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Giving up the pleasure and the privilege of eating meat for 40 days of lent … 44 to be exact but who was counting :)

For 44 days I went off meat cold-turkey. I say cold-turkey because when you’ve been eating meat ever since you were introduced to solids – every day of your life – I kid you not, your relationship with the food group goes from being one of nourishment purposes, to addiction.

So this year having recently jumped back on the wagon that is my tumultuous relationship with my Christian faith – I decided to lent (used in a verb form). Mind you I’ve never observed lent before even when things with God were still good.

Inspired by Jesus who went without food for a whole 40 days – I decided that a disciplined abstinence from meat, along with alms giving would be my small contribution towards honoring my savior during the holy time.

In true Thina form I rashly made the decision last minute.com. Exactly on the 1st of April I gave up one of my ultimate pleasures for the next 40 days. Where the faith said Wednesdays and Fridays we could eat fish, and Saturdays and Sundays we could go to town with our menus, I chose the extreme route – no meat every single day.

I was never ready for the withdrawal that ensued.

Now you have to understand – as I said at the beginning, I’ve been eating meat every day for as long as I’ve been eating solids. So from around a year old, til’ this ripe old age of none of your business J I have not gone one day without meat. I was raised by parents who ate meat once or every two months during their impoverished childhoods. Cabbage, wild spinach and maize meal alternated in making appearances at suppertime. So as soon as they could afford to – they went to gout town: Mutton on Mondays; Chicken on Tuesdays; Beef on Wednesdays; Pork on Thursdays; fried Fish & Chips on Fridays; Sausages on Saturday – a spread of two to three meats on Sundays etc. etc. Mind you in between the meat madness – there were sub-meats: burgers, bacon, fish-fingers, ham, meaty spreads, Russian sausages, nuggets, viennas, polony, KFC, you name it, we had it.

In case you didn’t quite get the level of the carnivorousness of my life in the picture I just painted – the fact that I’m of the Zulu tribe should give you some indication.

Our appetite for 2 legged, four legged edible beasts is legendary. In fact a cousin of mine one came up with quite the eloquent saying which sums up this reverence – he said “ A man is made of meat and therefore meat he must eat.” He would usually say this to the sounds of my scolding aunt after he decided that it was perfectly acceptable to have an Eishbein for breakfast. Is the carnage-like pic getting a bit clearer for you?

So, it was inevitable that giving up meat for Lent 2017 would be one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. Although I’m related to a vegetarian -1 of only 4 black vegetarians that I know in this world – 2 of them being Hollywood celebrities, I was completely clueless about how to go about life without eating meat.

I was so entrenched in my eating that hearing about the racist incident at Spur, and the possibility of having to boycott the chain in solidarity gave me anxiety attacks. Where else could I be served many types of meat on one plate and eata-them-all at once lol? I’m so much of a meat eater that being served a veg meal often has me making a bee-line for the fridge , hunting at least a vianna or worse a slice of polony.

But I survived 🙂

Although I thought about meat EVERY DAY for all 44 days, and at some point Nandos and KFC adverts seemed to literally be following me. I made it. To be honest I cheated a bit, by eating gravy from meat stews (sans the meat) to avoid completely falling off the wagon. And I made it, with quite a radiant complexion too to boot.

Towards the end, when the wheels looked like they were really about to fall off completely, I discovered Frys products. I bought the soy sausages and I have to say they weren’t bad at all. If I was transitioning to vegetarianism – which will NEVER happen, I would definitely stock them up.

Lent passed – as all tough times do eventually, and Easter Sunday arrived on a sunny autumn day. After church – it was time to celebrate the best way I know how 🙂 Man I love me some meat.

Give us the dodgiest South African taxi any day!

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My friend & I in a DalaDala, the Zanzibari equivalent of a minibus taxi lol. Let’s just say, it was quite an experience 🙂

This is a photo of my friend & I in a stationary DalaDala in Zanzibar.  For all of Zanzibar’s heavenly scenery, it sure has some really rough sides. The sides they never show you on the brochures. These are the sides you soon discover if – like us – you’re touring on a very ‘toit’ budget.

We had to find a way to travel from Stone Town, to coastal Kiwengwa, when they told us that by cab it would cost us a ridiculous amount of shillings – the currency used in TZ. We then asked if there were any alternatives, & we were directed to a mode of transport called a Dala-Dala. To put it simply it’s a truck! A truck, which they’ve installed a roof on – and on the roof that’s where your luggage is piled-up & bound. To redeem the Dala-Dalas’ direness, they spruce them up with some groovy designs details, but that does not erase the fact that you are being transported the same way sheep & goats are transported back home in SA. On scorching hot 40 degree Zanzibar days the DalaDala is perfect because of its natural ventilation (read as – no windows). The downside however are rainy days. I learned about these from a waitress who spends 2 hours of her life traveling via Dala-Dala to work, EVERY DAY.

At this particular moment our DalaDala was experiencing a slow business day. So while waiting for other passengers to arrive, we started doing what Tourists do best in the midst of quirky experiences – we took selfies baby! Much to the amusement of the muslim men who were waiting with us. They must’ve thought, really! all this excitement for being in a taxi!

Happiness is a 4 letter word

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Image borrowed from “Happiness is a 4 letter word” Facebook page.

“Delicious.”

That’s how I would describe Happiness is a four letter word… in a word.

Delicious cast; scrumptious script – I’m no film school graduate so I won’t start getting technical, talking about videography etc. What I will say is that the whole film with its beautifully lit and picture perfect quality looked good enough to eat. Just delicious!

Recently my #PleasureSeeking escapades led me to the Movie theatre. Now if there’s one thing you need to know about me is that I DON’T go to the cinema. Or at least, I haven’t gone in like 10years or so.

I was scarred for life once at the Sandton Ster-Kinekor where I was told to pay what – based on my judgement – was an obscene amount for a ticket. And it wasn’t even a 3D film! Mind you this was before I’d bought popcorn and the other must-shovel-in-your-mouth movie-watching-must-haves. It put me off movies for a loooong time … until last Saturday. When I was coaxed out from under my rock to experience – what I feel is easily one Mzansi’s best ‘chick-flicks’

Happiness is a 4 letter word … Wow 🙂

The movie is about the much-explored, but can-never-be-exhausted theme of relationship quandaries between men and women. Think Girlfriends, and the movie version that we crossed fingers for, or the subsequent season of the series that never came.

The story lines of rich women who cheat with toy-boys; free-spirited emotionally unavailable women who finally meet their love match; and women who find themselves having to choose between money and love are as old as men & women have been relating. There’s just something so seductive and beautifully ‘black’ about the way Director Cynthia Jele has presented them in this film.

I won’t get into the movie much and spoil it for you but I will definitely say it’s worth watching, and then proceeding to buy the DVD afterwards because it is a piece of history.

For me it feels like a breakthrough of sorts for the South African film Industry. Seeing everyday black women being portrayed by women and men who look and sound like us is something we’re starved for in the S.A film circuit.

And speaking of looks, ok I might be telling a fib when I say  the actors are everyday looking people because OH EM GEE! God bless the casting agency! The last time I saw a collection of such delicious brownness was in a box of Chocolates or the Lindt store.

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Image borrowed (with no intention of return) from the “Happiness is a 4 letter word” Facebook page.

THE MEN! Sisters, they will make you say AMEN, and not in a church kinda way. Gorgeous, milk chocolate and bournville types with bodies and smiles that had the Cinema silence incessantly broken by the collective sounds of mmmmmh, if not hawemaaa! (I watched it in Durban if you must ask)

The ladies are equally gorgeous, high-caliber S.A actresses and oh Cynthina I can’t thank you enough for the diverse beauty representation. And I can’t thank Mmabatho and Renata enough for being who they are – so regal, so proud to be their beautiful, brown, naturalista selves, AND JUST SO CONSISTENT. Queen Khanyi too. She killed that role, and yeah man – who isn’t fascinated by that woman!

I’m not sure if this film is still at Cinemas. If it is HURRY and go watch it pleeease and then buy the DVD afterwards (and I’m not talking about the ones at the robots please!)

I’ve never owned a Movie DVD. I’ve never understood the concept of buying a DVD of a film you’d already watched … until now. For the first time – ever – I’ve watched a movie that will continue to be a part of my #PleasureSeeking nights on the couch, with wine, or coffee, or chocolate, or a Thomas / Chris lookalike  when I get that DVD 🙂

THANK YOU MS JELE!