Category Archives: Allycats Public Relations

The ugly truth about depression and substance abuse

Research indicates a connection between mood disorders like depression and substance abuse, says social worker Karen Griessel, who has helped dozens of people kick addiction through Wedge Gardens’ professional treatment programme.

Sanca-affiliated Wedge Gardens has developed a holistic treatment programme based on multi-disciplinary interventions that focus on assessment, behaviour change, family and community integration and recovery care within the life cycle of addiction, from onset to the later years.

“People diagnosed with a mood disorder are twice as likely to abuse substances and one-third of people with depression have an alcohol problem. People who are depressed may drink or abuse drugs to lift their mood or escape from feelings of guilt or despair. But substances like alcohol, which is a depressant, can increase feelings of sadness or fatigue,” says Karen.

She explains that people can experience depression after the effects of drugs wear off or as they struggle to cope with how the addiction has impacted their life. “A drink or two or a line of cocaine might temporarily relieve some symptoms, but the backlash when the chemical leaves the body brings the depression to new lows. This withdrawal depression happens each time chemicals leave the body. This can trigger the use of more alcohol or drugs because they will help get rid of the bad feelings.”

Those who suffer from depression are combating more than just occasional sadness. Many times, the symptoms of depression manifest physically as well as mentally. Some of the symptoms include the following: aches and pains, sleeplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, weight issues, sleeping too much, no energy, crying, worthlessness, irritability, suicide and general loss of interest in life. Some roots of depression include brain functioning, environment and childhood experiences, genetics, situational factors and chemical imbalances in the brain.

“It’s not clear fact which comes first – addiction or depression. Some people develop alcoholism or drug addiction first while others develop depression first. Because drug-use symptoms can imitate the symptoms of depression, it can be difficult to diagnose depression when a person is actively using,” she says.

A person who abuses a substance may also develop depression. For instance, the person may abuse a substance, become addicted, and eventually it affects their life negatively. These effects may contribute to developing depression as it alters the levels of serotonin.

On the other hand, people who have depression may abuse a substance to self-medicate and treat the problem. Although substance abuse may be used to relieve symptoms, chemical intoxication can make depressive episodes more severe, increasing the frequency and intensity of negative thoughts and self-destructive behaviour. “Typically, this is only a temporary solution, as the substance abuse worsens the depression over time. Drug or alcohol dependency can cause a great deal of hardship across all spectrums of life and ultimately worsen the person’s depression.”

The World Health Organisation states that 350 million reported people suffer from depression, half of which won’t receive treatment.

Treatment for depression and substance abuse generally includes the use of both medications and therapy. Antidepressants may be used to stabilise mood, and various medications may be used as needed to moderate withdrawal from substances of abuse. Therapy makes up the backbone of treatment, addressing issues related to both disorders. A rehab programme that addresses both depression and addiction may help to stop the progression of both disorders and empower the individual to build a healthy, sober life.

“Someone who had depression before they began to abuse substances will most likely need treatment, including medication intervention, for a longer time than someone whose depression was caused by the cycle of addiction.

“Depression is a chronic, progressive illness that may get worse without treatment. The only way to treat this serious disorder effectively is through professional therapeutic interventions, such as behavioural modification, support groups, motivational therapy and antidepressant medications.”

* Wedge Gardens can be reached at 011 430 0320. You can also ‘like’ Wedge Gardens on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WedgeGardensTreatmentCentre) or follow them on Twitter (@WedgeGardens)

 

On the straight and narrow, thanks to people who care

A little bit of civic-mindedness and concern for others goes a long way. This is what young Lebogang Tsebe of Alexandra experienced when his mother refused to allow him to ruin his life.

Sylvia Tsebe is part of the housekeeping staff at Rand Aid’s Inyoni Creek retirement village. Last year, she unburdened herself at work, saying how she feared for her young son who was using drugs and refusing to go to school.

Rand Aid also manages a substance abuse treatment centre called Wedge Gardens. “We approached Wedge Gardens for guidance and Lebogang was put on a waiting list to be admitted to the centre for treatment,” explains Jenny Tonkin, Inyoni Creek’s manager.

Eventually, a space became available and Lebogang spent the next three months as a resident of Wedge Gardens, where he benefited from the professional programme that is run. It is a holistic programme based on multi-disciplinary interventions that focus on assessment, behaviour change, family and community integration and recovery care.

The centre has a limited number of state subsidised beds.

At the end of last year, Lebogang returned home – clean, sober and full of hope. Sylvia knew that without an education, Lebogang would battle to get a job and without a constructive way to keep himself busy, his chances of relapse were greater. She again turned to the management team at Inyoni Creek.

Deputy complex manager Marinda Looyen suggested that Lebogang go and see what courses were available at the Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre in Kempton Park, where Inyoni Creek sends its staff for training.

“On applying at the college, he was given a full bursary and is doing a three-year course to be trained as a mechanic,” says Jenny, smiling when she remembers how Lebogang – now 19 – arrived at their offices recently to thank them for all they had done to help him.

Get your free 2018 Kruger Lowveld Visitors’ Guide

Kruger Lowveld Tourism’s 2018 Official Visitors’ Guide to the region, which now features a pull-out map in the front of the guide, is now available!

The guide – an appetiser to the Kruger Lowveld region – not only offers sound travel advice and interesting travel tips, but this year also features an exciting seven-day itinerary including Kaapschehoop and Barberton; Mbombela, White River and Hazyview; the iconic Kruger National Park; Hoedspruit; the Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon; Graskop, Pilgrim’s Rest and Sabie; and Lydenburg and Dullstroom.

“The itinerary provides visitors to the region with tips on various things to do and see in these areas, whilst our 10 scenic routes section showcases the absolute beauty and grandeur of the Kruger Lowveld,” says Lisa Sheard, KLT’s Executive Director and Marketing Consultant.

This year’s guide book also shares exciting information about the top adventure activities in the area, including the recently launched Graskop Gorge Viewing Lift; Skyway Trails; the Long Tom Toboggan; Avian Adventures Flying Club; and Gap Tours and Transfers.

And, of course, there’s everyone’s favourite section – 10 Little Gems – which showcases yet another ten tourism products that are unusual and exciting from the Mariepskop Hiking Trail and the CMDA Celebration of Music, to the Madilika Craft Centre, the Country Farm Stall and Orchid Nursery and the Kruger National Park’s Tshokwane Trading Post and Picnic Site.

“This year we have also included five extraordinary things to do in the Kruger Lowveld, from an exciting artists’ route and extraordinary places to sleep in the Kruger National Park to rock climbing in Waterval Boven,” says Sheard.

The back of the guide serves as a directory of many of the preferred products and services that you can book in the Kruger Lowveld region, from accommodation and restaurants, to various tours and adventures.

The 2018 Official Visitors’ Guide is available at Kruger Lowveld Tourism head office and information offices around the region. Come and get yours now! For more information, visit krugerlowveld.com or contact 013 755 1988.

SA tourism on a high Graskop Gorge Lift

Graskop Gorge Lift Co has created a tourism storm since opening at the end of December.

The centre – which boasts Africa’s first viewing lift – opened its doors to the public in mid-December, even though the lift itself only started operating on December 30. People visited to see the breath-taking view from the deck and restaurant and to enjoy a meal or drink.

“News of the opening of South Africa’s newest and most innovative tourism development – situated on the Panorama Route in Mpumalanga – was received with excitement by the country’s social media consumers. The Graskop Gorge Lift Co’s best performing non-boosted Facebook post reached 11 781 people; it received 705 reactions, comments or shares, and 495 likes. The post was a photo of the lift, with the mountains in the background, and was posted on January 11,” says of the directors, Oupa Pilane.

A video of the development posted on December 30 – the day the lift became operational – was viewed 7 787 times.

From mid-December, when the restaurant and bar opened to the public, until the end of that month, there were 8 999 visitors to the site. Total visitor count for January was 15 831.

On Christmas Day, 2 018 people visited the centre, and on its second day of operation, on December 31, 382 people bought tickets to ride the lift.

Whilst the lift, which travels 51m down the cliff face of the Graskop Gorge, was a feat of engineering skill to construct, it is the Afromontane forest below that is at the heart of this development.

In South Africa, Afromontane forests cover only 0.5% of the country’s land area. They occur in pockets along mountain ranges in well-watered areas, including ravines and south-facing slopes. Under the vivid green canopy of trees lies a lush wonderland filled with a spectacular variety of plants, animals, insects and birds.

The Graskop Gorge Lift Co has constructed a 600m circular trail through the forest. Elevated boardwalks, suspension bridges and thoughtful interpretation boards allow visitors to become one with the environment. Special features add extra magic, like the mushroom and butterfly bar sections.

The centre, which is perched on the top of the cliff edge with spectacular views of the Motitsi waterfall, the forest below and long views down into the Lowveld, also has a contemporary African art gallery, colourful African fashion clothing shop, curio shop and community craft market. There is ample parking for cars and busses.

Under four hours from Johannesburg and Pretoria, the Lowveld makes for a wonderful, accessible getaway from city life.

Contact:

info@gglc.co.za

066 305 1573 l 066 305 1572

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GraskopGorgeLiftCo

Website: visit www.graskopgorgeliftcompany.co.za

 

National Craft Competition helps inspire South Africa’s artists

Garnett Ludick turns bits of stone into masterpieces.

The 25-year-old resident of Paarl in the Western Cape entered a large mosaic that grittily captures the figure of a woman, into the 2018 National Craft Competition being held under the auspices of the Innibos Arts Festival.

The competition is the only national platform to recognise the excellence in skill of South Africans crafters and was held for the first time in 2017. The inaugural competition attracted almost 800 entries.

Garnett says that news of the competition was well received because it gives crafters an opportunity for their work to get wider exposure. “This is a way of creating conversations about crafts and of craft finding its rightful place in our current society… for it not just to be seen as a craft but an art form,” he says.

“Art is meant to be shared and not kept hidden in a studio. Works of art should spark conversations, not just between art enthusiasts but the public at large. They should evoke emotion, but most importantly, they should tell a story of hard work and perseverance.”

He fell in love with the mosaic genre while a student at the Kimberley Art Centre and started doing mosaics full time in 2014. “I am always learning and always perfecting my skill,” he says.

How to enter

Crafters have until April 20, 2018, to enter. They need simply take a photo of their entry – next to a matchbox for size of scale, and either email it to crafts@innibos.co.za or send it to 071 621 3597 via MMS or WhatsApp. There is no entry fee.

Remember to include your name, the town in which you live and your contact details.

Entrants who have not heard from the organisers within 30 days of the closing date must take it as given that they did not make the shortlist for final judging. Sixty entries will be shortlisted and these will form part of an exhibition to be held in Mbombela during the Innibos National Arts Festival from June 24 to 30, 2018.

The finalists must be available to attend the awards evening on Sunday, June 24, at which the winners will be announced.

The winner of the Platinum Award will receive R50 000, the Gold Award winner will pocket R20 000 and the Silver R15 000. There will also be merit awards for the Best Emerging Craftsmen, along with sound financial advice to grow their business. In addition, a Craft Retail Apprenticeship with Tourvest Destination Retail will be bestowed on one of the winners.

Entries in the disciplines of Ceramics, Beadwork, Wirework, Wood, Jewellery, Paper, Fabric Painting and Printing, Quilting, Leatherwork, Pewter, Glasswork, Embroidery and Mixed Media are invited.

The judges

A panel of judges with a passion for developing South Africa’s creative talent has been convened, including: Harrie Siertsema (Delagoa Trading, collector and art patron), Wendy Goldblatt (internationally-known ceramist), Maureen Waldeck (Brand Manager for Tourvest Destination Retail’s stores and retail brands and a seasoned retailer with an exceptional eye for merchandise), Joseph Mathe (National Department of Arts and Culture: Responsible for the development of crafts), Thabo Manetsi (Director: Western and Northern Cape provinces – Leading in Heritage Development) and Fran Stewart (Craft + Design Institute’s Market Support Programme Manager).

For information, please contact Jan Bhuda on 083 719 1731 or e-mail John Anthony Boerma at artaid@lantic.net.  Also, please LIKE the craft competition Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Innibosnationalcraftawards/ and follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/InnibosCA

Book the date for the Sappi Mankele MTB challenge

It’s time for riders to get out their bikes and start preparing for Mpumalanga’s not-to-be-missed annual Sappi Mankele MTB challenge, which takes place at Mankele on Saturday, 17 March 2018.

Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa and the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge is fast becoming a national event with riders participating from across the country. In addition, the challenge has also been incorporated into the Mpumalanga Marathon Series, which is open to all mountain bikers from all provinces.

“Sappi’s plantations not only provide a critical renewable resource to help grow South Africa’s economy, but together with our conservation areas our land provides a fantastic resource for planned recreational activities,” says Sappi’s General Manager Forestry in Mpumalanga, Dietmar Schroeder.

“We therefore support non-motorised activities, such as mountain biking and bird watching on Sappi land. This also forms part of our commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle and nurturing an appreciation of nature and the sustainable use of renewable resources” he adds.

Over the years the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge organising body has developed unique trails running through Sappi’s bush tunnels and endless single tracks, which enables riders to have the best possible mountain biking experience. In fact, Mankele trails are rated amongst the best mountain biking trails in South Africa by many professional riders. In addition to a thrilling ride, riders can look forward to race medals and cash prizes.

Riders and spectators can also look forward to a free spa, which is set up annually to ease tired and aching muscles and treat visitors to complimentary spa treatments.

Sappi is planning a fun day for the entire family, from food stalls to a jumping castle for the kids. So why not bring the family and camp out at Mankele for the weekend?

All proceeds from the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge will be donated to local charitable organisations, for the betterment of the community.

To enter the Sappi Mankele MTB Challenge, visit www.entrytime.co.za. For more information, contact Mark at 082 338 9532. For more information about Mankele or to book accommodation, email ride@mankele.co.za or call 078 801 0453.

Sappi MTB schools’ challenge

This year Sappi is again challenging schools to enter their MTB teams into the race. The winning school – which is the one with the most entries – will win R5,500. There’s also R3,500 up for grabs for second place and R2,500 for third.

There were wide smiles at Uplands College last year when the school took first place in the schools’ challenge and was rewarded for its pedal power. Curro Nelspruit took second place and Penryn College came third.

Do you have what it takes to beat them this year?

Choose your battle for 2018

The 65km and all of its rewards: The 65 km race takes the rider up the kicker at Mankele and through Mikon Chicken Farm. Whilst your legs may start to protest, there are some flat areas that offer a bit of recuperation. Then there’s ‘Gums’ single track, followed by a bit of climbing and the first massive reward… BEEES will make you feel as fresh as ever. Ride down past Mayo Estates to Barry’s bush tunnel, then into Simon’s bush tunnel before you head higher and higher up Mankele ridge. The climb’s a bit of a dog, but the reward is well worth it. Enjoy the fast jeep track all the way to River Wild, cross the river on a new bridge and head up and down before you’re hit by a climb you’ll never forget. When you recover, you’ll head into Sappi’s bush tunnel and down to the cattle trail. This is an awesome single track that leads you to a few bush tunnels andfun all the way home.

The 34km (900m ascent): This ride, a rude awakening up the Old Sabie Road, will have you soon doubting your fitness levels. But once at the top, you will be rewarded with a beautiful pine, single track. Follow jeep track, rocky climbs and stunning views while you ride down into Sudwala Valley. When you reach the 25km mark you’ll get your second wind at the water point. From here is the reason we ride… Steep descents, bushveld trails, bush tunnels, Pecan orchards and single track all the way home!

The 22km (380m ascent):This ride offers a gradual climb up the district road, past Sudwala Lodge and into pine forests. Just when you think you can’t climb any more, there’s a water point at 9.2km, followed by undulating recovery time. From here there’s a mind-blowing descent through African bushveld, with a rollercoaster-style bush tunnel. After the second water point, at 18km, enjoy a fast finish along district road, one more steep descent and a fun single track to the end.

The 15km (170m ascent): Enjoy a flat start on district road, while your legs warm up, and head for the slight climb up to Thulani Depot. Then its single track which takes you all the way to the mines. Veer off onto Msilezi Farm, with a lovely rolling jeep track. The single track next to the river leads you home.

Colour your Mother’s Day blue with Sappi

With an average of 133 live performances a year, three platinum albums and one gold album and a long list of top-10 hits to his credit, Elvis Blue is set to make this year’s Sappi Mother’s Concert memorable!

The concert will again be held at the Lowveld National Botanical Garden on Sunday, 13 May, with Elvis Blue – reckoned to be one of the most successful artists in South Africa – as the headline act.

Elvis remains a rare breed in his ability to straddle both English and Afrikaans music genres with ease and his unique blend of charisma and authenticity. His shows are known for not only the perfect blend of well-known original hits and new music, but also for his comical and often whimsical story-telling that sweeps audiences along in a personal and entertaining journey.

Performing the opening act of the Sappi Mother’s Day concert is 20-year-old Refentse Morake, a former busker turned star. He brings an African flavour of sorts to the event. His warm voice, strains of the harmonica, some pop-hooks and the guitar are just some of the sounds that make the wonderful sound of his music.

Refentse first caught our attention when he appeared in a string of viral music videos. Now he’s a fully-fledged Afrikaans/Zulu singer, with a real following, and he believes that music can heal the nation. “We have so many problems in South Africa and so many things that have the potential to divide us. I believe that the one thing that can unite us is music. It’s the one thing that can heal our wounds. No matter our race or gender, we can all unite behind music,” he says.

The concert, with Jacaranda FM as a media partner, starts at 12 noon and the gates open at 9am.

Gourmet food market

Apart from a stunning, soothing setting with music for the soul, a gourmet food market will be selling artisan food and drinks to ensure that not only moms, but the entire family have a delicious choice of items to nibble on whilst enjoying the show.

Remember to bring your picnic blanket and/or chairs!

Tickets will be on sale from 01 March from Computicket. Entry is free for pre-schoolers, while primary school learners and pensioners pay R45. All other tickets cost R85. The day’s proceeds will be donated to the Lowveld National Botanical Garden for conservation development projects.

Visitors to the concert will also be able to have a professional family portrait taken on the day – for free – at the Sappi photo booth.

Apart from the wonderful music line-up, there will be guided garden walks and a full programme of fun has been organised for the little ones at the kiddies’ entertainment area.

Major stakeholders include the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the Lowveld National Botanical Garden, Jacaranda FM, J&M Security, Lowveld Link and Total Signs.

For more information, go to www.sappimothersday.co.za or email Elsabe.Coetzee@sappi.com. Those who have a physical disability are welcome to apply for an access permit from Rejoice at the Lowveld Botanical Garden at 013 755 1494.

Wedge Gardens plans walking labyrinth

The Wedge Garden treatment centre’s occupational therapy (OT) department is expanding the mindfulness sessions it holds every morning with the recovering addicts in its care, by implementing more active-meditative, mindfulness practices.

Active-meditation can be more grounded and comfortable for people who are new to mindfulness as the process can feel a lot less daunting and demanding. Currently, the OT department engages in predominately still, silent meditation with the patients, with yoga once a week. The hope is to enrich the mindfulness programme with a walking labyrinth to introduce the patients to the multiple ways in which a person can practice new skills.

Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. “Numerous research studies support the benefits of practicing mindfulness, with the most pertinent benefit being that of developing the ability to self-regulate: train attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control, thereby fostering general mental well-being,” says Kendra Neethling, who heads up the centre’s OT department.

“Researchers theorise that mindfulness lessens stress and enhances working memory. These cognitive gains, in turn, help people better control and regulate emotional responses to events.

“These skills are exceptionally useful for individuals facing today’s challenges, and within an addiction rehabilitation centre like Wedge Gardens, they can be the foundation to preventing relapse,” says Kendra.

The OT department was recently in touch with Pebbles for Africa and have been fortunate enough to receive a discounted rate on large rocks that will help form the border of the labyrinth.

“However, we need to secure the funds to complete the project and as such, I ask anyone interested in helping to please contact me. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated – and recognised – on completion of the project.

“Your help can change lives!”

* Wedge Gardens can be reached at 011 430 0320. You can also ‘like’ Wedge Gardens on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WedgeGardensTreatmentCentre) or follow them on Twitter (@WedgeGardens)

Kruger Lowveld Tourism’s priorities for 2018

Kruger Lowveld Tourism (KLT) has its sight set on various strategic priorities for 2018, following a brainstorming session with the regional tourism body’s president and executive management.

According to Lisa Sheard, Kruger Lowveld Tourism Executive Director, KLT’s priorities this year include engaging with government and other stakeholders responsible for the region’s road infrastructure, exerting pressure to find an urgent long-term solution to saving Pilgrim’s Rest, putting together a tourism think tank, and the urgent upgrading, revitalisation and innovation of the region’s public attractions.

“We believe these are all salient issues that need to be prioritised this year to ensure that we are able to grow tourism to the Kruger Lowveld region,” says Sheard.

“When it comes to the state of the region’s road infrastructure, good roads are essential if we are to see a growth in tourism numbers to the region, and tourism employment within the region,” says Oupa Pilane, the President of Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism.

“There’s a huge backlog and government budget urgently needs to be reallocated to improve the main access routes into the region, for example the R540 from Belfast to Dullstroom to Lydenburg/Mashishing and the R36 from Lydenburg/Mashishing to the N4 at Schoemanskloof. Our internal network of roads along and around the Panorama Route also need to be urgently improved,” he adds.

Sadly, no progress has been made in finding a solution to the dire Pilgrim’s Rest situation, despite the recent engagement of another set of consultants. The town’s future remains uncertain.

“We need to find an inclusive long-term solution that will not only benefit tourism but will also ensure that the previously disadvantaged are brought in as active participants and owners. An innovative approach will put the town on a sustainable road to prosperity, reinvention, vastly-improved numbers and quality tourism offerings that will ultimately result in increased tourist numbers. If no local solution is forthcoming, Kruger Lowveld Tourism will again have to elevate the matter to national level,” says Pilane.

According to Sheard, Mpumalanga is in desperate need of a ‘Tourism Think Tank’ – a group of experienced tourism practitioners from the public and private sectors – to elevate the tourism agenda and to bring meaningful benefits to our communities. In addition, the region’s public attractions need urgent upgrading, revitalisation and innovation. “For example, our lowest hanging fruit is the Panorama Route where existing tourism numbers are high, but facilities are outdated and crusty. One could follow the example of the new Graskop Gorge viewing lift, which is bound to increase the length of stays in the region,” says Sheard.

“It’s imperative that we get the so-called ‘flagship projects’ like the Skywalk and Cable Car near God’s Window and the Cable Car in Blyde River Canyon beyond the drawing board and into the development phase. These projects have been ‘in the pipeline’ for far too long now. Enhancing commercial tourism offerings areas around the Barberton Makonjwa Geotrail, so that investment brings jobs and tourism numbers to that area, should also be prioritised and the Swazi authorities should be pushed to tar the road from Josefsdal to Piggs Peak,” she adds.

Kruger Lowveld Tourism says that the development of small, medium and micro enterprises needs to be escalated to bring rural communities into the mainstream tourism net. “Projects need to be conceptualised and researched for implementation as soon as possible,” says Pilane.

“Tourism safety and security remains an important element of any tourism agenda and we will also continue to pressurise law enforcement authorities to improve their efforts in this regard,” he adds.

Kruger Lowveld Tourism will meet with mayors and municipal managers from all local municipalities across and surrounding the region in 2018, in a bid to escalate tourism up the IDP agenda. It will also request meetings with the MEC for Tourism and the MEC for Roads to further engage on all of these matters.

For more information about Kruger Lowveld Tourism, visit www.krugerlowveld.com.

 

Thembalami residents savour dining hall make-over

Sandton-based Infinitude Design has once again worked a little magic at Rand Aid’s Thembalami Care Centre.

The company has done make-overs of various parts of the care centre over the past few years. Situated in Lombardy East, Thembalami looks after vulnerable senior citizens and aged deaf and deafblind people.

This time around, it was the dining room that was given a new look. The large room was transformed into a vibrant space. Wallpaper was put on three walls, splashes of colour added through paint and artwork, new curtains puts up and tiles laid. In addition, the steel windows and doors were replaced with aluminium ones.

“In the one corner of the hall they created a cosy lounge area with a TV set against the wall. They took a three-and two seater couch and two wingback chairs and re-upholster them with fabric that was donated by one of their suppliers. This is a beautiful space where the residents can sit and enjoy drinking coffee or tea whilst watching the morning news,” says Elize Raath, the head of Thembalami.

She adds that Infinitude Design had 110 cushions made for the chairs in the dining hall.  “One of their suppliers made the cushions at cost price. They are covered in navy blue and brown fake leather, which is easy to wash but has made the chairs nice and soft,” says Elize.

Each table now sports a steel condiment holder with a small succulent plant in it, and laminated place mats were designed for each resident.

“The transformation is amazing. The dining hall looks warm, homely and creates an atmosphere of serenity,” says Elize.