning 47 this year, so I must push harder. If I don’t take care of my mother,who will? 

What are your other interests and hobbies?

I really enjoy playing 30 seconds. That is the only thing I count as a hobby because I get paid for other things I enjoy doing. 



  What I find most fascinating about Nipho is his calm. His manners and etiquette are refreshing in an era where melo drama is common. His humor is also notable.  I could say more, but I will allow Nipho to speak for himself as he aspires to inspire.   

  “It doesn’t take any special talent to give up or lay down on the roadside of life and say ‘I quit’. What do you do when disappointment comes? When it weighs down on you like a rock? You either let it press you down until you are discouraged and devastated, or you use it as a stepping stone.” I must learn to apapt and adjust – Nipho Mohlala #Asaman 

Photography by Aaron & Hur 

Obsessive compulsive Me

There are patterns that exist, that make up my daily life. I do not take myself seriously enough for this to be considered a morbid post. No pity is permitted.

I have multiple anxiety disorders. I have very recently been exposed to truth regarding my previously inexplainable symptoms. OCD is the most obvious (to the observing eye) of these, so let me begin here.

The dictionary describes a disorder as the following; ‘a state of confusion’ ; ‘abnormality’; ‘problem that interupts normal fuction’ etc.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A mental and/or psychological abnormality. 

     OCD is categorized as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety, not being a strain of Influenza, is rarely discussed. This may be why we consider people with OCD “abnormal” instead of shamefully naming the psychological patterns that influence the presence of this disorder. 

I have repeatedly explained that my OCD is ‘slight’, fearing the ridicule that exists despite how far I argue my “normality”. Its hard to explain to a “normal” person how you cannot enjoy a meal on a disorganized table or in a messy area, because it simply makes you uncomfortable. 

Im taunted mostly by those closest to me. I dread to know how those who suffer more severe cases cope with the name calling, rolling of eyes and unnecessary pranks. If I had R50 for each time a friend purposefully disorganized objects around me to trigger a response, I would be writing this from my the sky, in a crystal ladden private jet.

Very few also know what to call their so called ‘over the top’ behavior regarding cleanliness, symmetry, etc. Considering my experience it may be a good thing they do not know after all. 

I am happy with my abnormality. It prompts attention to detail, cleanliness and less unnecessary chats in social messengers ( I text with a set amount of contacts at a time, in even numbers that rarely exceed 10). I plan to research further, in terms of its hereditry effects, so that some day I may teach my children to embrace and live their ‘normal’, what ever it may be.  


Photography 📷 by Aaron & Hur  

Asaman, Daddy Mohlala 

I met Daddy back in primary school in Witbank, Mpumalanga. I don’t recall much exchange in terms of interests or prospects. We were school mates and that was pretty much it. I did, however,  have a disturbing dream about Daddy that helped form a strong distaste for the school park. (Details will remain withheld) 

In later years, I came to know Daddy as a photographer and web designer amongst other things. I wont get too much into that in this particular post, however, that meeting speaks to how I became involved in a project, known as the Asaman campaign, that was conceptualized by Daddy Mohlala. 

‘As a man’ #Asaman is the abbreviated tag line for a newly developed campaign for South African men. The full title reads; ‘As a man thinketh so is he’. This suggests, as the original text would, that a man’s mental conditioning influences his chatacter and choices. The campaign was founded and is run by Aaron n’ Hur, the digital media company Daddy co-founded and works for. 

I had a conversation with Daddy in an attempt to better understand the ‘As a Man’ campaign concept and brand. 

  
What were your career prospects 5 years ago this time? 

I was caught between going into ministry  or becoming an entrepreneur.  I eventually left the church I was in because I felt I could never be an entrepreneur whilst everyone around me wished for me to be a pastor. 

Is photography a reflection of your personality and if so how? 

I cannot comment on photography being a reflection of my personality because I dont wish to be a ‘photographer’ per say. Photography is simply a service I offer in my business. 

Tell me about As a Man 

As a Man is a campaign hosted by Aaron & Hur, which features men who wish to engage and share in good value systems, success, and support mediums. Men who lead the kind of lives that will inspire younger men and boys to join them in the ranks of manhood. 

What do you aim to achieve with the As a Man campaign? 

I feel that this is an extraordinary time for the human race. 

There is a generation of God fearing young men & boys who are rising to the ranks of manhood. Some come from single parent homes. Some have been forced into adulthood by horrible experiences which also force them to take on the mantle. Others have graduated from Universities and colleges and are well on their way to becoming the men they wish to be. As a man was established as a means for all good men to start showing up. 

We just want a platform where men can connect more openly with other men, offering and receiving support,eventually creating a strong community of like minded men. 

Which men have been influencial in what forms your values and ideas?

My father,grandfather and pastors. 

Do you wish to be a father some day and what would that mean to you?

Definitely! I believe that being a father starts with the decisions I make way before a child is born. The most important decision for me is finding his/her mother,and marrying her. I have always been grateful to my dad for the type of woman he chose to mother me. 

Who would you like to see taking part in the Asaman campaign? 

Manhood is about being present not perfect. We are the ones we have been waiting for,we are the change we seek. We are seeking ordinary men who are willing to share their lives and life experiences with the world, for a better cause. 

What campaigns,projects,events etc will Asaman extend to in the future?

In a very digital age, I am still a fan of print. Im an avid collector of magazines. It is something we have wanted to do as a company for a while now, so print media is something we hope will materilize in the near future. We would like to host events and seminars where the men we have featured in the campaign can share and interact with those who have been impacted by the campaign. We will also venture into social development and support initiatives. 

What other services does Aaron & Hur offer? 

Aaron & Hur blends creativity and intergrated communication strategies, to create, enhance and reposition start up brands.

Our services include: 

• Graphic Design • Responsive website development • Photography • Branding

  
I personally took an interest in the campaign when it was introduced to me through my husband’s involvement. Yes, I am a woman. But, I do believe I, and many women like me, will benefit from a society (of men) influenced by positive ideals. Using photography as a medium for this campaign also excites me, because of my affiliation and passion with and for the Arts. 

With time, I may also take to bed some pressing questions I have had about men for the longest time. 

My involvement is that of a coordinator (campaign media material & events) and consultant. I also assist with social media and will be handling the features and write ups for this campaign till further notice. 

Behind every men’s campaign is a female friend with set skills and a bit of time on her hands. 

Facebook: Asaman 

Instagram: _asaman 

                    aaron_n_hur 

Or email:  aaronnhur@gmail.com

Website: aaron-hur.co.za 

Photography: Aaron & Hur 

 

Something to say

image

I always have something to say. I have days when talking is completely foreign and I go by on a maximum of five words,but best believe I always have something to say.
I prefer to speak of things that interest me,people that fascinate me and food that makes me tingle in parculiar places.
So I write. What a perfect extention of mental expression,and an intellectual art. In a era of short hand and social media,we have become disturbingly lazy when it comes to written communication. We destroy the English language on a daily and barely care to learn how to read or write other languages. We are very quick to remind others of our African heritage,but dare to construct a Zulu phrase?
So I decide to culture my mind and put in the time to say what I have to say intelligently.
I was hoping the blog ‘fad’ would blow over before are participated,but I can no longer put off the inevitable.
So here,I am about to say a whole lot 😉