• 06 Apr 2012 /  General Blogging

    Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of this trip has been Snow-kiting. It was a gamble for me to bring my kiting gear half way around the world on the off chance that the conditions would be right for me to try this extreme sport. The was very little info on the internet, but I decided to take a chance.on my first day I took a Metro to a spot where I had seen videos of people snow-kiting.

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    After exciting the Metro at Strogino (on the Blue line) I had a beautiful walk through the snow covered landscape towards the frozen lake. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the familiar sight of kites in the air!

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    I now knew where to kitesurf – all I had to do was get myself a snowboard.

    Only in Russia – look at what was parked near the lake!

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    Back onto Google, and I found the name of a outdoor sports shop. I seen on a Google maps mission through multiple metro lines and around 30 mkintues walking until I found the shop:

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    Just walking around in Moscow to get ones destination is an experience

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    You will notice I am wearing my outfit chosen by Tracy from a clothing shop in Moscow.

    That shop didn’t have snowboards to rent, but with the aid of Google Translate (no one speaks a word of English here) they sent me to the other side of the city. These I found a snowboard that I could rent for around R300 per day – I was all set. Now just to wait for the wind.

    I woke up the next day to some wind ratteling the tree outside our apartment. Today was to be the day!

    I left the apartment and took the Metro to the board rental shop. I had all my kiting gear on my back, and got some strange looks from the other Metro users. The guy at the shop was in a bad mood and started shouting at me in Russian. He then demanded my passport to ensure I would come back with the board. A little shaken from that experience, I boarded the Metro with all my equipment and my newly rented snowboard.

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    After a 45 minute ride including changing lines a few times (with all signs in Russian) I arrived at the lake. It was cold, snowing and windy. I was feeling a little nervous.

    After walking down to the lake I started to set up my kite. It is very hard to set up in -5 degrees. Your hands freeze as soon as you take them out your gloves.

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    My gear was set up, a nearby kiter helped me launch, and I was off! It was a beautiful feeling to be carving through the snow and ice. The wind was gusty, but I am used to that from Muizenberg. The technique is almost the same and it is a lot of fun. It was quite scary as the snow and ice is actually quite hard. Much harder than water! I was worried that a bad fall could result in injury. On the snow you also have less ability to provide resistance to the gusts by digging in your edge. Once you are going though, the clean white snow provides a surreal experience.

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    All in all it was an experience of a lifetime.

  • 06 Apr 2012 /  General Blogging

    I have had the incredible experience of staying in the heart of Moscow for the past two weeks.

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    The flight here was a pleasure, and allowed for a few hours of looking at shops during my stop in Dubai. It was so good to see Tracy at the airport after being apart for over a month. After running around in the snow we took a train to the city center.

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    After a scenic train ride through the snow-covered fields and buildings, we arrived at the Metro. The Metro in Moscow is simply amazing. It is fast, reliable, safe and inexpensive. I purchased a 30 day card which gave me unlimited access to the whole city – for only R250. The Metro stations are built like Cathedrals.

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    Each station has its own character with stunning lighting, artwork and statues.

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    This became my world:

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    Tracy’s apartment is about 15 minutes walk from the nearest Metro Station. This walk was quite an experience as it was snowing and around -6 degrees outside. I had only been in Moscow for a few hours and I could tell that I was going to love it!

  • 05 Jan 2011 /  General Blogging

    Hi Everyone,

    As of 1 January 2011, in addition to being the managing director of amaAmbush Productions, I am now the Head of music at St Cyprians School.

    It’s going to be a busy year!

  • 10 Sep 2010 /  General Blogging

    Hi everyone,

    Axess TV have put the entire video of the ceremony online. You can view it by clicking here.

    We have received great feedback from the organizers of the event.

    Thanks so much to all the parents and amaAmbush students that took part in the tour.

    Peace

  • 08 Sep 2010 /  General Blogging

    Hey everyone,

    Just a quick post…

    I am in Zambia and am having the time of my life! I went on a microlight over the falls and had the most amazing view.

    I have kayaked and rafted on the Zambezi and can now return home completely happy.

    Peace

  • 02 Sep 2010 /  General Blogging

    Hi everyone,

    The World Childrens Prize for the Rights of the Child 10 year anniversary ceremony was a resounding success.

    We arrived at the incredible Stockholm City Hall at around 12h00 and everyone got into their costumes.

    amaAmbush Abantwana

    amaAmbush Abantwana

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    We did a final run through, and went to wait backstage. The energy was incredible.

    The ceremony went very well. It was too dark for me to take any pictures or videos, but it was filmed professionally. I was also occupied with following the event and helping to cue the band when to play. I will upload some footage as soon as get it.

    The queen walked past the band an gave us all a nod at the end of the ceremony. The South African group played flawlessly, and were well received.

    After the ceremony, we had some photo opportunities with Graça Machel.

    Ross Johnson and Graça Machel

    Ross Johnson and Graça Machel

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    amaAmbush Abantwana and Graça Machel

    amaAmbush Abantwana and Graça Machel

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    It was then time to have dinner with the Queen.

    The hall was lit up beautifully and filled with VIP’s from around the world.

    amaAmbush Abantwana with the Swedish Ambassador

    amaAmbush Abantwana with the South African Swedish Ambassador

    We were then served by the royal waiters

    The food was quite different from anything the group had tasted before!

    Starter

    Cream cheese and caviar starter.

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    The group did a great performance to announce the serving of the main course.

    We had a good time, sitting at a table with the musicians from Brazil.

    We got back to our rooms at around 00h00 and got some well deserved rest.

    Well done to amaAmbush Abantwana!

  • 01 Sep 2010 /  General Blogging

    Hey everyone,

    The pace is picking up as we prepare for the main event of the tour – The World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child Award Ceremony. We had an incredible rehearsal last night, from 12h30 till 00h00! The group held together well, and went home tired and excited.

    Siya gave us a scare when he said he had lost his performing costume! Luckly one of the staff members had found his bag and returned it to us.

    The group had the pleasure of meeting Graça Machel in Stockholm at the rehearsal. She had a conversation with the band, and seemed to really enjoy their music.

    Graça Machel in Stockholm

    Graça Machel in Stockholm

    Tonight the group will be meeting and performing for Queen Silvia of Sweden.

    Here is an introduction to the members of this years tour:

    Dudu ‘Duduzela’ Ndlovu age 16 – Herschel Girls High School

    This has been an amazing experience, nothing like I have ever done before. The group has become really close, and I have really enjoyed meeting new people. I have learnt so many skills over the past year in preparation for the tour. Thanks for the opportunity.

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    Khanyi Swaartbooi age 15

    The trip has been great, we have been meeting a lot of new people and making friends. The best part of the trip for me has been shopping. I feel like the group is family now.

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    Songezo ‘Dj Songs’ Nogcazi age 20 – Camps Bay


    The trip has been fantastic. I have enjoyed every moment of it because we are a family and one group. A highlight of the trip for me was last night when we performed at the dinner and everyone loved our music.

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    Lusi Mlanjeni age 17 – Herschel

    The trip is amazing. It has been great to be able to chill with people from all over the world. A highlight for me has been getting to know the other members of the group. We now feel like family.

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    Caitlin Paulsen age 14

    Everything here is all good, and I like the weather because it is similar to Cape Town. My highlight of the trip so far has been shopping and spending time with the people from Brazil and Vietnam.

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    Tebogo ‘Tebza’ Marokane age 15 – Bishops

    I have been enjoying the trip very much. I have enjoyed being with other cultures and people from other countries. A highlight for me was going to Stockholm. It was great to see how people live here.

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    Siya ‘Blade’ Mapolisa age 15 – St. Josephs

    I am enjoying experiencing new cultures. A highlight for me was the tour to Stockholm and the welcoming dinner where we met all the people.

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    Carryn ‘chords, 2, 3, 4’ James age 16

    It’s really been fun, and I have met a lot of interesting people and I am really enjoying it. The highlight of my trip so far has been dancing with the Brazilian musicians. I would like to say high to mom, dad and Brad. I miss you all and will see you soon.

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    amaAmbush Abantwana 2010

    amaAmbush Abantwana 2010

    Peace

  • 30 Aug 2010 /  General Blogging

    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for all the comments, we all appreciate hearing from you back home.

    Everything is starting to build up to the performance on Wednesday night. The ceremony will be broadcast live on AXESS (a Swedish channel) at 18h00. Here is their online TV guide:

    It's official - Live national coverage

    It's official - Live national coverage

    Footage of the performance will also be shown on an upcoming Top Billing episode. I will keep you posted on when it will air.

    Today was spent rehearsing and going through the running order of the ceremony. They have worked out every last detail, and it took most of the day to got through all the logistics.

    In the evening, we had the official welcome dinner where each group performed one song.

    amaAmbush Abantwana in action

    Rehearsing for the concert that evening

    amaAmbush Abantwana were on form, delivering a flawless performance. We watched some Indian dance, a Vietnam piece and some great Samba music from Brazil. At the end of the evening, everyone jumped onto the marimbas and the group taught them how to play ‘In The Jungle’. After a few minutes, the whole room was singing, dancing, drumming and playing marimbas. The groups from the other countries joined in with their instruments.

    We then all played Shakira’s Waka Waka (the official 2010 soccer theme song). The room went crazy and everyone had a great time. Well done to the group, they were good ambassadors for our country.

    Tomorrow we are going to the town hall to do a run through then a full dress rehearsal. They leave nothing to chance!

    I will keep you posted.

    Peace

  • 29 Aug 2010 /  General Blogging

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the comments, I read them out to the group each day.

    Today we had the opportunity to be tourists. After a great breakfast, we walked to the bus in the rain.

    amaAmbush Abantwana in the rain

    amaAmbush Abantwana in the rain

    We then drove through to visit the beautiful Stockholm City Hall. This is where we will be performing in a few days time.

    Stockholm City Hall

    Stockholm City Hall

    We then had a great lunch at a all-you-can-eat Thai restaurant. We could choose from a selection of shushi, soups, noodles, chicken, vegetables and ice-cream.

    The bus then drove past the Viking Lines terminal. This was an incredible moment for me, because this was where I had been earlier this year with two amaAmbush groups who spent many days performing aboard these boats. It was unreal to be there again. For more info on that trip, scroll down to view my past blog posts.

    My home away from home

    My home away from home

    The group had some time to breath in the fresh air.

    It was then for the girls to do some shopping!

    Time to shop!

    Time to shop!

    The girls asked me to upload this as their favorite picture:

    During the evening, we were entertained by the groups from different countries. This is a great cultural experience for the group.

    Peace

  • 28 Aug 2010 /  General Blogging

    Hey everyone,

    Things are continuing to go well here and everyone is in high spirits.

    We performed all our pieces to the CEO and founder of the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation, Magnus Bergar. He was very happy with the group and the preparation that we had all done.

    amaAmbush Abantwana with Magnus

    amaAmbush Abantwana with Magnus

    It was then time for some rest and relaxation.

    Whenever the group walks anywhere they are singing and laughing. I think this is a great display of the joy and energy that all South Africans have.

    The place we are staying is really beautiful. It is called the Gripsholmviken Conference Centre. It has incredible facilities including free internet, three delicious buffet meals a day at the resturant and hotel-like rooms that are cleaned every day. We are in the town of Mariefred, a small almost medieval town situated next to a large lake.

    Here are some images of the grounds:

    Right next to our house is a large deer sanctuary where we are allowed to walk amongst the tame deer owned by the King of Sweden.


    The group had some free time, and walked into town to do some shopping.

    Shopping in Mariefred, Sweden

    Shopping in Mariefred, Sweden

    In the evening there was an event for all the students from around world to get to know each other. I was impressed with the group, they brought their drums and were teaching students from Vietnam and India how to play the Djembe. They taught the whole group some African dancing, and I did a clapping workshop.

    There is a large canvas in the games room that everyone can write, draw or paint on. Here is the amaAmbush Abantwana contribution:

    The group had a great time getting creative!

    Peace