I thought I’d take the opportunity to get to know the new Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. Find out a little more about the Sedgefield resident in this Q&A below:
1. At 21, did you ever think you’d be saying “Hi I’m Demi-Leigh, your new Miss South Africa”? Now that you’ve had some time to rest, how does it feel?
Being Miss South Africa has been a life long dream of mine. My plan was always to first finish my degree before entering Miss SA, which I did last year. I think in my heart I always hoped for this dream to become a reality not realising just how tangible this dream really is. I have definitely not had any time to rest just as yet. I still get emotional every time I watch my crowning moment. Wearing this crown is the biggest honour and also a big responsibility.
2. It’s still early morning. Are you a tea, coffee, smoothie, or juice kinda person?
Coffee all the way!
3. What are you hoping to achieve with this title?
I decided that I rather want to focus on a few big projects instead of hundreds of small initiatives. As a B.Com Business Management and Entrepreneurship graduate entrepreneurship truly excites me. I want to help women in South Africa to help themselves by giving them the necessary tools they need in order to start and successfully manage their own businesses.
4. What’s the one misconception people may have about you?
I feel that people are quick to think that life and success comes easy for someone with a pretty face. I worked hard for every single thing I have ever earned. It took a lot of sacrifice and dedication to get to where I am today.
5. You’re from the Southern Cape. Tell us two of your favourite spots in Sedgefield and surrounds.
Cloud Nine, the location from where they do hand gliding, is my favourite spot to watch the sun set. It has the most beautiful 180° view of Sedgefield.
I am a total foodie. The Sedgefield Wild Oats Farmer’s Market is my favourite breakfast spot on a Saturday morning.
6. We all have something weird about ourselves. What’s the one weird thing you have or do that you’re happy to share with the country?
I always speak to my two yorkies, Baxter and Benji, in a Minion voice. For some crazy reason I feel they understand me better that way.
7. One difficult question for the day. Some think Miss SA isn’t relevant anymore. Why do you think it is?
To me Miss South Africa is a voice to the voiceless, she is a beacon of hope and she is the physical representation of a young South African woman that can make her dreams come true. Miss South Africa is a young woman that relates to a whole country and represents a whole nation. I feel that our country needs people that shine a light on the positive, someone that inspires, loves and cares unconditionally. That is my definition of Miss South Africa and also why I feel she is more relevant than ever.
8. It’s always unfair to ask who your favourite was, so I’ll go with this instead. Name three of your favourite Miss SA’s of all time?
Melinda Bam, Rolene Strauss and Joann Strauss.
9. What are you listening to right now?
I actually dug up an old Cat Stevens cd while moving to JHB. It’s on repeat.
10.What’s your favourite guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate or anything salted caramel flavoured.
Last Thursday I hopped on board an Emirates plane en route to Dubai in the UAE. I had a bit of a scare at the airport, with my exit permit not being issued in time, but luckily after several frantic calls all before 5 am, I managed to get it. The mission for the trip? Well firstly, to complete the Standard Charted Dubai Marathon… My first real marathon, really. The last marathon I did was in April when I participated in my first IRONMAN event. Yip, that was my first marathon. What a way to introduce yourself to marathon running, huh?
The last time I was in Dubai was in 2012. I had no expectations when I got there, and so my time there was a lot more than I ever imagined it would be. The city was vibey, fun and my friends looked after me real good. It was enough for me to start looking at any working opportunities there. It wasn’t meant to be, but now being based in Doha, Qatar, it’s a lot easier to visit the city. So upon my return to the city, I was absolutely blown away by how much it has changed. For one, it’s a lot ‘taller’. There are so many more buildings, so many skyscrapers. The Dubai Canal is a new addition to the city, and the Metro is fully functional too. This city is truly world class, and they aren’t playing games when it comes to proving how much they want to be considered as such.
I headed off to the race registration. Now usually you find a big expo with loads of stalls and brands showing off all their latest trends and products. So I was a bit taken aback by the lack of exhibitors there. In fact, I was disappointed because I was hoping to get myself a new pair of running shoes there. I mean, in my head there’s no better place than the number one hub for runners, right? Alas, it is what it is and the one good thing is that I didn’t have to stand in too long a queue, which is always a bonus. All wrapped up, all registered and now officially ‘poeping’ myself, I headed off to my hotel. If you’re ever looking for a central place to stay, I would definitely recommend the Metropolitan Hotel. It’s newly refurbished, it’s a short walk from the FGB Station and it’s very affordable too. The room was comfy and it’s close to the Burj Al Arab…. So it comes highly recommended. It worked very well for me too because it was about 3kms from the start and finish of the race. There’s also a really nice grocery store down the road (it sells biltong). PLUS if you’re South African, there’s a Mugg & Bean in the centre too… A little taste of home never hurt. Gosh, was that necessary. I vowed to get myself a banana muffin after the race, but that didn’t happen this time around. So I’ll just have to go back I guess 😉
On race morning, I got up early, enjoyed my High Protein Futurelife and then headed to the start. It was supposed to be pretty chilly, but to be honest the humidity kept it quite warm. Perfect for running really. After checking in my bag, I made my way to the start – EEEEEEEEEK! I’ve come this far, the only thing left to do now is to run. And that I did. I managed to find my rhythm quickly and I slowed my pace down too. Sidebar, I recently did a 21km training in Doha and I managed to do it in 1:38, which is my fastest. Granted it’s flat here and the weather is perfect. I didn’t expect to keep that pace for the marathon. In fact, I knew I had to slow down, and that’s what I did. I found a group of runners from Dubai, who were running a really nice pace, and so I hooked onto their bus and ran with them. At around 19kms, I need to use the little boy’s rooms, and so by the time I was done (like literally 2minutes), they were gone. I tried to catch up, but they’d upped their pace and I couldn’t keep up. I kept it steady, though and found another group to run with. At around 30kms in, the wheels started coming off. I think I’d pushed a little too hard. That coupled with old running shoes and too little distance training in the build up. It was possibly the longest 12kms of my life. I battled through, but I came out on top and managed to sneak in a time of 3:48… Super stoked about that one, seeing as though my marathon time in Ironman was a long 4:50.
A few lessons learned on the run:
– Don’t drink too much
– Get your nutrition right. All I wanted were some baby potatoes (my mum will be happy)
– Slow it down in the beginning, and pick it up for the last 10kms
– Do more longer, slower distance training in the build up
– Make sure your running shoes are conducive to running long distances like this
– Have fun
If you have any tips, please feel free to share with me too.
I really did enjoy the experience and I’m keen to do more marathons now… I’m a global runner and I love this ish. Between running, swimming, cycling and a combination of all three in the form of triathlon, expect more travel and race reports from me. I’m longing to go to Ironman South Africa, but it’s looking unlikely. New York City Triathlon in July is definitely on the cards – entry was paid for last year and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Plus it’s New York City… My home away from home 🙂 As for the city of Dubai. Well, I do love thee. The pulse, the people, the forward-thinking types, the infrastructure, the cleanliness, the services, Dubai stays winning. I’ll be back there soon, but first we prep for ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi 2017 in March.
It has been a while since my long blog post… I think it’s because I’ve been so busy trying to settle into my new environment, my new job, and my new way of life in the Qatari city of Doha. It has been almost four months, and it’s time for my blogging hiatus to come to an end.
A quick recap… A lot of you still may not have realised, but I no longer live in SA. I moved to Doha, Qatar on the 11th of August. I was yearning for an adventure abroad and so when the opportunity to come out here and work on a very exciting project (well four), I simply couldn’t turn it down. It scared me to no end. I mean I knew one old university friend was based here and besides her, I knew of a few people who knew my people in some way. That’s part of the adventure huh? Some of the things I’ve done since I’ve been here:
Been a #YesMan… Go meet people from all walks of life because why not? And boy have I met some incredible humans.
Use apps like Internations, Meetup or dare I say it, even Tinder
Tenpin bowling. It’s not novel, but it’s fun and a good way to let your hair down
Walk and explore (not in the height of summer because it’s revolting). In my case, it’s run ’cause you know… Triathlete
I went dog walking… I love dogs, I needed some attention from our furry friends, and they needed some love and affection too. The fit was right. So fulfilling, special and I met some awesome people too
Tried a vegan restaurant. Absolutely delicious!!! IF you ever come and visit the city (or me) we’re going to Evergreen Organics
Mall shopping (there are malls for days in these parts)
Joined a triathlon club
Some of you might think that’s what I do back at home. Yes, you’re right… For some of these, but for most of the listed items above, I’ve taken for granted. Before coming here, I slipped into a routine, a comfort zone if you like and that’s made me somewhat complacent. Life is about living and I’ve become a strong advocate of the idea of growth only being possible when you’re out of your comfort zone. There’s a limit though and we need to be able to draw the line or strike a balance between what is possible and what isn’t. No experience is ever wasted, but I’d much rather be doing stuff and fail, then to live in a bubble and wonder what if? Or worse, have regrets.
I went back to SA a few weeks back and that was good for the soul. Seeing your family, your friends… Your people is best. Having said that, I was pretty excited to head back here. I think that’s a good sign, right? 🙂
And so with this massive change in my life, I feel like it’s only fitting that my blog content shifts slightly too. There will be more adventure, more news on health and wellness (my journey in this space), more on the city of Doha, but there will still be entertainment too. I hope you’ll my #DesertDiary and this project I call #AVonVoyage.
The new season of Tough Rides kicks off on Travel Channel on 23 July. Check out my Q&A with host, Ryan Pyle to see what he gets up to in this season of Tough Rides: Brazil:
1. On 23 July, your show Tough Rides: Brazil kicks off on Travel Channel, channel 179 on DStv. Riding a bike can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. Do you get nervous leading up to a new show’s debut on TV?
RP: I don’t get nervous when I am riding motorcycles, but it can always be a little bit scary when you travel around a country as wonderful as Brazil and you have so many honest and intimate moments with people, and you wonder if your television audiences around the world will “buy in” and want to follow in your footsteps and watch the rest of the episode. My goal is to explore, educate and storytell, and I think we did that in Brazil.
2. In this series, you’re riding across South America’s biggest country, Brazil. What is the best aspect about traversing a country like this on nothing but a bike?
RP: A motorcycle puts you in touch with a country the way a car or bus or train never can. On a motorcycle you are connected to nature, to the weather, to the landscape and to the people. It’s a 360 degree experience that is real, rich and incredibly fullfilling.
3. How did this idea come about?
RP: We are now in Season #3 of Tough Rides. I’ve already completed journey’s in China (S1) and India (S2). Originally my brother joined me in China and India and it was a wonderful experience, it was something that we had always wanted to do. Instead of “riding around the world” I always just wanted to learn as much about one country at one time; so riding a motorcycle for a few weeks or months around a single country and learning as much as possible about what makes that country special is just wonderful and very rewarding. The best way to explore the world is on two wheels.
4. In the first episode, you’re in the incredible city of Rio de Janeiro, which is amazing. It can also be a bit scary in parts, can you tell us a bit about that?
RP: Rio is a city of great contrasts. If you stay near Copa Cabanna beach where all the tourists are then there are no real issues. If you go wandering off in other parts of the city there could be some issues. We toured the favella’s as part of our series and it was a unique look at a city of great constrasts. Highly educational.
5. When you’re in these different cities, or making your way from A to B, do you ever get time to just pull over and admire the beauty, the scenery, the people?
RP: Sure, we always stop and film and meet people on the road and take our time. We are never rushing from A to B, and most of the time the best stories and the best people we meet are in those places inbetween. My series is un-scripted for the most part so we are always on the look-out for chance encounters.
6. What were some of your personal highlights that perhaps didn’t quite make the TV cut?
RP: There is so much content that never makes it in to the TV Cut. Wow, where do I begin? There were a lot of challenging moments along the BR-319, the most dangerous road in Brazil, that we were just unable to film because of extreme conditions due to personal safety. But that could have been an entire series all by itself. I hope I can go back at some stage.
7. What was the most difficult thing about the trip?
RP: The most difficult thing for me about making adventure television shows is being away from my family for long stretches at a time. As “tough” as I am in traveling by motorcycle through the Amazon, I have an incredible support team in my family….that I miss dearly everyday.
8. If someone is going to Brazil for the Olympics next month, what are some of the words or phrases can you share with them to get by while they’re there?
RP: In Brazil, you don’t need language. You need body language. Be loose. Be fun. Smile. And be sure to drink and dance the night way, just like all the locals. You’ll be embraced but what it means to be Brazilian. What a beautiful way of life.
9. You’re an adventurer by trade. So what’s next for Ryan? Maybe a trip from Cape Town to Cairo?
RP: I make a lot of different television shows, and Tough Rides is one of my absolute favorites. I would love to do an adventure in Africa but I would prefer to visit only one or two countries at a time and really try to learn about their diversity and what makes them special. I am less interested about crossing continents or doing “round the world” rides. I am on my motorcycle to connect with people and learn about places that I want to visit.
10. In closing and in two sentences, why should people watch Tough Rides: Brazil?
RP: You should watch Tough Rides: Brazil because it is real, it is honest and it is epic. Enjoy the adventure!
Do you remember the entertainment centre at the Sun City Resort ? It used to be the hub of a lot of activity. There was a casino in the centre many years ago. It then became the centre of all things fun, and the are was filled with restaurants and pubs, a movie theatre and retailers alike. I remember spending many an evening after the Miss South Africa pageants or SAMAs, standing in the Nandos queues to get some well-earned dinner after a busy working evening. Sometimes when the work was done and we felt like letting our hair down, we’d head to the clubs there for a couple of bevvies.
But even before the clubbing days, I remember the arcade games, the hippos and crocodile games that used to keep me company for hours on end. In short, the entertainment centre was exactly that, and it appealed to young, old, the hungry and the party animals 🙂
Well, it hasn’t been around for a few months now and that’s because it’s getting a major facelift. This is part of the resort’s overall revamp, which should be wrapped up and ready to be revealed later this year. I went through to Sun City recently for the MiWay Sun City Ultra. So because I’m curious, I managed to get a sneak peek at what’s going down as far as the #NewSunCity is concerned. Check out some of the pics below.
I think this new entertainment centre is going to be quite something. It’ll still have that iconic Sun City look and feel, but just newer, fresher and a lot more modern. For one, the skylight in the centre is going to be incredible. No more artificial lighting during the day, but rather the natural rays from the sun will beam its pretty self into the centre. The restaurants, movies, retailers will all return. The Sun City Superbowl remains, which is great news. There are going to be some awesome new additions in the form of the ‘Walk of Fame’. I was told about this last year, but to see where it is going to go and how it will roll out is really exciting. I’m pretty damn broody at the moment, no lies. Seeing how they’re catering for the kiddies makes me even more ready for little VB’s, but while I wait for that stage of life, I think I might just bring out my inner child again. The new designs include a ten-pin bowling area, right next to the magic centre. So you can imagine how much of a jol the young and old are going to have there.
From a corporate perspective, the first floor will have a lot of conferencing facilities. Work hard, then play hard and boy is there a lot of playing to be done. The shebeen restaurant, the amphitheatre for some acoustic music sessions, the Valley of the Waves, the golfing… It’s all there, so it’s actually great for a team building or conference venue. I asked the team if they’d experienced a drop in reservations or visitors since the plans for the revamp were initiated. Not at all. In fact, they were at capacity from a reservations perspective was concerned, and the resort was buzzing with tourists and day visitors. I guess the warm weather and close proximity to Jozi and Pretoria helps a lot too. It’s also perfect for the whole family. This time, I stayed at the Vacation Club, which is perfect for the family or for a bunch of mates.
I hadn’t been to Sun City in a couple of months, and to see how much work they’d done in that time is incredible. The chances are the next time I head up there will be for the unveiling of the #NewSunCity and I cannot wait. Fun City… Obviously, I’ll probably do another triathlon while I’m there too, haha. Stay tuned, more on this to follow.
This is big news for Minnie Dlamini. The star will co-host this year’s Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice in Lagos, Nigeria next month. I’ve been at all three #AMVCAs and let me tell you, the show is a big deal and is fast becoming one of the most respected award shows on the continent. Dlamini, an actress in her own right and a revered presenter/ host, has taken over the reigns from StarGist presenter Vimbai Mutinhiri. Minnie will co-host along with the awesome and charming, IK Osakioduwa. Press release below:
Africa Magic and MultiChoice in association with Amstel Malta, have announced the two hosts for the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs). The multi-talented, fan-favourite IK Osakioduwa returns to host the awards for a fourth time and he will be joined by a new co-host, Minenhle ‘Minnie’ Dlamini.
Minnie might be new to a lot of Nigerians but she is referred to as the ‘Diamond girl’ in South Africa. Minnie was in Nigeria this past week shooting two covers and press pictures for the prestigious awards show
In April 2013, Minnie ventured into the world of sport, ultimately spearheading the current trend of merging sport, entertainment and lifestyle. In the eight months that followed, she has had the honour of co-hosting some of the biggest sporting and lifestyle events in South Africa – maintaining her girly side while showing off her sporty and funky style.
Speaking on the announcement, Minnie said: “I am very excited to be on the biggest platform for celebrating talent in Africa. The AMVCAs recognise and celebrate film and television talent across Africa, and as a proud African, I am truly delighted to play a role in this celebration.”
”Team Minnie is delighted with the fact that The Minnie Dlamini brand is expanding in the right direction at a very rapid rate. International expansion has been in the works for a while and we are very excited about up coming projects and the association with the AMVCAs” – Jarred Doyle, Publicist and Brand Strategist
On the 5th of March, 2016, Minnie will take the stage alongside IK to present the 4th edition of the AMVCAs to viewers across Africa and the rest of the world. The AMVCAs will be broadcast live on all Africa Magic channels on DStv and GOtv.
Nominees for the 2016 AMVCAs were announced on the 11th of December, 2015 and public voting closes on Friday the 26th of February, 2016. There are a total of 26 voting categories for the 2016 AMVCAs and viewers can vote up to a hundred times on multiple platforms including Wechat, mobile and web.
This is fantastic news. I’m really hoping to head back to Lagos this year. Let’s see what happens 😉
Do you have a place that takes you back to your youth, or brings back good memories? Be it a resort, a beach house, or say a trip to the bush that always takes you back to a time where you were relaxed, calm, and that always make you smile when you reminisce? I have a couple, but one that I still seem to visit a lot is Sun City up in the North West Province. The resort has been around since the 70s. I’ve been going there since I was young, and if you’re trying to do the math, I’m not that old.
I remember going to Sun City when I was around 9 or so. My mom, my uncle and aunt decided the beach was too far, but Joburg’s answer to the beach aka the Valley of the Waves was well worth the trip. The Lazy River, the Temple of Courage and some of the other rides were a perfect way to enjoy the warm weather and to keep them/ me busy. At the end of the day, we went and chowed some deliciousness at the entertainment centre and that would be followed by some fun at the arcade. Who remembers those crocodile games? Such fun – and such grand memories too.
In more recent years, I’ve been going to the resort in a working capacity, be it Miss South Africa; Kylie Minogue, Kelly Rowland and Marcos Hernandez at the Sun City Superbowl, or the South African Music Awards and each and every time, the fun in Sun City was had. So recently, I went through to the resort again. Only this time for a slightly different occasion. I was there for a triathlon – you know, my new life and all. It was my first 11Global triathlon. I decided to make a weekend of it because well, you know… Fun City. I left Joburg at around 3pm and after hitting peak hour traffic, I finally made it through to Sun City by 6pm. Immediately I felt a sense of relief to be out of the hustle and bustle that is Jozi, and it was great to be back in a place I really enjoy. My room in the Sun City Hotel was one of the luxury rooms. It had been a long day and a long week, so I decided to kick back and relax for a few minutes. That bed is so comfortable. So comfortable in fact that I almost fell asleep, but being an athlete now, the body must eat and so I headed downstairs with the intention of going to the entertainment centre, where a lot of the restaurants are. I saw the new Mugg & Bean in the restaurant, so I decided that would be perfect for the evening. That is just one of the many new additions to the resort by the way. There’s a helluva lot of construction and refurbishment going on at Sun City, but I’ll chat about that in a bit.
I kept the evening calm and headed to bed quite early – and luckily so. The next day was a lot busier than I had actually planned. I went to cheer on my family friends participating in the triathlon in the morning, and it was good to see what was in store for me too. A few friends and I then headed into the lake for a practice swim, which was too rad. A good warm up and a nice way to ease into the day too. I retreated back to my hotel for breakfast, and besides The Palace breakfast which is amazing, the Sun City Hotel breakfast is awesome too. If you’re heading through soon, try their home-made carrot muffins and/ or the crumpets. Deliciousness!
Sun City is one of those places that honestly just functions like a city. It’s a lot smaller, but obviously it works. The buses come regularly – the signage around the resort ensures that you get to the destination you’re wanting to go to etc. Take my situation for example. I wanted to go see my friends at Vacation Club. We decided an afternoon drive in the Pilansberg would be a good idea, so the bus took me from the entertainment centre right up to the Vacation Club. Look, I could’ve walked but it was hot out there, so I opted for the AC’d bus instead 😉 This year, my love for the bush was reignited when I went off to the Kruger National Park in April. So any excuse I get to into the bush is one I’m willing to make. We saw a lot of elephants, several rhinos and then the regular impala, zebra and giraffes. I would’ve loved a leopard or a lion, but a break in the bush is good enough to make the soul feel content. It was also a great way to clear the head of the week gone by and prep mentally for the triathlon the next day.
The triathlon itself went really well. I mean don’t get me wrong. The heat was intense, as was the wind, but I managed a good time and a podium spot for coming third in my agegroup. I had no idea that I’d actually got a podium spot, so luckily my friends were around to accept on my behalf. I missed my one shot, haha. After the triathlon, I took some time to lap up the Sun City lifestyle. We’re now into the last few weeks of the year, and I could definitely feel the holidays, the good times that await us when I absorbed the Sun City fun. People are chilled, happy, laughing, drinking, relaxing at the various pools. It’s a good place and a good time of the year. It’s also perfect for those wanting a weekend escape. It’s quick enough to get there. So you really should utilised this opportunity if you get the chance. Moms and dads can enjoy the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which kicks off very soon, and of course the kids can enjoy the Valley of the Waves and some of the other attractions among the four hotels.
I mentioned earlier that there was a lot on the go at the resort. Besides refurbishments at the Cabanas and the Vacation Club, there’s some major change to come in 2016. So big, they’re investing R800-million to make sure the resort is in exceptional knick and perfect for both local and international guests. For starters, the Santori is no more, but don’t fret there’s a new Mediterranean restaurant called Bocado, which opened in August this year. The resort now also boasts a new steak restaurant called Harvest Grill and Wine in the Entertainment Centre. Families frequenting the Vacation Club will also be glad to hear that there is now a Spur on the resort too… Best burgers, and a great place for the whole famdamily to to enjoy. There’s also an adventure hub called Adrenalin Extreme, which is targeted at the teenage market (not limited to them only I hope, haha). Why? Well because there’s a Human Sling Shot, a quad 4×4 challenge and Hovercrats to name a few things. The Valley of the Waves will offer two new rides in the next couple of months.
There are two things I’m particularly keen to see next year. The first is the Sun Park, which will be a multipurpose facility for events and music festivals. I know a couple of artists have already been booked to attend several events this holiday season, so check out the site to find out more, but Sun Park is going to be such a jol when it’s open. The Entertainment Centre will undergo a massive renovation. It’ll close very soon, and it’ll be making room for a full Experiential Centre in 2016. There will be a South African Hall of Fame, which will honour the country’s top sportspeople, as well as performing artists. There will be a lazer tag game, a ten pin bowling ring, the arcade will still be there and there will be plenty more. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back at the Sun City resort in 2016, and I cannot wait. If you’re not heading down to the coast this December and you’re in the North West, Gauteng or MP, you really should consider a trip to Sun City. It’s relatively close by, and everyone can something on the resort!