all about friends

Tutu & PhindiI am sure Desmond Tutu needs no introduction – this post is about the girl standing next to him. And yes I know her. Personally.

The story starts back in early 2004 – I think – when Steve stumbled upon the OpenCafe just a few days after he arrived from Australia.

Steve came to South Africa to help out at the local Australian Football League. His plan was to set up a website for
the organization so that everyone in SA and Australia can follow the work Steve and his team was busy with. I never heard of the game of footy before – and I had no idea that I was soon to get to know footy players
and umpires that have been playing footy for quite a while here in South Africa.

So what is Footy?Footy actionAustralian Football, formally officially known as Australian Rules Football, is a fast paced and physically demanding game, with many skills transferable from other sports such as Soccer, Rugby and Basketball. Commonly, a player will need many components of fitness including strength, speed, endurance, agility and durability.There are some elements of the game that especially draws spectators from all
over the world. These are the spectacular goals from seemingly impossible situations, the precision with which players pass to team mates over long distances, fierce bumping and tackling, the long runs of an individual player when he decides to ‘do it himself’, and probably the most loved, the high mark (catch), when a player propels himself into the air and uses his opponent as a step ladder to catch the ball.(Click to read more…)

Steve workingSteve has become a regular at the cafe and we spent long hours gathering all info, text, photos and set up the site. He also did a lot of the admin – typed documents – sent e-mails and did all other admin that was necessary to manage things.However since the work was getting quite overwhelming to handle, and he couldn’t afford spending days and nights typing – he was thinking of finding someone that could help with taking care of the website and all other admin work while he is on the road managing workshops and footy clinics.One obvious candidate for the job was Phindi (then she was 17) – one of the young umpires from Ramatlabama who got involved with Australian Football in 2002 after it was introduced to her community by AFL development officer Dale Alsford, and she was one of the elected team to represent South Africa in Australia at the 2002 International Cup. She says – “It was a great experience although we lost because it was our first time.

One day Steve told me that he was thinking of arranging a trip for Phindi – to stay over for a few days in Potchefstroom. I offered that Phindi could stay with us for a few days – I could introduce her to the OpenCafe to make her stay more interesting. That was the first time I met her – she was excited to find out about the cafe and was quite interested in learning computer skills. She has a great personality, real easy-going, great sense of humour and is really open to learn new things, so she enjoyed her stay with us and we all had fun chatting to her about all sorts of things. A few days later Phindi went back home.
Later I heard that she completed a computer course and also that she
was to permenantly move to Potch from Ramatlabama.Phindi SFD

Once here she started working part-time for AFL South Africa and we designed a program for her for the afternoons which inlcuded learning computer skills and learning how to maintain the new footy site. Phindi kept to her program and learnt as many skills as she could about graphic & web design and website maintenance. In exchange for the skills she was always ready to help out – especially when we needed help with the students and our events. She became one of those very few
people that made the most of the facilities of the cafe and kept on with the programs and the training – no matter how hard it got sometimes with being alone in a new town with no close friends and family to support her.

These days Phindi is working full time for AFL as administrative assistant and she is also head of umpiring. She is managing the footy website, writes many of the stories for the site, takes care of all documentation, e-mails, and everything else that has something to do with the organization’s computers. She has travelled all around South Africa and – she has also been to Australia to study umpiring and is busy organizing a nationwide network for umpires in South Africa – and as you see she gets to meet & work with great people along the way.

Phindi – happy happy 21st!!! Many thanks for becoming one of the Linux chix:) You are not only an qualified umpire but also an OpenCafe graduate – and I hope that in the next 3 years you will achive many more of your dreams and get to meet and work with many more people like the Archbishop!


What started? The ArtMarketOnline project. Our projects normally start spontaneously – and develop as we go along – we don’t do too much planning really before we start a project. In fact projects are a way of life – rather than something that starts at a certain day and ends one year later.

[rockyou id=61337707&w=324&h=243]

FiredanceI met Netanya long before the official launch of the OpenCafe (October 21, 2004).

I told her to bring all her jewelry – we take photos and make her a website – so that she can market her work. I also said I’d teach her web design so that she can make her own sites as well. She was really keen to do all of that and would come around often to carry own her Internet studies. In the process I also got to know her – an amazing person full of creativity – and the readiness to make something out of “nothing” every single day.

Though she was the very first person I started to work with as part of ArtMarketOnline – she is still “the artist” that fits my definition of “the ultimate ArtMarketArtist“. She has been taking care of her site since the day we met, she used the opportunity to spend time daily at the cafe, typed in all her poems, compiled her own book and was one of the first person in South Africa to realease a book under an open license.

Netanya – thank you for all your hardwork – it helped me shape ArtMarketOnline – all the ideas you came up with is still the foundation that keeps it all together! 🙂

If you are an artist and would like to participate in this project in any way – or you have some comments/suggestions for shaping this initiative – please leave your comment on this blog!

Visit Netanya’s site to find out more about her projects.

Rainbow Warrior

“There will come a time when the earth is sick and the animals and plants begin to die. Then the Indians will regain their spirit and gather people of all nations, colors and beliefs to join together in the fight to save the Earth:
The Rainbow Warriors.”

– Ancient Native American prophecy

Rainbow Warrior is the name of a series of ships operated by Greenpeace. ”

This blog was created instead of an “About” page – and is meant to explain some of the reasons for us starting projects like the OpenCafe and ArtMarketOnline.One’s life changes according the experiences one goes through and the people one meets.

I have met amazing people and I also went through a lot of nonsense up till today – this is how I ended up in South Africa running our open source projects.

Recently I met Abri – who happened to arrive at the cafe right before our Software Freedom Day.

First he said – “This is a cool place” – and a few days later he came back saying “So what can I do to help?” and he never stopped helping since then. He has been unbelievably supportive in everything that we did, very very friendly with all the “OpenCafe people” – he has never met before – he has infinite knowledge of Linux related topics – I am telling you – you don’t easily come accross a guy like this. During the few days we spent together he taught us all about Greenpeace, energy saving bulbs, Free BSD, the freecycle project and many other great things I have never heard about.

Abri – thanks for all the support – here in the cafe one rarely feels like – “Now I can just sit and the cafe runs itself” – during our events – it did feel like that many times – it really felt like you were running the project as if it was your own.

Before the OpenCafe Abri worked on the Rainbow Warrior – a Greenpeace ship – the Rainbow Warrior is used as a support vessel for many Greenpeace protest activities against seal hunting, whaling, and nuclear weapons testing.

Here is how Abri talks about it in a Green peace blog entry:


“The Warrior was docked at Incheon – a small town near Seoul, South Korea, where I have been living for the past five years. It was on a campaign against whaling.

One of my friends called me up and told me that he heard that there would be an ‘open day’ on the ship. I wasn’t feeling very academic that day, so I decided to skip Korean class, and go look at the ship instead.

The visit to the ship must have made a tremendous impression on me, because after the open day, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and all the amazing things that Greenpeace does. For the next week, I did my everyday things as usual, but the Rainbow Warrior was always in the back of my mind. I was corresponding with some of the crew via email, and it was through them that I heard that there would be another open day, this time in Busan.

The day before the ship was due to arrive I zipped south to Korea’s second largest city on their new bullet train system. I had the name of the place where the Warrior was to dock, a crummy tourist map, my compass and my GPS. I guesstimated the direction I should head, and stared hiking. After 5 hours of walking along some beautiful seaside trails, I found it – The Korean Maritime University! Having found my destination, I decided to head for a backpacker’s hostel and get some rest.

After getting up at 3:30 on a misty morning, I headed back to the university. It was just starting to get light when I arrived. After hanging around for a while, I saw a “Korea Friends of the Environment Movement” minibus drive by me. I started walking in the general direction it was driving. A few minutes later, they came back and asked me if I was with Greenpeace.

While I was helping them set up their inflatable welcome-boat, cameramen and reporters from the local news agencies started arriving.

Where before there was only hazy mist over the sea, the faded shape of the bow of the Rainbow Warrior gradually started to appear. It was truly beautiful, and I felt so excited! As it got closer I could see people, and it wasn’t long before I started recognising some faces! Gina, the volunteer from Fiji who gave me the first open day tour, was the first of the crew to recognize me!

So, then it started; I followed the ship around from port to port, as it travelled around Korea. Because I could speak some Korean and I know how things work there, I was soon helping the crew out with things like changing money, and finding obscure parts for the ship.

Next thing I knew I was standing on the deck of the Rainbow Warrior, watching the land that has been my home for half a decade slowly fade into the horizon.”

Click here – to see them:-)

I have known Eostar since the beginning of our university years – since that time we both learnt so much, travelled a lot and learnt new skills – she has become an exceptional artist – now living in California – she is also one of the ArtMarketOnline artist – click here to visit her art site and here to see her healing site.

For both of us – the Calcutta trio’s weekly club evenings have been a door to new worlds, new concepts – this is what Eostar says about the trio:

“One night Anna took me to the Calcutta Trio’s concert. What a shock! My ears were hurting with the unusual scales, my being rebelled to the perceived dissonance that these never-heared ragas presented. It was really hard to sit still for hours listening to the odd melodies and watching people sitting still, emotionless, in a meditative state. My body and soul rebelled. And yet my spirit caught something that was in the air – a vibration so well remembered from past lives lived in India – the smell of chai tea in the interval. I knew this smell so well! And then seeing the beutiful tapestries they were covering the stage with brought up a breath of magic that was unexplainable. I was familiar with incence from India – that was not a surprise – but they added a lot to the magic. The beautiful Indian tunics they wore mesmerized my eyes.
So, eventually, even though the music hurt my ears, I left feeling an odd resonance with everything the Calcutta Trio presented. I was hooked!
Later I became a regular and got used to the “odd” scales and rythms. What’s more, Classical Indian Music became an organic part of my life.
The Calcutta Trio’s “Indian Music Club” that was happening every Monday in those days added an element of magic and remembrance to my life, bringing out parts of me that wanted to be alive, felt and acknowledged. I feel great gratitude to them to this day. Namaste!”