Monday, 30 March 2015

MUSIC: Album sampler Sandy Bigara Fountain Of Youth 2015

A teaser for you... samples from my new album FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH available via postage in South Africa. The album is full of songs written between 1994 and 2008. Very special memories :)

Click HERE to hear my newest offering :)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

FASHION: New in South Africa - Sammi Gomez Wooden Eyewear

Sammi Gomez Wooden Eyewear (SG Wooden Eyewear) is an optical boutique that specializes in up-to-date fashioned eyewear. We offer our customers the most fashionable, stylish wooden eyewear with a selection of the top quality hardwoods. 

We are also proud to introduce the Stone eyewear in the Jaek Collection.  Our eyewear is personally designed by Sammi [Founder/designer] & Anni [co-founder/production manager], and then handcrafted to perfection! Not one pair of our handcrafted eyewear is alike, so each is unique and special.

Also keeping it proudly South African, SG Wooden Eyewear get all of their supplies from within South Africa. We use Shweshwe material for our eyewear pouches and proudly keep it African!

“Precision is measured by MillimetresPerfection is measured with Passion!” – Anni Gomez
Our glasses are made from:
* Spring nickle hinges and other stainless steel hinges
* CR-39 Polarised lens supplied by Chad’s Mini Lab
* Exotic hardwoods like imbuia, kiaat, walnut, reclaim deck wood and meranti
* Laminated exotic woods: Ebony, Zebrano, Maple, Walnut, Wenge, African Teak, Brown & white Kiaat / All brown Kiaat, Maple Ice Tree
* Strong vibrant Shweshwe material for our pouches
* Eco friendly and the sealer we use is Rubio Monocoat. It is Eco-friendly because it has no solvents, water or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Like what you see? SG Wooden Eyewear will be announcing a FREE GIVE AWAY soon on their facebook page!

1- THE KENT -  a classic Wayfarer style which Tom Cruise made a legend in Top Gun.

2- THE MILO - going away from the wayfarer style to a slightly roundish feeling, we call this fellow the 'mafia' of our eyewear look.

3- THE HYDE - an old classic that use to be called John Lennon glasses at one point, this fellow suits most faces & gives you that 'intelligent' look.

4- THE JACKAL  -  a new design which is too stylish to describe. This is our famous Jackal, which is taking people by storm. Everybody wants their hands on this fellow...

Share our vision! EMAIL us, or visit our WEBSITE

MUSIC: Msaki - a real South African Gem!

Find Msaki HERE on Facebook
I recently stumbled across a youtube clip that a friend sent me, I had it running in the background while being hyperactive online (as I do) and the gentle soothing vocals and music sort of 'hooked' me... you know how that goes? When you are walking along and something just sort of stops you in your tracks? That usually happens when I walk passed the Easter Egg aisle in January... 

Well, I asked around and managed to get hold of Msaki's media agency Mephisto Media, and they sent me this press release. It seems that Msaki has been a very busy lady - networking and hustling to make incredible music with a host of talented friends surrounding her efforts. 

This is the press release below, perhaps you will be moved to donate towards her crowd funding initiative... (although I doubt that finance will EVER stop this artist from making magic!) I hope you enjoy her sounds and character, I'll be keeping an eye on her for sure...  

Click HERE to read about her amazing music and journey so far.

ARTS & POLITICS: How the Arts Community was violated this week at the CCIFSA conference in Bloemfontein.

How the Arts Community was Violated this week at the CCIFSA Conference in Bloemfontein.

by Francis Doherty-Bigara Honours Finance, Masters Quality Management, currently completing Doctorate in Arts Policy & Administration.

Monday 22nd March at UFS 1000 delegates convened

By 23rd March a large number were no longer 'needed' and were left to wander aimlessly outside.
As you can see in the photo above from this morning 23rd March there are a lot less people in the audience compared to yesterday, most having been made redundant. After rushing votes for their represents of the General Council there is no more use for approximately 800 people who will basically just hang around for the rest of the day left to their own devices. The General Council will then elect the Board of CCIFSA (Culture & Creative Industries Federation of South Africa) that will represent the different provinces and the different arts and culture sectors within these provinces. (Please note: that as far as I can tell there was no representation from any Creative Organisations outside of the Arts, no Architects, no Graphic Designers, no Print Media, no Advertising Agencies... etc)

The fact that all we are doing here is establishing a Non Profit Company, the process has been absolutely absurd and one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. The Interim Committee had 2 jobs - only 2 jobs - a whole year to do it and R5 million to do it with.

The one job was to produce a draft Memorandum of Incorporation. This was the most shoddy work I have ever seen. Conceptually and strategically it is poor and completely uninspiring. I have seen better vision and intention coming from community organisations and I have reviewed 100s of MOI's. A good document can be produced in 3 weekends, the Arts and Culture Council KZN did it in this time, it was more inspiring, better presented, more complete. Why did CCIFSA's MOI take so long - and why so shoddy? Spelling mistakes, concept mistakes, gaping holes in process and concepts, duplicate objectives (which they strangely call 'Objects'), inconsistent formatting, and the list goes on. Did they not have experts to assist them? Lawyers, a strategist? There are 1000's of NPOs in South Africa, an MOI document is a standard document which simply needs to be tweaked. In 1 year with R5 million at their disposal they couldn't get this right? I have 3 letters - WTF! They deserved the verbal beating they received by the audience yesterday. Personally they should also have been whipped and sent to confinement for their shoddy work, like in the in the old days when corporal punishment was still part of the school system. On the other hand, my hat off to the Minister who skillfully dealt with the meeting, even though it was the job of the Interim Committee Facilitators to do so.

Job number two was to get 'people' that represent their province to this conference so as to hand over the company to the public for further design and execution. People - it seems to be a bunch of random (ad hoc) arts practitioners (myself included) who generally had no idea why they were there, why they were selected, or generally what was going on. At least 6 hours of CCIFSA
Yesterday's 13 hour meeting was full of arguing, venting, unnecessary 'rallying' - all for us to end (in the 12th hour) at the same point we were in at 10am that day! And we were still following the original plan which so many were bickering about! Why the Interim Committee felt the need to transport and accommodate over 1000 random people to Bloemfontein to ratify the formation of the CCIFSA as a company to me smacks of naivety, insecurity or just plain stupidity. I understand the need for public involvement but their plans and processes have been absurd, extremely poorly executed and blatantly rude and disrespectful. For example, all delegates are volunteers who have taken time off work and come as guests. The delegates were all bussed up in ordinary municipal busses to Bloemfontein, one of which had no ablutions available on the bus. This was an uncomfortable 9 hour journey from Durban, they arrived in Bloemfontein around 10pm, and the delegates had to then be transported to their accommodation, of which many still didn't have accommodation booked for them – Themi Venturas was without accommodation on the first night after driving all the way from Durban!

Today the buss will leave at best at 4pm, which means it will arrive in Durban at best at 1am and the passengers still have to get home somehow. How I wonder? I find these arrangements exceptionally rude and inconsiderate, blatantly disrespectful! How can you treat your guests like this? Volunteer guests! I can't believe the blatant disrespect of the CCIFSA. Especially as their sole focus is to "protect the Arts Community" I am livid at their blatant disrespect and inconsideration. This is NOT how we as South Africans do things. As South Africans we respect one another, show friendship, camaraderie and love to one another, look after and are considerate of one another (at least that has been my personal experience of practitioners in the Arts community in Durban) As for CCIFSA and its Interim Committee, I am appalled, disgusted and ashamed by your association already. I hope your new leaders will do it completely differently to you. My first year business students and my arts interns could've done a better job with less resources and less time.

This conference has surely been the most excruciating experience of my life in the arts this far. Lord help us from here on!
Today we were all expecting the conference to end at 3:30pm, which is when the buses were supposed to leave. So everybody had their luggage with them, brought through with them to the meeting hall. At around 2pm the meeting adjourned, for the newly elected General Committee (100 people/representatives from each province) and National Committee to vote on a Board of Directors for CCIFSA. The new Board would then take control of the newly formed company, and the federation would thus be born, and ready for further design.

The 100 reps left the meeting hall, to vote somewhere else, under tighter security and close observation by the IEC. What should have taken an hour, took a lot longer. In the meantime, none of the other 900 or so delegates were informed as to the process thereafter. So we just waited. And waited. And waited... 5pm came and went, 6pm... 7pm... 8pm... At 10pm with no explanation we waited, still inside the hall. No food or refreshment was made available to us in this time period. Eventually the performers in the audience took to the stage and started performing on stage - in solidarity, it helped somewhat. Unfortunately, by storming the stage and helping themselves to mics and equipment without permission, they also were displaying disrespect for the organizers of the event. By 10pm we were all notified by the University (UFS Security) that we had to evacuate the hall as it was time to lock up. Rental was only until 10pm.

We had to take all of our luggage and equipment, and evacuate the hall. We were left to stand outdoors in the cold and rain. Temperatures in Bloem at night this week were very low, and most were not dressed for this, unprepared. No blankets, no ablutions, no food or refreshment, no power source and no communication! Nowhere to sit: except inside the busses. At the same time, we were then informed that the voting process for the Board would take another FIVE HOURS. That would bring us to 3am in the morning! I can say that 'stressed and frustrated' doesn't cover it! We were literally stranded outside until that time. We were stuck there until 3:30am in the morning, outdoors, hungry, wet and exhausted, after working from 9am that morning. By this point in the process, we were on our second consecutive day of working well in excess of 12 hours per day, with minimal sleep. Including the Sunday's travel and accommodation fiasco it was actually our THIRD disrupted day. This must be in violation of the industrial relations act.

This was a human rights violation. People that I spoke too have used the words 'traumatised' a across the board. A 16 hour day. For free. We were their invited guests. By 11pm a small group of delegates began toyi-toying, there was an undercurrent of violent response in the crowd, but thankfully nothing untoward happened. Perhaps violence would have been appropriate...since no one was listening to us.

If this is the start of their treatment style? Then we need to start up an opposition company. This is completely intolerable, unacceptable - abusive. They showed no empathy or respect towards the sick and elderly arts community members who attended at their invitation. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

COMEDY: What Kind? Improv Comedy Show this March!

What Kind? Improv Comedy Show 
WHERE @CatalinaTheatre #Durban Wilsons’s Wharf 
TIME 10pm 
DATE Friday 27th of March 2015 

This Friday night will be the 2015 launch of 2014’s smash hit show What Kind?  Improv Comedy Show. I am the Executive Producer and Writer of this show - and I've had so much fun!! 

Taking place in the Catalina’s Late Night Comedy slot, and using qualified actors and a tight punchy show layout, this comedy madness is set to deliver laughs.

The beautiful Catalina Theatre is directly above some of Durban’s best restaurant chains, on Computicket you can purchase a Show Only or a Meal & Show ticket – the theatre has amazing meal discounts for you if you purchase through Computicket!

Following loosely along the lines of Whose Line is it Anyway? What Kind? brings South African flavour to the stage with relevant content and sometimes outrageous view points.

The audience is also invited to… in the words of Shakespeare “…come and crush a cup of wine…” – there will be FREE WINE

Bookings can be made via Computicket  or at the box office one hour prior to the show.

Friday, 20 March 2015

POLITICS: Free West Papua FREE song for download follow me @sandybigara

In my lifetime, performing from the age of 4 and then as a touring singer from the age of 14, I had the opportunity to climb waterfalls, I've walked through brand new forests (3 -10 years old), I've experienced singing with our state choir inside the Sudwala and Cango Caves where the total darkness - and I mean absolute pitch blackness - is so complete that it takes your breath away... I have swam in rivers, touched the murky bottoms of lagoons (where they caught a croc a week later!!), met some friendly leeches inside lakes, bathed in warm rock pools while starfish winked at me from the rock shelves below... I've hiked mountain ranges and raced horses over mountain tops. This song was inspired by those memories. 

I am an Opera and Vintage Blues/Jazz singer so this is really not my usual singing style!! BUT the song style is simple, I was very young when it was written, and spent a lot of time playing my guitar in my room - I decided to not commercialize the sound of the song now - I just recorded it exactly as my friends and I used to perform it. 

Written by myself somewhere between 1994 - 1996 after spending time touring and travelling around my home Country South Africa. I was suddenly aware of things like deforestation, genocide and other atrocities against our world and the people living in it. I can't imagine having those freedoms and nature roughly taken from me. So this is the song of a young teenager who felt the sadness of these issues... 

This song is dedicated to the people of West Papua.

(Listen to the song HERE)

How Long 

May times, I have stood, 
at the top of a waterfall - 
and looked to the pools 
where the water thunders.

Many times I have swam, 
silent pools of crystal water, 
but I cannot help thinking: 
How long will this one last?

Many times I have walked 
through new young forests green, 
where the trees are alive, 
and you get to know yourself.

Many times I have walked 
in a cave all black and beautiful, 
and I cannot help thinking: 
How long will this one last?

Chorus: Waterfalls, Forests gone. 
Silent Crystal waters... 
there's not much at all. 
That's not much at all.

For Free Public use - if directly linked to the support of the Free West Papua Campaign. For more information or to be of use look at the following links:

MUSIC: NEW songs and FREE downloads on my page!

Hey guys,

I have recently added a whole lot of fresh recordings to my Reverbnation page, please have a look, and feel free to download any of the FREE downloads available.

Take care!!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

EQUALITY: Something Classy — Every woman in every Disney/Pixar movie....

I'm amazed. I kinda realised it but never looked any further... Wow. Just wow.

HEALTH: New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function - ScienceAlert

"The team reports fully restoring the memories of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks - a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid."

To read more please follow the link below:

DECOR: Classy Candles and Function Decor Hire at Decorex Pop Up Market


Classy Candles and Function decor hire will be at the Decorex pop up market on Friday night, 20th March 2015!

Please come support, they will be selling beautiful hand made candles. I've had a look at their stock after being invited to their premises and I was blown away! So many beautiful lighting ideas and options to choose from.

About the Market:
The Decorex Pop Up Market will be held at the Durban Exhibition Centre, Walnut Road, 4001 Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. To see who else will be there visit:

(apologies for the link, posting from my CrackBerry)

Take care everyone xx

Sandy Bigara

Monday, 16 March 2015

ENTERTAINMENT: Tree63 Kickstarter campaign message from John Ellis

As a longstanding fan and supporter of Tree63, I'm so excited to see this new album come to fruition. The link to their Kickstarter page is at the bottom of the post, please click on it and either share or donate - every little bit will help them achieve their goal :)

Below is a personal message from John Ellis, lead vocalist and guitarist:

"The three of us are making our seventh album in 7 years, and owing to the massive changes in the music industry since we made our first record, we're doing this one via Kickstarter.

Which, for those of you who don't know, is a crowd-funding platform: you pay a little towards helping us to make our record, and you get a variety of 'rewards' in the process...

It's in US dollars, which is 10 times as scary as SA Rand, but if any of you feel inclined toward throwing either a bit of money or a bit of word-of-mouth at our Tree63 Kickstarter campaign, it would be much appreciated!
We need all the help we can get, and in exchange you all get fabulous perks: autographed mp3's, used Tree63 T-shirts, mugs with our pictures on it…etc. 

Seriously, though, we have seven days as of today to reach our target of $20 000. We're getting there slowly, but we could use your help. If we don't reach our target, of course, we don't get any of the money pledged so far.

It's a good record, I promise you! 

Click on this if you're interested in helping Tree63:


Aaaand GO!

Sandy Bigara

Sunday, 15 March 2015

POLITICAL: Violent end to EFF ‘land grab’ attempt - Crime & Courts | IOL News

I honestly have no words... Come on ANC, make things alright!!

EFF West Rand regional secretary Itani Mukwevho vowed that "no amount of violence" would stop them from taking vacant land and giving it to the people. "By April we will have taken all the land that is idle and unused."

Sandi Toksvig's top 10 unsung heroines | Books | The Guardian

Sandi Toksvig is well known for her TV and radio work as a broadcaster, writer and actor, and currently chairs Radio 4's News Quiz and presents Excess Baggage. Her numerous books for children include Hitler's Canary, based upon her family's experiences in Nazi-occupied Denmark, was published in 2005 to considerable acclaim. Her latest, Girls Are Best, is a knockabout look at the overlooked achievements of women down the ages.

Buy Sandi Toksvig books at the Guardian bookshop

"When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. "This is often considered to be man's first attempt at a calendar" she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. 'My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman's first attempt at a calendar.'

"It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women's contributions? How often had I sped past them as I learned of male achievement and men's place in the history books? Then I read Rosalind Miles's book The Women's History of the World (recently republished as Who Cooked the Last Supper?) and I knew I needed to look again. History is full of fabulous females who have been systematically ignored, forgotten or simply written out of the records. They're not all saints, they're not all geniuses, but they do deserve remembering."

Follow the link below to read about these inspiring women, all but forgotten:

Friday, 13 March 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Volcano Eruption in Costa Rica

Turrialba Volcano, located in the province of Cartago, 67 kilometers from the capital San José, has erupted

For more information and videos/photos visit ->

My thoughts are with the families and community in Costa Rica.

(Image taken from

Sandy Bigara

Thursday, 12 March 2015

FOODIE: Need a quiet spot to chill out for a while? Hinghams Nursery Tea Garden

I feel these days like you need to say "This girl went to this restaurant, what she saw there will make your blood boil" in the title, and then its just a restaurant crit ya'know? #ViralShizz

Click on the picture. I dare ya. 

Anyway, I had the chance to do a write-up for DurbanZone Magazine and if you're keen on a little read then hop on Down The Rabbit Hole...