Nic Haralambous on Stress

We might not have the refreshing Spring rains that await our Johannesburg fellow-CM community but in Cape Town, we sure have the most determined winter any chapter city has ever seen…it has been icy!

So the relevance of this topic couldn’t have been hotter and with Nic Haralambous as our speaker, we had just the person to raise the dopamine levels and heat it up a little on the pressure cooker topic of STRESS.

2020 has certainly been a stress-tester to most of us and not all of us have come out as PH-neutral in the turmoil of playing the waiting game in lockdown. Our bodies have taken a knock with the demands of work, relationships, financial and non-social pressures over the past few months.

Stress can be a key motivator, and a very important tool for us to survive but as Nic pointed out, it is easy to become addicted to the flip-side of that coin. And we’ve all felt it. That rush you get from being stressed for a test or a presentation, watching your savings in Bitcoin ride up and down or to meet a new person (or in person - especially in these times!). 

It is easy to constantly want that feeling and to thrive off the drama that your body experiences in those moments. It is an easy science and our brains know it. Our minds can learn (and actually physically alter themselves in the process) to create those situations within ourselves that keep feeding our internal dopamine dependency.

It begs the question - why do it? Because as human beings we are also wired to care and especially to care about what we understand success to be. Kelly McGonigal, the author of “The upside of stress” wrote “You don’t stress out about things you don’t care about, and you can’t create a meaningful life without experiencing some stress.”

This is true. We need to learn to embrace and balance it. Not avoid it.

Nic reminded us to move away from what he termed the ‘Sacrifice fallacy’. Oh yes, we have all fallen into that trap of thinking we have to give up our basic Maslow principles to manage stress and achieve wholesome, successful living. 

There is a reason that Maslow highlighted the basic physiological needs as the foundational pillars of being human and as the necessities in moving towards self-actualisation. 

Let’s challenge each other to the B2B (back to basics) of:

  • Sleep as much as we need.
  • Eat to feed our soul, not just fill our bodies.
  • Exercise in whatever way feels comfortable, but exercise!

So that we may reminisce on the things we tried and failed, but learnt from… rather than the things we failed to learn because we were too stressed or scared to try. 

Let’s flick the switch (even when there is load shedding)

Happy Spring-in-your-step September, everybody!

Imraan Samuels on Underdog

Is July 2020 really a thing of the past? We’re just as shocked as you are that the winter solstice has come and gone and just like that it is time to say goodbye to another great month of this year.

We welcomed Imraan Samuels, a wonderful leader in our natural living community whose business has flourished in these unprecedented times where lockdown has asked of us to think differently about what we have and what we can do with it in small spaces. 

From Underdog to Leader on the sustainability front, Imraan made us stop and think about what is truly at our disposal in and around Zone Zero aka ‘home’. 

It was inspiring to hear about what he has accomplished as a permaculture designer, practitioner and facilitator and what he has brought to life through his ventures and passions. Most specifically, creating the urban permaculture training platform, Guerilla House and incredible work he has done with the SEED organisation.

Where most people see humanity as the burden of existence to Mother Nature, Imraan reminded us that looking after Her isn’t about alienating ourselves, but rather seeing our value in Her transformation. 

As the beauty of Spring approaches, let’s nourish our green fingers and home-grown souls and take his advice to learn through our bodies by embracing that we have everything inside ourselves and around us to live an abundant life. 

Happy cultivating those dreams!

Sarah Rice on Insecure

What an interesting time to be talking about feeling uncertain and anxious within oneself with everything that is going on in the world. Especially since we find ourselves in a space where we are forced by law to sit still and face the silence within ourselves.

This is not always the most comfortable place to be because it means dropping the masks we put on so quickly when we turn around and face society. And let’s face it, those masks are pretty handy most of the time in avoiding getting hurt, showing our sensitivities and just making it out there. 

We’ve all heard the coined phrase ‘Fake it til you make’ however this month we have pondered on the thought of whether following this kind of mantra is really powerful or helpful. Does it actually assist us in dealing with the root of what is going on internally?

We had the immense pleasure of welcoming to our virtual platform, Sarah Rice, who has had an incredibly interesting journey of throwing herself into the deep end and juggling between the polarities of hope and fear. 

She reminded us that it is so important to acknowledge that to be human is to see and appreciate the depths of our shadow, insecure selves, instead of constantly striving to fit into the shallow ‘instagram world of uber confidence’ around us.

It is true that most often we don’t feel worthy to tackle life in its fullness and we end up getting stuck in that familiar impostor syndrome. And yes, it is one thing to acknowledge it, but quite another to overcome the feelings and shake off the fears. 

Enter the ‘Insecurity Toolbox’

Thank you to Sarah for lifting the lid and giving us a peek into her experiential treasure collection. These are some of the tools we can make our own: 

  • Find your heart-friends: Foster strong and forceful relationships and allow these fellow humans to support you in climbing out of your head and avoiding the ‘land of always-never’. 
  • Outsource your confidence: Let the confidence of others in you remind you of your beauty and courage in tackling the unknown.
  • Separate feelings from facts: Pop that illusionary balloon floating in your mind so you can wake up to the reality of your true self.
  • Dance with your insecurities: Flow with your heart’s rhythm to know what you need to move on your life’s beat. 
  • Find your practice: Go back to basics and focus on the small and significant daily wins in your life that make you uniquely who you are. It’s the gratitude for what seems small that shifts big time.

So, when you find the hinges are a little loose or the screws need a bit of a tightening, remember the tools in and around you. You may be surprised at what other treasures you find along the way. And please do share them with us!

Well, it seems lockdown wants to be starting to say its goodbyes and we will slowly crawl back to what will be a new normal. 

Just perhaps, wearing an actual mask helped hold up the mirror for us and we can now be free and at ease to be our mask-less and vulnerable selves in the world. 

We can raise a mug to that! Till next time…

Natasha Napoli on Nature

We ended off May in light-hearted spirits thanks to the delight of a being, Natasha Napoli. Tash’s sincere presence was truly humbling as she enlightened us on her experiences of sustainable living, interconnectedness and letting go into the flows of life to truly know thyself and live authenticity - NATURALLY.

Just like beauty was born from chaos with her inspiring organic and waste-free business venture, Nourish’d, Tash was able to remind us that we can too drop from the chaos of life into stillness in ourselves where the elements of life are actually already flowing in a perfect circle of life.

We learnt about what the fire, earth, air and water elements represent and it was interesting to touch base with ourselves in what element was currently heavily present in our lives. More importantly, Tash’s talk reminded us that in order to grow and be balanced - in mind, body, spirit and soul, you have to be in touch with this energy and in time with NATURE.

It is true that nature is always on time and tapping into that grounded space of time allows you to know when to shift and re-plant yourself in a new space. As she so beautifully explained, you can’t plant your idea in a smaller pot when the fire in your soul wants a flower bed, a garden or even a forest! Where are we placing our energy and attention?

And how much do we believe in our message to the world? During this time where we can’t escape into other realities, we are being called to deeply ponder these questions.

Perhaps it is time for a bit of re-planting? Order a deliciously organic Nourish’d moonshine bowl and some naturally produced Clay Pigeon Trading coffee, and enjoy while you take a listen to the whisperings of your soi(u)l. You never know what mysteriously beautiful messages you may find.

Till we meet again, keep warm and happy!

David Donde on Purpose

With a 2-day count-down to the end of this whirlwind month and what is to be new norms in this lockdown living, we hosted our first virtual event! We had the privilege of spending time with our own coffee guru and (TRUTH) way finder, David Donde.


He reminded us that life is beyond the boundaries of our perceptions and that in order to find YOUR truth and live extraordinary joy, it requires an acceptance of (your quirky) self and the flow of life…and of course, a healthy dose of courage!

Find your authentic heart, understand your product (PURPOSE) offering, give of it generously and passionately push on those buttons to manifest the intentions in service to the collective.

You’re holding the remote already, so just un-mute and remember to turn on the webcam ;)

And that’s a wrap on April…

A big coffee cup cheers to all that made this event possible and are staying in the light with us in these times… who knows what strangely beautiful surprises await us in the month of May!

Danielle Clough on Courage

For March we had photographer-designer-vj-embroiderer, Danielle Clough take us through theme COURAGE. Special thanks to Friends of Design - Academy of Digital Arts for hosting us, Amazee Labs for providing the delicious breakfast, and to our long term partner Sir Fruit for the delicious juicy refreshments!

Conn Bertish on Broken

This month we had Conn share his thoughts on the theme “Broken”. He is a creative director who thrives on new challenges and then created Cancer Dojo, an innovative social enterprise that harnesses creativity and Psychoneuroimmunology to empower people facing disease. He shared his cancer-living journey with us and taught us that “happy people are harder to kill” and that we have the power to connect with our own healing.

You can find out more here and see more images of this event here

Kayli Levitan on Ethics - 26th Feb 2016

Kayli spoke on the importance of ethics in every day live and shared some valuable experience and insights from The Street Store, the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free “pop-up clothing store” for the poor, found entirely on the street and curated by you. Find out more on

John Sanei on Language - January 2016

John Sanei chatted about all types of language, from using verbal cues to thank water to pointing at people and remembering that while we point one finger forward, three are pointed back at us.Find out more on

This Friday, July 31st, Creative Mornings Cape Town is honored to host Trevyn McGowan to discuss the concept of Collaboration in Design.  We asked her some questions, via email, to get the juices flowing!  Join us at 8:30 a.m. this Friday to see Trevyn in person!

Julian and Trevyn McGowan, Photo Credit © Jac de Villiers

CMCT: This month’s Creative Morning’s theme is “Collaboration.” After doing some research on your projects, including Source, Southern Guild and Guild Design Fair, it is clear to me that you and Julian thrive on collaboration. Can you share how you and Julian came to be such revolutionary design collaborators in the first place?

TM:  Julian and I love working together. We gel really well and complement one another in the way that we think and react. It’s a real collaborative enterprise. We don’t do anything in our businesses without discussing it and brainstorming together. That we’re both really passionate about local design helps immensely, as well as the fact that we’re drawn to the same pieces. Julian comes from a theatre design background, and I owned an interior design firm in London before we moved back to South Africa, so our interests have always been in this creative field.

CMCT:  When you created the Southern Guild in 2008, what were some of the challenges you faced?

TM:  Design was still really young in this country, so creating an awareness and interest around it was our biggest challenge, as was nurturing and mentoring the designers to go further than they had been before, to believe in their vision and to take the quality and originality as far as they could.

CMCT:  Who are some of the South Africans who inspire your work? Why?

TM:  Gregor Jenkin was our original designer and formed the beginning of Southern Guild, our collectible design gallery. Our first international exhibition was a solo show of his work at Design Miami. We’re also incredibly inspired by Porky Hefer (who did an incredible collaborative piece with Peter Mabeo from Botswana for GUILD), Andile Dyalvane, who is making great waves around the world, with a major international exhibition scheduled for next year, and Dokter and Misses, another wonderful example of how husband and wife can collaborate well in a design environment.

CMCT:   I’m sure you have many pieces of art and furniture throughout your home. What are some of your favorites and why?

TM:  We have a Gregor Jenkin table in our dining room that moved with us to Cape Town when we relocated from Wilderness last year. Our family spends some of its most memorable moments around this incredible piece of furniture. We’re also privileged to own three pieces by Babacar Niang, the uber-talented wooden furniture designer from Senegal who passed away this year. His fellow Design Network Africa designer (a programme we run across East and West Africa), Hamed Ouattara, has a Watt Watt cabinet, made from recycled oil barrels, that graces our entrance hall. Our Serge Alain Nitegeka artwork, and Conrad Botes collection also hold special places in our home.

CMCT:  We always love to ask our CM speakers what keeps their creative juices flowing. What keeps you inspired way down here at the tip of the continent?

TM:  Collaboration! People from around the world are looking to Africa for inspiration at present, and are drawn to collaborate with our designers. This is incredibly stimulating for us. We saw it at GUILD this year - at the international design fair we hosted in Cape Town. We had designers from Lebanon creating work in conjunction with Imiso Ceramics and Bronze Age; and The Haas Brothers from LA realising their Afreaks series with Monkeybiz and Bronze Age; then the collaboration with Porky and Peter Mabeo mentioned above; as well as Frederik Molenschot from The Netherlands collaborating on a massive weaving installation with Swaziland’s Gone Rural. Helping to coordinate these collaborations is extremely rewarding for us.