Sunday, 12 March 2017

UPDATE: Baby Siwaphiwe Mbambo Police Statement

Media Statement from the Office of the Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lt Gen Khomotso Phahlane

Baby Siwaphiwe Mbambo rescued unharmed during police action

Sunday, 12 March 2017, Pretoria:  The South African Police Service supported by law enforcement officers and scores of concerned community members, spent well over 24 hours searching for baby Siwaphiwe Mbambo who was reportedly snatched during a carjacking on Friday midday.

On Friday, 9 March 2017 the baby's mother reported to the police that her TOYOTA YARIS car had been hijacked with her 1 month old baby on the back seat when two men drove off in her car.  The car was later found abandoned in Montclair with the baby and the nappy bag missing.

The police deployed all the resources necessary to conduct a search for the missing child joined by law enforcement officers, community members and organizations with an interest in finding the missing one month old baby. The search was intensified and  further interviews were conducted with persons of interest. Too many inconsistencies emerged during the interviews especially in terms of the initial reporting to the police of how the incident developed.  Information generated from the interviews became critical in the setting up of a roadblock in Marianhill in the early hours of this morning. A car was stopped by the police wherein a man, a woman and the baby in question was found with the baby unharmed. The baby has been placed under the care of Social Development. Three people including the 34 year old biological mother of the baby,  another woman and a man, have been arrested and are in custody.

Members of the SAPS and all role players involved are commended for ensuring the safe return of Baby Siwaphiwe Mbombo and the arrest of the perpetrators of serious crimes of this nature. The South African Police Service invested a lot in this case, including members working overtime, the use of vehicles and aircraft which impacted negatively on the availability of police resources in the fight against priority crimes. The diversion of policing resources by people with selfish motives cannot be tolerated at all. It is thus critical that in situations like this, those involved are dealt with during the processing of their cases by the courts of our country. A special prosecutor was appointed this morning to work with the SAPS on this case.

"We, as the South African Police Service, are extremely grateful that this innocent baby has been rescued from a dubious situation to say the least.  We thank our members, all other law enforcement agencies and security companies who stepped up to assist, as well as the civic minded members of the public who joined forces to assist in the search.  We are a wonderful, caring society and it is disappointing when people take advantage of their fellow South African's trust and belief in humanity.  False claims of crimes which have an entire nation and beyond in a state of sorrow and anxiety, should be condemned," said Acting National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.

Those who have been arrested and are in custody, will appear in court soon.

Enquiries : Brigadier Sally de Beer 082 779 8658

Saturday, 11 March 2017

UPDATE: Baby Siwapiwe has been found. Mother Arrested.

The little girl involved in a massive missing persons hunt, has been found alive and well.

Police and community watch groups have worked tirelessly since the little girl was abducted by hijackers outside a mall in Durban. 

Following tip offs police swooped on a suspicious vehicle at the Marianhill Toll Plaza, and discovered the baby in the car. Arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing.

According to sources, the mother was found in the suspicious vehicle, and in possession of the baby girl. The mother and her boyfriend have been arrested. The baby's father, husband to the mother, has pleaded for his child's life. My thoughts are with him at this distressing time.

Thank you to H DeKlerk for Intel. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

URGENT: Stolen Car with One Month Old Baby Inside.



Thank you Harry DeKlerk for the following update:

Detectives are investigating the possibility that a missing baby was the intended target of a hijacking in Durban on Friday.

The vehicle was tracked down and found in Montclair several hours after it was taken. Two independent sources confirmed that several items not usually removed in a typical car theft had been taken – the baby’s car seat‚ the pram and the infant’s bag.

The baby’s mother‚ along with her eight-year-old son‚ had been forced out of the car at gunpoint at a Greyville shopping centre shortly before noon.

Marshall Security spokesperson Kyle Van Reenen said the car was recovered in Moodie Crescent in Montclair “… there is no sign of the baby. Other stuff relating to the child was also removed.

“At this point it may be a domestic issue and the police are investigating this‚” he added.

An anonymous caller to East Coast Radio’s drive show offered a R10 000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the child‚ with presenter Phat Joe promising to contribute another R10 000.


Shared on Facebook:


As confirmed by ECR now, car was found in Montclair but the baby has NOT been found.  An anonymous caller has put up a R10 000 reward for the safe return of the baby and Phat Joe has added another R10 000.  NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Please keep spreading the word so that this infant and mother can be re-united.


Thank you to Harry DeKlerk for the update below.

Search For Kidnapped Child: Durban - KwaZulu Natal

Reaction Unit South Africa is requesting assistance from the public to locate a one month old baby that was taken during a hijacking in Durban - KZN a short while ago.

Armed suspects hijacked a Toyota Yaris from a shopping centre in Durban and fled with the child in the vehicle. The vehicle has been recovered abandoned in Montclair - Durban however the child has not been found. The RUSA Robinson R44 helicopter has taken off from Verulam to assist in the search.

Please share this post and if anyone can assist in locating the child contact Reaction Unit South Africa on 086 1234 333.

The missing baby

The car was found empty in Montclaire


Original post:

A car has been hijacked at City View Shopping (Game City) in Matthews Meyiwa Road (Stamford Hill) in Durban Central, South Africa.

We understand there's an infant/baby inside (apparently one month old.) 

Description - White Toyota Yaris 
Registration Number - : ND576 648 
If you see this car, please phone the Metro police on +27 (031)
 367 0048

Thursday, 9 March 2017

ARTS: Narara Music Festival Warm Up Party at The Rhythm Hut

You may have heard that Narara Music Festival for 2017 is back on the Coast in 2017! Yes! The iconic 80s rock festival has been revived to something fresh and new! 

The Rhythm Hut is proud to be partnering with Narara Music Festival for the official warm up party this Saturday night March 11th, at The Rhythm Hut (135 Faunce Street, Gosford, near the Gosford Train Station) and we would like to invite you to be our special guest.

All details for the event can be found HERE. Please come along from 7pm Saturday!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

DIARY: A Song Lost

Today I lost a word document that contained a song - written in one go in a moment of inspiration. As I pressed save after typing the last word - it wasn't even 3 - 5 minutes after starting because autosave hadn't even saved it yet, Word spazzed out and I lost it.

I was so sad - crushed - and didn't know why it hit me so hard! It's just a silly song!
Sitting at my PC now a couple hours later and after an arvo filled with music students and chaos. I have realised why it hit me so hard!

In 2010 I finished editing my first Novel, it took me ten years to write the two books and edit the first of the books - I was, I think, about two weeks from publishing - and had spent most of my pregnancy working on the book up to 10 hours a day.

Two weeks from publishing, I had used a really lovely program called Blurb to do all editing and layout etc. I was about 7 months pregnant and I opened my computer, opened the book file, and it was gone. All of it.

A virus/malware had snuck in and destroyed all of the files that I used the most. A friend tried to access the files and found skulls and crossbones in the coding (I don't know the correct term)
I remember standing up from my computer in a daze, and calling Francis who came out of the kitchen.

I said "My book is gone. It's all gone." and collapsed.

I remember going into shock and having a massive panic attack, I remember lying on the floor with Francis rocking me and calling for my Mom. Ten years of work, months of solid graft and editing every full stop, capital letter, grammar, tweaking story lines... all gone.

I remember bleeding and cramping, and nearly losing Kelsey. The doctor said that I had had a massive shock to the system. I was out of my mind to a degree for about a week.

I put the book out of my thoughts. I focused on carrying my baby to full term which I did. And when she was a few months old, and I could face the prospect without tears. I opened a word document, opened a very old version of my book, and started. All. Over. Again.

There were a few people who helped make my book possible. People who sponsored my book launch at a beautiful Hotel. The media who wrote about it. Friends who bought copies of the book.
And that, is why it hit me so hard. Sitting in Imperial Centre with tears in my eyes over a silly song. 
Maybe I wasn't being so silly xx

Monday, 20 February 2017

CCWFF: Eat Together!


Good morning! 

I was just shown this video and fell in love with the idea.  This is what we will be doing! Sharing,  learning and connecting with each other. -  Sandy Bigara 

CCWFF: Cape Malay Sticky Buns by Fatima Sydow


South Africa is a real mixing pot of cultures and flavours when it comes to food. As the weather is cooling down, it's perfect for getting back into the kitchen to make yummy feel-good puddings and baked treats! 

Here are Fatima's Sticky Cinnamon buns,  please head over to her page and see all of the amazing recipes that she posts! Perhaps there are recipes that you share with the vibrant Cape Malay culture in Cape Town! - Sandy 

Recipe sourced from the Facebook page: Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow. :


Fatima's Sticky Cinnamon buns

1&1/2 cups of lukewarm milk
1 packet  instant dry yeast
1/4  cup of sugar
1 large egg  
1/2 a cup of melted butter
4  cups of cake flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of nutmeg( optional )

1/4  cup of butter
1/4  cup of brown sugar
1/2 a cup of golden syrup or maple syrup .

2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons of melted butter

For the dough, measure all the ingredients into a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon, turn the dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 90 minutes. 

For the syrup add the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and the mixture is bubbling. Put one side. 

For the filling, stir the brown sugar and cinnamon together and set aside. Have the melted butter ready.
Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle. Brush the entire surface of the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon brown sugar mixture. Roll up the dough from the longer side and then cut the roll into 12 pieces. Place these into the prepared pan, evenly spaced, cover with plastic wrap or tea towel and let rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Uncover the risen sticky buns and bake them for 30 minutes, or until they are a rich golden brown. Pour the syrup over the buns while still warm. 

I make a simple lemon icing and drizzle over cooled cinnamon buns. The juice of half a lemon mixed with icing sugar till you get a thick consistency then drizzle with a spoon. 


Photo: Pixabay, Serving suggestion.

Friday, 17 February 2017

DIARY: South African Expats Must Sit Down and Shut Up

After witnessing a situation, where a friend recently moved to the USA and then posted a status about a murder in S.A., she commented about being grateful for the sense of security she feels in her new town. 

And, predictably, as happened to me when I first moved away from S.A. She was immediately attacked by Saffas back in S.A., who told her to stay "humble" and "think of those back home" - as if her expressing dismay over a brutal murder and expressing gratitude for a life without fear (fear of violence that ALL saffas have to deal with, across every racial and social sphere) was somehow prideful and not allowed.

No. Just no. 

You do not ever ever ever have the right to tell an expat what they may or may not post on their own timeline, especially when it has to do with their own personal journey and healing (more so if that have been physically attacked, held at gunpoint, robbed or worse back in S.A.) 

I still reserve the right to bitch, moan and share news about S.A. Good or bad.

Whenever I feel like it. 

I am South African, I am angry at the state that the failing govt has left the country in. I am angry that so many of my fb friends are without electricity, sanitation or water for large portions of each week. 

Do you know that the world really doesn't hear or see much about S.A. in the news? And if they do, it's usually only positive news in sports. At least in my two years abroad, asking people that I meet - what they know about S.A. - usually they know of Mandela, and that they know South Africans living here (I have met every colour and type of South African here by the way, and sung isiZulu lullabies to a sobbing black man in the street. Ordered my meals in Afrikaans at a local venue. Heard isiXhosa in the mall)

Do you know that no one here knows about Farm Murders? Or about genocide between race groups? Or about the feesmustfall debacle? My friends here do, they hear it from me. They celebrate our wins and commiserate our losses with me. The news coming out of S.A. Is so controlled and manufactured. Literally there could be a mass genocide and the world would not know - apart from the shared posts of your expat brothers and sisters.

I wrote this article when I first came under fire for writing about S.A. and mentioning how happy and safe I feel in my new country.

Monday, 6 February 2017

ARTS: My Journey as a Music Producer

(Please note: some song links are from a dormant sound cloud page, shown here for the purpose of displaying the change in my recording style. My active page is on Reverbnation.)


I was driving home and started to really think back on my music producing history. I believe that every actively creating sound producer has an interesting back story...  well, here's mine. 

When I was about 4 years old my school report read "Sandy is a dreamer, she has a very pleasant singing voice" this became the theme of school reports from there on, some of my earliest memories are of dimming the Lounge lights, cranking up my parents impressive sound system, and thrashing around the Lounge singing to Blondie's "Call Me" and Joan Jett & the Blackheart's "I love Rock n Roll" 

When I was about 6, my baby sister got a small wooden bell action piano - I taught myself to play and devised a method of writing and notating the little classical sounding tunes that I wrote. I still play some of them today. 
One example is one of my later compositions, Esme's Song written in a similar style. The recording is very rough and played back via synth. 

By the time I was 9, I was writing songs. I felt an incredible urge to record them. But being 1989 in a lower income household in South Africa, a recording studio just wasn't something I had available to me. 

What I did have, was a cassette radio player that allowed me to record via a low quality mic inside the speaker. 
Next door, my grandmother had the same radio. 
Double hallelujah. 
The opportunities were endless. I had a small wooden bell piano, clapped sticks and my voice. By the time I was 10 I had perfected this crude method of vocal recording: Lay down the tune (piano) and vocal harmony first. Then play that cassette back while recording on the second radio, while doing rhythm and main vocal line. 
The quality was awful.
But I could record my songs and listen to them. 
I used this method for a while, and started a band called "the Palomino's" when I was 11. We sang rock and roll songs about cats and ponies and things. 

When I was about 14-15 I entered my first big song writing competition in South Africa, it was to write a Jingle for Pick n Pay, the biggest supermarket chain in the country. I contacted a friend to help me and using this two radio method, we recorded a multi vocal multi rhythm song application. 
We came second in South Africa out of thousands of entries. 
Tape Cassette Recorder
Then about this time, I realised that my step dads cam corder could record crystal clear audio. So I would focus it on the wall (or on a plant or something), and record myself singing and playing piano or guitar (I had taught myself to play). The only downside was that I could only listen back on the TV. The upside was that I could do rough edits using the can corder to cut and split the video removing any false starts etc. 
Then the best thing ever happened. 
We got a PC. 
Someone lent me a free software disk (this was 1996/7 we had no internet) with Noteworthy Composer on it. It was a free trial edition with major limitations (they wanted you to download the full version - paid) I was, for the first time, able to compose my classical and choral scores as I learned music theory, and have them played back to me via the software. It opened a whole new world of possible music production for me. 
Noteworthy Composer

Around the same time I was given a copy of a trial version of Cake Walk, I was introduced to looping, and created my own loops to use - I composed imaginary film scores that are now lost, I can still hear them in my head. I also composed a meditational album which a local beauty therapy clinic used to play as their background music in the spa. I was now about 18 - 20.

During the ages 13 - 22 I toured extensively with our National Choir and underwent vocal training - this experience taught me to harmonise instantly - even with songs I'd never heard - if I could hear the key I could harmonise the song melody line without thinking. This skill has been a real gift to me and I will always be grateful for it.
I grew older, and at age 21 I became the Artistic Director of a high school choir, I found a free audio editing program CD called Magix Dancemaker inside a computer magazine.
Magix inspired me to push on with my sound producing - I recorded the track "Why" using this program in 2003.
Magic DanceMaker
I found a free audio editing program called Wave Pad (again with major limitations) and as I moved on to a school teaching Music from ages 3 - 13 I started to use the software along with Magix Dancemaker more and more. I produced my first Electronica album (no vocals) called Traffic Jam Nation with 15 dance tracks. And then continued to use Magix when I moved to head up Music and Drama at a Private school. I produced sound for at least 30 productions (up to 50 tracks per production) in this time period. It was a trial by fire.
Wave Pad 
I found a trial version of Acid - and found the program that I enjoyed using the most. I was able to record demos of songs and cover songs, but still didn't have the right equipment needed to record decent sounding music.
In "The Rose" you can still hear a slight hiss and the treble etc is not balanced. At this point I still did not have a mixer desk, and was recording straight into the headphone jack of a cheap computer.

As soon as I could afford it, I bought the full version of Sony Acid Pro 10, which included Sony Soundforge Pro 10. I bought a better computer and a cheap mixer, I was able to produce better quality recordings, but still not what I wanted! I was able to record a jazz album and here is an example from that - "There will never be another you"

Sony Acid Pro 10

When I moved to Australia, near Sydney, I bought a good mixer, a new laptop, and made sure that my mics etc were better quality. I am nowhere near where I hope to be with regards to equipment but I will have to be patient! I will have my full studio one day.
Sony Soundforge
I have managed to produce my first album "Deity" at age 35, and I am a month or two away from completing my second album "Deus" aged 36.

That's 27 years of recording.

You can hear this track "Speed of Light" from my Deity Album, and "Abrupt End" from my Deus Album due soon, both are available for free download. If you'd like to hear the rest of the songs they are posted here as I work on them, I post works in progress as well as finished tracks.

I just wanted to write this to encourage that one person reading this, the person who knows that they need to do something that seems impossible.

Just do it.

Even if what you produce isn't perfect, it's still YOUR journey. Just go for it and see what the future holds for you!

BREAKING: Former Springbok Captain Joost Van Der Wedthuizen Has Died

Joost in healthier times. Photo: You Magazine 
Please find all information at

Our thoughts are with Amor and their children at this tragic time.