Its never too late to be an artist

    After receiving a box Brownie camera on her tenth birthday and falling in love with photography Narda Ruben ventured forth pursuing various forms of creativity. She graduated from Wits University where she majored in languages and music with art history as a favourite subject, she then moved to England to enrol at Eling Film Studios in London where she did everything from script writing to sound editing.

She met her future husband, Leon, doing set designs there and the two of them hitch-hiked around still war-torn Europe for a number of months visiting music festivals, galleries and theatres.

But she returned to South Africa and continued to move around the country, place to place, working first for Film Services, doing a UNISA librarianship course, joining the Provincial Library services and starting a film club that created many feature films on different aspects of native life in the Transkei. Finally, she moved back to Cape Town with Leon in a senior position and herself teaching photography at the Cape Town Tech.

Years later, when retiring from teaching photography, Narda and a friend started a film school in Cape Town. Her film students achieved many gold awards in international competitions, and as a result of her creative film works she was invited to London to accept the first prize for the World Amateur Film Awards. It was when she finally retired from films and needed a hip replacement that she began to experiment with art photography (her first love). She had always been fascinated with light and what it could do both inside and outside of the camera, revealing and preserving moments of intense at-oneness with the wonders around.

Gaudi's statement "To be original you have to return to the origin" inspired her to use sunlight as the origin of her 'writing with light', allowing the light to bring the picture to her instead of her capturing the light reflected from the subject. She places glass objects on the ground where the sun can shine through them from the back, originally expecting that it would make interesting abstract patterns, but when the light played around on the inside walls of glass, it made real pictures for her. She feels that sometimes when the light is changing and she is looking at a scene, but also into it and beyond it, there seems to be small moments when a more mysterious world, almost another reality, shines through. And those are the moments she tries to capture.

Currently in her mid eighties, Narda Rubens will be exhibiting her photographic art at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery from 12 July - 28 July 2012. Her newfound creativity with photography shows the subject matter as a new and different aspect of itself, and confirms that it is never too late to be an artist.

For more information visit Ann Bryant's website.

Narda Rubens

New fertility microscope boosts IVF pregnancy rates

A sophisticated new microscope called the Embryoscope has been installed at Care (the UK's biggest private provider of fertility services) in Manchester, UK. The microscope makes it possible for fertility doctors to monitor the growth and activity of each stage of the developing fertilised egg continuously for up to five days.

Images are taken every few minutes and viewed as time lapse video by the embryologists until the point of embryo transfer, usually three or five days later. The remarkable time-lapse images show the egg dividing first into two cells, then four and so on until the developing embryo is ready to implant in the womb.

Currently, clinic staff have to remove the developing embyro from its IVF incubator to view it under a microscope and can only be done once a day. With the new technology, any abnormal changes in the development, jeopardising the chance of a successful pregnancy, can be spotted and the respective egg discarded so only the best quality ones with the best chance of creating a healthy pregnancy are transferred to the womb.

So far over 1500 embryos from 200 patients have been monitored using the device, boosting pregnancy rates to one in every two couples achieving a successful pregnancy. Additionally, parents who successfully have a baby using the new technique can obtain a video of this beautiful "start-of-life" moment.

Source : The Telegraph


Making beer at home is on the increase

Beer is one of the world's oldest prepared beverages, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9500 BC, when cereal was first farmed, and is recorded in the written history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The earliest known chemical evidence of barley beer dates to circa 3500-3100 BC from the site of Godin Tepe in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran.

Almost any substance containing sugar can naturally undergo alcoholic fermentation. It is likely that many cultures, on observing that a sweet liquid could be obtained from a source of starch, independently invented beer in its various forms. The Ebla tablets, discovered in 1974 in Ebla, Syria and date back to 2500 BC, reveal that the city produced a range of beers, including one that appears to be named "Ebla" after the city.

Beer, mainly brewed on a domestic scale, was spread through Europe by Germanic and Celtic tribes as far back as 3000 BC. Alongside the basic starch source, the early European beers contained fruits, honey, numerous types of plants, spices and other substances such as narcotic herbs. What they did not contain was hops, as that was a later addition, first mentioned in Europe around 822 by a Carolingian Abbot and again in 1067 by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen.

In 1516, William IV, Duke of Bavaria, adopted the Reinheitsgebot (purity law), perhaps the oldest food-quality regulation still in use in the 21st century, according to which the only allowed ingredients of beer are water, hops and barley-malt.

Locally, home beer brewing has been on the increase with microbreweries popping up all over the country. Home beer brewing kits are now more accessible and the number of local supply shops selling hops, yeasts, other ingredients and paraphernalia are increasing to support this new industry. Cape Town's newest microbrewery, Devil's Peak Brewing Company, has recently revealed the label for their First Light Golder Ale which will go on sale soon with their Kings Blockhouse IPA and Woodhead Amber Ale.

And to confirm that this is no myth, over 15 of the finest brewers from around the country will unite in July at the Hop 'n Vine festival with Cape chefs, cooking cuisine designed to pair perfectly with the wide range of beers and wines on show. The event celebrates the craft of brewing in a friendly atmosphere that will allow festival goers to chat with the brewers about the brewing process and can taste fresh, crisp Belgian witbier and warming winter stouts.

For more information on brewing your own beer visit DIY Beer or the Hop 'n Vine festival.

Home Brewed Beer

Eastern is king

A true gem, whether you pop in for takeaways or join in the frenetic vibe during peak hours, is the Eastern Food Bazaar in Cape Town. Originally, the Wellington Fruit Growers' Market, running through a narrow 1934 building in a corridor from Longmarket to Darling Street, the food bazaar is now the upmarket reinvention of the food court concept and offers unbelievable prices, with meals from R15 to R35, relying on high turnover, no-frills service and volume.

The walls are lined with Moghul paintings, ornate wooden screens and elegant Indian designs carved into teak doors framed by columns to create a faux Indian lane. The floor is paved with stones to suggest a cobbled road and above the sitting area hang chandeliers and wooden buckets. Chairs and tables, some with granite tops stand along one side opposite a battery of stainless-steel food stalls and halfway down the corridor is a basin with taps for washing your hands.

With the exotic smells and the lively, bustling crowd, the atmosphere is jolly and congenial. Most of the stalls are Indian offering Cape-style biryanis, creamy North Indian curries and real tandoor dishes. The whole spice spectrum from Bombay to the Bo-Kaap is covered - and deliciously so - behind several counters, but there is an Istanbul stall that dishes up shwarma and hummus with perfectly cooked chips and a salad garnish, a China Town stall that serves chicken, panee or vegetables, Manchurian or Szechwan style, each either ginger or chilli, with fried rice or noodles, and a Kebab Counter that serves tandoori chicken, tikka lamb and shish kebab. There are lost of choices for vegetarians, and the various savoury snacks (like filled puri) are not to be missed.

Once a selection has been made from the menu boards above the food counters (pictures of each meal are also displayed to help with the difficult choice of which delicious meal to order), the food is then ordered and paid for at a central counter. The payment receipt is finally handed over to the cooks behind the original food counter of choice who then prepare and serve the delicious meals to you.

The food market opens from 11am and closes at 9pm, but the buzz starts around noon, again at twilight and empties around 8:30pm. Businessmen in suits and ladies in heels come in for lunch, while for dinner it is the younger crowd loving the true Capetonian experience and families and their extended relatives that crowd around the tables sharing the tasty food with jovial chitchat.

Visit the Eastern Food Bazaar website for more details on their menu choices.

Eastern Food Bazaar

Hot News

Focus on Nature

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Artjamming are hosting a two day public event in an effort to help save elephants from the ivory trade. Cavendish Square 11 - 12 July 2012.

The annual Knysna Oyster Festival including the Knysna Forest Marathon and Cycle Tour allow runners and cyclists the opportunity to travel through the ancient indigenous forests of Knysna and experience the scenic beauty of the area. Knysna 6 - 15 July 2012

Featured Plant

Crassula Ovata

Crassula Ovata
(Jade Plant)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous succulent to 3m with medicinal leaves.

Flowering time :


Conditions :

  • Sun / semi shade
  • Average Water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost resistance
  • Well drained soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Rose 2010

Winery : De Grendel
Winemaker : Charles Hopkins

Description :

This attractive, strawberry pink coloured Rose is a blend of Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Aroma : Ample fruit of raspberries, strawberries and watermelon.

Palate : Crisp, dry finish with a very well structured natural acidity.

Winemaking : Grapes are hand-picked then juice left in contact with skins for 6 hours to extract the colour.

Food Pairing : A great summer cooler to be drunk now on its own or with sushi or a fresh salad.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • None
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    May's Teaser Answer :
    "Travel overseas"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82