September 2017

My First Karaoke Uitreik Experience
by Jennifer du Toit on Sep 5, 2017

Wake up! was the first thing that jumped into my mind as I woke up at 06:00 on a Saturday morning. The next thought was, it’s Karaoke Uitreik today. Usually this time on a weekend would be a disaster for me, as I’m quite the opposite of a morning person, but not this day. This was the day I would be an extra pair of hands on the set of the third episode, featuring Mishka Patel. Whilst preparing for the day, I happened to notice the stunning sunrise from my backyard, and even with it being a slightly damp morning, this reaffirmed my belief that it would be a wonderful day.

I began my assistance in the car en route to Bidvest McCarthy Volkswagen Parow with Niki and Riaan, by downloading the song they would be singing that day, Baby Tjoklits, and promptly getting it stuck in my head on endless loop as a result.

Being my first experience in anything film related, I was very much a fish out of water. Photographer I am not, but I enjoyed Niki putting me up to the task of capturing “BTS”, which of course means behind-the-scenes. This consisted of me snapping away at the team setting up cameras, sound and script.

Then, they were off.

As they drove to pick up Pasella presenter, Mishka Patel, from her residence in Somerset West and record the karaoke segment, I drove with Marcel to Jan Kriel School to continue camera set-up on location. There, we met up with Camera B operator and producer, Dylan Louw, as well as meeting the rest of the cast that consisted of Jan Kriel Headmaster, Gerrit Odendaal, vice principal Mariet Oosthuizen, Jan Kriel Institute Representative Fanie Heroldt and two students from the school, Liam and Sumarie.

Once filming began, I stood and watched the interviews taking place (also assisting, as we do) and I listened to Liam, who has a passion for being on camera and motivational speaking. I came to know that he dreams of being an actor one day, and his favourite quote is, “choose a career you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” I watched Sumarie, a soft-spoken young lady who was approached by the school to take part in the Mr & Miss Jan Kriel, and, excitingly enough, won said pageant. She spoke about how her twin sister motivates her in life and her motto is to “never quit.” Of all the things that were said that Saturday, the way Liam ended his interview rocked me the most: “for every disability, there’s a stronger ability.”

Once filming had been wrapped up at around 13:00, everyone packed up the equipment, and we drove back to from where we came. We were tired, but the good kind, and happy. It had been a delightful day.

I got to learn more of the ins and the outs of what goes into recording something like this in the most perfect way possible. The photographers were perfectly patient in answering my numerous questions about how the smallest details work, and the sound technician allowed me to hear what he hears and how the equipment has the ability to pick up the faintest of sounds. My expectation when arriving for the day was certainly to broaden my technological knowledge, but I had no idea that I would leave not only with more knowledge, but I had been inspired and motivated by these youngsters, who have a more positive outlook on life than the majority of adults I know. I learned that very little is needed to make a happy life, it is all within yourself and your way of thinking, as well as what it means to work for a cause and not for applause.


August 2017

The Day the Magician Didn’t Show Up
by Niki de Wet on Aug 18, 2017

Most of us speak about doing charity work one day, or donating thousands of rands towards a cause as soon as we have the means to do so, but in reality it doesn’t always happen. I used to be like that. It was as if there was a fear of helping or a fear of not really helping once I get there. One day, the opportunity arose and there was no room for excuses any longer. I raised my hand in church during a call to outreach, and for the first time, I was a volunteer.

Following this outreach, I had been working on an event that was adamant to involve charity. Having volunteered previously, I suggested the same place I had been and this shelter became the official charity of our event. The first time I visited the shelter, I had been tasked with painting and there hadn't been any opportunity to spend time with the women and children there. This time would be different.

My boss at the time had suggested that we do a “donations drive” a week before the event and, following this, go spend the day there. As I started planning our mini pre-charity event I managed to secure enough food, cold drink and sweets for all the mommies and children. I even managed to organise a magician that would be the main attraction.

Finally the the day arrived, I’m at the event, the chairs and food are set up, the children are sitting in their seats waiting for something to happen. I’m walking up and down at the front gate trying to contact the magician who appears to have fallen off the face of the earth. That was my main act. I had absolutely no idea what to do. Then, like an angel, Kim Jayde Robinson appeared. After some discussion, all of us decided that the best thing to do was let the kiddies eat so long, after which the mommies joined in.

 Whilst handing out food, we decided that we were not going to sit and cry over spilt milk, but rather play games with the children ourselves. Kim and I got the music playing, constructed two rows of chairs and started to play musical chairs. This is something that we grew up playing, but these children almost had no idea what it was. They loved it! They say the best sound is that of children’s laughter, and it was there in abundance that day. They were overjoyed. After a good game of musical chairs, we moved over to dance battles. One would not believe how dancing brought out the deepest joy in these children. Some of the moves were silly and others very talentful. We announced our winners who then received a tiny cash prize, one that made them scream in celebration. As the energy of the games lessened, it was time to quiet it down, and I asked a friend of mine, Anel Visser, with the most beautiful singing voice, to perform a song for the children. One moment later and all of us joined in singing Amazing Grace, the Hillsong version. For a moment, money didn’t matter, status didn’t matter and everyday pain was gone. 

I stood in front of everyone, said thank you, and that we were blessed to spend the day with these beautiful souls. All of a sudden, children were charging at Kim and I, and threw their little arms around us, embracing us and thanking us for the day. Their moms came to us with tears in their eyes, telling us how special their time with us was. Then it dawned on me, a magician would’ve ruined the day, as we would not have had the opportunity to spend time with these children, to get to know a bit more about who they are and experience their wonderful personalities.

This day taught me the importance of interaction. Many people donate money, give clothes or food, but very few actually take the time to give love, which is the most important thing anyone needs. If all of us could just give more love, and it doesn’t even have to be to the needy, but maybe to that colleague that you dislike, or the neighbor you never greet, or the lady packing your food at the grocery store, then maybe our world wouldn’t have so much darkness and sadness in it.

So smile at that random person, compliment that girl with the insecurities, or laugh at the awkward guy’s joke, because true magic lives within us. You never know whose life you could be changing.