Open art on the street

    Gareth Pearson (who is behind initiatives like Cape Town Bicycle Commuter, TEDxStellenbosch and East City Alley) wants to get people walking. Specifically, he wants to get them walking around the city, at night, in quieter areas, where they wouldn't usually be.

A daunting task, one would think, especially in a South Africa where cruising the sidewalks after dark is anathema to most of the population. But so far, the Stellenbosch business strategy graduate has managed to entice more than a good few pavement-phobic Capetonians out onto the streets with a once monthly free art walk called First Thursdays.

Started in London to make art galleries and museums more accessible to the public, the event, which encourages exhibition spaces to stay open until 9pm with no entrance charge on the first Thursday of the month, has fast taken hold across the globe to Europe and USA. And thanks to Gareth's city-loving street smarts, Cape Town has been part of this legion of participating cities since November 2012, giving citizens a chance to bounce from venue to venue and enjoy a nightlife that doesn't necessarily have to do with upper Long Street.

Besides wanting to increase traffic on the sidewalks in the evening (and change people's perceptions of the CBD), another aim of First Thursdays in Cape Town is to encourage a gallery going culture and get people who wouldn't really consider themselves the art viewing types into exhibition spaces. In fact, most of the participating galleries have noted that at the monthly event they've seen a totally new crowd and a lot more people in those few hours than they would usually see on an ordinary day.

As for the folk who participate, they are not just attracted by the novel way to experience art, but also by the excitement and energy generated by a large crowd of people patrolling the streets at night on a common mission.

The First Thursdays art walk starts at 5pm and most of the galleries stay open until 9pm (some close at 8pm). Browsers can start at any gallery on the map, work their way around in any order they like and also pop into one of the many great places to eat and drink along the route.

View First Thursday's website to find the date for the next event and to view the map of participating venues.

first thursday

Nose cells help a man walk

Darek Fidyka, a Bulgarian man, who was completely paralysed from the waist down in 2010, can walk again after a recent British-funded surgical breakthrough. Professor Geoffrey Raisman and his team at University College London's Institute of Neurology discovered the technique which offers hope to millions of people who are disabled by spinal cord injuries.

The surgery was performed by a Polish team led by one of the world's top spinal repair experts, Dr Pawel Tabakow, from Wroclaw Medical University, and involved transplanting nerve-supporting olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) from the nose to the spinal cord (specialist cells that form part of the sense of smell).

In the first of two operations, surgeons removed one of Darek's olfactory bulbs and grew the cells in culture and two weeks later in the second operation, transplanted (in around 100 micro-injections) the OECs into the spinal cord, which had been severed in a knife attack resulting in his paralysis in 2010.

OECs act as pathway cells that enable nerve fibres in the olfactory system to be continually renewed. The scientists believe the OECs provided a pathway to enable fibres above and below the injury to reconnect, using the nerve grafts to bridge the gap in the cord.

Relocated to the spinal cord, they appear to enable the ends of severed nerve fibres to grow and join together - something that was previously thought to be impossible.

The 38-year-old, who is believed to be the first person in the world to recover from complete severing of the spinal nerves, can now walk with a frame and has been able to resume an independent life, even to the extent of driving a car, while sensation has returned to his lower limbs.

Sources : Medical News Today.

Spinal cord growth

Wall mosaics from coconuts

When thinking of mosaics, we naturally visualise colourful glass tiles in a picture pattern, or complimentary shades of coloured tiles in a checkered pattern, but with the focus being directed towards sustainable materials and industries, the natural sources of coconut and bamboo are being considered for various new applications - including wall and floor coverings and in this case, coco mosaics.

Cocomosaic tiles are hand-made by cutting coconut shells into small, perfectly sized squares, and then bonding the squares into larger tiles. The coconut shells used are either collected by local people, or are obtained as the waste products from the processing of coconut flesh and coconut milk.

Various colours and finish effects are available, obtained by using either the inside or the outside of the shells, and/or by making use of polishing techniques and paint effects. The Cocomosaic tiles form a stylish, richly textured, warm and exotic but elegant cladding.

These products are viable options when deciding on a eco-friendly material, as they are made from natural materials that would otherwise be discarded. Only water-based, low emission glues, lacquers and paints are used in manufacturing the coconut mosaic products.

For more information on the various products visit Coco Mosaic's website.

Coco mosaic

Pot Luck meals

    Definition :a meal, especially for a large group, to which participants bring various foods to be shared or a meal with whatever is available or comes one's way.

Since the Pot Luck Club opened in 2013, it has become one of the most popular places to dine in Cape Town. Its success being innovative cuisine, served in a relaxed yet edgy environment in a part of Cape Town that had never really attracted an evening dining crowd.

The focal point which has become signatory to Luke Dale-Roberts' restaurants is the open plan kitchen illuminated by studio lighting and giving the impression of a stage. At the centre of this striking stage is any professional chef's dream, a 1.4 metre Robatta grill and a range of Power woks. These are the engines that drive the majority of Pot Luck's hot dishes imparting authentic flavours and colour.

Drawing from the best of the original Pot Luck Club situated right next door to the world renowned Test Kitchen, the new restaurant features the very popular plate-sharing concept. Sharing-plates are cleverly divided into flavour profiles: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami.

Pot Luck's food and menus are based on the inspiration Dale Roberts has gained from his extensive travels to South America, Europe, Asia and Africa and his food is ever evolving with new dishes being developed on a regular basis.

For more information visit The Pot Luck Club website.

The Pot Luck Club

Hot News

Propagation begins

Our second batch of plants for our nursery is ready for propagation. Spring weather has the flowers blooming and the splashes of colour are inspiring to see in our budding nursery.

Featured Plant

Arctotis Acaulis

Arctotis Acaulis
(Renoster Arctotis)

Family :


Description :

Showy groundcover to 200mm with bright pink flowers on stalk.

Flowering time :

Spring - Summer

Conditions :

  • Full sun
  • Little water
  • Evergreen
  • Some frost resistance
  • Wind resistant
  • Well drained soil

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

Design idea feature

Design idea feature

Consider lighting opportunities in your exterior living area. Small spaces between the floor and wall, under benches and shelves, in recessed nookies, under steps and deck edges are perfect locations for LED strip lighting. Strip lighting can be obtained in waterproofed strips, making them perfect for outdoors and all kinds of weather.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Red lettuce

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


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • 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

    September's Teaser Answer :
    "Sexy Underwear"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82